« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
he judge them according to the gospel, when there was never'any gospel or mercy for them ?
25. But, say some, “ If Christ died for all, why are not all saved ?" .
I answer," Because they believe not in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Because God “ called, and they refused to answer; he stretched out his hand, and they regarded not; he counselled them, but they would hear none of his counsels;" he reproved them, but « they set at nought all his reproofs ; they followed after lying vanities, and forsook their own mercies ;” they “denied the Lord that bought them, and so brought upon themselves swift destruction;" and because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, there-, fore (if you would know wherefore) God gave them up to believe'a lie,” and to be damned. 6. How often" (saith our Lord) “ would I have gathered you together, and ye would not !” Ye would not. Here is the plain reason why all men are not saved. For God promiseth no man salvation, whether he will or not. But leaveth them to everlasting destruction, who will not believe and obey the gospel.
26. “Oh, then you are an Arminian! You are a Freewiller! You hold free-will in man!"
I hold nothing but what the Scripture saith; and that you shall give me leave to hold. I do not hold, that any man has any will or power of himself, to do any thing that is good; but by the grace of God we may do all things.. I have already shewn, he hath given Christ for all men. And she who spared not his own Son, but delivered bim up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things ?”. And what man knoweth not, that, if he make. use of all the will and power God hath given him, God will double his talent, and give bim more? If any, there-. fore, desire to have more, let him faithfully improve what he has. Likewise what man is he, who doth not know that
he is not condemned, for not doing what he could not do, but for leaving undone what he could have done if he would. Let
any man deny it if he can. 27. “ What then, may all men be saved if they will ?"
Before I answer this question directly, I shall shew, that those who ask it, are themselves compelled to grant as much freedom of will as we desire to plead for.
For, 1. The Assembly of Divines, in their Confession of Faith, c. 9, do expressly say, “God hath endowed the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity determined to do good or evil.” 2. Mr. Baxter, in the preface of his Call to the Unconverted, says, that Calvin as well as Arminius held free-will, and that “no man of brains denieth, that man hath a will that is naturally free; it is free from violence, it is a self-determining principle.” Sure here is as much said for free-will, as any man need to say, and perhaps more. For,
The difference between us, is this. They say, Man hath a will which is naturally free. We say, Man hath this freedom of will, not naturally, but by grace.
We believe, that in the moment Adam fell, he had no freedom of will left; but that God, when of his own free. grace he gave the promise of a Saviour to him and his posterity, graciously restored to mankind a liberty and power to accept of proffered salvation. And, in all this, man's boasting is excluded; the whole of that which is good in him, even from the first motion of his will, being of grace and not of nature. And now we come directly to the question, Whether all men may be saved if they will ?
28. To those who have considered what has been premised, I answer, 1. What should hinder them if they be willing ? For, 2. God is not willing that any should perish; yea, 3. He is willing that all men should be saved. And Christ is willing; for he came not to judge the world, but to save the world. And how did he weep over Jerusalem ! How often would he have gathered them together, even as
a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but they would not! And now, what hinders men's salvation, but that same, They would not?
29. They would not, they will not come at Christ's call, and hearken to his reproof, and wait for his counsels, and receive power from on high to live to bim who died for them, walking in all his commandments and ordinances blameless, and following, him whithersoever he goeth. This
way is so narrow that few care to walk therein; and, therefore, they are not saved, even because they reject the counsel of God against themselves. They choose death; therefore they perish everlastingly,
TO ALL PREDESTINARIANS. 1. TAM informed some of you have said that the follows: ing quotations are false; that these words were not spoken by these authors: others, that they were not spoken in this sense : and others, that neither, you yourself, nor any true Predestinarian ever did, or ever would speak so.
2. My friends, the authors here quoted are well known, in whom you may read the words with your own eyes. And you who have read them know in your own consciences, they were spoken in this sense, and no other; nay, that this sense of them is professedly defended, throughout the whole treatises from whence they are taken.
3. Byt be this as it may, do you indeed say, No true Predestinarian ever did or would speak so.? Why every true Predestinarian must speak so, and so must yourself too, if you dare speak out, unless they and you renounce your fundamental principle.
4. Your fundamental principle is this, God from eternity ordained whatsoever should come to pass. But, from tlus single position undeniably follows every assertion hereafter mentioned. It remains therefore only that you choose
which you please, (for one you must choose,) of these three things, either 1. To equivocate, evade the question, and to prevaricate without end : or, 2. To swallow all these assertions together, and honestly to avow them: or, 3. To renounce them altogether, and believe in Christ, the Saviour of all.
Friend. Sir, I have heard that you make God the author of all sin, and the destroyer of the greater part of mankind without mercy. Pred.
I deny it; I only say, *“God did from all eter“ nity unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.
Friend. Do you make no exception ?
Pred. No surely; Fort “ Nothing is more absurd thạn “ to think any thing at all is done but by the ordination of « God.”
Friend. Do you extend this to the actions of men ?
Pred. Without doubt: "Every action and motion of “ every creature is so governed by the hidden counsel of “God,"that nothing can come to pass, but what was or“ dained by him.”
Friend. But what then becomes of the wills of men ?
Pred. “The wills of men are so governed by the will 6 of God, that they are carried on straight to the mark 66 which he has fore-ordained.”
Friend. I suppose you mean the permissive will of God?
Pred. No, I mean, g“ All things come to pass, by the efficacious and irresistible will of God.”
* Assembly's Catechism, Chap. 3. + Calvin's Institutes, Book I. Chap. 16. sect. 8. | Ibid. sect. 3. || Ibid. sect. 8. Dr. Twissy Vindiciæ Gratiæ Potestatis et Providentiæ Dei. Editio Jensoniana, Pars III.