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professing christianity very much resembles that of Israel as a nation. But “the true Israel," always was แ a remnant according to the election of grace.
P. ccxxvi. Note. “The very, &c."* The covenant made with Noah and his posterity, that God would no more destroy mankind with a deluge, could not imply any conditions: if it did, what were these conditions?t Yet God has expressly said, that the covenant made with the true church, is “ like the waters of Noah unto 46 him.” « This is as the waters of Noah unto me; for
as I have sworn, that the waters of Noah shall no
more go over the earth; so have I sworn, that I would “not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the “ mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed: but
my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall " the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the “LORD that hath mercy on thee.”What were the conditions, expressed or implied, in the covenant here spoken of, and in the other texts referred to? In these and other Scriptures, those things, which are generally called conditions required of us, are expressly promised, as the gift and work of God, and engaged for in the covenant itself. Now, if this may be interpreted, that the covenant implies conditions; the same rule of interpretation will make the language of Calvinists, on the everlasting covenant, to imply conditions also, and exactly in the same sense: for we do not hold, that God will save any by the decree of election, in whose heart
• The very idea of covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistick system. • Covenant implies conditions; absolute decrees reject all conditions. A cove. .nant says, you shall have such or such a reward, if you act in the manner • stipulated; absolute decrees say, that it is irreversibly determined by the
arbitrary will of God, that you shall or shall not be saved, without any respect to your conduct.'
† Gen. ix. 9–17. # Is. liv. 9, 10. See also Jer. xxxi. 31-34, xxxi. 37-41. Ez. xvi. 60-63. Heb. viii. 8-12.
he does not by his sanctifying Spirit, write his holy law and renew his holy image; or any, (except infants,) who are not brought to repent, to believe in Christ, and to love God and man, In one view, these form a part of salvation, the gifts of special grace: in another view they are our bounden duty, whiclr through grace we endeavour to perform.-It would throw much light on the subject, if his Lordship would quote, from some mo. dern Calvinists, any passage in which absolute decrees are considered as saying, 'It is irreversibly determined by 'the arbitrary will of God, that you shall, or shall not, * be saved, without any respect to your conduct.' When this is done, I will cordially join in reprobating the doctrine. The divine prescience beholds us all as sinners, justly deserving condemnation: and the decree to leave any to themselves, and their own wicked inclinations, to fill up the measure of their crimes, cannot be, without respect to their conduct; nor (if indeed it bė, as no doubt it is, just and wise,) can it be arbitrary. The decree which “chooses some to salvation, through sanctification “ of the Spirit, and belief of the truth,” is indeed not made for our foreseen works; for none could be foreseen but evil works, except as the “ fruits of the Spirit,” given to us, according to this decree: our renewal to holiness and fruitfulness in good works, is one grand object of the decree; it is effectually provided for in the covenant; and only by giving diligence, and abounding, in them, can we“ make our calling and election sure.” How then can this be, without any respect to our con* duct?'
P. ccsxvii. l. 6. •The LORD, &c. '* This text is, upon the whole, properly explained by his Lordship. A Calvinist, who was eager to establish his principles,
• Prov, xvi. 4.
might show, even on that interpretation, that it greatly favours his system: but we have abundance of more decisive evidence to adduce, and may therefore let this pass, without further notice.
P. ccxxvii. I. 25. God, “ willing to show his wrath, " and to make his power known, endured with much
long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruc“ tion.” This text thus introduced, without exposition or remark, is, with the context, cansidered by the Calvinists, * as of peculiar importance in the argument. The apostle mentions“ the vessels of wrath fitted for " destruction;" and “the vessels of mercy, whom he " had afore prepared unto glory.” The former are fit. ted for destruction, in themselves, as born in sin and children of wrath,' without any further preparation; the latter God“ hath afore prepared unto glory.” These also were “ children of wrath even as others:” but “God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love “ wherewith he loved them, even when dead in sin, “ hath made them alive together with Christ: by grace
are they saved.” They too were “ vessels of wrath “ fitted for destruction;" and had not God of his rich mercy,
“ raised them from the death of sin to the life “ of righteousness, and by a new creation, prepared “ them for glory;" they must still have remained “ vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.” And how were they thus “ afore prepared?” May we not answer, by regeneration;" and " sanctification of the “ Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of “ Jesus Christ?” And why were they prepared rather than others?—“God hath mercy, on whom he will have “ mercy.” “ He worketh all things according to the “ counsel of his own will.”+ “ He giveth not account
* Rom, ix. 14-24.
† Job. xxxiü. 13. Eph. i. 11.
of his matters." Whatever others may think, we intreat that a humble christian, may be permitted to give the whole glory of his conversion to the free unmerited mercy and grace of God, who has made him to differ as much from his former self, as from the world around him, “ which lieth in wickedness.” Permit him to say, “ Among whom I also had my conversation in “ times past;” no better by nature, ‘no better in prac
tice. How then is it that I now repent, hate sin, long ' for holiness, count all but lost for the excellency of 'the knowledge of Christ; feel constrained by love * to live to his glory, and to devote myself to his ser'vice, in “ doing good to all men, but especially to the s6 household of faith?” Permit such an one to say: “ Not to me, but to thy name be the glory,” of converting “a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction,” into a “vessel of mercy, prepared afore unto glory.” This will certainly be the language of the redeemed in hea. ven; why should they not be allowed to use it, without censure, while here on earth? Others, (we would say,) if they can deliberately do it, may ascribe to themselves any favourable difference (real or supposed,) between them, and their fellow-sinners: but permit us, to give God allthe glory, of making us to differ from the vilest of our fallen race. I know, that here, Iamon strong ground: I know, that thousands, who tremble at the divine de. crees, or reason against them, (in great measure, because, they dare not approach near enough to give the subject a fair investigation;) feel unable, in defiance of their system, to join against the Calvinists, in what has now been stated. The history of their own lives, and their acquaintance with their own hearts, compel them to make this conclusion in their own case, though they argue against it, in respect of others, or as a general
subject. They feel, they could not be properly humble and thankful, without thinking of themselves in this man. ner, and speaking in this language. On their bended knees, in their most religious hours, they praise and bless God, for his rich mercy, and special grace, in the language of Calvinists, and with the very feeling of the most humble and spiritual among them. This might · lead to the adoption of our sentiments; except that they contemplate their dear relatives and friends, and indeed their fellow creatures at large, in connexion with this subject, and with an inadequate recollection of the infinite wisdom, justice, and mercy of God; till their hearts, being filled with anguish at the reflection, they turn away from it with horror; and, because, though they are conscious, in their own case, that, while they ascribe all the glory to God, and his special grace, they are more and more stimulated to live to his glory; they cannot be convinced, that this is the general tendency of the doctrine, rightly understood; and its invariable effect when truly believed. Indeed this humble, thankfulascription of all the glory to God, is the grand excellence of our principles; and, as to the rest, I should be little disposed to dispute on the subject, were not many ready, to make another and a contrary use of anti-calvinistick doctrines.
P. ccxxviii. I. 14. There are, &c** I suppose
• There are many passages in the gospels similar to this,t and we are not to understand by them, that the events took place merely for the purpose, that the sayings of the antient prophets might be fulfilled; or that God, by
hardening the hearts, and blinding the understanding of the Jews, made it “impossible for them to believe. God foresaw that a very large proportion of the Jews would reject the gospel; and he was pleased to foretel this among other events relative to the advent and ministry of Christ. It was designed that the fulfilment of these various predictions should form a part of the evidence of the divine authority of the gospel. What the prophets “had predicted, was certain to come to pass; but this certainty by no means
† John xii. 37-40.