صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

God had determin'd to harden his heart, that he should not let them go. However, there are many things which may be believed and done by reprobates, and therefore they may be justly requir'd to believe and obey: 'tis true, they are not able to believe in Chrift to the faving of their fouls, or to perform fpiritual and evangelical obedience; but then it will be difficult to prove, that God requires thefe things of them; and should that appear, yet the impoffibility of doing them, arifes from the corruption of their hearts, being deftitute of the grace of God, and not from the decree of Reprobation, which, though it denies them that grace and ftrength, without which they cannot believe and obey, in this fenfe; yet it takes none from them, and therefore does them no injustice.

From the whole it appears, That the decree of Reprobation is not contrary to the nature and perfections of God, or unworthy of him; and therefore, fince it has the teftimony of divine revelation, ought to be believed by us. But we are told, That infinite are the demonftrations which might be produced against this tremendous decree, which our author, at prefent, waves, intending, in the next fection,

Whitby, p. 35. Ed. 2. 34.

con

containing arguments against an abfolute election, to confute both thefe decrees together; whither I fhall next follow him,

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

OCTOR Whitby, in the fourth Chapter of his Difcourfe, concerning Election, propofes arguments against the doctrine of an

abfolute Election to falvation, and confequently to the means which fhall inevita bly, and unfruftrably, produce it, and to confute the doctrine of abfolute Reprobation; and are as follow:

"Arg. I. He who would have all men, to whom the gospel is vouchfafed, fincerely to believe in Chrift, to come to repentance, and yield fincere obedience to his will revealed to them; hath not prepared this faving grace only for fome few Chriftians, leaving the reft under a neceffity of perishing for the want of it; for to all fuch

Whitby, p. 70. Ed. 2. 69.

perfons

perfons he hath promised, That they fhall not perish. Now that God feriously wills, that all to whom the gofpel is vouchfafed, fhould repent, believe, and yield fincere obedience to his laws, is evident from the Scriptures; frequently and exprefly declaring the doing of these things to be the doing of the will of God, and the neglecting of them, to be the neglecting and even rejecting the will of God; from God's calling them to faith, repentance, and obedience, from his fending his Apoftles and Meffengers to invite them to them, and from his compaffionate declarations and enquiries concerning them." To which I anfwer;

1. That this argument, fuppofing it never fo ftrong in favour of the perfons included in it, namely, all to whom the gofpel is vouchfafed, is too much limited and reftrained, to militate against the doctrines of abfolute Election and Reprobation; feeing there have been, and are, multitudes of men and women, to whom the gospel has not been, and is not vouchfafed. God for merly fhewed his word to Jacob, his ftatutes and his judgments unto Ifrael; he hath not dealt jo with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them; for many hundreds of years God fuffered all

other nations to walk in their own ways,

Pfal. cxlvii. 19, 20.

Acts xiv. 16.

The

The gospel has been taken away from the Jews, and carried among the Gentiles; yet in no age has it been vouchsafed to all nations at once, much lefs to all the individuals of mankind, in all nations; no, nor to all the individuals in a nation where it has been, or is preach'd; the greatest part have generally been without it. Now admitting that it is the will of God, that all men, to whom the gofpel is vouchsafed, should believe, repent and obey; nay, fuppofing that they fhould, all of them, actually believe, repent and obey, which is more than is in the argument; this would not be fufficient to fet afide the doctrines of abfolute Election and Reprobation; fince these perfons, enjoying the gospel, the means of grace, and obtaining grace it felf, fhould rather appear to be owing to an eternal, fecret will and purpose in God, or to an abfolute decree of Election, preparing this grace, and providing these means for them, in order to bring them to falvation; whilft others have neither means nor grace, being denied them by an act of Preterition or Reprobation. If any thing is done to purpose, it fhould be proved, that God has vouchfafed the gofpel to all men; that he has given to all men fufficient means of grace, and has put them all into a capacity of obtaining the bleffings of grace and glory.

2. This

2. This argument proceeds upon God's will of command, which does not thwart his will of purpofe. Thefe two wills tho' they differ, are not contradictory; the purpofe of God is from eternity; his command is in time; the one is within himself, the other put forth from himself; the one is always fulfilled, the other seldom; the one cannot be refifted, the other may; the will of command only fignifies, what is the pleasure of God should be the duty of man, or what he should do, but not what he shall do. Now admitting that it is God's will of command, that not only all to whom the gofpel is vouchfafed, but even all mankind, fhould repent, believe and obey; it does not follow, that it is the determining will of God to give grace to all men, to repent, believe and obey: nor does it contradict fuch a will in God, determining to give grace to fome, to enable them to repent, believe and obey, and to deny it to others. Could it be proved, that either God has willed to give this grace to all men, or that there is no fuch will in God, to give it to fome, and deny it to others, the controverfy would be shut up, and we should have no more to say.

3. What is faid for the illustration and confirmation of this argument, is founded upon paffages of fcripture which are not to the purpofe; fome of them belong only to

« السابقةمتابعة »