Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

(7) « On the other hand ", can it ac-
cord with the same wisdom of Providence,
to threaten the severest judgments to them,
if they repented not, or if they turned away
from their righteousness, or fell away froin
their own pedfastness, or endured not to the
end, whom he had absolutely decreed to
give repentance to; and, by continuance in
well-doing, to preserve them to a blessed im-
mortality; or to caution chem not to do so,
or to enquire whether temptacions had not
prevailed upon them so to do, or bid their
fear lest they should do so," I answer,
That the threatnings, cautions, and exhor-
tacions ,
perfe&tly with the wisdom of Providence,
when it is conlidered that they are made to
societies and bodies of men under a profes-
lion of religion ; some of which were real,
others nominal professors ; some trye be-
lievers, others hypocrites, men defticute
of the grace of God; and, perhaps, with a
particular view to the lascer, were these
things given out, to whom God had never
decreed to give repentance and perseverance.
Besides, allowing thać these threats, caù-
cions and exhortations are made to such to
whom he had decreed to give repentance
and perseverance, they are to be considered
as means leading on, and blessed, in order

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

278 The Cause of God and Truth
to the enjoyment of what God had deter.
mined to give; and therefore it muft ac.
cord with the wisdom of Providence to
make use of them.

(8.) « Is it suitable to the fincerity of his providential dispensations, of which his dealings with men, by his revealed will cowards them, make fo great a part, to move them to the performance of their duty only by motives, which he knows cannot work upon them, without that farther aid he, from eternity, hath determined to deny them ?” 1 reply, That if by performance of duty, is meant that men should convert thenrselves, repent of sin, and believe in Chrift; to the saving of their souls, it will not be eafy to prove, thar God makes use of any motives to move any persons to do these things of themselves; and still more difficult to prove, that he makes use of any to induce such persons thereunto, co whom he does not give that grace which only can enable them to do them. If by performance of duiy, is meant moral obedience to the law of God, this is every man's duiy, whether he has any motives to it or no; and if God makes use of any motives to induce unto it, which, without his grace, do not, and cannot work upon them, the insufficiency of them does not arise from any thing in the

wbitby, P-511: Ed. 2. 489.

motives

moțives themselves, nor from the denial of God's grace, nor from his determination to deny it; buc from the perverseness and wickedness of mens hearts; wherefore, it is not unsuitable to the fincerity of Providence, to make use of fach mocives, cho' they do not, and he knows they cannot, influence without his grace, which he is not obliged to give, and which he has determined to deny; Goce thereby, the perverseness and wickedness of men are more fully discovered, and they left inexcusable. Besides, the instances referred to, regard noe all mankind, but the people of Israel, and God's dealings with them, not in relation to their fpiritual and eternal welfare, but their civil and temporal estate, as a body politic, as has been Thewn in the firft Part of this work.

(9.) “ Is it suitable o to the same wisdom and sincerity, to move such persons by, promises, to repent and believe, and to require them, having such promises, to cleanse themselves from all filibinejš of flesh and spirit, perfe&ting boliness in the fear of God? What wit of man can thew, how God can be serious in calling such men to faith and repentance, much less in his concern that they mighc do so, or in his trouble that they have not done so; and yet be serious and good-earnest in his antecedent deco. de

Whitby, p. 512. Ed. 2, 46

ny them that ajd, without which they ne. ver can believe or repent ?" To which may be seplied, That God is serious in calling men to faith and repentance, and as serious in his decrees either to give or deny that grace, without which none can ever believe or repent, is certain'; and it must be owned, it would appear unsuitable to his wisdom and sincerity, should he move such persons by promises, and call such to faith and repentance, to whom, by an antecedent decree, he had determined to deny that

grace, without which they could never believe and repent: but then, it remains to be proved, which, I think, can never be proved, chać God calls any persons, and moves them by promises to belieye in Christ, to the saving of their souls, or to evangelical repentance; to whom he does not give grace to believe and repent, or such who are not eventually

faved.

CHAP

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

N favour of the doctrines of Ab. solute Election and Reprobation, particular Redemption, and spe

cial Grace in Conversion, we obferve, That, for many ages, God suffered the heathen world to walk in their own ways, leaving them without a revelation of his mind and will, without the gospel, and means of grace, and which has been, and Aill is the case of multitudes to chis day. This, it cannot reasonably be thought, he would have done, had it been, according to che counsel of his will, that all the individuals of mankind should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truch ; or had Chrift died for and redeemed them all; or was it the will of God to bestow' on all men sufficient grace, whereby they may be faved. Nor can it be thought that God deals more severely with men, according to the above doctrines, than he seems to have done with the heathen world in this respect :

}

par.

« PreviousContinue »