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be blessed with all spiritual blessings, and have grace given to them in Christ, before the world began, if their persons had not also been given to Christ and secured in him? And though Christ here expresses this act of his Father's in the present tense, “ All that the Father giveth me," perhaps to express the continuance and unchangeableness of it; yet he expresses it in verse 39, in the past tense," All that the Father hath given me," and respects au act of God, antecedent to coming to Christ and believing in him; which is the faith of God's elect, the fruit and effect of electing love; for as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Now, seeing that as many as were ordained to eternal life did, in the times of the apostles, and do, in all ages, believe in consequence thereof, election must be an act of God's grace, irrespective of faith, is not on the account of the foresight of it; faith being not the but a fruit and effect of it; and it must also relate to particular persons only, since all men have not faith, nor will enjoy eternal life; both which are firmly and infallibly secured by this aet of grace to all those who are interested in it.
That sweet declaration, "my people," which so often occurs throughout the sacred volume, is a striking testimony of electing love; but the personal comfort of this testimony was not enjoyed by you, my dear Ibbar, till the Holy Spirit blessed with the experience of the Lord's people, gave you a capacity to enjoy God himself, in all his covenant relations, and thus distinguished you from the world.
Having done all this for you, it would be ungrateful in the highest degree, to deny or neglect the source from whence such precious streams descend; nor would it be less baneful to your peace mind; for when the streams of sensible enjoyment cease to flow for a while, the keenest distress of soul will be felt, unless the spring of electing love is explored, and the thirsty pilgrim enabled to drink there; and even while they are flowing, the nearer we can get to their source, the more pure and salubrious will be the streams of which we partake.
Irons of Walworth.
Q. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.
Q. Are some persons chosen to salvation, and others left ?
A. Yes: God hath chosen some to salvation, and passed by others: as the Scriptures speak; Rom. viii. 30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called. And Jude 4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before ordained to this condemna❤ tion, ungodly men, &c.
Q. Did God choose some, because he foresaw they would be better than others?
A. No: God's choice was not on foreseen works, but merely of grace, and good pleasure of his will; Eph. i. 5, 6. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.
Q. Is this election of God made in time, and that according as men use their free will, or from eternity?
A. Election is an eternal act of God before the world was, and depends not on man's using his free will; as appears from Eph. i. 4. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.
Q. Shall all that are elected be called and saved?
A. Yes: the Scripture is full and plain for it; Acts xiii. 48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Rom. viii. 30. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, &c.
Q. By whom are the elect saved?
A. By Christ, the only Redeemer; Titus iii. 4, 5, 6. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but ac
cording to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Q. Is there no other way of salvation but by Christ?
A. No: no other way is revealed in scripture; Acts iv. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Q. What learn you from God's election?
A. What cause we have to admire free grace in our choice, who were no better than others; Eph. ii. 3. And were by nature children of wrath even as others.
Q. What is the second instruction?
A. It teaches us humility; we made not ourselves to differ, but the free grace of God made the difference; 1 Cor. iv. 7. For who maketh thee to differ from another?
Q. What is the third instruction?
A. It teaches us to use diligence to make our election sure to ourselves, by our calling; 2 Pet. i. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.
Q. What is the fourth instruction?
A It is matter of comfort to God's elect, amidst all dangers in the world; 2 Tim. ii, 19. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Flavel's Exposition of the Assembly's Catechism.
What condescension! God makes choice of worms
What matchless grace! the heirs of life and bliss
To choose a people for his holy name,
Can change the purpose, or revoke the choice,
COVENANT OF GRACE.
This is a covenant entered into between the three Persons in the Godhead.
God the Father having determined to pardon and save some millions of Adam's rebel race; to raise up a Church, a peculiar people, to show forth the riches of his grace to the distant ages of eternity; fixed upon their persons in his Eternal Mind, and wrote their names in the book of life, and gave them to the Son: God the Son covenanted with God the Father to redeem them, at the appointed time, from all the consequences of the fall, as will be shown under the heads Redemption, Justification, &c. God the Holy Spirit Covenanted with God the Father and God the Son to call those who had been thus chosen, from darkness to light, and to make known to them at the appointed time, while in the flesh, the will of the Most High, and to cause light to shine into their understanding. This will also appear more fully under the work of the Spirit, in Effectual Calling, Regeneration, &c.
O ye seed of Abraham, his servant; ye children of Jacob his chosen;
He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant. Psalın cv. 6—11.
Saying, My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.
His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. Psalm lxxxix. 28, 29.
He sent redemption unto his people; he hath remembered his covenant for ever; holy and reverend is his name. Psalm, ci. 9. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph. ii, 6–9.
Now since we are said to be "saved by grace," and that the grace of God; and since also we find in the word, that in the Godhead there is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we must conclude, that it is by the grace of the Father, Son, and Spirit, that we are saved; wherefore, grace is attributed to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, distinctly.
1. Grace is attributed to the Father, as these scriptures testify: Rom. vii. 25. 1 Cor. i. 3. 2 Cor. i. 2. Gal.i.3. Eph. i. 2. Phil.i.2. Col. i. 2. 1 Thess. i. 1. 1 Tim. i. 2. Tit. i. 4. Phil. 3.
2. Grace is also attributed to the Son; and I first manifest it by all those texts above-mentioned, as also by these that follow: 2 Cor. vhì. 9. xiii. 14. Gal. vi. 18. Phil. iv, 23. 1 Thess. v. 28. 2 Thess. iii. 18. Phil. 25. Rev. xxii. 21.
3. It is also attributed to the Holy Ghost, Zech. xii. 20. Heb. xii. 19. Now he is here called the Spirit of grace, because he is the author of grace as the Father and the Son. So, then, it remaineth that I show you,
First, How we are saved by the grace of the Father.
Thirdly, How we are saved by the grace of the Spirit.