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tion of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the good pleasure of his
will." I beg leave to ask, In what
words could the Holy Ghost have revealed the doctrine more clearly than he hath done in the above passages? And, I confess, it has often been a matter of astonishment to me, in reading these Scriptures, and many others, how any, who profess to believe the truth of the Bible, can deny the doctrine of eternal and personal election.
For a proof of this doctrine, I would also appeal to the experience of all real Christians. Whence is it, brethren, that you differ from others? You yourselves were once God's enemies, but are now reconciled to him, and become his friends. You see many thousands of your fellowcreatures in the same unhappy state in which you yourselves lately were. Whence is it that you are now in a better state than they? You delight in the paths of holiness and peace, while they delight in the paths of sin and misery: you are walking in the narrow way which leadeth to heaven, while they are walking in the broad way which leadeth to hell. Whence is it that your state is so much better than theirs? Who hath made you thus to differ? Will you ascribe this to your own distinguishing goodness, or the distinguishing goodness of God? I am fully persuaded you will not, for one moment, ascribe this to yourselves. By the law of faith, which you are now under, boasting is for ever excluded. But if you will not ascribe this difference to yourselves, you must ascribe it to God. It was He who created you anew in Christ Jesus: it was He who, according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten you again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And if it was God who thus made you to differ from others, He must have acted herein either according to a previous design or without a design. To say that He acted without any design, would be infinitely unworthy of God, and little less than blasphemy. But if He acted according to a design, this design must have been eternal; for with God there is no change, nor shadow of turning. Now, His making some sinners to differ from others, by bestowing on some, and not on all, regenerating and sanctifying grace, according to His eternal design or purpose,
is all that the Calvinists understand by the doctrine of election.
Thus, brethren, have you not in your own bosoms very satisfactory proof of this doctrine? If you have any good evidence that you have been born of God, that you are new creatures in Christ, that your stony heart has been taken away, and that you now possess hearts of flesh, all this must have been of God. And in regenerating you, and making you new creatures in Christ His Son, God must have acted according to a previous and eternal design; and His doing these things for some sinners, according to His eternal purpose, is the very election the Calvinists contend for.
But you have often heard dreadful things said of this doctrine—that it is a soul-murdering doctrine; that it makes God a liar, unjust, cruel, and everything that is bad. But I beg you will consider what harm election (as it is held by Calvinists in general) has ever done to any one. It has never caused the destruction of any, but has secured the salvation of thousands. It keeps none from Christ, but draws many to Him. When seven thousand were saved from the almost general apostasy in Israel, in the days of Elias, by the election of grace, election did infinite good to the said seven thousand that were saved, and it did no harm to the rest. When many thousands of the Jews were saved in the same manner, in the days of Christ and his apostles, election did unspeakable good to as many as were saved, while it made the circumstances of the rest no worse. (Rom. xi. 4, 5.) Therefore, if election does such unspeakable good to so many, while it injures none, why are such hard things said respecting it? Here is certainly great reason to wonder, and say with the apostle, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" But here is no room to find fault.
It is a fact that God saved Saul the persecutor, plucking him as a brand out of the burning; as a God of infinite perfection, He must have done this according to the election of grace. This was to Saul an act of infinite mercy; and there could be nothing unjust and cruel in it, as God herein injured no man living, either in this world or the next. And if there was nothing unjust and cruel in God's actually saving Saul in time, there would have been nothing unjust or cruel in His designing to save him in eternity. The same observation will hold good respecting every one that shall stand at last at the right hand of the Judge. God's decree of election is no more than His gracious and eternal design to do good, in saving myriads of sinners from everlasting misery; and surely there could have been nothing unjust and cruel in God's designing to do good.
I desire you will further consider, what effect the sovereign good pleasure of God, in bestowing the knowledge of salvation on some, and not on others, had on the mind of Jesus Christ. "In that hour 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 hast revealed them unto babes: even so, O Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight." (Luke x. 21.) Here you see that the sovereign goodwill of God unto some, and not unto others, which amounts to the same thing as election, was matter of joy and praise to
Jesus Christ Surely, if there had
been any injustice or cruelty in this, the compassionate and holy Saviour never would have rejoiced and thanked God on such an account. Is there not much reason to fear, that those who speak so disrespectfully of election and the sovereign decrees of God, are very far from being of the same mind as Jesus Christ?
You frequently hear Arminians say, "that God from eternity loved all men alike." If this be true, it must be granted that He does no more in time, towards the salvation of some, than He does towards the salvation of others; it must be granted, I say, that He does the same towards the salvation of all men. I desire, however, you will consider whether this be a fact. Did He do no more towards the salvation of Jacob than He did towards that of Esau? Did He do no more towards the salvation of Moses than He did towards that of Pharaoh? Did He do no more towards the salvation of Peter than He did towards that of Judas? If God does the same towards the salvation of every man, those at the right hand of the Judge, at the great day, will be under no greater obligation to God than those at His left hand. When the Arminians say, as-they often do, both in preaching and writing, "that God gives one talent or more, of saving grace unto every man," I confess I do not know what they mean: therefore, I would ask, does God regenerate every man?—does
He make every man a new creature in Christ ?—does He give to every man a new heart? He certainly does these things for some men; and if He does them for some, and not for every man, He does more towards the salvation of some than He does towards that of others.
Those who maintain, that God from eternity loved all men alike, and, consequently, that He does the same in time towards the salvation of every man, cannot go even so far as the Pharisee. His language was: "God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are; extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." But when those of the above sentiments see extortioners, adulterers, or any other profligate sinners, their language must be, "We thank ourselves, that we are not such as they are: God from eternity loved us no more than He loved them; and consequently, he did no more in time towards our salvation than He did towards theirs; and therefore, that we are so much better than they, is not. owing in the least to any distinguishing goodness in God to us, more than to them, but to our own distinguishing goodness, which has made us to differ so much from them." How exceedingly unbecoming would such language be in the mouth of a Christian! how contrary to the whole tenor and tendency of the Gospel, which is designed to humble the sinner, and exalt the Saviour! But I rejoice, there is great reason to hope that many thousands are to be found among the Arminians who would be very far from using such language. They are often heard to confess before God, with great humility and self-abasement, that the enmity of their heart was such, that they never would have come to Jesus Christ, except it had pleased the Father, of His sovereign and eternal love, to draw them. With these I desire to spend a happy eternity, joining in a new song, and singing to the glorious Lamb in the midst of the throne, "Thou art worthy: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." (Rev. v. 9.) I cannot, however, help thinking that their experience as Christians, and their professed sentiments as Arminians, very ill agree.
They admit, however, that there are some whom God loves with a distinguishing love; and they describe them, according to John xiv. 21—such as fear God, love Jesus, and keep His commandments; that is, such as are really godly. But the | question is, How do sinners become godly ?—is it of God, or of themselves? If it be of God, did He not love them with a distinguishing love before He made them godly? And was not His making them godly the effect of His distinguishing love? I appeal unto all who have felt the love of God shed abroad in their hearts—whence is it, brethren, that you delight in the ways of holiness, while others delight in the ways of sin? Is it of God, or of yourselves? I am sure the language of your heart this moment is, "Not unto us, not unto us, hut unto God be all the glory of this work; with everlasting love hath He loved us, therefore with loving-kindness hath He drawn us." Then you acknowledge with thankfulness, that it was of God's distinguishing love to you He made you godly. You love Him, because He first loved you.
Such Scriptures as John xiv. 21, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me, shall he loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him," are very precious portions of God's Word. But they do not refer to God's love to His people from eternity, or unchanging purpose of saving them, but to His delight in them, and the sweet experience they shall have of his love shed abroad in their hearts when they are enabled by grace to walk in the ways of His commandments. For instance, God's purpose of saving David was the same when he grievously offended in the matter of Uriah as it was before he had committed the offence; yet, as a God of infinite holiness, He could no less than be exceedingly displeased with his sin, and, as an offended Father, He chastised him for it. If God's dear children forsake His laws, and walk not in His judgments—if they break His statutes, and walk not in His commandments— they shall not have sweet manifestations of His love, but He will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes: yet His loving-kindness shall not be taken from them, nor will He suffer His faithfulness to fail.
You have observed, that, when Arminians endeavour to disprove the doctrine of election, they do not so much attempt to show that the Scriptures do not teach it, as that it is not consistent with the justice of God. But remember, if it can be proved that the Scriptures teach this doctrine, it no more concerns the
Calvinists than it does the Arminians, to show how it is not consistent with the justice of God. We are sure that God is just. "He is the Bock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are judgment; a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is He." All the actions of God, from everlasting to everlasting, must be consistent with His justice. And if the Scriptures represent it as a fact that God has, in sovereign mercy, elected some sinners to everlasting glory, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, we may rest assured that He is infinitely just herein, though we should not be able to show how.He is just. God, in all His glorious attributes, as well as in His Divine decrees, is infinitely above our comprehension. Let it be your great concern, brethren, to believe whatever God has been pleased to reveal in His Word, and feel the' humbling, comforting, and transforming influence of every Divine truth in your own minds; then you may look forward, with the greatest composure and joy, unto the great and glorious day, when Christ Himself shall descend from heaven, and summon all intelligent creatures to stand in His presence. In that day He will abundantly manifest, to the satisfaction of all, that the judgments of God are according to truth.
Though we confess that the thoughts of God are very deep, and His decrees far above our comprehension, yet we are able, in some measure, to comprehend that there is no injustice in God's bestowing His undeserved favour on whom He pleases. Arminians profess to believe, as well as Calvinists, that all men are sinners, and, consequently, that all deserve everlasting punishment: "For the wages of sin is death." And as this is allowed by both sides, there could have been no injustice with God had He not saved any of the fallen race of Adam, but reserved them, as He did the angels who sinned, in everlasting chains, under darkness, to the judgment of the great day. Therefore, if it be a fact that all deserve to perish for ever, it is of infinite grace that any are saved.
The doctrine of God's sovereignty in bestowing His favours, without any regard to worthiness in the receivers, is far from being discouraging to those who are convinced that they deserve only everlasting misery. If you were about applying to some superior for an undeserved favour, and should his character be represented to you as a person who never bestowed any favours on the undeserving, would you not be greatly discouraged to apply? But if, on the other hand, he should be represented to you as a person who always bestowed his favours for his own sake, without any direct regard to worthiness in the receivers, you would be greatly encouraged to make application, and hope to succeed. God is a sovereign who bestows His favours altogether for His own sake: "He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy." Though unworthy, cast yourself at his feet, and pray that He would glorify His grace in saving you; and you shall certainly find that He delights in mercy.
Some of you may be convinced that the doctrine of election is clearly taught in the Scriptures of truth; and yet the preaching of this doctrine in a measure alarms you, and makes you uneasy. Wherefore, brethren, does the preaching of the doctrine of election alarm you? Is there something alarming in the thought, that God has designed to save sinners? All Christians are agreed that every holy man shall be saved. None deny that all who fear God and keep His commandments shall be happy for ever. Now, I would beg leave to ask, are you able to be truly holy, without the operation of God—without His working in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure? I am sure you are far from saying, or thinking that you are. If, then, you are not able to be truly holy without the operation of God, you are not able to be holy without the eternal purpose of God (which is the same as election); for it is impossible God should act in anything otherwise than according to His eternal purpose. But if you are able to be holy without the operation of God, and consequently without the purpose of God, you are quite welcome to be. The purpose of God will never prevent you. According to His eternal purpose, He makes thousands of sinners holy and happy. You will not, in any measure, be alarmed at any of the decrees or purposes of God. He has decreed nothing but good. Nothing, nothing but the pure streams of salvation flow from the blessed fountain of the election of grace. Keep this always in view, and pray that you may feel in yourselves the workings of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and drawing up your mind to high and heavenly things; then (to use the language of venerable divines of old) you will experience this doctrine
full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort.
To know the truth as it is in Jesus is of the greatest importance. We are sure God will own and bless nothing else, to do real good. There is nothing but truth, in its own native and glorious simplicity, that is fit to nourish, comfort, and establish your souls. And it certainly must be the duty of all to use proper means, with diligence and perseverance, to obtain this valuable knowledge.
If you, therefore, sincerely desire to know the truth as it is in Jesus, pray much for the illuminating influence of
the Divine Spirit. He is the
Spirit of truth, and is sent for the purpose of leading us into all truth. (John xiv. 13.) However great your capacities, however extensive your scientific information, and however desirous of knowing the truth you may be, you never will attain to this saving knowledge, without the illumination of the Holy Ghost: "For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. ii. 14.) And it is very encouraging to remember that the Holy Spirit is an infallible guide, able to make the simple wise unto salvation.
Moreover, if you desire to know the truth as it is in Jesus, avoid all noisy and angry disputes. If you should have a call to talk, or even to dispute with persons whose sentiments differ from your own, you may be sure no good will be done to them or to yourselves, except you possess a Christian spirit—a spirit of humility, meekness, and unfeigned love. It is much to be lamented that there are many who seem to take much greater pleasure in disputing aboutthedoctrinesthanin practising the duties of Christianity. It is not unfrequently the case that the most noisy and furious disputers are the farthest from leading a humble, holy, and godly life.
Finally, see that you possess a readiness of mind to do the will of the Lord, as well as to know it. Our blessed Lord has declared, "If any man be willing to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John vii. 17.) All the doctrines of the Gospel are doctrines according to godliness: and when they are savingly and experimentally known, they discover so much of the love and goodness of God, as well as His holiness and justice, as sweetly and powerfully to constrain the believer to love God and keep His commandments. If our knowledge of the truths of the Gospel be not the means of transforming us more and more into the blessed image of God, we have great reason to fear our knowledge is not genuine It is true, the doctrines of free and sovereign grace have often been charged with a tendency to promote licentiousness: therefore, all who embrace them should be particularly concerned not only to prove by arguments, but to exemplify by a holy and upright conversation, that they have the very contrary tendency: that they teach men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present world. Pray for a blessing to attend every grain of Divine truth, by whomsoever it may be advanced, with an honest design to promote the honour of God our Saviour, and the salvation of sinners; and when you draw near to the throne of grace, forget not your fellow-traveller to the eternal world.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND BALLADS.
He was a shrewd Scottish statesman who said, "he cared little who made the laws of a nation, if he might make its ballads." Of the power of poetry as a political engine, no other example need be cited than the Jacobite songs of Scotland, which kept up more than anything else the falling cause of the Stuarts. In the Church, as well as the State, popular ballads have often proved powerful for good or for evil. At the Reformation, the Popish party were damaged as much by the light fire of song and satire, as by the heavy artillery of argument and controversy. The English High Churchmen are at present using the same weapons against Dissent, of which we give our readers some specimens. These, and similar ballads, we have seen printed on broadsheets for pasting on cottage walls and in village schoolrooms.
"THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND."*
"The good old Church of England!
With her priests through all the land, And her twenty thousand churches, How nobly does she stand!
* From " Songs and Ballads for the People." By the Rev. John Neale, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge. J. Burns, Portmansquare.
Dissenters are like mushrooms,
That flourish but a day; Twelve hundred years, through smiles and tears,
She hath lasted on alway!
"The brave old Church of England!
She hath conquer'd many a foe;
A thousand years ago;
Who by her side have stood:
And old King George the Good!
"The true old Church of England!
She alone hath pow'r to teach: 'Tis presumption in Dissenters
When they pretend to preach: They might take away her churches,
They might take her lands away; But she would be the true Church,
And base intruders they.
"God bless the Church of England!
The poor man's Church is she: We were nourish*d at her bosom,
We were fondled at her knee. God bless the Church of England!
The good, the true, the brave! She baptized us in our cradle:
She shall bear us to our grave."
Here is another, entitled—
"why Are Tou A Dissenter?"
"Come, listen to me, neighbours!
And I'll tell you of the way Dissenters set about it
When they make a grand display: And when my story 's finish'd,
I'll be vastly well content, If you will but be persuaded
To fly from all dissent.
"A man is disappointed
Of a pew he wants, or so; 'If this must be the way,' says he,
* To church I'll never go: The parson tried to spite me,
And so I'm fully bent That I will spite the parson
By setting up dissent.'
"He looks about for converts;
And so with much ado,
He picks up one or two:
And to church they never went;
That are readiest for dissent.
"There are two or three who join them,
And readily come in. Because the parson told them
They were living on in sin:
And so are well content—
Who live by their dissent.
"They get a famous preacher,
Who comes in haste from town,