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the other hand, that, reading the works of Calvin or other eminent persons of the same school, they are convinced that these learned men have stated things in a different proportion than is observed in the word of God; and have said a great deal more concerning reprobation, and the reprobate, or nonelect (“ the rest,” l) than the scripture does: may not the modern students of scripture adhere to the apostolical plan, though they deviate from that of Calvin and Beza, and from many even of our own reformers and eminent writers? must they, whether they will or not, subscribe Calvin's whole creed, because they learn from the word of God, many of his doctrines ? Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri, I must decline doing this, in respect of any uninspired man who ever lived, unless I am convinced that his whole creed is scriptural. It may certainly be proved, that election implies non-election ; and those who consider the latter as unfounded do not very consistently hold the former. But it is not any man, or number of men, thinking a doctrine unfounded, that deprives of its foundation, either the doctrine itself, or any of those tenets that are connected with it. The foundation of the doctrine of election is in the holy scriptures, not in the sentiments of men; and this “ foundation of God standeth sure,” however “ the faith” of some “ may be overthrown.”—I am pleased to find his Lordship testify decidedly, that there is no hint in scripture about the wicked being annihilated : indeed there is the most decisive testimony to the contrary, “ Their worm “ dieth not.'2 “ These shall go away into everlast''Ol nostroi. Rom. xi. 7.
? Mark ix. 43–49.
“ing punishment.”|--I hope that we may amricably argue the point with those who differ from us in opinion, without being numbered among their adversaries.'
“No medium,' says Dr. Davenant, himself a * distinguished Calvinist, and of those who attended the Synod of Dort, can be assigned, either on God's part, betwixt the decrees of pre'destinating some men, and not predestinating * some others; or on men's part, betwixt men ab‘solutely predestinated to the attainment of life 'eternal, and absolutely prætermitted, and left · infallibly to fail of the obtainment of eternal life, 'which we call absolute reprobation. As for ex'ample, let us suppose the number of mankind to 'be two millions of nien; if out of these one million only, by the decree of election, be infallibly appointed to eternal life, and these certainly and absolutely distinguished from others, not * only as to their number, but their persons also ; who can deny, but that one million also, and those certain as to their persons, are as absolutely comprised under the decree of non-election or reprobation, as the others were under the decree of election or predestination?' 'So that,' says ‘ Dr. Whitby,' there is no possibility of asserting
one of these decrees, without owning the other * also ; and so whatsoever argument holds good
against an absolute decree of reprobation, must * certainly destroy the opposite decree of absolute election.''2 Dr. Davenant, a distinguished Calvinist, and 'Matt. xxv. 46.
? Ref. 255, 256. VOL. VIII.
Dr. Whitby as distinguished an Anticalvinist, are here introduced as agreeing in the same conclusion : yet, after all, some men are so inconsistent, as to believe election and disbelieve the absolute
decree of reprobation. I however have no other objection to either of these statements, except what respects the language. It has been shewn that the decree of election is absolute, and implies an express engagement of God to exert omnipotence in carrying it into effect, by regenerating or new creating unto holiness; by bringing to repentance, faith, love and obedience; by upholding and protecting, and rendering finally victorious ; and by bringing to heavenly glory all those whom he has elected. “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.” | But we find no where in scripture so particular an account given concerning the non-elect. God determined to leave them unregenerate; that is, not to give them what they had no right to. He would do them no wrong, but he would not exert omnipotent power in new creating them to holiness. Thus he determined to leave them to “walk “ in their own ways, and to be filled with their “ own devices.” It was a negative decree; a determination not effectually to interpose; not an absolute decree of reprobation. Granting a pardon to some, out of a company of condemned
'Rom. viii. 29, 30. See also Art. xvii.
malefactors, is a positive act; but leaving the rest to suffer the sentence of the law is præterition, and nothing more; whether any previous determination had been made on the subject, or not. Both these writers, however, lose sight of this circumstance, that these two millions (or two millions of millions, if they choose,) of men were viewed, in the divine prescience, “ as children of wrath," and “ vessels of wrath fitted for destruction;" and the decree was, effectually to interpose to rescue some of them from this awful condition, in which all might most justly have been left; and to leave the rest to suffer the just punishment due to their rebellions. Now, if this will be just when carried into effect at the day of judgment, why should it not be just in the great Governor of the universe previously to decree it? Whatever argument holds good against the non-election of some, holds good also against the election of others. But no scriptural argument holds good against either of them, when properly stated and explained.
If God of his own good pleasure elected cer.: tain persons exclusively to be eternally happy, by - furnishing them, through his especial grace, with
his own appointed means of faith in the death of Christ; it is implied that those means are denied to the rest of the human race, who are passed
over and left to their own unassisted powers. « This denial or præterition is in fact reprobation ;
for both Calvinists and ourselves believe, that roman by his own natural strength and good
works cannot turn to faith,' the only appointed ' mean of salvation; and that 'the fault and cor
ruption of every man that is naturally engendered of Adam deserveth God's wrath and damnation,' which he is of himself unable to avert; and, con'sequently, in the words of the 4th Lambeth Article, " Those who are not predestinated to salvation shall be necessarily or inevitably
damned for their sins.' This was unquestionably * the doctrine of former Calvinists, who were fully sensible that election and reprobation are inseparably connected. If therefore reprobation be ' unfounded, which some modern Calvinists allow,
it follows, upon their own principles, that elec*tion also is unfounded, since the latter cannot 'exist without the former.?!
The expression, - furnishing them, through his special grace, with the appointed means of faith,' by no means conveys our sentiment. It is a special grace, or favour, to be furnished with the ineans of believing ; which God grants to the inhabitants of this favoured island, but not to those of China or Japan. And, in fact, the divine conduct might as justly be objected to in this respect as in the other. But ' means of faith' do not always bring men to believe in Christ to salvation; indeed never, without the regenerating grace of his holy Spirit: and this grace God is pleased, for wise and holy purposes, which he has not seen good to reveal, to give to some and not to others. This indeed is implied in what is stated to be the common belief both of Calvinists and their opponents. It follows from the concessions of those who consider the doctrine of non-election unfounded, that they cannot consistently hold the
'Ref. 256, 257..