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his holy image, is the indelible character of a reprobate designed for eternal destruction.
1 John iii. 10.
The second thing in the proposition to be considered, is the end and design of God in that act of his in electing and choosing, which is twofold. First, as it respects the creatures elected, viz. that they might partake of the special grace of God here on earth, and of eternal glory in the kingdom of heaven, through Christ his Son, according to that of Paul, Ephes. i. 4. • According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14; “ Because God hath from the beginning chosen
you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thes. v. 9; “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Secondly, with respect to God, electing, viz. that the glory of his sovereign, free, and rich grace, might be extolled and praised for ever, according as the apostle expresseth it in Ephes. i. 6; “To the praise of the glory of his grące, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Verse 11, 12; “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things afici the
counsel of his own will; that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
The third thing in the proposition to be considered, is to take notice of the properties in that act of God, electing.
Those properties are in number three. First, God in electing and choosing some simers to himself out of the corrupted mass of fallen mankind, on whom he purposed to shew mercy; he did elect and choose them most freely; there was nothing at all in the objects elected and chosen, that could move God wherefore he should elect one sinner more, or sooner than another; for as fallen into sin, and equally obnoxious to the curse of the law and the wrath to come, were all the sons and daughters of Adam looked on by God, when he fixed his electing love' on some, and actually rejected and passed others by, on whom the most Iligh God, as an uncontrollable Sove reign, purposed to execute the fierceness of his wrath for sin. The reason or impulsive cause of this difference, which the tremendous God saw fit to make between sinners, equally guilty and obnoxious to the curse and wrath of God, is not to be sought out of God himself. An example and lively instance hereof we have in Rom. ix. 11, which the wise God hath seen fit should be recorded, on purpose to stop the mouth of carnal reason, which is so wretchedly prone to question and dispute against his sovereignty over his
creatures. “ The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
The wise God foreseeing the purblind reasonings and cavillings of carnal men's unsanctified brains, against the doctrine of God's absolute sovereignty, in disposing of the eternal concerns of his rational creatures, fallen by sin into a state and condition of misery, through their own default; hath seen good, for the vindication of his own prerogative, to make known to the sons of men, and that by the unerring wisdom, and unquestionable authority of so great a man as Paul, the great apostle of the Gentiles, the reason of God's method in proceeding to elect some of fallen mankind, to a state of life and salvation, through a Redeemer, and reprobating others, leaving them for ever to perish in that sin and misery, into which they did, without any constraint, wilfully plunge themselves, to be no other than his own most free and holy will, seeing that he alone is the undoubted sovereign of the world, who hath an indisputable right to determine what to do with, or how to dispose of, sinning rebels, without being any way liable to the controlment of any of his creatures, especially such of them as, by sin, have forfeited their very being to the Divine Justice; and who, while in an ini
reconciled state, are not capable of knowing him, or of being subject to his divine law.
The good will and pleasure then of the blessed God, is the source and fountain whence the great disparity between the elect and the reprobate world doth spring, not any thing in the creatures themselves, as Arminian cavillers dream and conceit it doth. This will evidently appear, if the reader will but, with a becoming modesty and unprejudiced judgment, read the whole chapter at length, and, with fervent prayer to God for the wisdom of his Spirit, look narrowly into, and with sobriety consider the 11th and the 16th verses, where it plainly appears, that the two conceited qualifications, of which the enemies of election are usually proud, and which they hold and teach, are the procuring cause of the difference between the good and the evil men on earth, viz. the free will in man, and the good works which unregenerate men do but conceit they do; they are both met with, and equally discarded by God, from having any room or place among the causes which put God either upon choosing the elect, or rejecting the reprobate. Mark the 11th verse: “ That the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth." With this agrees Ephes. ii. 8, 9; “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” And Tit. ii. 5; “ Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but accounting to his
mercy he hath saved us,” &c. Vain unregenerate man would fain persuade himself that his worse than threadbare rags of polluted morality, negative and positive, is a covering sufficient not only to hide his ulcerous and plague-sores of guilt and vileness, from the pure and all-seeing eyes of an infinite Majesty, but also to deck and adorn his soul, so as to bespeak him an object fit for a Holy God to behold with delight. O horrid delusion! worse than frenzy, or madness itself, this being but a temporary malady, which may, by the use of ordinary means, be holpen, but that, the bane and destruction of the immortal soul, which nothing but the despised grace of God in Christ can cure; such miserably deluded souls will not find it easy to believe, that to think so highly of their own qualifications is the greatest bar or hinderance which keeps them from salvation. Read also, with care, verse 16: “ So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God that sheweth mercy.
Let the adversaries of the doctrine I am now vindicating, but consider that man has fallen into sin and misery of his own accord, is the object of election and reprobation; and let them, if they can, tell or shew me how. à natural man, in his lapsed, guilty state, can possibly either will or act any thing but what is, both for matter and manner, most vile and abominable in the sight of that God who is purity and holiness itself in the abstract.
And if so, wherefore then should the most