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believing and san&ified Thesalonians, 2 ep. 2. ch. 13. v. God bath from the beginning choSen you to falvation, through fan&tifcation of the Spirit, and belief of the trutb ; whereunto be called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. And our texč tells us, whom God fore-know, he predeftinated to be conform'd to the image of his fon; in which is included the whole of that work of sanctification by which they are made meet for the inheritance of the Saints in light. Col. 1. 12.
4. Predestination unto life is from everlaking. Therefore those who are the objects of it, are said to be chosen before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1. 4. before the very first dawn of time, i. e. from all eternity. Tho' there is no inward nor visible difference between the elect and others, till the grace of God in their effectual calling in time makes it, yet the purpose of mercy concerning them was before the mountains were settled, or the hills bro't fortb ; while God bad not yet made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. God's purposes are, like himself, eternal ; for, such is his perfection that he comprehends all things referring to his creatures, together and at once, and no new thoughts or designs ever come into
his mind, but what were there from eternity in which there is no succeffion. And, O the pleasure! for any to follow God's thoughts concerning them so far back, as to apprehend him saying unto them, as to his church of old, I hive loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. t
5. It is a perfectly free and Sovereign act of God. His diftribution of rewards and punishments at the last day will be founded in justice, but his chusing some to make them the objects of his love, and paffing by others, is founded in his sovereignty and fupremacy, whereby he is Lord of all, and accountable co none. This is what proud mortals are loth co stoop to, and apr to rise up against; but let us be struck into an awful adoring silence, by what the apoftle says of this matter, in Rom. 9 ch. from the 14th v. where the divine sovereignty is both asserted and pleaded for. U’bat shall we say then ? Is there unrighteousness witb God? God forbid. For be faith to Mores, I will bave mercy on whom I will bave mercy,and Iwill have compassion on whom I will bave compaflion. So then, it is not of bim that willetb, nor of bim
prowing If he wäder non
that runneth, but of God that mewerb mercy.ca Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath refifted his will? Nay, but o man, who art thou that repliest against God? Sball the thing formed say to bim that formed it, why haft ihou made me thus ? Hath not the porter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vefel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? The great God was under no necessity to chuse any of us unto erernal life. He would have been perfectly blefled himself, if our whole race had perish'd for ever. That he has chosen any is owing entirely to the good pleasure of his will. If he was pleas'd to make choice of any, he was under no necessity to pitch upon such and lach. All the reason to be given is that, t Even so father, for so it seem. etb good in thy sight! There was nothing in the chosen remnant to'
move God to place his regards upon them before others The fore-light of their faith and obedience was not the cause ; for, as we have had occasion to hint already, they were chosen to faith and obedience, and so it could not be for chem ; they are the effects of our election, and therefore cannot be the causes of it. God's fore-light of their faith and holiness,
the good in thy The Even so Patel
† Matt. 11. 26.
presupposes his purpose to bestow faith and holiness on them; and this very purpose is a part of their election it felf. The apostle therefore tells us, Rom. 9. 11. That the purpose of God according to election, is not of works, but of him that calleth.
6. It is certain, infallible, and irrevocable. So are all the decrees of God, and therefore this of Predestination unco life. And if it were not so, the people of God could not take much comfort from it. God will never go back from his purpose to save his people ; for, * He is of one mind, and who can turn bim? What can induce him to alter his affection towards them ? For such is the perfection of his knowledge, that he can never be surpris'd by any sudden new event, that may cause a change in his mind and will. He fore-law all the sins of his people, their undutiful and ungrateful carriage towards him thro' the whole course of their lives. Now, if the foresight of them did not hinder his electing love in its rise, can they frustrate its end, the bringing of them to glory? And whatever they need to have wrought in them, or done for them, is comprehended in one and the
Job, 23. 13.
same decree concerning them, and fo shall be accomplish'd by the power of God. The enemies that would hinder them, are indeed numerous and powerful ; but the Farber that gave them to Christ is greater than all, and none shall pluck them out of his band. + Every cbing will conspire, that the purpose of God according to ele&tion may fand, Rom. 9. II. The apoftle fpeaks perempeorily, 2 Tim. 2: 9. The foundation of God ftandech sure, having this seal, The Lord knowatb them that are bis.
7. It is in Fesus Christ that any are predeitinated untó lite. This is exprefly said, Eph. 1. 4. He, i. e, the Father, bat's chofen us in bim. i. c. Chrift, before the foundation of the world. Not that we are to suppose that the elect are chosen for the sake of Christ, or that he is the meritorious cause of their election. No; for tho' he has merited their falvation, purchas'd for them pardon, grace, and glory, he did not purchase their election, but they were confider'd as ele&ted when they were given to Christ to redeem, and so election is not to be look'd upon as a purchased blessing. But they are said to be chosen in him, be