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7. The same sentiment is inculcated by the Apostle Peter, 1 Epistle i. 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.” In these words the Apostle declares the election, of God's foreknowledge, not of his foreordination--and affirms that the medium of election is through sanctification of the Spirit. The election therefore, of which the Apostle speaks, could not be eternal and unconditional, seeing believers could not have been sanctified in eternity. Neither could they be sprinkled with the blood of Christ before they had an exist

If they were elected through the medium of sanctification of the Spirit, as the Apostle asserts they were, their election was in time, after they were born, and conditional, when they received the blood of sprinkling, and the sanctification of the Spirit.

8. You next quote from Eph. i. 4. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and wilhout blame before him in love. It should be particularly notiçed, that this was an address to the whole church at Ephesus ; and therefore it cannot have any reference to individual election to eternal life. In this beautiful passage of scripture, the Apostle, by a figure of speech called prolepsis, obviates a very common objection to his doctrine, that the establishment of the Gospel dispensation, on the ruins of the Jewish church, proved a change in the de.

signs of God. This objection arose out of the bigotry of the Jews, and their violent opposition to the peculiarities of Christianity. To cut this objection asunder, the Apostle reminds his Ephesian brethren, of God's predetermination, (v. 5.) before the foundation of the world, to establish the Gospel dispensation, and to call the Gentiles into the Christian church, together with those Jews who received the Messiah. And therefore he says, Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. From the first verse to the tenth, inclusive, he addresses the whole body of the Christian church at Ephesus, who were elected to the exalted privileges of the Gospel dispensation, according to the good pleasure of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; and asserts that the end of this election was, that they should be holy, and without blame (not more and more "guilty and ill-deserving,” as you inform your elect ones in Durham they are) before him in love. In the eleventh verse, he seems more particularly to speak of himself and other Jewish believ. ers-In whom ALSO WE have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated, &c.--V. 12. That we should be to the praise of his glory who FIRST TRUSTED in Christ. By the adverb alsó, and the words first trusted, the Apostle contradistinguishes the Jewish converts from the Gentile believers: then in verse 13, by a change of the person, it is evident he addresses himself more immediately to the Gentile bem

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lievers at Ephesus—In whom YE ALSO TRUSTED, ter that ye heard the word of truth the Gospel of your salvation. From all which it manifestly appears, that the Apostle designed to vindicate the divine character from the charge of mutability and injustice in establishing the system of Christianty, and calling to the blessings of it, the Gentiles; because, according to the Apostle's argument, this was in conformity to the benevolent intention of the Almighty before the foundation of the world; and therefore this part of his conduct was no impeachment of his veracity to the Jews, nor no new and recent design, which arose from disappointment and mutability. In this view of the subject, the unchangeable goodness of God towards the. Gentile world, shines with such lustre as to inspire the most unshaken confidence in both Jewish and Gentile believers.

9. To suppose the Apostle had individual and personal election in view, in the above passage, is to suppose that all the members of the Ephesian church were unconditionally elected to everlasting life. In this case what becomes of your doctrine of the certain perseverance of all the elect? In attempting to prove which, you overthrow your doctrine of election, if you rest its support on such passages as the above; for in page 117 you observe, * That Christ's church is made up of two sorts of members, who possess perfectly opposite characters; yet by profession, they all possess one character. This is undoubtedly correct ; and there

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fore when the members of the visible church are stiled elect, chosen, &c. as were the Ephesians, we are not to infer that they were from eternity unconditionally elected to everlasting life. Such an inference would contradict the whole tenor of scripture, as well as invalidate your own just observation above quoted. You will not, I presume, exempt the Ephesians from such strictures, for there was at least one, who had stolen.

10. It would far exceed the limits of these letters, to notice all the scriptures which have been wrested from their primitive design to support error.

The ninth chapter of Romans, which has been so often appealed to, in vindication of unconditional predestination, is a sublime and able vindication of the conduet of God in selecting the Israelites to be the progenitors of the Messiah, and the repositories of the lidely oracles, in preference to the Edomites. And also his righteous character in his conduct to wards nations, in punishing them for their wicked

This is exemplified in the case of Pharaok and the Egyptians, and was now awfully illustrated in the rejection of the Jews for their unbelief. And lest any one should impiously charge their impenitency and consequent overthrow on God, the Apostle in verse 32. assigns a reason why they did not attain to the law of righteousness. Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. How different the reason mentioned by Paul for their punishment, from that which your doctrine assigns. Dr. Hopkins saith expressly,

ness.

** God moves, excites, and stirs up men to do that which is sinful ; and deceives, blinds, hardens, and puts sin into the heart, by a positive, creative influence."* According to this, God is the moving and exciting cause of sin ! Nay, he is the immedi. ate author of it, inasmuch as he puts it into the heart, by a positive, creative influence! O Christianity! Thou immaculate offspring of the Most High, how is thy chaste character traduced by such unholy touches of Hopkinsian theology! He who deceives, must be a deceiver, and he who blinds and hardens people, must be responsible for that blindness and hardness. Such glaring absurdities, and manifest errors, need not a formal confutation. They carry not only error and falsehood, but blasphemy upon the very face of them. To mention them is suffi- . cient to confute them. There is no necessity there. fore for us to reject the ninth of Romans “ as rigid predestinarianism," nor to say, “ It is blasphemous, and not fit to be read.” p. 55. On the contrary, we would recommend that chapter, with the tenth and eleventh as a masterly vindication of the righteous conduct of God towards those nations, who, by a long abuse of his exuberant goodness, have fitted themselves for destruction. It is also calculated to silence the unjust complaints of those, who are discontented with their external privileges; and to warn those who have received five talents, or one talent, against the abuse of them. The eleventh

Contrast, p. 63.

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