« PreviousContinue »
now I ask mankind, who say they are the elect of God, can they come before the Lord and say, that all their words and deeds are justified by the Lord? If they say this, they deceive theirselves, and the truth is not in them. How can it be said, that the Lord will be clear in judging, and just in condemning, if he justify every evil in a man, because he saith he is elected to be saved ; and al the same time condemn an upright man, who relies on the mercies and promises of the Lord, and the love of God which is in CHRIST JESUS, equal with those who say they are elected; and have as great faith in the merits of Christ, in giving his life a ransom for man, trusting in him for their salvation, relying upon the promises of the Lord, that whosoever come unto him that he will in no ways cast them out; that he came to seek and to save that which was lost; that his mercy extends unto all that come unto him in true faith, according to his gospel? Now I ask mankind, what they make of the gospel, if they judge believers are to be cast out, because they believe the word of God, that he willetlı not the death of him that dieth, but rather hath pleasure in them that repent and turn? Will the Lord condemn a man for a faith like this, and justify the faith of another rcho denies the mercies and goodness of GOD to all retarning sinners? Then the scriptures must be null and void, by the way men place election. But to understand the scriptures aright, we must compare spiritual things with spiritual things, and one scripture with another; then we may understand the meaning of the apostle's words : Romans v. 18. “ Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”—So that the free gift is held out to all; but not accepted of hy all. Our Saviour said in his gospel, I come that ye might have life : but they would not come unto him, that they might have life. The invitation of our Lord, and his mercy to all returning sinners, is held out through the gospel to all them that believe: then, who is the elect, that are looking to him for salvation All stands alike of them that believe; but election and reprobation stand for the end ; and where we find the ELECTION spoken of in the scriptures, the REDEMPTion is also spoken of.
The first place I have discerned the ELECT mentioned is in Isaiah xlii. 1, 6. “ Behold my Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom my soul delighteth. 'I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles." Here let men discern who is the Elect, and for what covenant of the people our Saviour gave up his life for the transgression of man ; but when that covenant is fulfilled, then will take place the words of the prophet, in the lxv chap. 17, 18, 19, 22. “ For behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create ; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. And my elect shall long enjoy the works of their hands.”
These are promises to be fulfilled for the elect in the end.
From the xlii chap. we must discern how CHRIST stands as the head of the ELECT, being chosen and set apart from eternity by God the Father to the great work of man's redemption -- to set judgment in the earth, and the isles to wait for his law; and in the gospel our Saviour told his disciples, that the great work of the redemption of man would be ac
complished at his coming in power and great glorg, Luke xxi.-Our Saviour, in speaking of the end, Matthew xxiv, says, “ There shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be: and except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved ; but for the elect' sake those days shall be shortened.”
In this chapter our Saviour speaks of his coming to save his elect; and in Luke xviii. our Saviour brought forward the parable of a woman crying to the judge to be avenged of her adversary, which from her importunity, the judge said he would avenge her of her adversary: from this parable our Saviour said, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him? Though he bear long with them ; I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertteless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"Now this fuith is scarce amongst mankind, to believe that the Lord will avenge us of our adversary, which is the devil, by our petitions, as the judge avenged the woman ; and yet, according to the parable, there is that faith in some, to fulfil the gospel ; and these are the clect, that our Saviour said the days should be shortened for: and when he comes in the clouds with power and great glory, then shall be send his angels and shall gather together bis elect from the four winds, from the uttermost parts of the earth to the uttermost parts of heaven. Now these are the ELECT, that our Saviour was speaking of, that would petition to be avenged of their adversary, and that he should gather together in the end ; which may be clearly discerned by the parables, which our Saviour spoke of, in Matthew xxv. what he likened the kingdom of heaven to-the wise virgins waiting for the Bridegroom; and in Luke xii. -" And ye yourselves like unto
men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when be cometh shall find watching.'
Let men compare the parables, and the elect mentioned in the gospel, with the words of the apostle Paul, Romans viji. where he speaks of the election, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies.
Concerning the salvation of man, it is held out to all them that believe and obey the gospel, and trust in the Lord for their salvation, through the merits of Christ. Romans x. “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved: for there is no respecter
persons with God.” (see Romuns ii.) Acts x. 34, 35. “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in .every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted withi hiin.
These texts of scripture I have brought together, so that men may understand the meaning of ELECTION, how it stands for the end, zehen the redemption of man takes place; but the way the Cal. vinists place election is as fuel to the fire, to strengthen the arguments of deists and atheists, which Paine hath brought forward.
In the preface of his book he saith, “There is a set of preachers tells their congregations, that God predestinated and selected from all eternity a certain number to be saved, and a certain number to be damned eternally. If this were true, the day of judge ment is past; their preaching is in vain. bad man be reformed by telling him, that if he is one of those who was decreed to be damned before
he was born, his reformation will do him no good; and if he was decreed to be saved, he will be saved, whether he believes it or not ; for this is the result of the doctrine. Such preaching and such preachers do injury to the moral world. They had beller be at the plough.”—And such doctrine as this prejudices men against the belief of the scriptures; and which must be removed before men will be convinced; and therefore I have shewed the error of such doctrine.
Mr. Cobbett, in his Weekly Register, June 13, 1812, hath called upon the clergy for a confutation of Paine's book; a part of which I shall copy. He saith, “ I have not yet heard, that this Third Part of the Age of Reason has yet been answered by any one of this great number of clergy. That I shall hear of it, however, would be a shame to doubt ; for, the church will hardly leave her defence in this case, wholly to the attorney-general, the special jury, and the judges.” After enumerating the revenues of the church, he adds,-“ Surely then, we church-people in particular have some reason to expect, that an answer', besides that of the attorney-general, will be given to this work of Paint's; especially after the decision pronounced upon Mr. Eaton's conduct by the public in London. Our clergy will hardly tell us, that the work is a contemptible thing unworthy of their notice; because if they do, we shall remind them that the attorneygeneral declared the work to contain doctrines of the most pernicious tendency; and that their consequences, if they took root, in the minds of those by whom they were perused, would be dreadful in the ecireme. The judge, (lord Ellenborough), who tried the information, was of the same opinion. Therefore, I think, that we have a right to erpect, from our clergy, that which will prevent this pernicious plant from taking root. Nay, I think, that every