Imágenes de páginas


curse upon their church and nation? In a word, is it not clear, that St. Paul no more speaks of God's have ing predestinated this Englishman, or that man of Ephesus to be absolutely saved ; and this Scotchwoman or that Ephefian widow to be abfolutely damped, than he has absolutely predestinated Honestus to be Mufti, and Zelotes to be Pope ?

This being premised, I present the reader with what appears to me to be the genuine senfe of the chapter, upon which Zelotes founds his doctrine of an absolute, particular, and personal election of some men to eternal life in glory.- Blessed be the God and Father of our • Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us' [Fcws and Gentiles, who do not put the word of bis grace from us, and reject his gracious counsel against ourselves) with • all spiritual blessings in heavenly [things] in Chrift: • according as he hath chosen US [ Fews and Gentiles) in him before the foundation of the world, that we' [Fews and Gentiles] should be holy, and without • blame before him in love' [as all christians ought to be : Gentiles] unto the adoption of children by Jesus • Christ 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 mid• dle wall of partition between us; making in him" self of twain' [i. e. of Jews and Gentiles] one new * man' [i. e. one new ecclefiaftical body, which is at unity in itself, tbo' it is composed of Jews and Gentiles, who were before supposed to be absolutely irreconcilable. Eph. iii. 14.]—[ And this he hath done] ' to the praise of the glory of his

grace, wherein he hath made us' [ Jews and Gentiles equally] · accepted in the beloved ; in * whom we fews and Gentiles] have redemption " thro' his blood, the forgiveness of fins, according to

the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded • towards us' [Jews and Gentiles] 'in' all wisdom and

prudence'; having made known unto us' [Jews and Gentiles] the myilery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himfelf:





[ocr errors]

• that in the dispensation of the fulness of times' [i.c. under his last dispensation, which is the christian] he

might gather together in one all things in Chrift, • both which are in heaven,'[i. e, angels and glorified Saints,] and which are on earth' [i. e. Jews and Gentiles) even in him [who is the bead of all] : In whom

• also we' [Jews and Gentiles] “ have obtained ' [thro' faith] a [common] • inheritance, being' [equally] · pre• destinated' [to pare the blefsings of the christian dispenfation, ] according to the purpose of him, who

worketh all things after the counsel of his owu' [gracious] will: that we'[Jezus] who first trusted in Christ (For the first gospel-offer was always' made to the Jews, and the FIRST christian church was entirely composed of Jews : Compare Acts ii. 5, with Aets iii. 26, and Axts xiii. 46]—' that we' [Fews, I say,] • Thould be to the praise of his glory, who FIRST

trafted in Chrift; in whom ye' [Gentiles] - also

trusted, after that ye heard the word of your salva. • tion: in whom alsó, 110TCUDUVTES, having believed,

YE were sealed' [as well as we]' with that holy

{pirit of promise, which is the earneit of our' [cummon] • inheritance, &c. Wherefore I also, after I heard • of your faith in the Lord Jesus, &c. cease 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 saints :' [i. e. in them that obey the heavenly calling, whether sbiy be Jews or Gentiles] Eph. i. 3-i8.

This easy exposition is likewise confirmed by the beginning of the next chapter. “ And you'[Gentiles] • who were dead in trespasses and fins, wherein in • time past ye walked according to, &c. the fpirit that * now worketh in the children of disobedience, among • whom we all' [Jews and Gentiles] ' had our conver• fation in time past, &c.' [See. Rom. i. ii.] • You' [! Jazy, 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 Christ:

. By

[ocr errors]

• By grace ye are saved [thro' faith as well as we': That is, ye are saved by the free grace of God in Chrift, as the FIRST CAUSE ; and by your believing the gospel of Christ, which is GRACE AND TRUTH, John i. 17, as the SECOND CAUSE.]— For, thro' him, wE BOTH' [Jezus and Gentiles] · have an access by the Spirit unto the Father.' Eph. ij. 1–5, 18.

If Zelotes doubis yet, whether the apostle treats in this Epistle of the prodeftination and ele&tion of the GENTILES, to partake of the blessings of christianity together with the Jews; let him consider what the commentators of his own party have candidly said of the design of the epiftle; and his good sense will soon make him see the scope of the parts which I have produced.

I appeal first to Diodadi, one of Calvin's fucceffors, who opens his exposition by these words. · The sum

mary of it (the Epifle to the Ephefans) is that he

[the apostle] gives God thanks for the infinite bene• fit of eternal salvation and redemption in Christ, • communicated out of mere grace and election THRO' • Faith in the gospel, to the apostle FIRST, and his

OF THE JEWISH NATION ; THEN AFTERWARDS TO THE EPHESIANS, who were GenTILES, &c. by the ministry of Si. Paul appointed

by God to preach to the GENTILES the MYSTERY • of THEIR

CALLING IN GRACE, which was before unknown TO THE WORLD.'-—Burkitt says the fame thing in fewer words, • This excellent epiftle divinely • fets forth, &c. the marvellous DISPENSATION of • God to the GENTILES in revealing Christ to THEM.' Mr. Henry touches thus upon the truth which I endeavour to clear up : • In the FORMER PART [of

the epiftle] be [St. Paui] represents the great pri• vilege of the Ephesians, who, being in time past • idolatrous HEATHENS, were now converted' (and, fconsequence, chosen and called ] to christianity, and

received into covenant with God'-And again, • This Epistle has much of common concernment to • all christians; especially to all, who having been





* GENTILES, &c. were converted to CHRISTIANITY.' See one more flash of truth breaking out of a Calvi. nistic cloud. Pool speaking of the mystery which God had made known to Paul by revelation, raises this objection after Eftius : • But the mystery of the CALLING' (and consequently of the ELECTION) of the Gentiles, of • which it is evident the apostle speaks, was not un• known 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 ejent Jadais quoad consortium gratia Deii'

6 That the GENTILES should be put on a level with the Jews, with respect to a COMMON INTÉREST in God's grace.' Syn. Crit. on Eph. iii, 5. If Zelotes does not regard the preceding testimonies, let him at least believe St. Paul himielf, who explicitly speaking of the calling and election of the GENTILES, which he names the mystery of Chrift, mentions his having WROTE about it AFORE IN FEW WORDS ; wbereby (adds he) when YE READ, ye may underftand my knoculedge in that mystery, Eph. iii. 3 Hence it is evi. dent, that the apoitle, in the PRECEDING PART of the epistle, treats of God's ELECTING THE GENTILES to the prerogatives of Christianity : An election this, by which they are admitted to share in privileges, which the apostles themselves, for a confiderable time after the day of pentecost, durst not offer to any but their own countrymen, as appears by Acts x, xi ;-in privi. leges, which multitudes of jewish converts would never allow the believing Gentiles to enjoy ; tormenting them with judaism, and saying, Except ye be circumcised, i. e. except ye turn Jews as well as Christians, we cannot be saved. Compare Acts xv, with the Epistle to the Galatians. But what has this Election from gentilism to christianity-this abolishing the enmity between Jews and Gentiles, even the law of commandments, contained in Mosaic ordinances, for to make of twain one new man, to make of Jews and Gentiles one new chofen nation, and peculiar people called CHRISTIANS ; what has such an election, I say, to do with the election maintained by Zelotes? Who does not see, that the general election of all the Gentiles, from the obscure dispensa. tion of the Heathens to the luminous dispensation of the Christians (as the found of the gospel trump shall gradually reach them) is the very reverse of Zelotes's particular election of an election by which (if we be. lieve him) God only eithes (if I may ro speak] the damned world of the Gentiles ; absolutely setting apart for himself a dozen people, if so many, in an English village; half a dozen, it may be, in a Scorch district; and a less number perhaps in an Irish hamlet; calvi. nistically passing by the rest of their neighbours ; that is, absolutely giving them up to necessary fin and unavoidable damnation : binding them fast with the chain of Adam's unatoned fin; and, to make sure work, realing them with the seal 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 secured the commission of Adam's fin, and the damnation of his reprobate posterity.

From the preceding observations I draw the following inference.

Seldom did the perverter of truth play a bolder, and more arcful game, than when he transformed himself into an angel of light, and produced Rom. ix, and Eph. i, as demonstrations 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 pleases, the peculiar mercy which he before confined to the circumcised race; and that he now, according to the antient purpose of his grace, extends that mercy to fthe Gentiles, i. e. to all other nations, among which, of consequence, the gofpel of Christ gradually spreads. Therefore, infinuates Zelotes, God has absolutely given over to necessary 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 cast away,


« AnteriorContinuar »