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A COLLECTION OF TRACTS,

TRACT I.

SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION,

ELECTION, AND REPROBATION. 1. The scripture saith, Ephes. i. 4, God hath chosen us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before bim in love.' And St. Peter calls the saints, 1 Pet. i. 2, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience.' And St. Paul saith unto them, 2 Thes. ii. 13,14, 'God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth ; whereunto he hath called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

2. From all these places of scripture it is plain, that God hath chosen some to life and glory before or from the foundation of the world. And the wisdom of all Christians is, to labour that their judgments may be informed herein, according to the scripture. And to that end, let us consider the manner of God's speaking to the sons of men.

3. God saith to Abraham, Rom. iv. 17, 'As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, before him whom he believed, even Godw hoquickeneth the dead, and calleth things that are not as

though they were. Observe, God speaks then, at that present time, to Abraham, saying, Thave made thee a father of many nations,' notwithstanding Abraham was not, at that time, the father of one child, but Ishmuel. How then must we un. derstand, I have made thee a father of many nations ?

4. The apostle tells us plainly, it was so · Before God, who calleth things that are not as though they were.

And so be calleth Abraham the father of many nations, though he was not as yet the father even of Isaac, in whoin his seed was to be called.

5. God useth the same manner of speaking when he calletb Christ, Rev. xiii. 8, · The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;' although indeed he was not slain for some thousand years after-Hence therefore we may easily understand what he speaketh of electing us from the foundation of the world.

6. God calleth Abraham, a father of many nations, though not so at that time. He calleth Christ the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, though not slain till he was a man in the flesh. Even so be calleth men Elected from the foundation of the world, though not elected till they were men in the flesh. Yet it is all so before God, who knowing all things from eternity, calleth things that are not as though they

were.

7. By all which it is clear, that as Christ was called The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and yet not slain till some thousand years

after, till the day of his death, so also men are called elect from the foundation of the world, and yet not elected, perhaps, till some thousand years after, till the day of their conversion to God.

8. And indeed this is plain, without going farther, from those very words of St. Peter,

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience,

For, If the elect are chosen through sanctification of the Spirit, then they were not chosen before they were sanctified by the Spirit. But they were not sanctified by the Spirit before they had a being. It is plain then neither were they chosen from the foundation of the world.But God calleth things that are not as though they were.

9. This is also plain from those words of St. Paul, "God hath from the beginning chosen you salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.' Now,

If the saints are chosen to salvation, through believing of the truth, and were called to believe that truth by hearing of the gospel, then they were not chosen before they believed the truth, and before they heard the gospel, whereby they were called to believe. But they were chosen through belief of the truth, and called to believe it by the gospel. Therefore they were not chosen before they believed ; much less before they had a being, any more than Christ was slain before he had a being:

So plain is it that they were not elected, till they believed ; al

to

though God calleth things that are not as though they were.

10. Again, how plain is it where St. Paul saith, that they whom (Ephes i. 11,12.). God did predestinate, according to the counsel of his own will, to be to the praise of his own glory,' were such as did first trust in Christ? And in the very next verse he saith; that they trusted in Christ after they heard the word of truth, not before. But they did not bear the word before they were born. Therefore it is plain, the act of electing is in time, though known of God before ; who, according to his knowledge, often speaketh of the things which are not as though they were. And thus is the great stumbling block about election taken away, that men may

make their calling and election sure.

11. The scripture tells as plainly what predestination is : it is God's fore-appointing obedient believers to salvation, not without, but • according to his fore-knowledge of all their works from the foundation of the world.' And so likewise he predestinates or fore-appoints all disobedient unbelievers to damnation, not without, but according to his fore-knowledge of all their works from the foundation of the world.

12. We may consider this a little farther. ---God, from the foundation of the world, foreknew all men's believing or not believing. And according to this his foreknowledge, he chose or elected all obedient believers, as such, to salvation, and refused or reprobated all disobe.

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