Position 6.—The end of election, which, with regard to the elect themselves, is eternal life. I say this end and the means conducive to it, such as the gift of the Spirit, faith, etc., are so inseparably connected together that whoever is possessed of these shall surely obtain that, and none can obtain that who are not first possessed of these. “As many as were ordained to eternal life,” and none else, ” believed” (Acts 13:48). “Him hath God exalted—to give repentance unto Israel and remission of sins” (Acts 5:31): not to all men, or to those who were not, in the counsel and purpose of God, set apart for Himself, but to Israel, all His chosen people, who were given to Him, were ransomed by Him, and shall be saved in Him with an everlasting salvation. “According to the faith of God’s elect” (Tit. 1:1), so that true faith is a consequence of election, is peculiar to the elect, and shall issue in life eternal. “He hath chosen us—that we should be holy” (Eph. 1), therefore all who are chosen are made holy, and none but they; and all who are sanctified have a right to believe they were elected, and that they shall assuredly be saved. “Whom He did predestinate, them He also called; whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Rom. 8:30), which shows that effectual calling and justification are indissolubly connected with election on one hand and eternal happiness on the other; that they are a proof of the former and an earnest of the latter. ”Ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep” (John 10:26); on the contrary, they who believe, therefore, believe because they are of His sheep. Faith, then, is an evidence of election, or of being in the number of Christ’s sheep; consequently, of salvation, since all His sheep shall be saved (John 10:28).

Position 7.—The elect may, through the grace of God, attain to the knowledge and assurance of their predestination to life, and they ought to seek after it. The Christian may, for instance, argue thus: “‘As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed’; through mercy I believe, therefore, I am ordained to eternal life. ‘He that believeth shall be saved’; I believe, therefore, I am in a saved state. ‘Whom He did predestinate, He called, justified and glorified’; I have reason to trust that He hath called and justified ME; therefore I can assuredly look backward on my eternal predestination, and forward to my certain glorification.” To all which frequently accedes the immediate testimony of the Divine Spirit witnessing with the believer’s conscience that he is a child of God (Rom. 8:16; Gal. 4:6; 1 John 5:10). Christ forbids His little flock to fear, inasmuch as they might, on good and solid grounds, rest satisfied and assured that “it is the Father’s” unalterable “good pleasure to give them the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). And this was the faith of the apostle (Rom. 8:38,39).

Position 8.—The true believer ought not only to be thoroughly established in the point of his own election, but should likewise believe the election of all his other fellow-believers and brethren in Christ. Now, as there are most evident and indubitable marks of election laid down in Scripture, a child of God, by examining himself whether those marks are found on him, may arrive at a sober and well-grounded certainty of his own particular interest in that unspeakable privilege; and by the same rule whereby he judges of himself he may likewise (but with caution) judge of others. If I see the external fruits and criteria of election on this or that man, I may reasonably, and in a judgment of charity, conclude such an one to be an elect person. So St. Paul, beholding the gracious fruits which appeared in the believing Thessalonians, gathered from thence that they were elected of God (1 Thess. 1:4,5), and knew also the election of the Christian Ephesians (Eph. 1:4,5), as Peter also did that of the members of the churches in Pontus, Galatia, etc. (1 Peter 1:2). It is true, indeed, that all conclusions of this nature are not now infallible, but our judgments are liable to mistake, and God only, whose is the book of life, and who is the Searcher of hearts, can absolutely know them that are His (2 Tim. 2:19); yet we may, without a presumptuous intrusion into things not seen, arrive at a moral certainty in this matter. And I cannot see how Christian love can be cultivated, how we can call one another brethren in the Lord, or how believers can hold religious fellowship and communion with each other, unless they have some solid and visible reason to conclude that they are loved with the same everlasting love, were redeemed by the same Saviour, are partakers of like grace, and shall reign in the same glory.

But here let me suggest one very necessary caution, viz., that though we may, at least very probably, infer the election of some persons from the marks and appearances of grace which may be discoverable in them, yet we can never judge any man whatever to be a reprobate. That there are reprobate persons is very evident from Scripture (as we shall presently show), but who they are is known alone to Him, who alone can tell who and what men are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. I grant that there are some particular persons mentioned in the Divine Word of whose reprobation no doubt can be made, such as Esau and Judas; but now the canon of Scripture is completed, we dare not, we must not pronounce any man living to be non-elect, be he at present ever so wicked. The vilest sinner may, for aught we can tell, appertain to the election of grace, and be one day wrought upon by the Spirit of God. This we know, that those who die in unbelief and are finally unsanctified cannot be saved, because God in His Word tells us so, and has represented these as marks of reprobation; but to say that such and such individuals, whom, perhaps, we now see dead in sins, shall never be converted to Christ, would be a most presumptuous assertion, as well as an inexcusable breach of the charity which hopeth all things.



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