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of this chapter* could be proved to 'relate to the present ' world only,' it would remove some difficulties out of the way, which now press very hard on Anti-calvinists: but very conclusive arguments will be required to establish this point. It has before been shown, that his Lordship has confounded the illustrations of the subject, used by the apostle, and taken from the Lord's dealings with the family of Abraham and Isaac, as to temporal benefits and outward religious advantages with the thing to be illustrated; namely, his dispensations, or dealings, with mankind, as to their personal and eternal concerns.f Supposing, that all which the apostle adduces, concerning Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, nay, concerning Pharaoh, related to the present world exclusively, (which would be far too liberal a concession,) is it not undeniable, that St. Paul merely adduces these examples, as serving to illustrate the doctrine which he had before been explaining and establishing, in the latter part of the preceding chapter,& in which every thing is individual, spiritual, and pertaining to
mer part of it St. Paul laments the unbelief and consequert rejection of his * brethren the Jews, to whom had so long “pertained” • those distinctions * which marked them to be the chosen people of God, and from whom Christ himself was descended. But in the midst of his sorrow, he comforts himself with the reflection, that " the word of God” • had taken some “effect," as a portion of the Jews had believed, and were therefore of the number of
God's newly elected people, the Christians. He shows that this partial adop• tion of the Jews in the present instance is similar to what had happened in • the case of Abraham's descendants, all of whom were not Israelites, or
chosen people of God, but only those who sprang from Isaac and Jacob. He • quotes God's own declaration, that he “will have mercy on whom he will “have mercy, and will have compassion on whom he will bave compassion;" which mercy and compassion must always be exercised without any violation of the eternal rules of justice; the above declaration was made to Moses after God had laid aside his purpose of " consuming. the Israelites' for : worshipping the golden calf, and when he “repented of the evil which he “ thought to do unto his people.”
• Rom. ix. + See on p. 216, 217, Refutation. * Rom. viii. 28–39.
eternal life and glory? The passage has been considered: * and it implies the rejection of the Jews, as a nation, from being the people of God. Then the apostle, in most emphatical terms laments, that this highly favoured people should thus forfeit their distinguishing privileges. But he adds, “Not as though the word of “God hath taken no effect: for they are not all Israel, " which are of Israel; neither, because, they are the " seed of Abraham are they all children; but in Isaac "shall thy seed be called: that is, they which are the " children of the flesh, these are not the children of “ God; but the children of the promise are counted for a “ seed.”—Here, it is evident, that there was in the nation of Israel, a true Israel, a believing remnant, “ ac“cording to the election of grace.” This had always been the case, and was so, at the time, when the nation was rejected. “God did not cast off his people whom " he foreknew." « Israel hath not obtained that which " he seeketh for: but the election hath obtained it, and " the rest were blinded.”+ Thus Isaiah: “ Israel shall “ be saved in the LORD, with an everlasting salvation: “ ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world with"tout end.” « In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel “ be justified and shall glory."I Was the nation of Israel, or the true Israel, here intended? Would any, except the true Israel, consisting of real believers, be « saved with an everlasting salvation;" be“ justified " and glory” in the Lord? This had before been spoken of, when the apostle was stating the doctrine of justification, where he distinguishes the natural, from the be. lieving, seed of Abraham, most expressly:9 as our Lord also does, in his discourse with the Jews. But lest the descendants by Ishmael, and the sons of Keturah;
$ Is. xlv. 17. 25.
• See on p. 235, 236, Refutation. | Rom. xi. 2. 7. 6 Roin. iv. | John viii. 37–39. 44.
and those of Isaac by Esau, should be supposed to be the persons intended by the apostle; he does not here begin with Abraham's seed, but with Israel: “ All are * not Israel, which are of Israel.” Now certainly all the. descendants of Jacob belonged to the nation of Israel, “ the chosen people of God,” to whom many and distinguishing external privileges appertained; but they did not all belong to the true “ Israel of God:"* to those “ whom he had predestinated to the adoption “ of children by Jesus Christ unto himself, according to " the good pleasure of his will.”+ “ The children of “ the flesh, these were not the children of God:” for of the latter the apostle had before said, “ If children " then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” This he next illustrates, by the examples above-mentioned; and concludes by saying, “ Therefore he hath
mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he “ will he hardeneth.” He supposes this doctrine will excite the objections of many readers; and adds, “ Thou “ wilt then say unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? “ for who hath resisted his will?” (confounding his se“cret purpose with his revealed commands.) This he answers, not by qualifying his doctrine; but by saying,
Nay, but, О man, who art thou that repliest against “ God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed “ it, why hast thou made me thus?”. Then he mentions " the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction:” and “ the “ vessels of mercy, which God had afore prepared unto
glory; even us whom he hath called, not of the Jews
only, but also of the Gentiles.”! Now will any man continue to say, that the whole of this ' refers to the pre• sent world only.' Atasev and sotav: Perdition and glory, the words here used, uniformly relate to eternal con
Gal, vi. 16.
† Eph. i. 5,
$ Rom. ix. 18-23.
demnation, or eternal happiness, when spoken in this way concerning individuals.
P. ccxxxix. 1. 7. • The mercy, &c.'* Here again, the illustration is confounded with the subject, which the apostle purposed to illustrate. The sovereign purpose of God, in hardening Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and in having mercy on rebellious Israel, as a nation, in not executing condign temporal punishment on them; bore a striking resemblance to his wise, holy, righteous, and merciful purposes and decrees, concerning the true Israel, and their enemies. In both cases, “ He hath “ mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he “ will he hardeneth:” in both, he assigns no reasons for his conduct, but his own good pleasure, notwithstand. ing the presumptuous enquiries and objections of his enemies. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven “ and earth; in that thou hast hid these things from the “ wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. “ Even so, Father, because it seemed good in thy “ sight.”+ Personal election to eternal life, is perfectly consistent with strict retribution to individuals in another world.' P. ccxxxix. 1. 16. • The apostle, &c.'t God ex.
**The mercy therefore here spoken of is not forgiveness of sins, granted to each person separately at the day of judgment, but God's receiving his chosen people collectively into favour again after they had displeased him; such national reconciliation in this world, as well as the original election
of a peculiar people for the purpose of executing the great plans of divine • Providence, being perfectly consistene with strict retribution to individuals • in a future life,'
† Matt. xi. 25, 26. Luke x. 21.
# • The apostle shows from the antient Scripture, that Pharaoh's disobe• dience and wickedness were the means of making known the power of God;
and repeats, that God shows, or does not show, mercy, according to the • determination of his sovereign will. He supposes some one to object; if this “ be the case, why does God find fault, since his will cannot be resisted? St. • Paul answers by first reproving the presumption of this objection as urged • by a creature against his Creator, who has the same power over his crea.
alted Pharaoh to the throne of Egypt, and gave him great authority and prosperity; " for this same purpose, "- that he might show his power," in his dealings with this haughty prince, and “that his name might be “known throughout all the earth.”* The Lord said to Moses, when he first ordered him to go in unto Egypt, and speak to Pharaoh, “ And I am sure, that " the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a
strong hand.”+ Soon after, he said, “ But I will " harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” Yet in the subsequent history, it is repeatedly said, that “ Pharaoh hardened his heart;" or, that “ Pha. “ raoh's heart was hardened:” but at length, it is expressly said, “ And the LORD hardened the heart of “ Pharaoh:” and on this occasion, the words, quoted by the apostle were spoken. In the next chapter we read: “ The LORD said unto Moses, “ Go in unto
Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart, and the heart
tures which a potter has over the vessels he forms; and he then declares " that though God's power is irresistible, he does not act arbitrarily and
capriciously, but in all his dealings with the sons of men he never fails to * display his own perfect attributes. Even this example of the potter, proves * that the apostle is speaking of this life only. Vessels made for different * purposes, for noble or mean uses, resemble the different ranks of society • into which men, by divine appointment, are born; but this does not imply * that the higher are more worthy in the sight of God than the lower, since * each person will hereafter be judged “ according to his deeds” in that • station in which he is placed. In like manner the election of a people for a * peculiar purpose, does not suppose the rest of the world neglected or pun. • ished, except so far as their conduct may deserve it. The "enduring with “ much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction,” relates to “God's forbe arance in sparing the Jews and giving them time to repent, al*though by their heinous sins and numerous provocations they had long de• served to be destroyed. “That he might make known the riches of his “ glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” * relates to God's gracious offer of the blessings of the gospel to those who "he foreknew would accept them, as appears from the verse immediately • following.'
• Ex. ix. 16, 17. Rom. ix. 17. + Ex. iii. 19, 20 # Ex. iv. 21. Ex. ix, 12. Ex. ix. 16, 17. VOL. I.