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An Analysis to the Seventeenth Article, &c. 175 direct the Church in the right use of this Doctrine, and to avert abuses and scandals.
The Lowest and Particular Terms will come to be considered in their own places, as they lye in every Paragraph.
The first Paragraph hath two branches; the Definition of Predestination, and the description of the Execution and Manifestation thereof.
The Definition is let down in these terms; Pre. destination to Life is the Everlasting purjoje o God, whereby (before the Foundation of the World was laid) he hath constantly Decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from Curse and Damnation those whom he hath chofen in Christ out of Mankind; and to bring them by Christ to everlasting Salvation, as Vesels made 10 Honour.
Here are two things to be considered; the thing Defined, and the Definition.
The thing Defined, is Predestination to Life; which Term admits, that there is also a Predestination to Death, or Reprobation, tho' the Article saith nothing exprefly of it; we are not therefore to conclude, that the composers of it thought that God had Decreed nothing what to do with wicked Men, or had not a purpose to Glorify his Justice in them, or were not certain in his Knowledge, who and which they would be: nor may we think that the Church shunned to touch upon that string, as harsh and unplealant; for the Doctrine of Reprobation rightly understood is as profitable to drive Men from the ways of Wickedness that lead to Perdition, as the Doctrine of Predestination is to draw Men into the way of Righteousness : but the reason why the Article saith nothing dire&ly of Predestination to Death, or Reprobation, is because it is casily understood by the contrary, whereof the Article faith so much. For if Predestination to Life be the purpose of God to deliver from Curse ; then Predestination to Death
must be the purpose of God not to deliver from Curse and Damnation those whom he hath not found in Christ, but to cast them into everlasting Fire, as Vessels to Dishonour.
The Definition followeth; that Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpo è of God, &c. Here I crave leave for clear understanding of it, to lever and put alunder the essential parts of the Definition, from the Adjuncts and ornaments that are annexed to every eflntial part, to make every part more compleat, perfect and comely
The substance of the Definition is this, Predestination 10 Lije is the purpose of God to bring to Salva. tion those whom he hath cholen: which containeth three things; First, an inward act of God, his Purpose ; Secondly, an outward act or end purposed, to bring to Salvation; Thirdly, the Subject upon which his purpole settled that end, those whom he hath chofen; To every one of these there are several Adjuncts, making them more full;
Of the first it is faid, that it is an everlasting Put. pose, before the Foundation, &c. that it is a Purpose whereby he hath Decreed; so it is a Decree as well as a purpose; that what had been resolved on in it was constantly so Decreed; that it was made by his Counsel, and therefore a wise Decree; by his own Counsel, and therefore a free one; that it is secret to us, an hidden purpose, nobis quidem occulto, faitli the Latin Article; all which inform us of the Nature of this Act of God.
The second, or end purposed; To bring to Salva. tion, hath these Adjuncts or Amplifications,
1. The State from whence they are brought, from Curse and Damnation ; To deliver from Curse.
2. The means by whom they shall both be delivered from Curse and Damnation, and brought to Salvation, that is, by Christ; which is illustrated
hy a fimilitude out of St. Paul, as Vessels made Rom. 9. to Honour.
21. To the Subject upon whom the purpose fete tleth the end or thing designed, the Chosen, it is added, that they were Chosen in Christ, and that they were chosen ont of Mankind.
Thus you have the essential parts of the Definition, and the Adjuncts to every part, which I separate, not as if the Adjuncts might be spared in the Deo finition, but only for the clearer contemplation of them being severed and fingled one froní another. But if I take these again into consideration, I must join to every one of the three Principals his accessories also, as I have laid them out....
Some may be apt to imagine me obliged to be gin with the first thing named in the Definition, The everlasting Purpose of God: but I can give a reason, why I must do otherwise; for in the Logical and Grammatical construction of the Article, there is here expressed one higher, prior and eternal act of God, viz. to have chosen fome out of Mankind in Chrift, before the other act of his purpose or Decree, to deliver from Curse, and to bring to Salvation those whom he hath Chofen: for though in truth both these be Coeternal, yet in order of nature, after our manner of Understanding, and by the words of our Article, one is before the other ; choosing in Christ, before purpose to bring to Salvation: for the purpose is to bring to Salvation those whom he hath chofen, faith our Article; which is agreeable to the words of St. Paul, that Purpose is Rom, 9. according to Election : but that which is according it. to another, is after that according to which it is framed. So if we shall place, things according to due order, and of order is our Principal enquiry, Predestination to Life may be thus defined; God's choosing of Some in Christ out of Mankind before the. foundations of the World were laid, and his everlasting
Purpose to deliver them from Cure, and to bring them to everlasting Salvation, by the jame Christ, in whom they were chosen. And 'I appeal to any reasonable Man, whether this change doth offer any violence, or wrong to the words of the Article.
Now in good time cometh this Term, Chosen in Chrift, first to be examined, as that wherein lyeth the issue of this controversy, whether Christ was considered in the very act of Choosing his Ele&t? And full well did the Article keep the words of the Apostle, that whosoever hath the Apostle, if that were not enough, he may be sure he hath the
Article also for him. Let us try out therefore the Eph. 1. 2. meaning of the words of the Apostle : Blessed be 4: the God and Father of our Lord Fesus Christ, who tcon ivro- hath Blessed us with all Spiritual Bielings in heavengác Tyev- ly places in Christ : according as he hath chosen us
in him before the foundation of the World, that we hould be holy, and without blame before him in Love.
To take from Arminius the envy of his interpretation, hear what St. Chryfoftom long ago wrote upon this place; That which he, the Apostle, faith, is of the same import, as if he Mould have said; by whom he Blessed us, by the same he hath also Chosen us. And a little after, what is the meaning of, he hath Chosen us in him? According to Faith to be had in him; this be did before we came into being, or rather before the foundations of the World were laid. The Commentary ascribed to St. Ambrose thus writeth upon the Epistle to the Ephesians; "accord. « ing as he hath chosen us in him: God foreknow
« ing all things, knew who would believe in Chrift, Rom. 8. “ as the same Apostle faith in the Epistle to the Ro29. « mans; whom he foreknew, he hath also called, -9. 24: « not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.
So in the opinion of these Fathers, as Purpose is according to Election, so Election is according to
Foreknowledge of Christ and Faith in him. And this was the common sentiment of the Fathers before St. Augustine, although they were not ignorant of the Grace of God, nor of the Superiority and Power of it, over all the infirmity and unworthia ness of Man.
But to let pass Authorities, consider we, Secondly, the Text it self; God, faith the Apostle, bath blersed us with all Spiritual blessings by Chris ; but that Election is a Spiritual blessing, not only our Article confesseth, when it faith, they that are endued with fo excellent a benefit of God, &c. but also the Apostle, who maketh it the Prime, the Pattern, and the leading Blersing, by saying; he hath Blessed us with all spiritual Blef. fings, according as he hath clicsen us in bim: so that this is the chief and exemplary Blessing, to be Chosen in Christ; as to be justified in Christ,to be Sandified and Glorified are following Blessings imitating the first. And if we were Elected without refpect to Christ, then have we one spiritual Blessing, and not the meanest, but the first and the greatest, and not from, or by Christ; contrary to the Apostle, saying, God hath Blessed us with every Spiritual Blessing, in Christ. Christ is therefore not only the Head of the Ele&t, but also the fountain and foundation of Election : God not chuling Clirist for an Head, until he knew his Members, and together with him choose ing them: else this great Grace and Benefit of Election shall flow out of some other fountain than Christ.
We may observe that whereas some interpret these words, he hath Chofen us in Christ, by, he hath appointed us to Salvation to be obtained in, or by Christ : apply. ing Christ to our obtaining Salvation by him, and not to our Election and Choosing ; our Article de. spiseth this interpretation, when it plainly fevers these two, and preserveth them both distind, to choose in Christ, and to bring to Salvation by Christ; so that