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tinated from all eternity as the “ Elect” of God, independently of their actions in this world. I should be glad to ask the most confident amongst them these questions: Where do you find in the Scriptures of God any plain unambiguous declaration, that warrants you to imagine yourself an “ Elect” of God? Suppose God should say to you, I ordered you to do such and such things; have you done them? your answer must be, No, I have not.
I ordered you not to do such and such things; have you done them? your answer must be, I have. Admit that God should then say to you, From thy own mouth thou art convicted of thy disobedience; 'depart from my presence to the place appointed for those wicked and disobedient servants who knew their Lord's will, and did not perform it. Can you, or any man, make any just appeal from this sentence, or advance a word in your own favour against its justice? Consequently neither you nor any person can claim to be an Elect of God from your own personal conduct, nor from any passage in Scripture; on the contrary, from your own confession you are in a state of reprobation, from which you can only be delivered by the merits of your Sa.
viour and Redeemer; and therefore, instead of considering yourself as an Elect of God, whilst you are in this world, you should consider yourself as a reprieved culprit, as one whose life was forfeited by the disobedience of Adam, and your present existence as entirely owing to the clemency and mercy of God; and your presumption in supposing, yourself as an Elect of God you should impute to a sanguine temper, an inordinate degree of self-love, and a heated enthusiasm, which alternately prevailing and associating in your mind, produces the arrogant conclusion you have formed in it, of being an Elect of God. Whatever those infatuated men, who consider themselves as the favourites of God, may think, a rational being cannot, or at least he ought not to ground his belief of possessing the favour and peace of God in this life, and salvation in the next, on any other terms, or in any other way, than the one expressly and specifically declared to the human race by the word of God: if he adopts any other mode, he gives a law to God instead of receiving one from him; and if he rightly considers he will be of opinon, that any other election to hiş favour than what is founded on the promises
of God, as those promises are clearly and unequivocally expressed and set forth in Scripture, is a mere delusion of the brain, and utterly inconsistent with that humility which the Christian religion every where inculcates and requires of each human being to possess. This imaginary and unwarrantable idea of its election often puffs up the human mind to think itself something, when it is nothing; to think itself the favourite of heaven, when it is probably devoid of that humility and holiness of character, which are essential and indispensable requisites to that favour. But since this spurious idea of election, this idea of election of a man's own making, is neither countenanced or supported by reason or Scripture, however any man may be infatuated by it during life, he will consider it of no sort of value either on his death-bed, or at the day of judgment; for at those awful periods he will find, that the consciousness of his having administered a cup of cold water in charity to his fellowcreature will avail him much more than that proud distinction he has arrogantly assumed to himself of being a predestinated Elect of God: and he will miserably deceive himself if he trusts to any predestinated
election, or to any other justification than faith in the mercy of his Redeemer; a faith supported and adorned by such a course of virtuous and pious actions, as the Articles of our Church declare, “shew and demon“strate its genuineness, as a tree is known " by its fruit.” As men therefore value the eternal welfare of their souls, they should be exceedingly careful how they presume to consider themselves as the Elect of God, or as entitled to his preference and favour in any other
way than from a compliance with the will and commandments of God, as both these are determined and prescribed to them in such plain and incontrovertible texts of Scripture, as are beyond all dispute addressed to the whole human race. ought not to permit our minds to be overruled or controlled from this decision by such texts in St. Paul's Epistles as are of doubtful interpretation; such as were by ng means universally addressed to the whole species, but were meant to denote the election and rejection not of individuals, but of nations and kingdoms, or else were of local and partial application. Our Saviour expressly tells us, that the whole of our duty is contained in these two commandments; Thou
« shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy “ heart, and with all thy soul, and with all
thy mind. This is the first and great com“ mandment. And the second is like unto it; • Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. “ On these two commandments hang (or de" pend) all the law and the prophets.” Now to confuse and confound these two great commandments with various obscure texts in the Epistles, and to consider these latter as of equal force, reference, and importance with the former, betrays a weak mind, and the greatest want of judgment; for, as Dr. Clarke observes in his Sermon on the Justice of God,“ obscure passages in Scripture are al
ways to be interpreted by the plain ones, " and not the plain ones made doubtful by " those that are obscure.”
It is clear, from the preceding quotations which have been made from Scripture, that the promises of God's favour, of his peace, and of his blessing, are made to the whole species; to all those of the human race who love, honour, and obey him; and, excepting in particular instances, to answer and accomplish his own views and purposes; such as in the cases of Pharaoh, Cyrus, and some others, and which do not apply to our pre