« EdellinenJatka »
will he shew no disapprobation of their conduct? They have forfeited all claim upon him, and deserved his awful indignation ; and how far it may be proper for him to shew them favour, must be unreservedly left to his unerring wisdom. Should those who hold universal salvation take up this argument, I cannot see how they could be answered, in any other
than by such arguments as we use in defence of our sentiments against the reasonings of our opponents. Except it would have been just to leave fallen men to perish in their sins, without hope or possibility of escape; their salvation is not, properly speaking, an act of entire mercy: for to remit an undeserved punishment is not clemency, but justice. Every thing then pertaining to the salvation of guilty and polluted creatures is mercy, and might justly have been withheld. But mercy must be exercised in consistency with all other divine perfections: and we short-sighted sinful creatures are not competent to determine any thing concerning the conduct of Him," who doeth according to his will in " the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants “ of the earth; and whose hand none can stay, or say unto him, What doest thou?”1
Some use such language concerning the glorious God as I do not choose to repeat, on the supposition of his dealing with men according to the rigour of his holy law : and others, on the supposition of his not sending to all men the means of salvation; or not saving them without these means: and in various ways men presume to decide on the appointments and dispensations of the Almighty :
I Dan. iv. 35.
but at length “every mouth shall be stopped, and " the whole world become guilty before God; and all, who do not humbly and thankfully receive his salvation, as a gift of entire free mercy, in all respects, will find their awful mistake when it is too late.
The Subject more particularly considered from
The whole nation of the Jews, including both good and bad, is said to be elected or chosen by God, and the word is never applied exclusively to those of the Jews who were obedient to his commands. “ Because he loved thy fathers, " therefore he chose their seed after them, and 'brought thee out in his sight, with his mighty power out of Egypt.” “ The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, ' above all people that are upon the face of the earth."'1
The whole nation of Israel is, no doubt, spoken of in the Old Testament as elected or chosen of
God, without discrimination of character. The nation descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Israel were, for the sake of their fathers, chosen to special advantages, as to the means of salvation,' as well as to peculiar temporal benefits ;2 but they were not “ chosen unto salvation,” as Christians are said to be. They were, however, peculiarly distinguished by this national election from the
! Ref. 202. ? Ps. cxlvii. 12-20. 3 2 Thess. ii. 13.
rest of the world : and, if the other nations of the earth had any claim on God, which required him to ' care alike for them,' I cannot see that the objections about partiality and respect of persons might not have been brought forward by them, as fairly as they are now by the opponents of Calvinism. Indeed no man can fairly and fully justify the divine conduct in this particular, without conceding all the leading principles on which Calvinism is grounded. The same is the case, with all those nations which are favoured with the means of salvation. If all have any right to them, and an equal right to them, why are some so highly favoured above others? Is “ God a re
specter of persons ?” But, if all be undescrved, and contrary to man's deservings, according to our principles ; then all have as much as they deserve, yea, more: none have a right to complain : all have cause of gratitude: but some more than others; as Israel had more cause for thankfulness than the surrounding nations had.
But, though Israel was chosen nationally to external privileges, temporal and spiritual, is there no intimation in scripture of another election, even in respect of Israel ? Not to speak of the frequent intimations given by the prophets, of a remnant whom God would, or did distinguish from other Israelites, what says the apostle : “ They
are not all Israel which are of Israel.”? If so, there is an Israel within Israel : but how is this? “Even so, at this present time, there is a remnant
according to the election of grace.” 2 This refers to “ the seven thousand in Israel," whom the Lord had “reserved to himself,” in the days of I Rom. ix. 6.
. Rom. xi. 5, 6.
Elijah. These were “a remnant according to the “ election of grace," and the rest of the nation were not. Is it not then undeniable, that there was a national election to external advantages, and a personal election entirely distinct from it? an election of individuals from among the elect nation ? and that the national election of Israel was a type and figure of the personal election of the true Israel, “ the church of the first-born, who are " written in heaven?”] The texts which are next adduced in the Refutation, as further proofs of the election of Israel,2 are considered by expositors, almost universally, as prophecies relative to the future dealings of God with the nation of Israel ; and as coincident with the words of our Saviour,
Except those days should be shortened, no “ flesh” (that is, none of Israel) “should be saved; “but for the elect's sake those days shall be
“shortened.”3 But this subject will be more fully · considered in another place: nor are proofs need
ful of the national election of Israel, as it is not denied by Calvinists.
'In the numerous passages of the Old Testament, in which they are thus spoken of, there is ' not the slightest allusion to their being predestinated to happiness in the world to come ; nor indeed will any one contend that all the Jews were designed for eternal salvation. They were elected ' in this world only, as an introductory and preparatory step to the execution of God's merciful scheme of human redemption through the incar' nation and sufferings of Christ.' 4 Heb. xii. 23.
? Is. xlii. 20. xlv. 4. Ixv. 9. 3 Matt. xxiv, 22.
This is a decisive proof that the national election of Israel was an entirely different thing from the election spoken of in the New Testament; being only a shadow or type of it. “God hath “ from the beginning chosen you unto salvation,
through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief “ of the truth; hereunto he hath called you by “our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our “ Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 “ Elect, according to the
foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanc“tification of the Spirit unto obedience, and
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” 2 Wherever election and predestination are spoken of in the New Testament, concerning Christians, they are uniformly connected with "things which
accompany salvation,”3 as the reader may easily perceive by examining and comparing the scriptures referred to.—The election of Israel was indeed an introductory and preparatory step to the
execution of God's merciful scheme of human ' redemption ;' but had the Israelites themselves no advantages in consequence of it? “ What ad
vantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is " there of circumcision ? Much every way; chiefly “ because that unto them were committed the “ oracles of God.”4 It is probable that, from the days of Moses to the coming of Christ, more persons out of this comparatively small nation, were spiritual worshippers and accepted servants of God, than in all the world besides.
"We shall in like manner find that the same
1 2 Thes. ii. 13, 14.
2 1 Pet. i. 2. 3 Rom. viii. 28-30. Eph. i. 4, 5, 11-14. Col. iii. 12. 2 Tim. i. 9. Tit. i. 1, 2. 1 Pet. ï. 9, 10.
Rom. ii. 1,