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no more grace ; otherwise work is no more work. But that doctrine which gives the creature so much room to boast, and put in for so great a share in the honour of his own sal. varion, cannot be of God; for he will not have any thing of his glory given to another. And nothing can be more contrary to the design of the gospel, which is to stain the pride of all flesh, to take away all occafions of glorying from the creature, and to secure to divine grace its full honours. The prophet shews the glory and tendency of the gospel state, when he says, as in Ifa. 2. 17. 7 he loftinefs of man shall be bowed down, and the baughtiness of men shall be made low, and the Lord alone Mall be exalted in that day.
The exaltation of FREE GRACE is evidently what the glorious God aims at in the contrivance of fallen man's redemption. To this the whole frame is admirably ficted, from the first corner stone, to the bringing forth the top stone thereof. 1 Cor. 1. 29, 30, 31. That no flesh shou'd glory in his preSence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, wko of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteous. ness, and fan&tification, and redemption : That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let bim glory in the Lord. Eph. 2. 7, 8, 9. That in the ages to come he mighi shew the exceeding risbis of bis grace, in his kindness towards us,
through Chrif Jesus. For by grace are ye saved, througb faith ; and that not of your felves : it is the gift of God: Not of works, least any man should boast.
And so we proced to the
V. general head, which is, To flew the importance of this doctrine, and the place it holds in the scheme of christianity; by which you will be help'd to judge whether it is a doctrine that had berter be suppress'd than publish'd in the church. But here I must be content with hincing at things, without enlargment, or I Mall much exceed my limits.
To be sure ; The gospel can't be fully preach'd if this articíe is drope ; for it is evidently a great part of the subject matter of the sacred pages.
· We can't rightly conceive of the attributes of God, if we are unacquainted with this doctrine. --- It is in this decree of election, that several of the glories and excellencies of the divine nature, appear in their brightest and strongest light. As to the Jovereignty of the great God, his ahíolute supremacy over all creatures, and right to dispole of them for his own glory ; this is left out of the notion men frame of God, and he quite looses the glory of this
high prerogative, when this truth is not understood and acknowledg'd ---, And as to the divine goodness, mercy and grace, nothing displays chefe so much, as the everlasting purpose of God to deliver so many of the children of odam, from the misery they had involv’d themselves in, and the punishment they had deserv’d. To deliver some, and not all, renders the divine goodness towards the subjects of this deliverance, more perspicuous and glorious. The salvation of men wou'd not to fully appear to be from free mercy and grace, if no difference was made between persons. To this purpose the apostle 1peaks, Rom, II. 23. That be might make known the riches of his glory on the vefjils of mercy, whom he bad afore prepared unto glory: His making choice of fome, while he pasles by others, commends his favour to them, renders it more glorious in their eyes, constrains their admiration now, and will raise cheir highest notes of praise hereafter. The eternal melody they will make, is that, Rev. s. 9. Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the feals thereof: for ihou wajt slain, and bäst redeem'd us to God by thy blood Out of every tongue, and kindred, and nation.
Many of the peculiar, high and noble, instructive and comfortable doctrinesof the
gospel gospel are concern’d in this, and connecred with it. What will become of that covenant of redemption between the father and the son from the days of eternity, of which we read in the Sgth Pfalm; sed ch. of Isaiah; roth and 17 ch ch of fobin, and other places; it a distinguish'd number were not given to Christ, as his charge, and as his reward ? --- The satisfaction of Christ is rendred a very loose uncertain and unsafe thing, if there are not a certain number for whom it was made and accepted; and the value of it is leflen'd exceedingly, if it did not purchase faith, repentance, and holiness, for them on whom they are bestowed, ----- That free will which stands in competition with, and opposition to the grace of God in our salvation, can never without this be thrown to the ground as it ought to be. --- The doctrine of eíficatious grace which does so much honour co the Holy Spirit ; and the doctrine of che saint's perseverance in grace, which is so comfortable to them; depend very much on this doctrine of election --- This is the foundation of all those great and precious promises contain’d in the new covenant; the groundwork of our redemption ; the rise and spring of all those spiritual blessings we are made the partakers of, to which the saints shou'd look back in their joyful praises, and without the confideration of which, they cannot comprebend what is the beight and depth, the length and breadth of the love of God in Christ It is therefore taken into that chanksgiving of the apostle, Eph. 1. 3, 4. Blessed be the God and Father of eur Lord 7.fus Christ, who hath blefed us with all Spiritual bleflings in beavenly things, ACCORDING AS HE HAS CHOSEN US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.
In a word; As this doctrine is a spring of consolation to believers, so 'tis a most powerful argument to holiness & obedience ; and this not only that they mayn't be without the tokens of election, but out of gratitude, and by way of acknowledgment to God for his distinguishing and eternal love to them. Accordingly it is matter of observation, that those who have embrac'd this doctrine, have been among the most exemplary, cautious, diligent and fruitful christians. But this has almost enter'd me into the
VIth and last thing propor'd, namely, The improvement of the subject to the ends of serious religion, and practical godliness. For had I taken it to be only an abstruse speculation, and not a do&trine according to godliness, I had spar'd my self the pains of these discourses,