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not shall be damned.” If we figure to ourselves that God originally predestinated mankind on such conditional terms as these, endless controversies might be decided by this single sentence, or by John üii. 16. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
xv. 6. “if a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch.” "if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandment.” xvii. 20. “ neither
pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;" that is, for those whom the Father had predestinated. So also, Luke vii. 30. "the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him ;" whence it appears that even they had been predestinated, on condition of belief. No man was more evidently one of the elect than Peter, and yet a condition is expressly reserved, John xiii. 8. “if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” What then ensued? Peter readily complied, and consequently had part with his Lord; had he not complied, he would have had no part with him. For though Judas is not only said to have been chosen, which may refer to his apostleship, but even to have been given to Christ by the Father, he yet attained not salvation. John xvii. 12. “those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition ; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” - i. 11, 12. "he came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power," &c., that is, to those who believed in his name ; to whom he did not give power before they had received and believed in him, not even to those who were specially called his own. So St. Paul, Eph. i. 13. “in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise." Undoubtedly those whom in the beginning of his epistle he calls holy, were not sealed till after that they had believed, were not individually predestinated before that period. 2 Cor. vi. 1. we beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” Rev. iii. 5. “ he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life.” On the other hand it is said, xxii. 19. “if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life.”
Again, if God have predestinated us in Christ, as has been proved already, it certainly must be on condition of faith in Christ. 2 Thes. ii. 13. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and beLief of the truth,” whence it appears that it is only those who will believe that are chosen. Tit. i. 1. “ according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness. Heb. xi. 6. “ without faith it is impossible to please God,”—and thus become one of the elect; whence I infer that believers are the same as the elect, and that the terms are used indiscriminately. So Matt. xx. 16. “many be called, but few chosen,” only signifies that they which believe are few. Rom. viii. 33. “who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?” that is, of believers : otherwise by separating election from faith, and therefore from Christ, we should be entangled in hard, not to say detestable and absurd doctrines. So also Rom. xi. 7. “ the election have obtained it;" that is, believers, as is clear from the twentieth verse, “thou,” that is, thou that art elect,
standest by faith ;” and v. 22. “ if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Such is St. Paul's interpretation of the doctrine in his own case ; 1 Cor. ix. 27. “ lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Philipp. iii. 12.
not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. ii. 10, 12. “I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus,” &c. yet it is said in the next verse, “if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful,” &c.
Two difficult texts remain to be explained from analogy by the aid of so many plainer passages ; for what is obscure must be illustrated by what is clear, not what is clear by what is obscure. The first passage occurs Acts xiii. 48. the other Rom. viii. 28-30," which, as being in my judgment the least difficult of the two, I shall discuss first. It is as follows:
5 Compare Arch. King's Discourse on this text, as republished lately, with an Appendix, by Dr. Whateley. Milton has quoted the passage as an example of sorites in his logical work. Prose Works, Symmond's Ed., VI. 344.
tended with displeasure. Deut. xxxi. 21. "I know their inagination which they go about,” &c. 2 K.ngs xix. 27. “I know.... thy coming in, and thy rage against me.” Rev. iii. 1. “I know thy works, that thou hast & name that thou livest, and art dead.” In the passage under discussion it is evident that the approving knowledge of God can be alone intended; but he foreknew or approved no one, except in Christ, and no one in Christ except a believer. Those therefore who were about to love, that is, to beljeve in God, God foreknew or approved ;8—or in general all men, if they should helieve ; those whom he thus foreknew, he predestinated, and called them that they might believe ; those who believed, he justified. But if God justified believers, and believers only, inasmuch as it is faith alone that justifieth, he foreknew those only who would believe, for those whom he foreknew he justified; those therefore whom he justified he also foreknew, namely, those alone who were about to believe. So Rom. xi. 2. “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew,” that is, believers, as appears from v. 20. 2 Tim. ii. 19. “the Lord knoweth them that are his” that is, all who name the name of Christ, and depart from iniquity; or in other words, all believers. 1 Pet. i. 2. “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” This can be applicable to none but believers, whom the Father has chosen, according to his foreknowledge and approbation of them, through the sanctification of the Spirit and faith, without which the sprinkling of the blood of Christ would avail them nothing. Hence it seems that the generality of commentators' are wrong in interpreting the foreknowledge of God in these passages in the sense of prescience; since the prescience of God seems to have no connection with the principle or essence of predestination; for God has predestinated and elected whoever believes and con
8 In the original it is,qui igitur dilecti dilecturi erant, id est, credi. turi, eos prænovit Deus, &c.—which scarcely seems to have any sense, unless some allusion be intended to John xvi. 27. the Father himself loveth you,' &c. It seems more probable that dilecti has been inserted by the carelessness of the transcriber.
9 So Chrysostom, as quoted by Toletus on Rom. xi. 2. So also Tena, Mede, (Discourse on Ps. cxii. 6. p. 82, fol. edit. London, 1672), Gerhard, and Estius.
tinues in the faith. (of what consequence is it to us to know whether the prescience of God foresees who will, or will not, subsequently believe ? for no one believes because God has foreseen
his belief, but God foresees his belief because he was about to believe. Nor is it easy to understand how the prescience or foreknowledge of God with regard to particular persons can be brought to bear at all upon the doctrine of predestination, except for the purpose of raising a number of useless and utterly inapplicable questions. (For why should God foreknow particular individuals, or what could he foreknow in them which should induce him to predestinate them in particular, rather than all in general, when the condition of faith, which was common to all mankind, had been once laid down. Without searching deeper into this subject, let us be contented to know nothing more than that God, out of his infinite mercy and grace in Christ, has predestinated to salva.lv tion all who should believe.
The other passage is Acts xiii. 48. “when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.”' The difficulty is caused by the abrupt manner in which the sacred historian introduces an assertion, which appears at first sight to contradict himself as well as the rest of Scripture, for he had before attributed to Peter this saying, chap. x. 34, 35. “ of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons ; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Accepted certainly means chosen and lest it should be urged that Cornelius was a proselyte previously, St. Paul says the same even of those who had never known the law, Rom. ii. 10, 14. “there is no respect of persons with God, &c. when the Gentiles which have not the law,” &c. 1 Pet. i. 17. “ the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work.” Now those who hold the doctrine that a man believes because he is ordained to eternal life, not that he is ordained to eternal life because he will believe, cannot avoid attributing to God the character of a respecter of persons, which he so con
9 Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems,
His death for man, as many as offer'd life
By faith not void of works. Paradise Lost, XII. 424 -See on this text Whitby On the Five Points, chap. iii. sect. 6..