Walter Scott Election (1829)


C H R I S T I A N   B A P T I S T.


      Style no man on earth your Father; for he alone is your Father who is in heaven: and all ye are brethren. Assume not the title of Rabbi; for ye have only One Teacher; neither assume the title of Leader; for ye have only One Leader--The Messiah.

Election.--No. I.

      OUR readers will recollect that in some of the previous volumes of this work we promised them a disquisition upon Election. Other matters pressing upon us we have delayed till now, and should probably have delayed still longer, had not a brother, much esteemed both on account of his clear and comprehensive views of the whole Institution of Heaven, and for his zeal and labors in the ancient gospel--made us a visit, and volunteered an essay or two on this subject. Our agreement in sentiment and views of the christian religion being so exact in all matters hitherto discussed, I fear not to answer for him on this subject. If any ambiguity should, in the apprehension of our numerous readers, still rest upon the subject, I promise to elucidate this topic at full length. In the mean time I give place to him, as other matters now engross my attention.


"Migrati Coloni."

      WHEN the apostles preached the gospel they gave commandment to the discipled to retain it as it had been delivered to them, anathematizing man and angel who should dare to disorder, alter, or corrupt it. The whole New Testament was written either to establish or defend it, or to detach it from the corruptions of Jews and Gentiles, to whom it was either a stumbling block or an institution of manifest foolishness.

      The Epistle to the Galatians is directed against the corruptions of the former, who, under the mask of an affected zeal for the law of Moses, eagerly desired, like some modern zealots, to superadd it as "a rule of life." But "if I or an angel," says the Apostle, "preach any thing else to you for gospel, let him be accursed," and he repeats the anathema. The four Evangelists, the great bulwarks of christianity, are for the purpose of supporting its reality on the principle of the conformity of its author's birth, life, offices, death, resurrection, and glorification to the predictions of the ancient oracles and the great power of God. The Acts are a history of its publication; and as there were not wanting among the Greeks those who sufficiently abhorred the resurrection, the reader will find this part of the gospel abundantly defended and illustrated in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians. Besides perverting and maiming the glad tidings, some would have circumscribed its entire influence to the Jewish nation, and "forbid it to be preached to the Gentiles."

      The gospel proposes three things as the substance of the glad tidings to mankind--the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life; and the apostles every where, in conformity with their mission, plead for reformation towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, as the state of mind adapted to the reception of these inestimable blessings. In the proclamation of the gospel, therefore, these high matters were ordered thus--faith, reformation, baptism for the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life; but how this order has been deranged, some things added, some subtracted, and others changed, must be manifest to all who know, and, alas! who does not know this, that even now whole bodies of worshippers deny the resurrection of the body; some would, to this day, superadd the law as "a rule of life;" others deny the gift of a Holy Spirit; the Socinians totally object to the sacrifice; and almost all who do embrace it reject nevertheless the remission of sins in baptism, which the sacrifice has so greatly secured to all who believe and reform.

      Some have substituted sprinkling, some the mourning bench, for the baptism of remission; and even those who most of all affect to be orthodox, publicly preach in direct contradiction to God's most universal commandment, that a man can neither believe nor repent; they publish that faith comes by the Spirit, and not by the word, "thus making the word of God of non-effect," and contradicting the apostles, who every where speak of the Spirit as a "Spirit of promise" to those who should receive the gospel. Others will immerse, but not for the remission of sins; and others preach the gospel maimed, disordered, changed, and corrupted, in connexion with a scholastic election, which not only retards the progress of the glad tidings, but opposes itself to christian election--to political election--to all rational ideas of election, and causes the entire gospel to stink in the estimation of all unprejudiced men.

      The Apostles never preached election to unconverted people as the Calvinists do; and the disciples themselves were never spoken to on this matter as persons who had believed, because they were elect, but rather as those who were elected because they had believed--"formerly you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;" "you are an elect race;" "make your calling and election sure." After preaching the ancient gospel for a long time, I [524] am finally convinced nothing, not even the grossest immorality, is so much opposed to its progress, as the scholastic election, which, indeed, is just the old fatalism of the Greeks and Romans.

      Every election necessarily suggests to us six things--the elector or electors--the person or persons elected--the principle on which the election proceeds--the ends to be accomplished by it--when the election commenced, and when it shall cease. Let us peep at the scripture election, in this order; and, first, in regard to the elector. No one, I presume, will dispute that God is He. 2d. As for the person or persons elected, I would just observe, in accordance with the ancient oracles, that, although there were in the world previous to the days of Abraham, and even during the life of that patriarch, many who feared God and wrought righteousness; yet till then none but he ever worshipped the true God in the character of an elect person. Elect and election are words which do not occur in scripture with a reference to any who lived before Abraham; previously there were no elect head, no elect body, no elect principles, no ends to be accomplished by an elect institution; and therefore the scriptures speak of none of his contemporaries as they speak of Abraham: "Thou art the God who didst choose (i. e. elect) Abraham." This patriarch, therefore, is positively and scripturally the first elect person mentioned in the divine oracles; consequently the history of the doctrine of election commences with the fact of God's having chosen, for general and magnanimous purposes, this ancient worthy. But the choice of Abraham was accompanied with the following promise, which at once reflected the highest praise on God and honor on the patriarch: "In you and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Now the Apostle, in Galatians iii. says, "The seed is Christ." Substituting, therefore the definition for the term itself, then the promise would read, "In you and in Jesus Christ, or the Messiah, shall all the families of the earth be blessed." God here, then, has set forth two persons in which a man may certainly be blessed: for let it be attentively noticed that it is in Abraham and Christ, not out of them, that the blessing is to be obtained.--Christ and Abraham only are here represented as being strictly and primarily elect persons; for it is said of Christ, "Behold my elect." All other persons must be found in them before they are elect, and as a person can be related to Abraham and Christ only in one of two ways, i. e, by flesh or faith, it follows that if any one, from the patriarch's time to the present, would enjoy the blessing of an elect person or worshipper of the true God, he must be a child of Abraham. By one or both of these principles he must be a Jew or a Christian.


[CB 524-525]


C H R I S T I A N   B A P T I S T.


      Style no man on earth your Father; for he alone is your Father who is in heaven: and all ye are brethren. Assume not the title of Rabbi; for ye have only One Teacher; neither assume the title of Leader; for ye have only One Leader--The Messiah.

Election.--No. II.

      THE election taught by the college men contemplates all the righteous, from Abel to the resurrection of the dead, as standing in the relation of elect persons to God; than which nothing can be more opposed to fact and scripture: for though Abel, Enoch, and Noah, were worshippers of the true God, they were not elect men; nay, though Melchisedeck himself, king of Salem, was at once priest of the Most High God, and the most illustrious type of Messiah; though he received tythes of Abraham, blessed him, and, as Paul informs us, was greater than he; yet neither Melchisedeck nor any of the numerous worshippers for whom he officiated in the quality of God's priest, did ever stand in the relation of elect worshippers in the scripture sense of the word elect. Abraham was the first elect man; and it remains for those who assert the contrary of this, to prove their proposition--a thing they never can do by scripture.

      The elect institution reared upon the patriarch Abraham, and which has been made the deposite of covenants, laws, services, glory and promises, is quite distinct from the general righteousness of the world, whether that righteousness may have been derived from revelations made to men before the commencement of the elect institutions, or afterwards from traditions, or from an apprehension of God's existence derived from the face of nature, the currency of events, and the nature of human society among Gentiles, ancient and modern. I say the election is a sui generis institution, in which the worshiper does not, with the uncertainty of a Mahometan idolator, a Chinese or Japanese, ask the remission of sins; but in which this blessing is stable and certain, secured to him by the promise and oath of God, two immutable things, by which it was impossible for God to lie, that the man might have strong consolation, who has fled into this institution for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before him in the gospel; which is the second apartment of the elect building, as Judaism was the first,--"In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed"--a promise made to no other institution.

      In our last essay we ascertained two of the six things suggested to us by the term election, viz. that the living God was the elector, and that Abraham was the first elect person; and now if we ask when it began and when it shall end, I answer, first, that election will close at the end of the world--all the gracious purposes of the institution will be accomplished at that time--false religion and bad government--the domination of political and trading influences--and every thing which opposes itself to the religion and authority of this institution--shall have been put down; and angels and men shall behold this truth, that the God of Abraham is the true God, and Jesus the Messiah his Son; and that Mahomet and Confucius, Zoroaster, and Brahama, were self-created apostles.

      As for the commencement of the election, if Abraham was the first elect person, as we see he was, it follows this must have been when God called that patriarch from his native country to be the head of the elect people: "Now the Lord had said to Abraham, Get you out of your country, and from your father's house to a land that I will show you, and I will make of you a great nation; and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing; and I will bless them that bless you, and curse them that curse you; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Gen. xii. Here, then, is the commencement of that institution which is finally to triumph over imposition and falsehood.

      It only remains for us to speak of the great and illustrious purposes for which God has set up this institution in the earth, and finally of the principle on which a man of any nation may be admitted to the privileges of it, viz. the remission of sins, &c. &c. First, then, in regard to the ends of the election, I say, it is the blessing [547] of mankind--"In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed." This is God's declared purpose in regard to mankind by the institution called "the election;" consequently its purpose is not (like the election of Edwards, Calvin, and others,) to exclude, curse, and destroy; but to gather, to bless, and to save! "In you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed"--"I will make you a blessing." Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then, were not chosen by God for the mean partial purpose of being dragged into heaven, will or no will, on the principle of final perseverance; but for the general and benevolent purpose of saving mankind by an institution of which they were made the root or foundation.--While the pulpit of fatalism represents the God of heaven both partial and cruel, the scriptural election furnishes us with the fairest specimen of his peerless impartiality and philanthropy: the lineaments of the divine character is in nothing more effulgent than in the blessing of the nations on the principles of an election, because it represents the Most High as anticipating the alienations and apostacies of his self-willed and unhappy creatures, running into all the idolatries and consequent immoralities of Assyria, Persia, Greece, Rome, &c &c. and then providing for their redemption from these things by this elect institution, in which he had deposited a correct theology and the principles of a pure morality to be preached to the world in the fulness of time, i. e. after the wisdom of this world, viz. philosophy, government, and idolatry had been sufficiently proved incompetent to the purification and elevation of the human family.

      I am sure our Heavenly Father in all this has shown the wisdom and prudence of one who hides a piece of leaven in three measures of meal until the whole be leavened. He has treated the rebellious and refractory nation of the Jews as a woman would a bowl of meal set down by the fireside, with the leaven in it, and turned, and warmed, and tended, until the leavening process has commenced, in order that the whole mass may be more speedily and certainly transformed; yet, after all, it would scarcely work in us, so dead are we to heavenly things. Nevertheless the principles of this establishment, the church, must prevail--idolatry must be put down--the knowledge of God must cover the earth--the saints must obtain the government of the world--righteousness run down like a river, and peace like a flowing stream.

      Having ascertained, in a summary way, the elector, the person elected, the ends of the election, the time when it began and when it shall end, I shall speak of the principle on which it proceeds, and also on the sovereignty of God, and where it obtains in our religion, in some subsequent numbers. I only observe here, that Calvinistic election exhibits the divine sovereignty in a point in which it by no means obtains in christianity It is not exhibited in a capricious choice of this, that, and the other person, and passing by others, as Calvinism would and does have it; but in the justification of sinners of all nations on the principle of faith, as will appear by and by, an act of God's sovereignty, which was very displeasing to the Jews.

      I shall close this paper with an observation or two for the reflection of the reader, until the appearance of the next number. First, then, it ought to be observed that scriptural election is managed entirely on the plan of political election, the ends thereof being the general welfare of the nations--"In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

      Second. Whether a man can believe, ;. e. imbibe the electing principle, is never answered in the Holy Scriptures--for this substantial reason, that, in it, it is never asked. This is an unlearned question of modern Divinity, (i. e. Devility, if such a word or thing there be,) and could be agitated only by fools and philosophers, all the world knowing that we must believe what is proved. Whether we will always act according to our rational and scriptural belief, is another question which the reader may answer by making an appeal to his own conscience. If we would, how many would immediately be baptized into Jesus Christ!


[CB 547-548]


C H R I S T I A N   B A P T I S T.


      Style no man on earth your Father; for he alone is your Father who is in heaven: and all ye are brethren. Assume not the title of Rabbi; for ye have only One Teacher; neither assume the title of Leader; for ye have only One Leader--The Messiah.

Election.--No. III.

      THE following sentence is found in our last essay: "Having ascertained in a summary way, the elector, the person first elected, the ends of the election, the time when it began, and when it shall terminate, I shall speak of the principle on which it proceeds," &c. Let us then speak of the principle on which a person might, at any time, be admitted into the elect institution, or church of God and Christ.

      1. This election divides itself into two great [592] departments, the Jewish and Christian churches, the first receiving its members on the gross, limited, and partial principle of the flesh, i. e. relationship to Abraham by the line of Isaac and Jacob. The second, admitting its members on the exalting, universal, and impartial principle of faith in Jesus Christ.

      2. The election of individuals to church privileges in the first of these principles, viz: Fleshly relationship, can be justified only by the fact, that in the infancy of the world, the rudeness of the age, &c. rendered the introduction of the higher and more refining principle of faith, if not impossible, at least altogether impolitic, in regard to the ends to be accomplished by the institution.

      I need not observe that the change of principle from flesh to faith occurred at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that many of the Jews, who stood in the first apartment of the election, failed to be received into the second for want of the proper principle of faith in Jesus. But the limited nature of family descent, the extent of belief as the first principle of Christianity, the degradation of the infidel Jews, and the elevation of the believing Gentiles, are all set forth by the apostle, in the following beautiful allegory, in his letter to the Roman disciples: "Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, who are a wild olive, are engrafted instead of them, and are become a joint partaker of the root and fatness of the olive, boast not against the branches, for if you boast against them you bear not the root but the root you."

      You may say, however, the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

      "True--by unbelief they were broken off, and you, by faith, stand; be not high minded, but fear--For if God spared not the natural branches, perhaps neither will he spare you. Behold then, the goodness and severity of God: towards them who fell, severity; but towards you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise, you also shall be cut off; and even they, if they abide not in unbelief, shall be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in. For if you were cut off from the olive, by nature wild, and contrary to nature were grafted into the good olive, how much rather shall those who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive?"

      The Magna Charta of the whole elect institution are the covenants made by God with Abraham; from the superior and inferior branches of which are derived what the apostle, in Heb. viii. calls the new and old, the first and second, the inferior and better; or, in other words, the Jewish and Christian, covenants, i. e. the law and the gospel--the one enjoyed by the Jews on the footing of flesh, the other by men of all nations on faith. It is thus the apostle, by a metonymy of principle and privilege, styles the law flesh, and the gospel faith. The infancy and rudeness of the age of law, is indicated by the apostle in the following metaphor: "So the law was our school master until Christ." Again allegorically--"Now I say, as long as the heir is a minor he differs nothing from a bondman, although he be lord of all; for he is under tutors and stewards, until the time before appointed by his father." The grossness of fleshly relationship and the spirituality of faith, together with the substitution of the last for the first of these principles, is thoroughly enforced upon the Galatians, in the allegory of Sarah and Hagar: "Cast out (says the scripture) the bond maid and her son; for the son of the bond maid shall not inherit with the son of the free woman. Well then, brethren, we (christians) are not the children of the bond maid, but of the free woman:" i. e. not of flesh but of faith. It must be manifest, therefore, from what has been written, that the entire election has been managed, first and last, upon these two principles, and that the one half now superseded the other.

      I shall close this paper with two or three remarks upon faith and family relationship: It is on this limited and partial principle of birth or blood, that the old world has obtained its chiefs, judges, dictators, kings, sultans, emperors, priests, &c. and the consequence has been that an alarming proportion of such officers has proved the worst of tyrants and knaves. The fact is, that, in the old world, a man may, by family connexion, become the heir both of religious and civil offices, to which neither his talents nor character at all entitle him. Yet this was just the principle on which the Jews obtained their kings and priests; nay, it was the principle, also, on which they were introduced into the church. Their priests, therefore, were most corrupt. Nadab and Abihu were slain of the Lord, and the two sons of Eli also perished in their immorality and presumption. The arrogance of Rehoboam issued in the dismemberment of the kingdom; and but few of his successors were famous for piety. Religion flowing from family pride went on apace until the appearing of John and Jesus, the first of whom told the people not (now) to say "We have Abraham for our father;" and the last that they must be "born again," if they would enter into the reign of the Messiah; not that the new birth and faith are the same thing, for they are not. The new birth is a thing proposed to the believer in Jesus--Nicodemus believed, and to him it was said, "You must be born again." i. e. of water and Spirit. Preachers are very apt to mistake here, and to tell the unbelieving man that he must be born again; but it is a fact that no unbelieving man can be born again. The scriptures expressly assert that "to those only who received him he gave the power of becoming the sons of God, even to those who believe upon his name; who are born not of blood, nor of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;" i. e. by water and Spirit--the way which he wills his children to be born to him on the principle of faith. The apostle defines faith, in general, to be "the confidence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;" of course christian faith, in particular, must be an assent to the evidence of the existence of the Messiah, though we do not see him, and a confident reliance on him as one who means what he says, and who will perform what he has promised. Thus true belief engages both the head and heart of a man. "He that comes to God must not only believe that he exists, but that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him." This definition is illustrated in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, by the faith of Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Moses, and his parents, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets. But as Cain believed in the existence of God, without exercising any confidence in him as a rewarder of his worshippers; so, many now have only the one half of true faith, and believe that Christ exists, without having the least confidence in either him, his words, or his institutions. Hence they won't be baptized, they won't be born again, neither ought they, until they can trust his words. Sinners, look to the history of his faithfulness.

      I would observe that the teachers of christianity ought never to go out of the Bible for a [593] definition of faith In regard to the origin of faith, I would just observe, that, like our affections, it is not dependent upon the will, but upon evidence. Other powers of the mind, as recollection, imagination, &c. are dependent on the will in their exercise, while the will itself is solely under the direction of that law which governs all animated nature: viz. the desire of happiness.

      Man is possessed of other powers of acquiring knowledge besides the power of believing; for he is a creature of sense and reason, as well as of morality: but while for the propagation and education of mankind, God has laid hold of appetite, passion, reason, &c., rather than faith; yet it must be granted that we cannot see how our gracious Father, in bestowing upon our fallen family a system of morals, should make the practice of it to proceed upon any other principle than that of belief. Faith and sense act with supreme power among mankind, and are the two most universal principles of our nature.--They are very closely allied to each other; and it is not easy to say where the one begins and the other ends. Had the Divine Father predicated our salvation upon a fine imagination, a strong memory, a piercing intellect; military, philosophic, and literary talent; upon high birth, or even good morals; then we should have seen coming up to the christian altar our Homers, Virgils, and Miltons; our Lockes and Newtons; our Washingtons, Alexanders, &c., and men might have complained. But so long as it is written, "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved," no one who has ears to hear, and feet to carry him to the water, has the least ground of complaint. The principle, then, on which christian election proceeds, is faith, a power of action in human nature alike distinguished for its utility, purity and universality.


[CB 592-594]


C H R I S T I A N   B A P T I S T.


      Style no man on earth your Father; for he alone is your Father who is in heaven: and all ye are brethren. Assume not the title of Rabbi; for ye have only One Teacher; neither assume the title of Leader; for ye have only One Leader--The Messiah.

Election.--No. IV.

      WE now come to speak of the sovereignty of God, and the point of our religion at which it appears.

      In order to arrive at our conclusions with effect, I would observe that the following phrases are used in scripture to mean the same thing: "justification from sin," "righteousness of God," "righteousness of faith," "forgiveness of sins," "remission of sins." If the reader will bear these phrases in mind, I shall show him shortly how the same sentiment comes to be varied into five different expressions by the scripture's writers.

      Meanwhile, let us peep at the history of the remission of sins among the Jews. The Jewish religion was exceedingly comforting to the man of God in this respect; much more so, indeed, than modern christianity; for if a man sinned, the Lord had appointed five different sorts of animals as the mediums of remission. These were calves, lambs, kids, turtle doves and young pigeons, any of which the man of God could carry to the altar, and by confession at the sanctuary obtain forgiveness of the God of Israel.

      If a man feared God, he would have been very poor who could not muster a pair of young pigeons. But if he could not, the Lord had appointed what was styled "the poor man's offering." If, says the law, "he (the sinner) be not able to bring two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither frankincense; for it is a sin offering." Again--"Then the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching the sin that he hath sinned in one of these (sins specified in the beginning of the chapter,) and it shall be forgiven him." Lev. ch. v. As rich and poor were liable to commit sin, these different animal offerings were evidently appointed with a reference to the different degrees of wealth among the worshippers--while the very poor and destitute were permitted to present what we have seen was called "the poor man's offering," stript of every article, of oil, wine, and frankincense, which could render it expensive. Thus our heavenly Father, in giving a law, made all possible provision for the comfort of the worshipper, by instituting the above means of forgiveness.

      In christianity the institution for forgiveness is baptism, which is not to be repeated, a real superiority over the law remission: the Lord Jesus, by his precious blood, sanctifying in this way the believer once for all (his life.) "Be baptized every one of you, in the name, (i. e. by the authority) of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins." Thus the symbol of remission in the true religion is changed from animal blood to water; while the blood of Christ, between them, like the sun at the equator, reaches to the ends of the earth, and forms the real cause of pardon to all who ever shall be forgiven, from Abel to the resurrection of the dead.

      Now, I say, it is just here that the sovereignty of God appears in christianity in forgiving sins of men in the institution of baptism upon the principle of faith in the blood of Christ, as the great and efficacious offering for all. And now we shall see how the same sentiment came to be expressed in five different ways by the scriptures, while the phrase "forgivness of sins" was the expression used among the vulgar of the Jewish nation. The doctors and teachers of law, more affected and technical, varied from the civil style, for the more learned and juridical expressions, "justification from sins," "remission of sins." The Doctors' then, in speaking of the officers at the Temple, pronounced them "justified," and again they said they were constituted "righteous" according to law, i. e. in offering they had done just what the letter of the law demanded; for had they not done so, the Lord ordered that every such person should be cut off from among the people.

      Now, the Apostle being a Jew, and infinitely skilled by his education in the technia of the Jewish lawyers, adopts their own phrases in discoursing with them on the subject of forgiveness, e. g. he says in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia, "Be it known to you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." And as the lawyers made use of the word "righteousness" in reference to remission, or to describe a person whose sins had been forgiven: so the Apostle, speaking of the baptized believer whose sins had been forgiven, and was justified in the language of the law, calls this the righteousness of God; because it was a righteousness granted by God; and the righteousness of faith, because it was on the principle of faith in the Son of God, that any one was allowed to approach baptism. I pertinaciously keep baptism in view in this matter, both because the scriptures make it the institution of forgiveness, and because it is altogether unusual both in law and religion, either to forgive or condemn on account of a latent principle. Faith is not justification; [594] forgiveness or remission is justification; and faith is the principle, and the only principle too, on which remission can be obtained. Now both faith in Jesus, and baptism for remission, were novelties to the Jews; and it was in the promulgation of these things that they took offence; and God's sovereignty is exerted in the changing of the righteousness by law for the righteousness by faith, and in offering the last not to Jews only, but to Gentiles also, and in degrading the former from their ancient standing for not embracing the good message of favor.

      When we consider the display of God's sovereignty in the introduction of christianity, it appears both immense and absolute: absolute, because he consulted no one among men or angels; immense, because it swept away at one stroke all that the world of both Jews and Gentiles accounted holy and venerable. The law was a ponderous and imposing establishment. Its theology and morality distinguished it from, and rendered it superior, infinitely superior to, all the systems of the Gentiles.

      The sanctuary and its inestimable furniture, the altar, the priesthood, and the services, consisting of offerings, sacrifices, washings, meat and drink offerings, &c. their tithes, feasts, fasts, synagogues, and books of law, with their psalters and book of prophecies, that these, all these, founded upon divine authority, most flattering to the senses, and handed down to them from the most remote antiquity, should be abandoned for the sake of Christ and the remission of sins, with the other remote advantages held out by christianity, was what the Jews could not contemplate but with amazement mingled with abhorrence. Yet did the Divine Father in his absolute and uncontrolled sovereignty, command all the Jews every where to do this, and to do it too on pain of incurring his highest displeasure: but the same sovereignty which withdrew authority from the law of Moses, denounced at the same time the superstition of the whole world besides, and ordered all men every where to repent and believe the gospel; and here it is that the sovereignty of God appears in our religion in all its sublimity. What! denounce the religion of the world, and introduce a new one!! Yes, all, all was condemned and withdrawn, and the aspirant after immortality left with nothing before him to save and encourage him in the thorny road through which he followed his Master, but the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ; every thing now called for spirit instead of letter, and love instead of law, until righteousness should be established in the earth, and christianity became the religion of the world.

      This exhibition of the divine sovereignty, gave birth to many questions between the Jews and Christians, the management and settlement of which devolved chiefly on the Apostles. Of these questions, the following are a few: the christian method of remission made them ask, "What profit there was in circumcision," i. e. the law of Moses? and the admission of the Gentiles to this remission on the same footing with the Jews, made them enquire, "What advantage then has the Jew?" These two questions are answered by the Apostle, in the 3d chap. of his epistle to the Romans. The third question, was levelled at the very vitals of christianity itself; for the remission being granted on the principle of faith, and consequently by a favor, and neither by works of law, or righteousness, which men had done. The Jews, from an ignorance of human nature, and the true character of God, mistook the tendency of the Apostolic doctrine, and ask thirdly, whether christianity was not essentially this, "Let us sin that favor may abound?" In reply, the Apostle shows that it was by faith and favor, that both Abraham and David were saved, and that law had originally issued in the death of the first of men, and in all who came from his loins while the law of Moses which they all knew was good only for showing how severe and universally sin had taken hold of mankind.

      The casting off of the infidel Jews, gave occasion finally to the question--Whether God had not departed from his former character and violated his promise to Abraham? This question is answered in the famous ninth chapter of the same Epistle, a portion of Holy Scripture which some Sectaries have most shamefully abused, but which I hope this view of the matter will ultimately redeem from their partial and limited systems--Here the Apostle shows them that they considered it no more infringement of the divine character when for popular purposes, he preferred their fathers, Isaac and Jacob, to Ishmael and Esau; and raised to the throne of Egypt Pharoah by whom he wished to make his power known, and who on account of his own bed character, should have been damned long before he was either drowned, or even made monarch of the land of Ham; but both Ishmael and Esau and Pharoah, and even they themselves, when cast off were treated by God in the only way their abominable character merited; and therefore, God dealt with them as the potter does with a dishonorable vessel; he dashed and would dash them in pieces.--Moreover, the Apostle lets them know that the blessings of christianity, were never held out or promised indiscriminately to Abraham's seed, but only to so many of them as believed Justification from sin is a blessing, which, indeed, it were folly to offer to an unbelieving man, whether Jew or Gentile.

      Having given the reader a clue to the question of God's Sovereignty, I shall now review some Scriptures which have been quoted as opposing the doctrine of the Christian Baptist, against the partial pickings of sectarianism.

      1. It is said, Romans viii. "Whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren.--Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified."--Now what is this, but that God, as may be seen from fact and from the ancient writings of the prophets, foreknew, that the Jews and Gentiles, indiscriminately, would believe on his Son, and for that, had predestinated or appointed them to share in his honors; he therefore, in the fullness of time, called them; remitted their sins, and glorified them as his only worshippers, by making to rest upon them, the Spirit of God and of Glory.

      But it is said: "Well then, he has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardens." This is true--and blessed be his holy name, that he will, if the scriptures mean what they say, have mercy on all who believe, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also; and the unbelieving wretch who will not accept of pardon on the gospel plan, ought to be hardened and heated seven times in a furnace of fire; Romans ix. The ancient idolaters were hardened, and the case of the modern Jews illustrates this verse. Again it is said, Eph. 1st chapter, "According as he has elected us in him, before the foundation of the world." This is also very [595] true, and means what it says; but, observe, that it is one thing to elect us in him, and quite another to elect us to be in him. It would be one thing to elect a Jacksonite, and another to elect a man to be a Jacksonite; the one would be to make him a Jacksonite, and the other to elect a Jacksonite to some other matter; but there it was "Before the foundation of the world." We many times determine who shall fill certain offices, so soon as we have succeeded in the election of a superior officer. Many Jacksonites were marked out for offices long before the general was inaugurated; and so the disciples of the Messiah, were chosen to love and purity, before the foundation of the world--while the disciples of Mahomet, Confucius, and others have been appointed to no such distinction.

      But again, "No man can come to me unless the Father draw him." How common is this form of speech, even among ourselves! Who has brought you here, and what has drawn you here, are phrases which are current every where, and yet, who ever thinks that the charm or power by which one person is drawn after another is a physical one. The power of drawing is moral, not physical, and so the Saviour, in the 5th John, says that no man could come to him, unless the Father draw him, because the political mob which he addressed, had followed him, from the gross and animal reason of having got their bellies filled the night before with the loaves and fishes; paying no regard to the divine power which wrought the miracle, "Verily, I say to you, you followed me not because you saw the miracle, (Father in the miracle,) but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled."


[CB 594-596]


      Walter Scott's four-part essay "Election" was first published in The Christian Baptist, Vol. VI, No. 8, March 2, 1829; Vol. VI, No. 10, May 5, 1829; Vol. VII, No. 3, October 5, 1829. The electronic version of the essay has been transcribed from the College Press (1983) reprint of The Christian Baptist, ed. Alexander Campbell (Cincinnati: D. S. Burnet, 1835), pp. 524-525, 547-548, 594-596.

      Pagination has been represented by placing the page number in brackets following the last complete word on the printed page. For the most part I have let stand variations and inconsistencies in the author's (or editor's) use of italics, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling in the essay. In instances of misspellings and missing punctuation, I have offered corrections. Emendations are as follows:

            Printed Text [ Electronic Text
 p. 593:    srciptures expressly [ scriptures expressly
 p. 594:    wont be baptized [ won't be baptized
            wont be born [ won't be born
            your sins. [ your sins."

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik
373 Wilson Street
Derry, PA 15627-9770

Created 15 September 1997.

Walter Scott Election (1829)

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