Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

...

"highly improper and quite unnecessary, to rest

the argument on a word which may perhaps admit of some other meaning: but the laboured discussions of those, who are greatly afraid that the doctrine of gratuitous personal election to 'eternal life should be collected from it, leaves this 'impression on my mind, that these writers themselves would have carefully avoided a term, which

needs so much guarding against misconstruc• tion.'! The word is used in the texts referred to below, and no where else in the New Testament.2

““ We know that all things work together for 'good to them that love God, to them who are the

called according to his purpose; for, whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; ‘and, whom he called, them he also justified, and, • whom he justified, them he also glorified.” We know that all things, whether adverse or prosperous, co-operate in the end for the permanent

good of those who sincerely love God, of those who • are called to the knowledge of the gospel accord‘ing to the eternal purpose of God; for he ordained and decreed, that those, who he foreknew would believe and obey the gospel, should resemble his

blessed Son by following his example, that he ‘might have many brethren, who would be joint heirs with him, and partakers of that happiness 'Note, Acts xiii. 42—48, in the author's Commentary. * Matt. xxviii. 16. Luke vii. 8. Acts xiii. 48. xv. 2. xx. 13. xxii, 10, xxviii, 23. Rom. xiii. 1. I Cor. xvi. 15.

' which he enjoyed. Moreover, those, to whom it ' was fore-ordained of God that the gospel should • be made known, he has now actually called, and * those whom he has called he has justified from all their former sins :-'1

To be called to the knowledge of the gospel, according to the eternal purpose of God,' must mean something very different from having the mere proclamation and invitation of the gospel addressed to them, or being brought to the outward profession of the faith ; unless all who are called Christians do indeed love God, and resemble his blessed Son, by following his example.' If, however, God did decree that some should have the means of salvation, and that others should not have them, the objections generally urged against Calvinism, as making God “a respecter of per“sons,” come in ; and may as fairly be urged against this doctrine as against Calvinism itself. None of Adam's faļlen race naturally “ love God,” but all are alienated from him : and, as those who are “the called according to his purpose” do “ love “ God," the character described must be formed, not by nature, but by grace; and then our interpretation is established, which I cannot give in more proper language than that of our Article.

Predestination 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 cand damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ unto everlasting salvation, as vessels made

Ref. 235, 236.

to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called, according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due season ; they through grace obey the call'ing ; they be justified freely; they be made sons

of God by adoption ; they be made like the • image of his.only begotten Son Jesus Christ ;

they walk religiously in good works; and at * length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlast‘ing felicity.'' The language is special and personal : the same persons “ whom he foreknew," ?

those he predetermined to be conformed to the 'image of his Son: the same persons, invariably and exclusively, he called ;' the same, without addition or exception, "he justified, and he glo• rified. Now there can be no other calling, except that described in the Article, which is inseparably connected with being justified and glorified : for, in other senses of the word, “Many are called, “ but few are chosen.” Would not the same individuals, without exception, or addition, or alteration, be considered as intended, if an act of grace, or a deed of gift, or an act of parliament, should be drawn up in a similar manner?

"And those whom he has justified he has glori"fied by his grace, and all the other privileges of

the gospel-covenant. In the former part of this passage, the good spoken of is confined to those who love God, and act conformably to his purpose in revealing the gospel : this their conduct * God foreknew, and graciously determined to reward with eternal felicity. In the latter part L 'Art. xvii.

? Rom. xi. 2. .

of the passage, every thing is represented as past-the predestination, the calling, the justifi'cation, the glorification. Of the predestination ' and the calling there can be no doubt; and it has been proved that the word justification, as applied to Christians, always refers to this life, and

here it means the remission of sins granted at the ‘ time of baptism : and the word glorified, being, 'both in the original Greek and in our translation, ' in the same tense as the words predestinated,

called, and justified, must also relate to something which has already taken place; it relates to that“ Spirit of glory and of God," which St. Peter says, “resteth upon Christians” in this world ; to

that “ kingdom and glory,” to which St. Paul • tells his Thessalonian converts God had called 'them; to that “ change into the same image

with Christ from glory to glory,” which he an'nounces to the Corinthians.'!

Is there any instance in which the word glorify is used in scripture in the sense here affixed to it?' Even Christ himself was not said to be glorified by the Father, till he was exalted to the right hand of God in heavenly glory. In this chapter the apostle says, “ If children then heirs ; heirs of “ God, and joint-heirs of Christ; if so be that we “ suffer with him, that we may also be glorified “ together.” 3 This accords to what he says in another place : “ If we suffer, we shall also reign, “ with him.”4 I do not recollect that the word glorify, or glorified, is elsewhere expressly used

Ref. 236. ; John vii. 39. xii. 16, 23. xiii. 31, 32. xvii. 5. Acts ii. 13., 1 Tim. iii. 16. Heb. v. 5. 1 Pet. i. 21. * Rom. viü. 17.

2 Tim. ii. 12.,

of man, as glorified by God; though it is implied when the apostle says, “That the name of the “ Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in “ him :" but this will be “ when he shall come to “ be glorified in his saints;" that is, at the day of judgment. The word glory is often used with relation to the blessings conferred by God on his people ; but mostly in respect of another world.2 It does not appear that language of this kind is used concerning what God confers on men, in any respect except in express connexion with the eternal glory of heaven, which no ' means of

grace' can ensure. The only text, that seems at all to favour the supposition that past benefits are intended, is that here in part quoted; “ We are “ changed into the same image from glory to “ glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”3 Yet here it evidently denotes, not any outward benefit, but that inward renewal to holiness which is the beginning and earnest of eternal glory. The exposition therefore, here given of the apostle's words is unprecedented, and unauthorized by any one text in scripture.—But it is urged that the clause is in the past tense, as well as the other expressions in the same verse. Need then any student of the scripture be informed, that this anomaly is very common in the language of prediction, and in various parts of the sacred oracles ? And, though this be not directly the language of prediction, yet it is that of anticipation of promised blessings, as if in actual possession, through a

' 2 Thess. i. 10-12 ? Rom. ii. 7. v. 2. viii, 18. jx. 23. 2 Cor. iv. 17. Col. i. 27. iii. 4. 1 Thess. ï. 12. 2 Thess, ii. 14. 2 Tim. ii. 10. 1 Pet. v. 10. 32 Cor. iii. 18.

« AnteriorContinuar »