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astray from these, in their representations of his conduct, do and must wander at their peril.
The proof of this truth also stands upon fact. What rendered ABEL's offering more acceptable that CAIN'S? We are told by the Apostle, that it was faith. Heb. xi. Now, faith is the gift of God, which was bestowed upon him, and not upon his brother; and therefore it was, that the one was accepted and righteous, and the other left to the naked form of an empty profession. Cain, like the Pharisees in the gospel, brought his outward ty the or offering to God, and seemed willing to bring it; but bringing that only, and no faith with it, it was wholly an abomination to the Lord. So NOAH found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Gen. vi. 8. And thus he, likewise, became a just man, and perfect* in his generations, walking with God. It was the free grace of God, which called ABRAHAM, then an idolater, from his father's idolatrous house; which gave him faith to believe
*'-such, as the grace of God had made complete in Christ, and of the perfect number redeemed by him. The precious stones, in the breast-plate of the high-priest, on which the names of the tribes were engraved, were thus called.-There is another word or also translated perfect, which, applied to persons, denotes them taught of God, or absolved from their sins. The Jewish schools also used the word for those disciples who had received their full and complete erudition, and were to be distinguished from the novices or mere t ros. In this sense the apostle employed the word TEλ, in Phil. iii. 15. for persons who have made such a solid proficiency in divine things, as not to be carried away with winds of doctrine, nor to be seduced and baffled by the arts of men. The Pythagoreans also used the term EAE for those, who were fully initiated in the principles of their philosophy.
the promise of selection to himself; which strengthened that faith against staggering in his future trials; and which enabled him, in the same faith, to seek a higher seed, and a better inheritance, than Isaac or Canaan. It was the appointment of God which ordained Isaac, and not Ishmael; which loved Jacob, and not Esau; even before they were born, and had done neither good nor evil, to render them heirs of promise and salvation. By the same grace of God, Judah was preferred to Reuben the first-born, and Joseph, for the time, to all his brethren. Upon the same principle, Moses (receiving his name as an emblem of God's people, who are all drawn by his appointment out of the water, or mass of the people in the world) was ordained of God to plead the cause of Israel, though he was not naturally eloquent, but slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. God overcame this impediment, strengthened the feebleness of age (for he was then fourscore) and enabled him both then and through the course of his life to do, what fallen unassisted nature never could have done, even to refuse a kingdom and the honors of this world, to choose rather to suffer affliction, and to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. In a word, passing over other private examples, such as those of David, Jeremiah, the apostles, &c. God's free-will chose the people of Israel in general, from among and out of the people of the world, as a prophetic and emblematic nation, which should exhibit in many respects the course of his conduct towards the true and spiritual Israel: and these were expressly chosen, not because they were better or more numerous than others, but because the Lord chose them
to be a special people unto himself,* and only because it pleased him so to do, even though they were a stiffnecked people, and consequently had no right more than others to his favor.
This great truth, then, of the election of grace stands upon the record of God, and upon the action of God. It by no means is referable to human reason or capacity, and needs no justification from it. The Lord never intended, that the intellect of angels should comprehend his wisdom, into which at the most they can only pry: and how much less then can the darkened, depraved reason of man sit in judgement upon it? Of this we may be sure, because he himself hath assured us, that God cannot say or do what is wrong, whether we com. prehend it or not.
If it be asked, as it hath often been asked, "What' becomes of all other people, who are not the subjects of this election?" No answer can or ought to be given, than what the voice of inspiration has afforded, and what an apostle observed; What have I to do to judge them that are without ?-Them that are without, God judgeth. Is MY OWN election sure?
Believers know, and are ever ready to own with humble gratitude, that God began with them, not they with God; that it was of his mercy alone he saved and called
Deut, vii. 6, &c, ix. 4, &c. † 1 Cor v. 12, 13. It is the just remark of an able writer, that “ some there are, so unhappy as to mistake the economy of God, both in the natural and moral world. If you will take their judgment, God, as a natural ruler, is to have the task of moving these portions of
called them, plucking them as brands from the fire, and quickening them from the death of sin; that they had no inclination to him till his grace bestowed it, but, on the contrary, a total alienation in all their faculties and powers; that he gave them life from the dead through Christ, and maintains it in them by Christ, insomuch that, spiritually and towards God, they cannot properly be said to live by themselves, or by their own strength, wisdom or faithfulness, but that Christ liveth in them; that all their graces are his gifts from their first seed to their final consummation, Christ being the alpha and omega of the whole; that all this, consequently, must have proceeded from the free love of God, in taking them and leaving others; that this free love must have risen from himself, because they had nothing previously to its manifestation in them, but sin and wretchedness in their whole nature, and were thereby incapable of changing, or desiring to change, their state; that God knowing all this, for all things are known to him from the foundation of the world, he could not act in this case upon contingency or accident, nor suffer the pre
matter, which are moved and ruled by the sun, the work of his hands: while man is to assume the office of the Father of spirits, and administer light to his own understanding. In religion, which is the province of the Deity, and where there is a dignus vindice nodus, all is to be natural; but, in nature, all effects are to be miraculous. Thus wretchedly will men reason, when they think philosophy hath advanced men into a sphere, superior to the unphilosophizing simplicity and truth of divine revelation." See a very ingenious and excellent work, entitled An Essay on the first Principles of Natural Philosophy, by the Rev. W, JONES, p. 239.
cious blood of Christ to be hazarded in its efficacy; and that, consequently, he foreknew his people, the subjects of that efficacy, and the purchase of that blood, and, foreknowing them, he also did predestinate them to be conformed to the image of his Son; and whom he did predestinate them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, and hath wrought all this in us, who can be against us, or of what avail is human contradiction or resistance?*
The believer doth not ascend up into heaven to know, whether his name be written in the Lamb's book of life; but the word, and the proof and experience of his interest in the word and all that it reveals of grace and glory, is nigh him, in his mouth, and in his heart. He proves his election
* All these things being duly and graciously considered, there seems to be no foundation for the novel and metaphysical distinction between the moral and natural ability of condemned and perishing sinners, who therefore have no sufficiency of themselves so much as to think one good thought, and much less to put it into exercise. Two or three passages of scripture cut the controversy very short, to the no small mortification of that proud and unsubdued reason, which naturally affects rather to see and dispute than to trust and believe. All that the Father giveth me SHALL COME to me. This is election and effectual vocation. Therefore they COULD NOT believe, BECAUSE he [God] hath blinded their eyes, &c. This is the preterition or reprobation. Now, both this choice and this rejection are simply and repeatedly, in these and other scriptures, applied to God; not merely as the deficient but efficient cause, and certainly without implying that he is or can be the author of sin. If, then, one part of mankind, must