Page images



ftowed freely, and not of merit. Where-
fore neither did they think, that on the
of man is given any cause of predeftination
unto preventing grace: Yea, it is very pro-
bable that all, or moft of them, when they
make faith prior to election, yet do not con-
fider faith as the cause of election properly
fo called; as if God, moved with the wor-
thinefs of faith, chofe fome to holiness and
life." From whence it appears, that tho'
they held predeftination to glory according
to God's prefcience of faith and perfeve-
rance, which prefcience of faith and per-
feverance proceeds from God's abfolute de-
cree to give them both, in which fenfe none
deny it; yet they make predeftination to
grace to be abfolute, without any caufe or
condition on man's part; for otherwife
grace must be given according to man's
merits, which was the doctrine of Pelagius
condemned by the antients, and fomething
in man must be the cause of the divine will
whereas, as Aquinas obferves, "no man
was ever of fo unfound a judgment, as to fay
that merits are the caufe of divine predefti-
nation with refpect to the act of God pre-
deftinating." What is alledged from Prof-
per, is out of an epiftle of his to Austin";
in which he obferves to him, that "many
of the fervants of Chrift at Marseilles thought

Sum. par. 1. In. 23. art. 5. concl. p. 77.
881, 886.

m P.879,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

that what Austin had wrote against the Pelagians concerning the calling of the elect according to God's purpose, was contrary to the opinion of the Fathers and fenfe of the church and that they defend their obftinacy by antiquity, affirming that what are brought out of the epiftle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, to prove divine grace preventing the merits of the elect, were never fo understood as they are now by any ecclefiaftical men. This objection, how it may be removed, fays he, we pray that you would fhew, patiently bearing with our folly; viz. that they (the Maffilians, and not Proper, as the Doctor translates it, which spoils the ingenuous confeffion of Profper the Doctor boafts of) having again perused the opinions of those that went before, concerning this matter, their judgment is found to be one and the fame, by which they embraced the purpose and predeftination of God according to prescience." The fum of which is, that fome Frenchmen of Marseilles cavill'd at Austin's doctrine, and pleaded antiquity on their fide; having, as they faid, perused almost all, not all, that went before them, and which they own did not please them. Austin's answer to this is cited already. And certain it is, that as his doctrines were then generally esteemed, ex

n Page 9.


cept by these few Frenchmen; fo he verily thought, that the writers before him were of the fame mind with him: For which purpose he cites" particularly Cyprian, Nazianzen, and Ambrofe. But what was the fense of these, and other writers before him, concerning this point, will be seen in the following Numbers.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]




[ocr errors]

Lement of Rome lived in the times of the Apoftles, and is by Clement of Alexandria called an Apoftle. He is thought by fome to be the fame Clement the Apostle Paul fpeaks of, in Phil. iv. 3. as one of his fellow-labourers. He wrote an epistle in the name of the church at Rome to the church at Corinth, about the year 69. which is the earliest piece of antiquity next to the writings of the Apoftles extant, being written when fome of them were living; even before the Apoftle John wrote his epiftles, and the book of the Revelations, and while the temple at Jerufalem was yet ftanding. In this epiftle are feveral things relating, to the a Stromat. 1.4. p. 516. Eufeb. Eccl. Hift. 1. 3. c. 15. Hieron. Catalog. Script. Ecclef. S. 25. Fabricii Bibl. Graec, 1. 4. c. 5. p. 175.

n De Perfeverantia, c. 19.


doctrine of election, and which greatly serve to confirm it. For,

1. Agreeable to the Apoftolic doctrine, That God worketh all things after the counfel of his own will, that his purposes shall ftand, and that whatsoever he has determined fhall come to pafs, Clement affirms ; That" when he wills, and as he wills, he does all things; i oder wen waged In Tar deδογματισμένων υπ' αυls, and that none of thofe things which are decreed by him, hall pass away," or be unaccomplished: which fhews his fenfe of the dependency of all things upon the will of God, and of the immutability of his decrees in general.

2. He not only frequently makes mention of perfons under the character of the elect of God, but also intimates, that there is a certain, fpecial, and peculiar number of them fixed by him. Speaking of the fchifm and fedition in the church at Corinth, he represents it as what was "very unbecoming, and fhould be far from TO EXλExTOIS T8 E8, the elect of God." And elfewhere, having cited Pfal. xviii. 26. he fays, "Let us therefore join our felves to the innocent and righteous, for, a lo ExλERTOI TO Jes, they are the elect of God;" i. e. they appear to be fo: these are characters defcriptive of them. And in another Epift. ad Corinth. 1. p. 64. Ib. p. 194.

d Eph. i. 11.
Ibid. F. 2.




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

place, enlarging in commendation of the grace of love, he fays; "Love knows no fchifm, is not feditious, love does all things in harmony; wavles of exλexTo T8 De8, all the elect of God are made, perfect in love; which agrees with what the Apostle fays of them, That they are chofen to be holy and without blame before him in love. Moreover, Clement obferves, to the praise of the members of the church of Corinth, to whom he writes, That formerly their "contention was night and day for the whole brotherhood, that, τον αριθμόν των εκλεκίων avls, the number of his elect might be faved, with mercy and a good confcience." And elsewhere he fays, That "God chose the Lord Jesus Christ, and us by him, as Aœiv wesov, for a peculiar people."

3. Whereas the Apostle Paul, writing to the Epbefans, fays; Bleffed be the God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, who bath bleffed us with all spiritual bleffings, in beavenly places, in Chrift; according as he bath chofen us in him before the foundation of the world; we conclude from hence, that from all eternity there was a preparation of fpiritual bleffings made; and agreeably, Clement, our Apoftolical writer, has thefe words; ""Let us therefore confider, brei Eph. i. 4. m Eph. i. 3, 4.


Epift. ad Corinth. 1. p. 112.


n Ib.

p. 6.


i Ib.
P. 130.


« PreviousContinue »