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ly deliberations ; therefore, we shall make many extracts from it, both to show their doctrines and their charity ; and pledge ourselves to produce them, if we are called on to do so.
We will begin with the doctrine of election. The Pope (or the Roman Catholics) say, “ either I am a predestinate, or I am a reprobate : God has foreseen, that I should be saved, or that I should be damned. That is to say: God has foreseen from all eternity, that I should ei. ther make a good use of the graces imparted to me; that I should live and persevere in the constant practice of virtue, and thereby sare my soul; or that I should abuse his graces, abandon myself to irregular passions, die in my sins, and thus be eternally damned ; for such is the true sense of these propositions." See the Roman Catholic prayer-book, entitled, “Man's Only Affairs” page 161.
Wesley's Discipline says, "the scripture tells us plainly what predestination is ; it is God's fore-appointing obedient believers to salvation, not without, but according to his foreknowledge of all their works from the foundation of the world.” Again,
consider this a little farther : God from the foundation of the world, foreknew all men's believing or not believing; and according to this his foreknowledge, he chose or elected all obedient believers, as such, to salvation ; and refused or reprobated all disobedient unbelievers, as such,
to damnation.* Now, who does not see, that the Pope and Wesley are of one opinion concern, ing tbis distinguishing doctrine of predestination ? The one talks as much about being sayed by grace, as the other.
But farther, in the ninth paragraph of the same section, Wesley says of believers in Christ, “ they were not chosen before they believed the truth, and before they believed the gospel, whereby they were called to believe;"> (and, again) so plain is it, that they were not elected until they believed.” These are the sentiments of Mr. Wesley and the Pope.
The reader may now see the sentiments of ihe inspired writers on this subject :
Bible.—Isaiah xliii. 6, 7, “ I will say to the porth, give up; and to the south, keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth ; even every one that is called by my name, for I have created him ; for my glory have I formed him;" (not if he will believe and persevere ; if the Lord had meant 80, he would have said so ; for, in the twentyfirst verse he says,] “ this people have I formed for myself, and they shall show forth iny praises;” not if they will, but they shall; for he is able to make them willing, both to believe, and to persevere in good works unto the end.
In accordance with this, when Paul wrote a letter or an Epistle, directed to the saints at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus
i * Dis, section 2, par. 11 and 12.
when speaking of what the Lord had done for them and himself, he says, “ according as he hath chosen us in him,"—[not since we believed, but] : before the foundation of the world;" [what were they chosen for ?] “ that we should be holy, and without blame before him in
To the same effect, he says to the christians at Thessalonica, “ we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord,'%[what for ?]—" because God hath from the beginning, chosen you to salvation,”—[in what way?]-thrcugh (or by the way of) - sanctification of the spirit, and a belief of the truth.”+ Because the Lord had said, you were formed for myself; he was able to make you show forth his praises, and he hath now done so.
Mat. xxv. 34.-" Then shall the king say to them on his right hand, come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, (when was it prepared : since we believed? No, says the king,]" from the foundation of the world." Rev, xvij. 8.-" They that dwell on the earth, shall wonder whose names were not written in the Lamb's book of life,”-[not since they believed, but) from the foundation of the world.” And again, the same writer, Rev. xx. 15.-" Whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire." Once more, 2 Tim. i. 9.–This is the last
Eph. i. 4. + 2 Thess, ii, 13.
text we will produce on this point, therefore let us read it with care.-"Who hath saved U3,--[his name shall be called Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins,]—" and called us with a holy calling ;"-[a calling which not many wise men, not many mighty have,*]"which was not according to our works,”'-- (not because we first did the work of God, and believed in him that was sent ;t or first did the work of prayer,]—"but according to his own purpose."-- [Prothesis ; purpose, plan, design, or determination ;]--" and grace”.-[not a favour in any way merited by us," which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.'
From these declarations of God's word, (and many more which might be produced to the same effect,) it clearly appears, that this great blessing of salvation which sinful men receive is not of works, lest any man should boast. None will ever be able to say to the Almighty,
Lord, I was never such an irreconcilable enemy to you, as those wicked beings were, who are now lost. When you called, I was willing to answer and obey ; but they hated you, 30 that they would not be willing. No such boasting will be heard in the New Jerusalem. The Lord will there say to the redeemed, as be bath said to them already in his word, your salvation from sin, was according to my own purpose of grace given you in Christ Jesus, before the world began. You were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.* No less my enemies, than those who are damned for their sins. You never would have hearkened to my call of salvation through Jesus Christ, if I had not first awakened you, by an effectual call of my word and spirit; which caused you to be willing in the day of my power.f This I intended, or determined to do for you, when I saw all eternity at one view.’I Then the redeemed of the Lord will reply, not unto us, [that we are here] “ not unto us, but unto thy name, O Lord, be the praise,''
* The reader will compare this with these scriptures : Mat. i. 21: and Isa. liii, 10, 11, + John vi. 28. Prov. viii, 23. 1 Cor. i. 26.
We have now laid before the humble inqui. rer after truth, the opinion of Mr. Wesley and the Pope, on the one hand, and the opinion of the inspired writers of the Bible, on the other. We must understand the meaning of all men from their words, whether they be inspired or uninspired; we know of no other rule. We all agree, that there is an elect, or chosen people to salvation. But, in this we differ; Mr. Wesley and the Pope say, that the elect are chosen after they believe ; but the Bible says, that they were chosen from the foundation of the world, The reader is at liberty to believe whom he pleases: If there be a single text which expressly declares as they do, it is one that we have not
* Eph. ii. 3. + See Ephes. i. 10. # Both Wesley and the General Conference say, thai God sees all eternity at one view.