Page images

without regard to man's merit-It is all of everlasting Love, from the three Divine Persons in one JEHOVAH, or God-head, who have engaged to render it effectual, in all its objects, whether of persons or things, according to their distinct, yet united, engagements in this everlasting Covenant, revealed by the Holy Ghost, and published in the Scriptures.

§ 4. There is, therefore, an election of grace, redeeming out of the world those, who are called the heirs of Salvation, and who are brought forward, in their several places and times, to the gifts of faith and holiness, and to the certain enjoyment of the ultimate purposes of this Election. Providence, in its own appointed way and time, brings these heirs of salvation under means, or means to them: and Grace renders those means effectual to incipient Conversion, and to final Sal. vation. From the very pature of the ,


Covenant of God, wliich is ordered in all things and sure, the persons elected must be certain, and therefore fore-known, respecting their interest in it, as the inheritance to which they are chosen is also certain and fore-ordained. God hath made the universe in number, weight, and measure, that is, with perfect exactness in every respect; and surely he must be expected to have wrought his greatest work of all, the redemption of myriads of souls, with no less perfection. Hence, the Church of God, which receives its very name from its Calling of God, and which forms the consummated “ number of his elect,who were choSEN IN Christ before the foundation of the world, is represented as a perfect mathematical square in the book of Revelation; and, in all the Scriptures, as a complete Temple, as a perfect or unmutilated Body under Christ, the one and the


[ocr errors]

B 2

[ocr errors]

only Head; and by other images of similar precision, completeness, or inseparable union.

§ 5. Whatever, then, militates against this truth, or is not in just agreement with it, cannot be true. For, as contraries cannot be reconciled at all; so incongruities are not to be imputed to the wisdom of the Holy One. He, Jehovah, who cannot err or lie, hath stated this solemn decree, and hath made the matter plain enough in his Word to those, who have Eyes to see, and Ears to hear, and an understanding Heart given them truly to believe. And though they may not be able to solve all difficulties, which occur in some sublime truths, through the natural defect and weakness of the human understanding; yet, this plain and solemn doctrine, which may be considered as an essential pillar of divine revelation, cannot be removed from its place, without


[ocr errors]

appearing at least to overthrow or endanger the whole fabric of man's redeinption. But, the foundation of God standeth sure; having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his : AND, Let every one, that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.

8 6. This being premised; what is to be understood by the expression of our Lord;" How much more " shall

your heavenly Father give the " Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Luke xi. 13.

Two obvious points are contained in the words :

1. The Gift of the Holy Spirit :

2. The Persons, to whom the Holy Spirit is given ;--namely, to them, that ask this gift of their Heavenly Father.

And who, of himself, is sufficient to think or to speak of these great things! May my mind therefore be rightly prepared to consider matters B 3


[ocr errors]

of such high importance! For this end, lead me, Thou Spirit of Grace, into the wisdom and mercy of thine holy office.

Suffer me not to err; for, though but a mean and unworthy witness for Thee, I would speak thy truth in love, to the edification of my brethren and of my own soul. Neither suffer me to fear; but, as a faithful witness, give me power in this cause to declare thy truth, thy whole truth, and nothing but thy truth, according to thy will and word!

$ 7. 1. The Gift of the Holy Spirit. What are we to understand by these words?

Certainly, not the Power of effecting miraculous Operations; for these were only intended, at the time and for a time, to be evidential Demonstrations of the Divine Mission of our Lord and his Apostles,' or almost immediate followers; and, of course, have long since ceased, their purpose having


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »