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See Gen. xv. 16. and Eph. v. 6. "because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.' Nor does the use of the passive voice always imply the sufferance of some external force; for we speak of one being given up to vice, or inclined to this or that propensity, meaning only that such is the bias of his own disposition. Finally, the three last verses of the chapter, which contain the conclusion of the whole question, are a convincing proof that St. Paul only intended to shew on the one hand, the free and gratuitous mercy of God in calling the Gentiles to salvation, who would be obedient to the faith, and, on the other, the justice of his judgments in hardening the hearts of the Jews and others, who obstinately adhered to the law of works. v. 30-32. "what shall we say then? that the Gentiles.... have attained to righteousness which is of faith"-not therefore of election independent of faith: "but Israel.... hath not attained; wherefore? because they sought it not by faith"-not therefore of a decree of reprobation independent of unbelief.
After having passed this difficulty, those which remain will scarcely interrupt our course. Psal. xcv. 10, 11. "forty years long was I grieved with this generation," &c. "unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest." Here we must observe how long it was before God passed his decree, and that (if we may reason by analogy respecting spiritual things, from types of this kind, as was done before in the case of Esau) he excluded from his eternal rest only those who tempted him, and whose hearts were hardened. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15, 16. "Jehovah God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, &c. because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked the messengers of God, &c. until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy." Isai. xxviii. 12, 13. "to whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, &c. yet they would not hear: but the word of Jehovah was unto them precept upon precept, &c. that they might go, and fall backward, &c. wherefore hear the word of Jehovah, ye sconful men," &c. xxix. 10. "fc: Jehovah hath poured out upon
you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes." The reason is given, v. 13, 14. where it appears that it was not on account of God's decree, but of their own grievous wickedness; "forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, &c. but have removed their heart far from me. . . . therefore the wisdom of their wise men shall perish," &c. Matt. xi. 25, 26. "I thank thee, O Father, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." Lest we should attribute this solely to the arbitrary will of God, the verses preceding will explain why it seemed good, and why Christ ascribes glory to the Father on this account, v. 21—23: where it is disclosed what those wise men had first shewn themselves to be, namely, despisers of the divine grace. See also xiii. 11. "it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." Do we ask why? the next verse subjoins the reason: "whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." This can only be applied to those who have first voluntarily rejected divine grace, in the sense in which nearly the same words are addressed to the slothful servant, xxv. 29. In the same manner must be explained xiii. 13. "therefore speak I to them in parables, because they seeing see not," &c. Hence an easy solution is afforded for other texts. John viii. 43. "ye cannot hear my word;"-because when ye were able, ye would not, ye are now unable, not on account of any decree of God, but through unbelief in which you are hardened, or through pride, on account of which you cannot endure to hear the word; or lastly, as it is expressed in the following verse, because " ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." Again, v. 46. "if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?" Christ himself answers the question, v. 47. “ ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God." Not to be of God cannot signify not elect, but means, as it is said in v. 44. "to be of the devil," that is, to follow the devil rather than God. So too, x. 26. " believe not, because ye are not of my sheep." Why "not of my sheep?" Because it was so decreed? By no means,
--but because ye do not hear the word; because ye do not follow me; "my sheep hear my voice, and they follow me, v. 27. Ye, as I repeatedly tell you, do not believe. v. 25, 26. "I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me: but ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you." The argument runs thus-ye do not believe, because ye are not of my sheep; ye are not of my sheep, because ye neither hear my word, nor follow me. Christ certainly intended to give such a reason for their unbelief as would throw the fault of it upon themselves, not as would exempt them from blame whereas if not to be of his sheep, be interpreted to mean not to be of the elect, a privilege which had never been within their option, his words would contain an excuse for their conduct, rather than a reproof, which would be contrary to his obvious purpose. Again, xii. 39, 40, compared with Isai. vi. 10. "therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias saith again, He hath blinded their eyes,' &c. Not because the words of Isaiah, or the decree of God delivered by his mouth, had previously taken away from them the grace or power of believing irrespectively; but, as the prophet declares, alleging the reason why they could not believe, because God had blinded their eyes. Why he had blinded their eyes the preceding chapter explains, v. 4, &c. because nothing more remained to be done to his unfruitful vineyard, but to cut it down. This appears still more clearly Luke xiii. 24, 25. "many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able: when once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door." xiv. 24. "I say unto you, that none of those 'men that were bidden shall taste of my supper." xix. 42. "if thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." Rom. i. 21, 24, 26. "because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, &c. wherefore God also gave them up, &c. for this cause God gave them up," &c. 2 Thess. ii. 10-12. "with all deceiv ableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved; and for this cause God shall send them strong de. lusion, that they should believe a lie that they all might be
damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." iii. 2. "for all men have not faith;" that is, obstinate and unreasonable sinners have it not; which the context shows is the sense intended. 1 Pet. ii. 7, 8. "the stone which the builders disallowed, &c. and a stone of stumbling and rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed,”—that is, to be disobedient. And why? Because they had disallowed that stone, and had stumbled upon it, disallowing Christ themselves before they were disallowed by him. Attention to these points will show that mistakes arise on the doctrine in question as often as the proper distinction between the punishment of hardening the heart and the decree of reprobation is omitted to be made; according to Prov. xix. 3. "the foolishness of man perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth against Jehovah." For such do in effect impugn the justice of God, however vehemently they may disclaim the intention;' and might justly be reproved in the words of the heathen Homer:
Αὐτῶν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ατασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο. Οdyss. Ι. 7.
.they perish'd, self-destroved
By their own fault. Book I. 1. 9. Cowper's Translation. And again, in the person of Jupiter :
Ω πόποι, οἷον δή νυ θεοὺς βροτοὶ αἰτιόωνται!
Perverse mankind! whose wills, created free,
Book I. 1. 40. Pope's Translation.
All glory arrogate, to God give none;
Paradise Regained, IV. 314.
On which passage Dunster quotes the second of the passages from the Odyssey with which Milton himself concludes the chapter.
CHAPTER V.--PREFATORY REMARKS.
I CANNOT enter upon subjects of so much difficulty as the SON OF GOD and the HOLY SPIRIT, without again premising a few introductory remarks. If indeed I were a member of the Church of Rome, which requires implicit obedience to its creed on all points of faith, I should have acquiesced from education or habit in its simple decree and authority, even though it denies that the doctrine of the Trinity, as now received, is capable of being proved from any passage of Scripture. But since I enrol myself among the number of those who acknowledge the word of God alone as the rule of faith, and freely advance what appears to me much more clearly deducible from the Holy Scriptures than the commonly received opinion, I see no reason why any one who belongs to the same Protestant or Reformed Church, and professes to acknowledge the same rule of faith as myself, should take offence at my freedom, particularly as I impose my authority on no one, but merely propose what I think more worthy of belief than the creed in general acceptation. I only entreat that my readers will ponder and examine my statements in a spirit which desires to discover nothing but the truth, and with a mind free from prejudice. For without intending to oppose the authority of Scripture, which I consider inviolably sacred, I only take upon myself to refute human interpretations as often as the occasion requires, conformably to my right, or
2 But I would show you that divers ways the Doctors of your Church do the principal and proper work of the Socinians for them, undermining the doctrine of the Trinity, by denying it to be supported by those pillars of the faith, which alone are fit and able to support it, I mean Scripture, and the consent of the ancient Doctors. For Scripture, your men deny very plainly and frequently that this doctrine can be proved by it. See, if you please, this plainly taught, and urged very earnestly by Cardinal Hosius, De Auctor. Sacr. lib. iii. p. 53. by Gordonius Huntlæus, Tom. I. Controv. 1, De Verbo Dei, lib. x. by Gretserus and Tannerus, in Colloquio Ratisbon. and also by Vega, Possevin, Wickus, and others.' Chillingworth's Preface to the Author of Charity Maintained, a work published in 1630 by Matthias Wilson, a Jesuit, under the name of Edward Knott. 'Longe ergo sincerius facerent, et prout ingenuos disputatores deget, si cum Pontificiis faterentur istam distinctionem ex Scriptura non posse probari, sed tantum ex traditione.' Curcellæi Dissertatio Prima de vocibus Trinitatis, &c. 38. See also the passages quoted by Curcellæus from writers of the Romish Church.