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God delay on account of the elect, but rather hastens the time. Matt. xxiv. 22. •for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.'
I understand by the term election, not that general or national election, by which God chose the whole nation of Israel for his own people,* Deut. iv. 37.
because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them,' and vii. 6–8. Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself,' - Isai. xlv. 4. for Israel mine elect.' Nor do I mean
that election by which God, after rejecting the Jews, chose the Gentiles as those to whom the Gospel should be announced in preference, of which the apostle speaks particularly Rom. ix. and xi. Nor am I referring to that election by which an individual is selected for the performance of some office,t as 1 Sam. X. 24. see ye him whom the Lord hath chosen ?". John vi. 70. have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ?' whence those are sometimes called elect who are eminent for any particular excellence, as 2 John 1. the elect lady,' that is, most precious, and v. 13. “thy elect sister.' 1 Pet. ï. 6. •a chief corner stone, elect and precious.' (1 Tim. v. 21. the elect angels. But that special
election is here intended, which is nearly synonymous with eternal predestination. Election, therefore, is not a part of predestination ; much less then is reprobation. For, speaking accurately, the ultimate pur
*......... Resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways;
Paradise Lost, XII, 109.
pose of predestination is the salvation of believers,—a thing in itself desirable,—but on the contrary the object which reprobation has in view is the destruction of unbelievers, a thing in itself ungrateful and odious ; whence it is clear that God could never have predestinated reprobation, or proposed it to himself as an end. Ezek. xviii. 32. I have no pleasure in him that dieth.' xxxiii. 11. bas I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his way and live. If therefore the Deity have no pleasure cither in sin, or in the death of the sinner, that is, either in the cause or the effect of reprobation, certainly he cannot delight in reprobation itself. It foilows, that reprobation forms no part of what is meant by God's predestination.
Whereby God, &c. that is, God the Father. Luke xii. 32. it is your Father's good pleasure.' So it is stated wherever mention is made of the divine decrees or counsel : John xvii. 2. as many as thou hast given him.' v. 6, 11, 24. the men which thou gavest me out of the world.' Eph. i. 4. he hath chosen us in him.' v. 5. having predestinated us.' v. 11. being predestinated according to his purpose.'
Before the foundation of the world, Eph. i. 4. 2 Tim. i. 9. before the world began. See also Tit, i. 2.
In pity to mankind, though foreseeing that they would fall of their own accord. It was not simply man as a being who was to be created, but man as a being who was to fall of his own accord, that was the matter or object of predestination ;* for that mani
* According to a part of the Sublapsarian scheme, taught by St. Augustine and maintained by the Synod of Dort.
festation of divine grace and mercy which God designed as the ultimate purpose of predestination, presupposes the existence of sin and misery in man, originating from himself alone. It is universally admitted that the fall of man was not necessary ; but if on the other hand the nature of the divine decree was such, that his fall became really inevitable,- which contradictory opinions are sometimes held in conjunction by the same persons,—then the restoration of man, who had fallen of necessity, became no longer a matter of grace, but of simple justice on the part of God. For if it be granted that he lapsed, though not against his own will, yet of necessity, it will be impossible not to think that the admitted necessity must have overruled or influenced his will by some secret force or guidance. But if God foresaw that man would fall of his own free will, there was no occasion for any decree relative to the fall itself, but only relative to the provision to be made for man, whose future fall was foreseen. Since then the apostacy of the first man was not decreed, but only foreknown by the infinite wisdom of God, it follows that predestination was not an absolute decree before the fall of man ; and even after his fall, it ought always to be considered and defined as arising, not so much from a decree itself, as from the immutable conditions of a decree.
Predestinated ; that is, designated, elected ; proposed to himself the salvation of man as the scope and end of his counsel. Hence may be refuted the notion of an abandonment and desertion from all eternity, in direct opposition to which God explicitly and frequently declares, as has been quoted above, that he
desires not the death of any one, but the salvation of all; that he hates nothing that he has made ; and that he has omitted nothing which might suffice for universal salvation.
For a manifestation of the glory of his mercy, grace, and wisdom. This is the chief end of predestination. Rom. ix. 23. that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.' 1 Cor. ii. 7. 'we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory.' Eph. i. 6. • to the praise of the glory of his grace.
According to his purpose in Christ. Eph. iii. 10, 11. the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.' i. 4, 5, he hath chosen us in him ; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ.' v. 11. in him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to his purpose. This is the source of that love of God, declared to us in Christ. John iii. 16. • God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. Eph. ii. 4, 5. for his great love wherewith he loved us....by grace ye are saved.' 1 John iv. 9, 10. in this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world,' &c. Wherefore there was no grace decreed for man who was to fall, no mode of reconciliation with God, independently of the foreknown sacrifice of Christ ;* and since God
.................. in thee
Paradise Lost, III. 287.
has so plainly declared that predestination is the effect of his mercy, and love, and grace, and wisdom in Christ, it is to these qualities that we ought to attribute it, and not, as is generally done, to his absolute and secret will, even in those passages where mention is made of his will only. Exod. xxxiii. 19. • I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious,' that is, not to enter more largely into the causes of this graciousness at present, Rom. ix. 18. •he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy,' by that method, namely, which he had appointed in Christ. Or it will appear on an examination of the particular texts, that in passages of this kind God is generally speaking of some extraordinary manifestation of his grace and mercy. Thus Luke xii. 32. “it is your Father's good pleasure.' Eph. i. 5, 11. by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will ; in whom also we have obtained an inheritance...... after the counsel of his own will.' James i. 18. • of his own will,'--that is, in Christ, who is the word and truth of God, begat he us with the word of truth.'
Those who should believe, and continue in the faith. This condition is immutably attached to the decree; it attributes no mutability, either to God or to his decrees; 2 Tim. ii. 19. the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his :' or according to the explanation in the same verse, all who name the name of Christ, and depart from iniquity ;' that is, whoever believes : the mutability is entirely on the side of them who renounce their faith, as it is said, 2 Tim. ii. 13. "if we believe not, yet he abideth