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the doctrines now called Calvinistic, in respect to the decrec."' and purposes of God in general; of which we should by no mealing. lose sight in our inquiries on this subject.
10 Go Concerning personal gratuitous election to eternal life, ki ed u satisfactory documents may be expected. The ages precede the w the fulness of time for the appearance of the promised Messiawn p exhibited divine truths principally under types and shadows piety and the election of Abraham, and of his descendents in him, toin scr be outwardly "the elect and chosen people of God," was a Esa shadow of "our election in Christ, from the foundation of they re world," to be truly and spiritually his people, his worshippers, sub his children: "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy observ "nation, a peculiar people." Yet the very circumstance of ine F one people being chosen, not for their righteousness, but because of their natural relation to chosen Abraham, to the enjoy-en, ment of very valuable religious advantages, which were withheld from other nations, not more undeserving than they, is not only an outward shadow of our election in Christ, and for his sake, which as his seed by regeneration, not for our works, to spiritual andistle' eternal blessings; but it is an instance and example of the divine al el sovereignty, in conferring undeserved benefits on some and not on others, according to the "good pleasure of his will;" in a manner which many declaim against, as "respecting persons." --In attempting, however, to prove that the history of the tenets now called Calvinistic ought to begin with the very first revelation which God made to fallen man, even as to personal gratuitous election to eternal life; I hope to adduce a few intimations, which (especially with the divinely inspired comments on them in the New Testament,) may be thought worthy of peculiar notice in this argument.--The election of Israel, as a nation, in Abraham, it is allowed, was only to outward advantages: but was not the choice of Abraham, "the father of the faithful," personal, gratuitous, and to eternal life? That it was personal, cannot be doubted. "Look unto Abraham your father, and "unto Sarah that bare you; for I called him alone, and blessed "and increased him." It is also evident that it was gratuitous: "Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, "even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor; "and they served other Gods: and I took your father Abraham,
1 Is. li. 1, 2.
e dec&c." This example is also a striking illustration of effectual no mdling. Is it even said of Abraham, that he first began to call
on God? Is not the principium, the beginning, always aslife, ed unto God?-And that Abraham's election was to eternal reced the whole scriptures declare. The same things might be Meshewn personally concerning Isaac and Jacob; whose faith, hadend piety, and salvation, as the chosen of God, are fully attesthid in scripture; while all that can be said concerning Ishmael "wand Esau is, that their final rejection is not explicitly and din of rectly revealed; and we are not allowed to decide any thing on hip such subjects beyond express revelation. But a profound silence ,ab is observed respecting them, except such terms as these, "profane Esau," "Esau have I hated." "The son of the bond buti woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman: so then, brethren, we are not children of the bond woman but of "the free."- "Yet have I left me seven thousand in Israel: all "the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth "which hath not kissed him." Does this passage, with the 12 apostle's comment on it, give no intimation of a gratuitous perdsonal election to eternal life, made within the national gratuitous election to many external advantages?" Blessed is the man "whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee, that "he may dwell in thy courts.' "Remember me, O Lord, "with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people! oh visit me with thy salvation! that I may see the good of thy chosen, "that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance!" Does this most fervent prayer relate to nothing more than the outward advantages of Israel, as a nation; of which, it is highly probable, the Psalmist was at the time in full possession?" The holy seed shall be the sub"stance of it." "I will bring a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my holy mountains; and mine elect 'shall inherit it." "Ye shall leave my name for a curse unto "my chosen for the Lord GoD shall slay you, and call his
Rom. iv. 1—5.
1 Josh. xxiv. 2, 3. Acts vii. 2, 3.
Ex. iii. 15. ls. xli. 8-10. Matt. Heb. vi. 13-18. xi. 10-16. xxxii. 28, 29. xlix 10. Mark xiii. 41 Kings xix. 18. Rom. xi. 2—7. 6 Ps. cvi. 4, 5.
"people by another name." Was not this a prediction of the rejection of the elect nation of Israel, except an elect remnant among them, who, with the elect gentile converts, would be called by the name of Christians? and also of a future elect multitude, to descend from the present stock of Jews, who shall at length be called into the Christian church, and re-established in their own land; and for the sake of whom the nation has hitherto been preserved from utter destruction, and as a separate people? If these things are so, (for "known unto God are all "his works, from the beginning of the world; ") personal election from the beginning, gratuitous election to eternal life, is taught in the Old Testament, and from the fall of Adam: and the history of the tenets now called Calvinistic ought to commence from that time.
I speak not of reprobation or preterition: they who are not elected are passed by; which is nearly all that the New Testament teaches on the subject: and, though Calvin and others have abundantly supplied this supposed deficiency, a majority of those called modern Calvinists, especially among the evangelical clergy, choose to adhere to the reserve of the scripture, even if reproached for so doing.
5. But can any thing be produced concerning final perseverance from the Old Testament?" The Lord will not forsake "his people, for his name's sake: because it hath pleased the "Lord to make you his people." "He hath made with me an "everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure: for this "is all my salvation, and all my desire."" "The righteous "also shall hold on his way: and he that hath clean hands "shall wax stronger and stronger.” "The steps of a good
man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his ways. "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the "Lord upholdeth him with his hand." "The salvation of the
righteous is of the Lord; he is their strength in time of "trouble: the Lord shall help and deliver them; he shall "deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they "trust in him." "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting "to everlasting upon them that fear him." 'They that trust
1 Is. vi. 13. lxv. 9, 15, 22-25. Matt. xxiv. 22. 21 Sam. xii. 22. Rom. ix. 1—3.
Heb. xiii. 19.
5 Ps. xxxvii. 23, 24. 39, 40.
3 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Is. lv. 3.
✦ Job. xvii. 9.
6 Ps. ciii. 17. Jer. xxxi. 3.
"in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion, which cannot be removed, but standeth fast for ever."1 "The path of the just "is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day."" "A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again but the wicked shall fall into mischief."" "I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them "in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness "light before them, and crooked things straight. These things "will I do unto them, and not forsake them." "Israel shall be "saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not "be ashamed or confounded, world without end." "For the "mountains shall depart, and the hills shall be removed: but "my kindness shall not depart from thee; neither the covenant "of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy upon "thee."5 "I will make an everlasting covenant with them, "that I will not turn away from them to do them good: I will "put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from "me."
If these texts are not a full proof, that all the special points of doctrine now called Calvinistic are found in the Old Testament; (and if so, certainly in the New ;) it cannot be denied, that so many passages, on each of these points, are not to be found in any writings of the Anticalvinists: and that, in quoting many of them, they would deem it indispensable to add some comment, to prevent their readers from misapprehending them, and supposing them to mean any thing Calvinistic. I am confident, therefore, that I have proved some intimations of all these tenets to be coeval with every part of revelation: and, as to any subsequent history of them, it may be useful, as other ecclesiastical history is, for various purposes, but it proves nothing at all concerning the truth or falsehood of them. "To "the law and to the testimony."
Ps. cxxv. 1.
3 Prov. xxiv. 16.
2 Prov. iv. 18. John iv. 14.
4 Isa. xlii. 16. xlv. 17.
6 Jer. xxxii. 40.
EXTRACTS FROM THE ENGLISH REFORMERS PRIOR TO THE REIGN OF MARY.
'SHE' was first chosen of God, and called by grace, both to 'know her sin, and also to hear the word of faith, health, and 'glad tidings of mercy in Christ, and faith was given her to 'believe, and the Spirit of God loosed her heart from the 'bondage of sin. Then consented she to the will of God again, ' and above all things had delectation to hear the word, wherein she had obtained everlasting health, and namely, of his own 'mouth which had purchased so great mercy for her.-God 'chooseth us first, and openeth our eyes to see his abundant 'love to us in Christ; and then love we again, and accept his 'will above all things, and serve him in that office whereunto 'he hath chosen us.'2- " Though God's elect cannot so fall, that they rise not again;-yet they forget themselves oft' times, and sink down into trances, and fall asleep in their lusts 'for a season.- -But, as soon as they are awaked, they repent, ' and come again without resistance. God now and then with'draweth his hand, and leaveth them unto their own strength, 'to make them feel, that there is no power in them to do good, 'but of God only; lest they should be proud of that which is ' none of theirs.'-' Peter, as soon as he had denied Christ,
came to himself immediately, and went out, and wept bitterly 'for sorrow. And thus ye see that "his faith failed not," though ' it were oppressed for a time."— Moreover therewith,' (namely with good works,) the goodness, favour, and gifts of God, 'which are in thee, not only shall be made known to others, but also unto thine ownself: and thou shalt be sure that thy
Luke x. 38-42.
Tindal, Vol. i. p. 123, Fathers of the English church.