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selves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit; even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Rom. viii. 23.) He again employs the figure of the first-fruits when treating on the resurrection of the dead; he considers the presentation and acceptance of Christ our spiritual head as the first-fruits from the grave, to be a sure pledge of the ultimate gathering in of the whole harvest of mankind. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." (1 Cor. xv. 20-28.) In this view of election there is nothing repulsive to common sense, to justice, to goodness, as there undeniably is in the Calvinistic view of the subject. On the contrary, all is here consistent, beautiful, benevolent; the elect of God are but the first fruits of his grace; the present earnest of that victory over sin, and assimilation to infinite purity, which it will eventually achieve in the whole human race.
Calvinist. Very pretty, I grant; very plausible too, to mere human reason, but we are not to estimate things by the standard of our frail judgments; we are to remember that we are infinite offenders against God, and as such, deserving of his holy displea sure to all eternity. Consequently, we
Arminian. Stay! I wish to know how we can deserve God's displeasure to all eternity, if, (as you and the author both maintain,) we are not free agents; we do only such things as he foreordained we should do; we cannot be righteous except he see fit to make us so, and yet for not being what we could not be,
we are deserving of the great Jehovah's infinite displeasure! Why, my dear sir, one must have a credulity equal to an earthquake to swallow all this!
Author. You swallow it, nevertheless, my friend, as well as he, for I have proven sin to have been foreordained on your principles as well as on his; your notion of man's free agency I have shown to be a fantasm, and consequently, if it is unjust and cruel in God to inflict endless suffering on his ground, it is equally so on your's. The doctrine of endless misery is equally indefensible on either; it reflects equal discredit upon the divine character on both Calvinist and Arminian. Yes, if mere human reason is to be the judge.
Author. As a human being, I can have no other than human reason; I must either exercise that, or none; if none, why are the claims of God upon my love, my homage, my confidence, pressed upon my consideration? If my understanding cannot comprehend the acts of my Creator, I cannot then know whether they are wise or foolish, good or evil, and therefore I cannot tell whether he is entitled to my love or my hatred, my admiration or my contempt. The very fact of our being called on to adore and serve him, presupposes our capacity to understand the nature and the grounds of our obligations to him. Away! then, with your senseless decrials of human reason, for Jehovah himself has honored it by frequent appeals to it in his word.
Calvinist. Well, waiving that matter for the present, let us attend further to the original point between us: you have shown that election does not necessarily imply reprobation. I grant it does not, but I still contend that there are some cases of special reprobation brought to view in the scriptures. Take the following as instances: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.) "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thes. ii. 11, 12.)
Author. I have not meant to deny the scripture doctrine of reprobation; on the contrary, I have shown that whilst some are
called to eminent gospel privileges, others, (at least in this life,) are excluded from all participation therein. Yet, thanks to God! we are not left in hopeless darkness as to the final fate of even these reprobates; the great apostle has most satisfactorily cleared up this point: he has shown that there is to be an eventual and universal ingathering of reprobated Israel, when the fulness of the (once rejected, but subsequently elected) Gentiles be come in; in the very casting off of the Jewish people, mercy was designed to the rest of the world. "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now, if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead ?" (Rom. xi. 11, 12, 15.) This will show the purpose of God in sending them "strong delusions ;" and it also shows us the end of the damnation consequent thereof: the same is also expressed in the following. "For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Ibid. 30-32.) We see then that the "lost," to whom, in the days of the apostles, the gospel was "hid," were not by Paul considered as irrecoverably so; it was "the lost" whom Christ came "to seek and to save." Neither does it follow, that because some seem at the present in a far-gone condition of darkness and sin, they are eternally to remain in it.
Calvinist. What meant the Savior, then, when he represented such only to be his sheep as hear his voice and follow him? And does not his promise that he gives unto them eternal life, and that they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of his hand, imply on the face of it that he will not do the same for all the human race?
Author. It certainly implies that he does not do the same for all, but not that he never will. It is granted that some are his people in a peculiar sense, and that others are not so at the present time; but if we affirm that the same shall to all eternity be the
case, we must set a large part of the bible at nought. Jesus himself says, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John x. 16.) Even in our strayed condition we are spoken of as sheep of his flock, and he, as the shepherd, pursues in order to bring us back to the fold. "All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. liii. 6.) Who that has read, and attentively considered, the beautiful parable of the lost sheep, can doubt the benevolent perseverance of the shepherd in pursuing sinful and wandering man, until he has fully succeeded in the object of the pursuit? Truth is, that elect and reprobate are distinctions belong ing to time only, and not even to all of time; for, as before shown, the Jews, once highly favored, are now reprobate; the Gentiles, once reprobate, are now highly favored. Anon the Jews shall be gathered in with the fulness of the Gentiles, and all distinctions shall be lost forever; there shall then be neither Jew nor Greek, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free, but all shall be one in Christ Jesus. In the speech which James delivered in the apostolic council at Jerusalem, the doctrine of election and reprobation is presented in perfect harmony with these views. "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. [These were the elect; some taken out from the mass as subjects for gospel grace.] And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men [those left, after some had been taken out] might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things." (Acts xv. 14-17.) We here have the rejected, the passed by, the reprobates, plainly brought in at last; and were it otherwise, the declarations that God is impartial, and that his ways are equal, would be without any meaning intelligible to mankind.
Calvinist. It is not partiality in the great Jehovah to damn one sinner according to, and save another contrary to, his deservings; in the one case he glorifies his justice, in the other his grace
All deserve to be damned, and would be damned but for his electing mercy, which snatches some from their merited doom, "as brands from the burning." The non-elect have no ground for complaint, for their condition is rendered no worse by the salvation of others than it otherwise would be; hence with the pious Baxter we may exclaim, "Let DESERVED be written upon the gates of hell, but on the gates of heaven be inscribed THE FREE GIFT."
Author. Did not your creed blind your eyes to the light of reason, my friend, you would be far from satisfied with this disposition of the case; for, first, as our friend Arminian has shown, endless ruin is not, cannot be, deserved, by acting in accordance with the divine pre-appointment. And, in the second place, if it even were deserved, both justice, and the principle of impartiality, require that either all should be punished alike, or pardoned alike, since all are alike involved in a common guilt. What would be thought of a chief magistrate, (in whom our constitution has vested the pardoning power, for discretionary exercise,) if he, acting on the principle you ascribe to the deity, should pardon one part of a piratical crew, and hang the other, when both were equally guilty? Would the public mind approve so arbitrary and capricious a use of his prerogative? On the contrary, would it not arouse against him the honest indignation of every thinking man? If some of the pirates were less deserving of death than others, that would alter the case; but this is not the posture in which your creed places it: according to it, all are alike guilty, and alike deserving of punishment; and yet that same God whose " ways are equal," and "who will render unto every man according to his works," damns some according to, and saves others contrary to, their deservings! Truly, my friend, to believe this does require a most marvellous credulity!
Arminian. Mr. Author, I like your views of election and reprobation right well, they effectually vindicate the goodness and equity of our Creator: but I cannot be reconciled to your views of foreordination; nor can I see any use, if they be correct, in your preaching, writing, or using other means for the reformation of mankind. Why, I ask, do you use means in order to an end which is unchangeably foreordained?
Author, Because they also are foreordained. Isaiah announced