« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
be the first born among many bretleren ; might have the honour of being the great pattern of holiness, as well as the meritorious cause of our salvation, and so in all things might have the preheminence.
2. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called. Not only with the external call; lo many are called, that were not chosen t; but with the internal and effectual call; which is the work of the Spirit of God, whereby he convinces the conscience of guilt and wrath, enlightens the understanding in the knowledge of Chrift; bows the will, and inclines the heart, to embrace him as a saviour, and obey him as a king and lord. 'Tis, says one, an effectaal call from self and earth, to God, and Christ, and heaven, as the end ; from sin and vanity, to grace and holiness, and seriousness, as che way.” This is the first open work of grace upon an elect person. And all whom God has from eternity predeftinated to grace and glory, he does in his own way and time, thus eftectually call,
3. Whom he called, them he also justified. Being in their effectual calling perswaded and enabled to embrace the Lord Jesus
Christ as he is offered in the gospel, they are thro' him absolved from guilt, and accepted as righteous ; are no longer look'd upon and dealt with as criminals, but own's and lov'd as friends and favourites.
4. Whom he justified, them he allo glorified. The other privileges the elect of God are made parcakers of in time, this of glorification, when time shall be with them no more ; in the soul first at death, in soul and body united after the resurrection, through a blefled never-ending eternity. To this they were design’d in their eledi. on ; for this they are prepared by their eftectual calling, and the landification of the spirit ; that which hindreth is taken out of the way in their justification; and now, what can come between such a soul and glory? As for God his work is perfeet t; and in the glorification of all the elect, his design of love to them will have its full accomplishment.
It is not my intention to speak of all these privileges in the order in which they stand connected in our text; and I have but lately discours'd concerning two of them, effe&tual calling and justification. My present purpose tberefore is, to creat only
of that which is the ground of them all, and from which the rest result, namely, Ele&tion, or Tredestination unto life. .
This is an illustrious and very precious doctrine of chriftianity; so plainly reveal’d in the holy scriptures, that 'tis really strange that any who profels to regulate their faith by the bibbe can deny it. Yet 'cis not only denyód by many, bục decried and reproach'd as unworthy of God, and prejudicial to religion ; while others who don't care to deny it, yet speak of it as amongst chose myfterious controversial,and speculative poines, which it is best not to meddle with ; and so they would have it smother'd in the church, and shut out of our sermons.
True indeed this doctrine has its mysteries, and abstruse difficu cies, when our minds try to enter far into it; so has other do&rines of the gospel which yet we must affirm conftantly, and endeavour to explain. Noris is a doctrine purely speculative ; no, it has a powerful influence upon vital religion, and pradical godliness - It has a dire& tendency to advance the glory of God's grace in our lalvacion,co humble the pride of man, to engage the love, excite the praises, and constrain the obedience of God's children.
Our saviour preach'd this doctrine ; ro did his apostles after him'; and the epiftles to the churches are full of it ; which plainly shews God would not have it lock'd up from his people. Should we therefore, who now preach the gospel to you, pass it over in silence, we should not be able to say we have declar'd to you the whole counsel of God. I humbly apprehend such an omifsion would be in effect to say, that Christ' and his apostles preach'd, and the scriptures reveal a doctrine, which is found to be useless if not hurtful, and therefore may not now be insisted on. And would not this be to reproach the Holy Spirit who has indited the scriptures, and to do an unspeakable injury to revelation it self?.
Besides, we are verily perswaded the edification and consolation of the people of God, are not a little concern'd in the opening and applying of this truth; and that many other do&rines of the gospel cannot be rightly understood without it --I have therefore chosen this for my subject, out of the chapter that has been read in course this afternoon ; sensible, I hope, that ’tis an awful and tremendous subject ; and with an humble dependence on the Holy Spirit 10 to enlighten and assist me, as that the truth may not suffer, nor any soul Le hurt, thro' an unskilful management. :
Indeed, let the subject be managed never To cauciously & scripturally, it can hardly be expected buc it will be treated as the discourses of the apostle himself were, of whom we read, Acts 19. 8, 9. That when he went into the fynagogne, and spake boldly for the space of ihree months, difputing and perfwading the things concerning the kingdom of Godong divers were hardned, and believed not, but Spake evil of that way before the multitude. But duty is ours, and the event God's. We must always leave the success of our preach ing with him; and we are allured his word will not return void, but will accomplish the thing wereunto it is sent t If any should be enrag'd and hardn'd by the things that are spoken, and wrest them to their own destruction, ( which God forbid ! ) jome, I trust, may be confirm'd, edified, and comforted Yea, possibly theie discourses on election, may be bless'd for the conversion of some of the elect of God, who may be awakned hereby to give diligence to make their calling and ele&tion fure : And if so, free-grace will have the glory.
Tho' I fall study as much brevity as is conlttent with clearness, yet I can't pro. fecute my design within the compass of a