Графични страници
PDF файл

much that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit. From hence the question may be fairly decided, who are the true preachers of the word of God.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and with

out hypocrify. THE pretensions of modern enthufiafts are founded on the doctrines of predestination and election, and they appeal to the seventeenth article of our Church as decidedly in their favour, and condemn those of the clergy whose opinions on this article partake less of the rigid spirit of Calvin. It will be our business at present to inquire, whether these opinions are not exaggerated by enthusiasts beyond the spirit, with which the article was framed, will

The article afferts, that “ predefti« nation 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


[ocr errors]

“ chosen through Christ out of mankind, and “ to bring them by Christ to everlasting falva“ tion, as veffels made to honour." Now first, in this representation it is observable, that no allusion is made to any determinate number of persons. It speaks generally of those who are chosen ; of whom the number may be unlimited. Choice does indeed imply preference, and preference selection. But then this choice is not represented as arbitrary or capricious ; “ they are chosen through Chrift.” Now as the promises are made through Christ to all who believe, here is the most perfect freedom of will.

All who choose to accept falvation through Christ are made capable of doing so. They have religious liberty; and as Christ has promised to accept all who come to him, the covenant between God the Father and Jesus is, that all will be accepted who apply to the Mediator ; consequently all may be saved, if all be willing to apply. It is further observable, that there is no mention of reprobation. Here is neither particular unconditional choice, nor is there absolute rejection ; for as no precise number is faid to be chosen, nor indeed any precise number implied, it is evident that that which is indefinite may be infinite. Even the

very notion of choice does not imply more than preference upon certain conditions. It includes not the idea of rejection, unless where the number to be chosen is defined by some absolute decree, by which the Deity has bound himself; nor would such an idea be consonant to our reasonable conjecture of his attributes. It seems therefore evident, that if all mankind are willing to accept the conditions ; that is, if all are willing to apply to Christ, all may

be saved ; all

all may, all will be chosen. In this representation there is nothing inconsistent or unreasonable. The scheme of Christianity proceeds on this clear principle, that salvation can only be through Christ to all who are called; that is, all who hear, receive, and obey the Gospel; and that if any who hear will not receive, they must of course be rejected. It proceeds further on the supposition that all mankind are subject to the consequences of the transgression of the first man, and in bondage to original fin. It is not now my purpose to discuss the consideration with the philosopher, or to dispute it with the enthusiast. Suppose this to be the fact, and the determination or decree of God to liberate mankind from bondage is merciful and consistent with divine goodness, and the conditions may certainly be left to infinite power.


« ПредишнаНапред »