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the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."

See, my brethren, how explicit, how very explicit, Scripture is upon this subject; and yet half the passages, which prove this doctrine, have not been enumerated. Indeed, it is a doctrine which runs through the whole of the Bible. Such being the fact, is it surprising that this doctrine is so clearly recognized in the standards of the Churches of the Reformation; and that they not only maintain, in general, that God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever pass; but, in particular, that he has in eternity made choice of the heirs of salvation.

comes

to

Let us look at our own [Belgic] confession of faith :t "We believe, that all the posterity of Adam, being thus fallen into perdition and ruin, by the sin of our first parents, that God then did manifest himself such as he is; that is to say, merciful and just Merciful, since he delivers and preserves from this perdition all whom he, in his eternal and unchangeable counsel of mere goodness, hath elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any respect to their works: Just, in leaving others in the fall and perdition, wherein they have involved themselves." In the canons of the Synod of Dort,‡ you may find a still more full and explicit expression of the faith of the Reformed Dutch Church on this article. With our own confession of faith, that of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, adopted by the Presbyterian, the Associate, the Associate Reformed, and Reformed Presbyterian Churches, of this country, perfectly agrees: By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others

+ Article xvi.

Westminster Confession of Faith, chap. iii. art. 1.
1 First head of doctrine.
Chap. iii. art. 3, 4, 5:

foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace."

This very same article is found in the confession of faith agreed on, by the Puritans of England, in their Synod at Savoy; and adopted by the New England Churches, met in Synod at Boston, in 1680.* The Church of England, too-although in our day the doctrine of predestination is disowned and opposed by a majority of her clergy, and her members, both in Europe and this country-still retains the memorial of her ancient purity, by suffering the seventeenth article to hold its place in her THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES OF RELIGION: "Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed, by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the

Mather's Magnalia, vol. fi. p. 160. Chap. iii. art. 8, 4. and 5.

calling they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works; and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity."

Thus have I given you, in addition to Scripture testimony, a view of the confessions of different churches, to convince you that the doctrine of predestination is a doctrine of the Reformation; and of our own confession, in particular, to convince you, that no man can with truth say, at the baptism of his child, or at any other time, I believe the doctrines of this church, without believing the doctrine of eternal, personal, and unconditional election-viz. that God has from the beginning chosen some to salvation, and to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

But, now some are ready to say, • We may eat, drink, and be merry: We may live as we please : Our destiny is inevitably fixed: And as our conduct cannot alter the eternal purposes of Jehovah, the elect will be saved, no matter how they live! The reprobate must be damned, no matter what they do!'-Nay; my brethren, do not pervert and abuse the truth. What says Scripture? What say the confessions of faith to which we have referred? Are the elect chosen to live and die, and be saved in sin? Directly the reverse! The elect are chosen to be holy; to be separate from sin, and sinners ; and to be made meet, by the grace of God, " to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."

II. But this introduces the second head of discourse; viz. the means, by which the end that God has in view, with respect to some sinners, is accomplished. Through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; whereunto he hath called you by our gospel."

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The wisdom of God has its principle exercise in making choice of the best ends, and the best means

to accomplish those ends; and in nothing, perhaps, do men display more blindness and enmity, in relation to the truth, than by overlooking the established connexion between ends and means, in the decrees of Jehovah. The system of divine decrees is not made up of ends, without any reference to the means by which those ends are to be secured: It is a system of ends, connected with means, which are suited, and, by the divine blessing, made effectual, to the accomplishment of those ends.-Has God chosen any unto salvation? This end is to be accomplished, not by suffering them to go on in sin; but by making them "willing in the day of his power, ," and "calling them with an holy calling, according to his own purpose and grace." They are chosen to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Here ends and means are beautifully connected, and the harmony between them most strikingly displayed.

But

From the beginning, from eternity, God had chosen some of the Thessalonians to salvation. how were they to be saved? The unholy, the impenitent, and unbelieving, cannot enter heaven! God, therefore, determined to give them faith, and to make them holy; and thus to save them, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.

But how shall faith and holiness be communicated to them? For this, the instrumentality of the WORD must be employed. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," "whereunto (says the text) he hath called you by our gospel." "As many (says the writer of the Acts of the Apostles) as were ordained to eternal life believed."

Such is the representation which the word of God makes of this subject. God having in eternity

*Ps. cx. 3.

2 Tim. i. 9.
Acts xiii. 48.

Rom. x. 17,

ordained some sinners to everlasting life, in dus time, and by the influence of his Holy Spirit, works faith in their hearts; and, by sanctification, prepares them for that glory, to which they were from eternity predestinated. "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."*

Here we at once detect two errors, entertained by multitudes, in relation to the doctrine of election.

1. The first error we allude to is, that faith preaedes election! There are many who assent to election; but it is an election in virtue of preceding faith and repentance. 'As soon as men believe, (say such) then they are elected, and not before!" This error is nearly allied to that which makes eternal election the result of foreseen faith, and good works. Both make the choice of God dependant on some excellence, real, or foreseen, in the creature. Now our text expressly teaches, that God's choice, so far from being influenced by any excellence in the creature, is the true cause and source of all the excellence of which the creature is ever possessed. Our text does not say, 'Because ye believe, or because it was foreseen that ye would believe, therefore hath he chosen you?' But it says expressly, Because he hath chosen you, therefore ye believe.'-He has chosen you from the beginning; and because he has so chosen you, he has called you by the gospel, and given you his Spirit, as a spirit of faith and holiness. So God himself declares, by the Prophet Jeremiah: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you." We see, then, that drawing, or effectual calling, by which men are brought to the exercise of faith and repentance, is the result of eternal electing love. Faith and re

*Rom viii. 80.

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+ Chap. xxxi. S

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