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rageth to sin, and which necessarily leads to desperation.
The first of these will evidently appear to him that rightly considers and believes the particulars following:
First, the purpose and design of God the father in electing, which was, that his elect and chosen, who were fallen into sin and misery in Adam, their natural and federal head, might be delivered, and, by strong hand, rescued out of that state of sin and misery, and made effectual partakers of that liberty and redemption, purchased by Christ his son, the sponsor and surety of his elect.
Secondly, The design of Christ, the surety and sponsor of the elect, in the whole work of mediation, which he undertook to go through for the elect, which his Father had chosen in him, which was to purchase for, and in time to apply actually to, the elect, the saving benefit of that freedom and redemption purchased by himself,
Thirdly, The design and office of the Holy Ghost, which is to sanctify and renew the souls of the elect in effectual calling, and to carry on and maintain the work of grace, begun in the believer, to the end.
Fourthly, The design of the gospel in revealing and discovering the mystery of God's love and grace to his elect and chosen, which is, that believers might, by virtue of Christ's death savingly applied, die unto all sin, and that they might, by
virtue of Christ's resurrection, walk in newness of life before God.
Fifthly, The design of divine providence towards true believers, which is to purge them from the remains of indwelling sin more and more, and to make them more and more to abound in holy conformity to Christ their mystical head.
All these, as so many lines in a centre, do meet in the doctrine of particular election, the which, when the believer seriously considers, and by faith applies to himself, he is so far from being drawn either to sin or desperation thereby, as that he finds the quite contrary in himself, viz. an admirable aversion and repugnancy to yield consent to the flattering solicitations of sin, and an anchor hold, which powerfully keeps him from descending into the darksome valley of desperation, which is, as I may say,
very entrance into hell itself. When the believer is at any time attacked by satan, his enticing instruments, or by indwelling corruption, to yield to the motions of sin, he fetcheth arguments against sin from the doctrine of God's election thus : ‘Hath God from all eternity fixed his gracious purpose of delivering and rescuing me out of that state of sin and misery, into which the apostacy of Adam, my natural and federal head, plunged me, and that by choosing out and fixing on his own Son to be a surety and Saviour to purchase a liberty, and to work out a perfect and complete redemption for me; and shall I, can I, with approbation, yield my full
consent to grieve and offend this freely and this dearly-loving God? I cannot do it; neither can all the craft and policy of my spiritual enemies ever work me to a willingness to go back into that state of spiritual captivity, under sin and satan, from which the grace of God, in election and effectual calling, hath set me free.'
Secondly, 'Hath Christ the son of God pursuant to his Father's holy decree and gracious purpose, and in compliance with so noble and glorious a design as redeeming captive sinners, and reconciling them to his father, consented to become a mediator for me, to work out a work of perfect redemption for me, that I might be set at liberty from the law's curse, from the dominion of sin, and the usurpation and tyranny of the devil ? and shall I consent to commit sin against such bowels of mercy and love? I cannot do it.'
Thirdly, “ Hath the Holy Ghost, who, in conjunction with the Father and the Son, had a hand in my election to eternal life, vouchsafed to take on him the office of a sanctifier, to sanctify and renew the elect in effectual calling, and who hath begun in me the work of special sanctification, and will never finally leave me till he hath perfected his work begun in me; and shall I, can I, willingly grieve and offend that Holy Spirit, by whom I am sealed to the day of redemption? I cannot do it.'
Fourthly, “Is the gospel appointed by Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be a word of revelation,
to discover to me how the heart of God, his Christ, and Holy Spirit stood affected towards the elect, and toward me in particular, from eternity and to endless eternity; and not only so, but the same might be a rule of direction to me, all my days, to discover the false ways I am to shun and avoid, as also the paths I am to walk in, in order to a pleasing the Holy Trinity, and coming safe to heaven; and shall I, can I, consent to abuse so sweet and excellent a gospel? I cannot do it.'
Fifthly, 'Is the design of divine providence, in all its various dispensations to the elect, and to me in particular, to purge believers from the remains of indwelling corruption, and to make them more and more to abound in holy conformity to Christ their mystical head; and shall I abuse it by sinning against it, and taking an occasion therefrom to be vain and secure in my conversation? I cannot do it.'
And as the true believer is enabled, being taught and guided by the Holy Ghost, to fetch arguments against sin from the five sacred topics now mentioned; so is he, in like manner, enabled, being savingly influenced by the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost in him, to fetch from the abovenamed topics arguments to keep him from final desperation, in the most violent hurricane of temptation which can attend on a deserted or an afflicted condition.
To evince and clear up this truth, for the comfort and encouragement of the poorest believer,
in an hour of sore distress, when the waters of affliction reach even to the very soul, to a sensible endangering the extinguishing the little grace lodged in the soul; let it be seasonably and seriously considered, that the believer, when he finds satan, his wicked instruments, and indwelling corruption, all conjunctly together, pressing and working his soul within to despair of mercy and salvation, he falls on arguing from the sweet doctrine of God's election thus: “Shall I, can I, who am secured of life eternal by the gracious and unchangeable decree of the immutable God, despair of mercy and salvation, as satan, the wicked world, and my own carnal reason, would have me do? I cannot do it. If it were possible that my sinking soul should drop through the very jaws of despondency into hell itself, from thence would God's unchangeable purpose of grace fetch and deliver it.'
Secondly, “Shall I, or can I, for whom Christ the son of God hath undertaken, as a sponsor and surety, and for whom he hath wrought a perfect reconciliation by his own mediatorial righteousness, in which no spot or defect ever was, or ever shall be, found by God, angels, or men, despair
and salvation, as devil, wicked men, and my own carnal reason would fain persuade me to do? I cannot do it.'
Thirdly, “Shall I, to and for whom the Holy Ghost is become a sanctifier and a renewer of my nature, and who, by his saving influential presence,