Page images
PDF
EPUB

that they feeing fee not, and hearing do not hear, and (b) Die mosthenes mentions this as a proverb ; these words do manifeftly therefore shew, That it was the wickedness and perverseness of the Jews that indisposed them to receive profit by Christ's plain discourses, which caused him thus to speak to them in parables,

Lastly. Observe that they thus fhut their eyes, and made. their hearts gross, faith God and Chrift, left they should be con. verted and I should heal them ; so that the design of God in fending of his Son was their converfion, and the remission of their fins; and hence St. Peter saith to them, (c) repent ye therefore and be converted, that your fins may be blotted out, for God having raised up his Son Jefus, fent him to bless you in turning every one of you from your iniquities ; expressly teaching that God sent his Son to procure mercy and salvation to every one of them ; and that they by their wickedness and perversenefs obstructed these his gracious defigns upon them, left they should be converted from their evil ways, and God should heal them. For albeit this sad effeét was not intended by them, yet fince it was the natural result of their shutting their eyes against the light, it fitly is ascribed to them, as when the prophet Ho. fea faith (d) of their fiver and gold have they made them idols, that they might be cut off ; and the prophet Micah, (e) The flat. utes of Amri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels, that I hould make thee a defolation. These words are therefore so far from eftablishing, that they do evidently defroy the doctrine they were produced to con, firm : In fine, let it be noted, That these were the very texts produced by the Heretics of old to destroy human liberty, and to prove that there were some natures that could not be saved, and others which could not perish, as you may fee in Origer's Philocal. C. 21. p. 60, and tegi dgx. L. 3. C. 1. F. 140.

Section IV.-A third text used to this purpose are the words of St. Peter, (f) To you that believe he is precious ; but to

them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders refused is made the head of the corner, and stone of fumbling, and a rock of

offence, even to them who stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed ; from which last words they argue, that some of the Jews, even all that believed not in: Chrift, this corner stone, were appointed by God to be disor bedient,

(b) égwyleg min ogãs. xyáxéculas panax gev. Orat, in Arifog. S. 123. -( c) Aas iii. 19, 26. Chap. viii. 4.lej Chap. vi.zo. (t) Pet. ii.

77

8.

Answer. The meaning of these words, 'faith Dr. Harimond is this, that they who disobey the gospei, standing out obftinately against it, were apppointed by God to Atumble and fall at that stone ; that is, to be bruised by it, and by that means to be destroyed among the crucifiers of the Mefiah, and condemned with them hereafter; it being juit 'with God that they who will not reform and amend at the preaching of the gospel, and so receive benefit by it, should by their obstinacy be condemned, and so the worse for it, Chrift being set (8) for the falling, as well as the rising of many in Israel ; and the gospel being a (h) favor of death to them that perish, and they being those whom (i) God hath appointed for wrath ; and to be sure it cannot fignify that God absolutely ordained the unbelieving Jews is a lear, to' di fobedience, when as yet they were not, and therefore were not disobedients for then their future disobedience was purely a compliance with the Divine ordinance, or will, and so could not deserve the name of disobedience, because it could not be both a compliance with, and disobedience to the will of God; nor could this disobedience be objected to them as their crime, unless compliance with the will of God be fo, and it be a fault to be such as God by his immutable council and decree hath ordained we should be, or it should render men criminal and obnox. jous to punishment that they have not made void God's absolute dceree, or have done what that made it necessary for them to do; wherefore this passage cannot fignify that the unbelieving Jews were appointed to disobedience, but only that being disobedient to the gospel so clearly revealed, and by fo many miracles and distributions of the Holy Ghoft confirmed to them, they were appointed, as the punishment of that disobedience, to fall and perish; for fo the Hebrew word Chafal, and the Greek ngóc xopapie and exárosney import, viz. the ruin and the fall of them who stumble at this stone. See the note on Rom. xiv. 13. Or,

2dly. The words will fairly bear this sense, To you that beJieve belongs n Tipas the honor fot being built upon this corner stone into a spiritual house ;) but to them that are disobedient (belongs that of P. cxviii. 22.) the stone which the builders rien fused, &c. and also to them He is) a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them that stumble at the word, being disobe. dient és õ ucu itibnsav, for which also these stones were laid pr putthe corner Stone for the building up of believers; the fone of ftumbling tor the disobedient to stumble at ; for to both these

(3) Luke ii. 34.----(h) 2 Cor. Ji, 15, 16,- (i) Thell. v. 6. Rones belongs this preface, Behold I lay in Sion afone ; to the corner stone elect and precious here, and to the stone of fun. bling, Rom. ix. 33, and so this agrees with the words of Simeon, Behold this child is placed for the fall and rising of many in Ilrael, Luke ii. 34. In either of these fenses the words afford no countenance to this doctrine of Reprobation. Note,"

3dly. That, as Oecumenius plainly shews, this was the old Ecclesiastical interpretation of these words; so doth he as apparently reject the sense this argument puts upon them, in these words, εις δ και ετέθησαν, έκ ως από το θεώ εις τέτο αφωρισμένους είρεται, έδι μία γαρ αιτία απωλείας παρά τα πάντας ανθρώπες θέλοντος σαθηναι βραςεύεται, αλλά τους εαυτός σκεύη οργής κατηρτικόσι και η απείθεια επηκολέθησε, και εις την παρασκεύασαν αυτές τάξιν ετέθησανο-Vide reliquα.

Section V.-A fourth scripture speaks of men (k) before ordained to this condemnation; here therefore seems to be an appointment of men to damnation, of old plainly asserted, of which God only can be deemed the author.

Answer. The verse in the Greek runs thus, Some ungodly men turning the grace of God into lasciviousness have entered into the church) οι πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εις τούτο το κρίμα, i. e. of whom it was before written that this should be their sentence or punishment; or as it is in the parallel place of St. Peter, ols pò xgigace ixTáncs én egyei, (1) to whom the sentence of old pronounced doth not linger. Now that this cannot be meant of any divine ordination or appointment of them to eternal damnation before they had a being, is evident, ift, because it cannot be thought without horror that He, who is the lover of souls, should ap. point any, much less the greater part of them, to inevitable perdition before they had a being. 2dly, The word spinace relates not to sin but punishment, the fruit of sin; so Mark xii. 40. they shall receive repsotótapov uçõuchen Forer punishment; Rom. ii. 3. thinkest thou this, o man, who does the Jame thing, that thou shall escape, cò uçõpe, the judgment of God; now God ordaineth none to punishment but sinners and ungodly men, and such, by the text, these persons are here ftiled: And gdly,Thele were men of whom it was before written or prophefred, that they should be condemned for their ungodliness; for Enoch prophefied before to, or of, these ungodly men, saying, the Lord cometh with thousands of his faints, aciño me region, to do judgment upon all that are ungodly (ådebris, vér. 4.) and to convince them of all the hard speeches whick ungodly finners have spoken against him; (which answers to the deniers of the Lord that bought them, ver.

(k) Jude iv.-(l)Pet, ii.

before written of in respect to this thing The punishment

£.D.

4.) and in the parallel place of St. Peter their punifhment is filed, (m) the punishment long ago denounced against them, vit. that they fhould be reserved to the day of judgment to be punished, vet. 9. that they should perish in their corruption, Ver. 14. they being men for whom the blackness of darkness was refervert for evet, ver. 13. and this is the verỳ thing that St. Peter, from verse the 4th to the 13th, and 3t: Fåde from this to the oth verse, set themselves to prove ; and this also is the import of the word ofuiyğá ot, viz. forewritten of: So Rom. XV. 4. coa acor ygéon, whatsoever things were before written, were written for our instru&ion: Gal. iii. 1. before their eyes, feuygácn. Fius Christ crucified was written of or set forth in the Old Tellanient as crucified. See this fenle given by Oecumenius on the place.

Section VI.-Answer to Hotd, Part 1. page .' Dr. Twife contefleth, that the Scriptures speak fully of Eleétion, sparingly of Reprobation in most places, yet fome paffages we have,(faith he,) which give light and evidence to both alike ; for like as it i. fait Alts ii, the last, that God added to the church such as froului be saved, so 2 Cor. iv. g. it is said, If our g Spel be hid, it is hid' to them that óc dot; and as it is fignified Matth. xxiv. 24. that is is impulsible feducer's should prevail over the Elect, fo 2 Theff. ii. both as much is fignified ver. 1y. and also expreffed ver. 19, 11, that they shall prevail among them that perif; and a Cor. i. 18. we are given to underktand

jointly that the gospel is to them that perifh fooli hne/sbut to us who are saved it is the power of God. and Rom. ix. 18. that as God hath mercy on whom he will have po 86.87 mercy, so whom he will lit hardeneth. And like as Aas xii. 48. we read, that as many believed as were ordnined to eternal lif) 1.59.58. which phrase of being ordained to eternal lift, I conceive to bel all one with writing our names in heaven, Luke i. 20. and writes ing us in heaven, Heb. xii, 29. and this phrase I take to be all one with the writing of us in the Book of Life: fo on the other side, .n) we read that they whose names were, ait written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, should worden when they beheld the broyt, and not foundy, but worship him alfo.

Answer. Now to all these citations, most of which are palp4bly impertinent, I answer in the general, that they signity no inore than thole words of Christ (0) He that believeth fall be Juved, he that believeth not shall be damned, and lo, except ye repen!, ye fhall all perish (for that excepuive contains this, propo. fition, He that repenteth Mall not peris) and the words of the

I'm) 2 Pet. ii. 3.++in). Rev. xiii, 8. xvii. 8.--(0Mark xvi. 16. -(.Lukcil. %, 5.

E

Baptist (9) He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life; he that believeth not the Son, fhall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. For those that are loft, 2 Cor. iv. 3. are ver. 4. those that believe not: And that not because of any antecedent Decree of God tlaat they should be lost; but because the God of this world, i. e. the devil, had blinded their eyes, &c. and thofe who perish, 2 Theff. ii. 10. are those who believe not the truth, wer. 12. who received not the truth worthy to be beloved and emo braced, ver. 10. See the note there. They who perish, 1 Cor. i. 18. are the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, ver. 21, 22, 23. they who are hardened, Rom. ix. 18. are the vefsets of wrath fitted for desiruktion by their own wickedness, completed by their infidelity or want of faith, which made Chris preacháto them a stone of Jlumbling, ver. 32, 33. To proceed to those places which may seem to require a more particular notice.

11. The phrase of being written in the Book of Life is Jewish, and doth not lignity the Abfolute Election of any perlon fo e. ternal life, but only the present right of the just person to life, and therefore it is called the Book of Life written . for the juft, Targun on Ezek, xiii.9. the book of the juft, Targ. Fon.on Exod. xxxii. 32. in which say the (T) apoftolical institutions we come to be written tñ inpatégą iuroba, xal onesng by our good affection and industries and from which men, as they may be written in it when they are converted from vice to virtue, fo may they be blotted out when they backslide, says (8) St. Bafil, from vir. tuc to iniquity, according to that saying of the Pfalmiit, (t) Let then be blotted out of the book of the living, and not written with the righteous; i. e. fays Ainsworth, let them be cut off from being , any longer counted thy people, or recitered in the writing of the

houfe of Ifael: And faith ( v ) St. Ferom, they were written in the book of God, who in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, legem fortilliin e defenderant; firmly continued in the law; and they were botted out of it, qui legis prævaricatores extiterant, who were defertits of it;'accordingly Christ threateneth to fome, that, He would blot their names out of the Book of Life, Rev. Xxii. 19. and promiteth to him that overcometh that He would not blot his name out of that book, Rev. iii. 5. And God himself faith to-Mrfes, whfuevér háth finned against me, him will I blot out of the book of life 'which I have written. This book is said to be written from the foundation of the world, God having from the beginning, Adain and others who are filed the fons of God;

(1) John iii. 36. fr) L. 8. c. 1. In lfa.-- (1) Palm Ixix, 28. -u) In Dan, xii. 2.

« PreviousContinue »