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For as there is no remission without shedding of blood, so, without holiness,' no man shall see the Lord." As none shall be condemned to final perdition, but those who did such things as were worthy of death; so none shall enjoy the inheritance of glory, but those whom impartial justice shall entirely acquit, and immaculate holiness completely approve. And as none of the damned shall ever be able to assign any other cause of their infinite punishment, but that sin which they freely committed; so all the elect shall ascribe their salvation to the grace of God and the work of Immanuel. We may therefore conclude, that though Christ and his mediation were not the cause of election, yet his obedience and death were the grand means appointed for the execution of that gracious purpose. And though the Almighty chose no man to glory because of his future faith and obedience, yet provision was made in the sovereign decree, for the sanctification of all his objects, prior to their enjoyment of bliss.

The purpose of God in election is also immutable, and infallibly connected with the eternal felicity of all its objects. That this decree is unchangeable, appears from the immutability of the divine purposes in general. For there is the same reason that the appointment of God, in the choice of his people, should unchangeably stand, as there is for any other of his eternal designs; and that immutability is stamped upon the divine decrees in general, the scriptures abundantly show. Thus it is written, The Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: He is one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doth-To show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel-Who hath resisted his will? That the purpose of God according to election might stand-With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.'*



* Isa. xiv. 27. and xlvi. 10. Job xxiii, 13. Heb. vi. 17. Rom. ix. kl. James i. 17.

Nor can we suppose that God should reverse his decrees, or alter his purposes, without impeaching his omniscience, as though he did not foresee the events which would happen; or his power, as if he were not able to execute his own designs: neither of which can possibly be the case with that infinite Being, whose will is fate, and whose word is the basis of the universe. If God were to change his mind, it must be either for the better or the worse. If for the better, he was not perfectly wise in his former purpose. If for the worse, he is not wise in his present resolve. For there can be no alteration without a tacit reflection on the past or the present determination. If a man change his resolution, he is apprehensive of some defect in his former purpose, which moves him to such a change; and this must arise either from a want of capacity to foresee, or from not duly considering the object of his counsel. But neither of these can be supposed of him who is supremely wise, without denying his deity. A change of purpose may indeed be an act of wisdom in the creature, but it proceeds on a supposition of folly in his former actions, which is inconsistent with consummate perfection. The only wise God has no occasion for second thought. As he is wise to perfection, he sees no cause of reversing his purposes, or altering his conduct. As he is boundless in power, he is subject to no control in executing his will, and making his people partakers of those blessings he designed for them.* To suppose, therefore, that any who were chosen to eternal glory should finally fail of enjoying it, is an imagination absurdly impious; as it suggests a charge of palpable imperfection against JEHOVAH, and would make him altogether such an one as ourselves.

Again: That election is infallibly connected with eternal happiness, appears from the following remarkable passage: 'Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justi

* Charnock's Works, vol. 1. p. 397. 1st edit.

fied; and whom he justified, them he also glorifiedWhat shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who shall be against us?'* If the purpose of God in election be not immutable, or if the objects of it may possibly fall short of the glorious end, there would be no certain connexion between the several blessings that are here mentioned. On such a supposition, to argue, as the apostle does, from the past election of any persons, to their future glorification, or to infer this from that, would be exceedingly weak, and the inference a gross inconsequence. Nor would there have been any propriety in his joyful exclamation, 'What shall we then say to these things?' nor any solid foundation for his bold conclusion, 'If God be for us, who can be against us?' For, admitting that God may possibly change his purpose, or that his decree may prove weak and inefficacious, so that in any instance the event designed by it may not be produced; there was but little reason for Paul thus to exclaim with admiration and joy, or thus to conclude with a steady confidence upon his everlasting happiness, from the consideration of God's electing love. To impute such a kind of unmeaning and inconclusive argumentation to him, would be an high reflection upon him, as Gamaliel's pupil; would be absolutely inconsistent with his more exalted character, as an amanuensis to the Spirit of Wisdom. We may therefore safely conclude, that election to future happiness, and the certain enjoyment of it, cannot be separated. For whom he did predestinate, them he also glorified.'

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Having considered this important truth under the several foregoing views, I shall now proceed to show, that it is a doctrine according to godliness; and that it is nobly adapted to promote the holiness and comfort of the true Christian. As an article of that faith which was once delivered to the saints, as an infallible truth of the gospel, its tendency must be salutary, its influence must be sanctifying, on all who cor* Rom. viii, 30, 31.

dially embrace it. Such will ever find that it wears the most friendly aspect on their progress in real happiness, and their enjoyment of substantial peace. Could it be proved that it has no influence on these, we might venture without hesitation to renounce it as an error, and abhor it as an enemy. For that is no part of evangelical truth, which, in its genuine tendency, is not adapted to promote the happiness of real Christians, and to advance the interests of true holiness. This, however, is not the case with the doctrine under consideration; for a frequent and devout meditation upon it by those who are taught from above, and by those who view it in its proper connexions, is evidently calculated to humble their souls in the dust before the eternal Sovereign; to inflame their hearts with love to his adorable name; and to excite their gratitude for benefits received, and blessings expected; consequently, their holiness and comfort must be advanced by it; for humility, love, and gratitude, are the vitals of real religion. As these abound in the heart, our spiritual joys are increased, and our Maker is glorified As these abate, we lose the savour of divine things, and the interests of religion decline. Where these have no existence, the most extensive round of duties, the most costly and shining performances, are of no esteem in the sight of God.

This doctrine is adapted to promote genuine humility. For it shows that all mankind, in their natural state, are equally obnoxious to wrath, and exposed to ruin; and exclusive of that grace which appears and reigns in election, in a condition absolutely desperate. It allows not the least liberty for any of the sons of men to lay claim to superior worth, or glory over their fellows. When self-admiring thoughts arise in the Christian's breast, it stops him short with the needful and sharp rebuke, 'Who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?'* They, therefore, who

* 1 Cor. iv. 7.

are the favoured objects of distinguishing love, and who look for salvation by it, discovering that their persons are alike sinful, and their state equally wretched, considered in themselves, as the persons or state of those who finally perish, cannot, according to the genius of this doctrine, but lie low in humility before God. Being fully convinced that the eternal choice of their persons was not on account of the least possible difference between themselves and others; and that the whole reason of their hope centers in that grace which might have been manifested to others, had the great Sovereign so determined; they are at all times free to acknowledge, that the chief of sinners, and the most worthless of objects, are their proper characters. The influence of this humbling truth they feel in their consciences, and their ardent desire. is to express it in their lives.

Let us attend the believer in his secret retirements; let us behold him on his bended knee, and hear him` pouring out his soul to God. In his intercourse with heaven, at the throne of grace, his language will be to the following import-Thou Great Supreme, who art glorious in holiness, and the infinite Sovereign of all worlds, who humblest thyself to behold the things that are in the highest heavens ;* whose condescension is unspeakably great, in deigning to regard the persons or services of the most holy and exalted of creatures; didst Thou consider me in my low estate, as a fallen creature and a miserable sinner? Did thy eternal love fix on me as its object, when I might, with the greatest equity, have been marked out as a victim for eternal justice? Is not my person polluted, and my state by nature damnable? Is not my original depravity as great, and my actual transgressions as numerous, as any which can be found among the apo. state sons of Adam? And hast thou determined to make me an everlasting monument of sparing mercy, while millions are left to suffer the awful desert of their crimes? Nothing in me couldst thou behold, but a

*Psal. cxiii. 6.

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