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determined support of another, I lament in them
This was, indeed, to do the business at a stroke, but it was a stroke which severely wounded the cause it was meant to serve. By taking away man's free agency, an end was at once put to the morality and immorality of human actions; for a being, whose conduct is determined by an overruling power, cannot be an accountable one. Thus a corrupt doctrine made way for a species of fatalism, which, under an imposing title, tends to deprive rational Christianity of its firmest support.*
But, thank God, the bible is before me. "The word election is in it, it is true; but as I would not be governed by the sound of a word, but by its relative signification, I examine the passages where it is to be met with; and am thereby satisfied, that it does not mean the personal election of individuals to eternal life, but the election of nations to the blessings and privileges of the Gospel Where it is said, dispensation. Jacob have I
* Vindiciæ, c. iv. p. 225.
loved, and Esau have I hated," it only means
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With respect to absolute decrees, determining the decators gift future salvation of individuals, I see nothing in scripture that leads me to conclude that there are any such; on t on the contrary, I see all through the bible general promises of mercy suspended upon particular co conditions.
On the supposition, then, than any decrees may have been established in the Divine councils, (a subject on which I presume not to pronounce) my comfort is, that they must be conformable to God's revealed will; because a God of truth cannot contradict himself. Without perplexing myself, therefore, with an useless inquiry with respect fo what God may do by an absolute act of power, consider what He hath done, and what is consistent with his wisdom, justice, and goodness to do. And seeing myself called upon by his Apostle make my calling and election sure, I conclude, 18.1 conceive every reasonable man must do, that be no absolute decree in a case,. Certainty of which depends in some measure upon * See Note at the end of this Discourse; also Vindiciae,
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myself. Confining myself, consequently, to the
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Heb. xii. 14. 37
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ayın grindoƆ Jaroh have I loved, bu Lloved, but Esau have I hated." Rom. ix. 15. The Apostle quotes the foregoing text from the pros phet Malachi, chap. I. 2, 3.
ity respecting the
Mountains and his heritage waste,
and laid dragons of the wilimpoverished, but we Thus saith the Lord
derness: Whereas Edom saith, we are will return and build the desolate places.
whom th4000ER ENTERT
of Hosts, they shall build, but I will pull down; and they shall call them the of wickedness, and the people against indignation for ever. shall see, and ve And your eyes ye shall say, the Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel." The latter words in the foregoing passage refer to the circumstance of the Messiah being to come from Jacob, and not from Esau. In which respect Jacob is said to be loved, Esau to be hated; that is, the line of d, and was preferred by God to that of Esau for the conveyance of the blessing promised to Abraham. The promise to Abraham was, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed." But it was no part of this promise that the blessing should be conveyed through the elder branch of is family; and it c it could pass only through one branch of it; it remained, ined, therefore, with God to choose which branch he thought proper. According to his will, then, the blessing of the promised seed passed through Isaac, not through Ishmael through Jacob, and not through Esau, through Judah, not through either of the other sons of Jacob; and through David, in preference to his elder brethren, to bre
a view to
Isaac, Jacob, Judah, he preference given upon this occasion, and David may be said, guage of scripture, to have been loved of God; that is, preid, in the strong lan ferred by Him; whilst Ishmael, Esau, and the brethren of Judah and David, were hated or rejected. In the same sense
the Virgin Mary may be said to have been loved by God, and all
And that this text, quoted from the Prophet, referred not to the personal condition of the parties mentioned in it, but to that of their respective posterities, the argument of the Apostle furnishes a proof. "For the children, Esau and Jacob, says he, "being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said, the elder shall serve the younger." Rom. ix. 11. But Esau the elder, as appears from the history, never did serve Jacob. Personally, Jacob seems ever to have been the inferior. The word of the Lord, therefore, in this remarkable passage, not being verified in the persons of Esau and Jacob, the accomplishment of it must be referred to their posterity; and upon this head no doubt can be entertained by any one who the whole passage as it stands, Gen. xxv. 23: "And the said unto Rebekah," as she was upon the point of being delivered of the two sons in question, "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger." Gaiva odotu tisu. This circumstance of the elder serving the younger not having then taken place in the persons of Esau and Jacob, we must look for some spiritual sense, in order t the comple to perceive LOTE tion of this blessing to Jacob; and this will lead us to that person promised to Abraham and to Isaac, as the blessing of all nations, even Jesus Christ.
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The original promise to Abraham implied, that all nations of