« PreviousContinue »
tained the more precious jewel. He therefore applies the history of Elias, as a proof of personal and particular election k. The prophet imagined that he was “ left alone" in the service of JehoVAH. “ But what faith the answer of God unto “ him? I have reserved to myself, seven thousand “ men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Here we have an election of individuals, as distinguished from the nation in general ; an election of a certain number, “ seven thousand men ;” an election to boliness, for they made no compliances with idolatry; an election of grace, and terminating in efficacious power; for God claims the work as wholly his own; “ I have reserved :" and an election to the praise of the glory of his grace, as the end ; “ I have reserved to myself." The apostle asserts that he taught no new doctrine ; that when he affirmed a personal election, he affirmed no more than what was taught by God himself, and exemplified in the history of Israel, in the days of Elias : “ Even so then at this pre“ sent time also, there is a remnant, according to “the election of grace.” Thus it is evident, that the national election of Israel, to external privileges, typified, terminated in, nay, all along included, an election of persons to that saving grace of which these were only the means.
10. There never was, and there never will be, any nation so peculiarly distinguished as ancient Ifrael. But the sovereignty of God still appears in that distinction which he makes among nations · P 2
with k Rom. zi, 2.-5.
with respect to the means of salvation. How many nations are there in the world that never heard of salvation? How many, that have been deprived of the gospel during a long series of ages ? Who hath made us, in these isles of the fea, to differ from others, as to the external privileges of grace ? Are we Britons so much better than the natives of Hindoftan, that we are favour. ed with the gospel, while they are buried in the darkness of heathenism? Let the history of our conduct in that distant country, for several ages, give an answer to the question. Why hath God left the Chinese, perhaps in other respects the wisest people in the world, in gross obfcurity, and extended his mercy to us? Did he expect that we would be more grateful and obedient to him, or more humane and loving to man, than many other nations whom he hath left in darkness? To say so, would be to arraign the foreknowledge of God. For there are other nations in the world, that never enjoyed the means of salvation, whose manners would extort a blush from the generality of professed Christians, did they “not refuse to “ be ashamed.” We must either deny divine prescience altogether, or admit that God foreknew all this; foreknew that the greatest part of those called Christians, would “ cause even bis “ name to stink among the inhabitants” of hea. then countries; that their ungodly conduct would prove the greatest obstacle to the propagation of Christianity. Why then did he favour such nations with the gospel, and deny it to others? We
muft muft undoubtedly resolve it into the sovereignty of his own will. This choice of nations to external privileges, is as really an act of sovereignty, as the choice of individuals to eternal life; unless it can be proved that the enjoyment of the means is not necessary to the attainment of the end. Let those who think so answer these questions ; “How shall they believe in him of whom they “ have not heard ? And how shall they hear “ without a preacher !?” But if it be necessary to hear of Christ before men can believe in him, and if " there is not another name under heaven, gi“ven among men by which we must be saved ;" surely, God displays the sovereignty of his will, in giving this revelation to some, and withholding it from others. This display may not at first strike the eye so much as that with respect to the end. But it is for want of attention. For if men cannot be saved without the gospel of the grace of God, and there is not one word in the Bible that gives us reason to suppose the contrary), he acts no less sovereignly in refusing men the means, than in withholding the end ; because the end cannot be attained without the means.
On Divine Sovereignty in the Divison of Canaan ;
the Treatment of the Tribes of Israel ;-the Choice of a Place of Worship ;-the Employment of Means and Instruments of Judgment or Mercy; the Distribution of Gifts ;-the Manageinent of our Lot ;-the Aflictions of the Children of God ;-with respect to earthly Kingdoms ;in relation to the Church.-Severe Judgments inflicted for the Denial of this perfection.
II. The sovereignty of God is illustrated by the manner in which he divided the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel. This was by lot, as it was declared by Mofes m: “ The land “ shall be divided by lot; according to the names “ of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. “ According to the lot shall the possessions thereof “ be divided, between many and few." While by this ordination God taught his people their de. pendance upon his sovereign pleasure for all tem. poral mercies, it had a further and a special reference to those which “ pertain to life and godli“ ness.” No tribe, no family could say, “ We “ have obtained from Joshua a better inheritance “ than such another tribe or family, because we
0 Num. Ixvi. 55, 56.
“had a superior claim by our services.” For “ the lot was cast into the lap, and the whole dis“ posal thereof was of the LORD." No one could say, “ I shall dwell here, because it is my choice.” For the choice was wholly God's. In this was prefigured the choice of the spiritual Israel; which is “not of him that willeth, nor of him “ that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." This very language is applied to the feed of the antitypical Jacob. Thus in the forty-seventh Psalm, which contains a celebration of the ascenfion of our Lord, of the true Joshua's entering into his rest, and of the blessed fruits of it in the subjection of the nations to the faith, the Church adopts this language, as ascribing all spiritual blessings to “ the good pleasure of his will ;” " He shall choose our inheritance for us ; the ex“ cellency of Jacob whom he loved n.” Nay, that Elect in whom the soul of the Father de. lighteth, employs the same language concerning himself, in his public character. “ Thou main“ tainest my lot 0." He acknowledges that his designation to the work of redemption, and the consequent reward, were primarily to be ascribed to the sovereign choice of the Father, who “ hath “ chosen us in him p.”
The same language runs through the whole of the New Testament. Hath God chosen his people to a glorious inheritance? It was not for their foreseen faith, good works, or perseverance. It is as much of sovereignty as the appointment