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any perfon can have to pay any at-tention to the means of grace. Had not God, of his mere grace and mercy, determined to render thefe means effectual to the falvation of fome, none would ever have been faved; and fo there would have been no encouragement to attend upon any means. But fince God has determined to make the means of grace efficacious in awakening and faving fome in every age; there is now great encouragement feriously to attend upon them, and make divine things our highest concern; as this is the way in which perfons are generally brought to repentance, and is the moft probable method of obtaining falvation.

ground of encouragement, which | juft ground of encouragement, that either minifters or people have to pay any attention to divine things. As the impenitent are dead in fin and enemies to God and holinefs; fo they will never repent and cordially embrace the gofpel, unless influenced by the spirit of GodIt is therefore declared, that no man can go to Chrift, except the Father draw him-that Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God -gave the encreafe-that Chriftians are God's workmanship, and that he worketh in them both to will and to do. Such paffages plainly teach, that minifters depend wholly upon God for fuccefs in their preaching. If therefore he had not eternally determined to render the gofpel and means of grace effectual to awaken and bring a number to repentance, or thus elected fome, there would not be the leaft encouragement to preach, warn, and inftru&t mankind in divine things. For all thefe means, without the attending influences of God's fpirit, would be wholly ineffectual to difpose a single individ-foundation of hope for depraved ual to become holy, or comply with the terms of falvation. Yea, no human power or means can renew a depraved heart, or bring perfons to evangelical repentance. Had God therefore elected none to falvation, it is certain, that none ever would repent and be faved.

How great then the mistake of thofe, who object, that the doctrine of election renders the means of grace of no advantage, and tends to difcourage a serious attention to divine things? This, we fee, is fo far from being the cafe, that it is on the contrary the only

finners, and fo affords them the only juft ground of encouragement to attend to the means of falvation.

Were it not for this doctrine, finners under a juft conviction of their depravity and oppofition to God would be in total defpair. For when by the convicting influences of the holy fpirit they are brought to a juft fenfe of their

The only just ground of encouragement then, which any can have to preach the gofpel, is the doctrine of election, or the divine de-character, and feel, that they are termination to render fuch means | dead in fin, and their carnal mind efficacious in quickening and bring is enmity against God; they are ing fome to faith and holinefs. then fenfible, that they have nothWere it not for this, all minifters, ing to commend themselves to the who believe the fcriptures, and are divine favor-that they shall never acquinted with their own hearts, go to Chrift in faith and love, unwould wholly defpair of all fuccefs lefs drawn by the Father, and that in preaching the gospel. God might in juftice leave them to go on in fin to everlasting de

This doctrine is alfo the only

ftruction. And in this view of their fituation, their only ground of hope is in the fovereign electing grace of God-that he, of his mere mercy, has determined to awaken, renew, and fave fome guilty unworthy finners, and that therefore he may have mercy upon fuch great finners, as they feel themselves to be. But did they fuppofe, that God would never forgive any, till they had done fomething good or holy to commend themselves to his favor, or till they were of themselves difpofed to repent and cordially believe in Chrift; they would be thrown into utter defpair. Hence it is, that finners, under deep and genuine conviction, fo generally fall into the doctrine of election, which they are before fo inclined to deny and oppofe. They then fee it to be their only ground of hope.

The fubject fuggefts a number of important remarks, fome of which will be noticed,

them of guilt and danger. It has
a peculiar tendency to fhew man-
kind their real character and situa-
tion-ftrip them of their felf-right-
eoufnefs and felf-dependence, make
them fenfible of their dependence
upon the mere mercy of God, and
thus prepare them to receive Chrift
and the grace of the gospel. This
doctrine alfo affords the only just
encouragement for ministers to
preach, and people to pay any fe-
rious attention to the means of

grace, and is neceffary to prevent
finners under a true conviction of
their guilt and depravity from utter
defpair. Thefe confiderations fhew,
that it is a very interesting and use-
ful doctrine, and that it ought to
be plainly held up to view in preach-
ing the gofpel.

How great then the mistake of thofe, who, altho they allow the truth of this doctrine, yet fuppofe it to be a hurtful and dangerous truth, which minifters ought feldom or ever to preach? Is it not highly 1. It appears, that the doctrine impeaching the wifdom and goodof election is a very important and nefs of God to fuppofe, that he has ufeful truth, which ought frequent in his word fo frequently and plainly to be held up to view in preach-ly revealed a truth, which is of a ing the gofpel. This is evident hurtful and dangerous tendency, and from various confiderations. It which preachers ought not to incul was frequently taught by the Lord cate? Is it not prefuming to know Jefus, and his apoftles, which fhews better, than the Lord Jefus and his that they confidered it as an impor- infpired apostles, what truths are tant doctrine, ufeful and neceffary ufeful, and ought to be taught? Beto be inculcated. Preaching the fides, the fcriptures teach, that mindoctrine of election or the fove-ifters are not to fun to declare all reignty of God brings his real the counfel of God, whether the character into view, that all may people will hear or forbear. Is it examine, whether they are cordi- not then very wicked and prefump ally reconciled to it; and thus it tuous to object, that the doctrine of has a tendency to convince formal election, if true, is of a hurtful hypocrites and careless finners of and dangerous tendency, and ought their oppofition to God. For if feldom or ever to be preached? they are oppofed to the fovereignty or electing grace of God, it manifefts, that they are enemies to his true character, and under his wrath; and fo tends to convince

2. The doctrine of election is infeparably connected with regen. eration or a divine influence in renewing the hearts of finners. IfGod by his Spirit does renew the hearts

of his people, and make them willing | in the day of his power, as the fcripture declares; then it is certain, that he has determined, whofe hearts he would renew, and whofe not. And this his determi nation must be eternal, fince he is unchangeable in his purpofes and defigns, and known unto him are all his works from the beginning. If then we allow, that regeneration is the work of God's Spirit, which no real Chriftian can deny; we must alfo allow the doctrine of election, which is infeparably connected with it. Then the denial of election neceffarily involves the denial of regeneration, which is the foundation of all real religion in the hearts of depraved finners.

fition and reviling are directly as gainft God, and their mouths are against the heavens. They should remember, that the Lord Jefus is coming with ten thousands of his faints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince ungodly finners of all their hard fpeeches, which they have spoken against him.

A bitter oppofition against this important doctrine, fo plainly taught in fcripture, affords a degree of evidence, that thofe perfons have never become cordially reconciled to the divine character or the truth of the gospel.

4. It appears from our fubject, that thofe, who are oppofing the doctrine of election, or the fovereign grace of God in renewing and faving finners, are oppofing the only juft ground, on which any of mankind can hope for falvation. Could they overthrow this truth, and establish the fentiment, that God had chofen none in particu

new any, till they had done fomething to procure his favor, or render themselves worthy of his grace, it is certain from fcripture, that none would ever be renewed or faved. Thus the oppofers of this truth are foolishly laboring to overthrow the only ground of hope for fallen man; and could they really deftroy this truth, as they wish, they would enfure the eternal de

3. Since the doctrine of election is fo plainly and frequently taught in the word of God, and is fo infeparably connected with the great effential truths of the gofpel; is it not very wicked and prefumptuous to oppofe and revile it with fuch bitternefs, as many dolar to falvation, and would not reMany openly declare, that if this doctrine is true, God is a partial, unjust, unreasonable Being that they will not acknowledge any fuch God, and ufe many other hard and bitter expreffions against it-Yea, fome are fo oppofed to the fentiment, that they can hardly bear to hear it mentioned without being offended. But fince none can deny, that this doctrine is frequently taught in the fcriptures-ftruction of the whole human race. that moft when awakened and renewed, do at once embrace it, and that this is often the cafe with thofe who were bitter oppofers, while unawakened; ought not thefe confiderations to render perfons very cautious of bitterly oppofing and reviling this fentiment; left haply they be found fighting and fpeaking againft God? For if it is a fcripture truth, their oppo

5. A juft ftatement of the doctrine of election fhews at once the abfurdity of the objection, that perfons will be faved, if elected; whether they attend to divine things and the duties of religion, or not. Election is God's determination to render divine truth efficacious in awakening and bringing a certain number to repentance, faith, and a ferious attention to

the duties of religion, that they may in this way obtain falvation. Since therefore election is the divine determination, that a number fhall obtain falvation, by repenting and forfaking fin, believing in and obeying Chrift, and living in a careful obfervance of religious duties; how abfurd and contradictory to affert, that any can be faved, whether they comply with thefe conditions, or not; and that it is no advantage to attend to thefe means? This is as abfurd as to affert, that if it is determined, that a certain number, unknown to us, fhall live 80 years by means of temperance; they will certainly live this time, whether they are temperate or not, and therefore there is no advantage in endeavoring to preferve our lives thefe 80 years by means of temperance.

ruin. He has therefore a juft right to bestow his grace upon one and not upon another, as he fees beft. And by fending his Spirit to awaken and renew fome, he does no injury to thofe who are left to follow their own finful inclinations, and thus go to deftruction. Thofe, who are thus left, will never fuffer any thing more than they juftly deferve, and therefore have no reason to complain of any iajuftice.

Neither does the doctrine of election afford any just excufe to any for neglecting divine things, or living in impenitence. The calls, warnings, and invitations of the gofpel are to all-"God now commandeth all men every whereto repent" The language of his word is to all, "Turn ye, turn ye; far why will ye die?" "Whofoever In both these cafes, the divine will, let him take the water of life determination renders the means freely." There is no obstacle in neceffary to obtain the end. It is the way of our going to Chrift therefore as impoffible for any to and obtaining falvation, but what obtain falvation without repent- arifes from our own wicked oppo ance and a ferious attention to di-fition of heart. God's determinvine things; as it would be to live ation to fend his Spirit to awaken eighty years without temperance, and bring fome to repentance, does when this was to be the means of not at all prevent others from repreferving our lives fo long. The penting, if difpofed. It is fti more temperate a perfon was in true, "Whofoever will, let him this cafe, the greater would be the come, and take the water of life.” probability of his living thefe eigh. If any therefore, who enjoy the ty years. So the greater fenfe gofpel, perifh; it will be through perfons have of their fin and dan- their own neglect and oppofition, ger, and the more attentive they or because they will not go unto are to their eternal concerns, the Chrift, that they may have life. greater is the probability of their falvation.

6. The doctrine of clection gives none any juft occafion to charge God with partiality, as fome imagine. Asallmankind are finners, fo all juftly deferve destructionAnd as none will ever go to Chrift for falvation, unlefs drawn by the Father; fo God might in juftice leave all to go on in fin to eternal

Finally, how unreasonable and dangerous for any of us to be neg lectful of divine things, and our eternal concerns.

Our fituation in the prefent world is very falemn. We have be gun an exiftence, which will never end. Before us lies everlasting happinefs or mifery. Yes, we fhall in the eternal world be forever rifing in glory and felicity, or

finking deeper and deeper in woe and defpair. And upon the improvement of the prefent life, our eternal welfare depends. We have now a space given for repentance, -a feafon allotted us to prepare for eternity. The terms of falva tion are irreversibly fixed. We must repent, forfake our finful practices, cordially receive Jefus as our Saviour, yield a careful obedience to the divine commands, and make religion our higheft concern, or we can never obtain falvation. For without faith, repentance, and holinefs, it is certain, that none can be admitted into heaven, or enjoy its holy happiness.

your calamity, and mock, when your fear cometh." "Then fhall they call upon me, and I will not anfwer." Our probationary ftate is hastening to a clofe, and at furtheft will foon be gone. How foon we may be arrested by the stroke of death-be fummoned to meet our judge, and receive our final fentence, we know not; for in fuch a day as we think not, the Son of man cometh. How infinitely important then, that we "work out our own falvation with fear and trembling, and give all diligence to make our calling and election fure."

H. E.

Thoughts on the forgiveness of fin.

ORGIVENESS, as exerci


The means of falvation are appointed, and many motives fet before us to awaken our attention to divine things, and to excite us to fecure our eternal interefts. God hath favored us with his word, and the preaching of the gospel to inftru&t us in the truths and duties bellious race, is a wonderful act of of religion, and to remind us of its God. It is always a difplay of uninfinite importance. He fends his merited and fovereign good will. minifters to pray us in Chrift's No one can be a fubje&t of forgivefread, "Be ye reconciled unto nefs, unless he is viewed as having God." He has inftituted the ho- previously done wrong; and, ly fabbath for the exprefs purpofe, when forgiven, it is fuppofed he is that we may have opportunities of treated altogether better than he attending to our eternal concerns. deferves. It would be abfurd to He is alfo calling wp our attention talk of forgiving an innocent perfon. to thefe things by the ftrivings of When a parent forgives a child, it his Spirit, by ficknefs, and by is always fuppofed that the child deaths of others around us. All has been difobedient, and has merthese things confpire to urge us to ited fome kind of punishment or make divine things our chief con- correction. When the criminal,cern, and to lay up our treasures in under fentence of death, receives heaven. But if we make light of from his fovereign a pardon, this t religion and its duties, mifimprove pardon does not imply an extenuathe fabbath, neglect a preached gof. tion of his guilt, nor that the fenpel, and live in impenitence; we tence of death was too fevere; but fhall treafure up wrath against the it neceffarily carries with it an idea day of wrath, and bring upon our- that he was deferving of all the felves an aggravated condemnation. evil expreffed in the fentence, and It will then be juftly faid unto us, alfo that it was an act of mere merBecause I have called, and yecy in his fovereign, that the fenhave refufed; I will alfo laugh at tence was not executed.

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