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election by his vocation; as the worldling proves his reprobation by his final impenitency. God having raised the believer from the death of sin through Christ, or made him a partaker of Christ's resurrection, he liveth to God, and upon God in Christ with faith and holiness, and thus rejoices in hope, that, God having renewed him in the spirit of his mind, and drawn him with lovingkindness and mercy, THEREFORE he hath loved him with an everlasting love. This argument, standing upon the immutability and eternity of the Godhead, holds firmly in all its parts, and, in conjunction with his revealed will, looks backward and forward with equal truth and force. He, that loved without beginning, will love without end. He that contrived to save his elect, when sinners, from all eternity, will preserve them, when saved and made saints, to all eternity. And God hath revealed this plain theory, as a clue to the progression of our experience, and as a ray of light for our comfort; and none can consistently oppose it, but those who have no interest in the matter. If such, following their own corrupt reason, indulge themselves
come, because God hath ordained that they shall come; and that others cannot come, because he, who hath rejected the whole world of fallen angels, hath rejected that part of fallen men; who and what is the daring worm, who can venture to dispute, by his blinded reason, against the holy and supremne determination of God? Who is wicked enough to say to him, What doest thou? Who is presumptuous enough, by distinctions coined to please the corrupt imaginations of men, to fritter away or obscure the positive and plain declarations of him, who can do nothing but what is right, and who, beyond his own will, giveth not account of any of his matters?
in the deepest speculations upon this subject which reason is capable of; they may puzzle themselves indeed, but can conclude nothing certain, apart from divine revelation, but this one thing, that they have attempted to be wise above what is written, through the rebellion of their minds against what is written.
To real Christians, "to godly persons and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, the godly consideration of predestination and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant and unspeakable comfort;" and to such only, because they experience the thing, and enjoy it, not as a curious dry speculation, but as a perceptible fact. For this end, Christ himself was the chosen, or elect, of God, with respect to his human nature, that he might be the head over all things to his church; and his church, the proper members of that head were chosen in him, and ordained, that they might make up one body, one building, one temple, in the Lord. What perfection of arrangement, what certainty, what comfort, what dignity, in the clear view and divine perception of this great plan, in which JEнOVAH in his persons and offices stands immutably engaged, are seen to appertain to the whole houshold of faith, and to every individual member and branch of the sacred family! The excellency of such an object is enough to charm the heart into the love of it, and always charms it indeed, when, through grace, the beauty of the workmanship and the glorious faithfulness of the divine agent are experimentally known.
O how wonderful is the love, how full of condescension and mercy, which could rescue so worthless a worm, as I naturally
I naturally am, from the jaws of destruction! which could rescue me too at so great a cost, as the sufferings and death of the Son of God; and all this, not by such an accidental pity over my misery as might or might not have considered my deplorable state, but by an allwise, an all-perfect, an everlasting design, planned in the councils of the Almighty, before this world and this nature of mine were made! Who can express the debt I owe to Father, Son, and Spirit, the triune Godhead, for enrolling my poor name in the covenant of grace; for recording my wants, my peace, my salvation, in the heavenly records; for writing all I am and all I hope for in the Lamb's book of life, indelibly as on the rock for ever! The confidence, the assurance, which the Lord hath afforded of this perfect and unalterable mercy, what world, what millions of worlds, can counter-balance or purchase? And how much do I loose, how poorly do I live, when the sense of this glorious favor, this inestimable good, doth not dwell in me richly in all the wisdom and truth of the word of God? This persuasion was an apostle's joy, that he knew WHOм he had believed, that he was able to keep all that he had committed to him, and that nothing should separate him from the love of Christ; and O that it may be mine! May I look back from the present instance of thine effectual calling, O my God, to that provision of thine to which nothing could be unknown, and to that pre-ordination without which no good could arise, and bless and adore thee, that, weak and worthless as I am in myself, thou didst choose me in my Redeemer before the world began, that I should be holy and without blame before thee in love, according
to the good pleasure of thy will, and that I should obtain salvation through Jesus Christ to thy glory! O that this dignity, to which I am thus bountifully raised, may impress my heart with grateful awe, and wonder, and love; and may I be enabled to show, that indeed I am thus raised to be a king and a priest in the regions of immortality, by a gracious superiority over self, the world, and sin. May this true greatness and sublimity of mind, very remote in its nature from the false and foolish pride of a fallen heart, lead me to just reflections upon my spiritual station, and make me very careful not to disgrace it by improper company, thoughts, words, or actions. And as the throne of glory, the height from the beginning, is the place of my sanctuary ;* may I have life and power continually dealt out to me, from the divine fulness, to walk worthy of the high vocation wherewith I am called! May I have a noble contempt for every thing, which would either stop my course or deaden my heart, in my passage towards my crown; and may I learn more and more to count all things but dung and dross, when put in competition with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord! Thus may I walk as the elect of God on earth, and at length obtain my incorruptible inheritance with the fellow-members of my Saviour's mystic body, when I shall be both perfectly like to him in all things, and (to give a full emphasis to all my joy) shall for ever be with him!
* Jer. xvii. 12.
PERSONS, ERSONS, adopted into a family, were, according to antient laws, entitled to all the privileges, and subject to all the restrictions, which children of the same blood could claim as their inheritance.*
Agreeable to this well-known transaction in common life, God is represented as the great adopter of those, who are brought into the bond of the covenant, and made partakers of its blessings. They were once of another family, or rather of no family at all, being, like Cain, vagabonds, fugitives, wanderers, in the mental sense, upon the wilderness of this earth, in a solitary way, finding no city to dwell in;t but God, who is rich in mercy, took them from this fearful state, adopted them into his family, and provided for them accordingly. He found them filthy; but he made them clean: he knew them to be enemies; but he turned them into friends: he gave them the Spirit of his children, filling their hearts with love and gratitude to himself, and with cordial affection to all that belong to him.
They could not, being enemies, adopt themselves: they had no more inclination than power for any such
* See more concerning the nature and privileges of adoption, in Hor. Solit. Vol. ii. p. 241. † Ps. cvii. 4.