« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
with express design to bring them to repentance. But he knew, from the days of eternity, that they would not repent. To have had no end in view, and to have one which he knew would never exist, are the same thing. If the antediluvians perith without end, God had no design in view, in sending his spirit and gospel to them, according to the present hypothesis. We are now driven to adopt one of these three alternatives; that God sent his spirit and gospel to the antediluvians, to increase their guilt and eternal damnation ;. or that he had no end in view ; or that the antediluvians will repent. The reader may adopt which of these alternatives he pleases. I shall adopt the last, as infi. nitely the most rational, the most honourable to God, and the most perfectly consistent with his res vealed benevolent government of men.
Thus Mr. S., by quoting St. Peter, as he did by quoting St. John, hath given us 'one of the best fcriptures to comment upon that we have in favor of the salvation of all men,, as it undeniably favors the salvation of the old world.
We have already considered a large portion of the 3d chap. of the ad epistle of St. Peter, and Haown the harmony between Peter and John, in their ideas of the new heavens and new earth.
Mr. S. goes from the epistles of St. Peter, to those of St. Paul ; and begins his remarks on that to the Romans. Mr. S. takes an extraordinary method with the epitle to the Romans. And it is not diffy.
cult to discern the reason of it. He gives us a geñ: eral statement of what he supposes to be St. Paul's design in this epistle ; and affirms that he was a strong advocate for eternal misery, and for a partial election to eternal life ; but brings forward no particus lar paffages to support this statement, and these affirmations. In this way a man may prove any thing, or, rather will prove nothing. For the confidera tion of the geh chapter, he refers us to his 3d part. He mentions the gth, ioth, and 11th, chapters, as containing a partial election to eternal life, and reptobation of the rest of mankind so that some must unavoidably be eternally miserable.
After Mr. S. had made a statement of St. Paul's general system of doctrine, in this epistle he has the following observations, page 51. " Hitherto, a cona nected view of this epistle, appears to be much against the opinion of universal salvation, and if the apostle had said nothing further, an unattentive reader would gather from his writing, his belief of eternal punilb. ment. The weight of evidence from this epiftle remains ftill to be considered, and is found in the gth, joth, and 11th chapters; where the point is decided with as great plaininess as language can do it.”
“He takes up the subject of the blindness of his own nation, the Jews į and their rejection by the fovereignty of God from the benefits of the gospel. His design was to justify the righteousness of God in doing it, and reconcile all the former promises made to that people; with such an event. If part of the
Jews are eternally rejected by God, the opinion of universal salvation is unfounded ; and part
of every other nation may also be forever lost.” Here the reader fees what he may expect to find in these three chapters, viz. a rejection of a part of the Jewish nation from eternal life. If this be not found here, then Mr. S. hath been guilty of misrepresenting St. Paul, and of affirming that which is not true. The reader cannot have forgotten yet, how Mr. S. treated the xvii. chapter of John, and that he affirmed that Christ prayed not for the world, in that chapter ; when it was proved, from the very chapter, that he repeatedly prayed for the world, and that the choicest blessing might be conferred on the world, even the knowledge and faith of the Son of God. If it should happen, when we come to a critical examination and analyfis of these three chapters of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, that there is no proof in them that any part of Israel were rejected from eternal happiness, and obliged to be eternally miserable, Mr. S.'s affertion must be unfounded, and he considered as having misrepresented St. Paul.
Rom. ix. 1–5. “I'lay the truth in Chrift, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness, and continual forrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Ifrael. itess to whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory; and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whole
are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesta Chrift came, who is over all, God blessed forever.
Amen." In these verses we have St. Paul's ardent wishes for the welfare of his countrymen, the Israelites.
6. “Not as though the word of God had taken mone effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”-Not that the Gospel hath been rejected by the whole nation. For there is a real difference among the natural descendants of Israel, and some are of a better disposition than others.
7. “ Neither because they are the feed of Abraham, are they all children : but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”-Nor, because they are the natural offspring of Abraham, can'we infer that they inher. it his disposition. For, as in the ancient transaction of God with Abraham, God told him that, though he were concerned for llhamael, in Ifaac should be his peculiar seed, and in his line, his seed, by emi. nence, the Melliah should arise.
8. * That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”—To explain myself clearly ; the child which Abraham had bay Hagar was not to be considered as a child of the covenant; but he who was born to Abraham, in consequence of the special promise of God, was to be accounted as the covenant seed.
9. " For this is the word of promise, at this time, will I come, and Sara shall have a lon."
For the promise was this, at this time will I come and thy wife Sara shall have a son.
10-14. "And not only this; but when Re: becca also had conceived by one, even by our fath. er Isaac, (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.) It was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, and Elau have I hated.”
And not only was God pleased to prefer Isaac to Ishmael, to be the covenant seed of Abraham ; but , when Rebecca came to have twin sons, God was pleased again to continue the line of the covenant seed in Jacob rather than in Esau; and he signified this to Rebecca, before the children were born, or either of them had any merit or demerit, on account of
any thing they had done ; that God might appear to act as a sovereign, and not from partial af fection, when he said, I have prefered Jacob tò Esau, to be the covenant feed of Abraham : and the Edomites shall be in fervitude to the Israelites.
15 " What shall we say then ? is there unright: çousness with God? God forbid.”
What shall we say of this conduct of God? shall we call it unrighteous ? Far be it. God had an undoubted right to establish his covenant with Isaac rather than with Ishmael ; and afterwards with Jacob rather than Elau. Neither of them had a