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Further; it is contrary to the express declaration of the word, Rom. xi. 5, 6; where we are exprefly taught, that the divine choice proceeds upon grace, in opposition to every notion of worthiness or desert whatever. We have not the liberty here, even of halving the matter, or adding the least grain of the one to the other, for even this cannot be done without destroying both. To say therefore, that the divine choice is of grace, and yet to maintain that it has respect to works, under any forın or notion that they can be conceived of, is to affert, in Paul's estimation, the most glaring contradiction that can poffibly be thought of. We can compare it to nothing more fitly than an attempt to prove that darkness is the cause of light.
Moreover, it has been said that election is founded upon a foreknowledge of our love. But the carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not fube ject to the law of God, neither indeed can be ; fo that naturally we have no love to God in us : nor can we have any love to God's true character, until the sovereign, preventing grace of God turn us from darkness to light; for till then, we are totally ignorant of the divine beauty, Paul sets the matter in its true light, Eph. ii. 4, 5, But God, who is rich in mercy, for HIS GREAT LOVE wherewith He loved us, &c. And another Scripture faith, Herein is love ; NOT THAT WE LOVED God, but that HE LOVED US; and we love Him, BECAUSE HE FIRST loved us. So that it would seem, if credit is to be given to God's word, that the notion of foreseen love in us being the cause or medium of God's love to us, is a mere human fabrication, and without the fhadow of foundation in the Scriptures.
Lastly, Lastly, Others, who admit the eternal purpose and deny either foreseen works or foreseen love to be the cause of it, nevertheless maintain, that it was formed upon the foreknowledge of our faith or believing. But the full force of this notion is invalidated by this single consideration, that faith comes as much of God's good pleasure and sovereign favor, as the eternal purpose itfelf. Divine faith is what no man naturally posfesses ; for we are all in unbelief. Faith is of the operation of God; the verse which declares salvation to be of grace, shews that faith is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. And the perfon who receives this precious favor, can no more account for its being given to him, in the behalf of Chrif, to believe in his name ; than he can tell whence the wind cometh, or whither it goeth. For however firmly a person may have believed what he imagined was the Gospel of Christ; when he truly knows, through divine teaching, what the Gospel is, he will plainly discover that the Lord was found of him who fought not after him.
From this brief view of the eternal purpose of grace, it appears that divine fovereignty, ; wisdom, justice, and goodness, are united in the blessed decree of him whose counsel ball stand, and who will do all his pleasure i and though many have been more concerned about the creature's liberty, left it should be infringed, than Jehovah's sovereignty, left it should be limited; yet divine wisdom fo directs the accomplishment of his purpose, that his chosen people are made willing in the day of his power ; while all who eventually perish, do so with the utmost freedom of will; they choose what their delight centres in ; they love darknefs-rather than light.
To conclude ; sovereignty is effential to Deity. Sovereignty, directed by unerring wisdom, is the rule of ALL Jehovah's proceedings. The original cause of salvation, is the self-moved purpose of divine grace; and the only cause of any finner's damnation, is his own voluntary wickednefs, and unprovoked rebellion against God.
PREDICTIONS RESPECTING CHRIST,
The history of our Lord, as related by the evangelists, certainly shews that the writers eia ther well knew, or were well instructed, how to describe a most extraordinary person. Amongst all the characters which other histories have handed down to us as great and good, where is the 'one from whom the New Testament writers have borrowed ? where is the one from whom Jesus does not stand completely diftinguished ? And how far out of the conception even of the wiser and better part of men, was the person to whom the prophecies pointed, we learn from the perverted, but univerfally received, fense which the Jews put upon thofe writings. Among various circumstances characteristic of THE CHRIST, furnished alike by the prediction and the narrative; his birth, death, resurrection, and ascension, are so altogether wonderful, grand, and peculiar, as to deserve particular notice.
The miraculous birth of Jesus is related in the Gospel history, inasmuch as he is there described to have been born of a pure virgin. And this
strange event was, by the prophet Isaiah, feveral hundred years before, as plainly foretold, as it was afterwards declared to have happened by Matthew, who also refers to the prophet's words as receiving their fulfilment in the Son of Mary, Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a fon.
His death, and the concomitant circumstances, are fpoken of in numberless paffages of the Old Testament. Isaiah declared that he should pour out his foul unto death; thus directing us to the offering which Jesus was to make, and informing us that it should be voluntary on his part. That it should be effected by violent means, was fpecified by Zechariah, who hath represented God as delivering him up, in these words, Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, faith the LORD of Hofts. Daniel also declared that the Meffah should be cut off, but not for himself; and the prophetic defcription by David is still more particular, extending even to the piercing his hands and feet. In many Scriptures, the things which accompanied and aggravated his last sufferings, are told with accurate precision : such as the price paid to Judas for betraying him, and the purpose to which it was applied; that he hid not his face from fame and spitting, but gave his back to the fmiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair ; the expreffions and gestures, whereby he was insulted when on the cross; the parting his garments, and casting lots upon his vefture ; the giving him gall for meat, and vinegar to drink.
All these are included in the account of his last sufferings, given by the Evangelists, and are also written in the psalms and in the prophets concerning him.
In as clear terms also was his resurrection from the dead, (that great fact, which the Evangelists
relate, and which the twelve so boldly testified to the nations) mentioned by the Píalmist; who in the person of Christ, spoke unto the Father, in full assurance of that glorious event, saying, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.
Lastly, David hath also foretold his ascension to the right hand of God, where in after ages the apostles testified that he had fat down. He addressed Christ in these words, Thou hast afcended up on high. Again he faith, The LORD suid unto my Lord, fit thou on my right hand : and when in the language of joy and triumph, he shouted Lift up your heads, Oye gates ; even lift them up, ge everlasting doors ; and the King of Glory fall come in : of whom spake he, but of Christ, who is indeed the King of glory, and the LORD strong and mighty; had for a while left the celestial mansions, and emptied himself of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was; is now returning to his throne, having spoiled principalities and powers, and led captivity captive ; and as he enters heaven's wide-unfolded portals, is thus welcomed by all the Hofts of God, and hailed as the Lord mighty in battle ; even the LORD of Hofts, and the King of glory.
The above topics might be much enlarged upon, and would give ample room for useful re. flections : and the more we compare the predictions in the Old Testament with their fulfilment in the New, and seriously think upon these things ; the more we shall be persuaded, that the testin mony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.