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sider them as “called, and chosen, and faithful :"} and we speak of them as they appear to us, and not as, perhaps, they appear before God. Even the apostle himself says of Silvanus, “ a faithful “ brother unto you, as I suppose."2 Men may deceive themselves, or impose on others; but the purpose of God shall be established : and this is “ the Father's will, which hath sent me, that of all “ which he hath given me I should lose nothing, “ but should raise it up at the last day: and this “ is the will of him that sent me, that every one “ which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may “ have everlasting life; and I will raise him up “ at the last day.”3
'St. Paul begins his epistle to the Ephesians, in this manner,' &c.4
In order duly to examine the beginning of the epistle to the Ephesians, the whole passage must be viewed together. Instead, therefore, of printing those parts only which are quoted in the Refutation, I shall insert the whole passage, marking with brackets what is omitted by his Lordship.
“ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will “ of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and “ to the faithful in Christ Jesus ; Grace be to you and
peace from God our Father, and from the “ Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and “ Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath “ blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
places in Christ; according as he hath chosen · us in him, before the foundation of the world, Ref. xvii. 14.
? 1 Pet. v. 12. 3 John vi. 39, 40.
“that we should be holy and without blame be“fore him in love: having predestinated us unto “ the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to “ himself, according to the good pleasure of his “ will ; [to the praise of the glory of his grace, “ wherein he hath made us accepted in the be“ loved : in whom we have redemption through “his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to “the riches of his grace; wherein he hath “ abounded towards us in all wisdom and pru
dence ;] having made known unto us the mys
tery of his will, according to his good pleasure “ which he hath purposed in himself: (that in the
dispensation of the fulness of times he might
gather together in one all things in Christ, both “ which are in heaven, and which are on earth,
even in him:] in whom also we have obtained
an inheritance, being predestinated according to “ the purpose of him who worketh all things after “the counsel of his own will ; [that we should be “ to the praise of his glory who first trusted in “ Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye “ heard the word of truth, the gospel of “ vation : in whom also, after that ye believed, ye “ were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, “ which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the “ redemption of the purchased possession, unto “ the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after “I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love “ unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for
you, &c."]-The apostle here addresses the Ephesians as “saints," or holy persons; as “faith“ ful in Christ Jesus,” or believers in Christ. He joins himself with them, as those whom God had
“ blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
things;” and this, “ according as he had chosen “ them in Christ before the foundation of the
world, that they should be holy,” (or saints,) “ and without blame before him in love." He had “ predestinated them to the adoption of children
by Jesus Christ unto himself:"—and“ if chil“ dren then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs “ with Christ." _This was “ according to the good pleasure of his will.” Thus our Lord
says, when he rejoiced in spirit,” “ I thank thee, “ O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because “ thou hast hid these things from the wise and “prudent, and hast 'revealed them unto babes. “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy
sight.” 2—This predestination was, expressly, “ to the praise of the glory of his grace,
wherein," or by which, (év 5) “ he had made them accepted “ in the Beloved ; in whom they had redemption
through his blood, even the forgiveness of their “sins.” They were, then, pardoned, justified, and accepted in Christ, which no merely nominal Christian ever was or can be. This was “ accord
ing to the riches of his grace; wherein he had “ abounded towards them in all wisdom and
pru“dence;" having arranged the whole plan for the display of his rich and plenteous grace, in such a manner as to give no encouragement to sin, but only to repentance and its fruits ; and to magnify his law, and glorify his justice and holiness, and all his perfections, in harmony with his grace. The
Rom. viii. 17. * Matt. xi. 25, 26. Luke x. 21. "OUTWS ÉYÉVETO žudoxía šum potev you. Comp. Eph. i. 5, 9. Gr.
apostle and the Ephesians had“ obtained an inhe“ ritance, being predestinated,” &c. He and his fellow Christians from anong the Jews had “first “ trusted in Christ;” and the Ephesians, hearing “ the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation, “ had trusted in Christ;" they had believed, and “ had been sealed by the Holy Spirit, the earnest “ of their inheritance.” They had faith in Christ, and love to all “ the saints.” Now can all these things be spoken of any except of true Christians ? Indeed, can any of these things be true of others? If there were others, in the outward communion of the church, as chaff or tares among the wheat,
they were not of them,” though they were among them; and they might
go out from them,” or continue mixed with them till the time of harvest. It is here also to be noted, that the epistle is not addressed to the church at Ephesus, “but to the saints and faithful brethren :" so that there is the less ground for considering it as written to a collective body of true Christians and hypocrites indiscriminately. Whatever is meant by chosen and predestinated, the words are indisputably connected with “the things which ac
company salvation;" and of which this choice and predestination were the source and cause, and not the effect
* Instead of representing their salvation as cer‘tain, he earnestly exhorts them to “ walk worthy • of the vocation wherewith they were called ;” 'guards them against those deceits which bring
down“ the wrath of God upon the children of • disobedience ;” and commands them “ to put on
- the whole armour of God, that they may be able ' to stand against the wiles of the devil :" it was 'therefore possible for those who were “ saints,” «« faithful,” “ chosen” and “ predestinated,” to ' walk unworthily, to incur the wrath of God by
disobedience, and to yield to sinful temptations, ' and consequently to fail of salvation.''
Exhortations, to give diligence “ to make their “calling and election sure,” are perfectly consistent with the doctrine of the final salvation of all true believers : but exhortations to “ walk worthy “ of their vocation,” especially related to their adorning and recommending the gospel, for the honour of God and the good of mankind. Even true Christians are often betrayed into improper conduct; and exhortations are exceedingly needful and useful, to make them vigilant and circumspect : but surely every instance of 'yielding to
sinful temptations' does not imply that a man will fail of salvation:' for ' we may depart from
grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace ' of God, we may arise and amend our lives.'? Even if assured that the salvation of any company was infallibly certain, we might and ought to exhort them to "walk worthy of God who had called " them to his kingdom and glory; ”3 and address them in the language of the apostle, “Wherefore,
my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmove"able, always abounding in the work of the Lord, “ forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in “ vain in the Lord.” Many important ends are answered by the holy lives of Christians, distinct from their own salvation. We may also say to
Ref. 207. * Art. xvi. 31 Thess. ii. 12.