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and death on the cross; and that he cannot rely upon that atonement without renouncing his self dependence and self righteousness. This way of salvation is perfectly plain, and approves itself to every man's understanding and conscience; but no man can embrace it, without deep humiliation, self abasement, self condemnation, and unreserved submission to the absolute sovereignty of God. There is nothing that prevents sinners under the gospel from knowing what they must do to be saved, but the mere blindness of their hearts; and there is nothing which prevents their doing what will entitle them to eternal life, but the obstinacy of their hearts. They will not come to Christ that they might have life. They had rather rely upon their own righteousness, than to rely upon the atonement of Christ. They hate God and Christ, and love death; and death must be their doom, unless God in sovereign mercy both sanctifies and pardons them. God has done this for all that have been justified, and he will do this for all whom he has given to Christ.
THE SPECIAL AND IRRESISTIBLE GRACE OF GOD IN
THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.
PSALM CX, 3.
The great scheme of our redemption was concerted by the sacred Trinity, before the foundation of the world. The Father and Son mutually agreed, in the counsels of eternity, to perform distinct parts in carrying into execution this gracious design. The Son engaged to become incarnate, and lay down his life in the room of sinners. And the Father engaged to give the Son a certain number of the human race, as a reward for his sufferings and death. It is, therefore, in reference to this original covenant between the Father and the Son, that the former says to the latter in the text, “ Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” These words naturally suggest this plain truth for our present consideration :
That God is able, by an act of his power, to make those willing to be saved, whom he has given to Christ.
In illustrating this subject, I shall endeavor to make it appear,
I. That God has given a certain number of mankind to Christ.
II. That they are naturally unwilling to be saved. And yet,
III. That God is able, by an act of his power, to make them willing
I. I am to make it appear that God has given a certain number of mankind to Christ. VOL. V.
The evangelical prophet, speaking of the suffering Saviour, expressly declares, “ It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Agreeably to this and to other similar promises, Christ himself declares in the tenth of John, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my
Father's hand.” For these, in distinction from others, Christ prayed in particular, just before his death. “And now, O Father, glorify
O thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men thou gavest me out of the world ; thine they were, and thou gavest them me." “ I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.” « Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am.” This portion of mankind the apostle Paul often mentions, under various appellations. He calls them the fulness of Christ, the body of Christ, and the members of Christ. He represents them as originally predestinated to perfect holiness and future glory. “We know," says he,“ that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Such is the united testimony of the inspired writers, that the Father hath given the Son à certain number of our fallen race, who shall be made holy in this life, and happy in the next. This leads me to show,
II. That these persons, like the rest of mankind, are naturally unwilling to be saved.
The text clearly conveys this idea. “ Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” This mode of expression plainly implies that, antecedent to the day of divine power, the people of Christ are unwilling to be saved. . And this will more clearly appear, if we consider,
1. That they are naturally enemies to Christ. They are represented under this character in the context. “ The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And again, “ Rule thou in the