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And all nity.
ning of the world, A8s 15. 18; who worketh all things from eterafter the counsel of his own will, Eph. 1. 11. the foreknowledge of future contingencys is founded in the decree of God: consequently he determined with himself from eternity, every thing he executes in time. If we are to believe this with respect to all the decrees of God, much more with regard to that distinguishing decree, whereby he purposed to difplay his glory, in the eternal state of men. And I Thall add, what ought, in the fullest manner, to establish this truth, that we are chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundatioa of the world, Eph. 1. 4.
XIV. And hence appears the gangrene of the So. The Socinian Hereticks, who, distinguishing between pre cinian destination, which they define the general decree of heresy, God, concerning the salvation of all those, who conftantly obey Christ, and between Election, which is of particular persons; they say, indeed, that the former is from eternity, but the latter made in time, when a person performs the condition contained in the general decree of predestination. And they make the excellence of the Lord Jesus and a part of his divinity to consist in this, that he was foreknown by name from eternity. But as Peter writes, 1 Pet. I, 20, that Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world; so we have just heard Paul, testifying by the same expreffion, that we were chosen before the foundation of the world. But neither the subject, as we have just shewn, nor the Apostle's words, which describe not an election of holiness, as the condition of life, but an election of some certain persons to holiness, which, in virtue of that election, they had already in part obtained, and were afterwards in the fullest manner to obtain, will not suffer us to pervert this to some general decree of saving saints.
XV. We are here to explain, what our Saviour Mat. 25. declares he will pronounce on the last day of judg-34, ex, ment, Mat. 25. 34, inherit the kingdom prepared for plained. you áno nalazboans roous from the foundation of the world : he does not say, before the foundation of the world, as
is said, Eph. 1. 4. If by this preparing we under-
denote the very same thing. Similar expreffions of eternity may be compared, Prov, 8. 23, bbw, from everlasta ing ; VN71, from the beginning ; Pirip?, or ever the earth was. Or if we would rather distinguish these, and explain that exprellịon, from the foundation of the world, to signify, not eternity, but the remoteft per riod of time (as it is taken Luke 11. 50, the blood of all the Prophets which was fhed from the foundation of the world, that is, from the remotest antiquity, beginning with the blood of Abel
, 4. 51, and Heb. 4. 3,7 we shall say, that by preparing the kingdom is meant, the formation of heaven, which is the throne of glo. ry; and that the Elect are invited, to enter upon the ịnheritance of that habitation, which was created at the very beginning of the world, in order to be their eternal residence. And who can doubt, but what God created in the beginning, in order to be the blessed abode of the Eject, was appointed by him
from eternity for that purpose.
fage, Rev. 13. 8 ; whole nemes are not written in the
mise of God, in the type of facrifices, and of Abel, Nain by his envious brother; and in fine, in the efficacy of his death, which extended itself to the first of the human race. For, unless the death of Christ, which he was once to undergo in the fulness of time, could have extended its virtue to the first men in the world, Chrast muft often have suffered since the foundaţion of the world, Heb. 9. 25. God did many things, before Christ could die, which could not decently have been done, unless with a view to Christ's death, which was to enfue in its appointed time, and with respect to these,he is said to be Nain from the foundation of the world. Nay, the foundation of the earth itself was not laid without a view to the death of Christ. For since the manifestation of his glorious grace in man through Christ, was the chief end of God, in creating man; we must look upon the foundation of the earth, to be an habitation for the good, as a mean to that end. Nor would it have been consistent with God, to form the earth for a habitation of linful man, unless that fame earth was one time or other, to be purged by the blood of Christ, as the fanctifier and glorifier of his Elect, For all these reasons, the Naying of Christ, and the foundation of the world, are pot improperly connected. Secondly, those words, from the foundation of the world, may be referred to what goes before, are written: 'to signify, whose names are not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of that lamb flain. Which appeared more simple to Junius, Pifcator, Gomarus, and other great divines, . And indeed, we observe, Łuke 4, 5, an instance of a transposition not unlike this. And John himself is found to have fo ranged these very words, as to omit entirely what is here inserted about the lamb Nain, Rev. 17. 8, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. And then this phrafe would denote the eternity of the divine decree, as we shewed in the foregoing paragraph, it might be explained. Thirdly
and lastly, The words may be so construed, as to point
XVII. We are also to enquire into the genuine
commonly brought as a proof of the eternity of elec.
ing phrase, mfè spórwy átwvíwo before the world began.
, before meaning the world began, understand absolute eternity, such of, before refute themselves. For, seeing Paul here relates somethe world
thing done before the world began, fomething must began.
be imagined more eternal than eternity itself, than
thereby understand all that time, which commenced with the creation of the world (when átūves izliobroar, the worlds were framed, Heb. 11. 3,) which then run on, and will run thro'all ages, without end and limit. But what is it, before the world began? Is it what preceeds all time, and so is eternal, as most divines think, who, from hence, directly conclude the eternity of our election, and interpret this giving of the giving contained in the decree? But we are to consider, whether we can firmly maintain that exposition against the exceptions of those, of the opposite opinion. Indeed, the very subtle Twiss himself, in Vindiciis Gra- Twiss tiæ, lib. 1. p. 1. Digress. 2. fe&t. 4. p. 64, cavils; that censured. it is not necessary directly to believe, that what is said to be before the foundation of the world, signifies to be before all time; but only before many ages. But that very learned person, as frequently on other occafions, so also on this, appears to have given too much scope to his wit and fancy. If this exposition of his be retained, there is nothing, of which it may not, one time or other, be said, that it was done before the foundation of the world; a regard being had to following ages.
Which is, in a remarkable manner, to weaken the force and majesty of the Apostle's expression. And I would not willingly make such confessions to our adversaries. Since Xpóros ásávior the beginning of the world, commenced at that beginning, in which cūves exsisino av the worlds were framed; what was done, apo xpóvwv asuvíw before the foundation of the world, seems altogether to have been done before the creation of the world, and consequently from eternity : unless we should be under a necessity to limit that phrase. And none can doubt, but, in its full import it may signify this. Why then may it not be explained in its full emphasis, if there be nothing to hinder it? But what is here faid of giving grace, is no such hindrance: For, because all things are prefent to God, and that what God has decreed to be fu