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national covenant with Israel, indeed, is not made with Christians as a collective body; and the Mosaic dispensation is changed for the Christian : but true religion is, for substance, the same as it was from the first promise of a Saviour ;l and the case of nations professing Christianity very much resembles that of Israel as a nation. But “ the “ true Israel” always was “a remnant according “ to the election of grace.”

"The very idea of covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistic system. Covenant implies con- . *ditions; absolute decrees reject all conditions. 'A covenant says, You shall have such or such a reward, if you act in the manner stipulated ; ab

solute decrees say, that it is irreversibly deter'mined by the arbitrary will of God, that you shall or shall not be saved, without any respect to your conduct.'?

The “ covenant" made with Noah and his posterity, that God would no more destroy mankind with a deluge, could not imply any conditions :: if it did, what were those conditions ? 3 Yet God has expressly said, that the covenant made with the true church is “ like the waters of Noah “ unto him.” “ This is as the waters of Noah “ unto me; for, as I have sworn that the waters “ of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so

have I sworn that I would not be wroth with “ thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall “ depart, and the hills be removed, but my kind“ness shall not depart from thee, neither shall

Book I. chap. i. sect. 3. Case of approved characters before Christ. Note, Ref. 226. Gen. ix. 9--17.

VOL. VIII.

equally includes all who are called Christians, however idolatrous, superstitious, heretical, wicked, or profligate. The word 'description of persons' is ambiguous. If it mean any thing except character, the proposition may be maintained; but both promises and threatenings are made to men, as bearing certain characters, and not independently of those characters. The condition' of the law is perfect obedience; and, “ Cursed is “ every one, that continueth not in all things “ written in the book of the law, to do them.” The gospel requires “ faith which worketh by “ love;" faith accompanied by repentance, and manifested by habitual unreserved obedience. These things form the character, or the de'scription' of men, to whom the promises are made ; which promises certainly and infallibly ensure salvation to those who are interested in them. But, as “ the wicked may turn from his " wickedness," and escape the threatened punishment, which yet will be certainly and infallibly inflicted on those who die in their sins; so, on the other hand, the question, the sole question is, whether they who repent, believe in Christ, love God and man, and are partakers of the Spirit of sanctification, do ever turn finally from their righteousness, and come short of the blessings which are secured to those who love God.

All the hope and salvation of the Israelites were derived, properly speaking, from the gospel ; of which their ceremonies were types, or prefigurative sacraments: and the holy moral law is “ established" by the gospel, and is as obligatory on Christians as it ever was on Israelites. The

national covenant with Israel, indeed, is not made with Christians as a collective body; and the Mosaic dispensation is changed for the Christian : but true religion is, for substance, the same as it was from the first promise of a Saviour ;l and the case of nations professing Christianity very much resembles that of Israel as a nation. But “ the “ true Israel ” always was “a remnant according “ to the election of grace.”

"The very idea of covenant is inconsistent with 'the Calvinistic system. Covenant implies, con- . * ditions; absolute decrees reject all conditions. 'A covenant says, You shall have such or such a

reward, if you act in the manner stipulated ; ab'solute decrees say, that it is irreversibly deter'mined by the arbitrary will of God, that you shall or shall not be saved, without any respect to your conduct.'2

The “ covenant" made with Noah and his posterity, that God would no more destroy mankind with a deluge, could not imply any conditions :. if it did, what were those conditions ? 3 Yet God has expressly said, that the covenant made with the true church is “ like the waters of Noah “ unto him.” “This is as the waters of Noah “ unto me; for, as I have sworn that the waters “ of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so “ have I sworn that I would not be wroth with “ thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall “ depart, and the hills be removed, but my kind“ nėss shall not depart from thee, neither shall

* Book I. chap. i. sect. 3. Case of approved characters before Christ. ? Note, Ref. 226. Gen. ix. 9-17.

VOL. VIIT.

H

" the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the “ Lord that hath mercy on thee."! What were the conditions, expressed or implied, in the covenant here spoken of, and in the other texts referred to? In these and other scriptures, those things, which are generally called conditions required of us, are expressly promised, as the gift and work of God, and engaged for in the covenant itself. Now, if this be interpreted that the covenant implies conditions ; the same rule of interpretation will make the language of most Calvinists, on the everlasting covenant, to imply conditions also, and exactly in the same sense: for we do not hold that God will save any by the decree of election, in whose heart he does not, by his sanctifying Spirit, write his holy law and renew his holy image; or any (except infants,) who are not brought to repent, to believe in Christ, and to love God and man. In one view, these form a part of salvation, the gifts of special grace; in another view they are our bounden duty, which through grace we endeavour to perform.-It would throw much light on the subject, and give weight to the argument, if his Lordship would quote, from some modern Calvinist, any passage in which absolute decrees are considered as saying, • It is irreversibly determined by the arbitrary

will of God, that you shall, or shall not, be saved, (without any respect to your conduct.' When this is done, I will cordially join in reprobating the doctrine.---The divine prescience beholds us all as sinners, justly deserving condemnation ;

'Is. liv. 9, 10. See also Jer. xxxi. 31-34. xxxii. 37–41. Ezek. xvi, 60–63. Heb, viij. 8---12.

and the decree to leave any to themselves, and their own wicked inclinations, to fill up the measure of their crimes, cannot be without respect to their conduct; nor (if indeed it be, as no doubt it is, just and wise,) can it be arbitrary. The decree which “chooses some to salvation, through “ sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the “ truth,” is indeed not made for our foreseen works; for none could be foreseen but evil works, except as “ the fruits of the Spirit,” given to us according to this decree: our renewal to holiness, and fruitfulness in good works, are grand objects of the decree; they are effectually provided for in the covenant; and in this way alone, namely, by giving diligence, and abounding in good works, can we“ make our calling and election sure.” How can this be without any respect to our conduct?'

“ The Lord hath made all things for himself; “ yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." 1 "The

true meaning of this passage is, that God made * all things to display his own glorious attributes ;

and that even wicked men, whose existence and ' frequent prosperity may seem scarcely recon

cilable with the divine perfections, will in the

end be found to furnish the strongest proof of “his long suffering in bearing with their iniqui

ties, and of his power and justice in punishing their incorrigible depravity : 'upon such men the day of evil will ultimately come: “the wicked ‘is reserved to the day of destruction ;” they shall 'be brought forth to the day of wrath.'? This interpretation is not objected to.. The * Prov. xvi. 4.

Ref. 227.

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