Page images
PDF
EPUB

ingly, just as he has been faithful to his purpose and has, in accordance with it, given us the "call” to become christians (Rom. 8:30), so also will he prosecute his plan still further, and leave nothing undone, on his part, to accomplish that salvation which he has appointed for us (Rom. 8: 29. 2 Thess. 2 : 13), and to the acceptance of which he has invited us by the call to christianity. Now, as this salvation is offered on condition of faith in the Gospel, God does every thing on his part, not only to excite (Rom. 8:30) this faith, which is the condition of our justification (dizalwois Rom. 3 : 26, 28, 31), but also to preserve and increase it (1 Pet. 1: 5. 2 Thess. 2 : 16); in order that he may be able actually to bestow this salvation on us, in the

way which he has appointed (Rom. 8: 30). In order that he may accomplish his beneficent plan, ευδοκιαν αγαθωσυνης, God, on his part, takes such measures as are calculated to promote that faith in us, which is requisite to its accomplishment, and cooperates with us, to make us worthy of our calling, ağcOVV Tng xànoewS 2 Thess. 1:11. 3: 3. Phil. 1: 6. Nor have we any reason to fear, that God would be prevented from promoting, in an efficient manner, these purposes of his grace by any incidental external circumstances, or that his cooperating agency could be rendered impossible by any prior plan or arrangement of the world.

For God, whose omnipotence is engaged in the accomplishment of our salvation, is superiour to every obstacle which could present itself. “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe Laccording to the power that worketh in us 2-who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will.”3 And certainly his plan for our salvation is not of recent origin, was not formed later than his other purposes. On the contrary, he has, from eternity, so ordered, guided, and permitted every thing,

1 Eph. 1: 19.

2

Eph. 3: 20. 3 Eph. 1:11: Rom. 8: 31. John 10: 28. 4 Eph. 1: 4. 2 Tim. 1: 9. 2 Thess. 2: 13.

that nothing can prevent the salvation appointed for us (Rom. 8: 17, 35); and every thing that occurs, even the afflictions of life shall work together for our good (συνεργειν εις αγαθον Sc. do&av v. 28, 30). Such is the nature of this plan, that nothing can prevent its accomplishment, unless, notwithstanding the most efficient aid of God, we are ourselves negligent, and resist the influences of the divine Spirit exerted for the sanctification of our hearts (áylaouq avevmatos 2 Thess. 2: 13), and will not suffer ourselves to be brought to believe in the Gospel and to obey its injunctions (unaxonu 1 Pet. 1: 2), if we do not receive the invitation to salvation with a becoming seriousness," if we do not make a conscientious use of the blessings and means of grace given us, if, though according to the decree of God, we belong to those who are called, we do not love him or are not willing to persevere in the love of him, who in his gracious plan called us to so glorious a salvation.

But the Scriptures do not encourage the inquisitive and timorous inquiry, whether we are among the number of those of the called who will persevere in the faith unto the end of their lives. For nothing is more certain than, that those only of the professors of christianity, whose character at the end of their lives is such as the Gospel requires, will actually receive the salvation offered to them: and it is equally certain that God, from eternity, foreknew distinctly what would be the character of each. We also shall know, when the event arrives, what God foresaw concerning us; and until then it is enough for us to know, and of this we may be fully convinced, that it is the most sincere and earnest will of God, actually to bestow the offered salvation on all those who are called ; and, on the other hand, that it is necessary for us to use our utmost, and untiring exertions to accomplish this earnest will of God, in the attainment of which he himself cooperates in the most active manner (2 Pet. 1: 3); and that our exertions must be continued even after we belong to those of the called who have reformed (exhextovs Matth. 22: 15 2), and after we have attained a distinguished grade among the pious (Eulextor in the more specific sense*), and have made much progress in the path of holiness. If we have not this conviction, we shall be in danger of being discouraged, or of falling into doubts as to our salvation, or of being indolent or indifferent, and thus, perhaps, not perform the condition on which our salvation is suspended. If we do submit to the condition on which alone God is willing to save us, and persevere unto the end, it will appear that God foresaw that we should continue in the faith and attain the promised salvation. But the reason why we fulfil or neglect to fulfil the condition appointed by God, is not because God foresaw that we would do so.

1 Acts 13: 46. 2 Pet. 1: 10, “ to obtain and to retain the rights and privileges of the people of God, i. e. those obtained by justification.”

2 Luke 13: 23. comp. Weismann's Schadiasm. Academ. p. 521.

II. Those passages of Scripture which appear to represent God as the author of evil, may in accordance with the usage of language, be explained as meaning merely that he did not hinder it, that he permitted it. See 39. Ill. 4. and the Observv. p. 25 &c. In Dissert. II. in epist. ad Coloss. et Philem. Note 165, it is remarked, that the words (Rom. 9: 15–18), are doubtless the words of some Pharisaic opponent whom the apostle is addressing v. 19, and that the whole passage contains nothing more than the declaration that God abandons the perverse sinner to his perverseness and the consequences resulting from it.

1 Luke 13: 24, strive to enter through the strait gate. 1 Tim. 6: 12, fight the good fight of faith. Compare v. 17-19. 2 Pet. 1: 5-10. Phil. 3: 12-14.

2 The ExàEXTOL (v. 14) are the ayatou of (v. 10) those who accepted the invitation. See Weismann's Institut. Theol. exéget. Dogm. p. 676.

3 Matth. 20: 16, the EXTEXTOL-the ToaTOL.

4 In the language of systematic divinity, Praedestinatio stricte sumta (Sartorii Compend. p. 195).

III. That the law which prescribes the condition of salvation is a just one, has been proved in $ 67, in connexion with $ 24.

IV. Let the reader consult Baumgarten Crusius' Plan of the kingdom of God, p. 39. In 9 39. II. 4, it is shown why God, notwithstanding his love to ns. till permits the unfaithf-? ness of mon

BOOK IV.

OF JESUS CHRIST THE REDEEMER OF THE

HUMAN FAMILY.

PART I.

OF THE PERSON AND DIFFERENT STATES OF THE REDEEMER.

§ 75. Jesus is really and truly man, but was conceived in a miraculous

manner.

The Scriptures teach us, that the Saviour (1), through whose instrumentality God (2) determined to redeem us ($ 65), is really and truly man (3), born of a woman (4), and in so far was a descendant of the ancestors (5) of Mary (6). But, in order that he might be free from all depravity, he was conceived, not by a human father (7), the power of God exerted in Mary, his mother (8); and, even on this account, he is the Son of God (9) and not the son of an earthly father.

but by

ILLUSTRATIONS.

I. The idea conveyed by the term Redeemer, or Saviour [owine'], or salvation [owinprov Luke 2: 30. Salus, per

1 2 Tim. 1: 10. Tit. 1: 4. 2: 13. 3: 6. In these passages Christ is called σωτηρ ημων. 1 John 4: 14, σωτηρ του κοσμου 2 Pet. 1: 11, 3, 18, owing, without any addition.

« PreviousContinue »