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TO DIVINE EFFICIENCY.
which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” “ Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.—My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.”
“ Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." “ That the saying might be fulfilled which he spoke, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
Sixthly, Christians are kept and saved in consequence of Christ's intercession. A specimen of that intercession may be seen in that wonderful prayer which he offered just before he entered Gethsemane. I pray for them ; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.-Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as
While I was with them in the world I kept them in thy name. Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition.—I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil.--Sanctify them through thy truth.–For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither * John 6. 39, 40. and 10. 26–29. and 17. 2. and 18. 9.
pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word : that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also
be one in us. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one : I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thouhast loved them as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.-I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them."
Here then we see the elect given to Christ by solemn covenant, as the reward of his stipulated obedience in the work of redemption, with an absolute engagement that they should be regenerated, kept, and saved. In fulfilment of that covenant we see them actually regenerated and perseveringly sanctified by the power of God, expressly as the reward of Christ and in virtue of his intercession. Thus their incipient and continued sanctification is wrought by the power of God, in fulfilment of a solemn covenant with his Son, and in payment of a debt due to him. Surely that sanctification must be secured either by efficiency or the absolute control of motives. It cannot be left to the casual operation of the self-determining power, under excitements which many resist. And yet the opposite theory represents God as merely foreseeing that the self-determining power would begin and finish the
* John 17. 9–26.
work if he brought forward such means: and his only decision respecting the whole concern was, to bring forward the means. He has nothing to do with decreeing or producing or even occasioning these effects, only as he presents the means with a foreknowledge of the issue. After the means are applied to both classes alike, they themselves produce the only difference which exists between them. And now, when the Bible is filled with such representations as have been produced, does it all end in this, that the Father's decree and covenant with his Son were only to send to both classes alike the means of grace and the illuminating Spirit? Then they were not two classes except in the mere foreknowledge of God.
I have now finished the Scripture testimony to divine efficiency. I by no means suppose that I have found all the texts. Many which I have found have been cast, or will be cast, into other chapters to support related branches of the subject. But in this single chapter near three hundred texts are arrayed in direct support of the main point. Such a current of proof runs not through the Bible in support of any other doctrine, except what relates to the perfections and government of God, the depravity of men, the mediation of Christ, and eternal retributions. Nor could any language be more explicit. And lest one form of expression should be explained away as figurative, numerous forms are used, which go to explain and confirm each other. Nor, when we have spoken of the number of texts, have we said half. The relations among the various parts of this great system, which the texts explicitly support, and which cannot stand together if any of them are changed, are altogether more decisive than the number of texts. In short, if the doctrine of divine efficiency is not revealed in the Bible, I know not in what language it could have been revealed. Nor is there a text in the whole range of revelation which contradicts it.
And after all, will you come forward and say, I can look far enough into the secrets of nature to see that divine efficiency cannot comport with human freedom? Dare you say this in the face of several hundred texts, as explicit as any language can furnish, and supporting relations which are inseparably jointed together! These are the real parties to the question : several hundred texts arrayed against your assumption, and your assumption against several hundred texts.
And which ought to prevail, let God and the universe decide.
To me it appears as impossible for God to make a being who shall act independently of him, as to make a being who for the future shall be self-existent. He can make beings whose actions shall be completely their own, so as to deserve praise or blame ; because moral good and evil do not lie in originating but in performing. This notion of communicated independence has been extended even to matter. Boyle and Lord Kames thought it more creditable to the Author of nature to suppose that he made the material universe to go alone; that he gave
powers which remained after he withdrew his hand,--powers which, in their continuance, were caused by him and not caused by him, -caused by him in being given at first as permanent powers, and not made permanent by his continued action. This supposes that God at twelve o'clock could give power to a machine to go alone at one. But if he could make a thing, whether a being or a power, that would exist and act after he had withdrawn, he could make a thing which for the time to come would be self-existent ; and yet the self-existence would be communicated. A power derived from God to exist without God!