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quities :" such was his sovereign, irresistible decree, before the foundation of the world. To fill up the measure of their iniquities, that is, to commit every act which they committed. So “ God decreed the Jews to be the cruci. fiers of Christ, and Judas to betray him.” (chap. 4.) Whose fault was it then? You plainly say, it was not his fault, but God's. For what was Judas, or ten thousand reprobates besides ? Could they resist his decree? No more than they could pull the sun out of the firmament of heaven. And would God punish them with everlasting destruction, for not pulling the sun out of the firmament? He might as well do it for this, as for their not doing what (on this supposition) was equally impossible. “But they are punished for their impenitency, sin, and unbelief." Say unbelief and impenitency; but not sin. For “God had predestinated them to continue in impenitency and unbelief. God had positively ordained them to continue iu their blindness and hardness of heart.” Therefore, their not repenting and believing was no more à sin, than their not pulling the sun from heaven.
7. Indeed Mr. T. himself owns, “ The sins of the reprobate were not the cause of their being passed by; but merely and intirely the sovereign will and determinating pleasure of God.”
“ 0, but their sin was the cause of their damnation, though not of their preterition ;" that is, God' determined they should live and die in their sins, that he might after. wards damn them!
Was ever any thing like this? Yes, I have read something like it. When Tiberius had determined to destroy Sejanus and all his family, as it was unlawful to put a virgin to death, what could be done with his daughter, a child of nine years old ? Why, the hangman was ordered first to deflower, and then to strangle her! Yet even good Tiberius did not order her to be strangled, : “ Because she had been deflowered !” If so, it had been a parallel case; it had been just what is here affirmed of the Most High.
8. One word more. “I will obviate,” says Mr. T. “a fallacious objection, How is reprobation reconcileable with the doctrine of a future judgment ? There needs no pains to reconcile these two." No pains ! Indeed there does : more pains than all the men upon earth, or all the devils in hell will ever be able to take. But 66 In the last day, Christ will pass sentence on the non-elect. 1. Not for having done what they could not help, but, 2. For their wilful ignorance of divine things; 3. For their obstinate unbelief, 4. For their omissions of moral duty; and, 5. For their repeated iniquities and transgressions.
He will condemn them, 1. “ Not for having done what they could not help.” I say, yes; for having sinned against God to their lives end. But this they could not help. He had himself decreed it. He had determined, they should continue impenitent. 2. “ For their wilful ignorance of divine things.” No. Their ignorance of God, and the things of God, was not wilful, was not originally owing to their own will, but to the sovereign will of God. His will, not theirs, was the primary cause of their continuing in that ignorance. 3. “For their obstinate unbelief.” No: how can it be termed obstinate, when they never had a possibility of removing it? When God had absolutely decreed, before they were born, that they should live and die therein ? 4. “. For their omissions of moral duty:" that is, for not loving God and their neighbour, which is the sum of the moral law. Was it then ever in their power to love God and their neighbour ? No; no more than to touch heaven with their hand. Had not God himself unalterably decreed, that they should not love either God or man? If, therefore, they are condemned for this, they are condemned for what they never could help. 50" For their repeated iniquities and transgressions." And was it ever in their power to help these? Were they not predestinated thereto before the foundation of the world ?, How then can the Judge of all the earth consign them
to everlasting fire, for what was, in effect, his own act and deed?
I apprehend then this is no fallacious objection: but a solid and weighty one: and defy any man living, who asserts the unconditional decree of reprobation or preterition (just the same in effect) to reconcile this with the scriptural doctrine of a future judgment. I say, again, I defy any man on earth to shew, how, on this scheme, God can judge the world in righteousness.
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
1. MANY large volumes have been already published on this important subject. But the very length of them makes them hard to be understood, or even purchased, by common readers. A short, plain treatise on this head, is what serious men have long desired, and what is here offered to those whom God has endowed with love and meekness of wisdom.
2. By the Saints, I understand, Those who are holy or righteous, in the judgment of God himself: those who are endued with the faith that purifies the heart, that produces a good conscience: those who are grafted into the good Olive-tree, the spiritual, invisible church: those who are branches of the true Vine, of whom Christ says, “I am the Vine, ye are the branches :” those who so effectually know Christ, as by that knowledge to have escaped the pollutions of the world; those who see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and who have been made par. takers of the Holy Ghost, of the witness and fruits of the Spirit: those who live by faith in the Son of God: those who are sanctified by the blood of the covenant: those to whom all, or any of these characters belong, I mean by the term SAINTS.
3. Can any of these fall away? By falling away, we mean, not barely falling into sin. This, it is granted, they may. But can they fall totally? Can any of these so fall from God, as to perish everlastingly?
4. I am sensible, either side of this question is attended with great difficulties : such as reason alone could never
Therefore to the law and to the testimony. Let the living oracles decide: and if these speak for us, we neither seek nor want farther witness.
5. On this authority, I believe a Saint may fall away; that one who is holy or righteous in the judgment of God himself, may nevertheless so fall from God, as to perish everlastingly. · I. For thus saith the Lord, “ When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity;--in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die,” Ezek. xviii. 24.
That this is to be understood of eternal death, appears from the 26th verse: “ When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them, [here is temporal death] for his iniquity that he hath done, he shall die;" here is death eternal.
It appears farther, from the whole scope of the chapter, which is to prove, “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die, ” ver. 4. If you say, “ The soul here means the body;" I answer, that will die whether you sin or not.
6. Again, thus saith the Lord, “ When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live: if he trust to his own righteousness,” (yea, or to that promise as absolute and unconditional] “ and committeth iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for the iniquity that he hath committed shall be die," chap. xxxiii. 13.
Again, “ When the righteous turneth from his righteousness and committeth iniquity, he shall even die there. by,” ver. 18. Therefore, one who is holy and righteous in the judgment of God himself, may yet so fall as to perish everlastingly.
7. But how is this consistent with what God declared elsewhere, “ If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments, I will visit their offences with the rod,