Page images


are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Well, then, does Augustine reprehend the rashness of those who found the causes of election in good works, ironically calling them clear-sighted men who saw so easily what Paul could not see.

The view here taken of election has been much objected to, and it has been maintained that the election of the scriptures is applicable only to nations, not to individuals. I think a sufficient answer is to be seen in that argument of the apostle, in which he particularly distinguishes between the national separation of the Jews as God's people, and the spiritual conversion of particular persons among them:

even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace-wbat then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” (Rom. xi. 5, 7.) I may add, that St. Paul, an individual, is spoken

a chosen vessel,” (Acts ix. 15,) and declares of himself, “ it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me.” (Gal. i. 15, 16.) It is further urged, that election is merely to certain privileges, in which multitudes of the human race have confessedly no share. But the chain of God's purposes reaches much higher than to privileges, even to the final felicity of his chosen inheritance : “ whom he did predestinate, them he also called : and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom. viji. 30.)

Neither does the doctrine of election, as it is sometimes feared, destroy the motive to exertion; for

of as


election, as it is taugbt in scripture, is not simply to an end, but to an end by certain means.

" Whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son.” (Rom. viii. 29.) These means cannot be neglected if the end is to be gained. And thus the vain reasonings of ungodly men fall to the ground, that he who is elected may live as he chooses, he will certainly be saved. No. “Seed-time and harvest shall not fail”-nevertheless be that lets his ground lie fallow, will reap no fruit from it. God hath appointed the bounds of our life, he keeps us in being as long as it seems good in his eyes, for not one sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father: may we then refuse the sustenance, and neglect the precautions, which are our part towards our preservation ? Surely not.

And so God's sovereignty and man's duty go hand in hand. " Work out your own salvation,” says the apostle, “ for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. ii. 12, 13.)

And thus there is no injustice with God. His election is the offspring of his mercy. He might have left us to our ruin. But his pity interposed ; and therefore by the death of his Son, he purifies to himself a peculiar people. This is a great mystery-but it is the usual order of his dealings. For“ God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise; and God bath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor. i. 26–29.)


If this view of election be an error, it is an error of no novel kind. In maintaining it, we maintain the doctrine of Augustine, of Cranmer, of Bradford, of Hooker, of Leighton, of a host of worthies, who have ever been the brightest ornaments of the church of Christ. “ Predestination to life,” says our venerable mother, the Church of England, “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.”



O MISERABLE man thou art, if thou be not in charity; wretched and too sinful thou art, if thou be not in love and unity; thy prayer is abominable : yea, thy prayer is no prayer, thy prayer is sin. Thou prayest to be forgiven, but thou thyself wilt not forgive. This is enough to condemn thee. For our religion is none other but a brotherhood knit together in the love of

and profession is none other but charity and brotherly love towards all men, in our Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ. God is the God of love, Christ is the Prince of peace, his gospel is the gospel of peace; and we that are God's servants ought to live in godly love; we that are Christ's brethren ought to live in brotherly peace. We are all baptized in one water, whereby we should have in remembrance that we should in love live as one together. These, and such other are, or may be, sufficient to bring us in remembrance of brotherly love, of faithful unity, and unfeigned concord, if we of ourselves were not too forgetful. O, how oft said Christ to his disciples, “ I give you my peace,

my peace I leave unto you." By this cognizance, and no other, shall men know you to be my disciples, saith Christ, if ye love together, if ye have love one to another. He saith, also, “A new commandment give I unto you.” What a zealous fire, what an earnest love had Christ, when he prayed and said, O Father, cause that these be one, as thou and I are, that like as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. Because ye be few, said Christ to his disciples, and in the midst of your enemies, live you in concord and peace one with another, one bear with another, and all you hold together.

Jewel. Sermon on Psalm vii.

Review of Books.

THE GOSPEL MANUAL; or a brief abstract of the

contents of every chapter in the four Evangelists, with reference to the parallel passages in each. By the author of Aids to Developement, &c. Darton and Harvey.

When first assuming the reviewer's office, we resolved, as our space was so limited, to notice only such books as we could decidedly recommend. After a while we were assailed by remonstances—If you do nothing but approve, your reviews will be despised ; you must mix censure with praise.' So said several friends; and we wavered. Our former purpose is now, however, ultimately fixed : we remark that custom has sanctioned a practice of extracting from reviews whatever may seem to bespeak unqualified approval, and sending it forth without the context. This may be very fair, in one sense, and it would be unreasonable to complain: but we shall be better satisfied to incur the reproach of indiscriminate praise, by selecting what we can heartily approve, except when we find a book in circulation that requires to be unsparingly denounced.

« EelmineJätka »