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5. There is reason to hope that God has determined that some sinners shall be saved, from his doing what was necessary that salvation might be offered to sinners. God says, “ The soul that sinneth it shall die. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” Christ says,
Verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” The design of the divine threatenings to sinners, must have been answered either in the cternal perdition of every sinner; or in the death of a Mediator. To the church at Corinth, the apostle says, “ For I have delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” The death of the Lord Jesus Christ must have been designed to effect some great and fixed purpose. In the first sermon that was preached after Christ arose from the dead, it was said, “ Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Again, the disciples said unto God in a solemn prayer, “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” It was the counsel of God, that his beloved Son should die upon the cross.
. “God so loved the world that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Since God has done what was necessary that sinners might be saved, there is reason to hope that he has decreed that some part of the human race shall believe and enjoy eternal life, through the death of Jesus Christ.
6. To a part of mankind God causes salvation to be offered. Salvation was offered to sin. ners in the days of the patriarchs. The great doctrines of the gospel were taught by the shadowy ordinances of the Jewish dispensation. By the prophets, Christ calls unto all the ends of the earth, to look unto him and be saved. When he had arisen from the dead, he commanded his disciples to go into'all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. By the apostles, the gospel was soon preached unto the Jews and Gentiles. Since the days of the apostles, God has preserved his church, and in his word, and by his ministers, he has offered eternal life to multitudes of sinners. At the present day, God is causing a very extensive pub. lication of the gospel. To vast numbers of sinners in America and Europe, in Asia and Africa, the gospel is preached every Lord'sday. These offers of life to immortal souls, are made at the expense of great exertions and sacrifices. In causing salvation to be so offered to sinners, God effects some important design. And no doubt he intends that many persons to whom he sends the word of life, shall hear and be blessed for ever.
7. God uses the best means to induce those persons to whom he offers salvation, to repent and believe the gospel. God declares to sinners their sin and guilt. And he declares that if they refuse his offered mercy, they must suffer the endless damnation of hell. He clearly states the immense value of salvation. By addressing their understandings, their consciences and their hearts, God urges sinners to flee from future wrath, and to accept eternal life. By using such means with sinners, some important purpose is effected. God says, “ For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and pros. per in the thing whereto I sent it.” Though to many Christ be preached a savor of death unto death ; yet wherever God proclaims the gospel, there is reason to believe that he has decreed it shall be to some persons, a savor of life unto life.
8. God causes the ministry of the gospel to effect the conviction and the conversion of many sinners.
Though men are slow of heart to believe what God has spoken, yet sometimes they are caused to believe and tremble. They are caused to believe that he is holy, just and good in condemning sinners to endless perdition. They are caused to believe that God is
in earnest when he threatens “ indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, unto every soul of man that doeth evil.” They are caused to h see that they are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. They are caused to see their need of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. They are caused to see that a forgiveness of their sins, and eternal life are freely offered to sinners in the gospel. They are caused to see that they hate the holy Saviour, and that they are unwilling to be saved. They are also caused to see that unless God, who has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and who hardeneth whom he will, change their hearts by his sovereign power, for the glory of his great and holy name, they shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God often makes his word “like as a fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces.” God often causes “ the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” to be “ quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and to be a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. By the power of his
” " word, he calls sinners from their native darkness into his marvellous light. “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath slined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” It is certain that unless the Holy Spirit, by his almighty power, attend the
ministry of the gospel, it will neither convert, nor convince, nor awaken sinners.
" For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and compassion on whom I will have compassion.. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
The Holy Spirit, by the apostle asks, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed even as the Lord gave
to every man ? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” It is God who causes sinners to repent and believe the gospel. But why is it that God causes some sinners to repent and believe the gospel, while others remain in darkness and death, unless it be, as it is written, " that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth ?"
9. God will save a very great part of the human race.
After mentioning what numbers were sealed of the tribes of Israel, John says“ I beheld and lo a great multitude which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice saying, Salvation unto our God who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.-And one of the elders answered saying unto me, What are these who are arrayed in white robes : and whence come they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And h