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arises a conviction of obstinacy, helplessness, and ruin. From the whole follows a deep apprehension of their need of a Saviour; and that is sure to produce the highest state of attention. The beginning of the whole process, (except a partial excitation of the attention,) is to awaken a sense of obligation. Now the foundation of all sense of obligation must be laid in a view of the claims of the moral Governour of the world,-claims not at all impaired by the indisposition of man. And what are his claims? He snow commandeth all men every where to repent." “Now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning; and rend your heart and not your garment, and turn unto the Lord your God.” “Submit yourselves—to God;cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded."* If such are the claims of God, and such obligations really lie upon sinners, the readiest way to make them feel their obligations is to urge them to the immediate performance of these duties. If they ought to repent without delay, then the readiest way to make them feel what they owe is to urge them to immediate repentance; and this will at once show them their reluctance, obstinacy, and ruin. That they will not yield to this requisition is no objection to its being urged. God never sent the Gospel with an expectation that it would of itself conquer the hearts of men but by opening to them his character and claims, to convince them of their ruin and need of a Saviour. And which, I ask has the most tendency to produce this conviction, to exhort them to a mere use of means, or to press upon them their full obligations to God? If you would thoroughly convince them of their guilt, hardness, and helplessness, you must not lower down their obligations to a few outward observances,
* Joel ü. 12, 13. Acts xvii. 30. James iv. 7, 8.
while you leave them ignorant of God's high and holy claims; you must set the standard high. If you tell them to do the best they can (in other words, the best that they are disposed to do,) that they will easily perform, and in the trial find no evidence of the stubbornness of their hearts. That they will easily perform, and then yield to the strong propensity of nature to sleep upon the pillow of self-righteousness. This is not the way to bring sinners to the foot of the cross; nor is it the readiest way, as abundant experience testifies, to secure even an attention to means. Uncover all their obligations if you would drive them to their knees,-if you would compel them to the sanctuary and their Bibles. But you say, why exhort sinners to do what you know they will not do without a constraining impulse? I answer: if this is not allowed, we may not even urge them to a serious use of means. But the fact is that God never sent forth his ministers to exhort sinners to do what they will do of themselves, but to urge upon them what he knew they never would perform without his constraining power.
Thus he sent Ezekiel to say, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord,” when he knew that the bones would never hear without his supernatural interposition. And this command was a sufficient warrant and encouragement to the prophet. If he should bid me go and preach to the dead in yonder graveyard, I would go. With no other encouragement I now stand over this valley of the slain, and say to the dead of my people and kindred, Come out of your graves, ye bones that are “very dry.” “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Amen.
EPHESIANS I, 4, 5.
ACCORDING AS HE HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDA
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 CCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL.
It has been proved in former lectures that men by nature are destitute of holiness, are supremely selfish and enemies of God, and so remain, without any approach toward sanctification, without any abatement of their enmity, without any feelings or actions otherwise than sinful or indifferent, without any prayers that God will hear, without any thing that tends to a change of heart, until the very moment of regeneration; that the work of conviction in every case is carried on just as far as God pleases, the cooperation of the sinner to that extent being secured by the controlling influence of motives; that regeneration is produced by the supernatural and immediate power of God, unaided and uninduced by the sinner, and notwithstanding his unabated resistance to the last; that in every instance where this power is exerted regeneration follows; that of course it is exerted upon some and not upon others,—not because the favoured ones have better
has been prob thy sight. Sven so, Father no
improved antecedent grace, or have been more ready to yield, or have induced or aided God, but because he “will have mercy on whom” he "will have mercy;" that he makes one to differ from another according to his sovereign pleasure, for no other assignable reason than, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” All this, I must believe, has been proved; and it completely establishes the doctrine of election, except so far as relates to the eternal decree.
Now if God performs all his works from design, and is unchangeable, the fact of the eternal decree is readily established. The theory of decrees is simply this: WHATEVER GOD DOES HE ALWAYS MEANT TO DO. Whatever he accomplishes by positive power he always meant to accomplish; whatever he permits he always meant to permit. This must be true if he acts from design and is unchangeable. For example, if he creates a world to-day, and does it designedly, he always had the same design, or else he has formed a new purpose and is changeable. If he produces a new heart to-day, and does it designedly, he always had the same design, or else he has formed a new purpose and is changeable. If he makes one to differ from another to-day, and does it designedly, he always intended to make that discrimination, or else he has formed a new purpose, and is changeable.
The fact that whatever God does he always meant to do, may be argued also from his foreknowledge. Did he eternally foreknow that he should create a world? How did he foreknow it? He knew that no one could compel him: if he had not determined to do it, if the purpose was unsettled in his mind,-if his resolution was wavering, how did he certainly know that he should create? Did he eternally foreknow that he should change that heart to-day? How did he foreknow it? He knew that no one could compel him: If he had not determined to produce this change, if the purpose was unsettled in his mind,-if his resolution was wavering, how did he know that he certainly should do it?
Take the subject in another view. He foreknew that he should of his own accord make a world. On that event he deliberately held his eye from eternity. And could he eternally foresee a voluntary act of his own, and have no choice or design about it? Could you foresee that you should voluntarily take a journey at a given time, and yet have no choice or design about the event? Is it possible to conceive that God should eternally have foreknown that of his own free consent and choice he should make one to differ from another, should change one heart and leave another unchanged, and yet eternally have had no purpose or choice about it? I must assume it then as a point about which no doubt can exist, that whatever he foresaw that he himself should voluntarily do, he always meant to do.
The only question is, what does God perform? what does he accomplish by positive power? what does he permit? If it is a fact that he changes one sinner, and permits another to take his course to ruin, he always intended to do the same. If it is not a fact that he makes these discriminations, then to be sure he never intended to make them. The question wholly turns on what he actually does, whether in regeneration he really does more for one than another. If he does not, and the sinner makes himself to differ, the doctrine of election falls. But if God actually makes these discriminations between men, (agreeably to the proofs adduced in the foregoing lectures, then the doctrine of election, including the eternal decree, follows with absolute certainty.
And what special difficulty arises from the decree? Is it contrary to human freedom? But the decree