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tions have been drawn to Christ sweetly and irresistably, as with a cord of love; for, this drawing power is put forth in effectual calling: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee, Jer. xxxi. 3. We love him, because he first loved us," i John iv. 16. Again, if your love be the fruit of effectual calling, then the gospel of free grace will be very precious to you; for, that is the outward means of effectual calling; and that which is the means of the new spiritual birth, 1 Pet. i. 23. is still the mean also of spiritual growth : and therefore, they that are effectually called and regenerate, have still an earnest desire after, and delight in it; “ As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby,” 1 Pet. ii. 2. If your love to God be not attended with a love to the doctrine of the gospel, it is but a spurious brood, and not of the right kind. Fur-' ther, if your love to God be the fruit of effectual calling, then the Spirit of God will be very precious to you: because, it is by the power and efficacy of the Spirit that the call is made effectual; for, then the gospel comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, i Thes, i. 5. You will desire more and more of that free Spirit, for carrying on the work of faith with power, and for exciting any grace that ever wrought; your prayer will be, “ Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, and the spices shall send forth the smell thereof." You will always find the Spirit, when he comes by his gracious motions, running only in the channel of gospel doctrine, that tends to lead men out to Christ and his righteousness; and not in the channel of legal doctrine, that has a tendency to lead men in to themselves, and their own works; for, thus the Spirit came to you at first in effectual calling : “ Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Gal. iii. 2.Surely your love is not the fruit of effectual calling, it the Spirit, that calls effectually, be not precious to you: if you can hear sermons from day to day, and never care whether the Spirit powerfully accompany them or not, your love is to be suspected: but, if he hath begun
of grace ;
the good work in you,
will find a need of the same power to carry on the work that began it; and your cry will be, " for more of the Spirit! Oh! dead “ preaching and hearing, without the Spirit ! O to see " the power and glory of God, as I have seen it in the " sanctuary !"
[4.] Examine your love by the original root of it, the everlasting love of God and his
purpose for, it is a love that issues from a being called according to his purpose. Here an exercised person may say, “ How shall I know, if my love to God be the fruit of “God's everlasting love and purpose, in Christ, from “ all eternity concerning me? Is it possible to know, “ that my love to him in time, is such, as will evidence “ his love to me from eternity ? O how shall I under“stand that?” Why, this may not only be known by the marks already delivered, but further, in these four particulars.
1. If your love to God be such as flows from, and evidences bis everlasting love to you, and purpose of grace concerning you, then this loving purpose towards you, has produced in you a loving purpose towards him. What for a purpose is it? It is a purpose of marriage with the Son of God. His purpose of marriage with you from eternity hath produced in you a purpose of marriage with him in time. Can you tell me, if ever such a purpose was wrought in your heart? It is true, there are purposes that come to no effect; but this is an effectual purpose, that hath taken effect; insomnuch, that you could find no rest till the match was made up, as Naomi said of Boaz, when purposing to match with Ruth, chap. iii. 18. “The man will not rest till he hath finished the thing:" even so, Christ Jesus, when betrothing a sinner to himself, as he will not rest till be hath finished this thing, so he works in the soul that purpose also, that he cannot rest till that thing be finished.Now, can you say there was a time when the Lord wrought such a purpose of marriage with him in your heart, that you could not rest till it was some way finished, by a joining hands with the Son of God ? Insomuch, that when he offered his heart and hand to you
you were made to offer your heart and hand to him, saying, “ Lord, take thou me to thyself; take thou ine “ for such is the deceitfulness of my heart, that I know "not if I dare say, Even so, I take thee: that is, in
deed, what I would be at; but seeing it is thou, even “ thou only that canst make it sure work, and a sure “ bargain; therefore I put the making of the marriage “ in thy own hand. O take ine to be thine for ever: “ I offer myself, with a thousand good-wills; O take “me, take me: take me and my blessings to eternity. “I put my heart into thy hand, and leave it with " thee.” Tell me, man, woman, were you brought to such a purpose as this ? O poor soul, it is a fruit of his purpose froin eternity of marrying you: it is a fruit of your being given to Christ in the council of peace : for, Cbrist says, John vi. 37. “ All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me.” Again, if his loving purpose towards you, has produced a loving purpose in you towards him, then it is not only a purpose of marriage with him, but also a purpose of cleaving unto him; a purpose never to leave him ; a purpose to abide with him: as his purpose is to abide with them for ever, John xiv. 19. ; so it produces a purpose in them to abide with him for ever; saying, with Ruth, “ Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for, where thou goest, I will go ; where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people ; and thy God my God,” Ruth i. 16. It is a purpose to bed and board with him, if I may be allowed the expression; to live and die with him ; and to live upon him, for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Again, another part of the loving purpose in them that his purpose doth produce, is a purpose, through grace, to glorify him: they purpose to glorify him in time, and to glorify him through eternity. However little they reach of their purpose while bere below, yet this is a peculiar disposition wrought in all that love God, by virtue of their being called according to his purpose, that they have a great inclination, a strong purpose to glorify him with their hearts, their lips, and lives. They are a chosen generation, a peculiar peo.
ple, that they should shew forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness, to his marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii.9. These are they who love him, and whose love to him flows from, and evidences, his everlasting love and gospel of grace to them.
2. If your love to God be such as is a fruit of his everlasting purpose towards you, then it will produce in you an everlasting purpose towards him : thus to cleave to him, and serve him and glorify him. There are some fleeting purposes which many have, which last but for a moment; but the believer's purpose, to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever, is an everlasting purpose; it is a firm, permanent, fixed, habitual constant purpose. Wbatever winds may drive him from the thing he purposes : yet, no wind can drive him from his purpose, when once it is wrought of God in his heart. Temptation may drive him from seeking and serving his God sometime: but yet the temptation cannot drive him from his purpose of seeking and serving the Lord. He inay be drawn to sin; but he can never be drawn to à purpose of sinning, or a purpose of living in sin ; nay, if some strong corruptions prevail against him, and lead him captive, yet he can confidently appeal to heaven it was never his stated purpose : and it was against his purpose, and against his prayers and against his tears, and against his hope, that such and such an iniquity prevailed against him. It is with him as it is with a mariner that sets out for such a distant haven, with a full purpose to sail straight to it; but, against his purpose he is carried to this port and that port, which he never designed ; and, perhaps, with cross winds, carried hither and thither; yet still his purpose remains : and he never rests till he come to the place he designed
3. If your love to God be the fruit of his eternal pur.. pose and decree, then your heart will be reconciled to these eternal counsels of God, concerning the choosing of some and passing by others. The doctrine of predestination, which the apostle here speaks of in the context, will not be a terrible and harsh doctrine to you: you are brought to such a view of the absolute sove
reignty of God, that you dare not quarrel with his de. crees ; nay, your heart will justify God and acquiesce in his wise and sovereign disposals, saying, ' O! is it not . fit and right that the potter make of the clay what he
pleases ? and that God have mercy on whom he will have mercy ?' &c. “ Is there then unrighteousness with God? God forbid,” Rom. ix. 14, 15. 19. 20. Hence, by the bye, we cannot think that any Arminian can have a love to God: for, in principle, he pulls God down, in effect, from the throne of his absolute sovereignty and dominion.
4. If your love to God be the fruit of his everlasting love and purpose of grace towards you, then your love to him will be accoinpanied with the admiration and adoration of free and sovereign grace; you will not only stoop to sovereignty, without quarrelling his decrees, but you will admire and adore the freedom of his distinguishing love, and ascribe all the glory and praise of every part of your salvation to this
free and sovereign mercy
of God. You will desire to say with the apostle, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Rom. xi. 33. and to acknowledge with the same apostle, • He hath found us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began,” 2 Tim. i. 6. You will desire to admire the beauty and glory of all the links of the gol. den chain here: “ Whom he did foreknow, them also he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called : and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
2dly, Try whether all things shall work for your good, by the begun experience of the thing itself, whether you have found already the footsteps of this truth in your hearts, God's making all things work together for good. Try if he hath begun to make some things work already for your good; for, if he has begun to make some or many things already work for good to