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much as one talent of saving grace, in flat opposition to that clause of the parable, begave TO EVERY ONE, ere or two TRUE tal nts at least I say true, because whatever dreadful hints Zelotes may throw out to the contrary, I dare not allow the ihought, that the true God deals in falfe coin; or that, because he is the God of ALL grace, he deals also in damning grace :-Damn. ing grace I call it ; for in the very nature of things, all grace bestowed upon an absolute reproba:e-upon a man hated of God with an everlalting hate, and given up from his mother's womb unavo dably to fin and be damned-all grace, I say, flowing from such a reprobating God to such a reprobared man, is no better i han a serpent, whose head is Calvin's absolute reprobation, and it's tail Zelotes's finished damnation,

Zelotes, I fear, objects to the sovereign, free, dirtinguishing grace which I conrend for, chiefly because it has no connexion with the bound will, and dirtinguishing free-wrath, which characterize his opinions. Accordingly he foon takes his leave of me and the parable of the talents, the middle part of which illuf. crates what he calls my heresy, that is, the doctrine of FREE-WILL ;- (1) The doctrine of OBEDIENT Free-will, which our Lord secures thus: Then he that had received five talents, went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents, &c. And (2) The stoctrine of PERVERSE free-will, which Christ lays down in these words : But be that bad received one talent, went and digged in the ea th, and bid bis Lord's money. Here Christ, for brevity's fake, points out unfaithful free-wild in the loweit difpenfation only: foth and unfaithfulness being by no means neceffary consequences of the least number of talents : For whilst fome Christians bury their five, and some Jews their tqvo talents, fome Heathens so improve their one talent, as to verify our Lord's doctrine, The last Mall be first.

The third part of the parable illustrates the doctrine of rewarding grace: or of CONDITIONAL ele&lion to, and reprobation from the rewards, with which divine



grace crowns human faithfulness. I call this election and this reprobation conditional, because they are entirely suspended upon the good or bad use, which our faithful, or unfaithful free will makes of the talent or talents bestowed upon us by free-grace; as appears by the rest of the parable: After a long time the Lord of those servants comerh, and reckoneth with them, proceeding first to the election of REWARDING grace,

He that had received five talents, came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thon deliveredA unto me five talents : behold i have gained befides them five talents more. Here you fee in an exemplifying glass the doctrine, which Zelotes abhors, and which St. John recommends thus : Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of reckoning, or of judgment, John iii. 21. iv. 17. His Lord [instead of driving him to hell as a poor, blind, unawakened creature, who never knew himself; or as a proud, self-righteous Pharifee, who was never convinced of fin) said unto him, Well done, thou good and FAITHFUL servant ('Thou veffel of mercy) Thou haft beer faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter THOU into the joy of thy Lord thro' my merciful gospel-charter, and the passport of thy fincere, blood-besprinkled obedience.

The servant, who through free grace and faithfulness had gained two talents, besides the two, which distinguishing grace had given him, came next: and when he had been elected into the joy of his Lord in the same gracious manner, the trial of the faithless Heathen came on. His plea would almost make one think, that Zelotes had instilled into him his hard doctrine of reprobation. He is not ashamed to preach it to Christ himself. Lord, says he, I knetu thee, that thou art an hard man, who didit contrive my reprobation from the beginning of the world, and gavest me only one talent of common grace, twenty of which would not amount to one dram of saving grace. I knew thee, I say, that thou art an auftere malter ; reaping, or



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wanting to reap, where thou hast not fown the seed of effectual grace ; and gathering, or wanting to gather, wwbere thou haft not frawed one grain of true grace : and I was afraid, and went, and hid thy talent, thy ineffectual, false, common grace in the earth : to, there thou hast that is thinc. His Lord answered and said unto bim, Thou wicked and slothful servant, &c. thou oughtest to have put my money to the exchangers, who sometimes exchange to such advantage for the poor, that their little one becomes a thousand. Hadit thou made this proper use of my common grace,” as thou callett it, at my coming, I Jould have received mine own with ufury. Take tberefore the talent from him, and give it to bim that hath ten talents : for every one that hatb to purpore, Jall bave abundance : but from him that hath not to purpose, Jhall be taken away even that which he hath : his unimproved, hidden talent. And caft ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: i. e. into hell : there shall be weeping and gnashing of tecth. Mat. xxv. 14, 31. Hence it appears, that a man may be freely ELECTED to receive one, two, or five talents - freely CHOSEN to trade with them, and afterwards be juftly REPROBATED OR CAST AWAY into outer darkness, for not improving his talent, that is, for not making his calling and election sure.

Zelotes, indeed, as if he were conscious, that the parable of the talents overthrows all his doctrinal peculiarities, endeavours to explain it away by saying, that it does not represent God's conduct towards his people, with respect to grace and salvation ; but only with regard to parts and natural gifts. To this I an{wer : : (1) The scriptures no where mention a day of account, in which God will reward and punish his fervants according to their natural parts, exclusively of their moral actions. -- (2) The servants had all the fame master. Luke xix. 13, they are all represented as receiving one pound each, to occupy or trade till their master came : He that did not improve his pound, or talent, is called wicked on that account: now the nonimprovement of a natural talent, suppose for poetry


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or husbandry, can never constitute a man wicked; nothing can do this, but the non-improvement of a talent of grace.—(3) We have as much reason to affirni, that the oil of the virgins, mentioned in the beginning of the chapter, and the good works of the godly, mentioned at the end of it, were not of 'a gracious nature ;? as to affert it of the improvement of the pound, which constituted fome of the servants good and faithful.-(4) It is absurd to suppose, that Chrift will never take some men into his joy, and will command others to be caft into outer darkness, for improring or not improving the natural talent of speaking, writing, or finging in a masterly manner.-(5) The defcription of the day of judgment, that clofes the chapter, is a key to the two preceding parables. On the one hand the door is fhut against the FOOLISH VIRGINS, merely for their apostacy :-for having burned out all their oil of faith working by love, lo that their lamps went out. --The $LOTHFUL, SERVANT is caft into outer darkness, merely for not improving his talent of opportunity and power to believe, and to work righteousness according to the light of his dirpenfation.-And the coats are sent into hell, merely FOR not having done the works of faith. On the other hand (confidering falvation according to its fe'cond causes] the WISE VIRGINS go in with the bridegroumn, BECAUSE their lamps are not gone out, and they have oil in their vessels ; the FAITHFUL SERVANTS enter into the joy of their Lord, BECAUSE they have improved their talerits ; and the SHEEP go into life eternal, BECAUSE they have done the works of faith.-The three parts of that plain chapter inake a three-fold cord, which, I apprehend, Zelotes cannot break, without breaking all the rules of morality, criticism, and common fense.

I shall close my parabolic illustration of the scrip. ture-doctrine of unconditional and conditional election, by presenting Zelotes and Honestus with a short view of our ele&lion in Chrift; that is, of our election to rereive freely, and to use faithfully the five talents of

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the christian dispensation, that we may reap all the benefits annexed to making that high calling and elece. tion fure.

1. Blessed be the God 2. Hearken, my belovand Father of our Lorded brethren, hath not God Jesus Chirst, who hath

CHOSEN the poor of this blessed us with all spiri- | world ? [Yes, but not abtual bleflings in heavenly folutely : for Zelotes knows, things in the person and that ALL the poor are not difpenfation of ] CHRIST : cleEted in his


and St. according as he hath * James infinuates, that their CHOSEN us (to belicve] IN ele&tion to the kingdom of HIM, before the founda- heaven is suspended on faith tion of the world ; that į and love; for be adds, that] [in making our high calling God hath chosen the poor and cleâion sure) we should RICH IN FAITH and [of be holy and without blame consequence] HEIRS OF THE before him in love. Eph. KINGDOM, which he hath

promised to THEM THAT [if Zelotes is offended love him, [ 1. c. to them at my infinuating that St. that are rich in the faith Paul's phrafe in CHRIST, which works by love. ] is fome times an ellipfis- James ii. 5. -Know this a short way of speaking, also, that the Lord hath

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i. 3, 4.




** This passage will be explained in the next Section. In the mean time I defire the reader to take notice, that the elektion of which St. Paul writes, is not of the antinomian kind : I mean, it is not Calvinian clection, which ensures eternal salvation to all fallen believers. That the apostle was an utter stranger to sucli a doctrine appears from his own words to those ele&t Ephesians. "Putting away lying fpeak + truth---Let him that ftoie freal no more---Be not drunk---Let not • fornication or uncleanness be once named among you, &c. for this

ye know, that no unclean person, &c. bath any inberitance in the kingdom of Christ. Let no man decrive you with vain words, for be'cause of these things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of • disobedience,' i. e. upon the disobedient children, who, by their bad works, lose their inheritance in the kingdom of God. Is it not fuse prizing, that, when St. Paul has thus warned the Ephcfians against antinomian deceptions, he should be represented as deceiving those very Ephesians first, by teaching them a doctrine, which implies, that no crimes, be they ever so atrocious, can deprive fallen believers of their inheritance in the kingdom of Christ?

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