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1. I charge thee before Amaziah gathered the *
ELECT angels. Judah together, &c. and Tim. v, 21. And shall found them three hundred not God avenge his own thousand ELECT, able to ELECT? Luke xviii, 7. go forth to war, 2 Chr.
I grant that our translators in some of the preceding passages have used the word choice, and not the word ele&t: They say for example choice cedars, and not cle&t cedars; but if they were afraid to make us fuspect the dignity of calvinian election, I am not. And as the original is on my side, the candid reader will not expect such scrupulousness of me, who wish to act the part of a reconciler, and not that of a Calvi
(9) God's chusing and calling us to come up higher on the ladder of the dispensations of his grace, is cal. led election and vocation. Thus the doctrine which St. Paul insists much upon, in his epistles to the Romans and Ephesians, is, that now Jews and Gentiles are equally elected and called to the privileges of the chrif tian dispensation. Nor does St. Peter dissent from him in this respect. Once indeed he took it for granted, that the Gentiles were all reprobates : See Acts s. But when he was diverted of his jewish prejudices, and wrote to the believers who were scattered throughout Pontus, &c. he said, The church that is at Babylon,
* If the expression ele't angels is taken in a vag?ce sense, which is most probable, it means holy, beloved angels, who are ELECTED to the rewards of faithful obedience. If it is taken in a partioular sensc, it means those angels who, like Gabriel, are selected from the multitude of the heavenly host, and sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation, and especially to guard such eminent preachers as Timothy and St. Paul were. In either sense therefore, the words clect angels, which Zelotes greedily catches at to prop up his scheme, have nothing to do with Calvinian election.---Thar the word ele&t sometimes means daring or beloved, will appear evident to those who compare the following passages : Behold MINE ELECT, in whone my soul DeLIGHTETH, I1. xliii, 1. This is my BELOVED fon, in wbom I am WELL PLEASED. Mat. iii, 17.
ELECTED together with you, saluteth you, Peter , 13: Just as if he had said, 'Think not that the election to the obedience of faith in Chrift, is confined to Judea, Pontus, or Galatia. No: God calls both Jews and Gentiles, even in Babylon, to believe in his Son. And as a proof that this calling and election are fincere, with pleafure I inform you that several have already believed, and formed themselves into a christian church, which saluteth you, not only as being elected with you to hear the christian gospel; but as making their cleflion to fo great salvation sure thro' actual belief of the truth as it is in Jefus : Therefore, I do not foruple, inerery sense of the word, to say that they are elected together with you, and you may boldly confider them already as HOLY brethren, PARTAKERS of the heavenly calling : A glorious proof this, that Christ has broken down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles; Babylon in this respect being as much elected as Jerusalem -But more of this in the next Section.
(10) To conclude: Of all the directions, which can be given to clear up the doctrine of election with respect to our eternal concerns, none appears to me fa important as the following. Carefully diftinguith be. tween our election to RUN THE RACE of faith, and ho, liness, according to one or another of the divine difpensations ; and between our election to RECEIVE THE PRIZE-a crown of glory : St. Paul speaking to Chrif, tians of the first of these elections says, God has chosen us that we should be holy: And our Lord describing the second election fays, Many are calied, but few CHOSEN. Well done, good and faithful servant, enter Thou into the joy of thy Lord. The former of those elections is always UNCONDITIONAL: but the latter is always fufpended upon the reasonable.CONDITION of perfevering in the obedience of faith..
To show the propriery and importance of the pre.. ceding directions, I need only apply them to the parable of the talents, which displays every branch of the doctrine of election. The kingdom of heaven, says: Christ [if it is confidered with refpect to God's grão cious, and rightcous dispensations towards the various classes of his moral vesels or servants] is as a man, who called (and of consequence, first freely chose] bis owux Servants.
Observe here that every man is UNCONDITIONALLY chosen and called to serve God in his universal temple. Some may be compared to earthen vessels, made, chofen, and called to be useful in the court of the Gentiles, fike humble Gibeonites : Some to filver vessels, made, ehosen and called to be useful in tbe holy place, like pious Jews : And others, to golden, i. e. most precious and honourable vessels, made, chosen, and called to be useful in the holiest of all, like true Chriftians. Hence it appears, that God has assigned to all his moral vessels their proper place and use in his great temple, the universe : If they are unprofitable, and unfit for the master's use, it is not because he makes them so ; But becaufe they receive a bad taint from their parents upon the wheel of generation, and afterwards refuse to purge themselves by means of the talent of light, grace, and power, which is bestowed
them as the seed of regeneration, according to their respective dispensations.
The difference that fovereign grace makes between God's servants, or, if you pleafe, between his moral vessels, is evidently afferred by St. Paul, 2 Tim. ii, 19. &c. The Lord, says he, knoweth them that are his: that is, he approves the godly, the vessels of mercy, the clean vessels under every dispensation. Let then every one that nameth the name of Christ, and is of confequence under the strictest of all the dispensations, depart from iniquity: for, in a great house there are not only vessels of gold, and of silver, but also of wood and of cartb; and some to honour, * and fome to dishonour. If
* St. Paul having guarded the doctrine of sovereign, diftinguishing grace by the different matter, earth, wood, filver, &c. of which the vessels are formed ; and not making any diftinction between vessels of dishonour and vefils of wrath, as he does in Rom. iv, it necefarily fol.
. man purge himself fr. m tbese [all iniquity) whether hę be a veitel of gold, filver, wood, or earih, he jhall, according to his difpenfation, be a velel unto honour, Janctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work; tho' it should be only the work of Gibeonue, hewing wood and drawing water : and if a chriftianized Saul seeks to slay these spiritual Gibe. onites in his zeal io the children of Israel, God himself will plead their, çause : For he honours in every dispensation vesseis that are clean and sanctified, accora ny to his own decree, Them that honour me, I will peculially honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly eftecmed. That is, Although those that honour me, should be only comparable to wooden or earthen veffels, like the devout foldiers of Cornelius; I will honour them with a place in my heavenly house. And were those that despise me, comparable to filver vessels, like the fons of Eli; or to a golden vefil, like Judas; if repentance does not interpose, they shall be broken with a rod of iron like vessels of wrath; and, after peeping in the dust, they fall awake to the everlasting contempt due to their fins; it being „written among the decrees of heaven, If any man defilc the veffel, or temple of God, bim fall God defiroy.Such will be the fearful end of thole, who by their willful unBELIEF make themselves politively UNCLEAN vessels : for to them that are UNBELIEVING is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience are
And these vessels of just wrath and positive dishonour must be carefully diftinguished from those,. whom God comparatively makes vefjels of dishonour, by giving them fewer talents than he does to his upper servants.
lows, according to the doctrine of rewarding grace, that the expres. fions reljels to hono:r, and vessels to dishonour, are not to be taken bere in a comparative finse as in Rom. ix; but in a pohtive fease; and then they answer to vesieis SANCTIFIED, and to veleh not PURGED; expreifions which occur in the context, and fix the ajoik's meaning
Return we now to the parable of the tatents, and te the several classes of SERVANTS, which S. Paul comparés to several classes of VESSELS, in God's great house below. To one of them, says our Lord, to the Christian, I suppote, according to the election : MOST PARTICULAR distinguishing grace, he gave FIVE talents :-To another, suppose the Jew, Atill accurding to the election of PARTICULAR grace, he gave TWO talents:- And to another, fuppose the Heathen, according to the decree of GENERAL grace, he gave one taa lent. Hence it appears, that God reprobates no man absolutely, and is no calvinistical respecter of persons ; for, adds our Lord in the párable, he gave 10 EVERY ONE according to his several ability, or circumstances. Mat. xxv. 15.-This FIRST distribution of grace and privileges, is previous to ALL WORKS; and to it beiong (as I have shown by parallel fcriptures) those words of the apoille, The children being not yet born, neither having DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, that the purpose of God, according to fovereign, distinguifhing election to a certain number of talents, or "to certain remarkable favours, might fand NOT OF WORKS, but of him that calleth, it was said, The elder shall serve the younger Jacob have I loved and Efar have I hated, i.e. I have preferred Jacob to Esau, in point of family-honour; and the Israelites to the Edomites, with respect to the covenant of peculiarity. And with as much propriery it might be said in point of super-angelical dignity, MICHAEL the arch-angel have I loved, and GABRIEL the angel have I bated: i.e. I have reprobated the lat. ter from a degree of dignity and favour, to which I have elected the former.
Thus far the parable illustrates the doctrine of fou vereign free-grace, and of an UNCONDITIONAL election to receive and use different measures of grace ; and thus far I walk hand in hand with Zelotes'; because thus far he speaks as the oracles of God, except when he hints at his doctrine of absolute reprobation. For at such times he makes it his business to infinuate, that there are some men, to whom God never gave so