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can it agree with the elect here signifying the Christians of those times? for the calamities which befel the Jews, not the persecutions which awaited Christians, were evidently meant; indeed this is allowed in The Refutation.' " The preserving of a remnant of Jews was entirely a distinct thing from the temporal preservation of Christians.

'The words of the original, & duvalov, Matt. xxiv. '24. do not imply physical impossibility, but only a 'great degree of difficulty: thus St. Paul "hasted, 'if it were possible for him, éı duvalòv žv áulô, to be ' at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost," Acts xx. 16. "The thing itself was possible, but it required 'exertion, and St. Paul did all he could to ac'complish it. In like manner it was possible for 'the elect to be deceived, and it was here predicted

by our Saviour, that the false prophets would do 'all they could to effect it," to bewitch those, that they should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth." 1 The words, 66 the elect," in this verse must mean either true Christians, or those "chosen "to salvation;" for the context evidently does not relate to those who destroyed men's lives, but to those who seduced and deceived them with false doctrines, and lying pretences and miracles. The words rendered "if it were pos"sible" may not always mean a physical and absolute impossibility; but that they here imply only a great degree of difficulty,' is a mere assumption, even if the passage brought to support it were more decisive than it is. It might be, or it might not be, physically impossible for St. Paul, Note, Ref. 213, 214.


to reach Jerusalem before Pentecost: so that he doubted whether all his exertion would enable him to accomplish it. It was possible in itself, if winds and waves, or pirates, or unforeseen hindrances, did not prevent it. He must do his best; but a storm or a shipwreck might defeat his purpose. It was also possible for the elect to be deceived, nay, they would be deceived, if God did not prevent it. But the words of our Lord shew, as we think, that God had engaged to prevent it; and therefore it was not "possible" for the seducers to deceive the " very elect;" even as, if God had engaged to give the apostle a safe and speedy voyage and journey to Jerusalem, he could not possibly have been prevented by any hindrance. St. Paul thus says, "With all deceivableness of "unrighteousness in them that perish, because

they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved-who believed not the "truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 1 It was possible and easy to deceive persons of this character: but not to deceive those who had "received the love of the truth, that they might "be saved;" who believed the truth, who hated sin, and loved righteousness: because God would preserve such from fatal delusion.

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'Immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem 'he will send his messengers or ministers into every quarter of the world to preach his religion, 'who will gather into one holy catholic church 'all who shall embrace and sincerely believe it.' 2 "The elect" in the text referred to 3 most ob2 Ref. 214.

1 2 Thess. ii. 9-14.

3 Matt. xxiv. 28-31.

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viously denotes those who were previously chosen, and, in consequence, were called by the preaching of the gospel. In what other sense could they be" his elect," before they were actually gathered into the church?" He should gather together "in one the children of God that were scattered "abroad:" that is, those whom he had " predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus "Christ unto himself, according to the good plea"sure of his will."2 They who be endued with 'so excellent a benefit of God be called, accord'ing to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in 'due season.' So that there is firm ground for 'considering the elect, here spoken of, as persons 'selected by an irreversible decree of God for salIvation in the life to come:' and it has been repeatedly shewn that such an idea is perfectly ' reconcilable with the cautions which our Saviour gave his disciples on this occasion;' for he who purposes the end appoints also the means by which it shall be attained and his precept, not his decree, is the rule of our duty.


'Not the slightest intimation is given of any 'decree of God by which their salvation was 'made certain: but, on the contrary, their salva'tion is represented as depending upon themselves, upon their "continuing in the faith, grounded ' and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel."

No intimation of the decree of God is here given, 2 Eph. i. 5.-See also John x. 16. Acts * Art. xvii.

'John xi. 52.

xviii. 10. 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14.

'Ref. 216.


unless the words, " the elect of God, holy and beloved," in the passage intended, imply the source of the special character and blessedness of the Christians at Colossè. But their salvation is not spoken of, as depending on themselves,' at least in this passage. In the other text which is quoted, 2 their salvation is indeed inseparably connected with their "continuance in the faith :" and all, for whom I would plead, agree that none except those who "endure to the end shall be saved." The only question is, whether we ought to depend on ourselves, on our own hearts and resolutions, or on the promises, faithfulness, and grace of God, in respect of this "continuance in the faith," this 'patient continuance in well doing," to the end of life. Self-dependence is not inculcated in scripture, but directly the contrary.3" The heart is deceit"ful above all things:" how can we then properly depend on it? How evident is it, that " he "who trusteth in his own heart is a fool!" 4 "St. "Peter describes true Christians as those who are "kept by the power of God, through faith unto "salvation." "5 And in our worship we are taught thus to appeal to the heart-searching Judge: 0 'Lord God, who seest that we put no trust in any thing that we do, &c.' 6-They who do not con"tinue in the faith," resemble the hearers repre"sented by the seed sown on stony ground, who "had no root in themselves;" not those "who, "receiving the word in an honest and good heart, "keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."7

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It is readily allowed that the election, spoken of Rom. ix. 10-13, does not relate to a future life, but refers to the election of the descendents ' of Jacob to be God's peculiar people, in preference to the descendents of Esau." The character of Esau, is marked with sufficient disapprobation in scripture; but concerning his final doom we know nothing: nor is it implied in the words "Esau have I hated," that he died in sin. So far we may concede on this point. But does not the apostle adduce this instance, as an illustration of another election, concerning which he was treating Certainly the illustration, and the subject illustrated, cannot both be precisely the same. Now the subject to be illustrated was this: "They

are not all Israel, which are of Israel." There was then an Israel, within Israel: one elected to outward advantages, another elected to eternal life. A race chosen collectively; and from among them, a remnant of this race chosen personally. The illustration is taken, from the Lord's not choosing all the posterity of Abraham and Isaac: but passing by the descendents of Ishmael and Esau, confining the promised blessing to the posterity of Jacob. In the case of Isaac, Abraham's only son by Sarah, and the child of promise, as distinguished from his descendents by a bondwoman, the illustration was not so clear: but Esau and Jacob, twin brothers of one mother; the one chosen, the other passed by; the 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

1 Ref. 217.

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