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FROM THE CALVINISTIC MAGAZINE: THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION, “ And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord : and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” Acts xiii. 48.
Q. To what were these Gentiles ordained ?
A. From the foundation of the world ; “Known unto God arc all his works from the beginning.” Acts xv. 18.
Q. How came they to believe ?
A. No. “Some raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coast.”
Q. How many believed ?
« But we are bound to give thanks unto God alway for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth.” II. Thess. ii. 13.
Q. Who had chosen these Thessalonians ?
A. “ Through the sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth.”
Q. When had he chosen them?
A. Far from it; for, he felt "bound to give thanks to God always because” of it.
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up : and as his custom was he went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias : and, when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is. upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised ; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue,
were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is the scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bear him witness, and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, is not this Joseph's son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself : whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in the country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, when great samine was throughout all the land : bat unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Serepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleanscd, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the bill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. Luke iv, 16–29.
Q. Were these people pleased with the first part of this discourse of our Saviour?
A. They were very highly pleased. The eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.' And all bear him witness, and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out ol his mouth.'
Q. What was it that displeased them so highly?
A. The news of the favours Christ had to bestow; relief for the broken-hearted, deliverance for the captive, sight for the blind, &c. The worst of men are willing to hear of favours to be besto ved on them.
Q. What works had Christ been performing in Capernaum.
A. He had healed the sick, and caused the lame to walk, the blind to sce, and the deaf to hear.
Q. What was implied in the language of thesc people of Nazareth, when they said to him, “ Whatsoever things we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.”
A. Their meaning was this, · We have as much claim on you 101 miraculous favours, as the people of Capernaum had, and unless you do as much for us as you have done for them, your conduct will be partial and unjust."
Q. Had the people of Capernaum any claim on Christ for these favours ?
A. None; they had no more claim than the people of Nazareth, If Christ wrought miracles at either place, it was of his own sel moving goodness, and not because the inhabitants had any right to demand them.
Q. How did he reply to their suggestion.
A. He at once held up before them the doctrine of God's unqualified sovereignty, who has a right to do what he will with his owr, and to give or withhold his favours as he chooses.
Q. How did the case which he mentions, of the widows in Israel, illustrate the divine sovereignty.
A. There was great famine throughout the land. Elias was sent by Jehovah to a widow of Sidon, whose wliole stock of provision was reduced to a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruise. He was divinely commissioned to assure her that the meal should not waste, nor the oil fail until the day that the Lord should send rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. J. Kings, xvii. 3–16.
Now observe that during the same famine,' there were many widows in Israel,' who needed assistance, doubtless, as much as this widow of Sidon, and who had as strong claims for this miraculous aid as she; for in truth, neither she nor they had any claim on God at all. God had power to send assistance to all ; he had a right to send it to one, or to all, or to none, just as he pleased. In his adorable sovereignty, he sent assistance to the widow of Sidon, and to none of the widows of Israel.
Q. How did the case of Naaman illustrate the divine soverignty?.
A. Naaman the Syrian was a leper; he was miraculously healed; but at the same time, there were many lepers in Israel who were not healed. They needed healing as much as Naaman. 'They had as much claim on the Lord as he had. God had power to heal them all. He had a right to heal one, or all, or none, just as he saw best. In his wonderful sovereignty, he healed Naaman, and the lepers of Israel were not healed.
Q. What was the character of these people of Nazareth whom Christ addressed?
A. They were very ungodly people.
Q. Did they like the doctrine of God's absolute sovereignty, . which Christ preached to them?
A. Far from it. They hated it most bitterly, and gave decided proofs of their hatred. All they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.' , Q. Is the doctrine of God's sovereignty offensive to those whose hearts are holy?
A. Not at all. Jesus Christ, whose heart was perfectly holys when contemplating the absolute sovereignty of God, rejoiced in the following rapturous strains : “ I thank thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes. Even so Father, for
so it seemed good in thy sight.' Matt. xi. 25, 26. Here the Lord Jesus thanks the Father for doing that which the opposers of divine sovereignty complain of as partial and unjust.
Q. Is human nature the same now, that it was when Christ preached at Nazareth?
A. Certainly it is. Solomon tell us that 'As in water, face answereth to sace, so the heart of man to man.'
Q. Is it strange, that the doctrine of God's sovereignty, which was so violently opposed when Christ preached, should still be violently opposed in our sinful world?
* A. Not at all. Solomon tells us that “ The thing that hath been, is that which shall be, and there is no new thing under the sun."
And dwelt on earth a child of woe,
Of heavenly love around him glow:
The hall, the blind, compos d his train,
Or sought liis aid in vain.
He spoke, and lo! the palsied limb,
A new, and youthful vigour feels;
His touch the deaf man's ear unseals :
Like harts the lame were taught to leap;
And grief forgat to wecp.
Exalted now at God's right hand,
In heav'n the gentle Saviour reigns;
That holy flame on carth remains;
In Jesus' steps delight 1o tread;
The tears their Brethren slied.
But chief, when o'er the mourner's soul
The shades of doubt and anguish meet,
And guides him to the Saviour's feet:
To Christ-the Word, the Light, the Way-
That we might live for aye.
O Lord! in this cold heart of mine
Awake that bright, that sacred fire ;
My every act and word inspire !
To join the blissful choirs above;
And ev'ry thought, is love!
THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE.
SERMON. Romans I, 18.–For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
It appears to be the principal design of the Apostle in this Epistle, to unfold the scheme of salvation revealed in the gospel. And as this scheme took its rise from the guilty and perishing state of mankind, so it could not be clearly unfolded, without giving a true description of the character and condition of both Jews and Gentiles by nature. This description begins with our text, and continues to the end of this chapter, and almost to the end of the next. In the words I have read, the Apostle represents the feelings of God towards sinners, and the ground of his feelings. He says, “ The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The sense of this passage may be comprised in this general observation:
That God has manifested his displeasure at the criminality of sinners. I shall,
I. Shew in what the criminality of sinners essentially consists. And,
II. Shew how God has manifested his displeasure against it.
I. Let us consider in what the criminality of sinners essentially consists. According to the representation in the text, all their criminality is comprehended in their ungodliness and unrighteousness. By ungodliness, we are to understand all their evil exercises and conduct towards God; and by their unrighteousness, all their evil exercises and conduct towards men. But the question before us, is, in what consists the criminality of ungodliness, unrighteousness, or anything else in sinners? The last clause of the text leads us to the only proper answer to this question: “Who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The wrath of God is pointed against sinners, because they hold the truth in unrighteousness.That is, because they oppose the truth, or feel and act contrary to the light, which they have in their own minds. As all duty consists in feeling and acting agreeably to light, so all sin must consist in feeling and acting against light. When any moral agent freely and voluntarily acts up to all the light he has, he does his duty; but when