Page images

ny them that aid, without which they never can believe or repent ?" To which may be replied, That God is ferious in calling men to faith and repentance, and as ferious 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 unfuitable to his wisdom and fincerity, fhould he move fuch perfons by promifes, and call fuch 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, that God calls any perfons, and moves them by promifes to believe in Chrift, to the faving of their fouls, or to evangelical repentance, to whom he does not give grace to believe and repent, or fuch who are not eventually faved.


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



Of the State and Cafe of the Heathens,

N favour of the doctrines of Abfolute Election and Reprobation, particular Redemption, and fpecial Grace in Converfion, we obferve, That, for many ages, God fuffered 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 ftill is the cafe of multitudes to this day. This, it cannot reafonably be thought, he would have done, had it been, according to the counfel of his will, that all the individuals of mankind fhould be faved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; or had Chrift died for and redeemed them all; or was it the will of God to beftow on all men fufficient grace, whereby they may be faved. Nor can it be thought that God deals more feverely with men, according to the above doctrines, than he feems to have done with the heathen world in this respect:



particularly, in favour of God's decrees, it is obferved, that if God conveys his gofpel to, and beftows the means of grace on fame people, and not on others, when the one are no more worthy of it than the other, and fo muft arife from his free grace, fovereign pleasure, and the counfel of his will; why may not the decree of the end of bestowing falvation on fome, and not on others, as well as the decree of the means of fending the gospel to fome, and not to others, be thought to be equally free, abfolute and fovereign? And feeing it is in fact certain, that the greatest part of mankind have been always left deftitute of the means of grace, we need not wonder why that God, who freely communicates the knowledge of himfelf, by the gofpel, to fome nations, denying it to others, fhould hold the fame method with individuals that he doth with whole bodies; for the rejecting of whole nations by the lump, for fo many ages, is much more unaccountable, than the felecting of a few to be infallibly conducted to falvation, and leaving others in that state of difability, in which they fhall inevitably fail of it. Now to this is replied P:


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I. "That this objection doth by no means anfwer the chief arguments produced against

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

thefe decrees,
which are all taken from
the inconfiftency of them with the truth
and fincerity of God's declaration; with
his commands to repent; his exhortations
and defires that they would; threats of ruin
to them that do not; and with all the pro
mifes, motives and encouragements to in-
duce them unto it." I obferve, That this
writer himfelf feems to be convinced that
this objection anfwers fome, tho' not the
chief arguments produced against the abso-
lute decrees of God. And as for those which
are taken from the fuppofed inconsistency of
them with the truth and fincerity of God,
in his declarations, they have been replied
to already, in this Part, under the article
of Reprobation, to which the reader is re-
ferred; where it is made to appear, that
there is no inconfiftency between these de-
crees and the truth and fincerity of God, in
his declarations. It is much we should be
called upon to fhew the like inconfiftency
as is here pretended, between God's declara-
tions, touching the heathen world, and his
dealings with them; when it is agreed on
both fides, he has made no declarations of
his mind and will to them. This author
goes on, and allows, that there is a greater
depth in the divine Providence, and in his
difpenfations towards the fons of men, than

• Whitby, p. 516, 517. Ed. 2. 494, 495.



we can fathom by our fhallow reafon; but then, it must be infolence in us to say, that God does not act, in the ordering of affairs in the world, according to the measures of true goodness; because we, who cannot dive into the reasons of his difpenfations, cannot difcern the footsteps of that goodnefs in all his various tranfactions towards men. which I heartily agree; and it would have been well, if this author, and others of the fame caft with him, had carefully attended to fuch an obfervation, and contented themfelves with fuch a view of things; which must have stopped their mouths from calumniating the goodness of God, on a fuppofition of his abfolute decrees of Election and Reprobation. It is further obferved ', “ Thaṛ what God hath plainly and frequently revealed concerning his goodness, ought firmly to be owned and believed, altho' we are not able to difcern how the tranfactions of God, in the world, comport with our imperfect knowledge and weak notions of immenfe and boundlefs goodness." All very right. To which is added, That "feeing the revelations of this nature (of divine goodness) are fo clear and copious, have we not reafon to believe them, notwithstanding thofe little fcruples, which, from our fond

Whitby, p. 517. Ed. 2. 495. f Ib, p. 519. Ed. 2. 496.

« PreviousContinue »