« VorigeDoorgaan »
desires and selfish hopes. The same disposition that hates the law and the gospel, that hates God and rejects his Son, that loves sin and hates holiness; opposes the doctrine of election.
2. We are taught by our subject, that the opposition which is made to the doctrine of election, is exceedingly sinful. It is always sinful to oppose the truth as it is in Jesus. And the sinfulness of that opposition rises in proportion to the malignity of the opposition, and the importance of the truth against which it is directed. But there is no truth that is opposed with greater bitterness by the carnal mind, than the truth we have now set before you. Sometimes the wicked feel when they hear it, as the murderers of Stephen felt, when they gnashed upon him with their teeth. What is this but the very spirit of the damned? Against what is all this hostility directed? Against a truth that gives the fullest and clearest view of the divine glory. Against that eternal purpose, to which must be traced the gift of a Saviourthe descent of the Holy Ghost-the offer of mercy-the existence of the church, and the happiness of heaven. No, not a drop of mercy would have ever fallen upon our desolate world, but for electing love. It is owing to this blessed and eternal purpose, that you are now out of hell. That you enjoy a day of grace, and the means of salvation, is owing to God's eternal purpose to rescue from perdition, a part of our fallen race. Not a soul would have been spared from the desolations of the fall; not a sinner would have been converted and saved; not a ransomed rebel brought home to glory; not a note of the everlasting song have vibrated on the ear; but for the eternal purpose of God to save his people. And yet, it is against this fundamental, this glorious truth, that all the enmity of the selfish mind is set in array. It is against this glorious truth-that gives ministers all their encouragement to preach, Christians all their encouragement to pray, and sinners all their encouragement to repent and believe the gospel, that the seed of the serpent spit out all their venom. O, what would become of our world, if those who hate the doctrine of election could gain the object of their wishes, and blot this day-star of hope from the sacred page! Well might we 66 cry to the rocks and
the mountains to fall upon us, and cover us from the wrath of him that sitteth on the throne." Who is prepared to bear the guilt of thus tearing away the last hope of a ruined world! O sinner, it is the hidden opposition of that rebellious heart to this precious truth, that thus levels the fatal blow! It is not for the want of an inclination to strike the doctrine of election out of being, that you have not done it, and thus defeated the purposes of redeeming mercy, and bathed heaven in tears. Are you this side eternity? We may add,
3. The doctrine of election ought to be loved.
God loves it. He takes infinite delight in contemplating the designs of eternal mercy. Christ loves it. There was an hour when his soul broke out in high expressions of joy, while contemplating this truth in the days of his incarnation: "At that time Jesus rejoiced in spirit and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that 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." The Holy Ghost loves it. With ineffable delight does he enter our world, as the great agent to carry on the designs of electing grace. All holy beings love it; and all beings, whether sinful or holy, ought to love it. They have no reason for hating it, but every possible reason for loving it.
If they are bound to love God, they are bound to love the doctrine of election. This doctrine, more than any other in the gospel method of salvation, brings God into view. He formed the purpose of saving the elect, because this was the method in which he could manifest all his perfections in the clearest, fullest manner, and in a manner calculated to awaken the attention of the universe, and fix it upon his great and amiable character. That character is perfect. Every thing that can render a being lovely and adorable, worthy of commendation and confidence, belongs to God without the shadow of imperfection in kind or degree. There are some faint resemblances of excellence in creatures; but they are the mere rays scattered from the fulness of his glory. When from this atom world, I look up, and look around me, and look every where, and every where behold the living Deity, I see perfection combined with perfection, perfection illus
trating and beautifying perfection, and cannot but feel that it is infinitely desirable that this matchless excellence should be made to appear. Every truth that illustrates it, claims my highest regard. Not to delight in the truth that illustrates it, is not to delight in God. Not to feel my obligation to love the truth that illustrates it, is not to feel my obligation to love him.
If all are bound to love what is best, they are bound to love the doctrine of election. God is infinitely wise and good, and both knows and will do what is on the whole wisest and best. As his wisdom enables him clearly to see what number and what persons it is best to save, so his goodness disposes him to desire and elect the very number and the very persons. In the designs of a perfectly wise and benevolent being, there can be nothing that is unlovely, but every thing that is lovely. God does not call upon his creatures to approve his purposes, merely because they are his; but because they are best. He has formed no purpose merely because he will form it; but because it is best. He does nothing merely because he can do it; but because it is best. In the holy sovereignty of the King of kings, there is no tyrannyno oppression-no injustice-no wanton exercise of power-no impulse of passion; but every design and every event is the result of one eternal impulse to what is best. The great plan of the divine operations is as good as it can be. It is because the eye and heart of God are fixed on the best possible results, that he is a God of electing love. This is the key to all that is inscrutable in the mystery of election. This is the thought that binds every creature in the universe to "be still and know that he is God."
Yes, beloved reader, the doctrine of election ought to be loved. You must not only believe, but love it. If you see its discriminating influence in these effusions of the Holy Spirit, you must see and adore. God is in all. "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor, and another to dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted
to destruction? And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared to glory!" The rights of the Creator are merely nominal, unless uncontrolled. If God may not "do what he will with his own," no matter how soon he abandons the supremacy of the universe. Impenitent men! you must bow to this holy dominion. What do you hope to gain by your opposition to discriminating grace? Unfriendly as these unhumbled hearts may be to its searching influence, this hostility must cease. This doctrine must be loved. To hate it, is to take the side of the wicked against the righteous. To hate it, is to take
the side of the adversary against God. take the side of hell against heaven. be forever miserable.
To hate it, is to
Do you say, "I would love it, if I were one of the elect ?" Has it then come to this? What if you are not one of the elect? Have you a right to hate it? have you a right to hate God for not arresting you in your own chosen way? Have you a right to hate God, because in the final recompense, he treats you as you deserve? Have you a right to hate God for saving others, merely because he does not save you? "Is thine eye evil, because he is good?" Do you cherish affections so selfish and malignant, that you can rejoice in no felicity incompatible with your own? Because you are not saved, would you have a world of sinners perish ? Because you will "wail and gnash your teeth," will you murmur that you cannot hear the myriads of the redeemed mingling their sighs and moans with yours? Because you will sink to hell, will you complain that you cannot behold the throne of God sinking by the side of you ? O sinner! Where are you? What spirit is this? And what is this spirit fit for, but fuel for the unquench
PUBLISHED BY THE
AMERICAN DOCTRINAL TRACT SOCIETY. PERKINS & MARVIN, AGENTS, Depository, 114, Washington Street, Boston.
THE PURIFYING INFLUENCE
NOTHING is more common among men than the hope of salvation. Some cherish this hope from one consideration, and some from another. It is reasonable, therefore, to suppose that their hopes will lead to different consequences. An apostle thus describes the hope of a real Christian and its results. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John, iii. 1, 2, 3. The design of this Tract is,
To consider some of the false hopes of mankind.
To show that the hope of a real Christian leads to sanctification.
The false hopes of mankind are various.
Some hope to be saved, merely from the consideration, that Christ died to make an atonement for sin.
There are few who do not indulge some kind of expectation of a future well-being. But if you ask the reason of such expectation, they will tell you it is by Christ. They have some indistinct idea that they are sinners, and of course some sense of their need of a Saviour; and hope, they can hardly tell why, that Christ will save them. They read that he died for sinners, and though they have no realizing sense of their guilt, or of what is necessary in order to salvation; yet, in some way or other, they believe that Christ will save them from hell, and make them forever happy.