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larly in the total abolition of titles there, represented in prophecy under the idea of slaying seven thousand men, or names of men, Rev. xi. 13. It is usually understood that when a definite term is used, particularly a perfect number, such as feven, it means an absolute destruction. And as it is also noted that the tenth part of the city fell, which is one integral part of the whole, I conclude the expression points out not only the separation of France from the Romish hierarchy, but also from the general interest of the other powers, on which account every attempt to establish kingly power there, will prove as fruitless as that of Julian to rebuild Jerusalem.
Prophecy is not only sealed from the world at large but some parts are closed from the eye of Christians until the time of the end, on which account they should stedfastly look at those things as they unfold, as a confirmation of the hope that their redemption draweth nigh. It would be arrogant to pretend to determine what was uttered by the seven thunders which John was not perunitted to write down, I will therefore merely hazard a conjecture, that they had respect to some judgments to be inflicted on France and some other kingdoms of Europe, uttered by some of the first reformers and their successors, some of which so generally corroborate the general scheme of prophecy, as to sanction such an opinion.
As the Christian and Antichristian Church may be considered to be settled in Europe, in that quarter we should look for the theatre of action, for there are the feet of Daniel's image placed, that was to be destroyed by the stone cut without hands from the mountain ; a part whereof is fulfilled as an earnest of the accomplishment of all, after some further mutations. Yet a little while, and the city which consisted of ten parts will be divided into three, but it is to be feared greater woes will be experienced than we have seen already inflicted, of what nature time must declare. A partial accomplishment of this prophecy, appears to me to have taken place by the division of the Christian Communion, which, at this moment, consists of Papist Calvinists and Lutherans ; but when the full accomplishment takes place, the Son of man will be at the door.-Even now the voice faith, “Come “ out of her my people, that ye be not partaker of her fins, ; “ and that ye receive not of her plagues."
(Continued from page 531, Vol. I.) DEAR SIR, TN further discussing the subject recommended by your
1 Brighthelmstone correspondent, there are two propofitions which I shall endeavour to keep in view and lubitantiate. They are the following:
ist, I he moft-high God hath, of his fovereign will and pleaJure, chosen a part of his creatures to stand in a peculiar relation to himself, and to enjoy peculiar blessings.
2d, The great Jehovah, in electing a part of his creatures, had in view the happiness of all his creatures: the relation and bleffings to which he elected his peculiar ones, were intended to spin the way for his universal goodness to be fully displayed, and ultimately to bring ab-ut the happiness of the whole creațion.
In stating the doctrines of election and peculiar grace, it is not enough to prove that no injury is done to the whole by a part being chosen, and the special favours bestowed upon them; it is necessary to show that the particular designs of God, and his special operations, are in perfect harmony with his universal goodwill, and his immutable desire of the happiness of all his works : this, and this only, can make such designs and operations appear worthy of the God of love. We ought never to represent the benevolent Parent of the universe as a capricious, or partial Father, so fondly attached to one part of his great family, so entirely occupied with their concerns; as to forget the rest, and neglect their happiness; but rather as combining all his works together in one ftu- pendous whole, and ever pursuing the good of the whole by all his operations in every part.
The design of the present letter is to illustrate and establish the above propositions, by considering the Lord's choice of Abram, and his promise to him. As the reader goes on, he will discover my reasons for selecting the case of Abram, as the basis on which I mean to establish the doctrines of peculiar grace and universal goodness, to show their agreement and co-operation with each other.
The choice of Abram, and the peculiar favour manifested to him, stand on record as the first instance, at least after the flood, of an individual man being selected by God to stand in a peculiar relation to himself, and to enjoy the special manifestations of his grace. After the deluge, when Noah offered his facrifiçe, Jehovah expreffed his good will towards the whole
human race, indiscriminately, which should descend from him. He entered into covenant with Noah and his feed, which comprehends all mankind since that time. This covenant has never since been abrogated, never disannulled by any peculiar manifestations of grace to, or covenant made with, either individuals, or nations; but as God is in one mind, and all his works and ways make but one coinplete system of divine wisdoin and goodness, such peculiar manifestations and covenants must be in pursuance of that good will which he had discovered prior to such manifestations and covenants, and the good will, before manifefted,,continues the same through all succecding dispensations : of this God hath given us a faithful witness in the heavens, his bow in the cloud, a token of his everlasting covenant bet ween him and all fesh. Under this view, God stands in a covenant reJation to the whole world. Before the calling of Abram, we do not read that any one of the human race had a superior claim given him to the divine favour above another, on the ground of mere grace, consequently in beginning here, we begin where the subject first opens to our view.
The Lord's choice of Abram, and the blessings promised to him, did not relate to his individual person merely, but extended to his posterity, both natural and spiritual feed : to him and to his seed were the promises made, and related principally to Christ, Gal. iii. 16. The Jews, notwithstanding their fall, as touching the election, or God's choice of them in their fathers, are still beloved for the fathers' sakes, Rom. xi. 28. The bleffing of Abraham comes upon the Gentiles, whobelieve, through Jesus Christ, they too arc his seed, and heirs according to the promise, Gal. iii. 14, 29. The promise to Abram is laid in The scriptures as a foundation-stone, on which all the succeeding dispensations of grace are brought forward and made to stand: whatever peculiarities existed under the Jewish, or now exist in the dealings of God with individuals under the present dispensation, if their existence be in pursuance of the promise made to Abram, ought to be considered as exilting for the same purposes, and designed to answer the same ends as Jehovah avowed when he first gave that promise. If, therefore, we can prove that Abram's being chosen of God, that all the Most High promised to do for and beltow upon him, was intended to make him a blessing to others, to make blessed, or happy, all the families of the earth through him, we shall in effect prove, that the election of the house of Ifrael, and of New Testament believers, all the peculiar
blessings blessings bestowed upon either the one or the other, must be intended to make chose, who are so chosen, a blefling to others, and ultimately to terminate in the happiness of all mankind.
Notwithstanding the exemplary punihment inflicted upon the antideluvians, the wonderful preservation of Noah and his family and the gracious covenant made with him and all flesh, it appears that his posterity loon degenerated from the knowledge of the true God, and funk into idolatry. Paul hath given us a most affecting defcription of the dreadful state of the Gentiles, and the alarming consequences of their not loving to retain God in their knowledge, Rom. chap i. In the days of Abram, idolatry, it seems, was making rapid strides in Asia, even his family and kindred were infected therewith, they served other gods, Joh. xxiv. 2. The Sovereign of the universe, that the knowledge of his name might not be utterly extirpated from among men, and that a way might be opened for his abundant mercy and grace to be manifested to, and enjoyed by his creatures, fixed his choice upon Abram, called him, by a special manifestation of his will, to leave his father's house and his kindred, gave him a promise so extensive, that though it has been accomplishing ever since, it still remains to have its full and ultimate accomplishment in the ages to come. Awful and affecting as the Apostle's description referred to above may be, it is not easy to conceive how much more dreadful the state of mankind would have been, had not the God of grace interposed by the calling of Abram, and by the dispensations of his grace to him, and to his seed'; through which the light of divine Iruth, and the means of salvation and everlasting happiness have, in succeslive periods, been afforded to the world. We can form no just estimate of the advantages resulting from the peculiar dispensations of divine grace to the creation at large, unless we trace them to their final illue, and contemplate them as ultimately terminating in the Universal Restoration. Such a view of the subject coinpletely obviates all the difficulties which have so long clogged the doctrines of election and peculiar grace, which, I think,, cannot be obvialed on any other ground, and answers the objections of deifts to the scheme of divine revelation, as being narrow, partial, and unworthy of the Father of the universe. . .
That Jehovah's choice of Abram, his calling him, and the promise inade to him, were peculiar and distinguishing favours I think no inan can deny, Gen. xii. 1, 2, 3. Willany
man attempt to deny the peculiarity of the Lord's dealings with Abram, the distinguishing nature of the favour of God manifested to him? If any one be disposed to attempt such denial, let him inform us to what other person at that time Jehovah afforded such a revelation of himself as he did to Abram, on what other person he bestowed such favours as he bestowed on him. If the peculiarity of the divine manifestations afforded to, and favours bestowed upon Abram be acknowledged, the doctrine of distinguifhing grace, or peculiar favour, is at once admitted, and my first proposition eltablished. Let us see if the second will not derive equal support from the above passages.
God did not say I will bless thee, merely for thy own emolument, that thou mayelt be the exclusive recipient of my favours, and while I bless thee, I will curse the rest of mankind, make them a foil in the exibition of creatures, that my curse upon them may make my blessing upon thee more conspicuous, that the everlasting shades in which I place them, may make thy situation the more luminous; but I will bless thee, and make thee a blessing ; as much as to say, every blessing I bestow upon thee shall be a benefit to others. Jehovah said, I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy'name great. The great nation referred to was not to impoverish the world by their greatness, was not to be made great by a charter from heaven, confining the treasures of divine grace as a monopoly to them, was not for their aggrandizement to exhaust the means of infinite love, so as to leave no divine favour for others to enjoy; their name was not to be inade great through everlasting clouds and darkness being made to rest upon the names of all others. Nothing like this is expressed in the passage : all their bleffings, all their greatness, God intended as means of their being made a blessing to others; and when they shall arrive at the highest pitch of their greatness, they will be a far greater blessing to the world than they have ever yet been. Rom. chap. xi. Jehovah added, I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee. shall all families of the earth. be blessed. Not that I will bless the one, and curse the other, from a partial attachment, a doating fondness to thee; but the blessing and the curse are subordinate to the great end of blessing all fainilies of the earth.
That the latter part of the promise to Abram can never be fulfilled, until the universal restoration takes place, is to me evident. All families of the earth must comprehend all the
į . . inhabitants.