For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall
shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible,
they shall deceive the very elect.” — Matthew 24:24.

I AM not about to enter upon any argument in proof of the doctrine of
election to-night. That I have done at other times, and am prepared to do
so yet again. I purpose rather to speak of some of the practical effects
which result from this article of the believer’s faith. We cannot however
pass over the text, without observing that it is very certain there is an elect,
and that these elect are a special people; for they arc here defined as being
“the very elect” — those who are such in deed and in truth. It is equally
clear that these elect ones cannot be deceived. The text informs us that if it
were possible, those deceivers who had gone to the full stretch of great
signs and wonders, doubtless adding thereto all kinds of eloquence and
persuasion, were not able to deceive the elect; the simple reason being that
it was not possible. They would have deceived them if there had been a
possibility, but the elect were a people who could not possibly be turned
from the stedfastness of their faith and deceived. Moreover, we may add
that in the twenty-second verse, these same elect people are spoken of as
being those for whose sake the rigour of God’s punishments is abated.
“Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the
world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be
shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect’s sake, those
days shall be shortened.” God did not temper the rigour of his
dispensations for the sake of all flesh, but for the elect’s sake The piteous
wail of manhood moveth not the Almighty to spare his righteous
dispensation of punishment upon the nations; it is the cry of the elect that541
moveth his heart. For their sake he promises to shorten those days, and
sheath, as it were, his sword before its time.

We simply make these remarks to show, that in the dealings of God’s
providence, and surely also in the dealings of his grace, God has a special
regard for his chosen and justified ones. For the elect’s sake, he does many
things which otherwise would net enter into the plan of his government. If
our Bibles were read by us in the original, we should be exceedingly struck
with the prominence which is given to the doctrine of election; and if, my
brethren, you were at all acquainted with the manners of the early Christian
Church, or had read any of the letters which have been preserved of the
first age of Christianity, you would be astonished to find how
conspicuously this great doctrine appears, go much so that Christians were
accustomed to address each other as elect ones. The term far from being
recondite was common In daily conversation, and the doctrine far from
being kept back — I do not hesitate to say, that retest doctrine of the
crucifixion and the resurrection of our most blessed Lord — the doctrine
had such prominence in the early Christian Church as the doctrine of the
election of grace. The word “elect” recurred so frequently in conversation,
and was so mixed up with all their preaching, with all their assembling
together, and with all their church: acts, that it is impossible to conceive
that its meaning could be obscured, or held in disesteem. Upon that matter,
however, as I said before, it is not my present intention so enlarge. My
simple endeavor will be to clear the doctrine of sundry aspersions which
have been cast upon it, by showing its proper practical influence — an
influence which I hope as a church, we do not merely show in words by the
lips of our minister, but in our daily life and conversation as a people.
It has often been objected to those that hold the doctrine of election, that
it, it restricts ministers from earnestly preaching to sinners. Now, we are
compelled to confess with the greatest sorrow, and I may add also with no
little indignation, thee there have been some men who have never been able
to grasp the gospel in its integrity, and present the grace of God to men’s
minds at once in its sovereignty and in its freeness. Though their sermons
sometimes ring with the clear melodious note of grace, they are too often
bent on qualifying the extent of its welcome, and inventing explanations of
their own, to wrest the simple meaning of Scriptures. Calvinists, such men
may call themselves, but, unlike the Reformer whose name they adopt, they
bring a system of divinity to the Bible to interpret it, instead of making
every system, be its merits what they may, yield, and give place to the pure
and unadulterated Word of God. They will not imitate their Master in
inviting all men to Christ — they dare not preach a fun Christ to empty
sinners — they are ashamed to say, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye
to the water; “they have been obliged to cover up such a passage as this,
because they could not understand it: — “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how
often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her
chickens under her wing, but ye would not.” They dost not preach upon
such a text as this — “As I live saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the
death of him that dieth, but had rather that be should turn unto me and
live.” They are ashamed to say to men, “Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die.”
They dare not come out and preach as Peter did — “Repent ye, and be
converted that your sins may be blotted out.’ This, they say, would be to
deny the doctrine of election at once. But, beloved, we have not so learned
Christ. I trust we have learned to prove practically by our ministry, that it is
possible to have all the bowels of compassion which a man can feel for
dying souls, and yet grasp with a firm hand, the standard of the doctrine of
grace. It has been our aim and object — at least I can speak for myself —
it has been my aim and object in my ministry, to show that while I believe
the Lord knoweth them that are his, it is at the same time, written over the
fountain of living waters, “Whosoever will, let him come and take of the
water of life freely.”

Sometimes also has it been said, that the doctrine of election leads naturally
to carelessness, and to hard-heartedness in sin — that it acts as a bugbear
to frighten penitents, and as a drug which sinks the impenitent into deeper
sleep. Here again, must confess, for it is but the duty of candor to
acknowledge it, that the preaching of some men has had this tendency, this
doctrine has been used too frequently for the destruction of men’s souls.
But what argument is this against in truth. What truth has not been
perverted! Are there not on the other hand, those who teach God’s
universal mercy, and has not that damned men’s souls! You may teach, and
teach rightly too, that God is long-suffering, and that at the eleventh hour
he still invites a sinner to himself; but has not that very fact of God’s long-suffering
helped to lull sinners to sleep, and weaken the power of that
tremendous word, “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your
hearts.” There is no passage of Scripture which may not be the means of a
man’s destruction, if he wills to make it so. From the very pinnacle of the
temple ye may east yourselves down, saying at the moment you commit
suicide, “He hath given his angels charge over me, to keep me in all my
ways.” If ye will be foolish enough to destroy yourselves at the foot of the
cross, ye may do it. There are many ways to hell, and when a man would
commit self-murder on his soul, be need be at no loss to distil from the
most wholesome truths in Scriptures poison to his spirit. I say therefore it
proves nothing whatever against the doctrine that men have so perverted it.
This doctrine has likewise often been charged with a tendency to cut off
the sympathies of Christian men from their fellows. “Surely,” saith one, “if
you believe yourself to be an elect one, and if I cannot receive the doctrine,
but, never the less, put my humble trust in Christ, there is a tendency in the
doctrine to make you and separate yourself from all the rest of men.” And I
must at, in make confession; too many hold the doctrines of grace in
bitterness. An oh! Purity at St. Paul’s Cross, complained of a set of
ministers that were like bitterns — using the old English word, — they
were like a bittern, as he called it. They had no song, they could make but
hootings. They had not a sweet note to sing. Alas! there are comes such.
Their style always seems to be — “ If you hold what I preach you shall go
to heaven: if you do not, I warn you very solemnly as the part of a faithful
man, it is all up with you.” It does not matter though there be but a shade
of difference, though the unlearned cannot tell where there is any point of
divergence, yet, according to these good brethren, we are for ever to be
destroyed, because we cannot sit down at their feet and exclusively receive
all the dogmas they teach. But, my dear friends, if any of you are laboring
under the idea that the doctrine of election fosters such a spirit, allow me
to disabuse you. On the contrary, it has been the desire of the true
Calvinist, — not of the hyper-Calvinists, I cannot defend them — to feel
that if he has received more ‘light than another man, it is due to God’s
grace, and not to his merits. Therefore charity is inculcated, while boasting
is excluded. We give our hand to every man that loves the Lord Jesus
Christ, be he what he may or who he may. The doctrine of election, like the
great act of election itself is intended to divide not between Israel and
Israel, but between Israel and the Egyptians, — not between saint and
saint, but between saints and the children of this world. A man may be
evidently of God’s chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe
in the doctrine of election. I hold that there are many savingly called, who
do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who
persevere to the end, who do not believe the doctrine of final perseverance.
We do hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads.
We set not their fallacies down to any wilful opposition to the truth as it is 544
in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to
correct. We hope that if they think as mistaken too, they will reciprocate
the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope
that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus, even though as yet
the ministering spirit has not led all of us into all the lengths and breadths
of the truth.
Having thus cleared the way by cutting down a few of the trees that have
been standing in my track, I proceed to notice the real effect of the
doctrine of election upon the true Christian. I shall divide my subject thus:
— The influence he has upon our opinions, our emotion’s, our experience,
our devotions and our actions. I conceive that these five embrace the
whole of the Christian life.

Any observer who has looked through the history of the church, will not
fail to have discovered that there has been a salting influence exercised by
the doctrine of grace upon the minds of those who have been rooted and
grounded in its strong and fruitful soil. At the present time, Lutheranism on
the continent is scarcely better than infidelity. I have been informed by
those who are capable of judging, that too many of the followers of Luther
have become degenerate, have cast aside spirituality, and have really
returned to the beggarly elements of Romanism, even though that persist in
their Protestant profession. But, my brethren, the like cannot be said of the
followers of Calvin. The Dutch Reformed Church, albeit that there may be
much in it over which we might mourn, has never departed from the truth
as it is in Jesus. Enter the place of worship where the Reformed occupy the
pulpit, and you need not be at any loss to discover the way to heaven.
There may be too much dryness in their prayers, and too much dullness in
their mode of preaching, but the truth, the vital truth is there, and God still
owns it in the salvation of sinners. They may not bear so high a fame or
exert so wide an influence as their noble ancestors, but they have not
turned aside to heresy, or perverted the truths of the gospel of Christ. And
with all the defections of the present age, albeit that Sectarians of all
classes have seceded to the Church of Rome, I can scarcely remember a
solitary instance, where any man who has once embraced that “form of
sound words” called the doctrines of grace, has ever forsaken them — at
least, to turn aside to the desperate heresy of that false Church. The truth is
that the doctrine of election, with the sister truths linked with it, acts as a
great anchor. It holds fast the soul, and through the influence of the Holy
Spirit, a man is brought to feel that he has something stable to rely upon,
which he cannot and will not leave to be tossed about upon a sea, without
chart or compass, at the mercy of every wind of doctrine. There is
something in the doctrine, which as it were digs up the earth, and lets the
soul strike its roots down deep. that girds us about as with a triple belt of
steel, and leaves no place in which arrow of infidelity or false doctrine can
find a place to wound us. As a Church and as a people banded together in
the fear of the Lord, I hope we shall prove to the world m our experience,
that though other churches may step aside gradually from their simplicity
and steadfastness, we, forswearing everything which is not consistent with
the naked simplicity and beauteousness of unclothed truth, will hold fast to
the form of truth which we have received, and which has been taught us by
the Spirit of God in his most Holy Book. Nor is this all. Election I take it
— and I am here speaking of the whole set of truths which group around
this as their central sun — has not only a salting power, but exercises a
flavoring and seasoning power over all our other doctrines. The purest
Evangelism springs from this truth. I will not say that the Arminian teaches
that salvation is by works; this is so continually denied by the Arminian,
that I will not charge a falsehood upon him, at which he professes to
shudder; but at the same time, I do say, that the tendency of Arminianism is
towards legality, it is nothing but legality which lays at the root of
Arminianism. Any one doctrine of the Arminian which differs from the
orthodox. Let it be carefully dissected, will prove that after all his ground
of difference is legality. I received but the other day, a letter from an
earnest Arminian anxious to correct my opinions. He says, “If God has
chosen some men from before the foundation of the world, is it not more
consistent with his justice to conceive that he chose those who through life
have used their best endeavors to serve him, rather than that he should
choose the drunkard, or the harlot, to give them salvation?” Of course it is
more consistent Moses proves it — if salvation be by the law or by works:
but with the gospel it is totally inconsistent, for Christ declares “The
publicans and the harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven before you” —
that is, before you Pharisees — before the very men who in their own blind
way had striven to will salvation by works.

My dear friends, after all, the kicking against the doctrine of election is a
kicking against the gospel, because this doctrine is a first principle in the
divine plan of mercy, and when rightly known, it prepares our minds to
receive all the other doctrines. Or on the contrary, misunderstand this, and
you are pretty sure to make mistakes about all the rest. Take for instance
final perseverance; some men say, “If we continue in faith, and if we
continue in holiness, we shall certainly be saved at last.” Do you not see at
once that this is legality — that this is hanging our salvation upon our work
— that this is making our eternal life to depend on something we do? Nay,
the doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing
but the doctrine of salvation by works, lifted all; for he always thinks faith
is a work of the creature and a condition of his acceptance. It is as false to
say that man is saved by faith as a work, as that he is saved by the deeds of
the law. We are saved by faith as the gift of God, and as the first token of
his eternal favor to us; but it is not faith as our work that saves, otherwise
we are saved by works, and not by grace at all If you need any argument
upon this point, I refer you to our great apostle Paul, who so constantly
combats the idea that works and grace can ever be united together, for he
argues, “If it be of grace, then it is no more of works otherwise grace were
no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more of grace, otherwise
work is no more work.”

You will I think, perceive, if you look through the roll of mighty preachers,
that nil those who have been great in the simple preaching of the doctrine
of salvation by faith, have been men who held the doctrine of election; you
cannot find, that I am aware of, but one or two old Puritanical works
written by any but those who held this truth. You cannot discover a great
divine — look back through centuries — who teas not held it. There have
been some small ones in modern times and some earnest ones too, but the
ages past have been all utterly destitute of anything like a great preacher
who has not held this doctrine. I might make exception of Wesley, and
Fletcher, of Madely, among modern divines — but in the olden times there
was nothing like any great and successful preacher, who has not held the
doctrine of election. This doctrine has always had an evangelizing power
on the souls of men, so that those who have held it, have preached more
clearly than any others, the simple truth that we are caved by grace, and
not by works. And I would add, that I have also observed that the doctrine
of election exercises another influence upon men’s opinions; it renders
them more clear and lucid. Out of hundreds of young persons who
continually come to join our church, from all bodies of Christians, I have
always discovered that those who have the best idea of Scripture — not
simply looking at it from my own point of view, but allowing other people
to be judges — are those who have held this doctrine. Without it there is a
lack of thought, and generally speaking they have no idea whatever of a
system of divinity. It is almost impossible to make a man a theologian
unless you begin with this. You may if you please put a young believer to
college for years, but unless you shew him this ground-plan of the
everlasting covenant, be will make little progress, because his studies do
not cohere, he does not see how one truth fits with another, and how all
truths must harmonize together. Once let him get a clear idea that salvation
is by grace, let him discover the difference between the covenant of works
and the covenant of grace, let him clearly understand the meaning of
election, as strewing the purpose of God, and its bearing upon other
doctrines which shew the accomplishment of that purpose, and from that
moment he is on the high road to become an instructive believer He will
always be ready to give a reason of the hope that is in him with meekness
and with fear. The proof is palpable. Take any comity throughout England,
you will find poor men hedging and ditching that have a better knowledge
of divinity than one half of those who come from our academies and
colleges, for the reason simply and entirely that these men have first
learned in their youth the system of which election is a center, and have
afterwards found their own experience exactly square with it. They have
built upon that good foundation a temple of holy knowledge, which has
made them fathers in the Church of God. Every other scheme is as nothing
to build with, they are but wood, hay and stubble. Pile what you will upon
them, and they will fall. They have no system of architecture, they belong
to no order of reason or revelation. A disjointed system makes its topstone
bigger than its foundation, it makes on part of the covenant to disagree
with another. it makes Christ’s mystical body to be of no shape whatever;
it gives Christ a bride whom he does not know and does not choose, and it
puts him up in the world to be married to any me who will have him; but he
is to have no choice himself. It spoils every figure that is used with
reference to Christ and his Church. The good old plan of the doctrine of
grate is a system which whence once received is seldom given up; when
rightly learned. it moulds the thoughts of the heart, and it gives a sacred
stamp to the characters of those who have once discovered its power.

II. In the second place, I come to notice THE INFLUENCES OF THE

Here we speak not of matter of opinion, but of effect. The man who sighs
for some divine witness that he is chosen of God is, I should think,
necessarily humble. But the man who knows by gracious evidences that
this seal is set upon him, is one from whose eyes every selfish pretension is
for ever hid. If he could suppose that God had chosen him by the foresight
and foreknowledge of some good qualities he possessed, he might be
puffed up with unbearable conceit, But he knows God has chosen the
foolish things, the weak things, the base things, the things that are not,
things too worthless for notice in this world He must take his place,
therefore, down there among the offscouring of earth, before he can be
lifted up by grace to sit among the adopted heirs of glory. There are some
who profess to believe the doctrine of election who ale as proud as Lucifer,
but it is not the doctrine of election which makes them so; it is their own
evil hearts that can mis-turn every thing good into evil. Such men,
methinks are rather fatalists in judgment, than believers in God the Father’s
love at heart. The doctrine itself, if it were lightly construed, would tend to
humble such and keep them bumble. Can you conceive a more contrite
spirit than that expressed in these lines: —
“Why was I made to hear thy voice,
And enter where there’s room
While thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
‘Twas the same love that spread the feast,
That sweetly forced me in;
Else I’d still refused to taste,
And perished in my sin.”
I ask whether such a hymn, which has in it the very gist of the doctrine, is
not the meek utterance of a chastened soul? Can the haughty unsubdued
heart entertain a sentiment like this?
“What was there in me to merit esteem,
Or give the creator delight?
‘Tis even so, Father, we even most say,
For so it seemed good in thy sight.”
The language hymn ought to be in harmony with our daily life. If we are
elect and precious, we must bow humbly before the throne and give God
the glory of our salvation.

Take the doctrine again, with regard to another emotion of the soul, not
amply of prostration, but the emotion of gratitude. There is a common
bounty of God that appeals to common gratitude. Too often alas we pass
by these ordinary mercies and slight the goodness that bestows them. “He
maketh his sun to shine on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on
the just and the unjust.” You may go abroad into the fields and see the
liberal providence of the Creator; and when you do so, it behoves you to
lift up your hearts and adore. But tell me, is there not a sweeter sense of
gratitude to the soul that experiences his particular favor? Hath he brought
thee Into the banqueting house? Hath the banner of his love waved over
thy bead? Doth he place his left hand under thy head, and his right hand
embrace thee? What gratitude will such choice attentions to his chosen
ones stir up! This surely will put some stanzas into thy psalm of praise that
never echoed through the gladsome mountains and fruitful valleys — a
music too soft for the outer world and suited only to the inner chamber of
affection. Boaz spake with a goodly salutation to the reapers. He was
bountiful to the maidens that were gathering the sheaves. But greater
kindness showed he to Ruth. The gratitude she felt was more than theirs —
“She fell on her face and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him,
why have I found grace in thine eyes that thou shouldest take knowledge
of me seeing I am a stranger?” This electing favor, this choice comfort, this
friendly speech, these words to the heart, — these are the things that
awaken devout gratitude in the believer; — distinguishing and
discriminating love wakes the echo of soul-stirring gratitude.
Then, again, it is sometimes said that this is a very gloomy doctrine. John
Calvin is often described by those who bate the doctrines which he clarified
and preached — for he is not the author of them any more than I am — he
is described as being such a terrible ascetic, of forbidding countenance,
preaching the destruction of infants, and revelling in other hideous
sentiments, which in his soul he loathed, and none of his writings ever
inculcate. These are the inventions of falsehood. John Calvin certainly was
sickly man and looked ill, and well he might. If an Arminian had to go
through half the difficulties and trials, he must have been in his grave ten
years before, he would have had no stamina in his soul to bear up against
the bodily disease, which poor John Calvin had to endure. Yet there was he
seen every morning going up to the divinity college, and delivering his
lectures in the halls before his students, and we have the result of his labors
in about fifty-six large volumes of most extraordinary divinity, which those
who rage against him had better read before they open their mouths again.
That man was preserved in the midst Of troubles, perils, and woes, still a
joyous man in his heart, with gleams of sunshine in his soul, the dash of
which I have seen in his Commentary, and discovered in his Institutes
continually. The tendency of the doctrine of election is not gloomy; but it is
joyous. I know there have been times with me when my spirit has been so
low that nothing could elevate it but this precious truth. I have even taken
down old Elisha Coles’ book on God’s Sovereignty and read a chapter out
of that as a tonic, and I have felt all the happier and better. Next to the
Bible, such books tend to cheer one’s soul more than any books I know. In
my bright and happy days let me have other things tribes if you will, but I
must come to solidities when I lie on my couch, and especially when I
come near to the grave’s mouth, and I am ready to look into eternity. I
know not what you will discover to comfort you, there is nothing but the
doctrine of grace that satisfies me, nothing but that will give me any
comfort. This doctrine hath filled our souls sometimes with joy that we
knew scarcely how to contain, we have mounted as on the wings of eagles
up to our God, who has made us to rejoice in him by reason of his
distinguishing favor. What was it that made David dance before the ark?
The doctrine of election, for what said he to the woman who mocked him
for his dancing. He said, “God hath chosen me before thy father!” That
truth moved him to mirth; and many an heir of heaven has danced before
God’s ark when the Spirit has revealed to him that his name is enrolled
among the chosen ones of Jehovah.

III. Having shown the effect of this doctrine upon our emotions, in
humbling us and in stirring us up, and carrying us away in holy joy and
rapture, let us now ask WHAT EFFECT IT HAS ON OUR EXPERIENCE?
This is its effect upon the Christian’s experience, it causes him to rejoice in
the midst of deep despondency: and again, it sobers him in the midst of
worldly joy. It seems to say to him — “Nevertheless rejoice not in this, but
rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” On this I will not
dwell, but perhaps this thought it is only fair to add, the doctrine of
election has had in its raw misstated form a very painful influence upon the
experience of many a young believer. There are many who have grace
enough to convince them of sin, but not light enough to see the Savior,
who for a long time are kept in darkness, and the valley of the shadow of
death through fear that they could not come to Christ rightly without they
first knew their election. I had this matter brought before me this afternoon
by one out of a numerous body of converts with whom I had the pleasure
of conversing. Some good woman said to me “I had a period of something
like hope after I was bright to seek the Lord. Then suddenly the doctrine of
election crossed my path, and I was for a long time in great distress about
it.” I was not surprised at her anxiety, but I was gratified to find that she
had obtained the true solution of her knotty point. It was not by shutting
her eyes to the truth as recorded in the Bible, but by having it commended
to her conscience with the power of the Spirit that she found peace. And
now the doctrine which once appeared to her dark bodings as an iron fence
or a brazen wall to exclude sinners from coming to CHRIST is made clear to
her faith as an open door to admit saints into the FATHER’S presence. Do
you understand this my brethren. If I speak of doctrine in the divine order,
the purpose of God the Father went before the work of God the Son. That
is to say, we were inscribed as saints in the Book of Life before we were
accounted sinners, and before the sentence of death passed upon us in
Adam. When, however, I come to speak of experience, the order is
reversed. We are brought to knowledge of our sinfulness in the flesh before
we learn our acceptance in the Beloved, If without seeming to forget the
eternal Unity of the Three Persona in the Godhead 1 might venture to
illustrate my meaning, I would put it to you in this way. God the Father
first loved us, and gave us to Christ — that is the doctrine of the ancient
covenant. But in showing you the doctrine of Redemption, Jesus Christ
first finds us as lost sheep, and then having sanctified us by his one
offering, he presents us to the Father. If again, the decree of election is
more ancient than the fact of our calling, as it stands in the councils of
eternity. Not so in the ministration of the Holy Ghost. Here our calling is
opened first, and the knowledge of our election follows after. And why? I
answer for this reason because in the call of grace we are always viewed as
sinners, and invited and wooed as sinners; while in the election of grace we
are always viewed as saints, as sanctified persona in the highest sense of
the word. Well, then, it is as lost-sinners we are invited to Christ; but it is
as elect and precious ones we are prep seated to the Father without blame
in love. Election shout as loudly as any other doctrine — “Whosoever will,
let him come and take of the water of life freely.” And if election be caned
to account for this, it replies — “Those that will come, God wills shall
come, and those who hunger to come, God has made them hungry, and
there is the proof of their election.” Those that seek must find him, for
election itself decrees, that he that seeks shall find, and to him that
knocketh it shall be opened.

If this doctrine be fully received and known it breathes with all gratitude to
God’ an earnest desire to show forth his praise. It leads to all kinds of holy
activity, and a hearty endeavor for the service of God. We are told
continually by philosophic writers, that the idea of necessity, — the idea
that anything is fixed or decreed — tends at once to damp activity. Never
was there a grosser misrepresentation. Look abroad, everything that has
been great in the spirit of the age has had a Necessitarian at the bottom of
it. When Mahomet preached predestination, he took a necessitarian view.
Did that doctrine of predestination make his followers idle? Did it not
make them dash into the battle, declaring they must die when the appointed
time came, and while they lived they must fight, and earnestly defend their
faith? Or to take an instance from the history of our own country. Did the
Calvinism of Oliver Cromwell make his Ironsides idle! Did they not keep
their powder dry? They believed that they were chosen men of God, and
were they not men of velour? Did this doctrine mar their energy? So in
every good enterprise our churches are never behind. Are we backward in
Missionary enterprise? Are we slow to send forth men of God to preach in
foreign lands? Are we deficient in our efforts? Are we the people who
would preach to a select few? — who would erect buildings for worship
that the poor scarcely dare to enter? Are we the people who would keep
our religious services for a privileged circle? The fact is, the most zealous,
the most earnest, and the most successful of men, have been those who
have held this truth, and therefore it cannot be true that this tends to damp
our energies or thwart our zealous the best proof of this is especially in our
lives. In the midst of God’s holy congregation let us pledge ourselves to-night,
that holding this truth, it makes us neither unholy nor inactive. It is
our anxious endeavor to be glean lies men chosen to bear the vessels of the
Lord. It is our hearty prayer that in season end out of season we may labor
for the winning of men’s souls, knowing that to God’s churches is
committed the work of gathering in those sheep who are not of his fold,
but who must be brought in, that there may be one flock and one

I have gone a great way into controversy to-night, it is not often I do so;
but every builder in these times must have his sword upon his thigh, and I
have shown you the Word to-night. May God lead every one of us to this
glorious Book, to lay hold upon the truths taught us. And when we have
seen a truth let us not be backward to declare it. Be sure that those who
honor Christ in his Word shall be honored by Christ in his glory. Oh that
you here present, who have as yet never sought Christ, and know nothing
of him, instead of being frightened by this doctrine, would now come to
Christ and say, “Lord, take me as I am and save me, for thou canst do it,
and unto thee shall be all the glory!” It would be well if some of you could
say what a convert now present said when driven almost to despair. He
said in his prayer, “Jesus, if thou wilt not have me, I will have thee,” so he
laid hold upon Jesus. Presently he had a clear view of Christ and his gross,
and could personally discern that if he would have Christ, then certainly
Christ had already got him. Such a desire and resolution as that would
never otherwise have sprung up in his soul. May God add a blessing on
these remarks. for Jesus sake! Amen.