Page images

the fathers say that God foresaw that men would believe of themselves, and make themselves holy by their own care, diligence, and improvements of nature, nor that God foresaw that men would believe, and be holy, and therefore predestinated them to faith and holiness; but having determined to bestow faith and holiness upon them, he foresaw they would believe and be holy, and so through these as means he chose them to salvation. That this is the sense of Hilary, appears partly from his suggesting that some are predestinated to believe. In one place m he says, “ They believe, who are appointed to eternal life;" and in another , “ God of his own grace, of old decreed to save finners (for God foreknew what would be in man before he made him, and he had finned) and predestinated how he should be recovered; in what time, and by whom, and in what way, they might be saved : So that they who are saved, are not saved either by their own merit, or by theirs, by whom they are called, but by the grace of God; the gift appears to be bestowed through the faith of Christ." And partly this is evident from his account of prescience : “ The prescience of God, says he °, is that in which, definitum habet, he has it determined what shall be the will of every one, in which he is to

m Comment. in Tim. p. 576. P. 592. o*Ib. in Rom. p. 299.,


n Ib. in 2 Tim.

[ocr errors]

remain, and through which he may be either damned or crowned.” Agreeably to which he says ', “ By prescience he chooses one and rejects another; and in him whom he chooses, the purpose of God remains; because another thing cannot happen, chan what God has known, & proposuit in illo, and hath purposed in bim, that he may be worthy of salvation; and in him whom he sejects, in like manner, the purpose which he bath purposed concerning him, remains ; for he will be unworthy: as foreknowing this, he's no accepter of persons ; for be damns no man before be fins, and crowns none before he overcomes.To which we heartily subscribe. We say God damns no man bue for fin, and crowns none until he has made them more than conquerors, through Christ. It is certain, that Hilary, or the author of these Commentaries, was of opinion, that there were some predestinated to life who should certainly be saved ; and that others were not, who should cercainly be damned ; for

“ The Apostle Paul, that he might, by his preaching, Jave, homines predestinatos ad vitam, men predestinated to life, was subject to dangers, knowing that he should have the profit of their fougho for falvation.” In another place', he says, “ For unbelievers we must not very much

4 Ib, in 2 Tim. Pm594.



he says ?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

p Ib. p. 298, 299.
r Ib. in Rom. p. 299.


grieve, quia non funt predestinati ad vitam, because they are not predestinated unto life : for the prescience of God has, of old decreed, that they are not to be saved. And in another place', “ The law being abbreviated, the remnant of the Jews are saved; but the rest cannot be saved, quia per definitionem Dei fpernuntur, because, by the appointment of God they are rejected, by which he hath decreed to save mankind.' Again, he says", The Apostle Paul, “ by his own example, teacheth, Thac part of Ifrael is saved, whom God foreknew was to be saved, or yet can be saved ; and that part of Israel

, propter jugem diffidentiam perditioni deputatam, for their continual unbelief, is deputed to destruction..


A, D. 380. Ambrose, bishop of Milain, flourished un

der the emperors Gratian and Theodofius, and died A. D. 397. Austin, who was converted under him, and was acquainted with him personally, as well as with his writings, thought him to be of the same judgment with himself about


+ Ib. p. 308. [ Ib. p. 302. u Dallaei Apolog. p. 799.


predestination, and cites w several passages from him for that purpose, such as these * ; W bom God esteems worthy of bonour he calls, & quem vult religiosum facit, and whom he pleases he makes religious. And again ; If be would, fi voluiffet ex indevocis devotos feciffet, of persons not devoted to him, he could make them devoted : From whence he concludes, that he could be no stranger to che doctrine of predestination, preached by the Apostles, and which he defended. Moreover, there are many expressions in his writings which shew his sense of this doctrine : on those words of Sarah, the Lord hath reArained me from bearing, he has this note '; « by which, says he, you may know, in praedestinatione fuisse semper ecclefiam Dei, That in predestination the church of God always has been; and that the fruitfulness of faith is prepared, when ever the Lord shall command it to break forth, but by the will of the Lord it is reserved for a certain cime.” He ? owns, indeed, that "rewards are pro. posed nor to the elect only, but to all, because Christ is all and in all:” But he affirms“, That though “all men can hear, yet all cannot perceive with their ears, nisi

w De bono persever. 1. 2. C. 19.
x Ambrof. in Luc. 9. p. 125.
y De Abraham, 1. 2. č. 10. p. 265.
z In Luc. 2. p. 28.
a Enarrat. in Pfal. 48. p. 824.

F 2


[ocr errors]

electi Dei, only the ele&t of God: therefore the Saviour says, He that hath ears to bear - all men have not those ears." To electing grace, and not to mens works, he refers salvation ; ," the remnant, he observes, are saved, not by their own works, but by the election of grace.He fometimes, indeed, represents election as a secret with God, and unknown to men: “ As no one, he says", of whatsoever age, ought to despair, if he is desirous of being converted to the Lord, so none should be secure on

the account of faith alone; but should raS

ther fear, through what is added, many are called, but few are chofen. That we are cal- . led by faith, we know; but whether we are eleɛted to eternal life we know not; so much therefore ought every one to be the more humble, as much as he is ignorant, whether he is elected.” However, this proves that he held the doctrine of an election of particular persons; and at other times he argues from it, to the great comfort of the saints, with respect to their safety and security. “ We must not despair, says he', that the members can cleave to their own head, efpecially since, ab initio fimus praedeftinati, we are predestinated from the beginning, unto the adoption of the children of God, by

• In Psal. 43. p. 799. Vid. p. 787.
« In Dominic. Teptuages. p. 29.
d Epift. 1. 5. epift. 37. p. 283.



« PreviousContinue »