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SIR, I think the doctrine of election never can agree with human merit; one will be always barking at the other. Every man, who seeks to justify himself by works, will loathe the doctrine heartily, and load it justily with most reproachful names. Yet men reject the doctrine, not for want of scripture evidence, but for want of humbled hearts. We are not willing to be saved by an election of grace, till we know ourselves and find our just desert. A furnace is the most proper school to learn this doctrine, and there I learnt it.
Nor med nor books could teach it me; for I would neither bear nor read about it. A long and rancorous war I waged with it; and when my sword was broke and both my arms were maimed, I yet maintained a sturdy fight, and was determined I would never yield; but a furnace quelled me. Large afflictions, largely wanted, gave me such experience of my evil heart, that I could peep into electing grace without abhorrence; and, as I learned to loathe myself, I learned to prize this grace. It seemeth clear, if God bad mercy for me, it only could be for this gracious reason, because he would have mercy, (Rom. ix. 18) for every day and every hour my desert was death.
Bishop Beveridge. Those who are ordained unto eternal life, are not so elected on account of any worthiness foreseen in them, nor yet for their future faith; but purely and solely of frec, sovereign grace, and according to the mere pleasure of God. This is evident, among other codsiderations, from this; tbat faith, repentance, and holiness, are no less the free gifts of God, than eternal life itself. Eph. ii. a. Faith is not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. Phil. i. 29. Unto you it is given to believe, Acts v, 31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand, for to give repentance. Acts xi. 18. Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. In like manner holiness is called the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess, jj. 13. because the Divine Spirit is the efficient cause of it in the soul, and of unholy makes us boly. Now, if repentance and faith are the gifts, and sanctification is the work of God; then these are not the fruits of man's free will, nor what be acquires of himself; and so can neither be motives to, nor conditions of, his election, which is an act of the Divine Mind, antecedent to, and irrespective of, all qualities whatever in the persons elected. Be
sides, the Apostle asserts, expressly, that election is not of works, but of him that calleth ; and that it passed before the persons concerned bad done either good or evil. Rom. ix. 11. Again, if faith or works were the cause of election, God could not be said to choose us, but we to choose bim, contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture. John xv. 16. Ye bave not chosen me, but I have chosen
you. 1 John, iv, 10-19, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. Election is, everywhere, asserted to be God's act, and not man's. Mark xiii. 20. Rom. ix. 17. Eph. i. 4. 1 Thess, v. 9. 2 Thess. ii. 13. Once more : are chosen, that we might be holy, not because it was foreseen we would be so; Eph. i. 4. therefore, to represent holiness as the reason why we were elected, is to make the effect antecedent to the cause. The Apostle adds, verse 5, Having predestinated us according to the good pleasure of his will; most evidently implying, that God saw nothing extra se, had no motive from without, why he should choose any at all, or this man before another, In a word, the elect were freely loved ; Hos. xiv. 4. freely chosen; Rom. xi. 5, 6. and freely redeemed; Isa. lii. 3. they are freely called; 2 Tim. i. 9. freely justified; Rom. iii. 24. and shall be freely glorified ; Rom. vi. 23.
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Toplady. Humility in all things is a necessary consequence of a due consideration of God's decree of election; for what were we, when he set his heart upon us to choose us, and to do us good for ever? Poor, lost, undone creatures, that lay perishing under the guilt of our apostacy from him! What did he see in us, to move him so to choose us ? Nothing but sin and misery. What did he foresee that we would do for ourselves, more than others, if he wrought not in us by his effectual grace ? Nothing but a continuance in sin avd rebellion against him, and that for ever. How should the thoughts hereof keep our souls in all humility and continual self-abasement! For what had we, in or from ourselves, on the account whereof we should be lifted up? Wherefore, as the elect of God, let us put on humility in all things; and there is no grace whereby, at this day, we may more glorify God and the gospel, now the world in pinking into ruin under the weight of its own pride. Dr. Ohren
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If we believe universal depravity came by the fall, then we can prove the doctrines of election and perseverance tbus. Either the sinner first seeks the Lord, or the Lord calls the sinner: the former is impossible; and if, therefore, God begins first, there is election, unless all are called. What has made us to differ from those wbo are now as we were once ? Grace. Then this grace, by the very term, must be distinguishing; that is, in other words, electing grace.
As to final perseverance, it is asserted in so many express promises, that it is astonishing any should deny it. Indeed, it is such a confortable Truth, that very few would deny it; but they think if they admit it, they must also admit of election, with which it is necessarily connected
Hast thou chosen me out of so many others, who being left to themselves, eternal dampation abides them; and shall I not use my utmost endeavour to shine before others in love, in thy worship, and all duties of boliness? Hast thou predestinated me to holiness, 60 lovely in itself, so necessary for me, as that without it there is no salvation ; and shall I not walk therein ? Shall I presume so to sophisticate with thee, O thou brigbtest teacher of truih, that separating the end from the means, I shall securely prowise to myself the end, as being predestinated thereto, in a neglect of the means, to which I am no less predestinated? Is thy purpose concerning my salvation fixed and immoveable, and shall I every hour be changed, now for thee, now again giving up my service to Satan? Shall not I rather with so firm purpose adhere to thee, that I should rather suffer a thousand deaths than-perfidiously depart from thee? Shall not I be sted fast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord ? Wilt thou make me assured of thy love, which passeth all understanding; and shall not I again love thee with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my strength ? Wilt thou assure me of my salvation, and shall I not, having this hope, purify myself even as thou art pure?.
Who, onderstanding these things, will deny, that the doctrine of election supplies to the pious soul plenty of matter for such and the like meditation ? And who will deny, that in practice of such me ditations lies the very kernel of all holiness and godliness?
Your election will be known by your interest in Christ; and
your interest in Christ, by the sanctification of the Spirit. There is a chain of salvation : the beginning of it is from the Father; the dispensa tion through the Son; the application by the Spirit. In looking after the comfort of election, you must look inward to the work of the Spirit in your hearts; then outward to the work of Christ on the CTORS; then upward to the heart of the Father in heaven.
Mr. Samuel Clarke. Before you go to the university, you ought to go to school. Do hot meddle with election and predestination, until you have experienced something of divine grace in your effectual vocation.
Ascribed to Mr. Bradford, the Martyr.
There are some doctrines wberein the reason of man finds many difficulties, and wbich the folly of man would abuse to unhappy purposes, which yet are plain and express truths asserted in the Word of God. Among these, we place the great doctrine of the election of sinners in Christ, to be made holy and happy. We entreat our brethren, who differ from us in this point, to be so candid as to suppose, that we feel the difficulties as well as they, and we see the awful consequences which seem to affright them from receiving it; we have had our doubts respecting it, and found our reasoning powers a little perplexed, and unwilling to receive it, legt God should be represented as partial in bis favours, and lest man should cavil against his proceedings. But we feel ourselves overpowered with evidence and conviction, when we see the doctrine 60 plainly and frequently asserted in Scripture, that we cannot resist the light and force of it. The express words of God demand our subs mission, and constrain our belief; and we are persuaded our brethrep would believe it too, if they saw it in the same light,
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The first business is, not to inquire after the election, which is a secret thing, but bearken to the public call of the Gospel, repent of every sin, and receive the grace that is offered ; and when thou art becomne a lover of God, and a believer in Christ, thou mayest then trace up these graces to their original spring, even to thy election in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world. Dr. Watts.
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Predestination and election. These are sublime points, far above the solution of our low capacities; but, for my part, I am no more surprised that some revealed truths should amaze my understanding, than that the blazing sun should dazzle my eyes. That such things are mentioned in the inspired writings as real facts, is undeniable. I should renounce my very reason, if I did not believe what Omniscience attests, even though it sbould imply what is altogether inex. plicable by my scanty conceptions; and why should the encaverned mole, whose dwelling is in darkness, whose sight is but a small remove from blindness, why should such a poor animal wonder that it cannot dart its eyes through unnumbered worlds, or take in at å glance the vast system of the univere ?
Hervey. Did I not believe absolute predestination, I could not believe a Providence ; for it would be inost absurd to suppose that a being of infinite wisdom would work without a plan ; for which plan, predestination is only another word.
King William's Answer to Bishop Burnet. We meet with the word “elect” so very often jo scripture, that one might have been led to conclude that it would have been received in the Church with implicit faith, referring the act itself, as becometh sinful, ignorant creatures to do, into the sovereignty and good pleasure of God. It is in the first and highest instapce spoken of, and applied to, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Christ of God. Isa. xlii. 1. with Matt. xii. 17, 18, &c. It is especially spoken of the Church of Israel, Isa. xlv. 4. xlix. 22. It is also spoken of in relation to the Gentile Church, gathered out of all nations, Matt. xxiv. 31. Rom. xi. 5. Titus i. 1. And what endears this soverei çu act of grace the more is, that it is all in and for Christ, Epli. i. 4. tbe Scriptures uniformly declaring, while in the very moment es &blishing the truth itself, that it is all of free grace, no merit, 20 pretensions of merit, here or hereafter, becoming in the least inst Umental to tbis distinguishing inercy, but wholly resulting from be sovereign will and purpose of the Lord. Deut. vii. I. Rom. ix. I. xii. 16. 2 Tiin. i. 9. Eph. i. 6. Hence the everlasting security of the Church; and the blessings of the Church are all sure, certi iDx and irrecoverable. Rom viii. 33,