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of salvation: for, the people of Antioch, both in Syria and Pifidia, and the people of Lystra and Derbe, and the Philippians had already received the Gospel, and the Apostles had acquainted the bres thren at Jerusalem with the conversion of the Gentiles, Acts 15. 3, before ever Paul preached the Gospel at Thessalonica, as appears from the Acts of the Apostles. Nor do I think, the learned person was unacquainted with this, and therefore he faid, the Thessalonians were almost among the first; which diminutive particle does not a little weaken the force of the expression from the beginning. 4thly. Much less can' ię be said, that the Thessalonians were separated from the beginning of that salvation, which Jesus published; which beginning Paul makes prior to the confirmation of the Gospel made by those, who heard it from the mouth of Jesús himself, that is, to the preaching of the Apostles, Heb. 2. 3. For it is plain, Chritt was the minister of circumcision, and did not preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Nothing therefore appears more easy and solid, than that explication, we have already given.
XXIV. Having said enough concerning the God's Eeternity of election, let us now consider its FREENESS; moft free. which confifts, in this, that God, as the absolute Lord of all his creatures, has chofen, out of mankind, whom and as many as he pleased; and indeed, in such a manner, as that no good, which he foresaw in any man, was the foundation of that choice, or the reason, why he chose one rather than another. This appears. ist. Because the Scripture afferts, that the most free will of God was the fupreme reason or cause of election, Met. u. 26, even so, fatber, for jo it seemed good in thy hight. Luke 12. 32, it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Above all, the Apostle is full in vindicating this absolute power of God, Rom. 9. other things he says, v. 21, Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one Vol. II.
vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 2dly.
. zdly. Neither fupposes faith, nor holiness, nor any thing truely good can no good be considered in man, unlels bestowed out of divine in man. grace, Phil. 1. 29,' unto yoti is given to believe on
Chrift, Eph. 2: 8, faith, not of yourselves, it is the
will. And consequently these benefits cannot be But itself presupposed as preparatory to divine election. 4thly. the fource The Scriptures expressly declare, that we are ofevery chosen to faith, holiness, and to perseverance in benefit.
both, which being the consequents and fruits of
that I have scarce any thing to add.
belongs to all the decrees of God, in general Is. 14.
disannul it? Is. 46. 10, my counsel foell stand, and I vill do all my pleasure. Rom. 9. 19, who hath refifted bis will? To affirm with Crellius, that these things are to be understood of the ablolute decrees of God not of his conditional, is begging the question. For, we deny, that any decree of God depends on a condition: if the thing decreed be suspended on a condition, the condition it self is at the same time decreed. These texts speak nothing of Crellius's distinction, nor lay any foundation for it; and even reason is against it. For, if any decree of God could be changed, it would be, because God either would not, or could not effect the thing decreed, or because his latter thoughts were wiser and better than his firft: all which are injurious to God. You will answer; God, indeed, wills, what he has decreed, to be done, but on condition the creature also wills it, whose liberty he would no-wise infringe. I answer, is God so deftitute either of power, or of wisdom, that he cannot so concur with the liberty of second causes, which he himself gave and form.ed, as to do what he wills, without prejudice to, and consistently with their liberty? God is far more glorious, in our opinion, and more to be had in reverence, than for us to believe any such thing of his power and wisdom. And here the very heathen poets and philosophers themselves, who, at times, have spoken more devoutly of their Gods, may put the Hereticks to the bluth: for thus Homer introduces Jupiter, saying,
'Ου γαρ εμον παλινάγρετον ε' 'απαληλόν, ,
Nec enim mutabitur unquam
Nor is it mine to recal, nor to be false in, nor leave unfinished whatever I Mall have signified by my awful nod. And Maximus Tyrius, who quotes these words
of Homer, Dissert. 29, adds of his own in the
XXVI. But we must say something on Pf. 69.
28. Where the Lord Jesus denounceth a curse book of against the Jews, the obstinate despisers of his grace, life, ex. and his sworn enemies; let them be blotted out of the plained. book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
And it cannot be doubted, but this imprecation of
To be blotted out of the
Tiads of them were Nain in a fhocking manner ; whose number Lipfius de Confant. lib. 2. c. 21, has collected to amount to twelve hundred and thirty thousand, who were cut off in less than full seven years. 2dly, By the book of the living may be understood, the book of God's covenant-people, out of which the Jews were erased, when God publickly disowned and rejected them; and it was said to them lo-Rubama and 1o-Ammi, according to the prophecy of Hosea. 1. 6,9. This was done, when the Gospel, which the Jews rejected, was preached to the Gentiles, and eagerly received by them; and the wretched remains of the Jews were dispersed among the nations. 3dly, If we should understand it of the book of ele&tion, it may be said, they were blotted out of that book, as to that writing, by which they presumptuously wrote themselves down therein, falsely boasting, that they were the dearly beloved children of God and of Abraham; our Lord Jesus justly imprecates against them, that this their boasting may be found actually vain. 4thly, But if this blotting out is to be absolutely understood of the writing of God himself in the book of election; we shall say, that the blotting out was not privative but negative, and that the latter part of the verse is an explication of the former : fo that the blotting out is a declaration of their not being written down. Kimchi, among the Jewish doctors, also observed this, who writes; the verfe is double, the same sense being proposed in different words. And he adds, LET THEM BE BLOTTED out, fignifies, let them not be written in the book of life. From which it appears, that our adverfaries argue falsely from this paffage, against the immutability of God's election.
XXVII. As this is fixed and settled with respect to The ele&t God, so the believer may also attain to a certain as may be surance thereof, and, from infallible marks, know certain of
their elec: that he is one of the chosen. If it was not so, Peter tion. had, to no purpose, admonished believers, to make Abeir calling and ele&tion sure, 2 Pet. 1. 9. 10. That C 3