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yet cheerfully and confidently, say with the apostle, we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son JESUS CHRIST; and that this, this Christ, is the true God, and eternal life to our souls.
We know likewise, that we are of this generation, because of the opposition, which the other generation is ever making both to us and to this great truth of our regeneration in Christ, which they hate, scoff at, and deny. They are of the world, and therefore the world heareth them, approveth their sayings, applaudeth their spirit, and joineth with them in their opposition to the great principles and experiences of the gospel. If we were of the world, the world would love its own; but nothing fills it with so much bitterness and enmity against us, that we should be chosen out of the world, though God himself hath expressly declared it.
"But doth not this election lead to looseness, or at least carelessness, of life?"-But how can this be, when we know not our election, and have no proof of it to comfort us, but by the very contrary effect in our hearts and lives? Let it be remembered, that we do not begin with God, nor proceed with God, no, nor rest ourselves upon God, merely as his elect children; but as hist called, renewed, and sanctified children; from whence we gather, to our unspeakable comfort and to our enlivening diligence, that therefore we are chosen in Christ, that God hath loved us with an everlasting love, and that, as his gifts and callings are without repentance,
our faith, hope, and labor of love, shall not be in vain in the Lord.
So far is our vocation in Christ from leading us into sin, that, immediately upon it, but never in reality before, we commence a warfare against the very being, as well as exercise, of evil, as it exists in the world, the flesh, and the devil. This warfare continues without a truce; for every remission or parley is attended with danger. We do not indeed go to the war in our own strength or at our own charge, for then we should soon be lost. But we do as the Israelites did: we fight, not with horses, or chariots, or depend upon foreign or human alliances (for those people were directed to avoid all these, and did avoid them in their best times). but with the arm of the living God, whose strength is made perfect in our weakness, and who gives the victory to faith, which relies upon him and commits the whole warfare to his care and management. But war we must, notwithstanding: we are expressly and indispensably called to it. And, for our comfort, we may be assured, that the hostility of these foes against the soul is, among other proofs, a sure token of its union with Christ; and the victory over them another corroborating testimony of its eternal redemption by him. The strong one armed keepeth his house and his goods in peace, till one stronger than he shall overcome and bind him, and despoil him of his plunder and abode.
Without" the godly consideration" of our election in Christ, it seems hardly possible to maintain that divine plerophory, or full assurance, of faith, and hope, and understanding to the end, which is held forth as the privi
lege of the children of God. For how can any rejoice truly in an uncertain event? And how can any event be certain, unless it be ordered and planned, according to those divine counsels and that covenant, which foresee and foreordain all circumstances, beyond defeat or disappointment? It is the certitude of faith concerning a most certain salvation, which leads the heart to combat well with difficulties and enemies, and which sooner or later crowns it with joy unspeakable and full of glory. They, therefore, who doubt of their election, may possibly be within the bond of the covenant; but most evidently cannot enjoy it, while they continue in doubting. And this doubting, and the want of comfort which follows it, are certainly not to be ranked among the privi leges of believers; nor have they any tendency to strengthen hand or heart in the service and glory of God.
It is a striking passage in the song of blessed Hannah: My heart rejoiceth in the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the LORD; my mouth is enlarged over mine enimies; BECAUSE I rejoice in thy salvation. Her joy in the Lord enabled her to triumph over her enemies. Confidence and rejoicing in Christ do not lead men to sin, but to conquest over it. "Tis doubt, which brings darkness, and darkness deadness, and deadness subjection to sin, and this subjection ruin. If Jehoshaphat had doubted of the promise, he had never rejoiced over his enemies; but he believed and sang praises even before the victory, from the certainty of that event: and his faith was crowned with an inconceivable success. The faithfulness and
omnipotence of JEHOVAH were engaged in his behalf; and against him, who can resist or prevail?
LORD, keep this reviving privilege and felicity of thy chosen clear in my sight, and warm on my heart, as long as I live; that I too, unworthy as I am in myself, may give thanks with thine inheritance, for all this unutterable mercy, this inestimably precious salvation! O let this joy of the Lord be my strength in this house of my pilgri mage, that I may go on with my warfare, undismayed, unwearied, unsubdued. My flesh, and the false and foolish wisdom of the flesh, in conjunction with my other enemies, fight against the truth and reality of thy sovereign and distinguishing mercy, and would fain be finding motives subordinate, if not contrary, to thine, in all thy method of redemption. It would lead me to my vile self, and to creatures, to the low and deceitful workings of a fallen heart, instead of to thee and thy pure will and word. Lord, keep me from a delusion, which can only entail upon me doubt and gloom, and all the miseries which must attend an uncertain relation to thee. Rather, let me contemplate, what thou hast done for me by Christ, and in me by thy Spirit, and what thou hast promised yet to do, according to that love and faithfulness which are from everlasting to everlasting, uncircumscribed by all the thoughts and limits of thy most exalted creatures. In this blessed hope, this joyful communion of thy grace, let me live and honor thee, and ardently seek to honor thee more and more, in whatever so mean a being can perform through thy strength working in And when all that is to be done in me or by me, in this my day and generation upon earth, is performed; O remove
O remove me, according to thy holy promise, to the fathers gone before me, to the general assembly of the first-born who are written in heaven, to the spirits of the just made perfect, and (to crown all) to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, with whom I shall abide, and to whom I shall be made like for ever and ever! Q wonderful manifestation of eternal love! O glorious mystery delightfully unfolded! And what can I say, now on earth, or hereafter in heaven, but in the spirit if not the words of that charming song; Bless the LORD, 0 my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, all his hosts; ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, a my soul! Amen, Hallelu JAH!