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ing love, filling both his head and heart with the thoughts and fixed persuasion that the blessed God, who is the infinite sovereign of the world, who acts all things which pleaseth himself, according to the counsel of his own will, hath, of his own good pleasure, chosen him a poor, unworthy, empty, nothing creature, to be a vessel of mercy, through Jesus Christ, to the praise of the glory of his own grace; and that love, wherewith God hath loved him, began towards him before he had an actual being, yea, before the world was: and as that love of God was set on him before time began, so when time itself shall be no more, that love of God to him shall still be endless, like God himself. Nothing more conduceth, under God, to heart-settlement, in the ways of God, than to be well versed in understanding and believing, with application to one's self, these fundamental principles of gospel religion.
And this one thing I desire the reader to remember, and carefully to observe, viz. that if there were no other argument to evince and make good the truth I have now asserted, than the arduous and elaborate endeavours of Satan and his busy agents, both in preaching and printing against the doctrine of election and reprobation, it were sufficient. The devil and the pope knew full well how destructive and pernicious to both their kingdoms, the bringing sinners to the scriptural knowledge and right believing this doctrine will be.
And, therefore, for preventing hereof, the doc
trine itself must be exposed in the blackest hue, as a doctrine which makes men proud, secure, and careless of good works, and which leads men to loose living, and in the end to final desperation : and as the doctrine itself is shot at by the Romish and Arminian archers, so the most zealous and bold assertors and maintainers of it are set out in the most odious and black colours, which envy and malice itself can devise; but maugre all the craft and envy of the devil and his most subtile and industrious tools, the doctrine of particular election before time, is plainly held forth and asserted in the writings of Moses, the prophets, and the holy apostles : and in case divine providence calls to a suffering condition for a defence of it, I do not doubt but God hath a sealed number in these kingdoms, known to himself, who will be enabled to seal the truth of it with their dearest blood.
An objection or two lies in the way to be answered, before I can proceed to what remains behind.
Object. 1. The doctrine of particular election puffs men with pride.
Answ. The contrary to this the devil himself knows to be true.
For I doubt not but satan hath made his observations, that none of all God's called children have more abounded with humility and self-abasement, than those who have had the highest assurance of God's electing love: none but these can rightly
admire and adore the grace and love of God in Christ Jesus.
“ To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given,” &c. cries that great apostle of the gentiles, Ephes. iii. 8.
" This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief,” i Tim. 1. 15.
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am,” i Cor. xv. 9, 10. It is to be observed, that among all the apostles none was more highly advanced, in respect of extraordinary manifestations and gospel revelations, than Paul was; and yet, among all the apostles, none more abased: no greater admirer of free grace than he was; and indeed, not only Paul, but others also, both under the Old Testament and under the New, whom free grace singled out to be vessels of mercy: these were still addicted to go out of themselves in a way of self-abasement, and crying up the riches of God's grace and mercy, every way free and undeserved by them. And herein I appeal, most freely, to the personal experience of every regenerate believer now living, whether they do not find in themselves, that the nearer they come to know and perceive the love of God to themselves in particular, the more vile they are in their own esteem; and the more the sight and sense of their own nothingness grows and abounds,
the more are they inwardly stirred up to adore and magnify the riches of God's free grace, who hath vouchsafed to regard such poor contemptible worms as they judge themselves to be.
Object. 2. The doctrine of particular election cuts off the force and strength of all threatenings and warnings which are recorded in the scriptures as a curb and bit, to restrain men from sin.
Answ. The ever-blessed and holy God, who decreed to elect and choose a particular number to salvation, hath decreed also the means of bringing them to that end, whereof those threatenings and warnings, scattered here and there in God's word, are a part; the which the good Spirit of God makes effectually useful to wok and increase in the elect, (called to the state of grace), the filial and reverential fear of God; as also to caution them against all kind of declinings in the way of holy walking with God, in the way of new obedience to his holy commandments; the which God hath revealed in his word to be the only way in which true believers must go to an actual possessing the purchased inheritance, according to Psalm i. 1, 2, 3. Psalm cxix. 1, 2, 3. Heb. xii. 14.
These divine threats and warnings are, through the saving influence of the Spirit of grace, made a powerful bit and curb, to restrain the savinglyconverted from returning, with approbation and delight, to former and forsaken folly; and not only so, but to keep them more close to their
duty in a gospel dependance on Christ, their mediatorial head, for all manner of supplies, till they come to glory.
Those threats and warnings, if they were ten thousand times more than they are, will never curb or restrain any reprobate from loving and liking sin.
It is true, that through the common operation of the Spirit of God, such threats and warnings may, for a time, influence a hypocrite to a keeping him from the external gross acts of sin, and a putting him on doing many things which are morally good in themselves. But, alas! what will this avail, while the state of the man is unchanged, and his heart unrenewed. Sad instances hercof are recorded in God's word; witness Pharaoh, Exod. vii. 4, and Judas, Matt. xxvi. 15, Matt. xxvii. 5, with many other reprobates, whose names are left on record in the book of God, who were neither restrained from sin, nor yet kept back from running headlong to hell, with this bit in their mouths. The Spirit of God, by the holy prophet, gives a full description of the natural disposition of wicked hypocrites, as touching the incorrigibleness of their hearts, in going on in sin, not only under God's rod, but also under his favourable dispensation, which, one would think, should win them to repentance. Jer. v. 3. Rev. xvi. 9, 10, 11. Isa. xxvi. 10, 11. Rom. ii. 4, 5.
Object. 3. If I be elected to life eternal, before