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'Ion' as including the bulk of the inhabitants of those regions, like 'the whole church of England,' or, 'the whole church of Scotland,' or, 'the whole 'church of Rome:' yet probably " the church at "Babylon" consisted only of a remnant of believers, collected together by the apostle's ministry, and inconsiderable in number, compared with the multitudes among whom they lived. A company thus collected and circumstanced, it may be supposed, consisted in general of true believers; and entirely of such as made a credible and intelligent profession of faith, which their conduct did not invalidate. They were therefore spoken of as true Christians, in the judgment of charity; as being what they professed to be; and so elected together with other Christians in different parts of the world.—Yet possibly there might be, unperceived by man, some hypocrites among them.
'It is not confined to individuals who must 'necessarily be saved, or who were predestinated 'by God to certain salvation, or even to those 'who will actually be saved.'1
Calvinists do not hold, that all who think themselves, or are thought by others, even by the most discerning ministers, to be true Christians, " the "elect of God, holy, and beloved," will necessarily be saved: but only all whom God, who " searches "the heart," knows to be true believers. His decrees are wholly unknown to man, till manifested by the event. When any person or persons become, as far as we can see, true believers, "shewing their faith by their works;" we consider them as "called, and chosen, and faithful:"' and we speak of them as they appear to us, and not as, perhaps, they appear before God. Even the apostle himself says of Silvanus, " a faithful "brother unto you, as I suppose."2 Men may deceive themselves, or impose on others; but the purpose of God shall be established: and this is "the Father's will, which hath sent me, that of all "which he hath given me I should lose nothing, "but should raise it up at the last day: and this "is the will of him that sent me, that every one "which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may "have everlasting life; and I will raise him up "at the last day."3
1 Ref. 206.
'St. Paul begins his epistle to the Ephesians, in 'this manner,' &c. *
In order duly to examine the beginning of the epistle to the Ephesians, the whole passage must be viewed together. Instead, therefore, of printing those parts only which are quoted in the Refutation, I shall insert the whole passage, marking with brackets what is omitted by his Lordship.
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will "of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and "to the faithful in Christ Jesus; Grace be to you "and peace from God our Father, and from the "Lord Jesus Christ. 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 be"fore him in love: having predestinated us unto "the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to "himself, according to the good pleasure of his "will; [to the praise of the glory of his grace, "wherein he hath made us accepted in the be"loved: in whom we have redemption through "his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to "the riches of his grace; wherein he hath "abounded towards us in all wisdom and pru"dence ;] having made known unto us the mys"tery 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 :] in whom also we have obtained "an inheritance, being predestinated according to "the purpose of him who worketh all things after "the counsel of his own will; [that we should be "to the praise of his glory who first trusted in "Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye "heard the word of truth, the gospel of your sal"vation: 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. Wherefore I also, after "I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love "unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for
'Ref.xvii. 14. M Pet. v. 12.
'John vi. 39, 40. 'Rcf. 206.
"you, &c."] The apostle here addresses the
Ephesians as " saints," or holy persons; as " faith"ful in Christ Jesus," or believers in Christ. He joins himself with them, as those whom God had "blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
"things;" and this, " according as he had chosen
"them in Christ before the foundation of the
"world, that they should be holy," (or saints,)
"and without blame before him in love." He had
"predestinated them to the adoption of children
"by Jesus Christ unto himself:"—and " if chil
"dren then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs
"with Christ."i—This was " according to the
"good pleasure of his will." Thus our Lord says,
when he " rejoiced in spirit," " I thank thee,
"O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because
"thou hast hid these things from the wise and
"prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
"Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy
"sight." 2—This predestination was, expressly,
"to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein,"
or by which, (h j) "he had made them accepted
"in the Beloved; in whom they had redemption
"through his blood, even the forgiveness of their
"sins." They were, then, pardoned, justified, and
accepted in Christ, which no merely nominal
Christian ever was or can be. This was " accord
"ing to the riches of his grace; wherein he had
"abounded towards them in all wisdom and pru
"dence ;" having arranged the whole plan for the
display of his rich and plenteous grace, in such a
manner as to give no encouragement to sin, but
only to repentance and its fruits; and to magnify
his law, and glorify his justice and holiness, and all
his perfections, in harmony with his grace. The apostle and the Ephesians had " obtained an inhe"ritance, being predestinated," &c. He and his fellow Christians from among the Jews had "first "trusted in Christ;" and the Ephesians, hearing "the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation, "had trusted in Christ;" they had believed, and "had been sealed by the Holy Spirit, the earnest "of their inheritance." They had faith in Christ, and love to all "the saints." Now can all these things be spoken of any except of true Christians? Indeed1, can any of these things be true of others? If there were others, in the outward communion of the church, as chaff or tares among the wheat, "they were not of them," though they were among them; and they might " go out from "them," or continue mixed with them till the time of harvest. It is here also to be noted, that the epistle is not addressed to the church at Ephesus, "but to the saints and faithful brethren:" so that there is the less ground for considering it as written to a collective body of true Christians and hypocrites indiscriminately. Whatever is meant by chosen and predestinated, the words are indisputably connected with "the things which ac"company salvation;" and of which this choice and predestination were the source and cause, and not the effect.
1 Rom. viii. 17. 2 Matt. xi. 25,26. Luke x. 21. "Ovria; eyiyiro iuJoxia HjvitpvSiv 7vi. Comp. Eph. i. 5, 9. Gr.