Page images

owing to their own willingness or unwillingness, in receiving the message of peace to their souls? For the apostle saith, Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.-— And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. (1 Thess. 1:4-6.) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus. (2: 13, 14.) Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2: 41.) And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which ho did.....But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (8: 6--12.) And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believ

ed. (13: 48.) I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. Jesus, saith the inspired apostle. (Phil. 3: 14.) And Peter saith, Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, ye shall never fall. (2 Pet. 1: 10.)

Now does it not appear evident, from the foregoing scriptures, that all those who gladly and willingly receive the word, believe in Christ, keep his sayings and follow him, are they that are the called, the elected, and the chosen? They press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus--Give diligence to make their calling and election sure -And thus "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matth. 11: 12.)— Yea, they are elected and chosen, because they obey the voice of the Lord, hear his sayings, and do them: Fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life. And thus Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. (Heb. 5: 9.)

And on the other hand, those that are hardened and reprobated, are they who reject the offered grace and spurn it, as the apostle Peter saith, For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water, and in the water. (2 Pet. 3: 5.) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the

world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (John 3: 19, 20.) Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened......And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. (Rom. 1: 21 --2S.) And with all deceivableness of unrightcousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2: 10--12.) But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. (Rom. 2: 8.)

Here, also, does it not appear plain and evident, from the foregoing scriptures, that these, and these only, are hardened and reprobated who harden themselves, and are wilfully ignorant of the knowledge of God and his ways?-who love darkness rather than light ?--who will not retain God in their knowledge?-who will not receive the love of the truth and be saved, but spurn the knowledge of God and his grace from them, and persist in their obstinacy and impenitency on the road down to eternal

ruin? for, He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (Prov. 29: 1.)

Lastly, some may yet object and say, that, according to the words of the apostle Paul, "For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," (Phil. 2: 13,) that man can do nothing towards his soul's salvation, but that all is from the Lord whether he be saved or lost? But by the words of Paul we understand that God graciously ope rates on the minds of men, by the preaching of the word and the influence of the Holy Spirit, to produce in them a willingness, without any restraint, to come to the Saviour and seek their soul's salvation; and this seems to be intimated by the apostle in the preceding and succeeding verses, where he says, Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.......Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (12: 16.)

But here it should be noticed, that to this willingness which is produced in the minds of men by the means of grace, as said above, the carnal mind is enmity; and upon this carnal mind, the adversary of souls operates to produce an unwillingness to obey the call and voice of the Lord, and to walk in his ways: Here man is brought into a strait, as there are now,

as it were, two opposite natures within him, namely, the inward man, and the natural man; and these are differently wrought upon, and produces a continual warfare. Of this the apostle saith, I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man: but I seo another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Rom. 7: 21-23.) Again he saith, For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that you cannot do the things that you would. (Gal. 5: 17.) Hence Paul asks, Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servant ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?-(Rom. 6: 16.) And Peter saith, For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. (2 Pet. 2: 19.) In this conflict is set before us, as Moses set before the children of Isr: el, LIFE and DEATH-blessing and cursing-therefore let us choose life. Let us fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto we are called, and thus let us give diligence to make our calling and election sure; that we may obtain the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall givo at that day, unto all them that love his appearance. (2 Tim. 4: 8.)

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »