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chosen, the other passed by; one “ loved, the other " hated ;" the elder rejected, and the younger preferred; before either of them was born, or had done good or evil; was full to the point: and in fact lies open to all those specious, yet groundless, objections, which are made to personal election. It was " that the purpose of God concerning election might “ stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.”
P. ccxvii. I, 18. « The word, &c.'' The words reprobate; and reprobation are never used in Scripture, in the sense, which many Calvinists have put upon them. This is, I believe, the general opinion of modern Calvinists. At least I can have no objection to the critical observations on this subject, contained in the following pages. Indeed the whole 'mass of them,' (the Jews,) was proved to be refuse
metal, and not silver, as it once appeared to be.' "In this way, he,' (St. Paul,) 'sought and possessed
the assurance, that he should not, after having preached to others, (like the heralds who called the
combatants to the conflict,) be himself rejected, • as having no title to the incorruptible crown.' 'In
righteous judgment, God “ gave them up to a " reprobate mind," that they should foolishly and
perversely prefer the most shameful and pernicious practices, to those which are decent, honourable,
and becoming rational creatures.'— These false . teachers withstood the truth, by deceiving men “with a false gospel, and various lying pretences : • being corrupt and depraved in their minds, alienated
3. The word reprobate, or reprobation, as used by Calvin, * refers to a supposed decree of God; but we shall find it used in a very different sense both in the Old and New Testament.' VOL. II.
from the faith of Christ, and rejected by God as • hypocrites or apostates.' Their conduct proved them to be abominable and disobedient, and to every good work rejected by God, and given up to judicial blindness.''Reprobates. Thus the apostle calls, in this place, not those, who are not di
vinely elected to eternal life; (for they who still "continue in their sins, not being yet effectually
called, are not directly to be considered as “ves- sels of wrath,” nor those who after their calling
fall into grievous sins,) but such as at present are not approved. (Beza.)It does not appear to me, that either the original word, or our English word
reprobales, is ever used in Scripture, as the opposite 'to elect; and as to reprobation, it is, I apprehend, sa scriptural idea, (for they who are not chosen, must be rejected, but not a seriptural word in any sense.' (Indeed no Greek word answering to it, is found in the common Lexicons.)— Not that he, (St. Paul and his friends) should appear approved,
by the submission of all parties to his authority : .but that they might do what was right, and be. 6 coming them; though it should occasion hiin to be
disapproved and censured.?? · P. ccxxy. It appears, &c.'? The words repro.
'Notes on Jer. vi. 27-30. 1 Cor. ix. 27. Rom. i. 23. 2 Tim, iii. 8. Tit. i. 16. in Family Bible, by the Author of these Remarks.
2 Notes in Family Bible on 2 Cor. xiii. 6-10.
3. It appears then that the Calvinistic doctrines of election and .. reprobation can receive no countenance from the passages of
• Scripture, in which these words occur, since they are used in
bates, reprobation, &c, it is allowed, are not used in the sense, which some Calvinists have affixed to them: but the same concession cannot be made in respect of the word election, or elect. The Calvinistick doctrines, however, receive no support from the texts, which his Lordship had been considering; nor do they need it. Having given this opinion, in respect of the words in question ; it would be unmanly, should I shrink from an avowal of iny senti. ments on this subject. The idea of rejection must be excited in the mind with that of election, however understood. If any were “chosen in Christ “ before the foundation of the world, that they “ should be holy, &c;" all who were not thus chosen, were passed by. It was the will of God to leave them in the state, into which it was foreseen they would be reduced by sin; and to all the consequences of their guilt and depravity. In this state, if salvation be altogether of grace, all men might most justly have been left. No wrong will ever be done to any one: God will not punish any man, who does not deserve it, ncr more than he deserves; and he could not possibly decree to do that, which it is infallibly certain he never will do. The question therefore is, whether God, consistently with justice, can leave any part of the human 'race finally to perish in their sins: for it could not be unjust, previously to decree that which, when actually accomplished, is undeniably just. If mercy were a debt,
• senses very different from those, which the advocates for absolute " decrees affix to them.'
which God owed to his rebellious creatures; it would lose its very nature: and, if not a debt, they who obtain mercy are under immense obligations; but no injury is done to others. And, if salvation itself be unmerited mercy, mercy contrary to our deservings, every thing relating to it must also be mercy. The gift of the Saviour, the means of grace,' the lifegiving Spirit, the willing mind, as produced by special preventing grace: all, or any of these may be withheld, in perfect consistency with justice; and where they are granted, men are laid under addi. tional obligation, to "the God of all grace." This “ grace hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and 6 prudence."What he may justly withhold at the time, that he might justly decree from the beginning to withhold. The whole is directed “ according to " the purpose of him, who worketh all things, ac“ cording to the counsel of his own will."1 But that is the will of infinite wisdom, justice, truth, and love; which always willeth what is inost proper, and for the most satisfactory reasons; though he does not deign to inform us of them. At the same time, his secret purpose is perfectly consistent with his revealed will: being unknown to us, except by accomplishment, it is neither the rule, nor the motive, of our conduct: and, however we interpret the preceding words of our Lord, “ All that the Father “ giveth me shall come to ine;" the subsequent assurance, “ and him that cometh unto me, I will s in no wise cast out; may most confidently be
depended on. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, “ but his words shall not pass away.”
P. ccxxvi. I. 1. «The Jews, &c." The whole body of professed christians are never, throughout the New Testament, called “ the elect people of God," in a national capacity, independent of personal character, as Israel of old was. The terms to this effect, when used concerning christians, as it has been shewn, are always connected with those "things, “which accompany salvation;" or with some words, which fix the meaning to true believers exclusively. The case is the same, in our liturgy and authoritative books. God the Holy Ghost, who sancti'fieth me, and all the elect people of God.' Mark the variation of language: God the Son, who hath ' redeemed me, and all mankind.'- God the Holy • Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people
of God. The former is spoken of as general, ille latter as special. But are all professed christians,
* Matt. xxiv. 35. 3 The Jews first, and the Christians afterwards, were the elect people of God. God gave the law to the Jews by the hands of Moses, and the gospel to the Christians by his own blessed Son * Jesus Christ, as the rule of their respective lives. God was
pleased, both by ihe law and by ibe gospel, to enter into cove.nant with his chosen people the Jews and Christians; to promise
reward to the obedient, and to threaten punishment to the disobedient. But neither in the law, nor in the gospel, does he
promise certain and infallible salyation, or threatep absolute and * inevitable perdition, to aoy number, or to any description, of • persons, except as they shall or shall not comply with the expressed concitions.' · Church Catechism,