« PreviousContinue »
saith the Lord God; repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions : so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Ezek. xviii, 30,-Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah saying, “ Thus saith the Lord, Behold I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” Jerem. xviii, 10, 11.
12. His oath and PROTESTATION.-As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezek. xxxiii, 11. [Are not these arguments of seriousness ?7 If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have shewed us all these things, nor have told us such things as these. Judges xiii, 23.See the reason of the fifth negative, page 134.
WHAT THE REMONSTRANTS DO NOT HOLD,
THE SAID ARTICLES,
GOD'S GRACE AND MAN'S CONVERSION.
REJECTION I. They do not hold, that “all zeal, care and study for the obtaining of salvation, which a man shall use before he hath faith and the Spirit of renovation, is vain and to no purpose ; much less, that it is rather hurtful than profitable and fruitful
THE REASON. . 1. The neglect hereof is complained of. There is none that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee. Isa. Ixiv, 7. See lsa. xliv, 19.-But none saith, “Where is God my Maker, who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven ?” Job xxxv, 10, 11.-No man repenteth him of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Jer. v, 24, viii, 6.
2. This neglect is threatened.--He that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in
that which is another's, &c. Luke xvi, 10, 12.-Because when they knew God, they glorified him not as God. Rom. i, 21.
3. This is a duty expected even of the Heathens.—That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him and find him. Acts xvii, 27.
4. And it is commanded. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear. Remember this, and shew yourselves men. Isa. xlvi, 8. - If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. James i, 5. -Strive to enter in at the strait gate. Prepare the way of the Lord. Luke iii, 4, 6; Jer. iv, 3; Hos. x, 12.
5. This is commended as a disposition and preparative to faith in Christ, and the Spirit of renovation. To him that hath shall be given : To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Matt. xiii, 10-12.- Thou hast revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. Matt. xi, 5, 25, 26.-But he that doth truth, cometh to the light. John x, 27, iii, 21.- That on the good ground, are they, which, in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke viji, 15.-Of such is the kingdom of God. Mark xix, 14.
6. This care and study is encouraged. He will not quench the smoking Alax, nor break the bruised reed. Matt. xii, 20.-Ho every one that thirsteth, that labours! Isa. lv, 1; Matt. xi, 28.Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh to you. James iv, 8. --They that desire to fear thy name. Nehemiah i, 11: Psalm xxxviii, 9.
7. He adjourns the judgment upon Ahab's humiliation.- 1 Kings xxi, 27, 29; see 2 Chron. xii, 12 ; Exodus i, 17, 20, 21.
8. He sends direction to such as are pricked to the heart, and enquire after him.---Acts ii, 37, 38. To the publicans and soldiers. Luke iii, 8, 10. To the jailor. Acts xvi, 29, 30. To Cornelius, after a most eminent and extraordinary manner. Acts x, 1---35.
9. Hegives persons of such study and inclination, salisfaction and a blessing ---Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matt. v, 6; see Luke i, 53.--God is a rewarder of all them that diligently seek him. Heb. xi, 6; Matt. xi,28.---Arise therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee. i Chron. xxii, 16.
REJECTION II. They do utterly DENY, that “effectual grace, whereby a man is converted, is an unresistible power.” *
* The RESISTIBILITY and the IRRESISTIBILITY of Divine Grace, are the grand questions which have to be decided between the Calvinists and the Arminians. Were it impossible to resist this grace, or to pervert it from its proper use, the warnings and threatenings of scripture would be nugatory and of no practical effect : Under such circumstances there would be no need for saying to sanctified persons, ' Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby YE ARE SEALED unto the day of redemption.'
1. Conversion is enjoined (on) us as OUR DUTY, and we are exhorted to it with promises and threatenings.---Turn ye, turn ye, Prov. i, 22 ; Ezek. xviii, 30, 32 : Jer, vii, 3.
2. It is a matter of CHOICE.---Chuse whom ye will serve, chuse life. Deut. xxx, 19; Jos. xxiv, 15. See 2 Cor. v, 20; Isa. i, 19,
3. The duty and the grace, enabling to it, may be NEGLECTED, ---How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ? 2 Cor. vi, 1 ; Heb. ii, 3; Jer. xxxvi, 6, 7.---Therefore we are admonished “ Harden not your hearts.” Heb. iii, 7, 8: Psalm xcv, 7, 8, ---Some temper of mind better qualified. See the First Nega. tive, page 129.
4. God requires our ENDEAVOURS (1.) by way of preparation.--Laying aside the vail, (2 Cor. iii, 15.) prejudice, (John vii, 3---5, 52.) ambition, (John v, 44, xii, 42, 43.) all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all superfluity of naughtiness; (see Acts xiii, 45; Luke xvi, 14.) that we may with meekness, (Psalm xxv, 9, 12, 14; see Acts ii. 41.) as new-born babes receive the ministries of grace. (James i, 21; 1 Peter ii, 1, 2.) and as many as being in pursuit of the world to come, were [thus] ordained, [addicted, disposedy to eternal life, believed. Acts xiii, 48.
When being wrought into this tem per and frame of spirit, by God's preventing grace, we are fit for the kingdom of Christ, Luke ix, 62.
5. God requires our endeavours, (2.) by way of co-operation, to make his saving grace effectual, which argues it is not an unresistible power.-Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, (which door turns upon two hinges, faith and obedience, Rom. i, 16; 1 Thess. ii, 13; Ephes. iii, 17 ; Rom. vi, 17.) I will come in to him &c. Rev. iii, 20.
The Calvinists are unwilling to put the matter upon this issue, and they always try to evade the question. Yet that part of the DecLARATION of Arminius before the States of Holland is not the less true, in which he says: “ The whole controversy reduces itself to the solution of this Question, ils the grace of God a certain irresistible force ?' That is, the controversy does not relate to those actions or operations which may be ascribed to grace, (for I acknowledge and inculcate as many of these actions or operations as any man ever did, but it relates solely to the mode of operation, whether it be irresistible or not : With respect to which, I believe, according to the scriptures, that many persons resist the Holy Spirit and reject the grace that is offered." (Works of ARMINIUS, Vol. I, page 600.)-EDITOR.
6. That this grace is not unresistible, appears further, by God's option : 0) that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me &c. (as above.) . 7. He complains also of men's perverseness and contumccy, obstructing the work of grace in themselves.-What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Isa. V, 4; see Mark vi, 6.--They have eyes to see and see not: they have ears to hear and hear not, for they are a rebellious house, Ezek. xii, 2 ; see Matt. iii, 15.-But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit. Isa. lxiii, 7-10.-But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his Spirit, by the former prophets. Zech. vii, 10—12.
8. Some are captivated to the obedience of this grace, while others stand out in rebellion against the power of it. Some gladly receive it, others do thrust it from them, contradicting and blaspheming. Acts ii, 41: xiii, 48, 45. See 1 Thess. ii, 13: 2 Thess. ji, 10, 11.-Thou art not sent to a people of a strange speechSurely had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee; but the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee. Ezek. iii, 5-7.-Tyre and Sidon, and Sodom would have repented : but you will not. Matt. xi, 20-22.- The men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah; but (you resist a greater light and force of grace] behold, a greater than Jonah is here. Matt. xii, 41.- To the one, we are the savour of life unto life; and to the other, the savour of death unto death. 2 Cor. ii, 14--16.
9. The Lord punisheth the refractory, for resisting the work of his grace and Spirit.--For the earth which drinketh in the rain,
and bringeth forth fruit- receiveth blessing from God. But that which beareth thorns and briers, is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. Heb. vi, 7, 8.---Because I have called and ye refused, &c. Prov. i, 24 &c.--- Therefore came a great wrath from the Lord. Zech. vii, 11---13.---This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light. John iii, 19.--- In thy filthiness is lewdness : because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. Ezek xxiv, 13. See Matthew xiii, 15 &c.; Acts xxviii, 24 &c.; 2 Chron. xxiv, 19, 20.---God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble. James iv, 6. See the Fourth and Seventh Affirmatives, pages 124, 127.
REJECTION III. They do utterly DENY, that “God doth bestow grace sufficient for faith and conversion, only upon those whom, according to the decree of his election, he willeth to convert unresistibly; and that he neither doth nor willeth to bestow on the Reprobates grace necessary to faith and salvation.”
THE REASON. 1. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm cxlv, 8, 9.-He will have all men to be saved. 1 Tim. ii, 3, 4.--He will not that any perish. 2 Peter iii, 9.-Go, preach the Gospel to every creature and they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Mark xvi, 15, 20. What could have been done more? Isa. v, 4. See Mark vi, 6: Jer. xxxvi, 6, 7.-Why will ye die ? Ezek. xviii, 31.--As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Ezek. xxxiii, 11. See the prvot's for Conditionate Election, administration of necessary and sufficient means, (pages 97 and 99.) and the seriousness of God's call : being the Seventh Affirmative proposition above, page 127.
2. He threatens to withdraw his grace from men, ONLY for their stubborness and rebellion against him and it. Therefore the kingdom of God shall be taken from you. Matt. xxi, 41, 43. -Or else I will remove thy candlestick out of his place. Rev. ži, 5.-None of those men who were bidden, shall taste of my supper. Luke xiv, 24.--How often would I, and ye would not !
But now are they hidden from thine eyes. Luke xiii, 34: xix, 42.—But whosoever hath not made good use of preventing grace, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they, seeing, see not: And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, by hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand for their eyes have they closed, lest at any times they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted and I should heal them. Matt. xii, 12–15. See Acts xxviii, 26, &c. Who hold the truth in unrighteousness
and turn it into a lie ; for this cause God gave them up to vile affections. Rom. i, 18, 21, 24, 25, 28.-- Because they recei. ved not the love of the truth, that they might be saved; for this cause God gave them up. 2 Thess. ii. 10-12.-Because I have called, and ye refused Ye also shall call, and I will not answer you; I will laugh at your calamities. Prov. i, 24, &c.— God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. James iv, 6. See the Texts cited against Absolute Reprobation, page 103, 1 Chron. xxviii, 9; 2 Chron. xv, 2; 1 Peter ii, 7, 8; Zech. ix, 15, 17. I will love them no more, because they did not hearken.