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ble! Divine preordination has for its objects, all things that are created : no creature, whether rational or irrational, animate or inanimate, is exempted from its influence. All beings whatever, from the highest angel to the meanest reptile, and from the meanest reptile to the minutest atom, are the objects of God's eternal decrees and particular providence. However the ancient fathers only make use of the word predestination as it refers to angels or men, whether good or evil : and it is used by the apostle Paul in a more limited sense still; so as by it to mean only that branch of it which respects God's election and designation of his people to eternal life, Rom. viii. 30. Eph. i. 11.
But that we may more justly apprehend the import of this word, and the ideas intended to be conveyed by it, it may be proper to observe, that the term predestination, theologically taken, admits of a fourfold definition : and may be considered as, 1. “That eternal, most wise, and immutable decree of God, whereby he did, from before all time determine and ordain to create, dispose of, and direct to some particular end, every person and thing to which he has given, or is yet to give, being; and to make the whole creation subservient to, and declarative of, his own glory.” Of this decree, actual providence is the execution. 2. Predestination may be considered as relating generally to mankind, and them only : and, in this view, we define it to be, “The everlasting, sovereign, and invariable God, whereby he did determine within himself, to create Adam in his own image and likeness, and then to permit his fall; and to suffer him, thereby to plunge himself, and his whole posterity,” (inasmuch as they all sinned in him, not only virtually but also federally and representatively) “into the dreadful abyss of sin, misery and
death.” 3. Consider predestination as relating to the elect only, and it is, “That eternal, unconditional, particular, and irreversible act of the divine will, whereby, in matchless love, and adorable sovereignty, God determined within himself to deliver a certain number of Adam's degenerate* offspring, out of that sinful and miserable estate, into which, by his primitive transgression, they were to fall:" and in which sad condition they were equally involved with those who were not chosen : but, being pitched upon, and singled out by God the Father, to be vessels of grace and salvation (not for any thing in them, that could recommend them to his favour, or entitle them to his notice, but merely because he would shew himself gracious to them, they were in time actually redeemed by Christ: are effectually called by his spirit, justified, adopted, sanctified, and preserved safe to his heavenly kingdom. The supreme end of this decree is the manifestation of his own infinitely glorious and amiably tremendous perfections : the inferior, or subordinate end, is the happiness and salvation of them who are thus freely elected. 4. Predestination, as it regards the reprobate is, “That eterual, most holy, sovereign, and immutable act of
* When we say, that the decree of predestination to life and death respects man as fallen, we do not mean, that the fall was actually antecedent to that decree : for the decree is truly and properly eternal, as all God's immanent acts undoubtedly are ; whereas the fall took place in time. What we intend, then, is only this, viz. that God, (for reasons, without doubt, worthy of himself, and of which we are, by no means, in this life competent judges) having, from everlasting, preremptorily ordained to suffer the fall of Adam; clid likewise, from everlasting, consider the human race as fallen: and, out of the whole mass of mankind, thus viewed God's will, whereby he hath determined to leave some men to perish
in their sins, and to be justly punished for them.”
and foreknown as impure, and obnoxious to condemnation, vouchsafed to select some particular persons, (who, collectively, make up a very great, though precisely determinate, number) in and on whom he would make known the ineffable riches of his mercy.
WHEREIN THE DOCTRINE OF PRÉDÉSTINATION
IS EXPLAINED, AS IT RELATES IN GENERAL TO ALL MEN.
THUS much being premisedwith relation to the scripture terms commonly made use of in this controversy, we shall now proceed to take a nearer view of this high and mysterious article,
And, I. We, with the scriptures, assert, That there is a predestination of some particular persons to life, for the praise of the glory of divine grace ; and a predestination of other particular persons to death : which death of punishment they shall inevitably undergo, and that justly, on account of their sins. 1. There is a predestination of some particular persons to life. So, Mat. XX. 15. “ Many are called but few chosen ;" i. e. the gospel revelation comes indiscriminately to great multitudes ; but few, comparatively speaking, are spiritually and eternally the better for it and these few, to whom it is the savour of life unto life, are therefore savingly benefited by it, because they are the chosen or elect of God. To the same effect are the following passages, among many others : Mat. xxiv. 22. « For the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened.” Acts xiii. 48. “ As many as were ordained to eternal life believed." Rom. yiii. 30. “ Whom he did pre
destinate, them he also called." And verse 33. “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ?" Eph. i. 4, 5. • According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, &c. Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." 2 Tim. i. 9. " Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began.” 2. This election of certain individuals unto eternal life was for the praise of the glory of divine grace. This is expressly asserted in so many words, by the apostle, Eph. i. 5, 6. Grace, or mere favour, was the impulsive cause of all : It was the main spring, which set all the inferior wheels in motion. It was an act of grace in God, to choose any, when he might have passed by all : It was an act of sovereign grace, to choose this man rather than that, when both were equally undone in themselves, and alike obnoxious to his displeasure. In a word, since election is not of works, and does not proceed on the least regard had to any worthiness in its objects ; it must be of free, unbiassed grace : but election is not of works, Rom. xi. 5, 6. therefore, it is solely of grace.
3. There is, on the other hand, a predestination of some particular persons to death. 2 Cor. iv. 3. “ If our gospe! be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” 1 Pet. ij. 8. “Who stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.” 2 Pet. ii. 12. “These, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed.” Jude ver. 4. “ There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.”
Rev. xvij. 8. “Whose names were not written in the book