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the one, and says little or nothing of the other ; then what avails this strictly logical reasoning ?
- It has been stated that the word reprobation is not found in scripture, nor any original word answering to it; and that reprobate and reprobates are never used with relation to this subject. The opposite to elect and election ought not therefore to be called reprobation ; but some other word should be employed to convey the idea. Some have used the term preterition, which is more exactly expressive of our meaning; but neither is this scriptural. The truth is, the scriptures say a great deal about the elect, and election, and predestination to life ; but are nearly silent, as to those who are not “ chosen unto salvation.” Of this the same general reason may be assigned, as for the circumstance that we are not informed by the sacred writers concerning the bodies, which the wicked will resume at “ the resurrection both “ of the just and of the unjust,” or what their appearance will be ; while we are expressly assured that the bodies of the righteous shall be spiritual, glorious, and like unto the glorified body of the Lord Jesus himself.' Information concerning the former could only gratify our curiosity, or perhaps excite our horror; that which concerns the latter is intimately connected with our hope and encouragement in life and death. So the scriptural doctrine concerning election is, as Calvinists think, peculiarly suited to produce humility, gratitude, patience, meekness ; and to inspire confidence in God, amidst conflicts, temptations, and afflictions : whereas further information concern
! 1 Cor. xv. 42--55. Phil. iii. 21.
ing those who are not elected would answer no salutary purpose. And, if Calvinists had been as reserved in speaking on the awful subject as the sacred writers are; only dropping a few occasional intimations in respect of it; probably it would have abated the odium, which, by one means or other, has been attached to their sentiments. This indeed evidently appears, by the earnestness which their opponents manifest to bring them in guilty of reprobation, as well as election ; even though many of them avow that they do not believe it. It must, however, be allowed that, if we believe some, not all, to be elected to eternal life, we cannot consistently do otherwise than believe that others are passed over, and not thus elected. Yet I have known men whose sincerity and piety were unquestionable, who could not see this consequence. They allowed that some are elect and will certainly be saved, but that many others besides these will eventually be saved. The consistency of such a creed is another matter : but they thus held election, and did not hold reprobation, or any thing of that nature: and certainly they are not answerable for the opinions of those who do.
· It is certainly inconsistent for those, who steadily maintain the doctrine of personal gratuitous election to eternal life, to deny that they who, are not elect “are left to themselves to * perish.' Dr. John Edwards, however, whom no man will deny to have been eminently able and learned ; and who maintains both personal election and reprobation, in stronger terms than most modern Calvinists; yet supposes a third sort of persons, who are neither elect nor reprobate, but placed in a state of probation peculiar to themselves. I consider this as a most astonishing instance, of so able a reasoner and divine, and so strong a Calvinist, maintaining a sentiment, at once unscriptural on his own principles, and unphilosophical : and it shews, in a striking
But, supposing that modern students of the scripture are convinced, that the doctrine of personal election to eternal life is not only found in the sacred oracles, but is expressly and particularly insisted on in many parts of them; and that the non-elect are so seldom and so cursorily spoken of, that we want a scriptural name for them: on manner, how inconsistent the most rational, learned, argumentative, and pious persons are, in some special instances.-Milton also seems to have held the same tenet :
"Some I have chosen of peculiar grace
Elect above the rest : so is my will :
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.
My umpire conscience ; whom if they will hear,
Paradise Lost, Book III. 182.
It is evident that the poet had in view three, and not merely two, descriptions of men, the chosen of peculiar grace elect above the rest;' who would certainly be saved : 'the rest,' many of whom would be saved ; and those who neglect and 'scorn the day of grace.'-I speak nothing of either the consistency or the soundness of his views; I merely adduce him as an instance of a deeply reflecting man who held as a doctrine, election of grace, and yet supposed that others besides the elect would be saved.
the other hand, that, reading the works of Calvin or other eminent persons of the same school, they are convinced that these learned men have stated things in a different proportion than is observed in the word of God; and have said a great deal more concerning reprobation, and the reprobate, or nonelect (“ the rest,” l) than the scripture does: may not the modern students of scripture adhere to the apostolical plan, though they deviate from that of Calvin and Beza, and from many even of our own reformers and eminent writers? must they, whether they will or not, subscribe Calvin's whole creed, because they learn from the word of God, many of his doctrines ? Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri, I must decline doing this, in respect of any uninspired man who ever lived, unless I am convinced that his whole creed is scriptural. It may certainly be proved, that election implies non-election, and those who consider the latter as unfounded do not very consistently hold the former. But it is not any man, or number of men, thinking a doctrine unfounded, that deprives of its foundation, either the doctrine itself, or any of those tenets that are connected with it. The foundation of the doctrine of election is in the holy scriptures, not in the sentiments of men; and this “ foundation of God standeth sure," however " the faith" of some may be overthrown.”—I am pleased to find his Lordship testify decidedly, that there is no hint in scripture about the wicked being annihilated: indeed there is the most decisive testimony to the contrary,
“ Their worm “ dieth not.'2 “ These shall go away into everlastΟι λοιποί. Rom. xi. 7.
? Mark ix. 43–49.
ing punishment.”!--I hope that we may amicably argue the point with those who differ from us in opinion, without being numbered among their * adversaries.'
“No medium,' says Dr. Davenant, himself a distinguished Calvinist, and of those who at• tended the Synod of Dort, can be assigned,
either on God's part, betwixt the decrees of pre'destinating some men, and not predestinating some others; or on men's part, betwixt men absolutely predestinated to the attainment of life eternal, and absolutely prætermitted, and left ' infallibly to fail of the obtainment of eternal life, ' which we call absolute reprobation. As for example, let us suppose the number of mankind to be two millions of men ; if out of these one ‘ million only, by the decree of election, be infal' libly appointed to eternal life, and these certainly ‘and absolutely distinguished from others, not
only as to their number, but their persons also ; ' who can deny, but that one million also, and * those certain as to their persons, are as absolutely comprised under the decree of non-election or
reprobation, as the others were under the decree * of election or predestination?'
So that,' says ‘ Dr. Whitby, “ there is no possibility of asserting
one of these decrees, without owning the other also ; and so whatsoever argument holds good ' against an absolute decree of reprobation, must certainly destroy the opposite decree of absolute election.'' 2 Dr. Davenant, a distinguished Calvinist, and * Matt. xxv. 46.
? Ref. 255, 256.