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'this world, deserveth God's wrath and damna'tion.' We We suppose, therefore, that the divine decree is positive, in respect of the elect, to de'liver them from curse and damnation, and to 'bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation; but that the purpose of God is negative, as to others that is, he purposes to leave them to themselves, and to do nothing to deliver them from the punishment which their sins deserve, or from the consequences of their depraved hearts and rebellious conduct. It is certain that the compilers of our Articles did not think, that "the "vessels whom God had afore prepared unto

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glory" "related to God's gracious offer of the gospel to those, who he foreknew would accept of it; but to the effect of his special grace given unto them: for after the words before quoted it follows; 'Wherefore they which be endued with 'so excellent a benefit of God be called, according 'to God's purpose, in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely, ' &c.' And indeed, if it is acknowledged that 'man has not the disposition, and consequently 'not the ability, to do what in the sight of God 'is good, till he is influenced by the Spirit of 'God;'3 God's foreknowing, that the persons spoken of would accept the blessings of the gos'pel,' implies that he purposed to give them his Holy Spirit, and so "to work in them to will and "to do, of his good pleasure." But the words, " and to make known the riches of his glory on "the vessels of mercy, whom he had afore prepared unto glory," denote more than merely their effectual calling: they signify the same be

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Article ix.

2 Art. xvii.

Ref. 61.

"remnant according to the election of grace" was meant, which there was even "at that present "time," when Israel as a nation was cast off. Cer


tainly in these prophecies no mention is made of any absolute decree of God, &e: ' but the apostle is shewing by them, that the obstinate unbelief of the Jews, and the conversion of the gentiles, had been predicted long before ; and, if predicted, then foreseen, yea, predetermined. These events were passed indeed; but was the effect of the calling of the gentiles, and of the rejection of the Jews, all confined to this life? Were not the converted gentiles" called to the kingdom and glory" of God? Were not the unbelieving Jews" vessels "of wrath fitted to destruction?" Had they, who perished by temporal judgments no immortal souls? Did they not die in their sins? Is it not true, that "he that believeth not the Son, shall "not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on "him?" How can such subjects be discussed 'without any allusion to a future state of existence?' If we realize by vigorous faith a future and eternal state of existence awaiting every human being; and firmly believe that "he who "believeth shall be saved, and he who believeth "not shall be damned;" we shall find this impossible. 2

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'Rom. xi. 1—7.

'On a long passage from Jerome on the ninth chapter of Romans, to be found at p. 394. of the Refutation, the author makes the following observations in the first edition of this work.-J. S.

I quote this long passage as an illustration of the insuperable difficulties, to which all who oppose the doctrine of gratuitous personal election to eternal life have in every age been reduced, by the ninth chapter of Romans. Whatever pains former com

""Unto you therefore, which believe, he is precious; but, unto them which be disobedient, 'the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner; and a 'stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even 'to them which stumble at the word being dis'obedient; whereunto also they were appointed."1 'We are not by this to understand that it was

appointed" or decreed by God, that certain 'persons to whom the gospel was preached should 'be disobedient; but that it was appointed and 'decreed, that, if men disobeyed the gospel, it 'should be to them a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence; that is, a cause of punishment.'2 The passage here referred to, is spoken of unbelievers, with whom the apostle contrasts his Christian brethren. "But ye are a chosen gene"ration, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a " peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the

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praises of Him, who hath called you out of "darkness into his marvellous light; which in "time past were not a people, but now are the people of God; which had not obtained mercy,

mentators have bestowed, or future commentators may bestow, it will prove to every impartial and diligent inquirer the truth of that humbling, and therefore offensive, doctrine; with other doctrines which are inseparably connected with it. It would, however, be well if those who feel the difficulty would acknowledge it as fairly as Jerome does. I am of opinion, that no man can collect from the passage what Jerome's permanent sentiments were indeed it is probable that he fluctuated about, as pressed. with scriptural testimony on one side, and arguments or objections from human reasonings on the other; so that he scarcely ever came to a decided judgment on the subject.'

11 Pet. ii. 7, 8...

2 Ref. 242.

"but now have obtained mercy."



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They were

"elect, according to the foreknowledge of God "the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, "unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of "Jesus Christ;" and "begotten again unto a I lively hope to an inheritance incorruptible, " and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, re"served in heaven for them."2 "God had not appointed them to wrath, but to obtain salva❝tion by our Lord Jesus Christ."3 Others stumbled at the Rock of salvation, "being disobedient; "to which also they were appointed." It was ' appointed, &c.,' is a widely different proposition, from "They were appointed:" the one is general, the other special. They stumbled at the word, "being disobedient; whereunto also they were "appointed." (Era.) God did not appoint their unbelief and disobedience; but he knew that, without his efficacious grace, they would be unbelieving and disobedient; and, without assigning to us his reasons, he determined to leave them without that grace, and to give them up to their hearts' lusts, and to suffer the consequences of their sins. He had indeed repeatedly foretold that he would do this in respect of the Jews in general, as the punishment of their past rebellions. This was predicted; therefore foreseen, and foreappointed.

'Were these men appointed by God to dis' obedience, then disobedience would be the com'pliance with the divine appointment or will, and

1 Pet. ii. 9, 10.

1 Pet. i. 2-5.

4 Luke ii. 34. 2 Cor. ii. 16.

31 Thess. v. 9. "EOSTO. Rom. xi. 22.

'the same act would be both obedience and dis'obedience. And it seems impossible that dis'obedience, if it takes place in consequence of an absolute decree of God, should be imputed to 'men as a fault, and be made the ground of punishment. But can we suppose that God made 'disobedience inevitable, when we are told, that ""man is not to put a stumbling-block, or an 'occasion to fall, in his brother's way?" Or is ( such a decree reconcileable with the attributes

' of justice and mercy?'1

His Lordship seems to mean those persons of whom the apostle Peter had spoken," who stum"bled at the word being disobedient; whereunto "also they were appointed:" though some other similar cases come in between. This, however, makes no alteration as to the argument.-Obedience is compliance with the known command of God: not acting according to his decree or appointment, whether secret or revealed. Certainly men, in all places and ages, by disobeying the command of God, fulfil his appointments, and often accomplish his predictions. "Him, being "delivered by the determinate counsel and fore"knowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked "hands have crucified and slain."2 Was this conduct in any sense obedience? Did the Jews intend to do the will of God? They that dwell "at Jerusalem and their rulers, because they knew "him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets, "which are read every sabbath-day, have fulfilled

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them, in condemning him: and, though they "found no cause of death in him, yet desired they 'Ref. 242, 243.

2 Acts ii. 23.

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