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elect at Ephesus, that electing love found them dead in trespasses and sins, as sinful as others, and as much the children of wrath. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them." (Eph. ii. 1–10.) Election is a doctrine of grace; it is therefore called "the election of grace." "Even so then at this present time, also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise
grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.” (Rom. xi. 5, 6.)
VI. The elect are not chosen to salvation, without holiness and obedience, or whether they be holy and obey Christ or not. This is asserted in the passages which have been quoted.
Those who are chosen to salvation are predestinated, or ordained to be conformed to Christ. They are elected to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience. Holiness is part of the salvation to which they are elected, and they cannot be saved without it, which consists in activity and obedience. Therefore, no person can have any evidence that he is elected in any other way, but by making it evident that he is holy and obedient.
This, therefore, detects the great mistake and delusion in which they are who say, if they be elected they shall be saved, let them do what they will, and live and die in a course of allowed sin. No proposition can be more false than this. It is as contrary to the truth as it would be for a man to say, If it be appointed that I should live seven years, I shall live, though I die to-morrow. Or if it be appointed that I shall go to such a city, I shall go, though I do not go, and never move out of the place in which I now am.
This doctrine, therefore, affords no encouragement to sin, or to be indifferent and careless about holiness, obedience, and salvation ; for this is as certainly the road to hell, if continued in, as if there were none elected to salvation; and holiness and care, watchfulness and diligence, in active obedience, are as reasonable, important, and necessary, as if this doctrine were not true.
VII. The use of proper means is as necessary in order to the salvation of the elect as it would be were none elected to salvation. As none are elected to salvation, without holiness, or whether they be holy or not, because this is a contradiction, and impossible, so none can exercise holiness, and be obedient, without means; for this is as great a contradiction as the other; for it is the same as to suppose that a person may be holy and obedient, without knowledge, attention, and activity, or without holiness and obedience. Means are as necessary in order to convert and save the elect, and their persevering in holiness, as they would be if they were not elected.
This is illustrated in the story of the shipwreck of Paul and those with him. They were all elected to be saved from being lost at sea, and to arrive safe on shore. God had determined this in their favor, and revealed it to Paul, and he had published it to them who were with him in the ship. Yet when the seamen were about to leave the ship, who only had skill to manage it, “ Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” (Acts xxvii. 31.) They were elected to that salvation, and it was hereby made sure to them; but this did not render means and their activity useless, for they were elected to be saved in this way, and in no other; and, therefore, their salvation was not possible in any other way. And if the centurion had said to Paul, “ If we are elected to be saved, though the seamen leave the ship, or if we use no means to get to the land, and take no care or thought about it, and though every one of us do what he can, or what he please, to drown himself and all the rest," he would have spoken contrary to reason and truth.
And there is as much encouragement to use means for the salvation of sinners, as if there were none elected to salvation, and much more; for there would indeed be no encouragement , to use any means, or to do any thing for the salvation of any one, if none were elected to be saved; for if that were true, there would be no salvation for any. St. Paul, therefore, took his encouragement to travel round the world and preach, and and go through great labors and sufferings, from the doctrine of election, that he might be the means of saving some of the elect. He says, “ Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. ii. 10.) And the Lord Jesus Christ encouraged him to persevere in preaching at Corinth, because he had much people in that city; that is, there were many elected to salvation in that city. (Acts xviii. 9, 10.) And there would be no reason or encouragement for any person to use any means, or do any thing, in order to be saved, if none were elected to salvation.
VIII. The doctrine of election, as it has been stated, does not represent God as a respecter of persons, as some have supposed.
To have respect to persons is to regard and treat them differently, on the account of some supposed or real difference in them or their circumstances, which is no real ground or good reason of such different regard, and treatment. As when a judge regards, justifies, and rewards one, rather than another, because he is rich and the other poor, or has given him a bribe, or is a near relation of his, or his particular friend, when the other is as really worthy of regard, and his cause more just. This character of a respecter of persons belongs rather to a judge, or one who is to regard and reward others, according to their different characters, which are the real ground and a good reason of making a difference; and is not applicable to a benefactor, in his granting favors, and free, undeserved gifts to one rather than another, where there is no desert of such favor in one more than another; and the favor is not granted under any such notion or pretence. The benefactor, in this case, has a right to do what he will with his own, and bestow his gifts in such a manner, and on such persons, as will best promote his own benevolent purposes and the general good. And he who is neglected, and does not receive any favor, as he has no claim to any, has no reason to complain.
IX. No injury is done to those who are not elected, by the election of others to salvation. No one of mankind has
any desert of the least favor, but all the human race might justly have been left in a state of ruin, to be lost and miserable forever, and no injury would have been done to any. In this case, the showing favor to one, and saving him, is no injury to the other, who has no favor, and is left to perish; he deserves this as much as if none were saved, and his case is not rendered the worse, in any respect, merely because others do not suffer with him, who deserve it as much as he does; and if the actually making this difference, and saving some, and leaving others to perish, be no injury to the latter, and they have no cause to complain any more than if others perished with them, then the determination to do this, and electing some to salvation from eternity, and not electing all, is in no respect injurious to the non-elect, and is no ground of complaint. If a king pardon a certain number of those criminals who are justly condemned to be put to death, and give the rest up to be executed, they all equally deserving to die, he does no injury to the latter; they deserve to die as much, and their execution is as just, as if all were put to death. Mercy being showed to others gives them no claim to it, and they have no cause of complaint that the same undeserved favor is not showed to them. And it alters not the case, though the king had determined long before it took place to save some of the criminals VOL. II.
alive, and fixed on the individuals on whom he would bestow this favor, in distinction from the rest.
X. Salvation may be offered to all men, though only a certain number of them are chosen to salvation, and will be finally saved.
It is not necessary that all should certainly be saved, and that this should be known to be the event of making the offer of salvation to men, in order to make the offer of it to them with propriety. Men may have the offer of salvation, or of any other good thing, though they refuse to accept of it, and so never obtain it. This, it is presumed, none will deny.
Salvation may be offered to men, though it be certain and known to God, who makes the offer, that they will reject it, and so never be saved. If salvation may be offered to men, though they refuse to accept of it, and their rejecting it be not inconsistent with the offer being made; or their having the offer, then such offer may be made, though it be known and certain that they will reject it and perish; for this being known does not alter the case with respect to the offer; it is as really made, and as really rejected, as if it were not known, but it were wholly uncertain what the event would be. A rich man may offer an estate to a poor man, though he be certain that he will reject the offer, and die in poverty, as the consequence of his refusal to accept of the favor which is offered.
And if the offer of salvation may be truly and properly made, when it is known to him who makes the offer that it will be rejected, then it may be so made and rejected, though the knowledge of this imply the divine purpose and decree respecting the matter, or be founded upon it. The sinner is disposed to reject the offer of salvation, and will certainly reject it, unless his heart be renewed by the Spirit of God; but he being under no obligation to the sinner to do this in any instance, and his making the offer of salvation does not lay him under any such obligation, or infer it, he may determine not to do it, by which it is certain the sinner will not accept of it, and be saved. Notwithstanding this, the offer is really made, and the sinner really rejects it, and is as voluntary and criminal as if nothing were determined and foreknown respecting the event. Though God have power to renew every sinner's heart to whom the gospel is preached, and bring them all to embrace the gospel, and be saved, yet he has determined not to do it. And his making the offer of salvation does not impay that he will do it.
Though a rich man offer an estate to one that is poor, and it is in his power by some extraordinary means and exertions to persuade him to accept it, yet his making the offer lays him under no obligation to effect it, though he know the consequence will be his rejecting it and dying in poverty. He may have good reason not to make those extraordinary exertions, and yet be sincere in the offer, on condition he is willing to accept it; and the poor man has the estate really offered to him, and he as really rejects it, and is as foolish and criminal in doing it, and as justly suffers the evil consequence, as if the rich man knew not what would be the consequence of making the offer, - whether it would be rejected or not, - and had no power, by any means, to persuade him, and make him willing to accept of it.
It is wise and important that salvation by Christ should be offered indiscriminately to all, in the publishing and preaching of the gospel, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. It has been observed that the gospel cannot be preached to any, to whom the offer of salvation is not made upon their acceptance of it. They who will comply with the offer, or the elect who shall come to Christ, live promiscuously, intermixed with others, and are not to be distinguished by men from others until they have the gospel preached to them, and thereby salvation is offered to them, and they believe and embrace the offer. Therefore, the gospel cannot be preached to them, unless it be preached to all. And, as it may be properly preached to all, and salvation be really offered to every one, whether he will accept of it or not, and the provision made for the salvation of sinners in the gospel is as sufficient for one as another, and it is offered as a free gift to every one who believeth, or will receive it, and none can fail of salvation, and perish under the gospel, but by constantly rejecting it to the end of life, therefore, it is important and necessary that this offer should be made to all, without any distinction, in order to the salvation of any, even the elect. Besides, this is necessary in order to set in the clearest light, and even to discover, the following important truths :
i. That mankind are so fixed in their rebellion, and such obstinate opposers and enemies of God and all moral good, that they are disposed constantly, and with all their hearts, to reject mercy and salvation, though freely offered to them. Nothing is, or perhaps can be, more suited effectually to bring out and discover the exceeding wickedness and obstinacy of the heart of man than this. It is of great importance that a clear and full discovery of this should be made, in order to manisest to their consciences, and to all, the justice and propriety of the awful sentence which will be pronounced against the wicked at the last day.
2. That every one who fails of salvation under the gospel