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Τ Η Ε
O E CON O M Y
CH A P IV.
ET us now first of all treat of those benefits, which belong to the covenant of grace, considered absolutely and in itself, and are therefore common to all those in covenant, under what æconomy soever ; which we enumerate in the following order : 1. Election. 2. Effectual calling to the communion of Christ. 3. Regeneration. 4. Faith. 5. Justification. · 6. Spiritual peace. 7. Adoption. 8. The Spirit of adoption. 9. Sanctification. 10. Conservation, or preservation. .11. Glorification. The devout meditation of all these things cannot fail to be glorious to God, agreeable, profitable, and salutary to ourselves.
II. The beginning and first source of all grace is Election, both of Christ the Saviour, and of those to be saved by Christ. For even Christ was chosen of God, and, by an eternal and immutable decree, given to VOL. II.
be our Saviour ; and therefore he is said to be foreordained before the foundation of the world.*
And they whom Christ was to save, were given to him by the same decree.t They are therefore said to be chosen in Christ. I That is, not only by Christ as God, and consequently the elector of them ; but also in Christ as
; Mediator, and on that account the elected, who, by one and the same act, was so given to them to be their Head and Lord, as at the same time they were given to him to be his members and property, to be saved by his merit and power, and to enjoy communion with him. And therefore the book of election is called the book of life of the Lamb.s Not only because that life is to be obtained in virtue of the Lamb slain, but also because the Lamb takes up the first page of that book, is the head of the rest of the other elect, and the firstborn among many brethren and joint-heirs with him.ll But of this election of Christ the Mediator we treated before, b. ii. chap. ii. $ 8. and now we shall speak of
. the election of those to be saved.
III. We thus describe it : Election is the eternal, free, and immutable counsel of God, about revealing the glory of his grace, in the eternal salvation of some certain persons. Most of the parts of this description are in these words of the apostle : According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love : having predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to himself, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved, Eph. i. 4, 5, 6.
IV. We call election the counsel of God, by which term we mean that which is commonly called decree ; * 1 Pet. i. 20. † John xvii. 6. Eph. i. 4. § Rev. xiii. 8.
li Rom. viii, 29, 17,
Paul on this subject calls it PROTHESIS, the purpose or fore-appointment of God.
This term appears very choice to the apostle, which he very frequently makes use of, and denotes a sure, firin, and fixed decree of God, which he can never repent of, and which depends on nothing out of himself, but is founded only in his good pleasure. All this is intimated, 2 Tim. i. 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and
purpose also he says, Eph. i. 11. We are predestinated according to the purpose of him, who zvorketh all things after the counsel of his own will. And elsewhere the same apostle: also speaks of PROTHESIS, the purpose of election, Rom. viii. 28. who are called according to his purpose ; and Rom. ix. 11. the purpose of God according to election, And thus we distinguish this internal election, and of counsel, from the external and of fact, which signifies the actual separation of believers from unbelievers, by effectual calling. In this sense the Lord said to his apostles, But I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Now, the eternal and internal decree of God could not be the cause of this hatred, but only as it discovered itself by the event, and by the actual separation of the apostles from the world. To this we may also, it seems, apply what the apostle writes, Ye see your calling, brethren, horo that not many wise men, &c. But God hath chosen the foolish things
, of the world, to confound the wise, t &c. Where he seems to take calling and election for the same thing. Nor does this internal election and of counsel differ from the external and of fact, but only in this, that the last is the demonstration and execution of the first.
* John sy. 19.
† 1 Cor. i, 26, 27.
V. It is likewise clear, that we are not here speaking of an election to any political or ecclesiastical dignity, as 1 Sam. x. 24. and John ix. 70. nor even to the privilege of an external covenant with God; in the manner that
; God chose all the people of Israel, Deut. iv. 37. He loved thy fathers, and chose their seed ; compare Deut. vii. 6, 7.
But of that election, which is the designation and inrolment of the heirs of eternal salvation ; or, as Paul speaks, by which God hath, from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth.*
VI. For this purpose is the book of life so frequently mentioned in scripture : nor will it be improper, here to inquire what is intended by that appellation. That God has no book properly so called, is self-evident: but as men write down in a book those things, which they want to know and keep in memory ; so the book of God denotes the series of persons and things, which are most perfectly known to God. Moreover, the scripture mentions several books of God. 1. God has a book of common providence, in which the birth, life, and death of men, and every thing concerning the same, are inserted : In thy book all my members were written. 2. There are also books of judgment, in which the actions, good or bad, of every man in particular are written, and according to which they are to be judged: And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. I These books are mentioned in the plural number, as if each particular person had his own peculiar book assigned him, lest the good or bad behaviour of one should be put to the score of another, and thence any confusion should arise. By which is signified the most
* 2 Thess. ii. 13. f Psal. cxxxix. 16. Rev. xx. 12.