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determined support of another, I lament in them
the infirmity of the human understanding, which
is too apt, in avoiding one extreme, to be carried
into its opposite. The unbalanced mind of man
rarely sustains itself in that due mean which reason
and religion mark out. This has been the case
to >Lune
in the subject under consideration.
With the view of cutting up by the root the
doctrine of merit, which had constituted one of
the grossest corruptions of the Church of Rome,
ught for-
some of the first foreign reformers
ward that of absolute unconditional election, and
irresistible grace.
if ne

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


14 1

* Vindiciæ, c. iv. p. 225.

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loved, and Esau have I hated," it only means
I trust it is generally understood) that God pre-
ferred Jacob to Esalls 10 MEMOVS IN
to inherit and fut
blessing which had been pronounced to faithful
Abraham. And nothing but a vain desire to lo
9720030 211LOUI
texts of scripture into the support of an ill-founded
scheme of a particular election and reprobation to
eternal life and eternal misery, could induce
one to press th
the instance of Jacob and Esau into
hur any
their service.*.




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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
revealed will of God, which was given for my m-
struction in righteousness, and by which I am to
be judged, my sole endeavour is, by Divine grace,
200Conform myself to it being well assured, from
the general tenor of scripture, that no sanctified
person will be shut out of heaven, and no unsane-
tified one admitted into it for without holiness no
man shall see the Lord" or one 911
& dent boval I →
And happy is that meekness and poverty of
-liw ed to
spirit, which industriously declines the rugged
thorny paths of controversy and captious dispute,
and walks in the plain smooth way of duty and
practical religion; which studies God's commands,
and labours to understand things of a size with itse
capacity. Too many instances there are of daring
men, who, by presuming to sound the deep things
of religion, have cavilled and argued themselves
out of all religion. These men mistake their busi
ness. For what Christ requires of those who pro78
fess his religion is, not penetration or subtlety of
wit, nice distinctions or sublime notions, but viede
torious faith, and an honest holy life; sobriety,
temperance, and chastity; justice and charity,
piety and devotion. Let the Christian submit his,
reason to revelation, and let humility and deference
to God recommend his faith; and then, though
there may be knowledge too wonderful for him,
and so high that he cannot attain unto it, yet he
will be sure not to want any that is necessary P
profitable for him."




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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.



that what






ity respecting the
and the per-
Segal reprobation of the other, was not the idea meant to
conveyed by the Prophet, so I loved Jacob," saith the Lord,
The account of the manner in which
this divine love and hatred were manifested, is immediately
subjoined. "I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau;





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.


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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


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the Virgin Mary may be said to have been loved by God, and all
other women in the world hated; because
because she was chosen, or
preferred, before all other
all other women, to be the mother of the
promised Messiah..> { }
1; to otete aid
The expressions, therefore, of loving and hating, as applied
to Jacob and Esau, are to be taken in the sense in which our
Saviour used the latter, when he said, that " if any man came
to him, and hated not his father and mother, &c. he could not
be his disciple." Luke xiv. 26. That is, he that preferred his
father and mother, &c. before him,
, and was not willing to sa-
crifice every worldly consideration, rather than renounce him,
was not worthy to be his disciple.






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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