King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page




Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store

  • PART 2. CHAPTER 1.
    PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER - HELP - FB - TWITTER - GR VIDEOS - GR FORUMS - GR YOUTUBE    



    OF REPROBATION.

    THE following sections contain an answer to Dr. Whitby’s first chapter concerning the decree of Reprobation, with which he has thought fit to begin his discourse upon the Five Points — a method the Remonstrants f208 formerly were very desirous of taking, though far from being just and accurate, since what is called reprobation is no other than non-election, or what is opposed to election; wherefore, that ought to be considered in the .first place, which, if it cannot be supported, the other must drop in course.

    But it is easy to observe the design of these men, which is, that by exposing to contempt the doctrine of reprobation, which is sparingly spoken of in Scripture, and left to be concluded from that of election, and being most odious, to carnal minds, they hope to weaken all regards to the doctrine of election, which stands in glaring light, and with full evidence in the word of God. The Doctor pretends to give us the state of the question concerning God’s absolute decrees of election and reprobation out of Bishop Davenant’s Animadversions on Herd, a book deservedly valuable, and which he would have done well to have employed his learning and abilities in the refutation of, before he had written this discourse. But, instead of giving us the true state of the question, relating to these decrees, out of that book, which he might easily have done, he has picked out, some passages here and there, the most exceptionable, and made some rhetorical flourishes upon them. I confess I dislike the Bishop’s notions of a twofold decree, respecting reprobates, the one, eternal and absolute, the other revealed, evangelical, and conditional, and of God’s giving sufficient grace or sufficient means of grace to them, and therefore think myself not obliged to defend them. What is said concerning Adam’s sin, and the imputation of it, will be considered hereafter. The true state of the question before us, and what ought to be attended to, is this, that as God, of his sovereign good will said pleasure, has, from all eternity, chosen some men unto salvation by Jesus Christ, through sanctification of the Spirit, said belief of the truth, so he has, of his sovereign will and pleasure, from all eternity, passed by others, and determined to leave them to themselves, and deny them that grace which he gives to others, and damn them only for their sin.

    This author observes, “That the word, ajdo>kimov , which we render reprobate, hath no relation, in Scripture, to any decree concerning the damnation of men, or withholding from them the means by which they may escape it, but only denotes such actions which will certainly be displayed by God and man.” But then it should also be observed, that in all those places, 2 Timothy 8, Romans 1:28, Titus 1:16, Hebrews 6:8, Corinthians 9:27, excepting the last, referred to by this author, the word relates not to the evil actions, but to the persons and internal dispositions of the most profligate and wicked among mankind; so that though there is no express mention of any decree of reprobation concerning them, yet there is a great deal of reason to conclude, from the account given of them, that they were such whom God had never chosen in Christ, but had passed them by, and had determined to leave them to their own heart’s lusts, to deny them his grace, and justly damn them for their iniquities.

    But I proceed to the vindication of those passages of Scripture, in which this writer says, there is nothing relating to this decree, or from which it can reasonably be inferred.

    SECTION 1.

    The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. — Proverbs 16:4. 1. THESE words are not to be understood of God’s creating all things out of nothing, or of his production of creatures into being for his own glory, nor of his wise ordering and disposing all things in providence for himself which are both truths, but not of this text. It is certain that all things that are made, are made by Jehovah, for himself, and not another; not because he had need of them but to declare his greatness, and communicate his goodness, for his will and pleasure, his praise and glory; yet this is not intended here, for the word here used is neither adb nor tç[ , which are commonly used when creation, and the works of it, are spoken of. It is also most certain, that all things in this world, as they are upheld and preserved in their being by God, so they are governed, influenced, ordered, and disposed of by him, for the good of his creatures, and the glory of his name; yet not this, but the decrees, purposes, and appointments of God, respecting his creatures, are here designed; in which sense the word l[p , here used, is sometimes to be taken, as in Exodus 15:17: Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which tl[p, thou hast appointed for thee to dwelt in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy have have established. For the tabernacle, or sanctuary, was not yet made. So in Psalm 31:19: O how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which, tl[p, thou hast prepared, provided, and appointed, in thine eternal counsel and covenant, for them that trust in thee before the sons of men. In the same sense the word poie>w is used in the New Testament, particularly in Mark 3:14, And he, ejpoimade, or ordained twelve.

    And in Hebrews 3:2, Who was radical, tw~ poi>hsanti, to him that made, or appointed him. Now the sense of these words is this: that all things are appointed by God for his own glory; all things, particularly respecting man, concerning his temporal estate, the time of his birth, the place of his abode, his station and condition of life, the various vintages of it, prosperous and adverse, death itself, and all the means leading on to it; as well as all things respecting his spiritual and eternal state, the provision and mission of a Say tour, both as to the time of his coming into the world, and of his sufferings and death, with all the circumstances thereof, the conversion of a sinner, time, place, said means, all times of darkness, desertion, and comfort; yea, the final state and portion of all men: all these are fixed and appointed by God, and, in one way or another, make for his glory; yea, even he has appointed the wicked for the day of evil, which is mentioned partly to illustrate the general proposition in the text, and partly to obviate an objection, which might be taken from them against all things being made or appointed for his glory. But, 2. It is commonly said, that it is our sentiment, and the sense we give of this text, and what may be inferred from the doctrine of predestination, that God made man to damn him; whereas this is neither our sentiment; nor is it the sense we give of this text, nor is it to be inferred from the doctrine of predestination; for there is a wide difference between God’s making man to damn him, trod his appointing wicked men to damnation for their wickedness, which is the meaning of this text, and of the doctrine of reprobation we assert. We say, that God made man neither to damn him nor to save him; neither salvation nor damnation were God’s ultimate in making man, but his own glory, which will be answered one way or another, either in his salvation or damnation. It is asked, “What is it that they would lifter from these words? Is it that God made men wicked?”

    To which I answer, no. We know as well as this interrogator that God made man upright, and that he has made himself wicked; and abhor, as much as he, the blasphemy of God being the author of sin, or of his making his creatures wicked. It is one thing for God to make men wicked, another to appoint a wicked man to eternal wrath on the account of his wickedness.

    The same author goes on to interrogate, “Is it with Dr. Twiss, that all, besides the elect, God hath ordained to bring forth into the world, in their corrupt mass, and to permit them to themselves to go on in their own ways, and so finally to persevere in sin; and lastly, to damn them for their sin, for the manifestation of his justice on them?” This passage of the Doctor’s is picked out as a very exceptionable one; though for my part, I think it fitly expresses both the sense of this text and of the doctrine of reprobation, and is to be justified in every part of it. He says, that God ordained to bring forth all, besides the elect, into the world in their corrupt mass. And where is the hurt of saying this? Is it not fact that they are brought into the world in this manner? Nor is it repugnant to the perfections of God to produce, bring into being, and multiply the individuals of human nature, though that nature is vitiated and corrupted with sin, which lie may do, and does, without being the author of their wickedness; nor is this injurious to, or any particular hardship on, the nonelect, since the same is true, and is what we, with the Scriptures, affirm of the elect of God themselves. The Doctor proceeds to observe, that God ordained to permit them to themselves to go on in their own ways, and so finally to persevere in sin. That God does give up men to their own hearts’ lust, ( Psalm 81:11,12.) as he did the Israelites of old, and suffers whole nations to walk in their own ways, ( Acts 14:16.) as he did the Gentiles formerly for many hundreds of years, is certain; and for God to ordain, or determine, to permit them, can be no more contrary to his perfections than the permission itself; nor does such an appointment infringe the liberty of their wills; nor can it be any injustice in God to suffer them finally to persevere in sin, since they say, we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. ( Jeremiah 18:12.)

    And, whereas the Doctor concludes that God has ordained to damn them for their sin, for the manifestation of his justice on them: this fitly expresses the sense of the text and of the doctrine of reprobation, especially that part of it which divines call pre-damnation. Reprobation may be distinguished into preterition and predamnation. Preterition is God’s act of passing by and leaving some, who are called the rest, when he chose others to salvation; and is the effect of God’s sovereign good will and pleasure, being an act over and above the fall, and without the consideration of it, or of any actual sin or transgression whatever; nor is this unbecoming the moral perfections of God, or doing any injustice to his creatures, since the objects of this act were considered in the pure mass of creatureship, were found in this pure mass, and left in it, God neither putting nor supposing any wickedness in them. Predamnation is God’s appointing men to damnation, in consideration and on account of sin; not God’s decree, but sin, which interferes between the decree and the execution of it, is the cause of damnation: God damns no man but for sin, nor does he appoint any to damnation but on account of it. Now, if it is not unjust to damn men for sin, it cannot be an unrighteous thing with God to appoint unto damnation for it. These things being considered, the doctrine of reprobation will not appear so horrible and shocking as it is represented to be by our opponents. Our author goes on and observes, “or lastly, they only mean that God, for the glory of his justice, had appointed, that wicked men perishing impenitently in sin, should he obnoxious to his wrath; and then they assert a great truth.” But we mean more than this, we mean not only that such persons who are left to persevere in sin, and remain finally impenitent, are obnoxious to the wrath of God, but that they are appointed to wrath; and which we believe to be the sense of this text, and the truth contained in it. Though, 3. It is observed, that the words should be rendered, the Lord hath made all things to answer to themselves, or airily to refer to one another, even the wicked for the day of evil. But supposing that the word whn[ml is derived from hn[ , to answer, it should not be rendered to answer to themselves but to him, since the affix to it is singular, and not plural, and the meaning will be, that the Lord has made, or appointed all things to answer to himself, that is, to his own will and pleasure, and to subserve the ends of his own glory. Agreeable to this sense of the phrase the Jewish writers interpret it. R. Sol Jarchi explains it by wswlyq lybçb for his praise. R. Isaac by wnwxrz zxpj ˆ[ml , for his will and pleasure. R.

    Jonah by hxwr wb ˆyg[l, for the thing in which he takes pleasure. R.

    David Kimchi thinks it may be rightly ex- plained by wrwb[b, for himself, or for his own sake. All which confirm our sense of it. Nor is the meaning of the words, that God has made the wicked man to be the executioner of evil to others; though this is sometimes the case, and is such a sense of the words, as is no ways subversive of the doctrine of reprobation. But the plain meaning of them is, that God has appointed all things for his own glory, and which, the will secure even in the destruction of wicked men, to which for their sins they are justly reserved; and this sense of them is confirmed by the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.

    SECTION 2.

    Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias had said again, lie hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. — John 12:39,40.

    IT is said, that “this text is cited to prove the decree of reprobation, or preterition; and that the inference made from it, contains this strange and uncomfortable doctrine, viz. That the infidelity of God’s own people is to be resolved, not into the perverseness of their wills, or the evil dispositions of their hearts, but into the divine predictions, or into a judicial blindness and obduration, wrought by God upon them; which renders it, though not naturally, yet, morally impossible for them to believe.” But, 1. I do not find that these words are cited by any of our writers to prove the decree of reprobation, or preterition, or any eternal purpose of God to blind the eyes, and harden the hearts of men, by any positive act of his, with a view to hinder their conversion, and that this decree of condemnation might take place. The Contra-Remonstrants, indeed, make use of them to prove, that the Gospel is preached to many who do not believe, and who cannot believe; because it is not attended with an internal, powerful operation of divine grace, and that very rightly; which is exactly agreeable to the words of Isaiah, cited in the preceding verse, Who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? And, which stand in close connection with these, Therefore, they could not believe, etc. 2. It would be strange and uncomfortable doctrine, indeed, should any make an inference from hence, containing this in it, that the infidelity of God’s own people is owing to divine predictions, or judicial blindness, wrought by God upon them, which renders it morally Impossible for them to believe. Seeing God’s own people are not spoken of in the text, nor are there any predictions in scripture respecting their final unbelief, nor are they ever given up to judicial blindness and hardness; but, being ordained unto eternal life, are enabled, by divine grace, to believe in Christ to the saving of their souls, notwithstanding the perverseness of their wills, and the evil disposition of their hearts. 3. It is evident that the words are to be understood of the unbelieving Jews who rejected the Messiah, though they heard his doctrine, and saw his miracles, whereby the predictions of the prophet Isaiah, were fulfilled; which, though they had no such in-influence on the wills of these men, f215 as to lay upon them a co-active necessity, or force them to do or answcr to the things foretold, yet were to have, and had, an infallible event or completion; otherwise, the foreknowledge of God, and the authority of the prophetic writings, could not be maintained: wherefore the Evangelist observes, that though he (Christ) had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him, that the saying of Esaias, the prophet, might be judged, etc. Also, Therefore, they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, etc. 4. It is certain, that \he impossibility of their after believing, is to be resolved into the judicial blindness and hardness of their hearts, to which they were justly left, having contemned both the doctrines and miracles of Christ. It is of no great moment whether the he, who is said to blind and harden, be God or Christ, or whether the words be rendered, it hath blinded, etc. that is, malice or wickedness hath blinded, or be read impersonally, their eyes are blinded, etc. Since God, or Christ, blind and harden, not by any positive act, or putting in blindness or hardness, but by leaving and giving men up to the blindness and hardness of their hearts, and denying them grace; which was the cause of these Jews; so as never to be converted, or turned even by external repentance and reformation, that they might be healed in a national way, or be preserved front national ruin.

    All which is consistent with God’s command, and Christ’s exhortations to them to believe, which were antecedent to the judicial blindness and hardness of their hearts, and were, with the miracles and doctrines of Christ, aggravations of their unbelief; and therefore, they might he justly objected to them by the evangelist as their great crime, as it certainly was; being owing to the perverseness of their wills, and the evil dispositions of their hearts.

    SECTION 3.

    And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them that stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. — 1 Peter 2:8.

    These words are spoken of the reprobate Jews, to whom Christ was a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, in his birth, parentage, and education, in the mean appearance he made in his earn person and in his apostles, in his ministry, and the audience that attended it, and the company he kept, in his doctrine, miracles, crucifixion, and death; who stumbled at the word of the Gospel, despised, and rejected it, being left to the prevailing infidelity of their corrupt hearts; all, which was not casual and accidental, but pursuant to a divine purpose and appointment. This passage, in connection with the words preceding, plainly shows, that as there were some, whom God had appointed and fore-ordained to believe in Christ, on whom he determined to bestow true faith in the, to whom he is the elect, precious cornerstone; so there were others, whom He determined to leave as children of disobedience, in the infidelity and unbelief in which the fall had concluded them; through which disobedience or infidelity, they stumble at Christ, and his word, and in consequence thereof, justly perish. This also appears from the antithesis in verse 9, where God’s elect are opposed unto, and distinguished from, these persons, but ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, etc. But, 1st. It is said, “That this scripture, to be sure, cannot signify, that God absolutely ordained the unbelieving Jews, eijv apei>qeian , to disobedience ;” when, “ 1. As yet they were not, and therefore were not disobedient.” I reply, this scripture certainly signifies, that these persons were appointed to stumble at Christ and his words through unbelief, which is all one as not to believe in him; or, to express our sense and meaning, and also the sense and meaning of his text more fully, God absolutely willed the fall of man, which brought all mankind into a state of infidelity; in which God has determined to leave some, and not give them that grace which can only cure them of their unbelief, whereby they stumble at Christ and his Gospel, being disobedient, to the divine revelation. Now such a deter-urination, or appointment, did not request their present actual existence, only certain future existence, much should be disobedient, previous to this appointment. 2. It is added, as another reason against this sense of the text, “That then their future disobedience was purely a compliance with the divine ordinance or will, and so could not deserve the name of disobcdience; because it could not be both a compliance with, and disobedience to the will of God.” To which may be replied, that God’s will is either secret or revealed, purposing or commanding; the one is the rule of his own actions, the other of his creatures: now it oftentimes is so that what accords with the secret and purposing will of God, is a disobedience to his revealed and commanding will. As Dr. Manton observes, “Things that are most against his revealed will, fall under the ordination of his secret will; and, whilst men break commandments, they fulfill decrees: his revealed will showeth what should be done, his secret will what will be done.” So, for instance it was agreeable to God’s secret will, that man should fall; yet, eating the forbidden fruit by which he fell, was an act of disobedience to his revealed will: The crucifixion of Christ was according to the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God; and yet this act of the Jews was a disobedience to the sixth commandment, Thou shall not kill. The kings of the earth, giving their kingdom to the beast, was a fulfilling of the secret will of God, nay, he put it into their hearts to do it, and yet, giving the beast that support, power, homage, and worship, they did, were all open violation of the laws of God. 3. It is urged, that, according to this sense of the words, “This disobedience could not be objected to them as their crime; unless compliance with the will of God be so; and it be a fault to be such as God, by his immutable counsel and decree, hath ordained we should be; or it should render men criminal and obnoxious to punishment, that they have not made void God’s absolute decree, or have done what that made it necessary for them to do.” I answer, that God’s decrees, as they do not infringe the liberty of man’s will, so they do not excuse from sin. The selling of Joseph was according to the purpose and decree of God, who, as he meant, So he over-ruled it for good yet it was an evil in his brethren, and so they meant it; and, therefore, might be justly objected, to them as their crime. The Jews, when they crucified Christ, did no other than what the hand and counsel of God determined before to be done: and yet, by their own wicked hands, they crucified and slew him. God’s determinations and decrees about this affair, neither exempted them from being criminals, nor from being obnoxious to punishment. 2ndly The meaning of these words, probably to Dr. Hammond’s sense of them, is said to be this: “That the unbelieving Jews, being disobedient to the Gospel so clearly revealed, and by so many miracles all distributions of the Holy Ghost confirmed to them, were appointed, as the punishment of that disobedience, to fall and perish; for, so the Hebrew word, and the Greek prosko>mma and skanda>lon, import, namely the ruin and the fall of them who stumble at this stone.” Than let it be observed, that the phrase, to stumble at Christ, and the word ; is not expressive of their punishment, but of their sin, being disobedient. As, to stumble at the law, Malachi 2:8, is to offend against, break and transgress it; so to stumble at the word, or Gospel, is to blaspheme and contradict it, reject and put it away, as the Jews of old did, being disobedient, left and given up if to the infidelity and hardness of their hearts. To stumble at the word, and to stumble at Christ, and to be offended in Him, or at him, are one and the same thing; and the latter always signifies a crime, and not punishment, Matthew 11:6, and Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:3, Luke 17:23.

    The sin of these persons is expressed by stumbling and falling: and their punishment by being broken; Psalm 8:14,15, Matthew 21:44. So the Hebrew word lçk , signifies to stumble and fall; that is, to sin; see Proverbs 24:17, Hosea 14:1, Malachi 2:8. Hence µnw[ lwçkk, the stumbling-block of their iniquity, that which is the occasion of sin, Ezekiel 7:19, and Ezekiel 14:3,4,7. So the Greek words prosko>pyw , prosko>mma , proskoph> , Romans 9:32,33, and Romans 14:20,21; 2 Corinthians 6:3, Skandali>zw , and skanda>lon , Matthew 18:6-9, Romans 14:13,21; 1 Corinthians 8:1-5. And, after all, this sense of the words pleaded for proves a foreappointment of some to punishment, as the fruit of disobedience; which is that part of reprobation, commonly called predation, we contend for. 3rdly It is said, “The words will fairly bear this sense; go them trial believe, belongs hJ timh<, the honor (of being built upon this corner-stone into a spiritual house, but to them that are disobedient belongs that of <19B822> Psalm 118:22,) and (also to them he is) a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them that stumble at the word, Eijv o\ kai< ejte>qhsan for which also these stones were laid, or put, the corner-stone for the building up of believers, the stone of stumbling for the disobedient to stumble at.” But it should be observed, that the corner-stone, and the stone of stumbling, are one and the same stone, and therefore it could not, with propriety, be said of that stone, for which also they were put or laid.

    Besides, “the word forever tiqenai , as Dr. Hammond observes, is ordinarily used for appointing, and ordaining, and being applied to God, doth often signify his decree, or destination; thus John 15:16, Acts 13:47, 1 Thessalonians 5:9.” And here, his decree and a appointment concerning reprobates, as appears from the antithesis in verse 9. Moreover, admitting that Christ is here said to be laid, or put, as a stumbling-stone for the disobedient to stumble at; since he is said kei~aqai eijv ptw~sin, to be set, that is, as the above-mentioned Doctor observes, decreed by God (the same that ti>qeaqai, to be yet or ordained here,) for the falling of many in Israel, Luke 2:34. I say, admitting this, the sense will be much the same, whether we suppose Christ is set or put, that is, ordained, decreed, and appointed, to be a stumbling-stone for men to stumble at; or, whether they are ordained, appointed, to stumble at him; that is, to despise, refuse, and reject him, through infidelity.

    SECTION 4.

    For there are certain men crept in unawares, who mere before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. — Jude 1:4.

    The apostle, in this text, speaks of some persons, perhaps the followers of Simon Magus, or other immoral heretics, who had privily crept into houses, and unawares into the churches, and, perhaps, into the ministry, and had insinuated themselves into the affections of the people; and yet were ungodly men, did not worship God sincerely, and according to his appointments, misinterpreted the gospel of the grace of God, translated it to a wrong use, and abused the design of it,, yea, denied both the Father and the Son. Now these persons were of old, that is, from all eternity, as Dr. Manton on the text observes, before ordained to just condemnation for their wickedness. These words may be considered then as a proof of reprobation, or of God’s appointing some men to damnation before they had a being. In answer to this it is said, f224 1. “The verse in the Greek text runs thus: So the ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, have entered into (the church) of whom it was before written, that this should be their sentence or punishment.”

    But , to tilts version of the text may be objected, that besides the transposing of the words, and dropping part of the character of these men, the word pa>lai , of old, is entirely neglected. Nor does the verse in the Greek text run thus: peri< o+in proge>grapti tou~to to< kri~~ma, of whom this sentence or punishment was before written; but, oij pa>gai progegramme>noi eijv tou~to to< kri~ma who were of old before written to this condemnation. 2. “That this cannot be meant of any divine ordination or appointment of them to eternal damnation before they had a being, is evident; because it cannot be thought without horror, that he, who is the lover of souls, should appoint any, much less the greater part of them, to inevitable destruction before they had a being.” But, where does the horror of this doctrine lie?

    Does it lie in the appointment of men to damnation, before they had a being? If there is an divine ordination or appointment to it, it must be before men have a being, even from eternity, since no new appointment decree, purpose, or ordination is made by God in time. It election is from eternity, reprobation must be so too, since there cannot be one without the other. If some were chosen before the foundation of the world, others must be left, or passed by as early. If some were appointed unto salvation from the beginning, others were appointed unto wrath or were of old, ayrwç zm, from the beginning, as the Syriac version renders the word (compare this with 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Proverbs 8:22), fore-ordained to condemnation. Or, does the horror of it lie in this, that this appointment is ascribed to the lover of souls? Why may it not be thought without horror, that he, who is the lover of souls, should appoint some men to eternal damnation for sin before they had a being, as well as hate Esau before he had done any evil, and yet loved Jacob before he had done any good? Or does it lie here, that God should appoint the greater part of men to damnation? But the question before us is not, whether God has appointed the greater or lesser part of mankind to destruction for sin, but whether he has appointed any; and, if he could appoint any, he could appoint many, yea, all mankind; as he did the whole body of apostate angels, without any impeachment of his wisdom, justice, or goodness. But perhaps the horribleness of this doctrine is thought to lie here, that God has appointed men as creatures, without any consideration of sin, unto eternal damnation. If this was our doctrine, I should not wonder that it should be thought of with so much horror and detestation; but this is a most vile misrepresentation of it. For, though the Supralapsarians do not promise the consideration of sin to the act of preterition, or God’s leaving and passing by some, when he chose others; yet both they, and the Sublapsarians premise the consideration of sin to predamnation, or God’s appointing men to destruction. We say, God damns no man but for sin, and that he appointed to damn none but sinners. And cannot this be thought of without horror? Our author himself owns it, as will quickly appear. 3. It is said, that “the word kri~ma , relates not to sin, but punishment, the fruit of sin; so Mark 12:40, Romans 2:3. Now, God ordaineth none to punishment but sinners; and ungodly men; and such, by the text, these persons are here styled.” To which may be replied, that, though the word kri~ma , in the passages referred to, and in many others, signifies damnation, yet, elsewhere, it relates to things criminal; a sinful blindness and hardness of heart, which God sometimes leaves persons to: so when our Lord says, eijv kri~ma , for judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind, ( John 9: 39. ) thus, these persons in the text, having gone great lengths in sin, were given up to a reprobate mind to do things not convenient; to neglect and despise the worship of God, abuse me gospel, and deny both the Father and the Son. Now, eijv tou~to to< kri~ma , to this judicial blindness and hardness, they were of old before ordained. This is a sense of the words which cannot easily be confuted, and is, indeed, acknowledged by the Remonstrants. But, however, we are willing to allow that kri~ma here relates to punishment, and not sin, as in the parallel place, 2 Peter 2:3.

    And we say with our author, that God ordains none to meat but sinners; only we say, that ordination was from eternity, and this is the doctrine of the text, and which we contend for. 4. It is observed, that “these were men of whom it was before written or prophesied, that they should be condemned for their ungodliness, as be Enoch, verse 14. And, that this also is the import of the word proegra>fe , Romans 15:4, Galatians 3:1. The writers and interpreters on the Arminian side are pretty generally agreed that these words refer to some prophecy concerning these men, somewhere or other in Scripture, but are not agreed about the particular passage. Some think the apostle has a regard to the parallel place in 2 Peter 2:1-3; but if he had this in his view, he would never have said that they were of old, a long while ago, before written or prophesied, of; since, according to the, common calculation, that epistle of Peter’s was written in the very same year as this of Jude’s. Besides, Peter says, at the time of his writing, that the judgment of these men was of a long one, that is, had been long ago pronounced and did not linger. Others think, that reference is had to the prediction of Christ, in Matthew 24. This is, indeed, carrying the prophecy further off.

    But then, as no such persons are described there as here, so neither there any mention of their punishment or condemnation. Others, as our author supposed, that the apostle respects the prophecy of Enoch; this, indeed, was of old. But, tough it is true that Enoch prophesied of persons, yet, as his prophecy was never that we know of, and, therefore, these, men could not be said to be fore-written of in; so it is easy to observe, that the apostle peaks of this prophecy as something distinct from these persons being fore-written to condemnation, when he says, verse 14, and Enoch also prophesied of these. Besides, as Vorstius, f231 a writer on the other side the question, observes, “It is all one whether we understand it, that these men were of old appointed and designed by God to this condemnation; or, whether this condemnation was of old written concerning them in the Old Testament.” Since such a prophecy concerning them must be founded upon an antecedent, divine ordination and appointment. Nor is prophecy he import of the word proegra>fe , especially in Galatians 3:1, and only regards things, and not persons, in Romans 15:4. And here intends, not their being fore-written in any of the books of Scripture, but in the book of God’s eternal purposes and decrees.

    SECTION 5.

    And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him; whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, stair, from the foundation of the world. — Revelation 13:8.

    With 2 Corinthians 4:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Romans 9:18.

    The learned writer attended to, observes, that Dr. Twiss confesseth that the Scriptures speak fully of election, sparingly of reprobation, in most places; yet, some passages we have, saith he, which give light and evidence to both alike. The passages referred to are, for the one, Acts 2:47; Matthew 24:24; Acts 13:48; Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:23. For the other, 2 Corinthians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Corinthians 1:18; Romans 9:18; Revelation 13:8, and Revelation 17:8. Now, to all these citations, most of which are said to be palpably impertinent, (though whether they are or no, will be seen hereafter) this is the general answer, “That they signify no more than those words of Chest, Mark 16:16, Luke 13:3-5; and of the Baptist, John 3:36. The stun of which is, that he that believes and repents, shall be saved; and he that does not believe and repent, shall be damned. Which is a considerable mistake; seeing the words of Christ and of the Baptist regard only the revealed will of God, in the external ministry of the word; and the passages cited, the secret will of God, in giving grace to some, and denying it to others. The main thing to be attended to is, how it comes to pass, that some men have faith and repentance, and so are saved; whilst others have neither, and so are damned. Some men have faith and repentance: how come they by them? God freely gives these graces to them, and implants them in them; and why does he do so? Because of his sovereign good pleasure he has, from all eternity, willed and determined to do so; widen is a considerable branch of election. On the other band, some men have neither faith nor repentance; what is the reason of it? Because, being by nature in a state of infidelity and impenitence, God does not give them that grace which only can deliver them from it. And why does he not give them that grace? Because, of his sovereign will and pleasure, he has determined not to give it them; which is a considerable branch of reprobation. To some of these citations our author thinks fit to reply, by saying, that “those that are lost, 2 Corinthians 4:3, are those that believe not, verse 4. And those who perish, 2 Thessalonians 2:10, are those who believe not the truth, verse 12. And they who perish, 1 Corinthians 1:18, are the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. And they who are hardened, Romans 9:18, are the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, by their own wickedness, completed by their infidelity, or want of faith.” But still the question returns. How come these persons to want faith, to be unbelievers, not to believe in Christ, or the truth, whilst others do? It is not because they are left to their natural infidelity, and given up to judicial blindness, and hardness of heart? And why are they thus left? Or, why does God deny them that grace which only can cure them of all this? but, because it is his will, and he has determined to deny them it? Now, this is one part of reprobation we contend for. From these this celebrated writer proceeds to those places, which may seem to require a more particular notice.

    And, 1st. Begins with the phrase of being written in the book of life, Revelation 13:8, and Revelation 17:8. Which, 1. He says, is Jewish, and doth not stratify the absolute election of any person to eternal life, but only the present right of the just person to life; and therefore it is called the book of life written for the just, Targum on ( Ezekiel 13:9). And, the book of the just, Targ. Jori. on Exodus 32:8-2. To which I answer, that the book spoken of in the Scriptures under consideration, is not called the book of the just, nor the book of life written for the just, but the book of life for the Lamb, a phrase never to be met with in Jewish writings. But, admitting an allusion to these phrases used by the Jews, let it be observed, that just or righteous persons are particular ones: all men are not righteous; only such from God from all eternity willed to be righteous through the righteousness of his Son. Now, as ma ny as are written in the book of life God willed to be righteous, through the righteousness of his Son; and, as many as he willed to be righteous, through the righteousness of his Son, he wrote their names in the book of life. Hence the same individual particular persons, who are said to be written in heaven, ( Hebrews 12:23.) are called just men made perfect that is, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to them; which gives them not only a present, but a future continued right to eternal life, which can never be lost. For, whom God did predestinate, them he called; and whom he called, he justified, and whom he justified, them he glorified. ( Romans 8:30.) 2. It is observed, that, in this book, The apostolical institutions (constitutions, I suppose, it should be,) say, we come to be written th> hJmetera eujnoi>a kai< spoudh~ , by our good affection and industry.” What these constitutions say will not meet with much credit; since, not only they appear to be a spurious work, and not the genuine writings of the apostles, but also, we find nothing in the sacred writings to confirm such an assertion; and, indeed, how is it possible that any should come to be written in this book, through their good affection and industry, when the book was written, from the foundation of the world, Revelation 17:8, and so before men had done either good or evil? 3. It is said, that, “from this book, men, as they may be written in it, when they are converted from vice to virtue, so may they be blotted out, when they backslide from virtue to iniquity, according to Psalm 17:28, Revelation 22:19, Exodus 32:33.” To which I reply, that, as men are not first written in this book when they are converted, since this book was written from the foundation of the world, before men had a being, and consequently before they were converted, so neither may they or can they be blotted out when they backslide; for God not only heals the backsliders of his people, and still loves them freely, ( Hosea 14:4; Revelation 3:5.) but he has promised to him that overcometh, as all his elect do and shall, that he will not blot out his name out of the book of life. Nor do the passages alleged prove that they may or shall be blotted out; not Psalm 69:28, which is a petition concerning wicked men, either that they may die, theft memory perish, never be mentioned with the righteous, nor appearing among them at the last day; or that they might be excluded from the visible church, the congregation of saints, and appear to be what they really were, none of God’s elect; and, supposing the book of the living intends the book of election, blotting out of it is no more, as is evident from the text itself, than not writing them in it; nor Revelation 22:19, for taking away the man’s part out of the book of life is only taking away that which he seemed to have and not what he really had, agreeable to Luke 8:18. And as for Exodus 32:33, it is not there said, Whoso yet hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of the book of life, as this writer inadvertently cites the words, but out of the book which I have written, that is, either out of the book of the law, according to R. Sol. Jarchi; his name shall not be mentioned there; or, of it this temporal life, he shall die and not live. 4. “This book is said to be written from the foundation of the world, God having Adam and others, who are styled the sons of God; and not to have a name written in it, is not to be owned as God’s sons and faithful servants; when therefore St. John saith, that they whose names were not in this book of life writ from the foundation of the world, worshipped the beast; he means they, and they only did so, who never were by God esteemed, or registered in the number of good Christians. But if this book was written from the foundation of the world, it must be written before these sons of God had a being, and before they knew, or were known by others, that they were the sons of God. And if none but such whom God owns and esteems as his sons were written in it, then none but such who are really so, or such who were predestinated to the adoption of sons, are written in it.

    And if none but these: are written in it, then those whose names are not written in it are such who are passed by and rejected of God, which is what we contend for, and this passage of Scripture is brought to prove. 2ndly “The passage cited from the Thessalonians is said only to concern the Jews, who rejected the gospel of our Lord and their Messiah, confirmed by the strongest evidence of innumerable miracles; and so believed not the truth at all, or else revolted from it after they had embraced it.” Though it rather seems to concern the followers of Antichrist, and the worshippers of the man of sin, when he should be revealed, to whom God would send strong delusions, that they should believe a lie, and be damned. But, let it concern who it will, it is certain it respects such persons who would be left of God to their infidelity, and given up to the power of Satan, and to judicial blindness of mind; and are distinguished from the elect of God that should be saved, verses 13,14. 3rdly “The passages cited from Romans 9, it is said, can do nothing to the purpose; that chapter having no regard to God’s absolute decrees, concerning the final and external state of mankind in general, or of any particular persons, but his providential dealings in rejecting the Jews, and receiving the Gentiles.” But I hope to make it appear, in a subsequent section, that that chapter is designed to illustrate personal election and reprobation. Nor does the apostle’s recapitulation, verse 30, contradict this; since the Jews not attaining to the law of righteousness, was owing to their stumbling at that stumbling-stone to which they were appointed; and the Gentiles attaining to righteousness, was in consequence of their being vessels of mercy, afore prepared to glory; and both to be understood of particular per-reasons. Nor does the apostle’s prayer, chapter 1, contradict the decree of reprobation concerning the Jews, or his knowledge of; since this might be the effect of natural affection to them, as his countrymen, and not rise from the exercise of faith and spiritual knowledge.

    GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - JOHN GILL INDEX & SEARCH

    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.