« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
another that has no claim to it, without any shadow of injustice; yet, punishment can't righteously be inflicted on one that no way deserves it ; and eternal punishment cannot be deserved, if no sin is to be charged.
Among the Calvinistical Divines of the last century,Doctor Twiss was one of prime note ; and, tho' in the fupra-lapsarian fcheme, he declares himself in the words following; † “ That in no moment “ of time or reason doch God ordain 6 any man to damnation, before the con“ sideration of sin. Every one that is dam« ned is damned for his sin, and that will. “ fully committed, and contumaciously “ continued, by them that come to ripe so years.
Doctor Edwards, another ftrenuous and learned defender of predestination, says, * « It is a true proposition, that God never 66 decreed to make any creature everlaft“ ingly miserable, who by his voluntary
+ In his riches of God's love, wrote against Mr.
Hord, 2d part pag. 50.
" transgression of the divine laws, did not « deserve it. To damn, being an act of « punitive justice, supposes a fault, implies « some demerit. Tribulation and anguish to “ every foul of man that worketh evil, Rom. Cs 2. 9. All are under fin, Rom. 3. 9. That
every mouib may be fopped, and all the world os may become guilty before God, v, 19. There“fore the penal decree hath respect to this.
And our venerable Willard || speaks the same language, when he says, “ God in« tended to damn none but for sin. Dam. “ nacion is not an act of meer sovereignty,
but of relative justice. God damns none “ meerly because he will damn them, but
because they have bro't it upon chemfelves. As in Jer. 2. 17. Halt thou not procured this unto thy felf, in that thou hast
forsaken the Lord thy God? Sin therefore " is the only cause of men's destruction. " It is crue, there is an infallibility of con"s fequence upon reprobation, that all who
s are under that decree will die; but they “ do not die because chey were reprobated, " but because they finned. And were it “ not lo, revenging justice would not be “ manifested in this. For, justice appears
|| In his Expofitery Ledures, p. 279...
" in rewarding men according to their “ doings, judging by the law which " they are under. That justice chen may “ take place, it must appear that the “ man really deserves the penalty in“ flicted on him. Now this defert ariseth “ from the nature and merit of fin: the " man then must be a sinner before he can 66 be justly damned; and if he be so, he s then rightly deserves it. So we read, " Rom. 6. 23. The wages of fin is death; uc but the gift of God is eternal life, tbro' Jesus “ Christ our Lord. So that notwithstanding " the decree, no one falls under this sen" cence, vill by his sin he hath brought it “ upon himself. No man is doom'd to " hell and destruction, because he was re6 probated, but because he was a finner " and deserv'd it ”
Having so far clear'd the doctrine of these misrepresentations that are made of it,
We come, JI.. To return some answer to the objections that are commonly offer'd against ir.
And 1. Some object against the doctrine of election, or God's free choice of some of fallen mankind, to make them the subjects of his grace now, and heirs of glory hereafter, while he passed by the rest, and left them in the ruins of their apofiacy;some M 2
object against this, as inconsistent with the justice and righteousness of God. Why, say chey, shou'd he chuse some and not others, to make them the objects of his redeeming love and grace, when all were alike miserable, and equally undeserving? Does not this make him a respecter of persons ? Whenas we are told, Acts 10. 34. Of a truth God is no respecter of perfons; and he has ftriatly forbidden this in eartbly judges.
To this it may be answer'd, That respect of persons which is blam'd amongst men, : is when one is prefer'd before another, in a matter of right, for some sinister and selfish ends; as when a judge favours the rich in his cause: but this is not chargeable where a person is under no obligation by any law or rule, but is at perfečt liberty.
Thus cho' a man that is a judge, must do alike by all, when he dispenses justice; yer a man is ac liberty to take into his house and family whom he pleases, or to bestow his estate on whom he will. If that place in Acts 10. 34, 35: where the apostle Peter says, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons : Bue in every nation, be that feareth him, and worketh righ! eousness, is accepted with him, is duly consider’d, it will appear that it does not intend but that God does shew favour to fome above
others; but all that it means is this, that God respects no man's person, either less or more, for his outward condition & carnal priviledges,
Now, it is certain that God's election had no regard to any thing in the creature, to any deservings found in the objects of i ; for all lay in one corrup: mass when the decree was exercis'd abour them, and whatever they have excellent above others is the fruit of their election, and so not the cause of it.
The glorious God was at perfe& liberty, being a debtor to none. He is sovereign Lord of his own grace, and may certainly bestow it where he will. None could lay claim to it, and therefore none are wrong'd if it is not bestowed on chem; tho' all are highly favour'd who are the partakers of
Shall it be reckon'd an act of injustice in God to save some of mankind only, when he might have left ALL to perish, as well as the fallen angels, and not recover'd lo much as one of our apostate race? We may venture to refer the matter here to the decision of impartial reason it self. What! shall not God have power to dispose of his own grace and glory as he pleaseth? When he is a debtor to none,but makes that oper challenge, Who hath first given to him, and it