Position 13.—The absolute will of God is the original spring and efficient cause of His people’s salvation.

I say the original and efficient, for, sensu complexo, there are other intermediate causes of their salvation, which, however, all result from and are subservient to this primary one, the will of God. Such are His everlasting choice of them to eternal life—the eternal covenant of grace, entered into by the Trinity, in behalf of the elect; the incarnation, obedience, death and intercession of Christ for them—all which are so many links in the great chain of causes, and not one of these can be taken away without marring and subverting the whole Gospel plan of salvation by Jesus Christ. We see, then, that the free, unbiassed, sovereign will of God is the root of this tree of life, which bears so many glorious branches and yields such salutary fruits: He therefore loved the elect and ordained them to life because He would; according to that of the apostle, “having predestinated us, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:5). Then, next after God’s covenant for His people and promises to them, comes in the infinite merit of Christ’s righteousness and atonement, for we were chosen to salvation in Him as members of His mystic body, and through Him, as our Surety and Substitute, by whose vicarious obedience to the moral law and submission to its curse and penalty, all we, whose names are in the book of life, should never incur the Divine hatred or be punished for our sins, but continue to eternity, as we were from eternity, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. But still the Divine grace and favour (and God extends these to whom He will) must be considered as what gave birth to the glorious scheme of redemption, according to what our Lord Himself teaches us, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,” etc. (John 3:16), and that of the apostle, “In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that He sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).

Position 14.—Since this absolute will of God is both immutable and omnipotent, we infer that the salvation of every one of the elect is most infallibly certain, and can by no means be prevented. This necessarily follows from what we have already asserted and proved concerning the Divine will, which, as it cannot be disappointed or made void, must undoubtedly secure the salvation of all whom God wills should be saved.

From the whole of what has been delivered under this second head, I would observe that the genuine tendency of these truths is not to make men indolent and careless, or lull them to sleep on the lap of presumption and carnal security, but (1) to fortify the people of Christ against the attacks of unbelief and the insults of their spiritual enemies. And what is so fit, to guard them against these, as the comfortable persuasion of God’s unalterable will to save them, and of their unalienable interest in the sure mercies of David? (2) To withdraw them entirely from all dependence whether on themselves or any creature whatever; to make them renounce their own righteousness, no less than their sins, in point of reliance, and to acquiesce sweetly and safely in the certain perpetuity of His rich favour. (3) To excite them, from a trust of His goodwill toward them, to love that God who hath given such great and numberless proofs of His love to men, and, in all their thoughts, words and works, to aim, as much as possible, at His honour and glory.

We were to consider—



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