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on some, and whether all the rest be unconditionally reprobated to eternal death, without any respect to their wicked works. All the scriptures therefore which you have quoted to prove that grace is the first and moving cause of our salvation, makes nothing against us; and all you say against works being the foundation of our election, is wide of the point, as we never held they were. Nevertheless, that believing in the Lord Jesus, is the condition of our justification here, as penitent sinners, and that those good works which spring from a living, justifying faith, are the evidences both of our justification here and hereafter, is abundantly manifest from scripture. By grace are ye (not shall be) saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Eph. ii. 3. And by him, all that believe are justified from all things, Acts xiii. 39. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, BECAUSE he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God, John iii. 18. Who that reads these scriptures can doubt but that faith in Christ is a condition on the performance of which our justification is suspended ? Any man who can doubt it, with such plain and positive testimony before his eyes, may turn sceptic and doubt of every thing. If this be so, that our justification is suspended on our believing, that believing is the expressed condition of justification, then your doctrine of unconditional election to eternal life, is erroneous, And if this part of your system be erroneous, so alsó
must the dreadful counterpart of it be, namely, unconditional reprobation to eternal death. In regard to this part of your system, I believe you have quoted no scripture to support it--and you are quite excusable; for indeed there are none to be found.
The word which the translators of our bible have rendered reprobate, is adoxopos, (adokimos) and this comes from doxopos, (dokimos) which signifies to try, prove, as metals are tried and proved in the fire. It is applied figuratively to man-Previous to justification all men are adoxomos, reprobates; that is, such as will not bear the test, when their characters are examined by the standard of Christianity. They must first be cast into the refining fire of God's Spirit, until the dross of sin be separated from them, and then they are dexsmos, elect, or approved. This word occurs but eight times in all the New Testament. In 1 Cor. ix. 27. Paul saith, Lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be adorsmos, a cast-away, or reprobate ; one that will not bear the test of examination at the great day; or one that will not be approved by his judge. In 2 Cor. xiii. 5, 6, 7.Rom. i. 28. -2 Tim. iii. 8. and Tit. i. 16. it is rendered reprobate ;-in Heb. vi. 8. rejected. Any person who will consult the places where this word occurs, will be convinced that it is used to designate a person whose conduct is disapproved in the sight of God—Those who have so much of the dross of sin about them, that, when weighed in the scale of truth, they are found wanting. But the doxijos
(dokimoi) the elect, it appears, are those of whom God approves. They having been refined in the fire of God's Spirit, and still enduring all the severe trials which come upon them, are found pure
and good, and shall be found unto praise and glory, if they become not, by departing from God, reprobates, or cast aways, 1 Cor. ix. 27. It appears therefore, that the reprobates may become elect, and the elect may become reprobates. Here is no foundation for the doctrine of eternal and unconditional election and reprobation. See Parkhurst.
Allowing the accuracy of the above remarks, that the reprobates are such as are disapproved, after being tried, how can they be reprobated from all eternity, seeing they could not be tried before they had an opportunity of acting? Can gold be tried before it exists? To say that God knew who would stand the test of examination, is no argument in favour of Hopkinsianism. This declares that God's determination respecting the final estates of men, was antecedent to his knowledge of them ; so that prescience itself is dependent for its existence upon preordination. See Letter I. p. 34, 35.
God saith concerning the Israelites, I have chose en you in the furnace of affliction. Were they in the furnace of affliction before they were born ? If not, this choice could not have been from all eternity.
8. In Eph. v. 6. the Apostle Paul assigns a reason why impenitent sinners are finally damned. "Let no man deceive you with vain words, for be
cause of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” The things to which the Apostle alludes, are mentioned in the preceding verse-For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. How different the opinion of this Apostle from yours ! “ It is not,” say you, “ assigning a sufficient reason for their reprobation, to say they were wicked, and would not accept of mercy,"p.63. Now sir, either you, or Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, are mistaken. Paul saith in the above passage,
66 The wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience, because of their wickedness." You say, “This is not a sufficient reason.” Paul saith, 2 Thess. ii. 10, 11, 12. That sinners are damned because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved—and for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
But you say, this is not a sufficient reaIf the Apostle had believed your doctrine, would he not have said, they are damned on account of an eternal decree of reprobation, which immutably secured their wickedness, that they might be vessels of wrath and “ suitable objects” of eternal indignation ? Jesus Christ said, Luke xiii. 34. How oft would I have gathered you together, and ye would not? Behold your house is left unto you desolate. Ve would not accept of mercy, and there
fore ye shall be rejected, i. e. reprobated. You reply, “ This is not assigning a sufficient reason for their reprobation.” Are then Dr. Hopkins and yourself wiser than Jesus Christ, and his servant Paul! Surely this is being wise above what is writ
Were I to quote all the scriptures which as. sign the wickedness of sinners, and their refusal to accept of mercy as the cause of their final condemnation, I should transcribe a great part of the bible. They are fitted, it is true, for destruction ; but they fit themselves by abusing the goodness of God, by an obstinate refusal of mercy ; in a word, by not receiving the truth that they might be saved.
9. Although you strongly assert your belief in unconditional predestination, you seem ashamed of it in the discussion of your subject. For in p. 59 you very modestly say, " But why did the Lord of Angels suffer them to rebel ?”—and p. 60, " Why were such a part of the Angels suffered to apostatize?” This language, sir, ill becomes the lips of such a rigid predestinarian as you have avowed yourself to be. To hold that God absolutely decreed, before the foundation of the world, that precisely so many intelligent beings should apostatize, and that every particular sin of their lives were not only unalterably fixed in the mind of God, but also “ brought to pass" by him: and then talk about suffering their apostacy, is truly ridiculous. Why not speak out, and ask, Why did God decree and foreordain that Angels should rebel, and that precisely so many of the human family should aposta,