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is willing to be reconciled, to put you among the
CHA P. II.
Of the Redeemer's triumph over the hearts of fin-
SE CT. I.
HE fubjects of this promife are men in ge neral, not angels, nor devils. Angels have nothing in their circumftances, known to us, that renders fuch promifes needful; and the ftate of devils puts them abfolutely beyond the reach of the promife, and renders them incapable of interest in any word of grace. Befides, as this promife has a. particular relation to Jefus Chrift, thofe, of whofe nature he partook, can only be confidered as the fubjects of it. Though, in the application of the bleffings promifed, it is more reftricted: yet, in the revelation and exhibition of the promise itself, the warrant to believe is fo unreferved, that mankind finners in general, may, and fhould confider themfelves as interested in it: "The promife (faid the "apostle, to a promifcuous multitude) is unto you "and to your children, and to all that are far 64 'off;
66 off; even.to as many as the Lord our God fhall "call," Acts ii. 39. It is impoffible to imagine,' how a perfon's putting away the promiles from himself, as what he has no right to intermeddle with, can be reconciled with his fuitably attending to that remarkable declaration of grace.
But the fubjects of this promise are elect men in particular. The oppofition of carnal minds to the doctrine of election is fuch, that at prefent one labours under confiderable difadvantage, to infinuate any thing in favour of it. But as it is a fcriptural doctrine, a part of the council of heaven, an article of the Chriftian faith; though counted fools for efpoufing, we should never be afhamed of it. Did not David speak of elect men, when he faid, "Eleffed is the man whom thou chufeft and "caufeft to approach unto thee?" Pfal. lxv. 4. did not Malachi fpeak of elect men, when by him the Lord faid, "Yet I loved Jacob, and "hated Efau?" Mal. i. 2, 3. did not Paul to the Romans speak of elect men, when he said, "Whom God did foreknow, he alfo did prede"finate?" Rom. viii. 29. to the Corinthians did he not speak of them, when he said, "God hath "chofen the foolish things of the world; God "hath chofen the weak things of the world, the
bafe things of the world; and things that are "defpifed hath God chofen; yea, and the things "that are not?" I Cor. i. 28, and did he not to the Ephefians likewife fpeak of elect men, when he faid, "Being predeftinated according to the pur
I pofe of him who worketh all things after the "council of his own will?" Eph. i. 11. But why Speak of David, the prophets or apostles? behou, 1 a greater than either, a greater than all, bears te ftimony to this doctrine: our Lord himself spoke of elect men, when he said, "All that the Father E 3 giveth
giveth me, fhall come to me," John vi. 37. And again, I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou haft given me," John xvii. 5. Upon these and fuch like grounds, the doctrine of election may be confidered as fcriptural and, on that fuppofition, elect finners are, in particular, the fubjects of this promife; as it is not only exhibit, warranting them, in common with their fellow finners, to believe and improve it for the ends of infinite wisdom and grace; but, as they hall eventually be brought under the influence of the promife, be made partakers of promised grace, and inherit the promised falvation. It is for their fakes, and theirs alone, that ever the promise was exhibited; it is owing to them, that ever finners, in general, were bleft with the common tender of mercy; and as foon as they are brought in, as foon as the end of the promife, as to them, is reached, other finners will, at once, but for ever, be deprived of that exalted privilege. Other finners may take hold of the promife; nothing in the external difpenfation of the gospel hinders their doing fo: but elect finners fball take hold of the promife; rather, the grace of the promife ball take hold of them.
SE C T. II.
One bleffing here promised is," "They fhall fee "it." If we confider this part of the promise, as it is rendered in the paffage under view, the particle it must have a refpect to what went before; and the meaning will be, that finners fhall fee what the Father hath done to Chrift as Man-Mediator, in
inclining to him and hearing his cry; bringing "him up out of the horrible pit and miry clay; "fetting his feet upon a rock, eftablishing his go
ings, and putting a new fong in his mouth;" that the eyes of their understandings fhall be enlightened for that purpose: in other words, that the grace of faith, refpecting Chrift, as once dead, now alive, once humbled, now exalted, fhall be produced, and promoted in them, exercifed and practifed by them. But the particle it, being only a fupplement, the phrafe literally is, "They "fhall fee;" which is peculiarly pithy, emphatical and comprehenfive. It fays, in the strongest terms, that, in a fpiritual view, finners are, by nature blind; and that, until put under the influence of this promife, they fee not. Whence, in the language of infpiration, the unconverted ftate is frequently reprefented as a ftate of darkness; "For ye were (fays the apoftle, to the believers "at Ephefus) fometimes darkness," Eph. v. 8. not only in the dark, but darkness itfelf. Whatever men know, however bright their talents, pregnant their genius, accurate their obfervations, curious their difquifitions, extenfive their reading, and univerfal their learning; as long as they are unconverted, they are confidered, in the eye of the holy Ghoft, as not feeing, and, in that state, incapable of it. But,
This part of the promise refpects a positive change to be produced in the finners understanding, the leading, and most noble power of the mind; the avenue through which all spiritual light, faving discoveries, diftinguishing knowlege, enter; evident from the repeated teftimony of infpiration: "The commandment of the Lord is pure (lays "the Pfalmift) enlightening the eyes," Pfal. xix. 8. fpeaking of the Gentles, our Lord faid unto the apostle, "I fend thee now, to open their eyes, and
turn them from darkness to light," Acts xxvi. 18. And, as a neceffary pre requifite to men's E 4
having saving uptakings of the gospel, Paul mentions "the eyes of their understanding being enlightened," Eph. i. 18. Whether as to the law or the gofpel, this promife, illuftrated by fuch other fcriptures, feems to infinuate, that faith is properly and immediately feated in the understanding.
In the enjoyment of this promife, the eyes of finners fhall be opened as to themfelves: they fhall fee their natural and practical guilt, their original and actual fin, their total depravity, univerfal corruption, and abfolute difconformity to the image of God: they fhall fee the true demerit of their characters, as guilty finners; rendering them obnoxious to the divine difpleasure, expofing them, foul and body, for time and eternity, to the wrath of God they fhall fee, not only that they are unworthy of any favour, but that they juftly deferve every frown fhall fee, that they cannot deliver or refcue their own fouls, cannot better their covenant ftate, cannot appeafe the divine wrath, nor acquire and procure the divine abfolution; and fee, that, they are fpiritually, as well as legally dead; and that, as they have deftroyed, fo, they can do nothing but deftroy themselves. This much feems implied in what Paul faw of himfelf, after the grace of this promife took hold of his heart; " When "the commandment came, fin revived and I died," Rom. vii. 9.
Under the influence of this promife, their eyes fhall likeways be opened, with respect unto God. They fhall fee God as abfolute, and fhall fee him as gracious: as abfolute, finners fhall fee him, in the demands, penalty, threatenings and curfes of the law; fee him as angry with them, fpeaking words of terror to them, pouring wrath upon them, and pointing the fword of juftice against them; because of their breach of his law, and difconformity to it, in