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farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, "ye are of more value than many sparrows." In this passage, the superintending providence, and not the eternal decrees of God are here declared. No mention is made, or intimation given of an eternal decree, how many sparrows should exist throughout all time, or when and where, each should fall through every age; but simply, a present superintending agency, affording each support and protection, and likewise the same support and protection to Christ's disciples, the hair's of whose heads were then all known by number. But no intimation was made, when this numbering took place, whether during, or before their formation in the "lower parts of the earth." Psalm cxxxIx, 15. There was indeed no necessity for such decrees to be formed before old time, in order to regulate each minutia of the divine conduct in ruling the world through all succeeding ages. For, "will any man say, that "God was wiser before the creation, than since? Or "had he more leisure, that he should take that oppor-. "tunity to settle his affairs, and make rules for him"self, from which he never was to vary? He has "doubtless the same wisdom, and all the perfections at "this day, which he had from eternity. His understanding being always equally clear and bright, and "his wisdom equally infallible." (John Wesley.)

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SIR,

LETTER XVII.

HAVING unquestionably wearied your pa

tience, in the preceding letters, I have now for your relief to promise, that this Letter on Election, with the notes which follow, shall terminate this unwelcome series of communication.

ELECTION.

This doctrine, as taught by both Calvinisms, is considered by all who truly understand it, as necessarily involving and implying therein, the belief of an unconditional efficacious election to eternal salvation and glory of a circumscribed definite portion of mankind termed the elect; and an absolute, unconditional, and irrevocable consignment to remediless and eternal destruction and misery, of all the other portion of mankind called reprobates, or the non-elect. The lead ing question therefore, in our present enquiry is, do the holy scriptures any where, teach any doctrine concerning election, which in any wise, will warrant this Calvinistick construction of this scriptural term.* resorting then, to the holy scriptures, for the solution of this interesting point, we will commence our researches in the Old Testament, as exhibiting the root of election, and endeavour in the New Testament, to

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Chose, chosen, and predestinated, are terms, not unfrequently used as synonymous with elect, elected, &c.

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trace the development of its branches. We begin therefore with Genesis xxv, 23. "And the Lord said "unto her, (Rebekah) two nations are in thy womb, "and two manner of people shall be separated from thy "bowels, and the one people shall be stronger than the "other people, and the elder shall serve the younger." To this text, the prophet Malichi affords a most elucidating comment, viz. "Was not Esau Jacob's "brother? Saith the Lord: Yet, I loved Jacob, and "hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage

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Edom and not

waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas "Edom saith we are impoverished, but we will return "and build the desolate places: Thus saith the Lord "of hosts, they shall build, but I will throw down, "&c." (Chapter 1, 2, 3, verse 4.) From this unerring comment, as well as from the self, it most indubitably results, that Esau, and the Israelites and not Jacob, were intended in the declaration to Rebekah. And as this love to Jacob, and hatred to Esau, respected more their pos terity than themselves; so it is clearly manifest that the operation of this love and hatred, extended not into eternity, but was restricted to the present life. This love operated in the election of Israel, to the inheritance of the land of Canaan, and in due time, to become the visible church, through many generations. Whilst this hatred produced the exclusion of the Edomites, both from the land of promise, and from the covenant which God made with the descendants of Jacob at Horeb; (mentioned in Joshua v, 3, 4, 5) and also subjected them to signal providential corrections

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inflicted on them, in "laying their heritage waste, for the dragons of the wilderness." And in these senses

only, it was, that St. Paul in the ninth of Romans, refered to the fore cited texts in Genesis, and Malichi ; and hence, these passages "Serve as a key to explain "the Epistle to the Romans, where the words are "quoted; and prove to a demonstration, that they mean only God's bestowing greater temporal favours, "and higher opportunities of knowing, and doing the "divine will upon some men, than he does upon oth"ers: And that, merely according to his own pur

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pose; without any regard to their merits, or demer"its; as having a right to confer greater or smaller degrees of perfection on whom he pleases." But "the doctrine of unconditional election to eternal "life; or, of unconditional reprobation to eternal "death, cannot be supported by the example of God's dealings with Esau or Jacob; or, with the Edom"ites and Israelites." (Doctor Dodd.)

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And with this instructive commentary on the divine dealings with Jacob and Esau, strikingly correspond the following observations on Romans 1x, 13, by a candid and pious Calvinist. "It is certain the apostle "does not here speak of the eternal state of Jacob and "Esau, (whatever some may suppose deducible from "what he says,) nor does he indeed, so much speak "of their persons, as of their posterity." "God's lay"ing waste the heritage of the Edomites, for the dragons of the wilderness, is so different a thing "from his appointing the person of Esau to eternal misery, by a mere act of sovereignty without regard

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"to any thing done, or to be done by him to deserve "it, that I will rather submit to any censure by my "fellow servants, than deal so freely with my Maker, "as to conclude the one from the other."* (Doctor Doddridge.) This subject of Jacob's election, and Esua's reprobation, I shall here conclude in the words of Adam Clarke, "After long reprobation, the Edom"ates were incorporated among the Jews, and have "ever since been undistinguishable in the Jewish "church. The Jews, on the contrary, the elect of "God, having been cut off and reprobated, and con"tinued so to this day. If a time should ever come "when the Jews shall all believe in Christ Jesus, (which is a general opinion) then the Edomites, who "are now absorded amongst them, shall also become "the elect. And even now, Isaac finds both his "children within the pale of the Jewish Church, equal"ly entitled to the promises of salvation, by Christ "Jesus, of whom he was the most expressive, and il"lustrious type.'

Election we next discover in Deuteronomy, "For "thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God: The "Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special peo"ple unto himself, above all people that are upon the "face of the earth, The Lord did not set his love

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upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more "in number than any people; for ye were the fewest "of all people. But because the Lord loved you, and "because he would keep the oath which he had sworn

* See note fourth, at the end of the Letters.

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