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this Article, let his own words testify: '" I know 'in whom I have believed:"' I am not ignorant 'whose precious blood hath been shed for me: I 'have a shepherd full of kindness, full of care, and 'full of power; unto him I commit myself. His 'only finger hath engraven this sentence in the 'tablet of my heart: "Satan hath desired to win'now thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that 'thy faith fail not." Therefore, the assurance of 'my hope I will labour to keep as a jewel unto 'the end, and by labour, through the gracious 'mediation of his prayer, I shall keep it.' 2
If any solid and satisfactory explanation can be given of these scriptures above considered, which excludes this doctrine, let it be fairly attempted. Yet the more candid, even of our opponents, must, I think, allow that we have plausible grounds for our sentiments : we ourselves think them unanswerable. It may also be observed that, when apostates are spoken of in the New Testament, almost always some intimation is given unfavourable to their previous character. "These have no "root in themselves." The foolish virgins had "no oil in their vessels." The branches of the vine which "are broken off" were " unfruitful." "They went out from us, because they were not "of us; for, if they had been of us, they would "no doubt have continued with us." "There must "be heresies, that they who are approved may be "made manifest."
It appears also to us, that the Christian soldier, when fighting valiantly "the good fight of faith," with many a severe contest at the present, needs some better security for the future, against final defeat and everlasting ruin, than his own wavering resolution and his own heart, which he knows to be extremely deceitful; for "he who trusteth in "his own heart is a fool." He, and he alone, "who "continueth to the end shall be saved." "Hitherto "God hath helped me;" but on what am I to rely for the future? On my own heart? God forbid! Is there, then, any promise, or security, to the true believer, on which I may rest my confidence, and say, "He hath delivered and doth "deliver, and in him I trust that he will yet de"liver?" That he will "deliver me from every "evil work, and preserve me to his heavenly "kingdom?" Deplorable is the case of that man, who knows the deceitfulness of his own heart, and the power and subtlety of his enemies, and who cannot confide in the faithfulness of God, except in subordination to his own faithfulness as the prescribed condition, on which at last the whole depends!—It is impossible that an unwatchful and negligent person can have that consciousness of love to Christ, and other holy affections, which legitimately authorize him to take the comfort of God's promises to this effect: it is presumption for him to attempt it; yet cordials are not to be wholly expelled from the materia medica, because some persons intoxicate themselves with them.
1 2 Tim. i. 12. 'Sermon ' On the Certainty and Perpe
tuity of Faith in the Elect.
VOL. VIII. S
CHAPTER IV. .
THR HEATHEN DOCTRINE OF FATE DISTINGUISHED FROM CHRISTIAN PREDESTINATION.
The arguments of Justin. Martyr, concerning Fate,' addressed to heathens, and to heathen princes, did not at all relate to the Christian doctrine of God's predestination; or the predetermination of infinite wisdom, justice, truth, and love; by which free agency is not in the least interrupted, or responsibility diminished: but to heathen fate, which was a sort of necessity, independent of the gods and which their supreme god himself could not bend or alter.
O genetrix, quo fata vocas? aut quid petis istis ?Cui tanta deo permissa potestas?2
Philosophers indeed spoke of it in more guarded, though less perspicuous language; but this was the popular doctrine. Fate was a necessity superior to the will of the gods; and totally unconnected with the good or bad conduct of the persons concerned, in every sense; but intimately connected with auguries, divinations, and all kinds of fortune-telling, sorcery, and witchcraft; which in scripture are considered as the worship of de vils. It does not clearly appear from what source it was supposed to arise, or whence it had its name. Fatum only signifies what hath been spoken. —' Who would not dread a God, who foresees and 'considers and attends to all'things; and thinks 'that all things belong to him; one who is inqui'- sitive, arid full of employment? Hence arose to 'you that fatal necessity, which ye call Eipappi^; 'that whatever may take place, ye should say 'flowed from eternal truth, and a continued suc'cession of causes. But at how much is this phi'losophy to be estimated; to which as to old 'women, and those indeed unlearned, all things 'seem done by fate ?'l 'You say that all things are 'done by fate: but that which from all eternity 'was true, that is fate.'2 'Therefore it appears to 'me—first, that the whole strength and reason of 'divination is to be sought from God, of whom 'sufficient has been spoken ; then from fate ; then 'from nature. But I call that /ate, which the 'Greeks call ttpafpmj -, that is, the order and series 'of causes: when cause connected with cause of 'itself produces the thing; this is the perpetual 'truth, flowing from all eternity.'—' Besides, as 'all things are done by fate, if there could be any 'mortal who was able to perceive in his mind the 'connexion of all causes, nothing indeed would 'deceive him;' (or be concealed from him ;) 'which since none but God is able to do, it must 'be left to man that by certain signs, declaring 'following events, he should perceive beforehand * future events.3
'Virgil, Mneid, ix. 93—97. The words of Jupiter to Cybele. 1 Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. * Ibid. lib. iii.
'But thou deemest that it is fortune; and thou sayest that all things which are done, and what'ever things are future, were /atally determined 'from all eternity.' 'If nothing can be done, no* thing happen, nothing take place which it was * not certain would be, at a fixed time, what can 'fortune be r'l
1 Id. de Div. lib. ii.
'All things, which take place, take place from 'preceding causes: but, if this be so, whatsoever 'things are done are done by fate.'2 'From this 'kind of causes, hanging together from eternity, 'fate is framed (nectitur) by the Stoics.' 3—What Cicero's own sentiments on the subject were, it is not very easy to determine; as he generally puts the sentiments, which he brings forward, into the mouths of the Stoics, or Epicureans, or others: but nothing can be plainer than that, according to all the parties, fate was not the decree of an infinitely wise, just, and good God; and that it was something, when philosophically considered, of a necessary concatenation of causes and effects from eternity, which the Deity could foresee and make known by auguries and divinations, if he chose, but which he did not form, and could not rule, or alter, or prevent: something, one would almost say, antecedent to God, at least to his counsels, plans, and purposes. Now, ought this sentiment, which, stripped of its false colourings, amounts to little better than direct atheism, to be confounded with the most wise and holy counsel, plan, and purpose of God; who could not possibly either decree or do any thing, which, viewed in all its bearings, was not the very best thing that could take place r The one reduces the Deity to insignificancy, almost to non-entity: the other considers God as " doing according to his will in the armies 'Id. Ibid. 'Id. deFato. 'Idem.