« AnteriorContinuar »
called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Pet. ii. 9, 10. “Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” Eph. i. 9, 10. 4th, Holiness--" Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth together unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Eph. ii. 19, 21. “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.” Eph. i. 3, 4. 5th, A glorious resurrection from the dead—“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Rom. vi. 5. “In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Eph. i. 13, 14.
Thus it appears, from the testimony of Scripture, that the privileges of the gospel salvation are, in their origin,
entirely dependent on the sovereign mercy of God; and as we have also seen, that the source, medium, state, and requirements of salvation are equally to be ascribed to the unsolicited and unmerited mercy of God; it remains for us to examine the evidence which is adduced in favour of a sovereign application of the benefits of salvation. Those who hold that the benefits of salvation are sovereignly applied, are divisible into two classes: the one believing that they were designed and purchased only for a limited number of mankind, and consequently are sovereignly communicated to those for whom they were designed and purchased; the other, that they were designed and purchased for all the human race; but as none, say they, will accept the offered salvation but those who are influenced by divine grace, and as God is not bound to bestow his grace but as he pleases, they maintain that God acts as a sovereign in bestowing that qualifying grace, and, consequently, that the benefits of salvation are sovereignly applied to those who are made the recipients of them. The other division of the Christian world, who believe that the benefits of salvation are not sovereignly applied, are also divisible into two classes : the one believing that divine aid is not necessary either for conversion or sanctification; the other, that it is necessary but not irresistible, they understanding irresistible grace to be that which effectually secures the voluntary submission of the human to the divine will.
In the first class of the first division stands the late
Rev. John Brown, of Haddington; and as his serhiments are fully expressed in his definitions of Election, Reprobation, and Perseverance, as given in his Dictionary of the Bible, which definitions are supported by numerous references to the Scriptures of truth; it has been thought proper to select him, he being also a writer who possesses considerable authority on that side of the question.
Still more celebrated is the late Rev. Thomas Scott, who ranks in the second class of the first division; and as his Sermon on Election and Final Perseverance was revised by him subsequently to the publication of his more elaborate work on the same subject, it has been thought advisable to adhere to that epitome, it not being the writer's intention to enter the lists of controversy, but simply to subject the opinions of his authors to the test of philosophical inquiry, making the authoritative import of the holy Scriptures the only ground of appeal.
It might have been deemed unnecessary to add any more authors to our list; but the well-earned honour of the advocate for Protestantism, the Rev. Joseph Fletcher, A. M. who holds the highly responsible situation of tutor in a theological academy, calls our attention to a work, which is the latest, and doubtless one of the best, that has been written on the side which he espouses.
AN EXPOSITION OF THE PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE
THAT ARE REFERRED TO BY THE LATE REV. JOHN BROWN, IN HIS DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE, UNDER THE ARTICLE-ELECTION.
“ELECTION, according to the Scripture,” says the article, “is an act of God, in which he, as eternal, unchangeable, infinitely wise, good, gracious, sovereign, and faithful Jehovah, intending to manifest the glory of his own perfections, particularly of his power, wisdom, sovereignty, grace, and mercy, from all eternity, foreknew, and forechose to everlasting salvation, and all the benefits thereof, some particular persons of mankind, whom he pleased, and but the smaller number, and as permitted, or to be permitted, to fall into sin and misery, from which they could not recover themselves; and fore-appointed them to salvation, into conformity with Christ, and to an adoption into his family, as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with him; and without regarding any foreseen qualities in them, whether natural or moral, as his motive, hath, of his own mere will and sovereign grace and good pleasure, from eternity, chosen them in Christ as their head; and unalterably ordained and appointed them to obtain their everlasting life in and through him, and inscribed their names in his book of life; and thus distinguished them from the rest of mankind, who were left in their corruption, and the misery thereby deserved; and in the same wise and unchangeable counsel, fixed the mediation of Christ, effectual calling to him, spiritual union with him, and an interest in, and partaking of him and his righteousness and fulness, together with faith and holiness, as means of their eternal salvation.”
As our author has interspersed his proofs, and thus divided the definition into sundry parts, it will be proper to consider these parts with their respective proofs, in order that we may more clearly perceive the particular application which our author designed.
I. “Election, according to the Scripture, is an act of God, in which he, as eternal, unchangeable, infinitely wise, good, gracious, sovereign, and faithful Jehovah, intending to manifest the glory of his own perfections, particularly of his power, wisdom, sovereignty, grace, and mercy-"
1st, Eph. iii. 10. Quote we from the eighth verse. “ Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; (ver. 9.) and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (ver. 10.) to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might