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"the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the "Lord that hath mercy on thee."' What were the conditions, expressed or implied, in the covenant here spoken of, and in the other texts referred to? In these and other scriptures, those things, which are generally called conditions required of us, are expressly promised, as the gift and work of God, and engaged for in the covenant itself. Now, if this be interpreted that the covenant implies conditions; the same rule of interpretation will make the language of most Calvinists, on the everlasting covenant, to imply conditions also, and exactly in the same sense: for we do not hold that God will save any by the decree of election, in whose heart he does not, by his sanctifying Spirit, write his holy law and renew his holy image; or any (except infants,) who are not brought to repent, to believe in Christ, and to love God and man. In one view, these form a part of salvation, the gifts of special grace; in another view they are our bounden duty, which through grace we endeavour to perform.—It would throw much light on the subject, and give weight to the argument, if his Lordship would quote, from some modern Calvinist, any passage in which absolute decrees are considered as saying-, 'It is irreversibly determined by the arbitrary 'will of God, that you shall, or shall not, be saved, 'without any respect to your conduct.' When this is done, I will cordially join in reprobating the doctrine.—The divine prescience beholds us all as sinners, justly deserving condemnation;
1 Is. liv. 9,10. See also Jer. xxxi. 31—34. xxxii. 37 41
Ezek. xvi. 60—63. Heb. viii. 8—12.
and the decree to leave any to themselves, and their own wicked inclinations, to fill up the measure of their crimes, cannot be without respect to their conduct; nor (if indeed it be, as no doubt it is, just and wise,) can it be arbitrary. The decree which "chooses some to salvation, through "sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the "truth," is indeed not made for our foreseen works; for none could be foreseen but evil works, except as " the fruits of the Spirit," given to us according to this decree: our renewal to holiness, and fruitfulness in good works, are grand objects of the decree; they are effectually provided for in the covenant; and in this way alone, namely, by giving diligence, and abounding in good works, can we "make our calling and election sure." How can this be ' without any respect to our conduct?'
"The Lord hath made all things for himself; "yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." l 'The 'true meaning of this passage is, that God made 'all things to display his own glorious attributes; 'and that even wicked men, whose existence and 'frequent prosperity may seem scarcely recon'cilable with the divine perfections, will in the 'end be found to furnish the strongest proof of 'his long suffering in bearing with their iniqui'ties, and of his power and justice in punishing 'their incorrigible depravity: upon such men the 'day of evil will ultimately come: "the wicked 'is reserved to the day of destruction ;" they shall 'be brought forth to the day of wrath.'2
This interpretation is not objected to. The 1 Prov. xvi. 4. 'Ref. 227.
reader may compare it with the author's note on the same text many years since. 'The Lord" 'orders and governs all things with a view to the 'display of his own perfections, that they may be 'known and adored by his rational creatures. He 'is his own great end in all his works; and, 'though some of his creatures have apostatized 'and rebelled against him, even they, though un'designedly, aid in displaying his glory.. He is 'not the author of their wickedness; but he fore'saw it, and formed his plan with a view to it. 'Contrary to their intentions, he uses their agency 'to accomplish many of his wise and holy pur'poses. He maketh use of the malevolence of 'some wicked men to execute righteous ven'geance on o.thers; and he will be at last glorified 'by their final destruction, "in the day of wrath 'and revelation of his righteous judgment."'
God, " willing to shew his wrath, and to make "his power known, endured with much long suf"fering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruc"tion." This text, introduced by his Lordship without exposition or remark,l is, with the context, considered by the Calvinists, as of peculiar importance in the argument. The apostle- mentions "the vessels of wrathJitted for destruction,''1 and " the vessels of mercy, whom God had afore "prepared unto glory." The former axe Jitted for' destruction, in themselves, as 'born in sin and 'children of wrath,' without any further preparation, except that which their own actual wicked-' ness superadds: the latter God "hath afore "' * .. 'Ref. 227, 228.
"prepared unto glory." These also were children "of wrath even as others ;" but" God, who is rich "in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved "thenj, even when dead in sin, hath made them "alive together with Christ: by grace are they "saved." They too were " vessels of wrath fitted "for destruction;" and, had not God, of his rich mercy, ' raised them from the death of sin to the 'life of righteousness,' and, 'by a new creation,' "prepared them for glory;" they must still have remained " vessels of wrath," and have become in all respects completely " fitted for destruction;" seeing, they are constantly " treasuring up wrath "against the day of wrath." And how were they thus " afore prepared unto glory r" May we not answer, by regeneration, and "sanctification of "the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the "blood of Jesus Christ?" And why were they prepared, rather than others ?—" God hath mercy, "on whom he will have mercy." "He worketh "all things according to the counsel of his own "will."1 "God is greater than man; why dost "thou strive with him? He giveth not account of "any of his matters."2 W hatever others may think, we intreat that a humble Christian may be permitted to give the whole glory of his conversion to the free unmerited mercy and grace of God; who has made him to differ as much from his former self, as from the world around him, "which lieth in wickedness." Permit him to say, "Among whom I also had my conversation in "times past;" no better by nature, no better in practice. How then is it that I now repent, hate
1 Eph. i. 11. * Jobxxxiii. 13.
sin, long for holiness, count all but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; feel constrained by love to live to his glory, and to devote myself to his service, in "doing good to all men, "but especially to the household of faith?" Permit such an one to say; "Not to me, but to thy "name be the glory "—of converting " a vessel of "wrath, fitted for destruction," into a " vessel of "mercy, prepared afore unto glory."—This will certainly be the language of the redeemed in heaven ; why should they not be allowed to use it, without censure, while here on earth? Others, (we would say,) if they can deliberately do it, may ascribe to themselves any favourable difference, real or supposed, between them and their fellow sinners : but permit us to give God all the glory of making us to differ from the most wicked of our fallen race.—I know that here I am on strong ground: I know that thousands, who tremble at the divine decrees, or reason against them, (in great measure because they dare not approach near enough to give the subject a fair investigation ;) feel unable, in defiance of their system, to join against the Calvinists in what has now been stated. The history of their own lives, and their acquaintance with their own hearts, compel them to make this conclusion in their own case, though they argue against it in respect of others, or as a general subject. They feel that they could not be properly humble and thankful, without thinking of themselves in this manner, and speaking in this language. On their bended knees, in their most religious hours, they praise and bless God, for his rich mercy and especial grace, in the language of