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curfe upon their church and nation? In a word, is it not clear, that St. Paul no more speaks of God's having predeftinated this Englishman, or that man of Ephefus to be abfolutely faved; and this Scotchwoman or that Ephefian widow to be abfolutely damned, than he has abfolutely predeftinated Honeftus to be Mufti, and Zelotes to be Pope?
This being premifed, I prefent the reader with what appears to me to be the genuine fenfe of the chapter, upon which Zelotes founds his doctrine of an abfolute, particular, and perfonal election of fome men to eternal life in glory. Bleffed be the God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, who hath bleffed us' [Jews and Gentiles, who do not put the word of bis grace from us, and reject his gracious counfel against ourselves] with all fpiritual bleffings in heavenly [things] in Chrift: according as he hath CHOSEN US [ Jews and Gentiles] in him before the foundation of the world, that we' [Jews and Gentiles] fhould be holy, and without • blame before him in love' [as all chriftians ought to be:] Having PREDESTINATED Us' [Fears and unto the adoption of children by Jefus • Chrift to himself, according to the good pleafure of his will by which he hath made BOTH' [ Jews
and Gentiles] ONE, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; making in himfelf of twain' [i. e. of Jews and Gentiles] one new man' [i. e. one new ecclefiaftical body, which is at unity in itself, tho' it is composed of Jews and Gentiles, who were before fuppofed to be abfolutely irreconcilable. Eph. iii. 14.]-[And this he hath done] to the praife of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us' [ Jews and Gentiles equally] accepted in the beloved; in whom we' [Jews and Gentiles] have redemption thro' his blood, the forgivenefs of fins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded 'towards us' [Jews and Gentiles] in all wifdom and prudence; having made known unto us' [Jews and Gentiles] the mystery of his will, according to his good pleafure, which he hath purpofed in himfelf:
that in the difpenfation of the fulness of times' [i. c. under his laft difpenfation, which is the chriftian]
he might gather together in one all things in Chrift, both which are in heaven,' [i. e, angels and glorified faints,] and which are on earth' [i. e. Jews and Gentiles] even in him [who is the head of all]: In whom alfo we' [Jews and Gentiles] have obtained' [thro' faith] a [common] inheritance, being' [equally]predeftinated' [to share the bleffings of the chriftian difpenfation,] according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things after the counfel of his own' [gracious] will: that we' [Jerus] who FIRST trusted
in Chrift' [For the FIRST gospel-offer was always' made to the JEWS, and the FIRST chriftian church was entirely compofed of JEWS: Compare Acts ii. 5, with Acts iii. 26, and Acts xiii. 46]- that we' [Jews, I fay,] fhould be to the praife of his glory, who FIRST trusted in Chrift; in whom YE' [Gentiles] alfo < trufted, after that ye heard the word of your falvation: in whom also, 7107EUGαves, having believed, i YE were fealed' [as well as wE] with that holy ⚫ fpirit of promife, which is the earnest of our' [common] inheritance, &c. Wherefore I also, after I heard of YOUR faith in the Lord Jefus, &c. ceafe not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that, &c. ye may know what is the hope of his CALLING' [of you Gentiles] and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the faints :' [i.e in them that obey the heavenly calling, whether by be Jews or Gentiles] Eph. i. 3-18.
This eafy expofition is likewife confirmed by the beginning of the next chapter. And you' [Gentiles] who were dead in trefpaffes and fins, wherein in time past ye walked according to, &c. the fpirit that now worketh in the children of difobedience, among whom we all' [Jews and Gentiles] had our converfation in time past, &c.' [See Rom. i. ii.] You' [I fay, and us] God, who is rich in mercy' [towards all] for his great love wherewith he loved us' [Jews and Gentiles] hath quickened us together with Chrift: • By
By grace ye are faved' [thro' faith as well as WE': That is, ye are faved by the free grace of God in Chrift, as the FIRST CAUSE; and by your believing the gospel of Chrift, which is GRACE AND TRUTH, John i. 17, as the SECOND CAUSE.]- For, thro' him, WE BOTH' [Jews and Gentiles] have an access by the Spirit unto the Father.' Eph. ii. 1-5, 18.
If Zelotes doubts yet, whether the apostle treats in this Epistle of the predeftination and election of the GENTILES, to partake of the bleffings of christianity together with the Jews; let him confider what the commentators of his own party have candidly faid of the defign of the epiftle; and his good fenfe will foon make him fee the scope of the parts which I have produced.
I appeal first to Diodadi, one of Calvin's fucceffors, who opens his expofition by these words. The fummary of it [the Epifle to the Ephefians] is that he [the apofile] gives God thanks for the infinite benefit of eternal falvation and redemption in Christ, ⚫ communicated out of mere grace and election THRO' FAITH in the gospel, to the apostle FIRST, and HIS
• COMPANIONS OF THE JEWISH NATION; THEN AFTERWARDS to THE EPHESIANS, who were GENTILES, &c. by the ministry of St. Paul appointed by God to preach to the GENTILES the MYSTERY of THEIR CALLING IN GRACE, which was before unknown TO THE WORLD.'-Burkitt fays the fame thing in fewer words, This excellent epiftle divinely fets forth, &c. the marvellous DISPENSATION of God to the GENTILES in revealing Chrift to THEM.' -Mr. Henry touches thus upon the truth which I endeavour to clear up: In the FORMER PART [of the epifile] he [St. Paui] reprefents the great privilege of the Ephefians, who, being in time paft • idolatrous HEATHENS, were now converted' [and, of confequence, chofen and called] to chriftianity, and received into covenant with God.'-And again, This Epiftle has much of common concernment to all chriftians; especially to all, who having been • GENTILES,
GENTILES, &c. were converted to CHRISTIANITY.' -See one more flash of truth breaking out of a Calviniftic cloud. Pool speaking of the mystery which God had made known to Paul by revelation, raifes this objection after Eftius: But the mystery of the CALLING' [and confequently of the ELECTION]of the Gentiles, of which it is evident the apoftle speaks, was not unknown to the prophets, &c. Why then does he say, that it was not made known? And Pool answers, That the prophets knew not explicitly, 'quod Gentiles pares •ellent Judæis quoad confortium gratia Dei "That 'the GENTILES fhould be put on a level with the < JEWS, with refpect to a coMMON INTEREST in God's grace. Syn. Crit. on Eph. iii, 5.
If Zelotes does not regard the preceding teftimonies, let him at least believe St. Paul himself, who explicitly speaking of the calling and election of the GENTILES, which he names the myftery of Chrift, mentions his having WROTE about it AFORE IN FEW WORDS; whereby (adds he) when YE READ, ye may underftand my knowledge in that mystery, Eph. iii. 3 Hence it is evi dent, that the apostle, in the PRECEDING PART of the epistle, treats of God's ELECTING THE GENTILES to the prerogatives of Chriftianity: An election this, by which they are admitted to fhare in privileges, which the apoftles themfelves, for a confiderable time after the day of pentecoft, durft not offer to any but their own countrymen, as appears by Acts x, xi ;-in privileges, which multitudes of jewish converts would never allow the believing Gentiles to enjoy; tormenting them with judaism, and faying, Except ye be circumcifed, i.e. except ye turn Jews as well as Chriftians, ye cannot be faved. Compare Acts xv, with the Epistle to the Galatians. But what has this Election from gentilifm to christianity-this abolishing the enmity between Jews and Gentiles, even the law of commandments, contained in Mofaic ordinances, for to make of twain one new max, to make of Jews and Gentiles one new chofen nation, and peculiar people called CHRISTIANS; - what has such an election, I fay, to do with the election main
tained by Zelotes? Who does not fee, that the general election of all the Gentiles, from the obfcure difpenfation of the Heathens to the luminous difpenfation of the Chriftians [as the found of the gofpel trump shall gradually reach them] is the very reverfe of Zelotes's particular election? of an election by which (if we believe him) God only tithes [if I may fo fpeak] the damned world of the Gentiles; abfolutely fetting apart for himself a dozen people, if so many, in an English village; half a dozen, it may be, in a Scotch district; and a lefs number perhaps in an Irish hamlet; calvi nistically paffing by the rest of their neighbours; that is, abfolutely giving them up to neceffary fin and unavoidable damnation: binding them faft with the chain of Adam's unatoned fin; and, to make fure work, fealing them with the feal of his free wrath, even before the fall of Adam: for, if we may credit Zelotes, this world was made AFTER the decree, by which God fecured the commiffion of Adam's fin, and the damnation of his reprobate pofterity.
From the preceding obfervations I draw the followIng inference.
Seldom did the perverter of truth play a bolder, and more artful game, than when he transformed himfelf into an angel of light, and produced Rom. ix, and Eph. i, as demonftrations of the truth of Calvinian reprobation and election. St. Paul maintains in Rom. ix, that the Jews, as a circumcised nation, are rejected from the covenant of peculiarity; that God has an indubitable right to extend to whom he pleafes, the peculiar mercy which he before confined to the circumcifed race; and that he now, according to the antient purpose of his grace, extends that mercy to the Gentiles, i. e. to all other nations, among which, of confequence, the gofpel of Chrift gradually fpreads. Therefore, infinuates Zelotes, God has abfolutely given over to neceffary fin and certain damnation [it may be] the best half of the English, Scotch, and Irish. These poor reprobates, if we believe his doctrines of grace, were unconditionally caft away,