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tures, that the eternal Election which there is of Saints to Faith and Holiness, is also an Election of them to eternal Salvation; hence their Appointment to Salvation must also be abfolute, and not depending on their contingent, self-determining Will. From all which it follows, that it is absolutely fix'd in God's Decree, that all true Saints shall persevere to actual eternal Salvation.
But I must leave all these Things to the Confideration of the fair and impartial Reader; and when he has maturely weigh'd them, I would propose it to his Consideration, whether many of the first Reformers, and others that succeeded them, whom God in their Day made the chief Pillars of his Church, and greatest Instruments of their Deliverance from Error and Darkness, and of the Support of the Cause of Piety among them, have not been injured, in the Contempt with which they have been treated by many late Writers, for their teaching and maintaining such Doctrines as are commonly called Calvinistic. Indeed some of these new Writers, at the same Time that they have represented the Doctrines of these ancient and eminent Divines, as in the highest Degree ridiculous, and contrary to common Sense, in an Oftentation of a very generous Charity, have allowed that they were honest well-meaning Men : Yea, it may be fome of them, as tho' it were in great Condescension and Compassion to them, have allowed that they did pretty well for the Day which they lived in, and considering the great Disadvantages they laboured under : When at the fame Time, their Manner of speaking has naturally and plainly suggested to the Minds of their Readers, that they were Persons, who through the Lowness of their Genius, and Greatness of the Bigotry, with which their Minds were shackled,
and and Thoughts confined, living in the gloomy Caves of Superstition, fondly embraced, and demurely and zealously taught the most absurd, filly and monstrous Opinions, worthy of the greatest Contempt of Gentlemen possessed of that noble and generous Freedom of Thought, which happily prevails in this Age of Light and Inquiry. When indeed such is the Case, that we might, if so disposed, speak as big Words as they, and on far better Grounds. And really all the Arminians on Earth might be challenged without Arrogance or Vanity, to make these Principles of theirs wherein they mainly differ from their Fathers, whom they so much despise, consistent with common Sense; yea, and perhaps to produce any Doctrine ever embraced by the blindeft Bigot of the Church of Rome, or the most ignorant Musulman, or extravagant Enthusiast, that might be reduced to more, and more demonstrable Inconsistencies, and Repugnancies to common Sense, and to themselves; tho' their Inconsistencies indeed may not lie so deep, or be so artfully vaild by a deceitful Am. biguity of Words, and an indeterminate Signification of Phrases. – I will not deny, that these Gentlemen, many of them, are Men of great Abilities, and have been helped to higher Attainments in Philosophy, than those ancient Divines, and have done great Service to the Church of God in some Respects : But I humbly conceive, that their differing from their Fathers with such magi. sterial Assurance, in these Points in Divinity, muft be owing to some other Cause than superiour Wisdom. winistic Doctrines, that is so often spoken of as worthy to be greatly rejoyced in by the Friends of Truth, Learning and Virtue, as an Instance of the great Increase of Light in the Christian Church; I say, it may be worthy to be considered, whether this be indeed a happy Change, owing to any such Cause as an Increase of true Knowledge and Un. derstanding in Things of Religion; or whether there is not Reason to fear, that it may be owing to some worse Cause.
It may also be worthy of Consideration, whether the great Alteration which has been made in the State of Things in our Nation, and some o ther Parts of the Protestant World, in this and the past Age, by the exploding so generally Cal
And I desire it may be considered, whether the Boldness of some Writers may not be worthy to be reflected on, who have not scrupled to say, That if these and those Things are true (which yet appear to be the demonstrable Dictates of Reason, as well as the certain Dictates of the Mouth of the most High) then God is unjust and cruel, and guilty of manifest Deceit and Double-dealing, and the like. Yea, some have gone so far, as confidently to affert, That if any Book which pretends to be Scripture, teaches such Doctrines, that alone is fufficient Warrant for Mankind to reject it, as what cannot be the Word of God. Some who have not gone so far, have said, That if the Scripture seems to teach any fuch Doctrines, fo contrary to Reason, we are obliged to find out some other Interpretation of those Texts, where such Doctrines seem to be exhibited. Others express themselves yet more modestly: They express a Tenderness and religious Fear, left they should receive and teach any Thing that should seem to reAect on God's moral Character, or be a Disparagement to his Methods of Administration, in his moral Government; and therefore express themselves as not daring to embrace fome Doctrines, though they seem to be delivered in Scripture, according to the more obvious and natural
So far, har Fuch
Construction of the Words. But indeed it would fhew a truer Modesty and Humility, if they would more entirely rely on God's Wisdom and Discern: ing, who knbws infinitely better than we, what is agreeable to his own Perfections, and never intended to leave these Matters to the Decision of the Wisdom and Discerning of Men; but by his own unerring Instruction, to determine for us what the Truth is; knowing how little our Judgment is to be depended on, and how extremely prone, vairt and blind Men are, to err in such Matters.
The Truth of the Case is, that if the Scripture plainly taught the opposite Doctrines, to those that are so much stumbled at, viz. the Arminian Doctrine of Free-Will, and others depending thereon, it would be the greatest of all Difficulties that attend the Scriptures, incomparably greater than its containing any, even the most mysterious of those Doctrines of the first Reformers, which our late Free-thinkers have so superciliously exploded. - Indeed it is a glorious Argument of the Divinity of the holy Scriptures, that they teach such Doctrines, which in one Age and another, thro’ the Blindness of Men's Minds, and strong Prejudices of their Hearts, are rejected, as most absurd and unreasonable, by the wife and great Men of the World; which yet, when they are most carefully and strictly examined, appear to be exactly agreeable to the most demostrable, certain, and natural Dictates of Reason. By such Things it appears, that the Foolijhness of God is wifer than Men, and God does as is said in i Cor. i. 19, 20. For it is written, I will destroy the Wisdom of the Wise; I will bring to nothing the Undersi anding of the Prudent. Where is the Wise! Where is the Scribe! Where is the Disputer of this world! Hath not God made foolisis the Wisdom of this World ? And as it
used to be in Time past, so it is probable it will