Page images

Micaiah ; and Jehoshaphat was preserved in the battle, but Ahab was slain.

Now let men discern the difference between these two kings: Jehoshaphat relied upon the prophets of the Lord; but Ahab did not. We find in 2 Chronicles, xx chap: when the enemies in great multitudes were coming against Jehoshaphat, he sent to inquire of the Lord; and the Lord answered him by his prophet, that he should not be afraid, nor dismayed, by reason of the great multitudes; for the battle was the Lord's: and Jehoshaphat believed in the words, and said unto them, “Hear me, O Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” The chapter telleth the great deliverence the Lord worked for them that day, to cause the enemy to destroy one another, and preserved those that trusted in him.

This I have explained for the sake of the readers, who may be stumbled at these texts of scripture, in the way and manner that Lane hath brought them forward, without discerning, in the case of Ahab and Pharaoh, how they first hardened their hearts against the Lord : for Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice, to let Israel go? I know not the Lord; neither will I let Israel go.” Ahab's heart was the same: therefore the Lord gave them up to their own deceivings. And this we may find throughout the scriptures : where men refused to believe his word, they felt his power ; but concerning those that believed in the Lord, the tenor of the whole scriptures runs thus: “Turn unto me, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord : come and let us reason together, saith the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool :- If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured.”


On these conditions the scriptures stand: but the decrees of the Lord from the foundation of the world, which the Calvinists place to Election and Reprobation, in every age, is what they do not understand. They do not understand what were the decrees of the Lord in the beginning; and how the promise was made in the fall; or for what ends

Christ was said to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world~" That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” Ephesians i. 10. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye

heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise-Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Here stands the election of being chosen from ihe foundation of the world: the decrees of the Lord were fixed, that whatever arts Satan used to work in man, to rebel against God, to be at enmity against his Creator, while Satan's power remains to tempt men to sin; yet the decrees of the Lord were fixed in the beginning to cut off his power, and bring in the redemption of man; which may be seen from the promise made in the fall, and the tree of life being preserved for man.

This is the meaning of ELECTION and REPROBATION, when the Lord comes to elect man to what he created him for at firstto make him in his own image at the last; and to cast out the adversary, who was reprobated from the beginning ; being at enmity against God, he worketh in men to be the same, by tempting them to sin against him: but our Saviour said he came to seek and to save that which was lost; and by the fall man was lost : our Saviour came to take away the sin of the world : and he said that the prince of this world should be

cast out. Then will the election of man be com. pleated, and the words of the apostle be fulfilled, “ That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and on earth, even in him.

1 Timothy ii. 4, 5, 6, 7. “ Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth : for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransm for all, to be testified in due time; whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle. I speak the truth in Christ and lie not."

Here stands the election before the foundation of of the world, that Paul was preaching of, to bring in the redemption of man, when the due time was come. The first fruits of the Spirit were given to the apostles, to have some knowledge of what the end should be ; and those that were chosen and stood faithful were like the elect, to be saved; but we may discern how many fell back, that followed for a while ; but it is those that endure to the end who will be saved; and they may be called the elect of God, when they are fully redeemed by his dying blood. Then will the words of the apostle be fulfilled: Romans viji. “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, to make intercession for us " Now, when this intercession is made for all, that the redemption of man bath taken place, then it is God that justifieth : who is he that condemneth, if Christ gave himself a ransom for all, to die for the transgression of man, pitying his weakness and knowing his adversary? Who shall con. demn when his adversay is cast out? for then we shall be made one with Christ, and Christ with us; · to walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit : for then will men live in him, and he in them. But

[ocr errors]


now I ask mankind, who say they are the elect of God, can they come before the Lord and say, that all their words and deeds are justified by the Lord? If they say this, they deceive theirselves, and the truth is not in them. How can it he said, that the Lord will be clear in judging, and just in condemning, if he justify every evil in a man, because he saith he is elected to be saved; and al the same time condemn an upright man, who relies on the mercies and promises of the Lord, and the love of God which is in CHRIST JESUS, equal with those who say they are elected; and have as great faith in the merits of Christ, in giving his life a ransom for man, trusting in him for their salvation, relying upon the promises of the Lord, that whosoever come unto him that he will in no ways cast them out; that he came to seek and to save that which was lost; that his mercy extends unto all that come unto him in true faith, according to his gospel ? Now I ask mankind, what they make of the gospel, if they judge believers are to be cast out, because they believe the word of God, that he willetlı not the death of him that dieth, but rather hath pleasure in them that repent and turn? Will the Lord condemna man for a faith like this, and justify the faith if another who denies the mercies and goodness of GOD to all returning sinners? Then the scriptures must be null and void, by the way men place election. But to understand the scriptures aright, we must compare spiritual things with spiritual things, and one scripture with another; then we may understand the meaning of the apostle's words : Romans v. 18. “ Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”—So that the free gift is held out to all; but not accepted of hy all. Our Saviour said in his gospel, I come that ye might have life : but they would not come unto him, that they might have life. The invitation of our Lord, and his mercy to all returning sinners, is held out through the gospel to all them that believe: then, who is the elect, that are looking to him for salvation > All stands alike of them that believe ; but election and reprobation stand for the end ; and where we find the ELECTION spoken of in the scriptures, the REDEMPtion is also spoken of.

The first place I have discerned the ELECT mentioned is in Isaiah xlii. 1, 6. “ Behold my Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom my soul delighteth. 'I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles." Here let men discern who is the Elect, and for what covenant of the people our Saviour gave up his life for the transgression of man; but when that covenant is fulfilled, then will take place the words of the prophet, in the lxv chap. 17, 18, 19, 22. “ For behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create ; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. And my elect shall long enjoy the works of their hands.”

These are promises to be fulfilled for the ELECT in the end.

From the xlii chap. we must discern how CHRIST stands as the head of the ELECT, being chosen and set apart from eternity by God the Father to the great work of man's redemption --to set judgment in the earth, and the isles to wait for his law; and in the gospel our Saviour told his disciples, that the great work of the redemption of man would be ac


« PreviousContinue »