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gospel. His love to God and his fel-||cies come unto me, O Lord, even thy low men glowed with an inextinguish- salvation according to thy word.” Ho able ardor. The former was evinced pronounced his tenderest blessing upon by a life of sufferings and labor, while his near friends, particularly upon his his ardent love to men appeared in a children, which in the faithful provifervent zeal for their immortal interests dence of God, was singularly fulfilled. in unwearied exertions to alleviate the He then made a most affectionate prayevils and increase the blessings of hu-er for them, and slept in peace.
Mr. man society. He exhibited an exam- Mather of Dorchester, the ancestor of ple of ever active benevolence, of anthe venerable family of that name, abhorrence of error and vice, of a com-|| preached at his funeral, from the pasposure of mind, and, in all the changessage in the prophet, Your fathers, where of life, a disposition uniformly cheer- are they? the prophets, and do they live ful. Not the poor only, but all char-forever? The venerable Dr. Ames, acters received him as their friend.- so eminent for his learning and piety, Mr. Wilson exhibited some of the high-observed, “ If he could have his op ost exercises of faith. In times of con- tion of the best condition that he could cern, he always made the Lord his propose to himself, on this side heahelper, he sought his assistance with a ven, it would be that he might be the humble persevering importunity, and teacher of a congregational church of he often gained the most remarkable which Mr. Wilson should be the pas confidence in the divine interposition. tor."-Con. Evan. Mag. Several instances are mentioned of him, in which after a most humble and
THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION. earnest wrestling in prayer to God, he obtained an assurance that the object THIS world plainly appears to be of his desire would be granted, which the workmanship of a perfectly wise, never failed
till bis hope was joyfully and powerful, and benevolent being. realized. This venerable saint lived Such a being could not make such a eminently near to God. His life was a world as this, withqut having some ullife of prayer. His whole demeanortimate end in view; and that ultimato manifested a uniform and solemn sense epd must endear the world to him.of the divine presence. His beloved God must set more by the whole world Saviour was always his companion, his than any of its inhabitants set by a sopport and his fear. His life exhibit-part of it. God feels infinitely more ed a strong example of humility, self-interested in the world than the farmer denial, and those high attainments in does in his farm, or the mariner in his virtue, which adorn some of the chil-ship, or the master in his servants, or dren of Emanuel. He ever felt him- the parent in his children, or the prince self journeying to the heavenly state, in his subjects. God values the world and the impression regulated the in exact proportion to the ultimate end, whole tenor of his life. His death was which he has to answer by it. And such as might be expected from such he must have a vastly more important a life. In his last siokness, he took a end to answer by all the world, most affectionate farewell of his nu-| through all its periods of existence, merous Christian friends, assuring than any created being can have to anthem that the faithful servants of Christ swer by any created object. Hence need not fear that he would forsake his heart must be engaged to attain his them in the last trying conflict. He ultimate end in the creation of the refused to hear any commendations of world. But in order to attain any end, himself, declaring that he had ever means are necessary. God cannot atbeen an unprofitable servant : adding,tain his end in creation without the “But I must say, the Lord be merci-||proper and necessary means to attain ful to ne a sinner, let thy tepder mer- it. If therefore, God had an ultimate
and in the creation of the world, hef eternal state of mankind, he is certainmust have ordained all events from ly able to reveal his purposes. And if eternity. We have precisely the same he has revealed his purposes in his evidence of God's foreordaining all word, there we may certainly know things, as we have of his making all what they are. things If he made the world, he
Now there is no doctrine more must have had an ultimate end in ma-clearly revealed in the Bible, than the king it; that ultimate end must endear doctrine of personal election to eternal the world to him, and that endearment life. God has expressly declared, that must have led him to ordain all events, he has ordained a part, and onlŷ a part necessary to obtain his ultimate end. of mankind to future and eternal hapWe come to the knowledge of the di-piness. I will recite a few plain passavine decrees in general in the same ges to this import. Christ says, “ Maway in which we come to the knowl ny are called, but few arechosen.” Iu edge of the being and perfections of the thirteenth of the Acts, it is written, God. The light of nature, which teach- “ As many as were ordained to eternal es us that a wise, and powerful, and life believed.” Again it is written, benevolent being made us, equal-" The election hath obtained it, and ly teaches us that he determined the rest were blinded.” And the aposbefore the foundation of the world the Peter says, “This is contained in what he would do with us, and how | Seripture; behold I lay in Zion, a he would dispose of us, so as to an-chief corner stone, eleet, precious; and swer the ultimate end for which he he thąt believeth on him shall not be brought us into being. But though confounded. Unto you, therefore, the light of nature teaches us that God who believe, he is precious: but unto has foreordained whatsoever comes to them, who be disobedient, the stone pass, yet it does not teach us what he which the builders disallowed, the has ordained, until it does come to same is made the head of the corner. pass. Whatever God does, we may and a stone of stumbling, and a rock know that he interded to do; and of offence, even to them that stumble whatever his creatures do, we may at the word, being disobedient : whereknow that he intended they should do. unto also they were appointed. But So far the light of nature unfolds the ye are a chosen generation, a royal divine counsels, and no farther. It priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar leaves all men in the dark, with respect people; that ye should show forth the to the doctrine of personal election to praises of him, who called you out of eternal life. It is out of the power of darkness into his marvellous light.”. the heathen to determine whether In each of these passages, the elect God will save any, or all mankind.- are set in direct contrast with the nonAnd it is equally out of the power of elect, and are represented as ordained all other men to deter.nine this point to eternal life, in distinction from thoso by reasoning upon the character, per-| who are appointed to eternal destrucfections and works of God. As no tion. Thus God has told us, in the created beings can comprehend the most plain and unequivocal manner, wisdom, and power, and benevolence that he bas ordained a part of marof the Deity; so they cannot possibly kind to eternal life. And this is the by any mode of reasoning, discover the way, and the only way, by which we purposes which he has formed. And know, that the doctrine of personal from this it clearly follows, that there | election is certainly true. is no other way of knowing whether But it may be asked, even by those God has ordained only a part of man- who admit that the doctrine is true, kind to eternal life, than by the medi-Why God has ordained only a part of um of divine revelation. If God has mankind to elernal life? The most Sorized bis purposes respecting the easy and certain way of coming to the
proper answer to this question, is to all the human race holy, and preser mention some things which could noted them so for ever, than to suffer be the reasons of God's ordaining only them to become sinners, and then te a part of mankind to eternal life. And restore a part to holiness and happiit must be granted by all, that it was ness; through the death of Christ and not owing to want of wisdom. God the influences of the Holy Spirit. Yea, was perfectly wise from eternity. He after they had all become sinners, it knew himself; and he knew all things was as easy to omnipotence to sanctipossible. He knew how many worlds |fy and save the whole as a part. For it was best to make. He knew how by saving only a part, God has to gormany creatures it was best to create.ern and restrain the rest, who are perHe knew how many of manknid it was fectly opposed to every steji he takes best to bring into existence. And he | to save the elect. Besides he has the knew all the relations, connections and hearts of all men in his band and can circumstances, that would attend them. turn them whithersoever he pleases, And when their nature, number and with infinite ease.
Want of power, circumstances were seen, be knew therefore was no reason why he did whether it was best, that the whole, or not ordain all to eternal life. a part of them should be forever hap- It must be granted by all, that want py. He could not, therefore, ordain of worthiness in men, was not the reaa part rather than the whole of man- son of his choosing some and rejecting kind to eternal life, for want of wis- others. He saw them all equally dead dom.
in trespasses and sins, and equally opIt must be granted by all, that it was posed to all good. He saw the elect not owing to a want of benevolence as unworthy of eternal life as the nonthat God elected only a part of the hu-elect. He did not choose the elect, beman race to salvation. The same because they were holy, but he choose nevolence which prompted him to them that they might be boly. Inbring them into existence, and to give deed, there was nothing in either the his Son to die for them was great elect or non-elect themselves, which enough to save the whole. It is not was the ground or reason of his choosconceivable that the kind Parent of the ing the former, and rejecting the latter. universe should be wanting in affec-For aught that appears to the contrary, tion to his rational offspring. God the elect and the non-elect were perwas love from cternity. His affection fectly equal in themselves considered. towards mankind was infinitely strong. Both were capable of eternal happiHe viewed them in all their impor- ness; both were capable of eternal tance, through every period of their misery ; both are unworthy of eternal eternal existence, and valued their hap- || happiness; and both were deserving piness according to its worth. He had of eternal misery. no partial feelings towards the elect, The plain and important question now more than towards the non-elect. He recurs, Why did God ordain only a part had as much benevolence towards the of mankind to eternal life? And it apnon-elect, as towards the elect. He pears from what has been said, that did not, therefore, choose a particular there is but one plain and sufficient anpart of mankind to salvation for want ||swer to be given to this question. The of love to the whole, nor because he answer is this, the good of the universe was partially affected towards those requires God to ordain only a part of whom he set apart for himself. mankind to eternal life. An infinitely
It must be granted by all, that it wise and benevolent being was under was not owing to want of power, that infinite obligations to promote the highGod determined to save only a part of est good of the universe; and to ordain mankind It was as easy, or to hu-|| all things in the best manner to reach man vier much easier to have formed | this end. As God clearly saw from
eternity what would promote the high-|| holy and without blame before him in est good of the universe, so be was love: having predestinated us unto perfectly disposed to promote this the adoption of children by Jesus great and glorious design. And as he Christ unto himself, according to the saw that this design could not be an- good pleasure of his will, to the praise swered without giving up the eternal of the glory of his grace." And again happiness of some of mankind; so he he says, he preached the electing love ordained that a part and not the whole of God, “ to the intent that unto the of mankind should be saved. He pre-principalities and powers in heavenly ferred the good of the universe to the places might be known by the church good of individuals. This was a suf- | the mainfold wisdom of God, accordficient reason, why he should choose ||ing to the eternal purpose, which he some of mankind to eternal life, and purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”leave others to perish in their sins for- | The election of some of mankind to
But here, perhaps, some may eternal life was directly suited to disbe ready to ask, what is meant by the play the grace and the sovereignty and good of the universe ? The universe the manifold wisdom of God, in the consists of God and his creatures col-clearest and fullest manner, to all in. lectively considered.
telligent beings. And the clearest dis. And the good of these collectively play of these divine perfections was considered, is of more importanee, calculated to promote the highest dethan the private, personal good of agree of holiness in the intellectual sys. few, or even of inany individual crea- tem. God is the moral Sun of the more tures. But some may still ask, how | al world: and it is in his light that holy is it possibe to conceive, that the high-beings see light and feel love. There est good of the universe should be pro- is nothing, which so much tends to inmoted by God's ordaining part of|crease the holiness of creatures, as the mankind to eternal life, and leaving the clearest display of the perfections of rest to an eternal state of sin and mise- | God. And as these shine the brightry? The highest good of the universeest in the electing love of God, so this consists in the highest degree of holi-||electing love tends to raise the holiness and happiness; and it is easy toness of the moral world to the highest see, that both these may be promoted possible degree. by God's saving some and destroying 2. God's ordaining a part of manothers of the human race--For, kind to eternal life serves to promote
1. By saving only a part of mankind the greatest degree of happiness as well he can give the highest display of his as holiness, among his intelligeni creamoral perfections ; and especially of|tures. Holiness is naturally produchis justice and grace. This the apos- tive of happiness ; and of course the tle suggests as the very reason why more holy God makes his creatures, God saves some and destroys others. the more happy they must be. if the “What if God willing to show his love, the joy, the gratitude, the admiwrath and make his power known, en-ration and the praise of all the heardured with much long suffering the enly world will be increased hy the disvessels of wrath, fitted to destruction ;||play of God's electing love to the ves and that he might make known the sels of mercy; then the universal hapriches of bis glory on the vessels of piness of heaven will be greatly increamercy, which he had before prepared sed, by God's saving a part, and not unto glory ?" He gives the same rea-the whole of mankind. The sins and son for God's electing a part and not miseries of the damned will be so far the whole of mankind, in his epistle from diminishing the holiness and hapto the Ephesians. “According as he piness of the universe, that they will hath chosen us in him before the four-raise both to the highest possible dedation of the world, that we should be gree. The inhabitants of heaven are
represented as praising God, not only they who are ordained to eternal like for the displays of his grace towards will believe ? lhe general answer is, the vessels of mercy, but for the dis-because God has ordained them to play of bis justice towards the vessels eternal life. This decree implies two of wrath. And though they rejoice things, which insure the faith and salyanot in the misery of their fellow creation of the elect. tures, yet they feel that the universe The first is, that God is willing, all has lost nothing, but gained much, by things being considered, to make them God's saving only a part of the human believe. He would not have decreed tace. And a full conviction of this ef- | their salvation unless he were willing fect of electing love will satisfy the to do all things on his part, necessary minds of all holy beings forever, that to bring them to the enjoyment of God originally ordained only a part eternal life. God knows what it is neof mankind to eternal life.
cessary for him to do to bring the Respecting the subject before us, elect to a saving belief of the gospel. there is one enquiry, which we would And since he is willing to do it, as his briefly consider. We are uniformly decree respecting their salvation imtaught in the scriptures that all, who |plies, he most certainly will do it. Be. were ordained to eternal life, shall because, lieve the gospel, and be saved. But Secondly, He is abundantly able to why shall they in distinction from oth- do it. Faith is said to be the gift of ers, who enjoy the gospel, believe it in God, and to be of his operation. He a saving manner. And we may ob- is able to give faith to the elect; and serve that the certainty of this does this he has ordained to be the mean of not arise from the natural disposition their salvation. For we are told“ he of the elect. They have by nature the has chosen them to salvation, through same carnal mind which other sinners sanctification of the Spirit and the behave, and are as totally opposed to God | lief of the truth.” Faith worketh by and the scheme of salvation revealed love; that is, it flows from love. And in the gospel. They are dead in tres- it is the part of God to shed abroad his passes and sins, and are unwilling to love in the hearts of the elect, which take one step towards heaven. Who will invariably lead them to embrace was ever more opposed to Christ than the gospel with joy. In this way God Paul and the three thousand, who is abundantly able to make all, whom were converted on the day of Pente- he has ordained to eternal life, heartily cost. It is not, therefore, certain the willing to accept of salvation upon goselect will believe, because they are pel terms. And he knew from eterni. naturally more friendly to God and the ty that he was able to do this, othergospel than the non-elect.-Nor is itwise he would not have absolutely certain they will believe, because more appointed any to eternal life. Hence means will be used with them to in the decree of electien, which implies duce them to come and embrace the God's power and willingness to give Saviour. God often does more by faith to the elect, absolutely insures way of means, for the non-elect, than their coming to the knowledge and he does for the elect. He gives them love of the truth, and their final enmore light, more conviction, greater trance into his heavenly kingdom. sense of their danger and guilt, and From the view we has now taken waits longer upon them in the course of|of the doctrine of election, several relife; he often does more of these things flections are suggested to our considfor the non-elect than for the elect.eration. The best means afford no certainty, 1. Since God has clearly revealed his that those with whom they are used purpose to save only a part of manwill believe and be saved. Why then, kind there is no mystery in the doct may be still enquired, is it certain that trine of personal election. Many who