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salvation is purchased for a part of mankind, and they know not but that they may be of that number, which will be an evidence to them that they are so.

2dly, When Christ is said to be offered to sinners, in the preaching of the gospel, that, which is intended thereby, is his being set forth therein as a most desirable object, altogether lovely, worthy to be embraced, and submitted to; and not only so, but that he will certainly save all whom he effectually calls, inasmuch as he has purchased salvation for them.

3dly, It includes in it an informing sinners, that it is their indispensible duty and interest to believe in Christ, and in order thereto, that they are commanded and encouraged to wait on him for that grace, which can enable them thereunto: and, as a farther encouragement, to let them know that there is a certain connexion between grace and salvation; so that none, who are enabled, by faith, to come to Christ, shall be cast out, or rejected by him. This is the preaching and hope of the gospel; and, in this sense, the overtures of salvation are made therein; which is not in the least inconsistent with the doctrine of particular redemption.*

Object. Though this be such a method of preaching the gospel, as is consistent with the doctrine of special redemption; yet there is another way of preaching it, which is more agreeable to the express words of scripture, and founded on the doctrine of universal redemption; and accordingly sinners ought to be told, that the great God, in the most affectionate manner, expostulates with them, to persuade them to accept of life and salvation, when he represents himself, as having no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and, with an earnestness of expression says, Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Therefore the design of the gospel is, to let the world know that God's dealing with mankind, in general, are full of goodness; he would not have any perish, and therefore has sent his Son to redeem them all, and, as the consequence hereof, pleads with them to turn to him, that they may reap the benefits purchased thereby.

Answ. Whatever be the sense of these expostulatory expres sions, which we frequently meet with in scripture, we must not suppose that they infer, that the saving grace of repentance is in our own power; for that is not only contrary to the sense of many other scriptures, but to the experience of every true penitent, whose language is like that of Ephraim, Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, Jer. xxxi. 18. nor must we conclude, that God designs to save those that shall not be saved; for then he could not say, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all * See this insisted on, and farther explained, in answer to an objection to the same purpose, against the doctrine of particular election, in Vol. I. page 508, 509.


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my pleasure, Isa. xlvi. 10. If these ideas, as unworthy of God, be abstracted from the sense of such-like scriptures, we may understand them, not only in a way that is consistent with the divine perfections, but with the doctrine of particular redemption; which, that it may appear, let it be considered, that it is a very common thing, in scripture, for God to condescend to use human modes of speaking, and those, in particular, by which various passions are set forth; notwithstanding, we must not conclude that these passions are in God as they are in men. Such expostulations as these, when used by us, signify, that we earnestly desire the good of others, and are often warning them of their danger: but all is to no purpose, for they are obstinately set on their own ruin, which we can by no means prevent; it being either out of our power to help them, or, if we could, it would not redound to our honour to do it. This draws forth such-like expostulations from men ; but the weakness contained in them, is by no means to be applied to God: it cannot be said to be out of his power to give grace to impenitent sinners; nor, in case he has so determined, will it tend to his dishonour to bestow it. Now, that we may understand the sense of these scriptures, let it be considered,

1. That life and death, in scripture, are oftentimes used to signify the external dispensations of providence, as to what concerns that good or evil, which God would bring on his people: thus it is said, See, I have set before thee this day, life and good, death and evil, Deut. xxx. 15, 19, 20. where life is explained in the following words, as signifying their being multiplied and blessed in the land, whither they were to go to possess it; and when God advises them in a following verse, to choose life, the consequence of this is, that both they and their seed should live, that they might dwell in the land, which the Lord sware to their fathers to give them; and elsewhere, when God says, by the prophet Jeremiah, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death, Jer. xxi. 8. he explains it in the following words, as containing an expedient for their escaping temporal judgments, when he says, He that abideth in the city, shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans, shall live. And I cannot see any reason to conclude, but that many other expressions, of the like nature, in which God promises life, or threatens death to the house of Israel, by the prophets, who often warned them of their being carried into captivity, and dying in their enemies' land, have a more immediate respect thereunto; and that proverbial expression, which the Israelites are represented as making use of, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the childrens' teeth are set on edge, Ezek. xviii. 2. seems to intimate no more than this; q. d. that our fathers have sinned, and

thereby deserved that the nation should be ruined by being carried captive, and we must suffer for their sins; in answer to which, God tells them, that this proverb should not be used by them, but this evil should be brought on them for their own iniquities, or prevented by their reformation, namely, by forsaking their idolatry, whoredom, violence, oppression, and other abominations. And then he adds, ver. 12, 13, 17, 18. the soul that sinneth, it shall die, that is, if you continue to commit these vile enormities, you shall be followed with all those judgments which shall tend to your utter ruin; but if the wicked will turn from all his sins which he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die, ver. 21. If this be the sense of these and suchlike texts, then it was not wholly out of their own power thus to turn to God, how much soever that special grace, which accompanies salvation, be out of our power. It is one thing to say, that man cannot work a principle of grace in himself, or to do that by his own power, which is the special gift and work of the Spirit of God, and, as the consequence thereof, have ground to expect eternal salvation; and another thing to say, that he cannot abstain from some gross enormities, as an expedient to prevent desolating judgments. But if it will not be allowed that this is the sense of all those scriptures, that promise or threaten life or death, which I do not pretend peremptorily to assert, let it be farther added,

2. That if spiritual and eternal blessings be included in the word life, and the contrary in death, in the scriptures but now referred to, we may account for the sense of them, without supposing that God designs what shall never come to pass, to wit, the universal salvation of mankind, though a part of them shall not be saved, by considering desire, in him, as signifying the effects of desire in men.* Thus God's not desiring a thing, denotes it not to be the object of desire; accordingly when he desires not the death of sinners, it implies, that they ought to endeavour to avoid it, as the most formidable evil; and, on the other hand, his taking pleasure in a thing, as he does in the salvation of his people, signifies not only his intending to save them, but the inexpressible happiness which they shall attain thereby; and, when he exhorts them, as an expedient to attain this privilege, to turn, this signifies the inseparable connexion between salvation and repentance, or turning to God, which, though it be God's gift, it is, notwithstanding, our act and indispensible duty. Therefore, if we take this, and such-like scriptures, in either of these two senses, they are far from giving countenance to the doctrine of universal redemption.

3. There is another absurd consequence charged upon the doctrine of special redemption, namely, that it is inconsistent • Passiones tribuuntur Deo quoad effectum.

with our being exhorted and encouraged to repent and believe for the remission of sins, or to the saving of the soul, as scripture gives all men a warrant to do, Acts ii. 38. and since all are commanded to exercise these graces, and to expect salvation, as connected therewith, the doctrine of particular redemption, as a late writer insinuates, puts us under a necessity of believing a lie. And he farther adds, that if the condition, annexed to the promise of salvation, be impossible, and known to be so, it gives no encouragement to set about it; and, if he who promises knows it to be so, he promises nothing, because nothing that a person can obtain, or be the better for, whereby he is deluded, and a cheat put upon him, by pretending kindness, in making the promise, and intending no such thing. Thus that author represents the doctrine of particular redemption, as containing the most blasphemous consequences that words can express: he must therefore have been very sure that his argument was unanswerably just, though, I hope, we shall be able to make it appear that it is far from being so; which, that we may do, let it be considered,

(1.) That we are to distinguish between a person's being bound to believe in Christ, and to believe that Christ died for him; the first act of faith does not contain in it a person's' being persuaded that Christ died for him, but that he is the Object of faith, as he is represented to be in scripture; and accordingly it supposes that we are convinced that Christ is the Messiah, that he purchased salvation for all who shall attain it, and is able to save, unto the utmost, all that come unto God by him; and also, that it is our duty and interest so to do. And, since saving faith is not in our own power, but the work and gift of divine grace, we are encouraged to wait on God in his ordinances, and, with fervent prayer, to beseech him that he would work this grace in us, acknowledging, that if he should deny us this blessing, there is no unrighteousness in him; and we are to continue waiting on him, and using all those means which are in our power, though they cannot attain their end, without his blessings; and, when he is pleased to work this grace in us, we shall be enabled to put forth another act of faith, which is properly saving, as intended by the scripture, which speaks of believing to the saving of the soul, which consists in receiving of him, and resting on him for salvation, as hoping that he hath died for us, inasmuch as he hath given us that temper and disposition of soul, which is contained in that character which is given of those for whom Christ died.

(2.) We must farther distinguish between God's commanding all that sit under the sound of the gospel to believe in Christ; and his giving them ground to expect salvation, before See Whitby's Discourse, page 145, 146.

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they believe in him. Faith and repentance may be asserted to be duties incumbent on all, and demanded of them, when, at the same time, it doth not follow that all are given to expect salvation, upon the bare declaration that they are so. Accordingly the command and encouragement is to be consi dered in this order; first, as it respects our obligation to believe; and then, as it respects our hope of salvation; and neither the former nor the latter of these does, in the least, infer that God intended to save all mankind, or gave them ground to expect salvation, who do not believe in Christ.

(3.) As to what is farther suggested, concerning salvation's being promised on such conditions, as are known, both by God and man, to be impossible, the only answer that need be given to this, is, that though with men this is impossible, yet with God all things are possible, Matt. xix. 26. When we consider faith and repentance, as conditions connected with salvation, or as evincing our right to claim an interest in Christ, and that salvation, which is purchased by him, (in which sense, as was before observed, we do not oppose their being called conditions thereof, by those who are tenacious of that mode of speaking;* and we do not call them impossible conditions, any otherwise than as they are so, without the powerful energy of the Holy Spirit; we cannot think that our asserting, that it is impossible that all mankind should thus repent and believe, is a doctrine contrary to scripture, which gives us ground to conclude, that all men shall not be saved, and consequently that all shall not believe to the saving of the soul. And, when we consider the impossibility thereof, we do not suppose that God has given all mankind ground to expect this saving faith, upon which the blasphemous suggestion, relating to his deluding men, is founded; it is enough for us to say, that God has not told any one, who attends on his ordinances, in hope of obtaining this grace, that he will not give him faith; and more than this need not be desired by persons to induce them to perform this duty, while praying and waiting for the happy event thereof, to wit, our obtaining these graces, and so being enabled to conclude that Christ has died for us.

4. If all the absurdities before mentioned will not take place to overthrow the doctrine of particular redemption, there is another argument, which they, who oppose it, conclude to be unanswerable, namely, that it does not conduce so much to advance the grace of God, as to assert that Christ died for all men, inasmuch as more are included herein, as the objects of divine favour, therefore God is hereby more glorified.

To this it may be replied, that it does not tend to advance the divine perfections, to suppose that God designed to save any *See Page 196, 197, ante

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