Part 2 Chapter 2

Section 1—1 Peter 2:9.

[Together with—2 John 1:13; James 2:5; Matthew 20:16; 24:22, 25, 31; Luke 18:7; Romans 11:5].
But ye are a chosen generation
, a royal priest-hood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

It is said,[1] "That the election, mentioned in the holy Scriptures, is not that of particular persons, but only of churches and nations; and imports rather their being chosen to the enjoyment of the means of grace, than to a certainty of being saved by those men. For the proof of this, several passages are cited out of the Old Testament, showing what will not be tried by any, and so might have been all spared, that the whole Jewish nation, good and bad, were styled the elect of God: but then, though that whole nation was chosen to external means and privileges, yet there were some particular persons among them who were also chosen to grace itself, and to certain salvation; and, accordingly, in the writings of the Old Testament, mention is made of the election of particular persons, as Moses, Aaron, David, and others (Ps.106:23; 105:26; 89:3,19; 4:3). And, also, of some among the Gentiles, distinct from the Jews, (Isa. 43:20; 65:15,29). And, of the latter, even before they were called by grace. It is, moreover, observed,[2] that when the word elect is, in the New Testament, applied to Christians, it plainly doth include as many as were converted to the Christian faith; for, when it is applied to the Jewish converts, it plainly signifies all n that had been converted to the Christian faith." It is certain, that Christians are such as are converted to the Christian faith, and Jewish converts made be such, and those, who are really converted, are the elect of God; I but then, they are not elected because they are converted, but they are converted because they are elected; and conversion being a sure and certain fruit of election, becomes the evidence of it. Now, to prove this sense of the word, when applied to Jewish converts,

1st. This passage of the apostle Peter is produced, though it rather seems to regard the Gentiles, as appears not only from the place in Isaiah (Isa. 43:20, 21), out of which it is taken, where this chosen people are distinguished from the Jews, the posterity of Jacob and Israel; but, also, from the words following the text, which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not; obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy,being a citation from Hosea 1:23, and applied to the Gentiles by the apostle Paul, in Romans 9:25. However, their election was not of them as a nation, or a church, since they were neither, being strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia,and Bithynia.Nor was it barely to means of grace and outward privileges, but both to grace and glory, seeing they are said to be elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, though sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:1-5). And in consequence of this, were regenerated by the grace of God, and were kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation, and so must be menabsolutely designed for eternal happiness. But, to this are excepted,[3]

1. That the apostle "exhorts these elect, in 1 Peter 1:14, 2:10,11, and 4:2,3,15, to avoid offenses which are not incident to men elected to salvation, whilst they continue so to be." To which I reply, that such, who are elected to salvation, always continue to be so; nor are there any sins, excepting the sin against the Holy Ghost, which God's elect, before or after conversion, may not be guilty of. And the offenses which the apostle here exhorts them to avoid, are such as are incident to men elected to salvation, as the cases of David, Peter, and others, do abundantly declare.

2. "That he affirms the same thing of the whole church of Babylon, chapter 5:13. Now, it was more than he could know, that all the members of that great church were absolutely elected to salvation." What church is meant by the church of Babylon, and how great it was, is not easy to know; and it is equally as difficult to say what an ins fired apostle could or could not know. However, without a revelation, though that is no absurdity to suppose, he might affirm of that church in general, that it was elected together with these, as he did affirm, in a judgment of charity, that the churches at Colosse and Thessalonica were the elect of God, though every member of it, in particular, was not elected to salvation, without any prejudice to the doctrine of eternal absolute election, since all the members of this church were under a visible profession of religion, and, no doubt, the far greater part, at least, were true believers in Christ.

3. "That, whereas this epistle is inscribed to the elect,the second epistle, sent to the same persons, beginneth thus: To them who have obtained like precious faith with us;and speaks of some who had forsaken, the right way;and prophesies, that false teachers should make merchandise of some of them."Be it so, that the elect,and who have obtained like precious faith with the apostles, are the same persons, which must be allowed; their having the same faith with them is a strong evidence of their being men absolutely designed for eternal happiness, and not barely chosen to the means of grace, or external privileges; yet, it is not true that the apostle speaks of any of the elect he writes to, that they had forsaken the rigid way,but of some other persons who are distinguished from them; and, though he prophesies that false teachers should make merchandise of some of them, his meaning is, that they should be able to draw their money out of their pockets, not that they should destroy the grace of God in their hearts.

4. That "these words are plainly taken from Isaiah 43:20,21. Now, though the whole Jewish nation are styled God's chosen generation,and peculiar people,it is as sure, that they were not all elected to salvation; we then may reasonably conclude, that the same words applied by St. Peter to all these Christian churches, do not imply that all their particular members were elected to salvation, but only, that they were all members of the church of Christ." I answer, that the apostle takes these words out of Isaiah 43:20,21, or at least, refers to that place, will be allowed; but then the words of that prophecy do not regard the whole Jewish nation, who though styled, yet not there, God's chosen on and people, but a set of persons the Gentiles, whom God had chosen, for himself, to show forth his praise; who are distinguished from the Jews, the posterity of Jacob and Israel; opposed to them (v. 22), But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.Besides, these words are not applied to several Christian churches; for the apostle did not write to churches, as such, but to strangers scattered about the world, whether Jews or Gentiles; though, upon the consideration of their being church members, he night, in a judgment of charity, pronounce them elect.And whereas it is owned, that the words imply that they were members of the church of Christ; which, if understood of the general assembly, and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven,is the same as to be elected to salvation. For, to be a member of this church, and to be an elect person, one absolutely designed for happiness, is the same thing and that these persons were such is evident, from their being called out of darkness into marvelous light.

2ndly Another instance of the word deer,when applied to Jewish converts, signifying .such as are converted to the Christian faith, is in 2 John 1:13, where we read of the elect lady,and her elect sister,that is, says our author,[4] the Christian lady and sister. That these were Christian ladies is certain, but that they were Jewish converts to the Christian faith is not so certain. However, it is most certain that these are no instances of the election of nations or churches, but of particular persons, whom the apostle, in a judgment of charity, and from a thorough persuasion of their having received the grace of God, might address under this title and character; though I rather think it is here used as a term of civil honor and respect, than in a religious sense, and so has no concern in this controversy.

3rdly When St. James says, God has chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs[5] of the kingdom, it: is said, His meaning is, that they were called out of the world to the profession of the faith, which, if they lived according to it, world make them heirs of his heavenly kingdom. Now, though the apostle James wrote to the twelve tribes, and so chiefly designs Jewish converts, yet he neither writes to them as a nation, or as a church, seeing they were scattered abroad. Nor can these words be applied to them, or any other, under either of these considerations; since all the individuals of a nation, and all the members of churches, are not the poor of this world,but are to be understood of some particular persons, in such circumstances, on whom God, in consequence of their eternal election, bestows the precious grace of faith, which receives the blessing of free justification, by the righteousness of Christ, when they openly become the heirs of glory; for, being justified by his grace, they are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7). This, and this only, and not a profess on of the faith, no, nor a life according to it makes them heirs of the heavenly kingdom.

4thly. "When Christ saith (Matthew 20:16), many are called, but few chosen,it is said[6] these parables plainly relate to the Jews; and the import of them is, that though many of them were called by Christ and his apostles to faith in him, yet few did or would accept of him as their Savior, or embrace the faith of Christ; so that here the elect and the believers of the Christian faith are the same persons;" But, though these words may primarily relate to the Jews, yet they are also of the Gentiles to this day, and the plain import of them is, that many of them are externally called, by the preaching of the Gospel, but few are, or appear to be, chosen unto eternal life. Were embracing the faith of Christ, and accepting of him as a Savior, intended by the words, it should rather have been said, many are called but few choose,that is, Christ and salvation by him, as Mary is said (Luke 10:42) to choose that good part which shall not be taken away;and not as it is, many are called, but few chosen;which does not express any act of man's, such as accepting Christ, and embracing the faith of him, but God's act, to whom alone, and not man, election is always ascribed in scripture; and, therefore, the elect are called God's elect,and his own elect.Besides, though election sometimes intends effectual vocation, yet never when calling and election are mentioned together in the same verse, for then they are to be distinguished one from another. Moreover, were true believers here meant, this would not militate against eternal election, since, their, being believers is an evidence of it; and, after all, the few chosen must design particular persons, and not either nations or churches, no, nor mere nominal believers of the Christian faith.

5thly. "When he (Christ) says, (Matthew 24:22) that for the elects sake those days shall be shortened,it is said,[7] he styles the faithful, left in the midst of the unbelieving Jews, the elect. So that believers are intended: be it so; then not whole nations, or churches, or communities, are designed, but particular persons; though they seem rather to be such who were unconverted, to be the people among the Jews whom God had foreknown,who were a remnant according to the election of grace,and therefore should obtain,whilst the rest were blinded;for whose sake, the days of affliction and trouble in the Jewish nation should be shortened, or there should be some respite given, that so there might be art opportunity of preaching the Gospel, which should become the power of God unto salvation to his chosen people; just as, on the other hand, the day of Christ's second coming is deferred until all the elect are gathered in, God being unwilling that any one of them should perish,but that they should all come to repentance.

6thly. "When he (Christ) adds, verse 24, that the false christs and false prophets should do as much as in them lay, by signs, and wonders, to deceive the elect; it is said,[8] There also are we to understand the persevering Christians." I reply, that such who are converted or are true believers are, and will be persevering Christians, and such are certainly the elect of God; but then the reason why they are elected is not because they are converted, or are true believers, or are persevering Christians; but, on the contrary, the reason why they are converted, become true believers, and so persevering Christians, is, be. cause they are elected; conversion, faith, and perseverance, being not causes and conditions, but fruits and effects of election.

7thly. "When he saith, verse 31, that God (it should be the Son of Man) shall send his angels to gather his elect front the four winds,it is said, the meaning may be, either that he would send his angels to warn the Christians in all the quarters of Judea, to gather together from the unbelieving Jews, that they might be preserved from ruin; or, that he would send his messengers with the Gospel, to gather together as many as did, or would believe, from among the nations of the earth." But the first of these cannot be the meaning of the words; these elect cannot be the Christians in Judea; since they were to be gathered, not from all the quarters of Judea, but from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other;and if any from among the nations of the earth, or Gentiles, are in tended by the elect, who, after the destruction of Jerusalem, were to be gathered by Christ's ministers, his angels to himself, with the sound of the Gospel trumpet, God having resolved to take out of them a people of his name (Acts 15:14), when the Jews were rejected and cut off; yet these are not such as did believe the Gospel, or would of themselves believe it, but unconverted persons who were destitute of faith, on whom God, of his free grace, would bestow it ,as a fruit of his electing love: or else, all the chosen vessels of mercy are meant by the elect, even the dead in Christ,who shall rise first,when the Lord descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16), even all those who will be gathered together, and placed at his right hand; to whom he will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34); a character aptly descriptive of persons absolutely chosen to eternal salvation.

8thly. "The elect,in Luke 18:7, are said,[9] to be the whole body of true believers; and it is suggested, that die faith of many of these should fail." Be it so, that the whole body of true believers are intended, this no ways prejudices the doctrine of eternal election; since they are styled elect, not from their faith, but from God's choice of them to everlasting life; whence they are called his own elect.Nor does the inquiry in verse 8, show that the faith of many, or any of these elect, should fail at the coming of the Son of Man; for though, when he comes, the doctrine of faith will be greatly departed from, ,and the grace of faith Will be very rare, and at a low ebb, yet Christ prays for the faith of all his elect, as he did for Peter's, that it fail not.

9thly. It is observed,[10] that "the election according to grace,mentioned Romans 11:5, doth, in like manner, signify the whole, body of the Jewish converts, even all that did embrace the Christian faith. A great number of these turned afterwards apostates, and renounced the Christian faith; and St. Paul was afraid that some of these elect would afterwards draw back unto perdition.From all which, it is extremely evident, that the apostle neither did, nor could speak of this remnant according to the election of grace, as persons absolutely elected to salvation." I answer, that though the Jewish converts, such as were true believers, were the remnant in being at that time, according to the election of grace,before the world began; yet all that bore the name of converts, or externally embraced the Christian faith, were not of that number: nor did any of the remnant turn apostates, renounce the Christian faith, and so come short of heaven; otherwise, how could it be said, the election hath obtained it?nor was the apostle Paul afraid that any of these elect: should draw back to perdition; but affirms the reverse, we are not of them that draw back to perdition (Heb. 10:39) nor do any of the passages, cited from the epistle to the Hebrews, suppose that any of these elect might, or did apostatize, or draw back unto perdition; as has been made to appear in the former part of this work.


[1] Whitby, p. 36; ed 2. 35.

[2] Ibid p. 40; ed. 2.39.

[3] Ibid p. 41; ed. 2.40.

[4] Ibid p. 42; ed. 2.41.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Whitby, p. 42.

[7] Whitby. p. 43; ed. 2.42.

[8] Whitby. p. 43; ed. 2.42.

[9] Whitby. p. 43; ed. 2.42.

[10] Ibid., p. 43, 44.

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