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minations of his own will, his rule in pursuing that end, without asking leave or counsel of any creature, and without giving an account of any of his matters. It is quite agreeable, that He who is infinitely wise, and absolutely perfect, should order all things according to his own will; even things of the greatest importance, such as the complete salvation, or the eternal damnation of sinners. It is right that he should thus be Sovereign, because he is the first, the eternal Being, and the Fountain of existence. He is the Creator of all things, and they are universally dependent upon him; it is, therefore, entirely consistent with his character, that he should act as the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth.
If the objection under consideration were founded in truth, God could not exercise mercy in his own right, nor would the blessings of grace be his own to give. For that of which he may not dispose as he pleases is not his own. If not his own, he cannot make a present of it to any of his creatures, they having a claim upon it; for it is absurd to talk of giving to any one that to which he had a right in equity. But what would this objection make of God ? Must the High and Lofty One be so circumscribed in the exercise of his gracê, that he cannot manifest it at his own pleasure in bestowing his gifts? but, if he dispense them to one, must he be obliged to give them to another, or be obnoxious to the charge of partiality and cruelty? Shocking to think! The very thought is blasphemy. This impious imagination arises, absurd as it is, from the high opinion we form of ourselves, and the diminu. tive thoughts we entertain of our Maker.
But why should the objector be so much concerned about the honour of divine justice, in the conduct of God toward mankind, on supposition that he has chosen some, and rejected others ? Why should he not be as much concerned lest the glory of his Maker should suffer a stain, by the final rejection of all the angels that sinned, and fell from their first estate? Certainly there is equal, if not superior reason. Why, then, does he not plead the cause of those old apostates, those damned spirits, and quarrel with God, because he has shown more regard to fallen men than to fallen angels ? Yet he is under no pain on their account; nor does he suspect that the divine character will lose any part of its glory, because they are all, without one exception, the objects of Jehovah's eternal vengeance. But very likely he concludes that they deserve to be damned. True : and is it not so with men? If not-how shall I speak it? The law of God is unrighteous, for it denounces damnation as the desert of sin; the vicarious death of Christ was an unnecessary and shocking event; the capital parts of the Bible are unworthy of the least regard; and the distinguishing doctrines of Christianity are no better than a dream, a fable, a gross imposition on all who believe them. Without admitting this fundamental truth, that men, considered as guilty creatures, deserve to perish for ever, we can behold neither equity in the law, nor grace in the Gospel. The eternal rectitude of the great Lawgiver, and the amiable glories of the wonderful Saviour, are quite obscured, while the whole economy of redemption, as revealed in Scripture, is thrown into the utmost confusion. Consequently, the objector
has no alternative, but either to give up his point, or blaspheme his Maker.
The truth maintained may now be considered, by way of improvement, as it respects the careless sinner, and the real Christian. As it respects the careless sinner. Is this your character, reader? If so, it is happily adapted to strike your conscience, and alarm your fears; to arouse your lethargic soul, and awaken your inquiries after eternal blessedness. You have seen that it is a righteous thing with God to execute vengeance on all who are guilty; and that, if he had left all mankind to perish, none would have had any reason to complain. Now, though he has, of his mere goodness, chosen a number of the fallen race, and determined to bring them to glory, yet millions are left to suffer the awful desert of their crimes. How, then, do you know but this may be your case? Remember, thoughtless mortal! that if you be rejected of God you are lost for ever. And are you still unconcerned about your soul? Then the sentence of a broken law, and the wrath of an awful Judge abide upon you. You are in the hands of an offended God: and, shocking to think ! you are at a dreadful uncertainty what he will do with you. You are, it may be, sometimes afraid what will become of you; afraid lest you should have your portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. Yes! and be it known to you, that while you are habitually careless about your eternal interests, and a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God, you have reason to fear. Your apprehensions of eternal punishment have a real foundation. You have reason to tremble every moment: But
you will do well to remember, that though you be ever so much afraid of the final event, though your everlasting damnation be ever so dreadful, yet it is what you have deserved. Your injured Maker, and affronted Sovereign may inflict it upon you, and be righteous, and holy, and glorious in it: However dreadful it now is in your apprehension, or however intolerable it would be to you in the execution, yet, in regard to God, neither the one nor the other can render it the less righteous. You should remember, sinner, that your Maker sustains the character of a universal Sovereign, and of a righteous Judge. His honour, therefore, is deeply concerned in punishing the guilty. Though damnation be worse than the loss of being, yet you have no reason to complain of injustice; except you can form a perfect estimate of what degree of guilt attends innumerable acts of rebellion against unlimited authority; infinite majesty, and boundless perfection, and, upon a just comparison of the degree of guilt with the intenseness and duration of the punishment, pronounce them unequal. But who can tell to what an enormous height the guilt of one single act of rebellion against infinite Majesty must arise in the boundless empire of God? We may boldly affirm, that none but the Omniscient-none but he who is possessed of that peerless majesty, can solve the question. Meditate on these awful truths; and may the Lord enable, you to flee from the wrath to come! *
* Hence it appears, that as the doetrine of God's general and equal love to mankind, and the sentiment of universal redemption are too evidently calculated to lull the conscience asleep, under a false presumption of interest in the Redeemer, and of happiness by him,
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Does my reader profess to believe and embrace this divine truth ? Has he tasted that the Lord is gracious ? and is he a real Christian? This doctrine informs him whence his happiness flows, and to whom the glory is due. Hence he learns, that Grace is an absolute sovereign, that she dispenses her favours to whomsoever she pleases, without being subject to the least control. pears, maintaining her rights, and asserting her honours, with a grandeur becoming herself. Yes, reader! this doctrine presents you with GRACE ON THE THRONE ; while as a herald, with a friendly importunity, and a commanding voice, it cries in your ear, Bow THE KNEE! And as this doctrine presents you with a view of grace in its sovereign glory, so it points out the objects of eternal love as in a state of the utmost security. For who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? To know your interest in the election of grace is, therefore, a matter of great importance: and that such knowledge is attainable, is evident from that exhortation of the Holy Gost,—Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure ; sure to your own mind, and satisfactory to your own conscience. That such a persuasion, grounded on truth, is intimately connected with a Christian's peace and joy, is beyond a doubt. Nor is there any other difficulty in attaining the certainty than what attends a wellfounded persuasion of our being called by grace. Whoever has reason to conclude that he is called
where there is no evidence of love to God and his ways, so the doctrine of distinguishing grace, and of the Mediator's substitution in the stead of his chosen seed, has an obvious tendency to alarm the careless sinner, and to awaken the drowsy formalist.