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and justified in this world, and glorified in the next. And if the finner is awakned, and broʻt into distress and agony, there is the more hope that he will be found of this number, and that a purpose of mercy con. cerning him is beginning to be executed. How in the world does this doctrine tend to despair any more than those places of scripture that speak of the difficulty of Sal. vacion, and tells us that few comparitively will be saved ? Such paslages as that in our saviours sermon on the mount, Mar. 7. 13, 14. Enter ye in at the strait gate ; for wide is the gate, and broad is ile way that leadeth to destručtion, and many there be which go in there. at : Because strait is the gate, and narrow is tbe way which leadeth unto life, and few tbere be that find it.
Bur 'tis easy to load any truth with milrepresentations and abuses if men will see themselves to do so : and such is the perverseness of fome, that they will give. a wrong turn to a thing that is never so well explain'd and guarded. When we set forth the mercy of God, his readiness to pardon, and willingness to receive finners that return to him by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ ; some will abuse it to presump
tion, and from thence encourage themselves · to go on in sin because grace abounds, and to defer their repentance to the last of their
time. This, so far as we can make a judg. ment, is a more common case than the other; and 'tis tull as dangerous to the souls of men: Yet none would have us forbear it ; and some think it can't be too often treated of, nor eno' enlarg’d upon.
Indeed it is a usual thing for persons under their first awakenings, to have their minds exercis'd about the doctrine of election ; but so far as I have been able to ob. serve, it has been a belp, rather than an hindrance, to them in the work of a thorough conversion, and saving closure with the Lord Jelus Chrift; and has been us’d by the Holy Spirit as a means to excite them to give more diligence to make their calling lure, and to lay the stronger hold on che hope set before them, in a glorious Christ to whom the gospel invites them to flee for resuge.
And it seems to me that upon a fair and just representation of the state of the case, it will appear to every considerate and unprejudic'a perfon, that a minister in trearing with troubled awakned consiences, can do it with much greater advantage upon the foot of particular election, and those o. ther doctrines of grace that are connected wich it, than on the foot of univerfil re
demption, and the opinions that follow that, For, suppose a person in deep concern abouc his everlasting salvation, Tou'd come to a minister for his help and direction, and the minister should tell him; God was a kind and merciful being, who delighted in the happiness of his creatures, and made none of them miserable chat did not make themselves so; and Christ was the saviour of the world, who died for all men, and consequently for him as much as for any one ; and if he did but repent of his sins, and trust in the merits of Christ, and lead a good life, and continue to do so to the end, he need nor fear, for the gospel promis'd salvation to him. Mig he he not reply? And if his concern was deep and thorough, he would reply to this effect ; Tho' God is a kind and merciful being, 'tis as true that he is so holy as to 'hate sin, and so just as co punish the finner ; and how much 10ever he deligbts in the happiness of his creatures, we know it will be the portion of a great many of them to be everlastingly miserable: True, he makes none of them miserable that don't make themselves jo ; but this is my unhappy cale : I see I am a sinner, tho' I was not lo sensible of it as I am now ; I have revolced from him and rebelled against him; and I fear he will make me as miserable,as I have made my self sinful. And if Christ is
he died frd; but I
the saviour of all men, all men will not be actually and finally saved by him ; this general redemption leaves the salvation of all men at an uncertainty. If I could know he died for me in particular, I should think my salvation secur'd ; but I have no reason to think he died for me any more than for those who will perish forever. As to that faith, repentance and obedience, which the gospel makes the conditions of an interest in lalvation by Jesus Christ, whatever undue opinion I have had of my own strength before, I am now convinc'd thele are things out of my power, and must be wro't in me by a divine energy. I find my heart to be hard and unbelieving, averse to the way of holiness, and only bent to fin. And there are so many evil inclinations to be denied, temptations to be resifted, and ene. mies to be overcome, that I fear I shall not hold our in the way to heaven ; and without I endure to the end, I can't expect to be saved. Others have turn'd back, after they have seem'd to set out well ; and I have no better security than they had. My salvation, for any thing I can see, is very uncertain ; yea, very unlikely, and next to impossible, if I am left so much to my self in it..
in grace, and satan,
On the other hand ; When a minister tells an inquiring, solicitous, anxious soul, not only that the death of Christ is of value sufficient to purchase salvation for all men, if God had been pleas'd to design the falvation of all; but that he died to render the salvation of a very great number of them infallibly certain ; and therefore has purchas’d for every one of these that faith & repentance which the gospel makes necelsary to salvacion, which are most commonly wro't in them by the Holy Spirit in the use of the appointed means; and that their final perseverance in grace, and compleat victory over sin, the world, and satan, are secured in a well order'd covenant, of which the Lord Jesus Christ himself is the head and surety : and if when the inquiring person expresses a doubt & fear that he is not one of the happy number, & seems ready to be discourag'd on this account, the minister further lets him know, there is no real ground for any such fear, inasmuch as none can tell who are included in this number, and who are not ; and many are included in it who have greatly fear'd the contrary ; that the present concern of mind he is under renders it very hopeful that he will be found of this number at last, inasmuch as this is the way of the Spirit with the elect of God, when he is about