Page images
PDF
EPUB

took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood." So also he called the people of Israel, for his name's sake and for the sake of the promises made to their fathers. Psal. cxlvii

. 19. 20. “he sheweth his word unto Jacob.... he hath not dealt so with any nation, and as for his judgments, they have not known them.” Another reason is given Matt. ix. 13. “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” xv. 26. “it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.” Acts xvi. 6, 7." they were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia .... they assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not.” v. 9. "a vision appeared to Paul in the night.”

Elect. Rom. viii. 28–30. “ to them that love God, to them who are the called, according to his purpose.” 1 Cor. i. 26. ye see your calling, brethren .... God hath chosen the foolish things of the world.” 2 Tim. i. 9. “ with an holy calling, according to his own purpose and grace.' Rev. xix. 9.

blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."

As well as reprobate. Isai. xxvii. 13. “the word of Jehovah was unto them precept upon precept.” Ezek. ii. 4, 5. "they are impudent children and stiff-hearted; I do send thee unto then.' See also v. 7. iii. 7, 11, 27. Matt. x. 18. “ for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.” xi. 21. unto thee, Chorazin!” xxii. 8, 9. "they which were bidden were not worthy.... as many as ye shall find, bid to the mar. riage.” v. 10. “ both bad and good.” xxiii. 37. “how often woald I have gathered your children together .... and ye would not.” Luke vii. 30. “ the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves.” Acts vii. 51.

'ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” xiii. 46. “seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life.”

At the time which he thinks proper. Matt. xx. 1. 3, &c. “ he went out about the third hour.” Acts xiv. 16. “ who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways." xvii. 27, 30. “the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent." Eph. üz.

Yet he at length, time to himself best known,
Rememb'ring Abraham, by some wondrous call
May bring them back. Paradise Reylli ined, III 433

60

woe

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

5. " which in other ages was not made known" Rom. xvi. 25. “which was kept secret since the world began.” On the promulgation of the gospel, a new command was given : Matt. xxviii. 19. “go ye therefore and teach all nations." Mark xvi. 15. “preach the gospel to every creature.” Rom. x. 18. “have they not heard ? yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” Col. i. 26.“the mystery which hath been hid for ages .... but now is made manifest.

The change which takes place in man by reason of his calling, is that whereby the natural mind and will of man being partially renewed by a divine impulse, are led to seek the knowledge of God, and for the time, at least, undergo an alteration for the better.

Inasmuch as this change is from God, those in whom it takes place are said to be enlightened, and to be endued with power to will what is good. This is ascribed sometimes to the Father : Eph. i. 17, 18. “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.... may give unto you the spirit of knowledge. ... the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” 2 Cor. iv. 6. “God hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge—" James i. 17. "every good gift cometh down from the Father of lights.” Luke xi. 13. "how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit.” Sometimes to the Son: John i. 9. “ that was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' Sometimes to the Holy Spirit: Heb. vi. 4, &c. "those who were once enlightened .... and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost."

As this change is of the nature of an effect produced on man, and an answer, as it were, to the call of God, it is sometimes spoken of under the metaphor of hearing or hearkening, (this faculty itself, however, being usually described as a gift from God) sometimes under that of tasting. Hearing : Matt. xi. 15. “he that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Thus Herod is said to have heard John the Baptist gladly. Mark vi. 20. So also Acts xxvi. 28. Agrippa was willing to hear Paul. xvi. 14. "whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things spoken of Paul." Rom. vi. 17. “God be thanked that.. .. ye have obeyed from the heart," &c. (ex corde auscultastis). Heb. iii. 7, "to-day if ye will

[ocr errors]

:

hear his voice." Tasting : Heb. vi. 4, “it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift. ... if they. shall fall away,"

.

Even the weakest of man's efforts is ascribed to the same source. Luke xi. 13. “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." Philipp. ii. 12, 13. “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” This can only imply that he works in us the power of acting freely, of which, since our fall, we were incapable, except by means of a calling and renewal. For the power of volition cannot be wrought in us, without the power of free agency being at the same time imparted; since it is in this power that the will itself consists.

The parts of this change, considered as an effect, are two, repentance, and a corresponding faith. Both the one and the other of these feelings may be either the genuine beginnings of conversion, or the mere effect of nature, or, lastly, they may be altogether fictitious; and repentance of this kind, or a transient sorrow for past sin, bears the same relation to solid and lasting repentance, which the faith corresponding to it bears to a saving faith. I distinguish between the two species of repentance for the sake of clearness, although I do not deny that the same word is indiscriminately employed to denote the temporary and the permanent affection; in like

7 Ut pænitentia ad resipiscentiam, ita fides hujusmodi se habet ad fidem salvificam. This is probably an allusion to the distinction made by Lactantius between these two words. "Is enim quem facti sui pænitet, errorem suum pristinum intelligit: ideoque Græci melius et significantius Metávoiav dicunt; quam nos possimus resipiscentiam dicere ; resipiscit enim, ac mentem suam quasi ab insania recipit, quem errati piget, castigatque seipsum dementiæ, et confirmat animum suum ad rectius viven. dum ; tum illud maxime cavet, ne rursus in eosdem laqueos inducatur.' Lib. 6. De Vero Cultu, c. 24. Tertullian, however, in his treatise on Re. pentance, and the Fathers in general, use the two words indiscriminately. Hey (Lectures, Book iv. Art. 16. Sect. 23. note d) is incorrect in stating, on the authority of Ainsworth, that the word recipiscentia was coined from petávoia in the time of Lactantius. The expression ‘resipiscere in the 16th Article, Latin, is translated in the English articles both of 1552 and 1562 by the phrase . amend our lives.' The last words of the same article, in both sets of the Latin, is 'vere resipiscentibus ;' which in the English of 1552 is rendered to such as truly repent and amend their lidee;' in the English of 1562 the words in italics are omitted.

6

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

manner as the various kinds of faith are all expressed in Scripture by the same term.

This secondary species of repentance (in Greek petajésia) is that whereby a man abstains from sin through fear of punishment, and obeys the call of God merely for the sake of his own salvation.

Through fear of punishment. Jer. vi. 8. “be thou instructed, 0 Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee, lest I make thee desolate.” Rom. ii. 15. “ their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing one another."

2 Cor. vii. 10. “the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Matt. xix. 22. “ he went away sorrowful.” Gen. iv. 13. “my punishment is greater than I can bear.” Numb. xxiii. 10. let me die the death of the righteous, and let my

last end be like his.” For the sake of his own salvation. Matt. xix. 16. “ what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Ezek. xviii. 21, 28. “if the wicked will turn.... he shall surely live, he shall not die." See also xxxiii. 14–16. Hos. vii. 14.

they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled

upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.” Joel. i. 5. “ because of the new wine, for it is cut off from thy mouth.'

This kind of repentance is common to the regenerate and to the unregenerate. Examples among the unregenerate are Cain, Esau, Pharaoh, Saul, Ahab, Judas, and many others, in whom contrition, and confession of sins, and other marks of repentance, are perceptible. Exod. ix. 27. “I have sinned this time; Jehovah is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” 1 Sam. xv. 24. “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of Jehovah.”

Repentance is not to be deferred. 2 Cor. vi. 2. “for he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee : behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Heb. iii. 7, 8. to-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

Among the most striking exhortations to repentance in Scripture are Deut. xxx. 1, &c. Job. xi. 13, &c. 2 Chron. xxx. 6. Isai, i. 16, &c. lvii. 19, &c. Jer. iv. 1, &c. xviii. 8. Hos. xiv. 1, &c. All exhortation, however, would be addressed in

a

[ocr errors]

vain to such as were not in some measure renewed, at least iu the natural mode here described ; that is to say, who were not endued with some portion of mental judgment and liberty of will.

The faith corresponding to this species of repentance is an assent, likewise natural, yielded to the call of God, and accompanied by a trust which is in like manner natural, and often vain. I have described this assent as yielded to the call of God, inasmuch as faith, of whatever kind, can only be founded on divine testimony in matters relating to God. Rom. x. 17. “ faith cometh by hearing, and bearing by the word of God.”

This faith is commonly distinguished into the several degrees of historical faith, temporary faith, and faith in miracles. Any faith, however, may be temporary; 80 may repentance itself: as will be hereafter shown.

Historical faith consists in an assent to the truth of the scripture history, and to sound doctrine. This faith is necessary to salvation, but is not in itself a saving faith. 1 Tim. i. 19. “holding faith and a good conscience, which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” iv. 1.

some shall depart from the faith, giving lieed to.... doctrines of devils.' Heb. xi. 6. “he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' James ii. 19. “the devils also believe and tremble.”

Temporary faith is that which assents to hearing, and exercises a certain degree of trust in God, but generally of that kind only which is termed natural. I say generally, because there is no reason why a regenerate faith should not itself sometimes prove merely temporary, owing to the remains of human frailty still inherent in us; this however seldom happens, as will be argued hereafter under the head of final perseverance. Matt. xiii. 20, 21.“he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it: yet hath he not root in him. self, but dureth for a while.” Luke vii, 13. “ which for a time believe, and in time of temptation fall away." John vi. 66. “from that time many of his disciples went back.” Acts viii. 13. “then Simon himself believed also, and was baptized.” 1. 18. “when Simon saw that through laying 'on of the apos

a

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »