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grace. This matchless favour, far from being satisfied with laying the foundation, rears the superstructure also: it not only settles the preliminaries, but executes the very business itself. The Pharisee in the parable made his acknowledgments to preventing and assisting grace: for, God, I thank thee, was his language. It is evident, however, that his views of grace were very contracted, and his hopes arising from it very deceitful. Would we then view grace as reigning, we must consider it as the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of our salvation; that the unrivalled honour of that greatest of all works, may be given to the God of all grace. .
Having taken this general view of reigning grace, I would now ask, What think you, reader, of this wonderful favour? Is it worthy of God? Is it suitable to your case? Or, know you not, that you are by nature under the guilt and dominion of sin ? Of sin, that dreadful sovereign; of sin, that worst of tyrants. Sin reigns, says the apostle, and the end of its reign, where the sovereignty of grace does not interpose, is eternal death. Can you sleep away your time, and dream of being finally happy, while under the power of so malignant a sovereign Shall the toys and trifles of a transitory world amuse, when your soul, your immorta! All, is at stake? If so, how lamentable your condition ! how dreadful your state! Awake! arise! Bow the knee to divine grace, O stubborn rebel! while she holds out the golden sceptre of pardon and of peace.-Acknowledge her supremacy, submit to her govern. ment, before justice ascend the throne and vengeance launch her bolts. For then an eternal bar will lie against every application for mercy, though arising from the most pressing want.
Or, if awake in your conscience, do you think it possible to effect your own deliverance ? Alas! you are entirely without strength to perform any such thing; and grace was never intended as an auxiliary to help the weak, but well-disposed, to save themselves. The mercy of God and the gospel of Christ, were never designed to assist and reward the righteous, but to relieve the miserable and save the desperate—to deliver those who have no other assistance, nor any other hope. Were you acquainted with your abject vassalage, were you convinced by the Spirit of truth, that there is no possible way of escape, but by reigning grace; then would you cry for help, and then the relief that grace affords would be all your salvation and all
If, on the other hand, you are burdened with sin and harassed by clamorous fears of being cast into hell; if, sensible of your native depravity, the multiplied iniquities of your life, the many shameful defects attending your best services, and your present absolute unworthiness, you are ready to sink in despondency; O remember! that Grace has erected her throne. This forbids despair. For her wonderful throne is erected, not on the ruins of justice, not on the dishonour of the law; but on the blood of the Lamb. The inconceivably perfect obedience, and the infinitely meritorious death of the Son of God form its mighty basis. Here Grace is hig exalted; here grace appears in state, dispensing her favours, and showing her glory. To such a benevolent and condescending sovereign, the basest may have free access. By such a powerful sovereign, the most various, multiplied, and pressing wants, may be relieved with the utmost ease
and the greatest alacrity. Remember, disconsolate soul, that the name, the nature, the office of GRACE ENTHRONED, loudly attest, that the greatest unwor. thiness and the most profligate crimes, are no bar to the sinner in coming to Christ for salvation; in looking to sovereign favour for all that he wants. Nay, they demonstrate, that the unworthy and sinful are the only persons with whom grace is at all concerned. This is amazing! this is delightful!
Ho! all ye children of want and sons of wretchedness! hither ye may come with the utmost freedom. Be it known to you, be it never forgotten by you, that JEHOVAH considered your indigent case, and designed your complete relief, when he erected this wonderful throne. Your names are not omitted in the heavenly grant: nay ye are the only persons who are blessed with a.right of access to this mercy-seat. Did sinners more generally know their state, and the glorious nature of grace, as exalted in majesty, how would the throne of this mighty sovereign be crowded ! crowded, not by persons adorned with fine accomplishments, but with the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind. With longing hearts and uplifted hands, big with expectation and sure of success, they would throng her courts. Thither they would flee, as a cloud for number, and as doves for speed, for there is provision made to supply all their wants. As persons of all ranks and of every character, are equally destitute of any righteous or valid plea for admission into the eternal kingdom ; so, feeling their want of spiritual blessings, they have equally free access to this munificent sovereign, and the same ground to expect complete relief. Here, and
in this respect, there is no difference between the devout professor, and the abandoned profligate, the chaste virgin and the infamous prostitute. For, being all criminals, and under the same condemnation, they have not the smallest gleam of hope, except what shines upon them in that compassionate proclamation which is issued from the throne of grace by the eternal Sovereign. Isa. Iv. 1, 2, 3.Matt. xi. 28. John vi. 37, and vii. 57. Rev. xvii. 17. But as that proclamation is expressive of the freest favour and the richest grace, including offenders of the worst characters, publishing pardon for sins of the deepest dye, and all ratified by veracity itself; it affords , sufficient encouragement to the vilest wretch that lives, who is willing to owe his all to divine bounty, without hesitation to receive the heavenly blessing, and with gratitude to rejoice in the royal donation. “ Yes, thine it is, 0 Sovereign Grace! to raise the poor from the dunghill, and the needy out of the dust. Thine it is, to set them on thrones of glory, and to number them among the princes of heaven.” Remember this, my soul, and be this thy comfort: and may the Lord enable both the author and the reader, to see eye to eye, the riches of Reigning Grace!
Having endeavoured to show, how grace reigns in our salvation in general, I shall now proceed, in the following chapters, to make it appear that
grace reigns more particularly, in our election-callingpardon-justification--adoption--sunctification-and perseverance in the faith to eternal life. These are so many essential branches of our salvation; and in the vouchsafement of these capital blessings, grace reigns, manifesting an authority and exerting a power truly divine and infinitely glorious.
AMONG the various blessings which flow from sovereign goodness, and are dispensed by reigning grace, that of election deservedly claims our first regard. It was in the decree of election that the grace of our infinite Sovereign did first appear, in choosing Christ as the head, and in him, as his members, all that should ever be saved. Election, therefore, is the first link in the golden chain of our salvation, and the corner-stone of the amazing fabric of human happiness.
As JEHow AH is the former of universal nature, the supporter and Governor of all worlds; and as it is not consistent with the perfection of an infinite Agent to act without the highest and noblest design; so the adored Creator, before he imparted existence, or time commenced, proposed and appointed an end worthy of Himself in all he determined to do. This was his own glory. This was his grand design in all the various ranks of existence to which his almighty fiat gave birth. Not a single creature in the vast scale of dependent being, but is connected with this as its ultimate end. The loftiest seraph that surrounds the throne, and the meanest insect that crawls in the dust, have the same original Parent, and are designed in different ways, to answer the