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In short, the Case stands thus. The Patrons of absolure Predestination, and the Patrons of conditionate Predestination, do jointly assert, that there is a Predestination to Life, and that the said Predeftination to Life is the everlasting Purpose of God, whereby (before the Foundations of the World were laid) he has conjt antly decreed by his Counsel, secret to us, to deliver from Curse and Damnation those whom he has chosen in Chrift out of Mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting Salvation, as Vessels made to Honor. They are also agreed, that they who be endued with so excellent a Benefit of God (that is, they who are predestinated) be called according to God's purpose by bis Spirit working in due season : they thro' grace obey the calling : they be justi
fied freely : they be made Sons of God by adoption: they be made like the Image of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity. Thus far, I say, both parties are agreed. But wherein then do they differ? Why, 1. Concerning the Ground of this Predestination, viz. Whether those Persons whom God has chosen in Chrift out of Mankind, and whom by his everlasting Purpose, before the Foundations of the World were laid, he has constantly decreed by his Counsel, secret to us, to deliver from Curse and Damnation, and bring them by Christ to everlasting Salvation, as Vessels made to Honor ; were therefore so elected and predestinated, because God forefaw
arbitramur, cui sit gloria in Ecclesia per Christum Jesum in omnes ætates feculi feculorum, Amen. Disp. 15. P. 283,
284, 285. See also Disp. 40, 41, 42, 43. p. 389- -394. which are too long to be inserted : nor could i have premaild upon my self to insert so much as I have done already, were it not to convince the most obstinate by producing such full and plain Testimonies.
their Obedience, that is (as we ufually speak) propter fidem prævisam, or no; 2. (as the Confequence of the former) Whether none be called according to God's Purpose by his Spirit working in due season, but such as through Grace obey che Calling, are justified freely, Oc. and whether all that did for a while obey the Calling, and were justified freely, and made God's Sons by Adoption, and made like the Image of Christ, and walked religiously in good Works; whether all these, I say, must necessarily persevere, so as at length by God's Mercy to attain to everlasting Felicity. These are the Points, about which the Patrons of absolute Predestination, and the Patrons of conditionate Predestination, do constantly and widely differ.
Now with respect to the first Point in dispute, the Patrons of conditionate Predeftination affirm, that the Elect were predestinated, because God foresaw their Obedience, that is, propter fidem previsam : whereas the Patrons of absolute Predeftination utterly deny this, and affirm, that the Elect were Predeftinated (whether in the Supralapsarian or Sublapfarian Way, it matters not at present) by virtue of anabfolute Decree, whithout any regard to that foreseen Faith and Practice, which the others affirm to be the only Ground of Difference between those that are predestinated to Life, and those that are reprobated or predestinated to eternal Death or Damnation. And with respect to the fecond Point in dispute, the Patrons of absolute Predestination maintain, that none are called according to God's Purpose by his Spirit working in due season, but such as thro' Grace obey the Calling, and are justified freely, and are made Sons of God by Adoption, and are made like the Image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and walk re
ligiously in good Works, and at length by God's Mercy attain to everlasting Felicity: Whereas the Patrons of conditionate Predestination maintain, that of those who were called according to God's Purpose by his Spirit working in due season, 1. Some might thro their own Fault not at all obey that Calling, &c. 2. Others, tho'they did obey the Calling for a while, and were accordingly during that Space justified freely, and made God's Son's by Adoption, and made like the Image of Christ, and walked religiously in good Works; yet might thro' their own Fauit afterwards fall from Grace; and that both these Sorts, those that never obeyed at all, and those that after an Obedience for some time did again return to their Impiery, and persist in it, do not at length attain to everlasting Felicity.
Now let any Man seriously consider this, which is the true State of the Controversy between the respective Patrons of absolute and conditionate Predestination ; and then I challenge him to find me any one Syllable in the First Paragraph of this Article, that favors absolute Predestination in Opposition to that which is conditionate.
As for the Second and Third Paragraphs, that nothing therein contained does contradict the Do&rin of the Patrons of conditionate Predestination, is so evident, that it needs no Proof. Or if it does, I once more refer the Reader to Mr. Plaifere.
After so much has been already said, perhaps it may not be strictly necessary; however, I still think it advisable to resolve this Article into its several Propositions. It contains Six. 1. Predestination to Life is the everlasting Pur
pose of God, whereby (before the Foundati
ons of the World were laid) he hath conftantly decreed by his Counsel, secret to us, to deliver from Curse and Damnation those whom he hath chofen in Christ out of Mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting Salva
tion, as Vessels made to Honor. 2. They which be endued with so excellent a
Benefit of God (that is, those who are predestinated to Life) be called according to God's Purpose by his Spirit working in due seafon : they thro' Grace obey the Calling : they be justified freely : they be made Sons of God by Adoption : they be made like the Image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ : they walk religiously in good Works, and at length by God's Mercy they attain to everlasting Feli
city. 3. The godly Consideration of Predestination
and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant and unspeakable Comfort to godly Persons, and such as feel in themselves the Working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the Works of the Flesh, and their earthly Members, and drawing up their Mind to high and heavenly Things; as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their Faith of eternal Salvation, to be enjoyed thro' Chrift, as because it doth fervently kindle their Love
towards God. 4. For curious and carnal Persons, lacking the
Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their Eyes the Sentence of God's Predeftina. tion, is a most dangerous Downfal, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into De. speration, or into Wretchlesness of most unclean living, no less perilous than Despera,
tion. s. We must receive God's Promises in such wise
as they be generally set forth to us in Holy
Scripture. 6. In our Doings, that Will of God is to be fole
lowed, which we have expresly declared unto us in the Word of God.
The First Proposition is our Church's Definition of what she means by Predeftination to Life. She saies, 1. 'Tis the everlasting Purpose of God. Now every Purpose of God is everlasting; because God from all Eternity knew all contingent Events; and was resolv'd concerning them, either to permit or prevent them. 2. By this Purpose he constantly decreed. For Inconstancy is impossible in God. z.He decreed before the Foundacions of the World were laid. This must needs be true, because his Purpose was everlasting. 4. He thus decreed to deliver those whom he has chosen in Christ out of Mankind, from Curse and Damnation. Now that some are to be delivered from that Curse and Damnation, into which Original Sin had plung'd them, the whole Tenor of the Scripture shews. And that God has in Christ chosen some out of Mankind, is evident. Because those that embrace Christianity, are upon this account frequently call'd the Elect or Chosen, But then those who embrace Christianity, are not all of them deliver'd from Curse and Damnation ; because some of them do not perform the Conditions of the Gospel : and consequently tho' they enjoy the First or Temporal Election, yet they do not enjoy the Second or Eternal one, which is unattainable without Perseverance in good Works. Now 'tis this Second, even the Eternal Election,