« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
he resolves to leave to the sentence of the law, to undergo the deserved penalty thereof, for that horrid and unnatural rebellion. I would fain know what the Quakers and Arminians could object against the king of England, for passing an act of indemnity, or free pardon, on the people called Quakers and Arminians, and leaving all the other parties to suffer death?
Seeing that herein the king acts by prerogative, not according to desert, for the Quakers and Arminians deserved death as well as the rest who are excluded out of the pardon; my reason tells me, that the Quakers and Arminians would be so far from charging the king with injustice or partiality, that they would rather sound forth his praise, for saving them by his favour and mercy, no way deserved, whom, in strictness of justice, he might have left to the sentence of the law.
And in case any of the criminals condemned to die, should offer to murmur against the king, for making such a difference between his equally guilty subjects, would not the Quaker and the Arminian both plead the king's prerogative for saving themselves, when, at the same time, and by the same sovereignty, he past by the rest; and shall the King of kings be disputed against and reflected on for acting, in matters of the like nature, by his own undoubted prerogative?
If any should be so saucy and bold, as to de. mand a reason why or wherefore the king of Eng· land should leave seven or eight several parties out
of his royal pardon, and extend the benefit thereof only to two select parties, who were both as liable to death, by the law, as the others; the answer is ready, it is the king's sovereign will and pleasure to make the two select parties, nominated in his pardon, objects of his pity and mercy, and the rest to be the objects of his incensed justice, to undergo that death and misery which they, by rebellion, brought upon themselves.
Now in all this, “ Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour?” Rom. ix. 21.
Reader, I pray consider, that the lump in the place now quoted, intends no other than men and women, whom God, the absolute sovereign of the world, decreed to create: the making vessels is God's creating mankind with a purpose to permit their fall.
His making one vessel to honour, and the other to dishonour, is God's creating one with a fixed purpose to recover him out of that fallen state into which he was to fall, and that by, sovereign grace; the other he leaves to die and perish in that wretched state into which he, of his own default, fell.
In this procedure God is altogether free; neither can the creature, so left by God, any way reflect on God, as dealing unjustly or unequally with him; and the reason is, because God is under no tie or obligation to give grace to that creature, who, of his own accord, did abuse and throw away
that stock of grace wherehy he was rendered capable of keeping the law of his Maker; and who, by the instinct of his vitiated and corrupted nature, doth obstinately oppose and resist the means of cure propounded and tendered in the gospel.
So that the point in controversy between nie and the adversaries already named, is in this comparison propounded in the verse last quoted, lively set forth; from which it is apparent, that the design of the apostle is to prove that God, as the undoubted sovereign of the world, who acts what him pleaseth, and that according to the counsel of his own most holy will, decreed to make some of the corrupted mass to be vessels of mercy, and of the rest vessels of wrath; and that by electing some unto hinwelf, upon whom he purposed to bestow his love, with all the means tending to fit and prepare those persons so elected and chosen, for the actual enjoyment of that love:
Such as a Redeemer, to die for them; faith n-hereby they should be made partakers of that Redeemer, with all the saving graces of the Spirit promised in the covenant of grace, with final perseverance in grace to the end: the rest, as hath been before ob»erved, he left, or passed over, purposing to leave them in that wretched and deplorable condition into which they causelessly plunged themselves.
Neither is God therefore the cause why the reprobate is sinful and wicked, but his own will,
sinh being left to its own natural freedom, did
most freely and readily choose that which was by God's law forbidden, upon pain of God's displeasure
The second property in God's act of election is its unchangeableness; and, therefore, most certain it is, that he or she whom God hath once purposed to love and save, shall never finally, or totally, fall away from
grace, or miscarry eternally. Psal. xxxiii. 11. “ The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations,
What is God's election of some to life eternal, and the incans leading thereto, but the birth or product of his own counsel? Rom. ix. 11, “ The purpose of God, according to election, must stand.” And, oh! what an unspeakable cause of rejoicing is this very consideration to that man or woman, who find in themselves the fruits or effects of the new birth, to think and believe that they in particular are chosen to life eternal, by him who cannot .change that purpose of his wherewith he hath purposed to save so poor and miserable a sinner, as the effectually called sinner looks on himself to be.
Neither is the poor weak believer to doubt but that those sins and backslidings, both of his heart and life, for which he will be but too apt to fear, and conclude God will at length cast him off, were all perfectly known to God, even then when he elected him to salvation; notwithstanding which, God fixed his love, and embraced the poor sinner in
the bosom of his irreversible decree, when nothing of loveliness, but rather the contrary, appeared to the eye of God's præcognition, or fore-knowledge, in the soul, so pitched on by his decree.
Whom God once loves with that electing love, he loves them to the end. Jer. xxxi, 8. Mal, iii. 6. John xiii. 1. Rom. xi. 29. And as God's act in electing is without change, so, in the third place, it was from eternity; though the work of effectual calling and saving conversion be in time, yet God's decree and purpose of bestowing that grace and mercy on the elect sinner was before time. So witnesseth the apostle, Acts xv. 18, “ Known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world.” Ephes. i. 4; “ According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” 2 Thess. ii. 13; “ From the beginning hath God chosen you.” Rev. xvii. 8; “ Whose names are written in the book of life, from the foundation of the world."
The electing love of God is from one eternity to another; as it did commence before time, so when time shall be swallowed up of endless eternity, this love of God to his elect and chosen in Christ will be, and continue, the same for ever.
And, therefore, let that believer, who feels himself inwardly and frequently annoyed with those discouraging fits of fickleness and inconstancy, in walking with God in the way of new obedience, take sanctuary here by faith, applying to himself the sweet benefits of these properties of God's elect