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dertake this work by any excellencies he sees or foresees in them. He loves them while enemies, and reconciles them to God by his death. He takes them in a state of pollution and makes them clean ;, and thus they are. comely by reason of his comeliness put upon: them. só Be not deceived :” says
apos. tle, neither fornicators, nor adulterers, &c. shall inherit the kingdom of God..
And such were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spir. it of our God." The external means, by which this saving werk is performed, are the scriptures, which are given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. We are told, that " after the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
It is nothing, therefore, but a divine blessing upon the christian ministry, that insures the conversion of any sinner. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers, by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” From the apostle Paul we get : the same idea, in another passage of his writings, as thus ; "I have, therefore, whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which
Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power cf the Spirit of God ; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have ful ly preached the gospel of Christ.” Christian. instruction, in its largest extent, is a princi pal mean of salvation to sinners.
5. Let us briefly inquire into the antiquity of this great work of redemption, or when it is that it first commences; not as it respects the church; as a collective body, merely ; but as it respects every individual, who is, at any time, a subject and partaker of ic. It appears to be the work of God, (let the instruments, used in it, be such and so many as they may) intirely, and from beginning to end. No man can ascribe his own redemption to himself, neither in whole, nor in part. And since it is accomplished by the hand of God, we must look to him to find it, in every stage. With him-it has its origin and end, and the whole of its progress through the intermediate: space. As a thing. actual and experimental, on the part of the: sinner, who is redeemed, no doubt it begins, when he first receives those heavenly and life giving influences, which heal the plague of his heart, and bring him into holy communion with God: but as a matter which proceedeth from the Lord, contrived and executed by his wisdom and power, it is as really without a beginning, as is his own exástence. The building of Solomon's temple,
if by this we mean its going into actual form, began in the fourth year of his reign ; but, antecedently to this, he was, a long time, providing materials, and making preparations for it. The salvation of sinners, as an event, actually brought to pass, begins in time, after those have come into being, for whom it is wrought; but, in the counsels of God, it is coexistent with all his other pur. poses, none of which have a beginning ; but are as ancient, as absolutely eternal, as his
This is agreeable to the plain and uniformn language of the scriptures. « Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ ; 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 : Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth :: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, tọ. the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who hath saved us, and called us, with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." That eternal life
which engages the believer's hope, the aposan tle says, was promised by God, who cannot lie, before the world began. Since believers are regarded, only in Christ, and are nothing, only by virtue of their relation to him ; it is not to be conceived, why their election of God should not be from eternity. They must stand, in the plan of grace, as members; as soon at least as Christ is appointed and honcured as the head, of the body; or else we shall be presented with a monster, 3. head without members to complete the body: As soon as Christ was chosen to be the first: born among many brethren, his brethren, were predestinated to be conformed to
As this whole matter. be: longs to God to institute and perfect it; why may it not be as well planned in eternity, infinite ages before the world began, as in timne ? God is as much at liberty to lay out his own work, long before a creation ex: ists, as at any tiine, after it has come into being: It is, therefore, doing honor to God to believe, upon the credit of his word, that all the subjects of redemption are his elect, chosen to salvation from eternity:
6. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Since we are God's husbandry, since we are God's building, no doubt our character and circumstances are the result of the eternal purposes of God, as a building of this mag: nitude must have been planned, as early 25.
'any thing, which is dear to divine wisdom and goodness.
6. A word will now be offered upon the magnitude of this redemption, or to what duration it will extend. As in the divine purpose it is from eternity, so, in point of continuation, it will be parallel with eterni. ty. « But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation : ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” Being made perfect, Christ Jesus, it is said, became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. And it is further said that, “ neither by the blood of goạts and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having, obtained eternal redemption for us.' And further more it is added, “ And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” The blessedness, which comes to believers, through Christ, hence appears to be an eternal good. It is not circumscribed within the narrow limits of the present life, nor any other finite space ; but is of endless duration. This, in addition to the consideration of its being a deliverance from evils of every kind and degree, renders it a portion of the highest conceivable value.
We proceed now to inquire Secondly. How this is a means of great