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· Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels of · honour.' Is there in this passage any, even the
most distant intimation of those to whom God · had decreed to make known the gospel,' as distinct from those whom he predestinated unto life? Is it not, if possible, even more than self-evident, that those who are to be brought to everlasting
salvation,' are here the same persons with those whom God hath chosen in Christ?' The Article admits of no such question as, 'Are all to ' whom the gospel is made known predestinated * to life?' It needs guarding against no such misapprehension. It speaks of no such persons. And the succeeding words follow not as a limitation upon
what precedes, but as a consequence of it. "Wherefore they which be endued with so
excellent a benefit of God, be called, according 'to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due ' season ; they through grace obey the calling ;
they be justified freely: they be made sons of ‘God by adoption; they be made like the image ‘ of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they 'walk religiously in good works; and, at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.'—Endued with so excellent a benefit.' Does not this particle so, expressly refer to the persons before described ? If not, to what does it refer, and why was it inserted ?—That is, they
on their part perform the conditions of the cove'nant, &c.' Certainly they do. “Being called by his Spirit working in due season, through grace they obey the calling, &c.' < God work“eth in them to will and to do of his good
pleasure."— And, as a reward, &c.—No doubt God graciously rewards the good works which are “ the fruits of his Spirit;” but “good works are i the fruits of faith, and follow after justification : :') and, being “justified in this world, made the sons of God by adoption, and made like to the image of Christ,' must precede, and prepare the elect, for ' walking religiously in good works,' and therefore certainly cannot be called the reward' of it. In scripture, and in our authorized books, justification and adoption are commonly spoken of as connected immediately with faith ; 2 but never as the reward of good works, which are only mentioned as evidences of justification and adoption : and a comment on this Article, which requires language unprecedented in scripture, or in our liturgy, articles, and homilies, only shews under what difficulties the expositor laboured in attempting to establish his interpretation.—In the last clause, the words, by God's mercy, are omitted.
Predestination to life therefore is not an absolute decree of eternal happiness to certain indi'viduals, but a gracious purpose of God to make ' a conditional offer of salvation to men, through the merits of Christ.'3
· Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby he hath constantly decreed to deliver from curse and damnation those whom
he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to • bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as
| Art. xii. ? John i. 12. 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. Gal. iii. 26. iv. 6. 1 John v. 1.
3 Ref. 266.
vessels of honour.' This is the text : the comment is the passage here cited! The reader must judge of their resemblance; and indeed, how far what is here said agrees with what went before. Are all to whom the gospel is made known predestinated unto life' for God' makes a condi* tional offer of salvation, through the merits of Christ, to all men who are favoured with the
gospel.' But I may fairly leave this part of the Article to plead its own cause, and our's also. I wish not to make any comment upon it; or to vary one clause which it contains by my own words. For me to say, on any part, “That is, &c,' would be sure in some measure to darken the clear light in which, as it appears to me, the Article now exhibits the doctrine of scripture. It speaks my sentiments, and the sentiments of my brethren ; and let it speak them without a comment. I am conscious that I could not, and I do not believe that any of them so much as think they could, so fully, so simply, so unexceptionably, express our sentiments, as this Article does. Can our opponents say so of it - I shall only add, that it supposes that all who are predestinated to life,' called, according to God's purpose, by his
Spirit working in due season,' actually persevere to the end, and at length by God's mercy attain
eternal life. It is manifest, that the compilers kept in view the statement of St. Paul in the eighth of Romans, throughout the whole. I
This godly consideration of predestination, and our election in Christ, is full of sweet, plea
i Rom. viii. 28-31.
sant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons,' * because from a consciousness of their own obe‘dience and religious walking in good works, “their faith of eternal salvation is greatly esta
blished and confirmed,' and they are supported under all the distresses and calamities of this 'mortal life, by looking forward to the prize of ' their high calling in Christ. Such are the predestination and election which our church 'maintains, and recommends to its members as ' replete with comfort.'1
* As the godly consideration of predestination, and our election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of 'the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the 'flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing
up their mind to high and heavenly things; as 'well because it doth greatly establish and con'firm their faith of eternal salvation, to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently
kindle their love towards God; so for carnal and 'curious persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to ' have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's predestination, is a most dangerous downfal, whereby the devil, doth thrust them down, either into desperation, or into reckless
ness of most unclean living, no less perilous 'than desperation’-in æque perniciosam impurissimæ vitæ securitatem.-Before I enter on the subsequent part of his Lordship’s exposition of this Artiele, I must intreat the reader to peruse repeatedly the whole passage which I have quoted
Ref. 266, 267.
from it; so as to make himself fully satisfied as to the import of it: observing especially that two, and only two, descriptions of persons are noticed, viz, 1. ` godly persons, and such as feel in them
selves, the working of the Spirit of Christ,' and, 2. curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit
of Christ;' and that the effect of the same doctrine on each of them, when fully considered, is stated and contrasted.—His Lordship has seen good to substitute, instead of the language of the Article, the words, ‘Because, from a consciousness
of their own obedience, and religious walking in 'good works, their faith of eternal salvation is
greatly established and confirmed; and they are supported under all the distresses of this mortal life, by looking forward to “the prize of their high calling in Christ.” Now let this be compared with the Article itself; and let the reader ask himself, whether a new Article be not, in fact, substituted. The effect of the godly consideration of predestination, and our election in Christ;' the character of those, to whom this is 'full of
sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort;' and other things, are greatly altered: but the clause, ' as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God, which is a special distinguishing effect of the consideration of personal election to eternal life, in such persons as are described in the Article, is wholly omitted; and another proposition, true indeed, but not hinted at in the Article, is substituted for it. Again : ‘Because 'it,' namely, “the godly consideration of predes'tination, &c. doth greatly establish and confirm 'their faith of eternal salvation,' saith the Article :