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THE

'SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE

OF ELECTION STATED.

(From the Vermont Adviser.)

It is a very plainly revealed truth, of great importance in the christian system, that some of our fallen race were, “ from the beginning, chosen to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth;" or, elected, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ," It is not true, as many seem to hold, that some are chosen to salvation, because they were previously sanctified; but, they were chosen to salvation, through sanctification.” They are elected, not because they were previously obedient; but, “unto obedience."As this doctrine of election makes the 'salvation of sinners depend, not on him that willeth, nor on him that runneth, but, on the sovereign electing grace of God, it is very offensive to the carnal heart, and has, perhaps, been opposed with more unchristian zeal and virulence, than almost any other truth of the gospel. nor has it always been easy, even for apparently humble disciples of the Lord Jesus to perceive the entire consistency of this, with other plainly revealed truths. Perhaps, too, this doctrine has sometimes been so

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stated, by very pious and learned advocates for the doctrines of grace, in their zeal for the sovereignty of God, as to be an occasion of stumbling to their friends, while it has given their adversaries some advantage.

A leading objection to this doctrine has ever been, that, if it be true, then no grace has been manifested to the non-elect, in the gift of a Saviour; in the atonement he has made; or in the offer of salvation to them, in the gospel; whereas the scripture representation certainly is, that great grace has been manifested in these things. Could this objection be fairly substantiated, it would, indeed, go so far towards invalidating the truth of the doctrine: If, then, the doctrine be so stated, by its advocates, that this objection will lie, unanswerably, against their statement, great advantage is given to the adversary.

It has not been uncommon for those, who have undertaken to defend the doctrines of grace, to represent the elect as being chosen, not merely, as the scriptures express it, “to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth ;" but, also, as chosen, that Christ might die for them, and make atonement for their sins, and for theirs only. But it must be very obvious, that, if the atonement made by Christ were for the sins of the elect only, then, in making the atonement, there could be no act of grace to the non-elect. Besides, if Christ were set forth a pro. pitiation for the sins of the elect only, then, in what he has done and suffered, no provision has been made, in any sense, for the salvation of the non-elect; and, surely, then, there can be no grace in the gospel offer of salvation to them. In this case, were they even to repent and believe the gospel,' they could not be saved by Christ. Against this view of election, therefore, it seems evident, the objection must be valid.

Hence we may safely conclude, that this view of the doctrine is not agreeable to scripture. It is readily concluded, however, that, had it seemed good in the sight of God to exercise his holy sovereignty in this way, it could have been no ground of objection against his glorious character. If, contemplating men merely as transgressors of his law, he had elected some, and determined to give his Son to die for them only, leaving others to perish, without making any provision for them, in any sense, he would have done the latter no injustice. He might still have appeared glorious in holiness. But, what is contended for is, that, in this case, there could be no grace to the non-elect, in the gift of the Saviour, in the atonement made by him, or in an offer of salvation to them, through him. And, therefore, that it is evident this is not the way, in which he has exercised his sovereignty, in regard to the redemption and salvation of sinners. Because, accord. ing to the scriptures, he has done this in a way, which is consistent with a gracious offer of salvation to the non-elect.

When we open the Bible, we there find, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That Christ "gave himself a l'ansom for all.” That, “ by the grace of God he should taste death for every man.” And that an apostle, addressing his christian brethren, says, “ He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Accordingly, the gracious invitation is addressed to all, indiscriminately. “Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." & Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” And, the promise is, “ Him that cometh to me, I will in no

vise cast out." We are also plainly taught, that, if sinners now perish, it will be, not because no atonement has been made for their sins, and no door of sal. vation opened before them ; but, because they will not come unto Christ, that they might have life. It is “he, who believeth not," who “ shall be damned.” In all this, it is evidently implied, that there is great grace manifested, even to those who will finally perish, in the provisions of the gospel, and in the offer of salvation to them. Unquestionably, the scripture doctrine of election perfectly harmonizes with these things, and is, therefore, consistent with this manifestation of grace to the non-elect.

Those who urge the objection in question, against the doctrine of election, sometimes concede, and no one, surely, can reasonably deny, that, had God sent his Son into the world, to die, and make atonement for the sins of all men, and had he offered salvation to all men, on the terms on which it is offered in the gospel, without doing any thing more to effect their salvation, this would have been an act of grace, even though all had refused the offer, and perished in their sins. Now, whatever may be the truth, respecting election, sợ much at least, God has actually done. He has given his Son to die, as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world; and, through him, salvation is freely offered.The invitation given is universal. It is also true, that, this being done, sinners universally reject the salvation offered. They all, with one consent, begin to make excuses, and will not come unto Christ, that they may have life. Hence, if nothing more were done, to effect the salvation of sinners, they would all certainly perish together. Unless God were pleased to make farther displays of grace, to these rebellious and un

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grateful creatures, not one of them would be saved. If, in these circumstances, God were pleased to send forth his Spirit to renew the hearts of all men, and to grant them repentance unto salvation, this would be another great display of grace to all; but it would neither increase, nor diminish, the grace, which he has already manifested, in giving his Son to be a propitiation for their sins, and offering salvation to them, through him. This would remain the same. If, then, instead of sending his Spirit to renew the hearts of all men, and to bring them into a state of salvation, he be pleased to send him to renew the hearts of part of them only, and to grant salvation unto them, leaving others to follow the natural inclinations of their hearts, and to continue in their ungrateful rejection of Christ, and his salvation ; here is another wonderful act of grace thuse, in whom this good work is effected, in which those, who are left to their own chosen way, do not share. Still, however, the grace already manifested to them, in the gift of a Saviour, in the atonement he has made, and in the offer of salvation to them, remains the same. It is not diminished, surely, by the further displays of grące, which God is pleased to make, in the actual salvation of others. What God does for others, lays no bar in the way of their coming to Christ, and obtaining salvation. Nothing hinders this, but the wicked perverseness and obstinacy of their own evil hearts. Now, this representation is not mere hypothesis ; it is according to fact. As has been stated already, men are all sinners, and under condem. nation. Christ has been set forth a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Through him, salvation is freely offered ; and, when offered, it is universally and anost ungratefully rejected. In view of these circumstances, God says, concerning the’ungrateful and guilly

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