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3. It is now easy to discern in what sense the Spirit of God may be opposed and resisted, and strive to no purpose, and in what sense not. The things of the Spirit of God are disagreeable to a natural man: it is no wonder that the external ministry of the word and ordinances are despised, opposed, and resisted. The external call may be rejected; yea, some inward motions and convictions may be overruled, stifled, and come to nothing.: nay, it will be granted, that there may be and is an opposition and resistance to the work of the Spirit of God in conversion; but then the Spirit cannot be so resisted in the operations of his grace, as to be obliged to cease from his work, or to be overcome or hindered in it; for he acts with a design which cannot be frustrated, and with a power which is uncontrollable; were it otherwise, the regeneration and conversion of every one must be precarious, and where the grace of the Spirit is effectual, according to the doctrine of free will, it would be more owing to the will of man than to the Spirit of God.

IV. It may be asked whether the old world had a day of grace * and so all mankind, in which they might be saved if they would ; during which time the Spirit strives with man; and when that is expired he strives no longer.

1. The space of one hundred and twenty years allowed the old world for repentance, was indeed a favour, and indulgence of Divine Providence, a time of God's long-suffering and forbearance; but it does not follow, that because they had such a space allotted to them, in which, had they repented, they would have been saved from temporal ruin ; that therefore all mankind have a day of grace, which if they improve, they may be saved with an everlasting salvation. For,

2. If by a day of grace are meant the means of grace, the external ministry of the word and ordinances, these are insufficient to salvation, without the efficacious grace of God; and besides, these are not enjoyed by all mankind. Every man has not a day of grace in this sense. Sometimes the means of grace have been confined to one particular nation, and all the rest of the world have been without them for a considerable number of years. This was the case of all the nations of the world whom God suffered to walk in their own ways; overlooked them, took no notice of them, gave them no day of grace ; while his worship was only kept up in the land of Judea. And since the coming of Christ, the administration of the word and ordinances has sometimes been in one place, and sometimes in another, when the rest of mankind have been without them: so that every man in this sense has not had a day of grace.

3. The whole Gospel dispensation in general may be called a day of
grace; but this day does not expire while men live, or at their death;
it reaches from the coming of Christ, unto the end of the world ; it
will continue until all the elect of God are gathered in : nor can it be
said of any man, that he has outlived or outsinned this day of grace ;
for still it is said, To-day if ye will hear his voice t; Now is the accepted
time, now is the day of salvation.
* See Barclay in his Apology, pp. 153, 154.

+ Heb. ii. 7; 2 Cor. vi. 2.

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4. The open special day of grace to God's elect, begins at their conversion, which will never end, never be over with them; though they may have their clouds and darkness, until it is changed into the overlasting day of glory.

. SECTION III.

and keep

O that there were such an heart in them that they would fear me,

all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever.-Deur. v. 29. I. These vehement desires of God for the good of these people, are said to be irreconcilable with his decrees of election and reprobation; and supposing those decrees, they are represented * to be hypocritical: to which may be replied ;

1. For God passionately to wish good things, even salvation itself, for some, and not for all, is no ways contrary, but perfectly agreeable to the doctrine of election. If any thing is said to the purpose, as militating against that doctrine, it ought to be said and proved, that God has vehemently desired the salvation of all mankind; of which these words can be no proof, since they only regard the people of Israel, who were the fewest of all people. As for those scriptures whieh represent God as willing all men to be savedt, and not willing that any should perish, they will be considered in their proper places.

2. It might seem repugnant to these decrees, and to imply hypocrisy and guile, could any instance be produced of God's passionately wishing the salvation of such whom the Scriptures represent as rejected of him, given up to a reprobate mind, and as vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, or who are not eventually saved ; but none will say, such were the people whose good and welfare are vehemently desired in this passage of Scripture. For,

3. These are the most improper instances that could have been pitched upon : since they were a peculiar people to the Lord, whom he had chosen to be a special people to himself, above all people upon the face of the earth 1.

II. These passionate wishes also, supposing the doctrine of particular redemption, are said to represent & God as full of guile, deceit, insincerity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy ; to which I answer,

1. The doctrine of particular redemption is the doctrine of the Scriptures, Christ died not for all men, but for some only; who are called his people, his sheep, his church, unless all men can be thought to be the people, sheep, and church of Christ.

2. The blasphemous charge of guile, deceit, insincerity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy, ought to be removed from God, who cannot lie, deceive, dissemble, or deny himself; who is a God of truth, and without iniquity; just and right is he. Nor,

Curcellæ, Relig. Christ. Inst. I. 6, c. 6, sect. 7, p. 370; Whitby's discourse on the Five Points, pp. 77, 197 ; edit. 2. 76, 193.

+ ] Tin. ü. 4; 2 Peter ii. 9. * Deut. vii. 6.

s Whitby, p. 179, 181; ed. 2. 175, 177.

+

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3. Does such a passionate wish for the good of these people, whom God had so great a regard for as to redeem from Egyptian bondage, imply any thing of this nature, supposing the doctrine of particular redemption: for, as has been observed in answer to the former question, it ought to be proved, that God has ever used such expressions of desire for the salvation of all mankind, and particularly of such who are not saved ; in which number none will choose to put the people of Israel, especially since it is said *, that all Israel shall be saved. And,

4. After all, these words do not express God's desire of their eternal salvation, but only of their temporal good and welfare, and that of their posterity ; for their eternal salvation was not to be obtained by works of righteousness done by them, by their fear or worship of God, or by their constant universal obedience to his commands. They were saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, even as we. Their fear of God, and obedience to his will, issued indeed in their temporal prosperity, and on this account were strictly enjoined them ; that so they might live, and it be well with them, and they prolong their days in the land they were going to possess, as appears from ver. 33; and with a view to this, God so ardently desired these things in them, and to be done by them.

III. Such pathetic t expressions are thought to imply, that God gives to all men sufficient grace for conversion, and to militate against the necessity of the unfrustrable operation of his grace in that work.

1. Admitting that the saving work of conversion is here wished for; such a wish does not necessarily suppose that sufficient grace for that work either was or would be given; and if the thing wished for was effected, it does not follow from hence, that this was not performed by the unfrustrable operation of God's

2. Allowing that this grace, an heart to fear the Lord, and all that is requisite to it, were given to the Israelites; it ought not to be concluded from hence, that all men have the same, or that God wishes the same to all men.

3. We are not to imagine that such velleities and wishes are strictly and properly in God; who here speaks, as R. Aben Ezra | observes, 07H 714333, by an anthropopathy, after the manner of men ; such desires are ascribed to him in the same way as human passions and affeetions are; as anger, grief, repentance, and the like : nor do such wishes and desires declare either what God does or will do ; but what he approves of, and is grateful to him; as are an heart to fear him, and a constant and universal obedience to his commandments.

4. The words are so rendered by some, as that they express no wish or desire in God, but rather what was to be desired by the Israelites themselves; so the Arabic version, it should be wished for by them, that such an heart would continue in them; that is, such an heart as they professed to have in ver. 27, when they said to Moses, Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say ; and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear it, and do it. The Lord takes notice of this declaration, in ver. 28: I have heard, Whitby, p. 235 ; ed. 2. 230.

grace.

# In loc.

* Rom. xi. 26.

says he, the voice of the words of this people, they have well said all that they have spoken ; and then adds, according to this version, that a continuance of such an heart to hear and do, should be very desirable by them. Moreover, the words in D, may be rendered as they are by the Septuagint tis owoel, who will give ? and so be considered as an inquiry, as Dr. Whitby himself says * ; who will give them this heart? they could not give it themselves: no creature could give it them ; only God could give them such an heart as this. And perhaps this mode of expression may be used on purpose to convince them of their want of such an heart, and of the necessity of such an one, and that God only could give it to them; and therefore they should apply to him for it, and not presume, as they seemed to do, to hearken to his commandments, and obey them in their own strength, and without the assistance of his

grace.

Or, 5. These words may be considered as an upbraiding of these people with the want of an heart to fear the Lord, and with want of ability to keep all his commandments, and that always, notwithstanding the vain boasts and empty resolutions they had just now made. In the same manner are we to consider other pathetic expressions of the like nature ; such as Deut. xxxii. 28, 29 ; Psal. lxxxi. 11-13.

;

SECTION IV.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these

forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments

or no.-Deut. viii. 2. It is saidt, that it is evident from this and other passages of Scripture, that the state of man in this world, is a state of trial or probation. It will be proper therefore to make the following inquiries :

I. What this state of probation is, or what is meant by it.

1. This state of trial is not of men's graces, as faith, patience, &c. by afflictive dispensations of Providence; for men in general are not in such a state, since all men have not grace to be tried; nor is the state of every man an afflicted one in this life : this is a state peculiar to the people of God, and to them only when converted : for before conversion they have no graces to be tried ; and with some of them, this state is very short, and so far from being the state of man whilst in this world ; and yet, as will be seen hereafter, the proof of the state of probation pretty much depends on passages of Scripture which relate to the exercise of the graces of the saints by afflictions, temptations, &c.

2. This state of trial, if I understand it right, is of man's obedience and conduct towards God during his life; according to which conduct and behaviour God acts towards him, both in this and the other world; his state, as to happiness or misery, being yet unfixed : so that whilst this state lasts, it is uncertain whether he will be saved or lost. * Page 233; ed. 2. 230.

† Whitby, p. 305, 314; ed. 2. 297, 306.

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II. What proof is given of the state of man in this world, being such a one.

1. All those scriptures are urged *, which speak of God's proving the children of Israel when in the wilderness, and in their own land, whether they would walk in his statutes, and keep his commandments, or no; such as Exod. xvi. 4, xx. 20; Deut. viii. 2, and xiii. 3; Judg. ii. 21, 22, and iii. 1, 4. It ought to be observed, that these people were under a theocracy, or the immediate government of God as their King, who gave them laws, according to which they should act; to which they readily promised a cheerful and universal obedience; on condition of which obedience, they were to enjoy and continue in their enjoyment of the land of Canaan. Therefore, before they entered into the land, and when in it, God was pleased to try them, sometimes in one way, and sometimes in another, whether they would yield that obedience to his commands which he required, and abide by the promises which they themselves had made, or no; all which he did not for his own sake, who knows all things, but that their obedience or disobedience might be made manifest, and he be justified in all his dealings with them. This trial of their obedience was not in order to their salvation in another world, but to their temporal good in this ; for such of them as were saved with an everlasting salvation, were saved not by their obedience to the commands of God, but by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides, the scriptures produced, speak only of the people of Israel, and of what was their state and case as a politic body, under the immediate government of God, in a certain period of time ; and not of all mankind; and so fall abundantly short of proving that the state of man in this world, is such a state of probation as before described.

2. This is attempted t to be proved from all those places in which God is said to try men, their works and graces, by afflictions, persecutions, temptations, and the like ; as 1 Cor. ii. 13; 2 Cor. viii. 2; 1 Pet. i. 7, and iv. 12; Jam. i. 3; Rev. ii. 10, and ii. 10; Psal. Ixvi. 10 ; Dan. xi. 35, and xii. 10; Zech. xiii. 9. What I have said in answer to the first query, is a sufficient reply to what is alleged from these passages ; since these only speak of the saints, and of the trial of their grace, who only have grace to be tried, and that not in order to fix and settle the affair of their salvation ; nor are these trials mere experiments of the truth and constancy of their graces ; but are also designed for the further exercise and increase of them; the issue of which is their own spiritual good, and God's glory. Hence it must follow that these scriptures are insufficient proofs of every man's being in a state of probation, and in order to everlasting happiness or misery.

3. This is said to be evident from all the promises and threats recorded in the Scripture, to engage all men to repent, and turn to God; for it is added, no such thing is or can reasonably be offered to them who are already in a fixed state either of happiness or misery. * Whitby; p. 305, 314; ed. 2. 297, 305.

† Ibid. p. 306 ; cd, 2. 298. # Ibid. p. 306; ed. 2. 298.

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