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.' THE Arminian Magazine, For DECEMBER 1791.
DIALOGUES on. PREDESTINATION. ! [By Dr. Wob'ack, sometime Bishop of Worcester.]
D'IA LOG U E I.
[Continued from page 547.]
to the reprobates (under this new covenant) in jest, or in earnest ? Doih God intend to save or delude them in this offer? Did not you say positively, just now, that it is impoffible the reprobates should savingly believe? A legacy under an impollible condition, the learned in the laws do acó count unworthy a wise teftator; and therefore they conclude it ought in justice to be paid absolutely, as if there were no condition at all added to it: but a stipulation, and any other
contract under an unperformable condition, is accounted null: · VOL. XIV.
and are such covenants beseeming the majesty, or the goodness, or the fincerity of God? Does it not savour too much of hypocrisy, to offer pardon and eternal life, upon terms impossible ? Suppose you and I were near a very fair palace, into which there is no way possible to enter, but over one narrow bridge; should you promise me len thousand pounds upon condition I followed you into that palace; though you invite and call me never so importunately, and lake down never lo many solemn vows, and proteftations, to signify your reality and earneltness; yet if pretending to lead me the way, you should draw the bridge after you, and so make my following you imposlible, there is none but a mad-man would think your invitation or your promise serious.
But I pray deal ingenuously with me. Do you really be. lieve that the ministry of the covenant is intended for the benefit of these reprobates, or no?
Dio. Because you are so desirous of information, I will tell you the opinion of a person of great worth and learning, 70. Pifcator: he faith, “That the ministry of the words and sacraments is not only ineffectual, but mischievous and deadly to the greater part of those that are called, and that according to God's intention too;" and that he may not be thought to speak without his book, he produceth sundry texts of Holy Scripture for it.
Pag. Are the reprobates then invited unto grace, and called to engage themselves in this covenant, when the ministry thereof is by. God's own intention, so dangerous and deadly to them?
Dio. “God's invitation unto grace, is no other than by protesting, that by faith and repentance they hall be saved ; without faith and repentance they fall be damned. And hereupon by his minillers he commands them, entreats them, beseeches them, that they will believe and repent, that they may be reconciled unto God, and saved; and this grace the
reprobates in the church of God are partakers of, as well as God's elect."*
Pag. What difference do you observe betwixt the elect and reprobates, as to their respective concernments and engage. ments in this covenant ?
Dio. The reprobates are called and obliged (as I may say) to subscribe this covenant, and engage themselves to perform the conditions o it, and are generally promised the benefit of pardon and Salvation upon that performance, as well as the elect. But here is the difference : when the elect do actually engage themselves in covenant with God, though they be thereby obliged to the conditions of that covenant, yet they have God reciprocally obliged by his promise to them; and his fiuelity stands so far engaged to effect the conditions of this covenant, in them, and to secure them from the violation of it, that it is impossible, upon this account, they should either finally or totally fall from it: but when the reprobates do by their external engaging act, oblige themselves in covenant to God, he keeps himself dilengaged ftill, and is not actually obliged by promise to them, for affording such aslittance (without which the conditions are impossible to them;) and hence it comes to pass, that thele reprobates do prevaricate and break covenant, and fall totally and finally from God; which the elect cannot do.t
Pag. But why doth Almighty God, being so merciful and gracious as he proclaims himself, 4 invite and woo them fo earneilly to engage themselves in this covenant, seeing he will not vouchsafe them grace sufficient and necessary to perform it?
Dio. You maft remember, God hath other attributes to glorify as well as his grace and mercy. He knocks at the hearts of reprobates by the outward ministry, because they are mixed amongst the elect, upon whom he works effectually
* Dr. Twiss, ubi fupra, p. 54. + Mr. Baxter Disp. of R. to Sacram. Difp. 4. p. 422. M. Exod. xxxiv. 6
4 H 2