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triumphant exercise of faith, and hope, and holy desire.'l And, this being obviated, we have here foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification, inseparably united, as the links of a chain: for the expressions, " he did "predestinate to be conformed to the image of "his Son," and " the called according to his pur"pose," fully imply the beginning and progress of sanctification. The triumphant conclusion also of the apostle, " What shall we say then to these "things? If God be for us, who can be against "us, &c." 2 certainly leads the reader to think of something immensely more distinguishing, and more inseparably connected with everlasting glory and felicity, than any outward advantages can be.
'The remission of sins granted at the time of baptism.'—This subject has been fully considered: but it does not appear what there is in the apostle's argument, which leads to the introduction of it in this place, or what purpose it is intended to answer.
'The predestination therefore mentioned in this 'passage signifies God's purpose of making known 'the gospel, and of bestowing eternal happiness 'upon those who shall make a right use of the 'means of grace. This is very different from an 'irrespective and irreversible decree, absolutely 'appointing particular individuals to everlasting 'happiness, and subjecting the rest of mankind to 'endless and inevitable misery.'3 It is easy to make the assertion contained in the 1 Eph. ii. 5,6. 'Rom. viii. 31—39. 'Ref. 237.
beginning of this passage; but has any thing like solid argument been adduced in support of it? If any man, having deliberately and repeatedly read the latter part of the eighth chapter to the Romans, can be satisfied, that the apostle means no more than is here expressed, I shall decline arguing the point any further with him. It is, however, surprising, if such be the meaning, that the apostle should forget to guard his doctrine, by saying, 'bestowing eternal happiness upon those who 'shall make a right use of the means of grace:' as it is certain that he gives no hint, either concerning'means of grace,' or making a right use of them: for that indeed is not his subject. This interpretation is, indeed ' very different' from any decree concerning " the heirs of salvation:" so different, that no person, fully acquainted with the apostle's words, and meeting with this passage, in any discourse not directly referring to them, would probably ever have suspected that they had any relation to each other.—Irrespective decrees have been considered:i and all God's decrees are irreversible. 2 "There be many devices in the heart "of man, but the counsel of the Lord, that shall "stand."—' Subjecting all mankind,' as rebels and enemies, " vessels of wrath fitted for destruc"tion," ' to endless and inevitable misery,' (though this is not the subject on which the apostle is discoursing,) would not be at all inconsistent with the moral attributes of the great Creator and Judge of the world: nay, whether he has decreed the
1 Book I. chap. ii. sect. 18. The Gift of God irrespective.
2 Prov. xix. 21. See also Isa. xiv. 24—27. xlvi. 10,11. Lam. iii. 37. Dan. iv. 35. Eph. iii. 11.
eternal state of individuals, or not, he will cause all the wicked " to go away into everlasting pun"ishment." But " shall not the Judge of all the "earth do right?" And will not all the righteous ascribe the whole glory of their salvation to " Him "that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb that "was slain, and hath redeemed them to God with "his blood?"
'The whole of the chapter from which this pas'sage' is taken, and which is generally thought 'to abound in difficulties, seems to become easily 'intelligible, by considering that it refers to the 'present world only. In the former part of it 'St. Paul laments the unbelief and consequent 'rejection of his brethren the Jews, to whom had 'so long " pertained" those distinctions which 'marked them to be the chosen people of God, 'and from whom Christ himself was descended. 'But, in the midst of his sorrow, he comforts him'self with the reflection, that " the word of God" 'had taken some " effect," as a portion of the Jews 'had believed, and were therefore of the number 'of God's newly-elected people, the Christians. 'He shews that this partial adoption of the Jews 'in the present instance is similar to what had 'happened in the case of Abraham's descendents, 'all of whom were not Israelites, or chosen people 'of God, but only those who sprang from Isaac 'and Jacob. He quotes God's own declaration, 'that he "will have mercy on whom he will have 'mercy, and will have compassion on whom he 'will have compassion;" which mercy and com'Rom. ix. 18—24.
* passion must always be exercised without any 'violation of the eternal rules of justice: the above 'declaration was made to Moses after God had 'laid aside his purpose of " consuming" the Is'raelites for worshipping the golden calf, and 'when he "repented of the evil which he thought 'to do unto his people."l
If the whole of this chapter could be proved to 1 relate to the present world only,' it would remove some difficulties out of the way, which now press very hard on Anticalvinists: but very conclusive arguments will be required to establish this point. It has before been shewn that his Lordship has confounded the illustrations of the subject, used by the apostle, and taken from the Lord's dealings with the family of Abraham and Isaac as to temporal benefits and outward religious advantages, with the thing to be illustrated; namely, his dispensations, or dealings, with mankind as to their personal and eternal concerns.2 Supposing that all which the apostle adduces concerning Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, nay, concerning Pharaoh, related to the present world exclusively, (which would be far too liberal a concession;) is it not undeniable, that St. Paul merely adduces these examples as serving to illustrate the doctrine which he had before been explaining and establishing, in the latter part of the preceding chapter,3 in which every thing is individual, spiritual, and pertaining to eternal life and glory? The passage has been considered; * and it implies the rejection of the Jews, as a nation, from being the
'Ref. 238. 'See on Ref. 216,217.
2 Rom. viii. 28—39. 'See on Ref. 235,236.
people of God. Then the apostle, in most emphatical terms, laments that this highly [favoured people should thus forfeit their distinguished privileges. But he adds, " Not as though the word "of God hath taken none effect: for they are not "all Israel, which are of Israel: neither because "they are the seed of Abraham are they all chil"dren; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called: "that is, they which are the children of the flesh, "these are not the children of God; but the "children of the promise are counted for the seed." —Here it is evident that there was, in the nation of Israel, a true Israel, a believing remnant, " ac"cording to the election of grace." This had always been the case, and was so, at the time, when the nation was rejected. "God did not "cast away his people whom he foreknew." "Is"rael hath not obtained that which he seeketh "for; but the election hath obtained it, and the "rest were blinded."1 Thus Isaiah: "Israel "shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting "salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor con"founded world without end." "In the Lord "shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall "glory."2 Was the nation of Israel, or the true Israel, here intended? Would any except the true Israel, consisting of real believers, be "saved "with an everlasting salvation?" be "justified "and glory" in the Lord? This had before been spoken of, when the apostle was stating the doctrine of justification, where he distinguishes the natural from the believing seed of Abraham, most expressly;3 as our Lord also does, in his discourse 'Rom. xi. 2—7. 'Isa. xlr. 17, 25. 'Rom. iv. 9—17.