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but when we reach the boundaries of human knovledge, where the wonder-working God inwraps His operaions in the mystery of His own being, let us, with adoringminds fall prostrate at His feet, and acknowledge his infinie wisdom and almightiness.

Let us also learn from the same general fact of the Hirit's intimate agency in the production and support of life what a rich zest it gives to the providence of God. The poor heathen thought that God had withdrawn from ean and left things here to direct themselves, or, not feelingsatisfied with a God afar off, they attributed in all the exavagance of their polytheism, a deity to every thing thatives and moves.

But thanks be to God for the revelatics of His word-while we adore Him, as in heaven the one Infinite Supreme, we can recognize His presence orhe earth, and trace the operations of His Spirit in ourselv, and in every living thing around us.

No dread fatality, unmeaning chance, no absent God affect us with dismay We see the directing and sustaining hand of God -of ou covenant God, in all that we suffer or enjoy, and can dis. miss all fears, and painful anxieties and dread forebodings, from our minds, being assured that He knows our way, and directs our steps, so that with pacifying confidence we can appeal directly to Himself, “Thou wilt guide (us) with thy counsel, and afterward receive (us) to thy glory."

We may also notice how this general fact of the Spirit's agency in the production of life serves to illustrate a doctrine so very obnoxious to many,so little understood by those who oppose it, but so unequivocally taught in the sacred scriptures, viz., the doctrine of election. We use this term because it is the technicality employed in the scriptures, and generally by those who advocate or oppose it. But we are not tenacious of terms. They are things, or facts for which we contend. Miserable indeed are the contests

1 Psalm, lxxii. 24.

which agitate the world, in which mere abstractions are the ocasions of strife. Infidel men denounce all theological cotroversy as such, and many speculative and scientific religioists afford them too much pretext for it, by their “dotig about questions and strifes of words whereof cometh evy, strife, railings, evil surmises, perverse disputingsf men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth.”I Mere technicalities should be abandoned if they prove the ocasion of controversy, but the truth cannot be by thosehat love it. He cannot certainly be accounted a skilf defender of the truth, who finds it necessary alwayto make use of the technics of the schools.

Ift be fact as declared by the best authority, even that of (d Himself, we must not only be bold in affirming it; bu't concerns us to see to it, that it has its appropriate influere on our character and conduct. Now by election in the sred scriptures, is meant nothing else than the actual lection of a certain portion of men, from the great mass, y their being made the subjects of a new species of life, riz., spiritual life, and which is not possessed by the rest. It is the actual exercise and display of God's sovereignty in making believers alive from the dead, or quickening them from the death of trespasses and sins, in which they in commun with all mankind were lying. What is this but God's producing new life in individual cases?

And will you say that He shall not exercise His sovereignty in this matter? Then you must say that He shall not exercise it at all in the production of life in any form, and that He is bound to confer the same kind of life in every instance. But how does this accord with the fact? Is not the sovereignty of God remarkably displayed in His production of life? He has not made His creatures all angels nor all animalcules, all men nor all mules, all birds nor all beasts, all insects nor all fishes, nor all of the different orders and classes of the same form, appearance or species, and will you say, that in the production of spiritual life, which is bringing the powers and capacities of rebellious man into appropriate action and enjoyment, He shall not consult His own good pleasure? As well might man upbraid, and find fault with God, that he was not made a seraph, or a toad that it was not made a philosopher, as that thou, oh, sinner, who hast no right to any thing whatever but the damnation of hell, shouldest upbraid God for having made thy friend or neighbor a subject of spiritual life. When nothing as yet had been created, had not God a right to produce whatever creatures he saw fit? Had nonentity a claim, if we may use such expressions, to be made into any particular creature? Much less has the sinner any claim on God for spiritual life. The whole mass of men with respect to this life are precisely in the condition of non-entity with respect to being. Their situation is even worse, if we may so speak, for if by wilful rebellion, they act altogether inappropriate to the design of the creator in their original formation, He certainly can be under no obligations so to influence and affect them, as to bring them to those actions and enjoyments which constitute the life of one in favor and fellowship with God. And thus the apostle reasons on the subject, “O man who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonor?”ı No fact can be more distinctly stated than this of God's sovereign will determining the spiritual life or existence of the believer. "Of His own will begat He us.” “Who were born, not of

1 1 Tim. vi. 4, 5.

2 blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." This is election, and it is impossible for any

1 Rom. ix. 20, 21.

3 John, i, 13.

2 James, 1. 18.

one to deny the fact that believers are indeed elected of God, who admit that they have received influences and are brought to actions and enjoyments differing essentially from unregenerate sinners.

We have assumed for the present the fact, that believers are made the subjects of a new life, anticipating, for the sake of illustrating a great doctrine of our faith, what we hope to establish fully in the prosecution of this work, and what is cordially admitted and zealously advocated by some who nevertheless oppose and take alarm at the very thought of election. The communication of spiritual life to believers is called election, because they as moral agents, having been previously existent, are thus selected from the great mass of mankind and made to differ from them. Predestination differs from election only as it is the purpose of God beforehand to do what in time he actually does, and whoso denies the one must deny the other, or else maintain that God has no purpose, and does not know what he intends to do, till the very moment he does it, which is utterly at war with the declarations of his word, which exhibits believers as "being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own


We cannot dismiss this interesting topic without noticing how forcibly it reminds us of the uncertainty of life and the necessity of being prepared for death. We have seen, ,

that all life depends on the good pleasure of God the Holy Spirit, both as to its kind and continuance. Now it is impossible for us to search the mind of God, and therefore it must be impossible to determine the duration of our life. Whether it may be his will to stop the current this hour, or the next, or at a later period who can tell? Think not frail dust! to say the organs of life must first be deranged or decayed. If this be necessary, it can be done instanta

1 Eph. i. 11.


neously. It has often been. But this is not necessary. Life may cease and yet the

organs remain entire. The wheels of a mill will cease their revolutions the moment you confine the water, their moving power, to its head. So the moment the Spirit withholds His agency our life v shall cease.

It will inevitably, although the organs may remain entire. Boast not of health and vigour-your

life depends on God, and what He may choose to do this day or to-morrow you know not. How utterly foolish therefore to neglect the interest of the immortal being, and at any moment be unprepared for death! Can any such be found? Ah me, their number is almost beyond the power of computation. I see an immense crowd of triflers whose eyes are fast closed, and yet are dancing on the brink of an awful precipice. One and another are dropping fast from their midst, while none perceive that their numbers are diminishing. The warning voice is never heard, the shrieks of falling companions die upon their ears, while all “drive headlong towards the precipice of death.” Oh, for a voice like thunder to burst around them with terrific peals! Oh, for an arm almighty to snatch them from the brink of ruin!

Reader, art thou a stranger to Christ and unprepared to die? Thy breath is in thy nostrils, and thou knowest not what a day or an hour may bring forth. Already dost thou reel upon the mountains of vanity, but mercy prevents thy fall. Why trifle? Why an hour's delay, when the next moment eternity may close around thee and envelope thee forever in the horrors of despair. Fly to the Lord of Glory, who gives the spirit of life, and resolve to live forever. May that good Spirit save thy soul from death, and guide thee from the brink of ruin to the realms of day!


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