The Doctrine Of Predestination Stated, & Set In The Scripture Light by John Gill


The Doctrine Of Predestination Stated,
& Set In The Scripture Light
by John Gill
(London: Wm. Hardcastle, 1814)
Thou hast given a standard to them that fear thee;
that it may be displayed because of the truth
— Psalm 60:4
SERMON 7
In Opposition To Mr. Wesley’s Predestination Calmly Considered,
With A Reply To The Exceptions Of The Said Writer To The
Doctrine Of The Perseverance Of The Saints.

Mr. Wesley having declared himself the author of the Serious Thoughts
upon the Perseverance of the Saints, to which I lately returned an answer;
has been pleased to shift the controversy from perseverance to
predestination: contenting himself with some low, mean and impertinent
exceptions to a part of what I have written on the subject of perseverance;
not attempting to answer any one argument advanced by me in vindication
of it; and yet he has the assurance in the public papers, to call this miserable
piece of his, chiefly written on another subject, A full answer to Dr. Gill’s
pamphlet on perseverance; any other man but Mr. Wesley would, upon
reflection, be covered with shame and confusion; though to give him his
due, in his great modesty, he has left out the word full in some after-papers;
as being conscious to himself, or it may be, some of his friends
pointed it to him, that it was an imposition on the public, and tended
greatly to expose himself and his cause since he has left me in tile full
possession of all my arguments; which I will not say are unanswerable,
though I think they are; and it looks as if Mr. Wesley thought so too,
seeing he has not attempted to answer one of them; yet this I may say, that
as yet they are not answered at all, and much less is a full answer given
unto them.
And now, though I might be very well excused following him in this wild
pursuit on the subject of predestination; since he has not meddled with my
argument from it for the saints perseverance; since he has not pursued that
subject, as his title promises; and since throughout the whole he does not
argue, only harangue upon it; and that only a part of it, reprobation, which
he thought would best serve his purpose; yet for the sake of weak and
honest minds, lest through his subtlety, they should be corrupted from the.3
simplicity that is in Christ; I shall endeavour to state the doctrine of
predestination, and set it in a true light according to the Scriptures, with
the proofs of it from thence; and take notice of the principal objections
raised by Mr. Wesley in his harangue on that part of it which respects
reprobation; and then close this treatise with a reply to his trifling
exceptions to what I have written on the subject of the saints perseverance.
As to the doctrine of predestination, it may be considered either,
I. In general as respecting all things that have been, are, or shall be, or
done in the world; every thing comes under the determination and
appointment of God
“he did, as the assembly of divines say in their confession, from all
eternity, unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;”
or, as they express it in their catechism,
“God’s decrees are the wise, free and holy acts of the counsel of his
will whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory,
unchangeably fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass in time:”
and this predestination and fore-appointment of all things, may be
concluded from the fore-knowledge of God;
known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,
ap aiwnV, from eternity (

Acts 15:18);
they were known by him as future, as what would be, which became so by
his determination of them; for, the reason why he knew they would be, is,
because he determined they should be: also from the providence of God,
and his government of the world, which is all according to the counsel of
his own will (

Ephesians 1:11): for he does every thing according to
that, or as he has determined in his own mind. Eternal predestination in this
sense, is no other than eternal providence, of which actual providence in
time is the execution. To deny this, is to deny the providence of God, and,
his government of the world, which none but Deists and Atheists will do; at
least it is to think and speak unworthy of God, as not being the all-knowing
and all-wise and sovereign ruler of the world, he is once more the very
wonderful thing, prophecy, or foretelling things to come, could not be
without a predestination of them; of which there are so many instances in
Scripture such as the stay of the Israelites in Egypt, and their departure.4
from thence; the seventy years captivity of the Jews in Babylon, and their
return at the end of that time; the exact coming of the Messiah at such a
certain time; with many others, and some seemingly the most casual and
contingent; as the birth of persons by name a hundred or hundreds of years
before they were born, as Josiah and Cyrus; and a man’s carrying a pitcher
of water, at such a time, to such a place (

1 Kings 13:2;

Isaiah 44:28;
45:1;

Luke 22:10, 13): how could these things be foretold with
certainty, unless it was determined and appointed they should be? There is
nothing comes by chance to God, nothing done without his knowledge, nor
without his will or permission, and nothing without his determination;
every thing, even the most minute thing, respecting his creatures, and what
is done in this world in all periods and ages of time, is by his appointment;
for the proof of which see the following passages.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2-To every thing there is a season, and a time
to every purpose under the heaven; a time to be born and a time to
die, &c. a time fixed by the purpose of God for each of these.

Job 14:5-Seeing his days are determined, the number of his
months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he
cannot pass.

Job 23:14, He performeth the thing that is appointed for me,
and many such things are with him.

Daniel 4:35-And he doth according to his will in the army of
heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay
his hand, or say unto him, what dost thou?

Ephesians 1:11-Being predestinated according to the purpose of
him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

Acts 15:18-Known unto God are all his works from the
beginning of the world.

Acts 17:26—and hath determined the times before appointed,
and the bounds of their habitation.

Matthew 10:29, 30-Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?
and one of them shall not fail to the ground without your Father;
but the very hairs of your head are all numbered..5
II. Predestination may be considered as special, and as relating to
particular persons, and to things spiritual and eternal; whereas
predestination in general respects all creatures and things, even things
temporal and civil.
First, Christ himself is the object of predestination; he was fore-ordained
to be the mediator between God and man; to be the propitiation for sin; to
he the redeemer and saviour of his people; to be the head of the church;
king of saints, and judge of the world: hence he is called, God’s elect, and
his chosen one; and whatsoever befell him, or was done unto him, was by
the determinate council and fore-knowledge of God; even all things
relating to his sufferings and death in proof of which read the following
Scriptures.

Romans 3:5-Whom God hath set forth, proeqeto, fore-ordained
to be a propitiation.

1 Peter 1:20-Who verily was fore-ordained before the
foundation of the world, that is, to he the Lamb slain. See chapter
2:4.

Luke 22:29-And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father
hath appointed unto me.

Acts 18:31-Because he hath appointed a day in the which he
will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath
ordained. See also chapter 10:42.

Isaiah 43:1-Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in
whom my soul delighteth. See

Matthew 12:18.

Luke 22:22-And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was
determined, but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed.

Acts 2:23-Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and
fore-knowledge of God, ye have taken, &c.

Acts 4:28—For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel
determined before to be done.
Secondly, Angels also are the objects of predestination, good and bad; the
blessed angels are chosen unto life, and to continue in their happy state to.6
all eternity: and their perseverance therein, and eternal felicity, are owing to
the eternal choice of them in Christ their head;
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect
angels, that thou observe these things (

1 Timothy 5:21).
The evil angels are rejected of God, and left in that miserable estate their
apostasy brought them into, without any provision of grace and mercy for
them: they are delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved to the
judgment of the great day; and everlasting fire is prepared for them,
according to the determinate counsel and will of God, (

2 Peter 2:4;

Matthew 25:41).
Thirdly, Predestination which the Scriptures chiefly treat of, is what
respects men, and consists of two parts, election and reprobation; the one
is a predestination unto life, the other unto death.
I. Election, which is a predestination unto life, is an act of the free grace of
God, of his sovereign and immutable will, by which from all eternity he has
chosen in Christ, out of the common mass of mankind, some men, or a
certain number of them, to partake of spiritual blessings here, and
happiness hereafter, for the glory of his grace.
1. The objects of election are some men, not all, which a choice supposes;
to take all would be no choice; called therefore,
a remnant according to the election of grace (

Romans 11:3).
These are a certain number, which though unknown to us, how many, and
who they are, are known to God;
the Lord knows them that are his (

2 Timothy 2:19).
And though they are in themselves a
great multitude, which no man can number (

Revelation 7:9),
yet when compared with those from whom they are chosen, they are but
few;
many are called, but few chosen (

Matthew 20:16)..7
These are chosen out of the same common mass of mankind, be it
considered as corrupt or pure; all were on an equal level when the choice
was made;
hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make
one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour
(

Romans 9:21)?
these are not whole nations, churches, and communities, but particular
persons, whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life;
Jacob have I loved, &c. salute Rufus chosen in the Lord: according
as he hath chosen us in him &c. (

Romans 9:13;

16:13;

Ephesians 1:4),
not a set of prepositions, but persons; not characters, but men; or not men
under such and such characters, as believers, holy, &c., but men as having
done neither good nor evil; before they had done either (

Romans 9:11).
2. This act of election, is an act of God’s free grace, to which he is not
moved by any motive or condition in the object chosen: wherefore it is
called the election grace; concerning which the Apostle’s reasoning is
strong and invincible; and
if by grace, then it is no more of works, other wise grace is no more
grace; but if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise
work is no more work (

Romans 11:5, 6),
it is according to the sovereign and unchangeable will of God, and not
according to the will or works of men;
having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will
(

Ephesians 1:5),
and again, verse 11, being predestinated according to the purpose of him
who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; hence it stands
immutably firm and sure, even
the purpose of God according to election, not of works but of him
that calleth (

Romans 9:11)..8
3. This act of election is irrespective of faith, holiness, and good works, as
causes or conditions of it; faith flows from it; is a fruit and effect of it, is
secured by it, and is had in consequence of it:
as many as were ordained unto eternal life, believed
(

Acts 13:48),
hence it is called the faith of God’s elect (

Titus 1:1), and though
holiness is a means provided in the act of election, it is not the cause of it;
men are chosen, not because they are, but that they should he holy
(

Ephesians 1:4), good works do not go before, but follow after
election; it is denied to be of them, as before observed, and it passed before
any were done (

Romans 9:11;

11:5, 6), they are the effects of God’s
decree, and not the cause of it;
God hath fore-ordained them that we should walk in them
(

Ephesians 2:10),
4. The act of election was made in Christ, as the head, in whom all the elect
were chosen, and into whose hands, by this act of grace, were put their
persons, grace, and glory; and this is an eternal act of God in him;
according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world (

Ephesians 1:4),
and so the apostle tells the Thessalonians (

2 Thessalonians 2:13),
God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation;
not from the first preaching of the gospel to them, or from the time of their
conversion by it, but from the beginning of time, even from all eternity, as
the phrase is used in

Proverbs 7:23, hence nothing done in time could
be the cause or condition of it.
5. What men are chosen unto by this act are, grace here, and glory
hereafter; all spiritual blessings, adoption, justification, sanctification, belief
of the truth, and salvation by Jesus Christ. Salvation is the end proposed
with respect to men; sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth are
the means appointed and prepared for that end.

Ephesians 1:4, 5, Hath chosen us in him,—that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us
unto the adoption of children, &c..9

2 Thessalonians 2:13, We are bound to give thanks to God
always for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord; because God hath
from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification
of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

1 Peter 1:2, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the
Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:9, For God hath not appointed us to wrath,
but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. Both means and end are sure to the chosen ones, since this is an act of
God’s immutable will; these are redeemed by the blood of Christ: he died
for their sins, and made satisfaction for them; they are justified by his
righteousness and no charge can be laid against them; they are effectually
called by the grace of God; they are sanctified by his Spirit; they persevere
to the end, and cannot totally and finally be deceived and fall away, but
shall be everlastingly glorified:

Romans 8:33, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s
elect? it is God that justifieth: Who is he that condemneth!
That is, the elect. It is Christ that died, that died for them.

Romans 8:30, Whom he did predestinate, them he also called:
and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified,
them he also glorified.

Matthew 24:24, For there shall arise false Christs, and false
Prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch that if
it were possible they shall deceive the very elect; but that is not
possible.
7. The ultimate end of all this, with respect to God, is his own glory; the
glory of all his divine perfections; the glory of his wisdom in forming such a
scheme, in fixing on such an end, and preparing means suitable unto it; the
glory of his justice and holiness, in the redemption and salvation of these
chosen ones, through the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of his Son;
and the glory of his rich grace and mercy exhibited in his kindness to them
through him; and the whole of it is,.10
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us
accepted in the beloved (

Ephesians 1:6).
This now is the Scripture doctrine of predestination, or that part of it which
is called election; from whence it appears to be absolute and unconditional,
irrespective of any thing in man as the cause and condition of it. Mr.
Wesley believes, that, “election is a divine appointment of some men to
eternal happiness;” so that he owns a particular and personal election, and
calls it an eternal decree; but believes that it is conditional: but if it is
conditional, the condition is to be named; let him name the condition of it:
let: him point it out to us, and in what passage of Scripture it is; this lies
upon him to do, and I insist upon it, or else he ought to give up his
unscriptural notion of conditional election.

Mark 16:16. is no
expression of this decree, but a declaration of the revealed will of God: and
points out to us what will be the everlasting state of believers and
unbelievers: But believers, as such, are not the objects of God’s decree; it
is true, indeed, that they who are real believers, are the elect of God; but
then the reason why they are the elect of God is not because they are
believers, but they become believers, because they are the elect of God;
their faith is not the cause or condition of their election, but their election
the cause of their faith; they were chosen when they had done neither good
nor evil, and so before they believed: and they believe in time, in
consequence of their being ordained unto eternal life, from eternity: faith is
in time, election before the world was; nothing temporal can be the cause
or condition of what is eternal. This is the doctrine of the Scriptures; if Mr.
Wesley will not attend to these, let him hear the articles of his own church;
the seventh of which runs thus:
“Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby
(before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly
decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and
damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind,
and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels
made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent
a benefit of God, be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit
working in due season: they through grace obey the calling: they be
justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be
made like the image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ: they
walk religiously in good works, and at length by God’s mercy, they
attain to everlasting felicity.”.11
This is an article agreeable to the Scripture; an article of his own church; an
article which he as a true son of the church, has treacherously departed
from; an article which Mr. Wesley must have subscribed and sworn to; an
article which will stare him in the face as long as subscriptions and oaths
stand for any thing with him.
The doctrine of election, as above stated, standing in so glaring a light in
the sacred Scriptures, and appearing with such evidence, as is impossible
for all the art and sophistry of men to set aside; the other branch of
predestination necessarily follows, which we deny not, but maintain. Mr.
Wesley would have an election found out which does not imply
reprobation; but what election that can be, the wit of man cannot devise;
for if some are chosen, others must be rejected; and Mr. Wesley’s notion of
election itself implies it; for if, as he says, “election means a divine
appointment of some men to eternal happiness;” then others must be left
out of that choice, and rejected. I proceed therefore,
II. To the other branch of predestination commonly called Reprobation;
which is an immutable decree of God, according to his sovereign will, by
which he has determined to leave some men in the common mass of
mankind, out of which he has chosen others, and to punish them for sin
with everlasting destruction, for the glory of his power and justice. This
decree consists of two parts, a negative and a positive; the former is by
some called preterition, or passing by, a leaving some when others are
chosen; which is no other than non-election; the latter is called pre-damnation,
being God’s decree to condemn or damn men for sin.
First, Preterition is God’s act of passing by, or leaving some men when he
chose others, according to his sovereign will and pleasure; of which act of
God there is clear evidence in the sacred Scripture; as well as it is
necessarily implied in God’s act of election which has such clear and
uncontestable proof. These are oi loipoi, the rest, those that remain
unelected whilst others are chosen; the election hath obtained it; or elect
persons obtain righteousness, life and salvation, in consequence of their
being chosen; and the rest are blinded (

Romans 9:7), being left, they
remain in their native darkness and ignorance, and for their sins are given
up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart. These are they that are left
out of the book of life, whilst others have their names written in it; of
whom it is said,.12
whose names are not written in the book of life (of the Lamb) from
the foundation of the world (

Revelation 13:8; 17:8).
Secondly, Pre-damnation, is God’s decree to condemn men for sin, or to
punish them with everlasting damnation for it: And this is the sense of the
Scriptures; and this is the view which they give us of this doctrine
(

Proverbs 16:4),
The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea,
even the wicked for the day of evil.
Not that God made man to damn him; the Scripture says no such thing, nor
do we; nor is it the sense of the doctrine we plead for; nor is it to be
inferred from it. God made man neither to damn him, nor save him, but for
his own glory, that is his ultimate end in making him, which is answered
whether he is saved or lost: but the meaning is, that God has appointed all
things for his glory, and particularly he has appointed the wicked man to
the day of ruin and destruction for his wickedness. Jude verse 4,
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of
old ordained to this condemnation:
But who are they? They are after described ungodly men, turning the
grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our
Lord Jesus Christ. Hence the objects of this decree are called vessels of
wrath fitted to destruction, that is, by sin (

Romans 9:22). And now
what is there shocking in this doctrine, or disagreeable to the perfections of
God? God damns no man but for sin, and he decreed to damn none but for
sin.
Thirdly, This decree, we say, is according to the sovereign will of God,
for nothing can be the cause of his decree but his own will let the object of
that part of the decree, which is called Preterition, be considered either in
the corrupt or pure mass of mankind, as fallen or unfallen creatures, they
are to be considered in the same view, and as on an equal foot and level
with those that are chosen and therefore no other reason can he given, but
the will of God, that he should take one, and leave another. And though in
that branch of it, which is an appointment of men to condemnation, sin is
the cause of the thing decreed, damnation; yet; it is the will of God that is
the cause of the decree itself, for this invincible reason; or otherwise he
must have appointed all men to damnation, since all are sinners: let any.13
other reason be assigned if it can be, why he has appointed to condemn
some men for their sin, and not others.
Fourthly, God’s end in all this is the glorifying of himself, his power and
his justice; all his appointments are for himself, for his own glory, and this
among the rest; What if God willing, to shew his wrath, his vindictive
justice, and to make his power known, in the punishment of sinners for
their sin,
endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to
destruction! (

Romans 9:22).
The doctrine of reprobation, considered in this light, has nothing in it
contrary to the nature and perfections of God. Harsh expressions, and
unguarded phrases, which some may have used in speaking or writing
about this doctrine, I will not take upon me to defend: but as it is thus
stated, I think it is a defensible one, equally as the doctrine of election, and
is demonstrable by it. The Scriptures are indeed more sparing of the one
than of the other, and have left us to conclude the one from the other, in a
great measure, though not without giving us clear and full evidence; for
though reprobation is not so plentifully spoken of, yet it is clearly spoken
of in the sacred writings; wherefore, upon this consideration we judge it
most proper and prudent, not so much to insist on this subject in our
discourses and writing; not from any consciousness of want of evidence,
but because of the awfulness of the subject. This our opponents are aware
of; and therefore press us upon this head, in order to bring the doctrine of
election into contempt with weak or carnal men; and make their first
attacks upon this branch of predestination, which is beginning wrong since
reprobation is no other than non-election, or what is opposed to election;
let the doctrine of election be demolished, and the other will fall of course;
but that will cost too much pains; and they find a better account with weak
minds in taking the other method; a method which the Remonstrants
formerly were desirous of, at the synod of Dort, could it have been
allowed, a method which Dr. Whitby has taken in his discourse of the five
points; and this is the method which Mr. Wesley has thought fit to take,
and indeed he confines himself wholly to this subject: for though he calls
his pamphlet, Predestination Calmly Considered; yet it only considers one
part of it, reprobation, and that not in a way of argument, but harangue;
not taking notice of our arguments from Scripture or reason, only making
some caviling exceptions to it; such as have the face of an objection, shall.14
gather up, as well as I can, from this wild and unmethodical performance,
and make answer to. And,
1st, He desires it may be impartially considered, how it is possible to
reconcile reprobation with the following Scriptures:

Genesis 3:17 and
4:7;

Deuteronomy 7:9, 12;

12:26-28. and

30:15;

2 Chronicles
15:1;

Ezra 9:13, 14;

Job 36:5;

Psalm 145:9;

Proverbs 1:23;

Isaiah 65:2;

Ezekiel 18:26;

Matthew 7:26; 11:20;

12:41;

13:11, 12;

22:8; and chapter 25;

John 3:18 and

5:44;

Acts
8:20;

Romans 1:20; and

2 Thessalonians 2:10 (Predestination
Calmly Considered, p. 13). In all which there is not a word that militates
against the doctrine of reprobation; nor is any thing pointed at worthy of
consideration: we know very well, nor is it contrary to this doctrine, that
the curse came upon men for sin; and that it is that which renders them
unacceptable to God, and is the reason why at last they shall find none with
him, nor him favorable to them: there is a repentance which may be found
in non-elect persons; instances of that kind do not at all weaken the
doctrine.

Matthew 13:11 and 12, proves it. The word any, is not in the
original text in

Job 36:5. It is certain there are some whom God
despises,

Psalm 53:5 and

73:20. It is pity but he had transcribed two
or three hundred more passages when his hand was in; even the whole
books of Chronicles, and the book of Esther, which would have been as
much to his purpose as those he has produced.
2dly, He proposes the following Scriptures which declare God’s
willingness that all should be saved, to be reconciled to the doctrine of
reprobation,

Matthew 21:9;

Mark 16:15;

John 5:34;

Acts
17:24;

Romans 5:18 and

10:12;

1 Timothy 2:3, 4;

James 1:5;

2 Peter 3:9;

1 John 4:14 (P.C.C., pp. 16, 17). Some of which do not
respect eternal salvation at all, but the temporal salvation of the Jews; and
others have nothing to do with salvation in either sense; some speak only
of God’s will to save his elect, to whom he is long-suffering; and others of
his will, that Gentiles as well as Jews, should be saved; and that it is his
pleasure that some of all sorts should he saved by Christ; neither of which
militate against the doctrine of reprobation.
3dly, He thinks this doctrine is irreconcilable with the following Scriptures,
which declare that Christ came to save all men; that he died for all; that he
atoned for all, even for those that finally perish;

Matthew 17:11;

John 1:29;

3:17 and

7:14;

Romans 14:15;

1 Corinthians.15
7:11;

2 Corinthians 5:14;

1 Timothy 2:6;

Hebrews 2:9;

2
Peter 2:1 and

1 John 2:1, 2 (P.C.C., pp. 16, 17). But these Scriptures
say not that Christ came to save all that are lost; or that be came to save all
men, or died for all men, for all the individuals of human nature; there is
not one text of Scripture in the whole Bible that says this: that which seems
most like it is

Hebrews 2:9, That he might taste death for every man;
but the word man is not in the original text; it is only uper pantov , for
every one; for every one of the sons of God, of the children, of the
brethren of Christ, and seed of Abraham a spiritual sense, as the context
determines it. As for the above-cited passages, they regard either the world
of God’s elect; or the Gentiles, as distinguished from the Jews; or all sorts
of men; but not all the individuals of mankind: and those who are
represented as such that should perish, or in danger of it, are either such
who only professed to be bought by Christ or real Christians whose peace
and comfort were in danger of being destroyed, but not their persons; and
none of the passages militate against the doctrine under consideration.
4thly, This doctrine is represented as contrary to, and irreconcilable with
the justice of God, and with those Scriptures that declare it, particularly
Ezekiel 18 (P.C.C., p. 19). To which may be replied, that, that chapter in
Ezekiel concerns the people of the Jews only, and not all mankind; and
regards only the providential dealings of God with them, with respect to
civil and temporal things, and a vindication of them from inequality and
injustice; and not spiritual and eternal things: or the salvation and
damnation of men; and therefore is impertinently produced. And if any one
does but seriously and impartially consider the doctrine as above stated,
they will see no reason to charge God with injustice, or find any difficulty
in reconciling it to his justice. In the first branch of this decree, called
Preterition, let the objects be creatures fallen or unfallen, it puts nothing
into them; it leaves them as it finds them; and therefore does them no
injustice: in the other branch of it, appointment to condemnation, this is
only but for sin; is there unrighteousness with God on that account? No
surely; if it is not injustice in him to condemn men for sin, it can be no
injustice in him to decree to condemn them for sin: and if it would have
been no unrighteousness in him to have condemned all men for sin, and to
have determined to have done it, as he doubtless might; it can be no ways
contrary to his justice to condemn some men for sin, and to determine so
to do; wherefore all that is said under this head is all harangue, mere noise
and stands for nothing. Let the above argument be disproved if it can..16
5thly, This doctrine is represented as contrary to the general judgment; and
that upon this scheme there can be no judgment to come, nor any future
state of reward and punishment (P.C.C., pp. 26, 30): but why so? How
does this appear? Why, according to our scheme, “God of old ordained
them to this condemnation:” but then it was for sin; and if for sin, how
does this preclude a future judgment? It rather makes one necessary; and
certain it is, that a future judgment is agreeable to it, and quite inevitable by
it; God decrees to condemn men for sin; men sin, and are brought to the
judgment-seat of God, and are justly condemned for it. The judgment of
God takes place, and the just reward of punishment pursuant to the
righteous purpose of God, and according to the rules of justice. But this
writer has the assurance to affirm, that we say, that
“God sold men to work wickedness, even from their mother’s
womb; and gave them up to a reprobate mind, or ever they hung
upon their mother’s breasts.”
This is entirely false; we say no such thing; we, say, with the Scripture, that
men sell themselves to work wickedness as they grow up; and that God
gives men up to a reprobate mind after a long train and course of sinning;
and it must be a righteous thing with God to bring such persons to
judgment, and condemn them for their wickedness. But then it is said they
are condemned
“for not having that grace which God hath decreed they never
should have.”
This is false again; we say no such thing; nor does the doctrine we hold
oblige us to it; we say, indeed, that the grace of God is his own; and
whether it is the sense of the text in Matthew or no, it matters not, it is a
certain truth he may do what he will with his own grace: we own that he
has determined to give it to some and not to others, as we find in fact he
does: but then we say, he will condemn no man for want of this grace he
does not think fit to give them; nor for their not believing that Christ died
for them; but for their sins and transgressions of his righteous law. And is
not here enough to open the righteous judgment and proceed upon?
Besides the sovereign decrees of God respecting the final state of men, are
so far from rendering the future judgment unnecessary, that will proceed
according to them, along with other things: for with other books that will
be opened then, the book of life will be one, in which some men’s names
are written, and others not;.17
and the dead will be judged out of those things which are written in
the books, according to their works.—And whosoever is not found
written in the book of life, shall be cast into the lake of fire
(

Revelation 20:12, 15);
I never knew you, depart from me (

Matthew 7:23).
6thly, This doctrine is said to agree very ill with the truth and sincerity of
God, in a thousand declarations, such as these,

Ezekiel 18:23,

32:32;

Deuteronomy 5:29;

Psalm 81:12;

Acts 17:30;

Mark 16:15
(P.C.C., pp. 31, 33). To which I reply, that some of those declarations,
concern the Jews only, and not all mankind; and are only compassionate
inquiries and vehement desires after their civil and temporal welfare: and at
most only shew what is grateful to God, and approved of by him, and what
was wanting in them; with which they are upbraided, notwithstanding their
vain boasts to the contrary. Others only shew what is God’s will of
command, or what he has made the duty of man; not what are his purposes
man shall do, or what he will bestow upon him; and neither of them
suggests any insincerity in God, supposing the doctrine of reprobation. The
gospel is indeed ordered to be preached to every creature to whom it is
sent and comes; but as yet, it has never been brought to all the individuals
of human nature; there have been multitudes in all ages that have not heard
it. And that there are universal offers of grace and salvation made to all
men I utterly deny; nay, I deny they are made to any; no, not to God’s
elect; grace and salvation are provided for them in the everlasting
covenant, procured for them by Christ, published and revealed in the
gospel, and applied by the Spirit; much less are they made to others
wherefore this doctrine is not chargeable with insincerity on that account.
Let the patrons of universal offers defend themselves from this objection; I
have nothing to do with it; till it is proved there are such universal offers,
then Dr. Watts’s reasoning on that head, will require some attention; but
not till then.
7thly, It is said that the doctrines of election and reprobation least of all
agree with the scriptural account of the love and goodness of God (P.C.C.,
p. 135). The doctrine of election surely can never disagree with the love
and goodness of God; since his choosing men to salvation is the fruit and
effect of his everlasting love and free grace; the reason why any are chosen
is, because they are beloved of God; election presupposes love: this the
apostle points out clearly to us, when he says,.18
we are bound to give thanks always to God, for you brethren,
beloved of the Lord; because God hath from the beginning chosen
you to salvation (

2 Thessalonians 2:13).
And the goodness of God greatly appears in consequence of this decree in
the redemption of the chosen ones by Christ, in the regeneration and
sanctification of them by the Spirit, and in bringing them at last to eternal
glory and happiness according to his original design. But it may be, it is the
doctrine of reprobation only, though both are put together by our author,
that so ill agrees with the love and goodness of God. It is not inconsistent
with his providential goodness; in which sense the Lord is good to all, and
his tender mercies are over all his works; and notwithstanding this decree,
all men have a large share of this goodness of God; and though they may
abuse this goodness, which will be an aggravation of their condemnation;
this is their own sin and fault, and not to be charged on the decree of God,
as this writer falsely does; who says, that God, according to us, gives men
this world’s goods on purpose to enhance their damnation; and every one
of their comforts is, by an eternal decree of God, to cost them a thousand
pangs in hell; whereas the abuse of mercies given, which will enhance their
damnation, flows not from the decree, but from their own wickedness. The
special mercy and goodness of God is denied to such indeed, which is at
his sovereign will to give to whom he pleases; who will have mercy on
whom he will have mercy: the act of election is an act of God’s love, and
flows from it; reprobation indeed flows from his hatred, which is an
appointment to wrath; but then it is from his hatred of sin, which is no
ways contrary to his being a God of love and goodness: besides there is a
much greater display of the love, grace, mercy, and goodness of God in
choosing some men to salvation and infallibly securing it unto them, and
bringing them safely to the enjoyment of it, than in the contrary scheme:
according to which not one man is absolutely chosen to salvation; salvation
is not insured to any one single person; it is left to the precarious and fickle
will of man: and it is possible, according to that scheme, that not one man
may be saved; nay, it is impossible that any one man should be saved by the
power of his own free-will. Let it be judged then, which scheme is most
merciful and kind to men, and most worthy of the God of love and
goodness. Upon the whole, the doctrine of reprobation, though set in so ill
a light, and represented in such an odious manner, is a defensible doctrine
when stated and cleared; nor are we afraid to own and maintain it..19
This cloven foot does not affright us; so Mr. Wesley calls (P.C.C., p. 11),
as he thinks, beautifully, but most blasphemously, an act of the divine will;
nor is this a millstone that hangs about the neck of our hypothesis, as he
no doubt very elegantly expresses it (P.C.C., p. 77); but let me tell him, it
will be his distinguishing mercy, if it is not a millstone about his own neck.
From hence he wanders to free-will and irresistible grace: sometimes he is
for free-will, sometimes for free-grace; sometimes for resistible, and
sometimes for irresistible grace. When he can agree with himself, he will
appear in a better light, and may be more worthy of notice. What he says of
free-will on the one side and reprobation on the other, as agreeing or
disagreeing with the perfections of God, may be reduced to one or other of
the above objections, where they have had their answer.
It is scarcely worth my while to observe what be says of the covenant of
grace (P.C.C., p. 52); which he owns he has no understanding of; and I
believe him, as that
“God the Father made a covenant with his Son before the world
began, wherein the Son agreed to suffer such and such things and
the Father to give him such and such souls for a recompense, in
consequence of which these must be saved.”
And then he asks where it is written? And in what part of Scripture this
covenant is to be found? Now not to inform or instruct Mr. Wesley, but for
the sake of such who are willing to be informed and instructed, read

Psalm 40:6-8;

Isaiah 49:1-6 and

53:10-12;

Psalm 89:3, 4, 28-
36, in which will appear plain traces and footsteps of a covenant, or
agreement, of a stipulation and re-stipulation, between the Father and the
Son; in which the Father proposes a work to his Son, and calls him to it,
even the redemption of his people; to which the Son agrees, and says, Lo I
come to do thy will, O my God! and for a recompence of his being an
offering for sin, and pouring out his soul unto death; it is promised he
should see his seed and prolong his days, and have a portion divided him
with the great, and a spoil with the strong. And that theme was such a
covenant subsisting before the world began is clear; for could there be a
Mediator set up from everlasting, as there was, and a promise of life before
the world began made to Christ and put into his hand, and all spiritual
blessings provided, and all grace given to his people in him, before the
foundation of the world; and yet no covenant in being? See

Proverbs
8:23;

Titus 1:2;

2 Timothy 1:1, 9 and

Ephesians 1:3. The.20
covenant of circumcision made with Abraham, and that made with the
Israelites on mount Sinai, are no instances of the covenant of grace; but
are covenants that are waxen old, and vanished away; and do not so
concern us who are not under the law, but under grace: but however these
covenants were conditional to them that were under them; the covenant of
grace is absolute and unconditional to us, being made with Christ our head,
who has fulfilled all the conditions of it.
But I proceed now to vindicate what I have written on the subject of the
saints Final Perseverance, from the exceptions made unto it. Mr. Wesley
says (P.C.C., p. 57), “this is so pleasing an opinion, so agreeable to flesh
and blood, so suitable to whatever of nature remains in those who have
tasted the grace of God, that I see nothing but the mighty power of God,
which can restrain any who hear it from closing with it.” Strange! that the
doctrine of perseverance in grace and holiness, for no other perseverance
do we plead for, should be so pleasing and agreeable to corrupt nature,
besides much who have tasted the grace of God, as they have a principle of
grace in them, cannot easily give into a doctrine which manifestly gratifies
corrupt nature, but would oppose and reject it; surely it must come with
very great evidence, that nothing but the power of God can restrain from
closing with it; and which they close with, not to indulge their corruptions,
but to encourage their faith and hope, and to promote holiness of heart and
life; to which they are induced both by arguments, from experience, and
from Scripture; the former it seems, weigh but little with those who believe
the possibility of falling; and the latter are not plain and cogent. There are
some Scriptures, it is said, against perseverance, and determine the other
way; the arguments from them have been considered in a former treatise;
to which Mr. Wesley has made some exceptions, and to which I shall now
make a reply.
The first text produced against the perseverance of the. saints, is

Ezekiel 18:24. When the righteous man turneth away from his
righteousness, &c. This passage, and the whole context, I have observed
wholly and solely regard the house of Israel, and is impertinently
produced. Mr. Wesley calls upon me to prove this. What proof would he
have? Let him read the chapter, and he will see it with his own eyes; the
house of Israel is mentioned by name, and that only; the addresses are only
made to them; the expostulations and reasonings are only with them; and
the exhortations are unto them; the dispute is between God and them, the
charge against God is brought by them; and the answer to it is returned to.21
them. Let Mr. Wesley disprove this if he can; it lies upon him to point out
any other person or persons than the house of Israel, to whom any passage
in the chapter is directed. The righteousness of the righteous man, spoken
of in it, I have affirmed to be his own righteousness, and not the
righteousness of faith nor is there the least hint of the sanctifying grace of
the Spirit in the account of it. To disprove this, Mr. Wesley refers to verse
31. Cast away from you all your transgressions—make you a new heart,
&c. Monstrous! This is a most evident proof that the Jews had no true
righteousness; that notwithstanding their pretensions to it, they had not
cast away their transgressions, and were without any inward principle of
grace or holiness. I further observe, that what as said of the righteous man,
admitting him truly righteous, is only a supposition. This Mr. Wesley flatly
denies. But if he reads over the chapter to which he directs, he will find the
facts supposed and not asserted, verse 5, If a man be just, &c. verse 10, if
he beget a son—that doth not any of these duties, &c. verse 24, If he beget
a son that seeth all his father’s sins, &c. and in the passage under
consideration, verse 24, When the righteous man turneth away from his
righteousness; that is, if he should; and so it is rendered in the Vulgate
Latin version, and by Pagnine, and is the sense of our own translation; for
a supposition is as well expressed by when, an adverb of time, as by the
conjunction if: For instance; when Mr. Wesley writes more to the purpose,
he will deserve more attention; that is, if he should. Whereas I explained
the death in verse 26, of one and the same death, a temporal death for sin;
it is no unusual thing for one and the same thing to he expressed by
different words; and which may be the case here, without any force upon
the text, or making it speak nonsense; for which I have given a reason that
is not taken notice of: and that this death is a temporal, and not an eternal
one, is clear, because it was now upon them, and of which they
complained, and from whence they might be delivered by repentance and
reformation; and which, I say again, cannot be said of eternal death, when a
person is once under it. Upon the whole, as this chapter relates not to
eternal salvation or damnation, the passage from it is an insufficient proof
of the apostasy of real saints.
The second text of Scripture brought in favor of the said, doctrine, is

1
Timothy 1:19,
holding faith and a good conscience, which some having put away,
concerning faith have made shipwreck:.22
in which I have observed, that it does not appear, that these men referred
to, whose names are mentioned in the next verse, ever had their hearts
purified by faith; but were ungodly men, and so no instances of the
apostasy of true believers. To this no reply is made. I further observe, that
putting away a good conscience, does not necessarily suppose they had it,
but rather that they had it not; which I support; by the use of the same
word in

Acts 13:46, where the Jews are said to put the word of God
from them. This instance Mr. Wesley says makes full against me, it being
undeniable they had the word of God till they put it away. But this I must
deny; they never had it; they never received it, never gave their assent to it,
or embraced it, but contradicted and blasphemed it; and so is an instance of
the use of the word to my purpose. It is owned by him that men may have
a good conscience in some sense, without true faith; but such is not that
the apostle speaks of, because he exhorts Timothy to hold it. Be it so; yet it
does not appear that these men had such a conscience that arises from a
heart purified by faith; putting it away, we see, does not prove it; and,
besides, it deserves consideration, that it is not said they made shipwreck
of a good conscience, which it does not appear they even had, but of faith
which they once professed, even the doctrine of faith: but that faith means
only the doctrine of faith, wants better proof, he says. What proof would
he have? I have shewn that the phrase is never used but of the doctrine of
faith, and have pointed to the places where it is so used; nay have pointed
out the particular doctrine of faith they made shipwreck of. It lies upon him
to disprove this. From the whole it appears, that this also is an insufficient
proof of the apostasy of real saints.
The third text of Scripture insisted on as a proof of the doctrine, is

Romans 11:17-24, concerning the breaking off of the branches, and
cutting off those that are grafted into the olive-tree; which olive-tree I
understand not of the invisible church, but of the outward gospel-church-state,
or the visible gospel-church. This Mr. Wesley says, I affirm, and he
proves the contrary. But though I affirm, yet not without a reason for it; a
reason which he takes no notice of, nor makes any reply to: and how does
he prove the contrary, that it is the invisible church? Why, because it
consists of holy believers which none but the invisible church does. But
does not the visible church consist of such? Are there no holy believers in
it? Read over the epistles to the visible churches, and you will find the
members of them are called holy and believer’s, saints and faithful in Christ
Jesus. I observe that those signified by the broken branches, were never the.23
believers in Christ, and so no instances of the apostasy of such. To this he
replies, That he was not speaking of the Jews. Very well, but I was; but of
the Gentiles, exhorted to continue in his goodness, and so true believers;
and yet liable to be cut off. So they might be, though it does not necessarily
follow from the apostle’s exhortation; which is to be understood not of the
goodness of love, and favor of God; but of the goodness of a gospel-church
state, the ordinances of it, and an abiding in them, and walking
worthy of them; or otherwise they were liable to be cut off from the
church-state in which they were. This is said to be a forced and unnatural
construction, and requires some argument to support it. But what else
could they be cut off from? If the olive-tree in which they are said to be
engrafted, is not the invisible, but the visible church, as is proved by an
argument not answered; then the cutting off from the olive-tree, must be a
cutting off from that. And whereas there is a strong intimation that the
Jews, the broken branches, may be grafted in again; why may not those be
grafted in again which are cut off, when restored by repentance, which is
often the case. It remains then, that this passage of Scripture does not in
the least militate against the final perseverance of the saints.
The fourth text of Scripture quoted as against the doctrine of perseverance,
is

John 15:1-5, concerning the branches in Christ the vine, which abide
not, are taken away, are cast forth and withered, and are cast into the fire
and burned. I observe that there are two sorts of branches in Christ, the
one fruitful, the other unfruitful; the one in him by regenerating grace, the
other only by profession; of the latter are all the above things said, not of
the former. This Mr. Wesley says is begging the question, and taking for
granted the point to he proved: far from it, I answer to the instance alleged,
by distinguishing the different branches in the vine; I prove the distinction
from the text and context; as well as illustrate it by time instances of the
churches in Judea and Thessalonica, being said to be in Christ; all the
members of which cannot be thought to be really in him, but by profession.
There are some that never bore fruit, and so never gave any evidence of
their being true believers, and consequently can be no instances of the
apostasy of such. There are others that bring forth fruit and are purged,
that they may bring forth more fruit, and whose fruit remain, and are
instances of perseverance. Let it be proved, if it can, that any of those who
never brought forth any fruit, that we read of, were true believers in Christ;
or ever received true grace or life from him, that are said to be cast out and
burnt; and that any of those who brought forth fruit and were purged and.24
pruned by the Father of Christ, that they might bring forth more fruit, ever
withered away and were lost. Till this is done, this passage will be of no
service for the apostasy, or against the perseverance of the saints.
The fifth text of Scripture pressed into this argument is,

2 Peter 2:20,
21, concerning those that have escaped the pollutions of the world through
the knowledge of Christ, being entangled therein and overcome. Of whom
I observe, that it does not appear that those persons had an inward
experimental knowledge of Christ; which is what ought to be proved, or
else it furnishes out no argument against the perseverance of real saints.
Had it been such, I add, they could not have lost it. This Mr. Wesley calls
begging the question. It might seem so, if my argument had rested here;
but I gave reasons why such a knowledge cannot be lost: which he
conceals and takes no notice of; as the promise of God, that such shall
follow on to know him, and the declaration of Christ, that eternal life is
inseparably connected with such knowledge (

Hosea 6:3;

John 15:3).
Escaping the pollutions of the world does not prove the persons to have
such knowledge, or to be real saints, since it signifies no more, I say, that
an outward reformation. Here, he says, I aim at no proof at all. Let him
make more of it, if he can. He owns that these persons might he called
dogs and swine before their profession of religion, and after their departure
from it, but not whilst under it: but unless it can he proved that they passed
under a real change, and were truly converted, which their having
knowledge and escaping the pollutions of the world are no proofs of; they
might as well deserve the appellation during the time of their profession, as
before and after. If any thing is done to any profession from this instance, it
should be proved that these men had an inward spiritual and experimental
knowledge; that from dogs and swine they became the sheep of Christ, and
had the nature of such, and from the sheep of Christ became dogs and
swine again; or it can never be thought to be any proof of the final and
total falling away of true believers.
The Sixth text produced in favor of the saint’s apostasy, is

Hebrews
6:4-6, which speaks of enlightened persons, and such that have tasted the
heavenly gift, &c. falling away. Upon which I observe, that the words
contain only a supposition, if they fall away. Mr. Wesley says, there is no if
in the original. I reply, though it is not expressed, it is implied, and the
sense is the same, as if it was; and that the words in the original lie literally
thus; It is impossible that those who were once enlightened—kai
parapesontav , and they falling away, to renew them again to.25
repentance; that is, should they fall away, or if they fall away. Here Mr.
Wesley rises up in great wrath, and asks, “Shall a man lie for God? Either
you or I do;” and avers, that the words do not literally lie thus; and that
they are translated by him, and have fallen away, as literally as the English
tongue will bear; and calls upon all that understand Greek to judge between
us. I am well content, and extremely desirous they should, and even willing
to be determined by them, which is the most literal version, mine, which
renders it as a participle as it is; or his, which renders it as a verb, which it
is not. I am supported in mine by the authority of the great and learned Dr.
Owen (On Perseverance, c. 17), whose knowledge of the Greek tongue no
one will scruple, that is acquainted with his writings: he says, that verbum
de verbo, or literally the words lie in the text, and they falling away, just as
I have rendered them. Take some instances of the participle of the same
tense, both in the simple theme of the word, and in other compounds, as so
rendered by our translators; peswn (

1 Corinthians 14:25), falling down
on his face; prospesousav (

Luke 8:47), falling down before him;
peripesontev (

Acts 27:41), falling into a place where two seas met.
Did these learned men lie for God? Mr. Wesley’s quibble is, because the
participle is not of the present but of the aorist: the instances now given
are of the same tense. Every one that has learned his Greek Grammar
knows that the aorist or indefinite, as he names it, is so called, because it is
undetermined as to time, being used both of time present, and of time past
(Of which see instances in Dugard’s Greek Grammar, p. 126); and when of
the latter, it is left undetermined, whether just now past, or sometime ago,
is meant, but as the circumstances of the place shew: but let it be rendered
either way, either in the present or past, the sense is the same, and the
condition is implied; be it and they falling away, or and they having fallen
away; for one or other it must be to render it literally; that is, should they
fall away, or should they have fallen away; or, in other words, if they
should. And now why all this wrath, rudeness, and indecency? Is this the
calm Considerer, as the title of his book promises? The man is pinched and
rages. This puts me in mind of a story of a country fellow listening with
great attention to a Latin disputation; which a gentleman observing,
stepped to him, and said, Friend you had better go about your business,
than stand here idling away your time to hear what you do not understand.
To which he replied, I am not so great a fool neither, but I know who is
angry; suggesting by the temper of the disputants, one of them being very
angry, he knew who had the better, and who the worst of the argument.
And since Mr. Wesley has brought it to this dilemma, that either he or I.26
must lie for God; I am very unwilling to take it to myself, seeing no reason
for it: and therefore without a compliment, must leave it to him to get out,
and off, of it as he can. But to return to the argument; let it be a
supposition or a fact contained in the words; the question is, who these
persons supposed, or said to fall away are, and from what they fell? There
is nothing in the characters of them, as has been observed, which shew
them to be regenerated persons, real saints, and true believers in Christ.
This ought to be proved, ere they can be allowed to be instances of the
apostasy of such; whereas they are distinguished from them, and are
opposed to them, verses 7-9. There is nothing in the account of them, but
what may be said of a Balaam, who had his eyes open and saw the vision
of the Almighty, and of such who are only doctrinally enlightened; or of a
Herod that heard John gladly, and of the stony-ground hearers, who
received the word with joy; or of a Judas who had no doubt both the
ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and a power of performing
miraculous works, called the powers of the world to come, or the gospel
dispensation. So that from hence nothing can be concluded against the
perseverance of the saints.
The seventh passage of Scripture brought into this controversy, is

Hebrews 10:38.
The just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall
have no pleasure in him:
But very impertinently; since he that is said to live by faith, and he that is
supposed to draw back, is not one and the same person. Mr. Wesley asks,
“Who is it then? Can any one draw back from faith, who never came to it?”
To which I answer, though he cannot draw back from faith he never had,
yet he may draw back from a profession of faith he has made. In order to
make it appear, that one and the same person is meant, Mr. Wesley, finding
fault with our translation, renders the words thus: If the just man that lives
by faith draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. This
translation I call inaccurate. He desires to know wherein; I will tell him.
Ean, if, is by force removed from its proper place, even from one sentence
back to another; inserting the word that before live is doing violence to the
text; rendering znsetai, that lives, as if it was of the present tense, when it
is future, and should be shall live. Leaving out kai, and or but, which
distinguishes two propositions; so confounding them and making them one.
And after all, were one and the same person meant, it is only a supposition,.27
which, I say again, proves no matter of fact; let Mr. Wesley shew that it
does if he can: it is a clear case, that the just man in the text, and he that
draws back, are two sorts of persons; it is most manifest, and beyond all
contradiction, that in the original text in Habakkuk 2;4 the man whose soul
is lifted up with pride and conceit of himself, and is not upright in him, has
not the truth of grace in him, is the person who both according to the
Apostle and the Seventy is supposed to draw back; from whom the just
man that lives by faith is distinguished, and to whom he is opposed: and by
the Apostle two sorts of persons are all along spoken of in the context,
both before and after; besides, that these two must be different and not the
same, is evident, since it is most surely promised the just man, that he shall
live; which would not be true of him, if he drew hack to perdition. So that
this also is an insufficient testimony against the perseverance of the saints.
The eight text of Scripture made use of to prove the Apostasy of true
believers, is

Hebrews 10:29,
Of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy who
hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the
blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy
thing.
The stress of this proof lies upon the person being sanctified with the blood
of the covenant, who is supposed to be the same that trod under foot the
Son of God. But I have observed that the antecedent to the relative he is
the Son of God, and so consequently he, and not the apostate, is said to be
sanctified with the blood of the covenant; wherefore the words are no
proof of the apostasy of truly sanctified persons. Mr. Wesley says I forgot
to look at the original, or my memory fails. Neither, is the case. However, I
have looked again to refresh my memory, had it failed; and find indeed
other words going before, but no other substantive but ui, the Son of
God, to whom the relative he can refer; and that this does refer to the Son
of God in the clause immediately preceding, is not a singular opinion of
mine that learned Dutchman Gomarus (Comment in

Hebrews 10:29),
and our very learned countrymen Dr. Lightfoot (Harmony, &c. p. 341),
and Dr. Owen (On Perseverance, p. 432), of the last age, and Dr. Ridgley
(Body of Divinity, Vol. II, p. 125), of the present, are of the same
sentiment. But admitting that it refers to the apostate, since this may be
understood of his being sanctified or separated from others by a profession
of religion, by church-membership and partaking of the Lord’s Supper, in.28
which the blood of the covenant is represented; and of his being sanctified
by it in his own esteem and in the esteem of others, when he was not
inwardly sanctified by the Spirit; this can be no proof of the apostasy of a
real saint. It should be proved, that this sanctification is to be understood
of inward sanctification, or else it proves not the point in debate. Mr.
Wesley thinks it may be so understood, and that for this reason; because
the words immediately following are, and hath done despite unto the Spirit
of grace. Surprising; that a man’s having done despite to the Spirit of
grace, should be a proof of his having been inwardly sanctified by him;
which might more reasonably be thought to be a proof of the very reverse.
So then it remains, that this passage also does not militate against the
doctrine of the saints final perseverance.
Mr. Wesley has thought fit to add several other texts, which he proposes to
consideration, as proving that a true believer may finally fall; but as he has
not advanced any argument upon them, I shall not enter into any
examination of them, and of the weight they bear in this controversy; and
besides, they being such as either do not respect true believers, about
whom the question is, or only them falling from some degree of grace and
steadfastness of it, and do not design a total and final falling away; or else
they only intend persons receiving the doctrine of grace and a falling from
that, and so are nothing to the purpose. And unless something more to the
purpose is offered, than yet has been, I shall not think myself under any
obligation to attend unto it.

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