Page images

grace of God, we are justified by faith and grace; ii e. faith and grace are our defence to God against the accusations of justice, for that we have not done our duty perfectly; this, defence, which is made effective by the merits and mediation of Christ, is accepted, and salvation granted us; we are, therefore, only justified by Christ, or by that faith in him which is proved by works.

SANCTIFICATION-Holiness; the grace of God alone can sanctify us, and make us holy, righteous, religious.

Predestination and Election.

Predestined means ordained, destined, or,

determined before hand. Election means a calling, or being cabled. The 'seventeenth article on these heads discourses thus-

“Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ ont of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour; wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called, according to God's

purpose, by his spirit working in due season ; they, through grace, obey the calling ; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of bis only begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's inercy, they attain to everlasting felicity. As the consideration of predestination and our election in Cbrist is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their minds to high and heavenly things ; as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation,

to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God; so, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the spirit of Christ, to bave continually before their eyes the sentence of God's predestination, is a most dangerous downfal; whereby the devil doth thrust them either into utter desperation, or into wretchedness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture ; and in our doings, that will of God is to be followed wbich we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.”

This last paragraph, reader, I would recommend to your most serious consideration; and also St. Paul's advice, not to disquiet your mind with “ doubtful disputations."

Predestination, as rendered by many, means that God, before the world was

created, predetermined in his eternal counsels that certain people, or individuals, should go to beaven, and the remainder to hell; being under the sentence of REPROBATION, as reprobates, lost. This doctrine is attributed to Calvin, the reformer of Geneva; and all such

as are called Calvinists appear to hold this faith; connecting with it the notion that they are the elect of God, and cannot fall from the faith ; and upon this presumption many have been known not only to reject morality in their profession, but also in their practice.

This opinion of individual predestination they found upon certain texts in St. Paul's Epistles, which, if attentively considered and compared with other Scriptures, (which is the only true way of expounding any text) and connected with the circumstances of those to whom they were addressed, will be found to mean, that although God elected the Jews as his peculiar people, yet lie preordained (or pre

destined) that the Gentiles should be called (or elected) to grace also.

One should imagine, in regard to individual predestination and election, that St. Paul had mcre right to presume upon being one of the elect who could not fall away than any of those who do so presume of themselves; yet what does he

say in the 27th. v. c. 9. 1 Cor.?

“ But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away."

This does not imply much confidence in the certainty of his being predestinated to heaven, because he professes a fear that he may lose it.

Christ calls all to come to him, and, though he tells them that they cannot come to him but through the will of his father, he tells them also that if they pray to his father, with faith, he will grant them all things which are good for them;

« PreviousContinue »