Imágenes de páginas

had not given them an heart to perceive, as Deut. xxix. 4. “Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” The scripture plainly makes a distinction between exhibiting light, or means of instruction and persuasion, and giving eyes to see, circumeising the heart,. &c. -

§ 51. Why should Christ teach us to pray in the Lord's prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” if it is not God’s work to bring that effect to pass, and it is left to man’s free will, and cannot be otherwise, because otherwise it is no virtue, and none of their obedience, or doing of God's will ; and God does what he can oftentimes consistently, with man's liberty, and those that enjoy the means he uses, do generally neglect and refuse to do his will He does so much, that he can well say, what could I have done more ? And yet almost all are at the greatest distance from doing his will. See Colos. i. 9, 10.

§ 52. If it be as the Arminians suppose, that all men's virtue is of the determination of their own free will, independent on any prior determining, deciding, and disposing of the event; that it is no part of the ordering of God, whether there be many virtuous or few in the world, whether there shall be much virtue or little, or where it shall be, in what nation, country, or when, or in what generation or age ; or whether there shall be any at all : Then none of these things belong to God's disposal, and therefore, surely it does not belong to him to promise them. For it does not belong to him to promise in an affair, concerning which he has not the disposal.

And how can God promize, as he oftentimes does in his word, glorious times, when righteousness shall generally prevail, and his will shall generally be done ; and yet that it is, not an effect which belongs to him to determine ; it is not left to his determination, but to the sovereign, arbitrary determination of others, independently on any determination of him ; and therefore, surely they ought to be the prom

[ocr errors]

isers? For him to promise, who has it not in his hands to dispose and determine, is a great absurdity; and yet God oftentimes in promising, speaks of himself as the sovereign disposer of the matter, using such expressions as abundantly imply it. Isaiah lx. 22. “I the Lord do hasten it in its time.” Surely this is the language of a promiser, and not merely a predictor. God promises Abraham, that “all the families of the earth shall be blessed in him.” “God swears, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess.” . And it is said to be given to Christ, that every nation, &c. should serve and obey him, Dan. vii. After what manner they shall serve and obey him, is abundantly declared in other prophecies, as in Isaiah''xi. and innumerable others. These are spoken of in the next chapter; as the excellentithings that God does. ' ' " " : * * * * * * * h or on, ----- * * * * * * : * : * * * * ... . . .'; -c., * *- : *, * * * $53. If God is not the disposing author of virtue, then he is not the giver of it. “The very notion of a giver implies a disposing cause of the possession of the benefit. 1 John iv. 4. “’Ye'are of God, little children, and have overcome them, (i.e. have overcome your spiritual enemies) because greater is he that is in you; than he that is in the world;” that is, plainly, he is stronger, and his strength overcomes. But how can this be a reason, if God does not put forth any overcoming, effectual strength in the case, but leaves it to free will to get the victory; to determine the point in the conflict 3 to sn Lity: if o 8 * > -t; on o so onio. ** 5 sı. There are no sort of benefits that are so much the “subject of the promises of scripture, as this sort, the bestowment of virtue, or benefits which imply it. How often is the *faith of the Gentiles, or their coming into the Christian *Church promised to Christ in the Old Testament, Isaiah xlix. 6, and many other places; and he has promised it to his church; chap. xix. 18.2i, and innumerable other places. *See Rom. xv. 12, 13, what a promise have we, Isaiah b. 21. “Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land'sbrever, the branch of my planting, the work of my * hand, that I may be glorified,"...compared with the next



chapter, 3d verse, “That they may be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”. See also verse 8th of the same chapter. Likewise chap. lx. 17, 18. “I will make thy officers peace, and thy exactors righteousness; violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy border, but thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise.” Here it is promised that the rulers shall be righteous; and then, in the 21st verse following, it is promised that the people shall be so. The change of men to be of a peaceable disposition is promised, as in places innumerable, so in Isaiah xi. 6.... li. : “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie, down with the kid,” &c. Isaiah lw. 5. “ Behold, thou shalt call, a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee.” Jer. iii. 15. “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” This implies a promise that there should be such pastors in being, and that they should be faithful to feed the people with knowledge and une derstanding. : Jer. x, 23. “The way of man is not in himself.” Stebbing owns, that on Arminian principles, conver-sion depending on the determination of free will, it is possi- ble, in its own nature, that none should ever be converted, (p. 235.) Then all the promises of virtue, of the revival of religion, &c. are nothing. Jer. xxxi. 18. “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned,”....compared with Jer. xvii. 14. “Heal ome, O Lord, and I shall healed ; save me, and I shall be 2 saved, for thou art my praise.” Which shews the force * and meaning of such a phraseology to be, that God alone can be the doer of it; and that if he undertakes it, it will be ef. ..fectually done. Jer. xxxi. 32.35. “Not according to the * covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, (which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord :) But this shall be the covenant that I will make. with the house of Israel, after those

[ocr errors]

days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord ; for they shall all know me, from the least of them, ; unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord ; for I will forgive , their iniquity, and I will remembcr their sin no more.” The prophet elsewhere tells what is connected with knowing God, a viz. doing judgment and justice, and shewing mercy, o&c." Chap. xxii. 16, Jer, Xxxii. 39, 40.1 % And I will give them: onc heart and one way, that they may, featme; for ever, ford the good of them and their children after them ; eando I wilk, make an everlasting covenant, with them, that I will not turn: away from them to de them good. abut I williput my fearing their hearts, and they shall not depart from me.” Jer, XXxiii.; 2. “Thussaith the Lord, the maker: thereof, the maker that, formed it.”: Verse 8. “And I will cleanse them from all: their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me.” Ezek.” xi. 18.20. “And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all, the detestable things thereof, and all the abomination; thereof, from othence. And I will give, them vone. heart, and I will put a new, spirit within you; and I will, take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them. an heart of flesh ; that they may, walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them in and they shall beamy, people, and I will be their God.”.no.o. o. 2, w to semitri, o, * Zech. xii. 10, to the end. “And I will poureupon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall lookampon me whom they have pierced,” &c. o. 1 stols eswig insai So in the next chapter at the beginning, “I will out off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall be no more remembered;” and also, “Inwill cause the prophets, and also the unclean spirits to pass out of the land.”ho ow 2, Mal. iii. 3. 4: “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall, Pulisynthe sons, of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness., Toca'shall the offering af Judah


and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of: old, and as in the former years.”< * * * * * * * * * * * wn so o or or o, of or 'ro to a * ... * *- : , , , , is w$55. We are told, Job. xxviii. 28, that, “the fear of ther Lord is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.”. The same is also abundantly declared in other places. ... But it is equally declared, that God is the author and giver of wisdom, and that he is the author wholly and only ; which is denied of other things. It is also abundantly declarcd in this 28th thapter of Job, that it cannot be obtained of any creature by any means; and it is implied in the end of the chapter, that it is God that gives wisdom, as is asserted, Prov. ii. 6. “For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of his mouth:cometh knowledge. and understanding.” It is the promises of God the Father, Psalm cK. 2. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy: power.” Psalm crix. 35. -4. Make me to go! in the way of thy commandments.” Verse 36. “Incline my heart unte. thy testimonies.” . . . . . . . . . . . lo. -- or oir. A • - - • * * * * * * * ** { ... . . . . . in S.56. We are directed earnestly to pray and cry unto God: for wisdom, and the fear of the Lord; for this reason, that it is he that giveth wisdom. Prov.ii. at the beginning : Compare Job. xxviii, with Prov. xxi.; 1. “ The king’s heart is in the ; hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Here it is represented that the will of God determines the wills of men, and that when God pleases to interpose, he even directs them according to his pleasure, without failure in any instrace. This shews that God has not left men's hearts so in their own hands, as to be determined by themselves alone, independently on any antecedent determination. . . . . so so o a to , . . . . . . * Prov. xxviii. 26. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” Aman is to be commended for making a wisc improve. ment of his outward possessions; for his own consort; yet this is the gift of God. Eccles. ii. 24.26.” “There is nothing better for a man; than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw that it was from the hand of God. * * * *

« AnteriorContinuar »