صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

horted and encouraged the three thousand converts, to fave themfelves from that untoward generation, among whom they lived, by feparating from them, and profeffing the name of Chrift; and the Apostle Paul entreated the members of the church at Corinth, to be reconciled to God; neither of which were ever thought to be placed under any abfolute decree of Reprobation, And though no mah, without the grace of God, can favingly and cordially embrace the gospel, and that falvation which it publishes, which grace God is not obliged to give, and which he may determine to deny to, and withhold from men, without any impeachment of his perfections; yet it is not the denial of his grace, nor his purpose to deny and withhold it, that is, the caufe of their neglecting and defpifing the gospel of falvation, but their own iniquity, for which they are justly punished. Befides, though this is an aggravation of condemnation, that the light of the gofpel, and the good news of falvation by Chrift, are come into the world, and men love the darkness of fin, error and infidelity, rather than these; yet God does not eternally torment them merely for the contempt of the gospel and their unbelief, but for their many fins and tranfgreffions against his law.

[blocks in formation]

4. 'Tis obferv'd ", That furely he thinks more worthily of the God of love and mercy, who looks upon him as an univerfal lover of the fouls of men, who therefore would have all men to be faved, and gives them all things neceffary unto life and godliness draws them to him with the cords of a man, the cords of love, and by the most alluring promises, and by the strivings of his holy Spirit; fwears to them, that he would not they should perish; warns them of, and conjures them to avoid the things which tend to their eternal ruin; directs them to the means by which they may certainly escape it; rejoiceth more at the converfion of one finner, than at the righteoufnefs of ninety nine perfons who need no repentance; and when all the methods of his grace are loft upon them, breaks forth into compaffionate and melting withes, that they had known the things which belong to their eternal peace." But it unhappily falls out for this author, that not one part of this pathetic harangue can be applied to all the individuals of mankind, as it should, to prove that the God of mercy and love is an univerfal lover of the fouls of men, refpecting their everlafting falvation. It is not the determining will of God, that every individual of human nature fhould be fa

"Whitby, p. 29, 30.

ved, for then every one of them would be faved: befides, whom he wills fhould be. faved, he wills that they should come to the knowledge of the truth": whereas, to multitudes, he does not fo much as afford the means of knowledge. Nor does he give to all men all things necessary to life and godliness, only to those whom he calls to glory and vertue, to whom are given exceeding great and precious promises, and are made partaker's of the divine nature. Nothing is more untrue, than that God draws all men with the cords of love; for as none can come to Chrift, and believe in him, but whom the Father draws; fo all that he draws in this manner, come to him, and are faved by him: The perfons he fwears he would not they should perish, or die, but live, were not all mankind, but the houfe of Ifrael; and refpects not their eternal, but temporal ruin; as the compaffionate, melting wishes of Chrift, regard not the eternal, but temporal peace of Jerusalem. To conclude, Where's the mercifulness of this univerfal fcheme, and how unworthy is it of the God of love, that after all the kind things fpoken of to men, all the me thods of his grace fhould be loft upon them, be it even through their own wickedness; when it lay in the power of his hand, had

1 Tim. ii. 4.

C 2

* 2 Pet, i. 3, 4.

I it

it been in his heart, notwithstanding all their wickedness, to have made them effectual?


III. The decree of Reprobation is objected to as irreconcileable with the wisdom of God: this, if it can be fairly made out, must remove any fuch decree from God for nothing unbecoming that glorious perfection of Deity, ought to be ascribed to him. Though it fhould be observ'd, that we finite, fhort fighted creatures, who are of yesterday, and know nothing, comparatively fpeaking, are very improper judges of what does or does not become the wifdom of God to do. But,

1. We are defired to "confider, whether he conceives more truly and honourably of God, who thinks he chufes his favourites without reason, and rewards them without any qualifications but those he irrefiftibly works in them; or he who looks upon him as one who dealeth with all men, not according to his, but their own works, as they are willing and obedient, as they render themselves fit objects of his love, and rewards them as they use duly, or receive his grace in vain, as they improve the talents he has given them, or hide them in a napkin?" Now, not to take any notice

y Whitby, p. 30, Edit. a. 29.

[ocr errors]

of the impertinency of what is fubmitted to confideration; the former part of it respecting the decree of Election, and not Reprobation; and the latter, God's rewarding of men according to their own works. Let it be obferv'd, that though God chufes his favourites without refpect to any thing in them, or done by them, as the reason of fuch a choice; yet not without a reason in himself, which is his own fovereign will and pleasure. And fhall we deny that to the King of kings, which is allow'd to every earthly prince, to chufe his own favourites as he pleafes? Should it be faid, that no wife prince would chuse and reward men unworthy of his favours, or unqualified for his fervice. It ought to be confidered, that in the cafe before us, none of all the human race are worthy to be the favourites of God, or qualified for his service; none of them are willing and obedient, or willing to be obedient, until they are made fo, in the day of the power of his grace upon them; none can render themfelves fit objects of his love, or duly use and improve even the common gifts and mercies of life, without his grace: fince then, if he chufes any of them to be his favourites, and he muft give them the neceffary qualifications for ufefuluefs, fervice, and ends of his own glory, his wif dom is most highly difplay'd in fixing upon C 3


« السابقةمتابعة »