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in itself; and upon discovering that they are, the believing souł may, from these undoubted fruits, be assured of his Election. And it frequently happens, that God favours his chosen people with the ravishments of his most beneficent love, that while they are inebriated with those spiritual and unspeakable delights, which earthly souls can neither conceive nor relish, they are no less persuaded of their Election, than if they had seen their names written by the very hand of God himself.'." These things make them, with exultation, cry out to their infernal enemies, who in vain resist their faith, « know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself," Psal. iv. 3. Especially if, what then is not usually wanting, the internal witness of the Spirit to their adoption is superadded, of which in Rom. vii. 16. and which is by way of seal, Eph. i. 13. But there will be occasion to speak of this hereafter.
XXIX. And it is the interest of believers to endeavour earnestly after this assurance of their Election. For, 1st. It is not possible they should have a life of joy and exultation in the Lord while they are ignorant of this. They may, no doubt, happily fall asleep in the Lord, and through death, reach to eternal life, though they are not assured of their Election. For our salvation depends not on this full assurance of faith: but on our union and communion with Christ, which may remain safe and secure without that. But a man who' has his salvation at heart as he ought, cannot live in secure joy, so long as he doubts of his Election. 2dly. Nor does this assurance greatly contribute to oun joy only, but also very much to the glory of God For then it is, that we properly value the riches of divine love, and are sweetly swallowed up in the immense ocean of his goodness, when we ascend in our minds, and in our praises, to the original fountain of all grace; and in imitation of Paul, celebrate his free love, by which " he hath chosen us in Christ Jesus, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,” Eph. i. 6. 3dly. Nay this certainty of the Election, which we preach, likewise promotes the carefui study of piety, and kindles a fervent zeal therein ; so far is it from opening a wide door to ungodliness and carnal security; which none è dare assert, but they who are ignorant of the good ways of God, or malignant perverters of them.
XXX. Here then is the meditation of one who is thus fully persuaded, and this is his language to his God, “ Didst “ thou, O Lord, from eternity, entertain thoughts of glorifying
“ me, a miserable wretch, who am less than nothing; and “ shall I not again carry thee for ever in my eyes, and always “ in my bosom? shall I not delight in meditating on thee? “ shall I not cry out, hore precious also are thy thoughts unto “ me, O God! how great is the sum of them! Psal. cxxxix. “ 17. Shall I not, with the most sincere repentance, bewail “ that time, in which so many hours, days, weeks, months, " and years, have passed over my head, without one single
holy and pleasing thought of thee? Didet thou, out of mere “ love, choose me to salvation ? And shall not I again choose “ thee for my Lord, my king, my husband, for the portion “ of my soul, for my chief, or rather mv only delight ? Didst “ thou choose me from among so many others who being “ left to themselves, have eternal destruction abiding them? “And shall not I exert myself to the utmost, to excel others “ in love, in thy worship, and in all the duties of holiness? “ Didst thou predestinate me to holiness, which is so 'amiable “ in itself, and so necessary for me, that without it there 6. can be no salvation ? And shall not I walk therein ? Shall “I presume to cavil with thee, thou brightest teacher of truth; that separating the end from the means, I should securely promise myself the end, as being predestinated “thereto, in a neglect of the means, to which I was no less “predestinated ? Is thy purpose concerning my salvation, “ fixed and unchangeable ? And shall I change every hour; at
one time, giving my service to thee, and another time to " the devil ? Shall I not rather cleave, to thee with such a sa firm purpose, as sooner to choose a thousand deaths rather “ than perfidiously forsake thee? Shall I not be sted fast, “ immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, 4 for as much as I know, my labour shall not be in vain in " the Lord! 1 Cor. xv. 58. Wilt thou by thy Spirit, assure "'me of thy love, which passeth all understanding? And I not o love thee again with all my heart, all my mind, and all my “ strength i Wilt thou give me the assurance of my salva« tion ? And shall not I, having this hope, purify myself as " thou art pure po 1 John - Hi.R. Who, that understands these things, can deny, that the doctrine of Election, as we have explained it; affords ample matter to a pious soul for these and such like meditations ? And who also can depy that in the practice of these meditations consists the very kernel of piety and holiness ?
gan Of Effectuel Calling Tur first immediate fruit of eternal election, and the principal act of God by which appointed salvation is applied, is Efectual Callinge Of wbich the apostle, Rom. viii. 30.
Whom he did predeştiņate them he also called.” And this calling is that act by which those, who are chosen by God, and redeemed by Christ, are sweetly invited, and effectually brought from a state of sip to a state of communion with God in Christ, both externally and interpally.
II. The term from which they are called, is a state of sin and misery, in which all men are involved, ever since the sin of our first parents; “having the upderstanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart," Eph. iv. 18. For we are brought to such a pass, that we are wholly excluded from the saving communion of God and Christ. Being sunk in the deep gulf of miserys and having lost all notion of true happiness, we wallow in the mire of the wickedness and vanities of this world without end and without measure, and are enslaved to the devil, to whom we have submitted as conquered captives, for all bave, sinped and come sbart of the glory of God," Rom. z. 93 But out of this darkness of ignorance, sin, and misery,God call eth us upto bis marvellous light, 1 Pet. ü. 9. and delivers us from this present evil world, Gal i. 4. And we are never to forget qur former state remember that at that time: ye were without Christ, being alieps from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world," Eph. i. 12. The meditation of this tends to bumble us the more deeply þefore God, who calleth us, the more to prize the riches of his glorious grace, and the more to quicken, us to walk worthy of our calling, and of God, by whom we are called., .
II. The term to which we are called, is Christ, and come munion with him. For this he calls out, Isa. xlv. 22. $ Look to me," or, Incline yourselves to me, " and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." In this communion with Christ consists that mystical and most delightful
, marriage of the elect soul with Christ, to which he invites him with all the allurements of his gospel, and whose exalted nuptial song Solomon sung; « Wisdom hath builded her house. --- She hath sent forth her maidens, she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Turg in
hither ; come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I.. have mingled,” Prov. ix. 125.
IV. From this communion results the communication of all the benefits of Christ, both in grace and in glory, to which we are likewise called. “ Hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Io. cline your ear and come unto me; hear and your
soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David,” Isa. lv. 2, 3. Thus he calleth us to his kingdom and glory, 1. Thess. ö. 12. - V. And since Christ cannot be separated from his father and bis Spirit, we are at the same time called to the communion of the undivided Trinity." That our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ," i John i. . to which Paul joins the communion of the Holy Ghost, 2 Cor. xiii. 14. And it is the very top of our happiness, to axult in God as ours, and sing aloud to bim, My God, while he himself calls to us, My people, Hos. ii. 23.
VI. Moreover, as all the elect are partakers of one and the same grace, they are all likewise called to mutual communion with one another, “ that ye also may have fellowship with us, 1 John i. 3. Believers of the New Testament with those of the Old; the Gentiles with the Jews, being all of the same body, Eph. iii. 6. in Christ, who hath made both one, Eph. ü. 14. Nay, those on earth with those in beaven ; « For all things are gathered together in one in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth: even in hiin, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance," Eph, i, 10, 11. And this is that blessed state to which, by the holy and heavenly calling, we are invited, namely, communion with Christ, and by bim with the undivided Trinity, and consequently with all the saints, both militant and triumphadly not even exceptiog the praising assembly of angels, in order with them to exult in the most delightful fruition of all the blessings of God. For all who obey this call, « are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born wbich are written in beaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made pero fect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New covenant," Heb. xii, 22, 23, 24, Wbat grander things can be spoken, what more noble and divine can be conceived than these?
VII. But this calling is given, partly externally by a persuas sive power, called moral suasion partly internally, by a real supernatural efficacy, which changes the heart. The external
pall is in some measure published by the word of nature, but more fully by that of supernatural revelation, without which every word of nature would be insufficient and ineffectual
. The internal comes from the power of the Holy Spirit working inwardly on the heart, ard without this every external revealed word,
though objectively very sufficient, as it clearly discovers every thing to be known, believed, and done, yet is subjectively ineffectual, nor will ever bring any person to the communion of Christ. 19
VIII. Nature itself is not silent; but many ways calls on man to lay aside bis too eager care and pursuit of earthly things, and of this animal life, and to endeavour after the far better things of heaven and eternity. For when with attentive eyes' he surveys that glittering canopy on high, bespangled with so many constellations, and sparkling with so many stars, above which, according to the gederal belief of mankind, the throne of the supreme Being is placed, he feels a certain strong desire excited in his breast, that when he leaves this earthly dross, he may hereafter ascend on high, be admitted into the inmost recesses of nature, and received into fellowship with God. And when his thoughts pursue the several beauties of the starry heavens, he
, then takes a secret pleasure to look down with contempt on the pavements of the rich, nay, on this whole earth, with all its gold, not only that which it has already produced, but that wbich still lies concealed for the avarice of posterity. And when he further traverses the whole universe, he learns to despise the most stately porticos, ceilings inlaid with ivory, woods formed by art, and rivers conveyed home, and looking down from on high on this small terrestrial globe, a great part of which is covered with the sea, and much of what remains greatly uncultivated, many places being either scorched with heat, or frozen with cold, he thus says to himself ;.“ Is this that insignificant spot which so many nations divide among themselves by fire and sword? When thou hast been engaged in the contemplation of these things truly great, then as oft as thou shall espy armies with banners displayed, and as if some great event was in agitation, the horse now advancing to gain intelligence, again pouring forth from the flanks, you may well say, The deadly squadron marches over the plain. This is but the excursion of ants, toiling within a scanty compass. Whereas there are vastly extensive regions above, into the possession of which the soul is admitted, and thus, although it has suffered some inconvenience from the body, yet if by being content with little, it has dropt all its dross, it is now light and ready to depart: unless then I be admitted into these regions, my birth has been in vain.