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single sermon ; three or four discourses, if God give us the opportunity for them, will be fitcle eno' for my purpose. And now, myHearers,let me crave, and, as I speak in the name of Christ, I may demand your reverend and serious attention. Let me entreat you to lay aside prejudices, if you have entertain'd any, against this doctrine, and to receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to fave your souls. Let me desire you to stop all censures till I have finish'd the subjeet, if, thro' the good hand of our God upon us, I may be allowed to do so. And let me further ask you, before I proceed, to lift up your heart to God, in some such secret petition as this, “ Lord ! If this doctrine be according to thy mind and will, lufter not my mind to be prejudiced against ie ; but help me to receive it in the love of it, and to improve it to all those holy saving purposes for which thou haft reveal'd it in thy word!” If any will not do thus, let me tell them, their minds are not rightly dispos’d to hear, nor can they be look'd upon to be fincere enquirer's after truth.
And now the method in which, thro' divine assistance, I would pursue the subject is this,
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· I. I would represent and state the truth, to shew you what we intend by the doctrinc of Election, or Predestinacion unto life.
· II. I will endeavour to prove it, and fhew that the doctrine so represented and ftated, is really the doctrine of the gospel.
III. I shall attempt to answer the objections commonly bro't against it, and to clear the doctrine of some difficulties wherewith its enemies have loaded it.
· IV. I shall expose a few of the absurdities which follow upon the denial of this doctrine, and mention some difficulties of which the contrary scheme labours, and with which they are embarrass’d who are on the other side of the question.
V. I shall open the importance of the doctrine, and shew of what consequence it is in the christian (cheme.
Lastly, I shall endeavour to improve it to the great ends of serious religion, and practical godlinels.
I. I am in the first place, to represent and flate the truth, and shew what we intend by the doctrine of Election, or Pre
destination destination unto life. And I chuse to des. cribe it to you in the terms of the 17th among the famous articles of the church of England, which are subscrib'd by all the allow'd clergy of the nation. " Predestination unto life, lays that article, is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby before the foundation of the world was laid, he hach constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and condemnation, those whom he hath cholen in Chrift Jesus out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ unto everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.” With this article agree the confession of faith set forth by the allembly of Divines' at Westminster, and also their Çatechisms, both the larger, and the shorter which we receive and teach. This truth so allerted in our publick standards, I shall explain in several distinct propositions,
1. Predeftination unto life respects only Come of mankind. It can't respect all, inasmuch as all the children of men will not be finally fav’d. As there are evidently two sorts of persons in the world now, good and bad, so we are sure from the word of God there will be found two very different sorts of persons at the great day, who will be dealt with after a yery differ
they were for the decrefaid, My coume There
ént manner; the righteous and the wicked. These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. * And if ali mankind are not finally fav’d, to be sure they were not originally predestinated unto life ; for the decree of God can't be fruftrated. He hath said, My counjel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. ll There is a remnant, says the apostle, according to the election of grace, Rom. 11. 5, and a remnant can't be all. So in the rich v. The ele&tion barb obtain’d it, and the rest were blinded. The common distinction therefore of the elect, and non-elect, is just and neceflary. When some are chosen out of many, the rest must of consequence be left, or the very notion of election is destroy'd.
• 2. These were perfonally chosen and pitch'd upon in the purpose and decree of God concerning them. Some will have the election the scripture speaks of, to be only of qualificacions, and not of persons; but this is meer evasion and trifling. The scrip. rure plainly speaks of an election of persons. Whom he did fore-know, says the text, them he did predestinate. These our saviour ftiles + the men that the facher had
* Mat. 25. 46. || Ifa. 46. 10. † Joh. 17. 6.
Life. given him out of the world, and their names * are said to be written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.
5. Those who are predestinated unto life and happiness as the end, are also pre. deftinated unto faith and holiness as the way. When God chuses perfoms to an end, he also determines the means to that end. The same decree that predestinates any persons to salvation, ascertains the means of attaining that salvation. These, according to the conftitution of the gospel, are faith and holiness; and so they come under the same decree by which any are predeftinated unto glory. The ele&t are not predestinated unto life, provided they perform the conditions of salvation, do believe in the LordJesus Christ, and are holy, in which they are left entirely to their own will and choice. No; the predestination we are speaking of, is no luch conditional uncertain thing as this makes it to be. The objects of it are by one determinare decree appointed to a certain salvation, which they shall obtain thro' faith and sanctification, which are given them in consequence of the decree. So che Apostle cells the
* Rev. 17. 8.