« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
it be safe to believe, that Jesus will always possess and exercise the same spirit of love and compassion, which so distinctly marked the character which he exhibited in the days of his flesh, we certainly have no more reason to believe that he will consign the blasphemous Jews to never ending torment, than we have to believe that every tender, fond mother in America will, at the expiration of a short given time, commit her tenderest Offspring to the flames. Let those who contend for the common unmerciful doctrine, to the support of which the text under consideration is usually applied, duly consider the words of Jesus, to those of his disciples, who manifested a disposition to command fire from heaven on the inhabitants of a village of Samaria ; “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of; the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives but to save them.”
The enemy of the spirit of God and of truth will say in reply to the foregoing arguments, if these things are all
so, we may sin with impunity and blaspheme without fear; we may hate God, disregard his commandments, give no heed to the gospel and abuse the Saviour. Though we hope that none present are so blind, so hard hearted, so dead to the spirit of truth as to make these suggestions, yet it may be serviceable to guard against such insinuations, as we know the
opposers of divine truth are continually making use of them against the doctrine of divine love. Come, then, and let us reason together on this subject. Are you willing to step forth boldly and say to the world, that the more you believe in the goodness of God, the more you feel disposed to hate and disobey him? The more confident you are that the Saviour is your unchangeable friend, the more you feel disposed to abuse him? No, there is neither male nor female in the world so morally deranged as to talk in this way. How then will the opposer argue? He will say that it is his opinion that the doctrine contended for in this discourse is of dangerous tendency. But who does it dangerously influence ? Certainly not the believer of it, for a belief in the divine goodness tends to fill the
believer with love to God, and love to God is that alone which can lead us to obey him. Who, then, does this doctrine affect so dangerously? If any, it must be the unbeliever, the opposer. Here we must allow the argument, in a sense, for the preaching of Jesus himself tended to enrage his enemies, his miracles of mercy tended to open their mouths in blasphemy. But would it have been better not to preach the truth because it stirred up the opposition ? Would it have been better not to cast out devils because if he cast them out the Pharisees would blaspheme and say, that " this fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils ?”
The opposer will say, perhaps, that he means this; if we believe in so much goodness it will tend to make
But this is absurd ; for every thing tends to its own, goodness to goodness, evil to evil, love to love, hatred to hatred, harmony to harmony, discord to discord, friendship to friendship, enmity to enmity.
But, says the objector, according to this doctrine there is no punishment for sin, no, not even for this awful blasphemy. Here again is a mistake. For nearly eighteen hundred years the Jews, the descendants of him to whom the promise of the gospel was made, have wandered in "outer darkness," in consequence of this blasphemy, and how much longer they will continue in this unhappy situation none but our merciful Father in heaven knows. But the objector will
say that these arguments do not suppose that the Pharisees who blasphemed in the days of Jesus on earth are now burning in fire and brimstone for that sin in the immortal world. No, we see no evidence of this. If people are possessed with devils in the eternal world, and if Jesus cast out devils in that world, and these old Pharisees there in that world believe and say that he casts out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils, then it is granted, that in the eternal world they must be punished for such unreasonable folly.
But, my brethren, let us learn wisdom by the ensamples furnished in the word of God, and remem
ber that now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation; and that none but the willing and obe dient eat the good of the land.
3 darte in hort
What then! Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
The design in view which has led to the choice of this portion of divine truth, as a subject of our present lecture, is to investigate the scripture doctrine of election, to show the strict sovereignty, of God in electing some and binding others, the righteousness of God in the exercise of his sovereignty, and to disprove the common doctrine of election which supposes, that our heavenly Father, from eternity, elected some to everlasting life, and predestinated others to a state of endless misery.
Our subject is one in which every christian must feel deeply interested, as it essentially concerns the divine character, his revealed will concerning the final state of mankind, together with the ultimate object of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is therefore hoped that due attention and impartial candor will contribute to their utmost to a correct understanding of the weighty subject under consideration.
By“ the election” in our text the Apostle means a remnant of the house of Israel, who had obtained what the whole had sought for, but of which the greatest part had come short, being blinded. In the preceding chapters the Author had spoken of the failure of the house of Israel in their endeavors to attain to the law of righteousness, and of the more favorable condition of the Gentiles, who though they did not follow after righteousness, yet had“ attained to righteousness, even
the righteousness which is of faith.” To the Gentiles he applies a prophesy of Esaias as follows; “I was found of them that sought me not; 1 was made manifest to them that asked not after me.' But concerning the house of Israel he uses the following words: “But to Israel he saith, all day long, I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” In the commencement of this chapler his attention seems to be directed to make it appear that, notwithstanding all which he had said, God had by no means, cast away the whole of his people, the Jews. The following is his reasoning on the subject : " I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away
people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias, how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone and they seek my life?
But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then, at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” That is, as in the days of Elijah it pleased God to reserve seven thousand of the Israelites to be true worshippers of himself, while the rest bowed the knee to Baal, so now, while the general mass of the stock of Abraham are blinded, have stumbled at the stumbling stone laid in Sion, and are broken off through unbelief, there is a remnant still preserved, who have escaped the general calamity, and have by grace obtained what the others sought for but found not; of this remnant, the Apostle reckons himself as one.
The hearer is now called on to direct his attention to understand, that this election was not made with the least reference to the works of the chosen. This the Apostle is careful to notice in a most plain and positive manner.
See his observation in the 6th verse, " And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works,