Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Wn.

yet attained not salvation. John xvii. 12. those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition ; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. i. 11, 12. he came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power,' &c., that is, to those who believed in his name ; to whom he did not give power before they had received and believed in him, not even to those who were specially called his own. So St. Paul, Eph. i. 13. ' in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise.' Undoubtedly those whom in the beginning of his epistle he calls holy, who were not sealed till after that they had believed, were not individually predestinated before that period. 2 Cor. vi. 1. we beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.' Rev. iii. 5. 'he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life.' On the other hand it is said, xxii. 19. if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life.

Again, if God have predestinated us in Christ, as has been proved already, it certainly must be on the condition of faith in Christ. 2 Thess. ii. 13. God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Therefore it is only future believers' who are chosen. Tit. i. 1. according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness.' Heb. xi. 6. 'without faith it is impossible to please God,'—and thus become one of the elect; whence I conclude that believers are the same as the elect, and that the terms are used indiscriminately. So Matt. xx. 16. many be called, but few chosen,' only signifies that they wbich believe are few. Rom. viii. 33. who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?' that is, of believers : otherwise by separating election from faith, and therefore from Christ, we should be entangled in hard, not to say, detestable and absurd doctrines. So also, Rom. xi. 7. the election have obtained it ;' that is, believers, as is clear from the twentieth verse, • thou,' that is, thou that art elect, standest by faith ;' and v. 22. if thou continue in his goodness ; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Such is St. Paul's interpretation of the doctrine in his own case;' 1 Cor. ix. 27. lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.' Philip. ï. 12. not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 2 Tim. ii. 10, 12. •I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus,' &c. yet it is said in the next verse, if we believe not, yet he abideth,' &c.

Two difficult texts remain to be explained from analogy by the aid of so many plainer passages ; for what is obscure must be illustrated by what is clear, not what is clear by what is obscure. The first passage occurs Acts xiii. 48. the other Rom. viii. 28–30. which, as being in my judgement the least difficult of the two, I shall discuss first. The words are as follow : we know that all things work together for

sam

good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose: for whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,' &c. moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom be called, them he also justified ; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.'

In the first place it must be remarked, that it appears from v. 28, that those who love God' are the same as those who are the called according to his purpose,' and consequenily as those whom he did foreknow,' and 'whom he did predestinate,' for them he also called,' as is said in v. 30. Hence it is apparent that the apostle is here propounding the scheme and order of predestination in general, not of the predestination of certain individuals in preference to others. As if he had said, We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, that is, to those who believe, for those who love God believe in him. The order of this scheme is also explained. First, God foreknew those who should believe, that is, he decreed or announced it as his pleasure that it should be those alone who should find grace in his sight through Christ, that is, all men, if they would believe. These he predestinated to salvation, and to this end he, in various ways, called all mankind to believe, or in other words, to acknowledge God in truth ; those who actually thus believed he justified ; and those who continued in the faith unto the end he finally glorified. But that it may be more clear who those are whom God has foreknown, it must be observed that there are three ways in which any person or thing is said to be known to God.

re

First, by his universal knowledge, as Acts xv. 18.

known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Secondly, by his approving or gracious knowledge, * which is an Hebraism, and therefore requires more explanation. Exod. xxxiii. 12. I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.' Psal. i. 6. Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous.' Matt. vii. 23. · I never knew you.' Thirdly, by a knowledge attended with displeasure. Deut. xxxi. 21. I know their imagination which they go about,' &c. 2 Kings xix. 27. I know......thy coming in, and thy rage against me.' Rev. ii. 1. I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. In the passage under discussion it is evident that the approving knowledge of God can be alone intended; but he foreknew or approved no one, except in Christ, and no one in Christ except a believer. Those therefore who were about to love, that is, to believe in God, God foreknew or approved ; t-or in general all men, if they should believe; those whom he thus foreknew, he predestinated, and called them that they might believe; those who believed, he justified. But if God justified believers, and believers only, inasmuch as it is faith

.............. when God
Looking on the earth, with approbation marks
The just man, and divulges him through heaven
To all his angels.

Paradise Regained, III. 60.

t In the original it is,qui igitur dilecti dilecturi erant, id est, credituri, eos prænovit Deus, &c.—which scarcely seems to have any sense, unless some allusion be intended to John xvi. 27. the Father himself loveth you,' &c. It seems more probable that dilecti has been inserted by the carelessness of the transcriber. VOL. I.

10

alone that justifieth, he foreknew those only who
would believe, for those whom he foreknew he justi-
fied; those therefore whom he justified he also fore-
knew, namely, those alone who were about to believe.
So Rom. xi. 2. God hath not cast away his people
which he foreknew,' that is, believers, as appears from
v. 20. 2 Tim. ii. 19. the Lord knoweth them that
are his,' that is, all who name the name of Christ,
and depart from iniquity ;' or in other words, all be-
lievers. 1 Pet. i. 2. elect according to the fore-
knowledge of God the Father, through sanctification
of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus Christ.' This can be applicable to
none but believers, whom the Father has chosen, ac-
cording to his foreknowledge and approbation of
them, through the sanctification of the Spirit and
faith, without which the sprinkling of the blood of
Christ would avail them nothing. Hence it seems
that the generality of commentators are wrong in in-
terpreting the foreknowledge of God in these pas-
sages in the sense of prescience ; since the prescience
of God seems to have no connection with the princi-
ple or essence of predestination ; for God has predes-
tinated and elected whoever believes and continues in
the faith. Of what consequence is it to us to know
whether the prescience of God foresees who will, or
will not, subsequently believe? for no one believes

because God has foreseen his belief, but God forei ! sees his belief because he was about to believe. Nor

is it easy to understand how the prescience or foreknowledge of God with regard to particular persons can be brought to bear at all upon the doctrine of predestination, except for the purpose of raising a

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »