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be followed by a correspondent purity of life *. That we are “ made free from sin t,” that we might“ become servants of righteousness. Can we be incited to charity by any stronger argument than that of John, “ If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another? In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil 1;" hereby the children of light, by their abiding in love, are distinguished from the children of darkness. Or that of Paul, that if we be united to Christ, we are members of one body, and ought to afford each other mutual assistanceg? Or can we be more powerfully excited to holiness, than when we are informed by John, that “ every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as God is pure || ?." Or when Paul says, “ Having therefore these promises, (relative to our adoption,) let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit q?" or than when we hear Christ proposing himself as our example, that we should follow his steps? - Institut. l. 3. c. 16. s. 2.
These few instances, indeed, I have given as a specimen; for, if I were disposed to pursue every particular passage, I should produce a large volume. The apostles are quite full of admonitions, exhortations, and reproofs to “ furnish the man of God to every good work,” and that without any mention of merit. But they rather deduce their principal exhortations from this consideration, that our salvation depends not on any merit of ours, but merely on the mercy of God. As Paul, after having very largely shown, that we can have no hope of life but from the righteousness of Christ, when he proceeds to exhortations, beseeches, us by that divine mercy with which we have been favoured **. Institut. l. 3. c. 16. s. 3.
# 1 Pet. i. 15.
Rom. vi. 18. 1 John iv. 11.
2 Cor. i. 7.
$ 1 Cor. xii. 12. ** Rom. xii, 1,
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CALVÍN, The true church is an uni- Another passage from this versal congregation or fel. apostle will still more clearly lowship of God's faithful
express my meaning. “He and elect people, built upon hath chosen us (he says) bethe foundation of the apo
fore the foundation of the stles and prophets, Jesus world, according to the good Christ himself being the pleasure of his will, that we head corner stone.--Homily should be holy and without for Whitsunday, p. 283. blaine before him*;" where
Predestination to life is the he opposes the good. pleaeverlasting purpose of God, sure of God to all our merits whereby, before the foun- whatsoever. Institut. 1. 3. dations of the world were C. 22. $. 1. laid, he hath constantly de To render the proof more creed by his counsel, secret complete, it will be useful to us, to deliver from curse to notice all the clauses of and damnation those whom that passage, which, taken he hath chosen in Christ out in connexion, leave no room of mankind, and to bring for doubt. By the appellathem by Christ to everlast- tion of the elect or chosen, ing salvation, as vesseis he certainly designates the made to honour, Where- faithful, as he soon after defore, they which be endued clares : wherefore, it is corwith so excellent a benefit of rupting the term by a shame. God, be called according to ful fiction to pervert it to the God's purpose by his Spirit age in which the gospel was working in due season: they published. By saying that through grace obey ihe calls they were elected before the ing: they be justified freely: creation of the world, he they be made sons of God precludes every consideration by adoption : they be made of merit. For what could like the image of his only be the reason for discriminabegotten Son Jesus Christ : tion between those who yet
* Eph. i. 4, 5.
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they walk religiously in good had no existence, and whose works, and at length, by condition was afterwards to God's mercy, they attain to be the same in Adam? Now everlasting felicity.--Art.17. if they chosen in
Once more : God, of his Christ, it follows not only mercy and special favour to- that each individual is chowards them whom he hath sen out of himself, but also appointed to everlasting sal- that some are separated from vation, hath so offered his other; for, it is evident, all grace especially, and they are not members of Christ. have so received it fruitfully, The next clause, that they that although, by reason of « chosen that they their sinful living outwardly, might be holy,” fully refutes they seemned before to have the error which derives elecbeen the children of wrath tion from foreknowledge ; and perdition ; yet now, the since Paul, on the contrary, Spirit of God mightily work- declares that all the virtue ing in them, they declare by discovered in men is the eftheir outward deeds and life, fect of election. If any inin the showing of mercy and quiry be made after a supecharity (which cannot come rior cause, Paul replies, that but of the Spirit of God, and God thus “ predestinated," his especial grace), that they and that it was “according are the undoubted children
to the good pleasure of his of God, appointed to ever- will." This overturns any lasting life. And so, as, by means of election which their wickedness and ungod- men imagine in themselves; ly living, they showed them- for all the benefits conferred selves according to the judge by God for the spiritual life, ment of men, which follow
he represents as flowing from the outward appearance, to
this one source, that God be reprobates and castaways; elected whom he would, and, so now, by their obedience before they were born, laid unto God's holy will, and up in reserve for hem the
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by their merciful and tender grace with which he deterpity, (wherein they show mined to favour them.-Inthemselves to be like unto stitut. l. 3. c. 22. s. 2. God, who is the fountain and Wherever this decree of spring of all mercy,) they God reigns, there can be no declare openly and manifestly consideration of any works. . to the sight of men, that The antithesis, indeed, is not they are the sons of God, pursued here; but it must be and elect of him unto salva- understood, as amplified by tion.--2 Hom. on alms deeds, the same writer in another p. 235, 203,
place : “ who hath called
us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began *.” And we have already shown that the following clause, “ that we should be holy,” removes every difficulty. For say, Because be foresaw they would be holy, therefore he chose them, and you will invert the order of Paul. You may safely infer then, If he chose us that we should be holy, his foresight of our future holiness was not the cause of his choice. For these two propositions, that the holiness of the pious is the fruit of election, and that they attain it by means of works, are incompatible with each other. Nor is there any force in the cavil to which they frequently resort, that the grace
of election was not God's reward of antecedent works, but his gift to future ones. For, when it is said that the faithful were elected that they should be holy, it is fully implied that the holiness they were in future to possess had its origin in election. And what consistency would there be in asserting, that things derived from election were the causes of election ?
* 2 Tim. i. 9.
A subscquent clause seems further to confirm what he had said, “ according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself*.” For the assertion that God purposed in himself, is equivalent to saying that he considered nothing out of himself, with any view to influence his determination. Therefore he immediately subjoins, that the great and only object of our election is, “ that we should be to the praise of divine grace.” Certainly the grace of God deserves not the sole praise of our election, unless this election be, gratuitous. Now it could not be gratuitous, if in choosing his people God himself considered what would be the nature of their respective works. The declaration of Christ to his disciples, therefore, is universally applicable to all the faithful: “ Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you t;" which not only excludes past merits, bur signifies that they had nothing in themselves 10 cause their election, independently of his preventing mercy. This also is the meaning of that passage of Paul, “Who haih first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again I?” For his design is to show, that God's goodness altogether anticipates men, finding nothing in them either past or future to conciliate his favour to them.--Institut. l. 3. c. 22. 5. 3.
We must therefore come to that more select people, whom, Paul in another place tells us, “ God foreknews,” not using this word, according to the fancy of our opponents, to signify a prospect, from a place of idle observation, of things which he has no part in transacting, but in the sense in which it is frequently used. For certainly, when Peter says that Christ was " delivered ll” to death “ by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,"
* Eph. i. .
+ John xv. 16.
Rom. xi. 35.