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is willing to be reconciled, to put you among the children, to hold fellowship with you, to fill jour mouths with songs of salvation, to give you grace ( and glory, and, in every respect, to <lo you all saving good, in the way of his appointment, through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his grace. Seek him in thit channel, implore him for that purpofe, and wnitupon him. by the means, duties andordinances of his own institution, as you would wish not to be call off;—and hope he will not put you to shame.
<: H A p. ii.
Of the RsdeArtH's triumph ever the hearts. of sinners upon eaKth. Many shall fee it, -and shall "fear; andfhall trust in the Lord."
TH E subjects of this promise are men in neral, not angels, nor devils. Angels haveafc nothing in their circumstances, known to us, that" rendsr6 inch promises needful; and the state of -devils puts them absolutely beyond the reach of the ijfromise, and renders them incapable of intitxst in Tny word of grace. Besides, as this promise has a. particular relation to Jesus Christ, those, of whose nature he partook, can only be considered as the subjects of it. Though, in the application of the blessings promised, it is more restricted: yet, in the revelation and exhibirion of the promise itself, the ■ warrant to believe is so unreserved, that mankind . sinners in general, may, and should consider them« selves as interested in it: "The promise ((u'.d ihe *' apostle, to a promiscuous multitude) is unto you "and to your children, and to all that are itfar
"off; even,to as many as ihe Lord our God shill "call," Acts ii. 39. It is impossible to imagine, how a person's putting away the promises from himself^as what he has no right to intermeddle with, can be reconciled with his suitably attending to that remarkable declaration of grace.
But the subjects of this promise are eletl men in particular. The opposition of carnal minds to the, doctrine of election is such, that at prelent one labours under considerable disadvantage, *J insinuate any thing in savour of it. But as it is a scriptural doctrine, a part of the council of heaven, an article of the Christian saith; though counted fools for espousing, we should never be ashamed of it. Did not David speak of elect men, when he said, "Blessed is the man whom thou chusest and "causcst to approach unto thee?" Psid. lxv. 4. did cot Malachi speak of elect men, when by him the Lord said, "Yet I Uved Jacob, and "hated Esau I" Mai. i. 2, 3. did nol Paul to the Romans speak of elect men, when he said, "Whom God did foreknow, he also did prede"Jlinatei" Rom. viii. 29. to the Corinthians did he not speak of them, when he said, " God hath' "chosen the foolish things of the world; God "hath chosen the weak things of the world, t^g "base things of the world; and things that are "despised hath God chosen; yea, and th# things "that are not?" 1 Cor. i. 28. and did he not to the Ephesians likewise speak of elect men, when he said, "Being predejiinated according to the pur"pose of him who worfceth all things after the "council of his own will ?" Eph. i. ii. But why speak of David, the prophets or apostles? bijhoro.' a greater than either, a greater than all, bears tjjci flimony to this doctrine: our Lord himself spoke of *lest men, when he said, "All that the Father E 3 "giveth
"giveth me, shall coare to me," John vi. 37. And . again, "I pray for them; I pray not for th« World, "but for them which thou hast given me," John >vii. 5. Upon these and such like grounds, the doctrine of election may be considered as seriptulal: aud, on that supposition, elect sinners are, in particular, the subjects of this promise; as it Is not only exhibit, warranting them, in common with their fellow sinners, to believe and improve it for the tnds of infinite wisdom and grace; but, as they frail eventually be brought under the influence of the promise, be made partakers of promised grace, and inherit the promised salvation. It is for their lakes, and theirs alone, that ever the promise was exhibited; it is owing to them, that ever sinners^ in general, were blest with the common tender of . mercy; and as soon as they are brought in, as soon as the end of the promise, as to them, is reached, «ther sinners will, at once, but for ever, be deprived of that exalted privilege. Other sinners may take hold of the promise; nothing in the external dispensation of the gospel hinders their doing so: but elect sinners Jhall take hold of the promise; rather, the grace of the promise Jhall take hold of ihtm.
S E C T. I.I.
One blessing here promised is, "They shall fee "it." If we consider this part of the promise, as it is rendered in the passage under view, the particle it must have a respect to what went before; and the meaning will be, that sinners shall see what the Father hath done to Christ as Man-Mediator, in "inclining to him and hearing his cry; bringing "him up out of the horrible pit and miry clay; "fetting his sect upon a rock, establishing his go
» ings, "togs, and putting a new ibng in his mouth;" that the «yes of their understandings shall be enlightened for that purpose: in other words, that the grace of saith, respecting Christ, as once dead, ( now alive, once humbled, now exalted, shall be produced, and promoted in them, exercised and practised by them. But the particle it, being only a supplement, the phrase literally is, "They "shall fee;" which is peculiarly pithy, emphati-'* cal and comprehensive. It says, in the strongest terms, that, in a spiritual view, sinners are, by nature blind; and that, until put under the influence of. this promise, they see not. Whence, in the language of inspiration, the unconverted state is, frequently represented as a state of darkness; "For ye were (says the apostle, to the believers "at Ephesus) sometimes darkness," Eph. v. 8. not only in the dark, but darkness itself. Whatever men know, however bright their talents, pregnant their, genius, accurate their observations, curious their disquisitions, extensive their reading,, and universal their, learning; as long as they are unconverted, they are considered, in the eye of the holy Ghost, as not seeing, and, in that state, incapable of it. But,
This part of the promise respects a positive change to be produced in the sinners understanding, the leading, and most noble power of the mind; the avenue through which all spiritual light, saving discoveries, distinguishing knowlege, enter; evident from the repeated testimony of inspiration: "The commandment of the Lord is pure (says "the Psalmist) enlightening the eyes," Psal. xix. 8. speaking of the Gentles, our Lord said unto the apostle, "I send thee now, to open their eyes, and "turn them from darkness to light," Acts xxvi. 18. And, as a necessary prerequisite to men's E 4 having having i'iving uptakiggsof thegospel, PaSlmentioos "the eyes os their understanding being enlightened," Eph. i. 18. Whether as to the law or the gospel, this promise, illustrated by such other scriptures, sums to insinuate, that, saith is properly and immediately seated in the understanding.
In the enjoyment of this promise, the eyes of sinners shall be opened as to themselves: they shall • see thtir natural and practical guilt, their original and actual sin, their total depravity, universal corruption, and absolute disconformity to the image of God: they shall see the true demerit of their characters, as guilty sinners; rendering them obnoxiJb ous to the divine displeasure, exposing them, soul ?' and body, for time and eternity, to the wrath of Cod: they shall see, not only that they are unworthy of any savour, but thait they justly deserve every frown: shall see, that they cannot deliver or rescue their own souls, cannot better their covenant state, cannot appease the divine wrath, nor % acquire and procure the divine absolution; and see, that, they are spiritually, as well as legally dead; and that, as they have destroyed, so, they can do nothing but destroy themselves. This much seems implied in what Paul saw of himself, after the grace of this promise took hold of his heart; " When "the commandment came, sin revived and I died," Rom. vii. 9.
Under the insluence of this promise, their eyes st'all likeways be opened, with respect unto God. They shall see God as absolute, and shall see him as gracious: as absolute, sinners shall see him, in the demands, penalty, threatenings and curses of the law; see him as aDgry with them, speaking words os terror to them, pouring wrath upon them, and pointing the sword of justice against them; because oi their breach ot his law, and disconformity to it, in