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sons, but conditionally willid the salvation of all men ; that is, provided they will repent, and believe : but has not determin'd to give this repentance and faith to any in particular ; at least not till he sees how they improve the common grace and ad. vantages chey are under. This is evidently to make the will of God in this matter, subject to, and directed by the will of man, which is very dimonourable to him. This notion represents God, as saying, " I will that all men should be saved ; nevertheless it must finally be, not as I will, but as they will.” This is in effect to take away the will of God; for, to be sure he can have no ablolute will of his own, whose will must be directed by the will of another, and is liable to be frustrated by it.
.2. Without such an eledicn as we are maintaining, God might be wholly disappointed in his saving design respecting the children of men, and the precious blood of Christ might have been shed in vain. The o ne could not be secur'd, nor the other prevented, without an election of individuals, to whom the redemption pura chas'd by Chrift shou'd be infallibly applied.
They will not get clear of this absurd consequence, by having recourse to the
fore.knowledge. fore-knowledge of God, and saying, he certainly fore-knew that some, and a great number wou'd repent and believe, and so was assur'd he shou'd not be disappointed
in his design, and that his son would not die in vain ; because, as we have shown already, the fore-knowledge of God neceflarily infers his fore-ordination : for it is certain, that when all things future were no where but in the mind of God, in the days of eternity, he cou'd know nothing of them but what was his determinate will and counsel concerning them.
Or if they will say, that to prevent this dilappointment, God will ro order it that some shall be inclin'd and dispos’d to comply with the terms of salvation ; this is in effect to give up the point, and grant what we aflert : for this will be to allow discrimi. nating grace exercis’d in time, which can't well be defended without allowing a difcrimination in God's purpose relating thereto; because they must otherwise suppose there are new determinacions in the divine will, which wou'd be to argue him imperfect in wisdom and knowledge.
3. Another of the gross absurdities which I apprehend follows upon the denial of this doctrine is, That man's lalvation is
left at the same uncertainty under the new covenant, that it was in under the first; nay, that the state of mankind now, is much more difficult and dangerous than it was then.
Man's happiness, or misery, turned upon the exercise of his own free will under the first covenant ; and so it does still if the sal. vation of a number is not secur'd by electing love and grace. And can we suppose it consistent with the love and kindness of God, to leave salvation again to depend upon the will of man, which had ruin'd · him once before? If free-will ruin'd man
in his first state, while he was upright ; is it not much more likely to ruin him in his worst state, now that he is fallen and cori upt? How can we imagine the wise God to expect his design of man's salvation shou'd be answer'd in the same way,when it was rendered much more unlikely ;Imay lay impossible now,cho' it was not so before ? Agreably we read, Job 19.15. Behold, he putteth no truit in his faints. He does not trust the concerns of his glory in their salvation, in their own hands; for he well knew his saving design wou'd then never take effect. And therefore their lalvation is infallibly secur'd by the new covenant, which is call'd a better covenant, establish'd upon better
promises; promises of reconciling,renewing and persevering grace, policive and absolute, Heb. 8. 6. A transcript of which co. venant follows, in the 10, II, & 12. v. and it runs in the most absolute unconditional strain that can be; This is the covenant that I will make with them, faith the Lord, I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts ; and I will be to them a God, and they fall be to me a people. And they mall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord : for all shall know me, from the least to the greateft. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their lins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Once more, 41bly, Another of the consequences, which, as I conceive, follows upon the denial of this doctrine is, That the salvation of every particular man does originate with himself ; or at least is to be divided between God and the creature.
They that are in the other way of thinking, suppose that by the death of Chrift mankind are put into a salvable ftate ; but that che success as to particular perfons depends upon their acceptance of the offer'd Salvation, and compliance with the terms of it; which acceptance and compliance
( according to them ) are not the result and fruit of God's purpose of grace, but rather of mens own reason and consideration, will and choice, excited by those rational arguments that have been Jet before them, and that moral suasion which has been used with them. Some of these will indeed speak of the grace of God, and acknowledge we can do nothing without tbat; but all they seem to mean is a common general grace which goes along with the gospel, and one may improve to equal advantage as another. --- And if it be thus, the finner that is sav’d, is furnish'd with an easy answer to that question, 1 Cor. 4. 7. Who maketh thee to differ from another? The happy difference instead of being ascrib’d to the free and powerful grace of God, must upon this principle, be alcrib'd to the man himself, his own reason and choice, good conduct and endeavours. There is no medium here ; for according to the apostles arguing, every mans salvation takes rise from the free grace of God in election, or from his own works. Rom. II. 5, 6. Even so at this time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, ( such as I mention'd just now, vi z. ele&ting grace ; if by grace, I say ) then it is no more of works ; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is