« PrécédentContinuer »
Here the judicious and unprejudiced reader may plainly see that Abraham and his seed were particular persons,
distinct from all other nations and people which were round about him; and these it pleased God, of his mere sovereign grace, to single out for his own peculiar use, that they may be a holy people, to bear his name, and to give him a pure and spiritual worship and service, which should be according to his own holy institution and divine appointment: and that they may be made partakers of the promised inheritance, which was the sure possession of the kingdom of heaven, of which the promised land of Canaan was but a type and shadow.
The people of the Jews was but a small people when God fixed his love on them, and called them. Deut. vii. 6--8; “ For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; 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. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose
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 unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen.”
The same promise which was made to Abraham and his seed under the Old Testament dispensation, is confirmed by the New.
And evident it is, that as God chose and called Abraham under that dark dispensation, with whom he entered into a covenant of grace; the benefit of which was to be of equal extent to himself and his children, even so many of them as were the children of the promise. So under the gospel dispensation, God, who is a free agent, acting all he doth in a way of sovereignty, saw fit to make known, by the gospel, that among the Gentiles also he had a select and chosen people, on whom he had decreed to confer the riches of his free grace, through the plenteous redemption that is in his Son Jesus Christ; and that pursuant to his own immutable decree and purpose, electing and choosing them before time began. Acts ii. 39; “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
Here is that promise formerly mentioned, which looks at Abraham and his children, and also discovers the gracious design of God to make a certain number of the Gentiles actual partakers of the self-same grace and blessing.
The manner of the apostle's expressing himself is full of clearness and perspicuity, proving that the promise of that grace and salvation is not designed for all and singular the Gentile sinners that then were, or in after times should be in the world; but he limits and restrains the promise to a certain peculiar number, lest sinners should mistake the apostle, and conclude, that because he had laid down an universal term, saying, “And to all that are afar off ;" he, by way of explanation shews what the Spirit means by that universal term, adding, eyen as many as the Lord our God shall call;" in which he plainly shews, and invincibly proves, that none of the Gentile sinners shall ever partake of God's special grace, but such as are (in time) effectually called out of a state of nature to a state of justification and sanctification; the which is never granted to any but in the right of a covenant-promise, which covenant-promise respects that gracious act of God, electing and choosing in Christ his Son, as many of Adam's posterity both of Jews and Gentiles, as his own sovereignty pleased; according to that of the apostle, Rom. vii. 30. “Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” And our Saviour himself, in John X. 16; designs the Gentiles, whom God had in his electing love given in charge to him, in those expressions : “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I must bring; and they shall hear my voice," &c. ARG. 2. If among
thousands of people who hear the gospel preached, but some, and that very few comparatively, are savingly converted, receive mercy, are justified and sanctified, and are a made to persevere in a course of faith and holy life; then God hath elected and chosen only a
certain peculiar number of men to life and salvation. But among
many thousands of people who hear the gospel preached, but some only are savingly converted, receive mercy, are justified, are sanctified, and do finally persevere in a course of faith and holy life.
Therefore God hath elected and chosen only a certain peculiar number of men to life and salvation.
There is nothing more evident than that the greatest number, even of those people who are outwardly called by the gospel, do slight and contemn the gospel and the grace offered therein: witness that of our Saviour, Matt, xx. 16; “ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Luke xiv. 16-19. That parable of the king who made a great supper, to which the king by his servants invited the guests, notwithstanding which, many of them made blind excuses and shifted it off. By which practice in the guests we are to understand, that great slight and contempt which worldlyminded sinners put on the Lord Jesus and his great salvation, wrought for the elect, which God offers in the gospel, the which they undervalue, preferring the accommodations of this perishing world before that great and precious salvation.
To this also pertinent is that of Paul, Rom. x. 16; “ But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our
report?”. Rom. ix. 27, “ Esaias also crieth concerning Isrạel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant only shall be saved."
Now then, if among those many who are ex-, ternally called, and the very many who make a profession, there are but very few who savingly believe, repent, and finally persevere in a course of faith and holy life; then it is beyond all contrcversy that those few who so believe, repent, &c. are particular persons whom free grace elected to that state of believing and persevering; and the rest, - who were by far the greater number, were left to inward blindness and hardness of heart, according to Rom. xi. 7. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. According as it is written, God hath given thein the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day.”
ARG. 3. If God hath chosen persons by name, to be partakers of life and salvation by Christ his Són, then hath he chosen particular persons.
But God hath chosen persons by name to be partakers of life and salvation by Christ his Son.
Therefore God hath chosen particular persons, &c.
The major proposition is not questioned; the minor or assumption is secured by the express