CALLING AND ELECTION: OR, Many are Called, but few are chosen. BEING A Consideration of Mat. 22. 14.


To whom coming as unto a Living Stone, disallowed in­deed of Men, but chosen of God and precious: Ye also as lively Stones are built up a Spiritual house, an holy Priesthood, to offer up Spiritual Sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.—Ye are a Chosen Generation, &c. which in time past were not a People, but are now the People of God, 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5,—9, 10.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their know­ledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, Rom. 1. 28.

God worketh all things according to the Counsel of his own Will, Ephes. 1. 11.

LONDON, Printed for Benjamin Southwood at the Starre next to Serjeants Inne in Chancery lane, 1674.


Christian Reader,

I had no thoughts of writing out the ensuing discourse, until a very good friend of mine requested me, that when I had opportunity I would do so much for him, which I was not very forward unto, not resolved against: But upon further con­sideration, I did intend according to my small ability, and as I had time, to sa­tisfie his desire. But before I had begun it, several others also were as desirous as the former, both to have it written out, and also that it should be made publick. The former is now done, but whether the latter desire will be answered or no, I yet know not.

That which made me the more wil­ling to grant what was desired by my[Page]Friend, and Friends was, That I might in some measure discover the abuse of the Doctrine of Election by many of the Leaders of the People, whereby many Blind ones being led by the Blind, fall into the ditch of Errour: And many others also are indangered also so to do. For as it was said in former times by the Lord concerning some Teachers; so surely it may be said of too many in ours: Thy Interpreters have transgressed against me, Isa. 43. 27. What the Scrip­tures speak concerning Election agrees sweetly with the word of the beginning of Christ, to wit, That He is indeed the Saviour of the World; And there­fore nothing at all opposeth them who believe it. But Men, in their Interpreta­tions and Glosses, pervert those things which are more hard to be understood: And then also they wrest the other Scrip­tures, which are more easie to their own and others, destruction; that they may make them agree with their perversions of the more hard, 2 Pet. 3. 16. So it is[Page]in this particular instance. They first devise and imbrace a new Doctrine of Election, which the Scripture knoweth not, to wit, An absolute Election of some mens persons in a personal conside­ration before the World had a being: And then they deny, or confess not, that Jesus Christ by the Grace of God tasted Death for every Man; or, that the Grace of God brings Salvation to all men, that they may be saved. That so there may be some agreement in their instructions which cause to err from the words of knowledge. But those who first begin with, and learn the word of the begin­ning of Christ, which is the foundation of other Doctrines, receive light there­from by degrees into other Doctrines which are built thereon: And in follow­ing Christ therein, who is the light of the World, they shall not abide in dark­ness, but the light shall be vouchsafed, and shine more and more unto them until the perfect day.

[Page]If any should fault me for not speaking to other Scriptures which some think fa­vour their device of personal Election, as Acts 13. 48. Rom. 8. 28-30. &c. Let them know, I have not medled with them, both because the word Election is not expressed therein: And also, and es­pecially because these, and other Scrip­tures of like nature are spoken unto alrea­dy more fully and profitably then I can do by my Brethren and Helpers in the Lord; as by Mr. Thomas Moor Sen. in his Book entituled An explicite declaration of the Testimony of Christ, from page 354. to 372. and page 451-457. And in his Treatise of Election. And by Mr. John Horn in his Essays, page 24. 26, &c. And therefore to them I refer them, because also I have been much more large then I at first intended.

And let not them who believe the Te­stimony of God concerning Christ, viz. That He is the Son of God, and Saviour of the World, deceive themselves, in[Page]thinking that my only, or principal end and aim in what I have written is, to de­tect the errours of them who are enemies thereto: for though I have endeavoured so to do in some things for their good who do so err: And to preserve others from such evil and erronious Doctrines, if they have an heart and opportunity to read this: Yet I principally intended this discourse to discover how many vain believers of the Gospel of Christ there are, who though they are called, yet are not chosen: And for admonition to them, and instru­ction to all who have the form of sound words, that we might all of us, not only in word profess to believe Christs Gospel. But so from the heart obey it, that we may be and abide free from sin, and become continually servants unto Righteousness, that we may have our fruit unto Holiness, and the end Eternal Life.

Consider what is said herein, and com­pare it with the word of God, and Testi­mony of Jesus: And what agreeth there­with[Page]embrace it, and yield up thereto: And if in any thing I have dissented there­from, let it be rejected. Try all things, hold fast that which is good.

Charles Phelpes.
Mat. 22. 14.
For many are Called, but few are Chosen.

THese Words are in Ge­neral the Shutting up, or Conclusion, of the fore-going Parable, which, it may seem, our Saviour speaketh directly to the Chief Priests and Pharisees; though it was spoken also in the Hearing, and for the Good and Admonition of o­thers, of the People then present, and of the Disciples also: But it appears to be spo­ken directly to the Chief Priests and Pha­risees. For in Chap. 21. our Saviour spake in Parables, in which He signifieth how He should be Dealt with, and Rejected by the Husbandmen and Builders, Verse 28.—44. [Page 2]And when the chief Priests and Pharisees had heard His Parables, they perceived that▪ He spake of them, Ver. 45. And this Chap. 22. thus beginueth: Jesus answered and spake unto them again by Parables, and said, &c. Ver. 1. As also, and further appeareth by what is said in this Chap. 22. 15.

And it appears, That this Parable is Prophetical, shewing before-hand the Suf­ferings of Christ, and the Glory that He should receive there-through: And then, God's Grace to the Jews, together with their Unworthiness generally, Ver. 2. 7. And on their Rejection of the Gospel, God's Mercy to us Gentiles (for through their Rejection of Christ, when Preached by the Apostles, and Fall thereby; Salvation came to us Gentiles, for to provoke them to jea­lousie, Acts 13. 46, 47. and 28. 28. Rom. 11. 11, 12.) And the Iniquity of too many of the Gentiles after Called and brought into the House, Ver. 8, 9,—12.—

And this Verse, we have propounded to speak unto, contains in it particularly the Reason of God's great displeasedness with, and severity.

1. More remotely against the Jews, who p [...]t away the Word of God, and judged themselves unworthy of Eternal Life (which was their own, not God's Fore­judgment,) [Page 3] Acts 13. 45, 46. Mat. 22. 7.

2. And more immediately against the un­worthy Gentiles, or the Man indefinitely that had not on the Wedding Garment. Concerning whom He gives this Charge to the Servants. Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into [...]uter Darkness, there shall be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, Ver. 11. 13. To which He subjoyns this, I say, as the Reason of His being so angry with, and Incensed against the unworthy, both Jews and Gentiles. For many are Cal­led, but few are Chosen.

In the former part of which Words, to wit, [Many are Called] let us inquire and consider,

  • I. To what are the many Called, and upon what Account?
  • II. By whom are the many Called?
  • III. Why saith He [Many] are Called, and not [All?]
  • IV. To what End are they Called? And this will lead us to the latter part.

First, To what are the many Called, and upon what Account?

They are called to the Marriage and Marriage-feast, which God hath prepared in the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord: So it is said, The Kingdom of Heaven is like un­to a certain King which made a Marriage for[Page 4]his Son. And sent—to call them that were bidden, to the Wedding.—Again he sent—saying, Tell them which are bidden, behold, I have prepared my Dinner;—Come unto the Marriage, Ver. 2. 4. And when these first bidden Guests, the Jews, refused and made light of it, he commands again. Go ye into the High-ways (unto the Gentiles) and as many as ye shall find, bid to the Marri­age, ver. 8, 9, 10. And so it is to the Marriage, and Marriage-feast, there-with and thereby prepared to which the many are Called, Bidden and Invited.

Now the Marriage to which they are Cal­led, signifieth not only, as some say, the Feast prepared; though that may be, and is included also: But firstly and principally the Marriage it self, which the King of Hea­ven, the most High God, the Possessor of Heaven and Earth (who is indeed a great King, Mal. 1. 14.) made for His Son, His only Begotten Son; In which the Divine and Humane Nature were Married and Uni­ted in a close, and Personal Union, in the Person of the Word, the Son of God; which was the Root and Cause of that Pro­vision prepared for us: And to which Men are Called, to the end they might come to, and be Espoused unto Jesus Christ. This, I conceive, is first meant and intended by [Page 5]the Marriage here spoken of, that in which the Word was made Flesh. For asmuch as the Children were partakers of Flesh and Blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same: That in our Nature He might be further Abased for us, that He might take out of the way all that was contrary to us, and ob­tain into Himself all the fulness of Grace and Truth, John 1. 1, 3, 14. Heb. 2. 14. This is the first Branch in the Mysterie of Godli­ness, God was manifest in the Flesh, 1 Tim. 3. 16. And being made of a Woman, He was under the Law, as Mankind was fallen under it, yet without Sin; And had the Sins and Trespasses of the World imputed to, and laid upon Him: God made Him to be Sin for us, who knew no sin, Gal. 4. 4. with Rom. 3. 19. 2 Cor. 5. 19, 21. And in and by this Marriage He was fitted and prepared to be Wounded for our Transgressions, and Bruised for our Iniquities, and to Taste Death for us, even that first Death, which was the Wages of our first Sin and Sinful­ness: As here it is said, My Oxen and Fat­lings are killed, Mat. 22. 4. Christ our Pass­over hath been Killed and Sacrificed for us, 1 Cor. 5. 7. And so, That whereto Men are Called first of all, it is to the Beholding, View, and Belief of, the Abasement and Death of the only Begotten Son of God in [Page 6]the Nature of Man, which is indeed the procuring Cause of all the Glory conferred upon it in His Person, 1 Cor. 15. 3. Gal. 3. 1. Phil. 2. 6. 9. John 3. 35. with Chap. 10. 17. Rev. 5. 12. And because all that is Treasured up in Christ is the Purchase and Procurement of His Cross and Sufferings; therefore the Gospel is called, The Preach­ing of the Cross, and of Christ Crucified, 1 Cor. 1. 17, 18. 22, 24. and Chap. 2. 1, 2. Gal. 3. 1. and Chap. 6. 14.

And together herewith also they are Cal­led unto the Marriage-feast, or Dinner, which is prepared by means of the Suffer­ings of Christ, in the Virtue whereof He is raised again, in which all things are ready: Which in a like Parable to this, Luke 14. 16, 17. is called, A great Supper: Great in­deed, for in it all things are ready. And it is called, a Supper; because once in the end (or Evening) of the World Christ appeared to put away Sin by the Sacrifice of Himself, Heb. 9. 26. This Purpose and Grade was given in Christ before the Ancient, or Agie Times: But in these last Times, all Things are now actually prepared, 2 Tim. 1. 9, 10. so as in Him there is a Justification from the Guilt of our first Sin and Sinfulness, Rom. 3. 22, 23. and 5. 18. the abolishing of our first Death, 2 Tim. 1. 10. A Victory obtained[Page 7]by Him over all our Enemies, Heb. 2. 14. John 12. 31. Psal. 98. 1. And in Him there is Redemption through His Blood, even the Forgiveness of our following Sins, Acts 13. 38, 39. And He hath brought in ever­lasting Righteousness, Gal. 2. 21. And re­ceived the Spirit without measure, John 3. 34. Acts 2. 33. In Him are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledg, Col. 2. 3. He is full of Grace and Truth, John 1. 14, 16. God hath given us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son, 1 John 5. 10, 11. Yea, in Him it hath pleased the Father that all Fulness should dwell, Col. 1. 18, 19. and 2. 9, 10. He is Glorified in our Nature with the Father's own self, with the Glory He had with Him before the World was, John 17. 4, 5. All Things that the Father hath are His, John 16. 15. The Father so loveth the Son because He laid down His Life for us that He might take it up again, that He hath given all Things into His Hand; All Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly things; all things that pertain to Life and Godliness: And all Power both in Heaven and in Earth, John 10. 17. with Chap. 3. 35. Ephes. 1. 3. Mat. 28. 18. By means of His being Sacrificed for us, there is a Feast pre­pared for us, 1 Cor. 5. 7, 8. A Feast of fat Things, of Wines on the Lees, of fat things[Page 8]full of Marrow, of Wines on the Lees well Refined, Isa. 25. 6. Prov. 9. 1, 3. And to this Marriage-feast also are Men Called, and Bidden, that they might partake hereof, and their Souls be satisfied here with as with Marrow and Fatness, Isa. 55. 1, 2, 3.

And so that whereto men are Called, is to Jesus Christ and Him Crucisied, and that excellent and compleat Preparation provi­ded in Him: They are called into the Grace of Christ Jesus, Gal. 1. 6. The Spirit of Christ in the Prophets did testifie before hand of the Sufferings of Christ, and the Glory that should follow. And these things are now Reported to us in the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven, 1 Pet. 1. 11, 12. with Luke 24. 25, 27.

To Christ, God the Father was, and is, Calling and Directing men: To the Teach­ers, He said, This is the Rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the Refreshing, Isa. 28. 12. 16. Behold, saith he, my Servant whom I uphold, &c. Isa. 42. 1. 6, 7. He hears Witness of Him; and Christ is so the Sum of his Teaching, that every one that hath Heard and hath Learned of the Father cometh unto Him, John 5. 31, 37. and 6. 45.

Unto Himself Jesus Christ also calleth men: He saith, Look unto me all the ends of[Page 9]the Earth, and be ye saved: For I am a Just God and a Saviour, and there is none beside me, Isa. 45. 21, 23. with Phil. 2. 8, 9, 10. And He saith, Behold me, behold me, unto a Nation that was not called by His Name, Isa. 65. 1. Thou shalt, saith the Father, Call a Nation which Thou knewest not, to wit, unto Thy self; for so much is signified in what follows: And Nations that knew not Thee, shall run unto Thee, &c. Isa. 55. 5. All things, saith our Saviour, are delivered unto me of my Father, &c. Come unto me—I will give you rest, Isa. 49. 1. 6. Mat. 11. 27, 28. John 7. 37, 38.—

It is also the Work of the Holy Spirit, to Lift up the Son of Man, as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the Wilderness, that Men might look unto, and believe in Him. To bear Witness of Jesus Christ: To take of His things, His Abasement, Death, Resur­rection and Glory, and to shew unto us: And therefore also He is called, the Spirit of Christ, John 3. 5, 6, 14. and 15. 26. and 16. 14, 15. Acts 5. 30, 32. Rom. 8. 9. 1 Pet. 1. 11.

Yea, the one God, Father, Word, and Holy Spirit, beareth His Record of Jesus Christ, and this is the Record, that God hath given us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son, 1 John 5. 7, 10, 11. Yea, to[Page 10]Him all the holy Ones call us; the Spirit and the Bride say, Come; to wit, unto Christ: And let him that heareth say, Come, &c. Rev. 22. 16, 17.

And hereby we may see the desperate fol­ly and madness of Men, who forsake, or come not unto the Lord, the Fountain of Living Waters, but hew them out Cisterns broken Cisterns, that can hold no Water, Jer. 2. 12, 13.

And it might Ingage and Provoke us all to obey this heavenly Call, and run unto Christ, because of the Lord his God, and for the Holy One of Israel, who hath Glo­rified Him in Himself; and displayed the Preciousness of His Blood, and His Excel­lency and Comeliness by means thereof so our escape, before us in the Gospel: And is Calling and Inviting us unto Him, Isa. 55. 5. with John 13. 31, 32. Oh! let us not turn a deaf Ear to this Call, but let us incline our Ears and come unto Him, let us hear that our Souls may live, &c. Isa. 55. 2, 3. Considering also that which follow­eth. Namely,

The Account and Ground upon which Men are Called unto this Marriage, and Marriage-feast, is, because it was intended and prepared for them: If the Trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare him­self[Page 11]to the Battel? 1 Cor. 14. 8. But so doth not this Trumpet in the glorious Gos­pel of God: for as it gives a joyful sound, Psal. 89. 15. so also a certain one. Gods Mouth hath therein spoken Truth, and Wickedness is an Abomination to His Lips: All the Words of His Mouth are in Righteousness, there is nothing froward, or wreathed in them, Prov. 8. 6, 8. This is a faithful Saying, and wor­thy of all Acceptation, it is both true and Good, that Christ Jesus came into the World to save Sinners: Sinners indefinitely, and without exclusion of any, 1 Tim. 1. 15. This His Marriage of our Nature is, and was by an Heavenly Messenger proclaimed to be Glad tidings of great joy to all people, Luke 2. 10, 11, 14. And Christ had the Trespasses of the World imputed to Him, 2 Cor. 5. 19, 21. And by the Grace of God He tasted Death for every man, Heb. 2. 9. And is Risen again for the [...] Justification: So that as verily as all have sinned in the first Publick Man, and are come short of the Glory of God: So also they are Justified freely by God's Grace through that Re­demption that is in Christ Jesus, Rom. 3. 22, 24. and 5. 18. And in Him there is a Feast prepared for all People, Isa. 25. 6. Forgiveness of Sins for all Nations, Luke 24. 47. Acts 26. 17, 18. Righteousness for [Page 12]all, Rom. 3. 22. Isa. 61. 11. Eternal Life for all Mankind, while it is called to day, 1 John 5. 10, 11, 12. A Salvation prepared before the Face of all People: Neither is there Salvation in any other, Luke 2. 30, 31. Acts 4. 12. And on this Ground it is that men are Invited to come to this Marriage, and Marriage-feast because it was made, and made ready for them, even for Jews and Gentiles, and so consequently for all Man­kind, Mat. 22. 2. 8, 9, 10. Luke 14. 16. 24. On this account His Servants have been pro­voked and excited to Intreat and Beseech men generally to receive the Grace of God to purpose: The Love of Christ did con­strain them, to perswade men to come unto Jesus Christ, because they thus judged, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and that He died for all, &c. And after they had given an account of the Ministry of Re­conciliation which they had received, to wit, that God was in Christ (when one died for all, and rose again) Reconciling the World unto Himself, not imputing their Trespasses unto them, but unto Christ, they say: Now therefore we are Ambassadours for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christs stead be ye reconciled un­to God, 2 Cor. 5. 11, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21. and 6. 1. John 3. 14, 16. and 4. 42. Hence[Page 13]the Lord maketh Proclamation and Invita­tion to every Thirster, both to such as thirst out of necessity, and to such also as thirst out of delight, having tasted the Gracious­ness of the Lord; and saith, Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the Waters, and he that hath no money, &c. And to move them hereto, He saith, Behold, I have given Him for a Witness: For a Witness of His Love and Faithfulness: He hath so loved the World that He hath given His only begotten Son, to be the Saviour of it, that all men through Him might believe, John 3. 16, 17. and 1. 7. 1 John 4. 14. And hence exhorts men, To seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near. Yea, The Wicked to forsake his ways, and the man of Iniquity his thoughts, and to return unto Him, and He will have Mercy, &c. Isa. 55. 1. 4, 6, 7. Here is a good account and sure ground given in the Gospel, both for the Servants to Call, so as they shall not run at uncertainty, nor fight as those that beat the Air: But may both Preach to any man, or every man, as they have opportunity, and Pray for them, Without wrath, though they be their Ene­mies; and without doubting, whether God bears any good Will to them or no: For they may certainly know and conclude, God will have all men to be saved, and come[Page 14]to the knowledg of the Truth: Because Christ gave Himself a Ransome and Price of Redemption to God for all, a Testimony in due time. And for those who are Called, who from hence may be Incouraged upon principles of Certainty and Truth to come unto Him, in whom dwelleth all the Ful­ness of the Godhead bodily, and in whom is all Compleatness prepared and treasured up for us. And whosoever believeth in Him shall never be ashamed nor confounded, Luke 6. 27, 36. 1 Cor. 9. 26. 1 Tim. 2. 4, 6, 8. And so much for the first Inquiry.

Secondly, By whom are the many Called?

By the Servants Instrumentally and Mi­nisterially, and especially by the Apostles in these last days. For, as we have said, our Saviour in this Parable speaketh Propheti­cally of the Gospels being Preached unto Jews and Gentiles, after He had finished the Work the Father gave Him to do upon the Earth: And after His Death, Resurrection, As­cension, Receipt of, and sending forth the Holy Spirit in His Name, in and by which His Apostles were fitted and furnished to Preach the Gospel according to the Revela­tion of the Mystery: For until then the Ser­vants had not Commission and Furniture to Preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable Riches of Christ. And though when Christ[Page 15]was risen from the Dead, He gave Com­mission to His Apostles, to go into all the World, and Preach the Gospel to every Creature of all the Nations; yet they were by Him commanded to tarry at Jerusalem, until they were Indued with Power from on High, that they might be fitted and inabled to put in Execution that Authority and Commission they had received, Mark 16. 15. Mat. 28. 18, 19. Luke 24. 47, 49. And then they were to be Christs Witnesses unto all men of what they had seen and heard. And yet though by the Servants here are meant, the Apostles principally, yet not only: For the Bride in general saith, Come: And he that heareth is commanded to say, Come, Rev. 22. 17. And so the many are Called by the Servants of the King indefinitly, though principal Respect is had to the Apostles. So much is plainly signified to us in this Chap­ter, that the many Called are called to this Marriage, and Marriage-feast by the Ser­vants: So it is said as with respect to the Jews: The King sent forth his Servants to call them that were bidden to the Wedding, Mat. 22. 3. Again, He sent forth other Ser­vants, Ver. 4. And when the first invited Guests refused, and dispitefully used them; he saith to his Servants, The Wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy:[Page 16]Go ye therefore into the High-ways, &c. S [...] those Servants went out into the High-ways, and gathered together all, as many as they found, Ver. 8, 9, 10. And indeed it is the Work of the Faithful Servants of the great King, not to Commend, or Preach them­selves, but Jesus Christ the Lord, 2 Cor. 4. 5. And not to Disciple men unto them­selves, but to call and Espouse them to one Husband, that they might be presented as a chaste Virgin unto Christ, Acts 20. 28, 30. 2 Cor. 11. 1, 2, 3. Their great Business is, to bear Witness of Christ, of His Sufferings, and of what He hath thereby done and ob­tained into Himself, and is become, and is: And of what He is now doing, both from Heaven in the Name of the Father to us: And in Heaven with the Father for us: And what He will do hereafter, John 15. 27. Acts 5. 30, 32. 1 Pet. 5. 1. Heb. 13. 7, 8. And not to proclaim their own goodness, as the most men do, Prov. 20. 6. that men might admire them, or have their Faith standing in their Wisdom, Goodness, or Holiness, 1 Cor. 2. 1, 5. Acts 3. 12. But to Confess, Praise, and Call men unto Him, in whom dwelleth all the Fulness; that in coming unto, and believing in Him, they might of His Fulness receive, and Grace for Grace.

[Page 17]But though they are called by the Ser­vants instrumentally; yet not by them only: The King sends them not alone on this Er­rand of His; but He accompanies them by the Light, Influence and Power of His Bles­sed Spirit, in their plain and faithful Mini­stration: So much in former Times was sig­nified to us: As, in that Scripture like to this, and whereto, it may seem, our Savi­our referreth in this Parable, Prov. 9. 1, 3. Wisdom hath Builded her House, She hath hewen out her seven Pillars; She hath killed her killing, She hath mingled her Wine, She hath also furnished her Table: She hath sent forth her Maidens, [She] crieth upon the highest places of the City, &c. Though She sent them forth to call others into the House, yet Her Presence goes along with them: And not only they Cry and Call; but also She crieth. Doth not Wisdom cry, and Un­derstanding put forth her Voice? She stand­eth in the top of High places,—She crieth at the Gates of the City,—Unto you, O men, I Call, and my Voice is to the Sons of Man. She sends forth her Spirit in and with Her Servants, that they might be successful In­struments in Her hand, Prov. 8. 1, 4, 5. with Chap. 1. 20, 23. So our Lord Jesus when He gave Authority to His Apostles to Disci­ple[Page 18]all Nations, &c. To Incourage them unto this their Service, and against all their Discouragements He graciously assureth them, that He would be with them always (and not at some times only) unto the end of the World. And that He was faithful who promised, another Evangelist informs us, saying, they went forth Preaching the Gospel every where, the Lord working with them, Mat. 28. 18, 20. with Mark 16. 15. 20. Hence they are said to be Work­ers together with Him, 2 Cor. 6. 1. And he that despiseth and rejecteth His Servants in their faithful Ministration of the Gospel, rejecteth not Man but God, who also hath given to them His Spirit to accompany them, and make their Word powerful, 1 Thes. 4. 8. And hence they are in every place a sweet Savour unto God of Christ, 2 Cor. 2. 14, 15. He is verily and continu­ally so present with them by the Power and Influence of His blessed Spirit in their sin­cere speaking the Word of Christ, as that, He that heareth them heareth Him, and he that receiveth them receiveth Him, even Christ and Him that sent Him. And he that de­spiseth them despiseth Christ, and Him that sent Him, Mat. 10. 40. with Luke 10. 16. Hence the stiff-necked Jews, who were Uncircum­cised[Page 19]in heart and ears, are said, in oppo­sing and rejecting His Servants the Pro­phets, to have always resisted the Holy Spi­rit; which they could not have done, had not the Holy Spirit been always present with them, and assistant to them, Acts 7. 51, 52. Neh. 9. 30. Isa. 63. 10. And this Consideration, that the many are Called by the Servants, the Lord working with them, may be of usefulness unto us.

1. To shew unto us the evil and falseness of mens sayings, in which they divide and separate the Word of Christ in the faithful Ministration of it, from the Spirit, and say: It is true, many men are [...] Called with an outward Call, but they are not Called with an inward and effectual Call: The Servants speak to their outward Ears, but God by His Spirit speaketh not unto the Hearts of them. The contrary to what they say plain­ly appeareth to be true, in what hath been said from the Scriptures of Truth. God is certainly present in and with His own Word, that it might be received by men. As the Apostle signifieth: I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the Increase. So then, neither is he that Planteth any thing, neither he that Watereth: But God that gi­veth the increase. For we are Labourers [Page 20]together with God, &c. The Apostle saith not, as many do in their Glosses corruptly, and injuriously to the Text, and Souls of Men: Paul may plant, and Apolla water, but God must give the Increase. In which saying they Imply, that the former may be without the latter: But the Apostle evidently assures us, not that God Must only, but that He doth give the Increase, whether men receive it or not. And therefore when He speaks in the time past of their Labouring, He speaks in the time past of Gods Co-operation. I have planted, but God gave, &c. And when in the time present of the former, he so also speaketh of the latter. Paul plant­eth, Apollo watereth, but God giveth the In­crease. It is true indeed, we are to distin­guish between the Word, and Spirit, but not to divide between them, as if when ever God sends His Servants to Preach the Gospel, He doth not vouchsafe His Spirit to go along with them, which is not true, 1 Cor. 3. 5, 7, 9. Nor is it safe or good for any to conclude from the event, that be­cause men receive not, therefore God gives not: For God may give and yet men not receive. God may turn men, and yet men may not be eventually turned: God may draw men unto Christ, and yet they may [Page 21]not come, but break his Bands asunder, and cast away his cords from them: God may Purge, and yet men through their stubborn­ness may not be purged, his goodness may lead them to Repentance, who yet are not led thereby to it, but may forsake Him when He leads them by the way, Neh. 9. 20, 26. Acts 26. 18. Has. 11. 4, 5. Jer. 5. 5. Ezek. 24. 13. Rom. 2. 4, 5. Christ, the Good and Faithful Sower, soweth the good Seed, the Word of the Kingdom, in the Hearts of the worst sort of Hearers, to the end they might Believe and be Saved: And it would effect this in them, did they not suffer the Devil to steal away that which was sown in their hearts, Mat. 13, 19. with Luke 8. 12. And certainly, therefore also the Gos­pel is called, The Ministration of the Spi­rit, because it doth so infallibly accompany it in the faithful Preaching thereof, that they that Preach the one, Minister the other, 2 Cor. 3. 6, 8. Gal. 3. 2, 5. And hence also the Words of Christ are said to be Spirit and Life; and the Spirit is said to be the Word of God, John 6. 63. with Ephes. 6. 17.

2. This Consideration also may Incourage his Servants who bring good Tidings, to get them up into the high Mountains, to Lift up their Voices with strength, to Lift them up; and not be afraid, or ashamed of[Page 22]their Message, because His Spirit remaineth with them, Hag. 2. 5. This is contained in Gods Covenant with Christ, and them that turn from Transgression in Jacob; that his Spirit that is upon Christ, and his words which he hath put into his Mouth, shall not depart out of his Mouth, nor out of the Mouth of his Seed (the Apostles and first Trusters in Christ) nor out of the Mouth of his Seeds seed (those that believe on Christ through the Apostles Word, John 17. 20, 22.) saith Jehovah, from henceforth, and for ever; His Spirit and His Words go together inse­parably, in the Mouth of His Servants: So that, while they speak His Words to the outward Ears of men, His Spirit speaks to the Hearts of men: And thence He exhort­eth His Servants: Arise, shine, &c. Isa. 59. 20, 21. and 60. 1. Alas, otherwise His Servants might be discouraged and ashamed, and even say as He did: O my Lord, send I pray thee by the hand of him whom thou wilt send, Exod. 4. 13. For they have no suffi­ciency of themselves to think any thing as of themselves; though they be in pain, and labour to bring forth, yet they will bring forth nothing but the Wind; they can of themselves work no deliverance in the Earth, neither will the Inhabitants of the Earth [Page 23]fall before them, 2 Cor. 3. 5. Isa. 26. 17. 18. But now, this may Incourage them to Lift up the Hands that hang down, and con­firm their feeble Knees, that the Great King will be with their Mouth in speaking His Word; so as, where the Word of this King is, there also shall be Power going along with it, Eccles. 8. 4. with Luke 4. 18, 32. Hence the Apostle saith, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the Power of God, &c. Rom. 1. 16. Go ye forth therefore, ye Servants of the Lord, in this your might, holding forth the Word of Life; hath not He sent you, whose Presence shall go along with you? He will not leave you nor for­sake you, Judg. 6. 14.

3. It may also Admonish His Servants to declare the Testimony of God without Excellency of Speech, or of Wisdom: See­ing He hath promised to be always with them; and faithful is He that hath promi­sed, who also will do it. Let them make use of quaint Language, inticing Words, and Excellency of mans Wisdom (if they please) who think they may, or know not but they do go alone: But he that hath Gods Word, let him speak Gods Word faithfully: What is their Chaff to this Wheat? Is not His Word like as a Fire? And like an Ham­mer[Page 24]that breaks the Rock in pieces? Jer. 23. 28, 29. It argues a secret fear and jealousie in men, as if the Gospel of Christ were a Weak, Forceless, Spiritless Doctrine, and needed some what of mans to make it pow­erful; when they deliver it in the Words, or with the Arguments, which mans wis­dom teacheth: And in thus doing they are so far from making it more Effectual, or Saving to men, that they render it Inforci­ble, and Inefficacious, because they thus corrupt the Word of God, 2 Cor. 2. 14. 17. Christ sent me, saith the Apostle—to Preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of Words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the Preaching of the Cross (even this man­ner of Preaching it, without wisdom of Words, the foolishness of Preaching) is to them that perish Foolishness, but unto us that are saved it is the Power of God, 1 Cor. 1. 17, 18, 21. The weapons of their Warfare, who War not after the flesh; after the Wisdom or Guidance thereof, are not Carnal, but Mighty through God, to the pulling down strong Holds, casting down Imaginations, &c. 2 Cor. 10. 3, 4, 5. It is good therefore for Christs Servants in Calling men to the Marriage, and Marriage-feast, to beware of Philoso­phy and vain Deceit. Yea, and to chuse[Page 25]rather to speak five Words with their un­derstanding, that they may Teach others also, then Ten Thousand words in an un­known Tongue; for in so doing, they do as to the Generality of men speak into the Air: Yea, are unprofitable to all, and not understood by the most of men, 1 Cor. 14. 19. And to that end, its needful both to deny desires of vain Glory: Aswel as also to consi­der, that the plain and foolish Preaching of the Gospel is the Way God hath pitcht up­on for Saving men: And how weak or foolish soever this Way appears to the Wise ones, yet, the FoolishnesS of God is Wiser then men, and the Weakness of God is stronger then men, 1 Cor. 1. 21, 24, 25. Col. 2. 8, 9, 10. Oh then! how doth it be­hove His Servants, seeing they have such hope, to use great plainness of Speech! And not as Moses, who put a Vail over his Face, &c. 2 Cor. 3. 6, 12, 13. To renounce the hidden things of Dishonesty, not walking in Craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the Truth commending themselves to every mans Consci­ence in the sight of God, 2 Cor. 4. 1, 2.

4. It may exhort us, to give diligent heed to their Words and Calls, and to e­steem them highly for their Works sake, who [Page 26]speak to us the Word of God, because their Master also is present with them, and as­sistant to them; it might therefore Ingage us when His Servants come amongst us, to say in our hearts, however, as the Centurian did to Peter, We are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God, Acts 10. 33, 34. The Apostle speaks this to the praise of the Churches of Galatia, that when he first Preached the Gospel amongst them, they received him (notwithstanding his Temptation in the flesh) as an Angel of God, even as Christ Je­sus, Gal. 4. 13, 14. Oh! How Beautiful are, and should be, the feet of them that Preach the Gospel of Peace, and bring glad Tidings of good things? Rom. 10. 14, 15. Did we in­deed consider, that they call us unto the Fel­lowship of Jesus Christ our Lord, and into the Grace of Him, 1 Cor. 1. 9. Gal. 1. 6. And that the great King of Heaven and Earth speaks by them, and with them; and doth, as it were, by them beseech us to come and Eat of Wisdoms Bread, and to Drink of the Wine she hath mingled: To forsake the foolish and Live, &c. It would certainly be powerful with us, to Ingage us to receive their Word, and obey their Call, not as the word or call of men, but as it is [Page 27]in truth, of God, 1 Thes. 2. 13. And to account them worthy of double Honour who Labour in the Word and Doctrine, for their Masters sake, even because they be­long to, and are Labourers with Christ. And though not to Idolize them, or think of them more highly then we ought to think; yet to account them as Ministers of Christ, and Stewards of the Mysteries of God, 1 Cor. 4. 1, 6. And to know, that when, in and with Preaching the Gospel of Christ, they Call upon and Invite us to come unto the Feast, God also Calleth us, and enableth us to what He Calleth us un­to. And as our Saviour saith to His Dis­ciples: Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth Me: And he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me, John 13. 20. Whereas, were the most of men Called with an out­ward Call only, they might either receive, or reject the Caller, and neither receive nor reject Jesus Christ, or Him that sent Him.

5. This Consideration shews unto us, their causless Iniquity, and inexcusable fol­ly, who, when they are thus Called to Christ by such a Powerful and Effectual Call, yet regard not, but turn a deaf Ear thereto: Of such our Saviour saith, Ye[Page 28]will not come unto Me that ye might have life, John 5. 32, 36, 39, 40. This was the provo­king Iniquity of Gods People in former Times, whereby God was greatly Incensed against them. They—refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their Eaers that they should not hear: Yea, they made their hearts as an Adamant stone, lest they should hear the Law, and the Words which the Lord of Hosts had sent in His Spirit by the former Prophets: Therefore came a great Wrath from the Lord of Hosts: Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of Hosts, Zech. 7. 11, 13, 14. Indeed those Persons who say, the greatest part of the Called ones are only called with an outward and ineffectual Call, put a Plea into their Mouths, and fill them with Ar­guments, to excuse their not coming: They may say, they had no power of themselves, and God gave them none, or not that which was sufficient: These teach men to lay the blame upon God, and to father the brats of their disobedience on Him: But alas, it will appear in conclusion, that such charge God foolishly: And that, though the Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to en­vic; yet He giveth more Grace, that Grace[Page 29]which brings Salvation to all men, to en­able us to come at His Calls: And at last He will be Justified in His Sayings, and over­come when He is Judged, James 4. 5, 6. with Tit. 2. 11. This is mens iniquity, not that they cannot come of themselves, but that they will not, when God is enabling them hereto: This is the Condemnation, that Light is come into the World, and men loved Darkness rather then Light, &c. John 3. 19. 20. And certainly, God may Expostulate with us, as He did with Israel of Old, and say: Oh thou who art Named the House of Ja­cob, is the Spirit of the Lord straightned? Though thou hast no power, nor sufficiency of thy self, as of thy self to come to Christ, yet is the Spirit of the Lord shortned to­wards thee? Are these (thy disobedience, and refusals to come) His doings? Are they His doings, because He prevents thee not with power and capacity to what He Calls thee to? Indeed they might be said to be His doings, did He Call thee to the Feast, and Threaten thee with destruction, and yet not assord thee any power or ability to come: As He might be said to Kill who did not what was proper and powerful to save the Life. when He had an opportunity: But it is not so here: For as in His Hand[Page 30]is Power and Might, so also in His Hand it is—to give strength unto all, He is Gracious, and gives liberally unto all men without upbraid­ing, Mic. 2. 7. with Mark 3. 4. 1 Chron. 29. 12. Jam. 1. 5. And therefore it will be found to be such an Iniquity in men, as for which they will have no cloak (however artificial their spiritual Taylors are) that they will not come to Christ when thus Cal­led: As our Saviour signifieth, when He speaketh concerning the Jews, saying: If [I] had not come: Though my Servants had come never so oft, and Called and Invited never so frequently and urgently; Yet if [I] had not come and spoken unto them they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their Sin, John 15. 22. Because I have Called, saith Wisdom, and ye refused: I have stretched out my hand (my Power and Spirit in and with my Call, to inable you to come) and no man regarded: But ye have set at nought all my Counsel, and would none of my Reproof: I also will laugh at your Calamity, and mock when your fear cometh, &c. Prov. 1. 20, 24, 31.

Thirdly, Why saith He [Many] are Cal­led, and not [All?]

1. Not because all men, who are capable, are not Called in due time by such means[Page 31]as the Great King in His infinite Wisdom is pleased to make use of: For the Mighty God, even Jehovah hath spoken, [And Called the Earth, from the rifing of the Sun unto the go­ing down thereof,] Psal. 50. 1. Wisdom crieth without (without the City, with­out the Pale of the professed Church, with­out, where are Dogs, Gentiles, and Uncircum­cised ones in heart and flesh, compare Rev. 22. 15. with Mat. 15. 26, 27.) she ut­tereth her Voice in the streets.—How long ye simple ones will ye love simplicity, and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? To these she calleth, and stretcheth forth her hand, Prov. 1. 20, 23, 24. Doth not Wisdom cry, and Understanding put forth her Voice? (Can any one truely deny this?) she standeth upon the Top of High places, by the Way, in the places of the Paths. She crieth at the Gates at the entry of the City, at the coming in of the Doors (that is, she crieth and lifteth up her Voice every where, without, and within the Ci­ty, abroad and at home, &c. But to whom doth she put forth her Voice? Surely, to men indefinitely; for so it followeth) unto you [O men, I call, and my Voice is to the Sons of man.] And not of Israel only: O ye simple understand wisdom.—Hear, for I[Page 32]will speak of excellent things, &c. Prov. 8. 1, 4, 6, 10. and 9. 1, 4, 5. Christ was and is the true Light, which Lighteth every man that cometh into the World: And He is therefore a Light unto them, that He might be for Salvation unto the ends of the Earth, John 1. 9. and 8. 12, with Isa. 49. 6. and Acts 13. 47. And the Gospel is Preached in every Creature, or in all the Creation un­der Heaven, Col. 1. 23. And those who have with the heart received the wholsome Words of our Lord Jesus, and the Doctrine which is according to Godliness, know and believe, that God would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledg of the Truth: And that, because Christ gave Him­self a Ransome for all, a Testimony in due time, 1 Tim. 2. 4. 6. And though mens voices will be heard but a little way, yet lo, he sendeth forth His Voice, and that a Mighty Voice, and saith; Look unto me all the ends of the Earth, and be ye saved: For I am God and there is none else, Isa. 45. 22. Psal. 19. 1. 6. with Rom. 1. 19, 21. Yea, and the word [Many] doth also sometimes sig­nifie All. As [many] of them that are in the dust of the Earth shall awake: Some to everlasting Life, and some to shame and ever­lasting contempt: Certainly, all that are in [Page 33]the Graves shall hear the Voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth, compare Dan 12. 2. with John 5. 27, 29. 1 Cor. 15. 20, 21. So again: Through the offence of one [ma­ny] are dead: And as by one man's disobe­dience [many] were made Sinners: When as it is evident, that by one man Sin entred into the World, and Death by Sin, and so Death passed upon [all] men, for that [all] have sinned, Rom. 5. 15, 19. with Ver. 12. 18. compare also Mat. 20. 28. with 1 Tim. 2. 6. Neh. 13. 26. with 1 Kings 3. 12, 13. and Chap. 4. 31. Psal. 32. 10.

But though what we have spoken under this Head be verily true; both that in due time, God calleth all men, as is said, to the end they might come to the knowledg of the Truth and be saved: And that [many] may signifie [all.] Yet notwithstanding I judge.

2. By [many] in this place we are insist­ing on, all men are not intended nor meant.—Not only,

1. Because all Infants are not called, and commanded to come into the House, and they are a very great part of the World: But nothing is required of them in their In­capacity: Hence, when the Lord saith to Israel: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and[Page 34]keep his Charge, and his Statutes, and his Judgments, and his Commandments alway: He addeth, And know you this day, for I speak not [with your Children, &c.] Deut. 11. 1, 2. God is no hard or austere Ma­ster, to Reap where He hath not Sown, nor Gather where He hath not Strowen; though wicked Servants so say. As where much is given, much will be expected; and where little, little: So by the same rule of Equa­lity, where nothing is given, of such no­thing will be required. Indeed Infants are a part of the Nations that are to be Disci­pled; and, as a means to that end, to be Bap­tized by the Servants, in, or unto the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, being brought unto them for that purpose. As in former Times the Male-Infants of Israel were to be Circumcised: And the Gos­pel is to be Preached as to Include them also as the Subjects of the great and funda­mental Truths thereof, to wit, That Christ hath Died and is Risen again for them, &c. Mat. 28. 18, 19. with Mark. 16. 15. But until they come to the Use and Exercise of Understanding, or some Capacity be vouch­safed to them, there are no Commandments given unto them by the Lord Jesus. But, I say, not only in this Consideration it ap­peareth [Page 35]that by [many] all men are not here intended. But also,

2. Because in this Parable our Saviour speaketh of mens being Called by the Ser­vants, as is before shewn: And so of their being Called and Invited to the Feast by the clear and distinct Declaration of God's Grace in Christ by the Gospel: And so all men, who are come to years of Capa­city, are not Called, viz. by the Ser­vants in the plain Preaching of the Marri­age, and Marriage-feast therewith and there­by prepared. The Commission is given to the Servants first to Call the Jews; and af­ter they made light of the Feast and Invi­tation, the King said to the Servants, go ye into the High-ways, and [as many as ye shall find] bid to the Marriage. So those Servants went out into the High-ways, and gathered together all [as many as they found,] Mat. 22. 8, 10. These are the [many] here spoken of; as many as the Servants found, and Preached the Gospel unto, according to the Revelation of the Mysterie. And these may be called [many] to Intimate to us, that all Nations and Per­sons in the World have not this Favour vouchsafed to them; though yet a multitude have. And called [many] to signifie [Page 36]That this advantage is now more largely vouchsafed then in former Times: Then He shewed His Word unto Jacob, that one People and Nation, His Statutes and His Judgments unto Israel; He dealt not so with any other Nation: And as for His Judgments they have not known them, Psal. 147, 19, 20. Deut. 4. 5, 8. And unto them He sent all His Servants the Prophets, rising early and sending them, because He had compassion upon them, 2 Chron. 36. 15, 16. Jer. 7. 25. And herein they were pri­viledged above, and had greater advantage then other Nations: According to that, What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of Circumcision? Much every way, chiefly, because that unto them were committed the Oracles of God, Rom. 3. 1, 2. Acts 3. 25. But they were the few­est of all People: And however, but one Nation at first, and so very few in compa­rison of all Nations. But now after the Oxen and Fatlings were actually slain, and the Feast prepared, the Servants Commission was inlarged, and many Nations were Cal­led by their Ministration, and Professedly believed the Gospel, and yielded fained Obedience to Christ. Yea, and at this time, many Nations, though not all, have[Page 37]Scriptures of Truth amongst them, and therein the Gospel as Preached according to the Revelation of the Mystery by the Apo­stles: And His Servants continued and pre­served amongst them; sutable to those Pro­phecies, and such like: Thou shalt Call a Na­tion thou knowest not, and Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, Isa. 55. 5. He shall sprinkle many Nations, Isa. 52. 15. Ma­ny Nations shall be joyned to the Lord in that day, Zech. 2. 11. And of [these many] we have to speak in what followeth, and so would be understood. Though yet we de­sire that these three Cautions may be con­sidered and minded in the whole Treatise. To wit,

Caution, 1. When we say [many] only, and not all, are intended in this Parable: We mean not, nor believe, all the rest are not Called by any means: For though All are not Called by the distinct Preaching of Christ in the Mouth and Ministry of His be­lieving Servants; yet God leaves not Him­self without Witness to others: But that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for [God] hath shewed it unto them; for the Invisible things of Him, from the Creation of the World are clearly seen, being understood by the things that[Page 38]are made; even His eternal Power and God­head, Rom. 1. 19, 20. Hence the Apostle when he had been intimating that men cannot believe except they hear, propounds a Questi­on, and gives Answer thereto. But, I say, have they not heard? Namely, the Gos­pel: Yes, verily (even so heard that they might believe, for so much appeareth by the scope of the place) their sound went into all the Earth, and their Words unto the ends of the World: In which the Apostle referreth to Psal. 19. 1, 6. And signifieth, that the Gospel is Preached in every Creature, Rom. 10. 14, 18. with Col. 1. 23. And so, though all are not called by the Servants in the clear and plain Preaching of the Gospel: Yet all, that are capable, are in due time called by the Lord of the Servants, who is Lord of all, (as is before shewn.) And who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2. Nor do we suppose, or believe, that none of them, who are not of the Many here spoken of, may hereafter partake of Eternal Life, though they have not the clear and distinct Revelation and Know­ledg of Christ and the Gospel vouchsafed to them. But (however some zealous ones, though not according to Knowledg,[Page 39]neither have, nor think they want this Cha­rity,) yet we desire to be so charitable, and believing of the Scriptures as to conclude; God is no respecter of Persons, but in every Nation he that feareth God, and worketh Righteousness is accepted of Him: As was Cornelius, before the Gospel was plainly de­clared to him, and many others amongst Gentiles, Acts 10. 2, 34. and 13. 26. and 16. 14. &c. Yea, in this Parable is signi­fied to us, that when the Servants went out into the High-ways, they found some good ones amongst the Gentiles, that were so be­fore called by them, Mat. 22. 10. And had they died before the Gospel had been plainly Preached to them (as doubtless some such did) they should have injoyed Eternal Life in due season. The Judg of all the Earth will do right, and not destroy the Good, such as He reputes such, with the bad, Gen. 18. 24, 25. And though all shall be Judg­ed according to the Rule of the Gospel, yet it shall be according to the means vouch­safed. And if the Uncircumcision, who have not the Law and Doctrine of God, keep the Righteousness of the Law (as the Appostle supposeth he may do) if he believe that God is, and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him: Shall not His uncircum­cision[Page 40]be counted for Circumcisiou? Shall not he come acceptably to God, and be graciously rewarded with Eternal Life? Yes surely, Rom. 2. Heb. 11. 6. Certainly many Thousands, and Ten Thousands, shall be eternally Saved, who were never Called by the Servants with the plain Preaching of the Gospel; and who never had any distinct knowledg of Jesus Christ, while they were in Mortal Bodies: As, In­fants dying in their Incapacity; and many Jews before the first Coming of Christ: And many fearers of God amongst the Gentiles, both before and since Christs Appearing to put away Sin by the Sacrifice of Himself, Mat. 2. 16, 18. with Jer. 31. 15, 17. Mat. 19. 14. Psal. 11 5. 9, 10, 11. And yet there is no Salvation in any other but Christ; and through Him, and through His Name, Power, and Authority, and upon the Ac­count of His Sufferings and Sacrifice they shall be saved, though no clear or distinct knowledg of Him was vouchsafed to them: And therefore the want of it shall not be Imputed to, or Charged upon them to their Condemnation. And this Charity we de­sire to have, because we thus judge, that one Died for all, and Rose again, viz. That Jesus Christ by the Grace of God tasted [Page 41]Death for every man, and is Risen again from the Dead for their Justification: And hereby, all that have sinned in the first pub­lick man, and come short of the Glory of God, are Justified freely by God's Grace through that Redemption in Christ Jesus, in an answerable sence as they were Condem­ned in the first man Adam, 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. Heb. 2. 9. Rom. 3. 23, 24. and 5. 18. So as no man shall perish in that first Death for ever, which was the Wages of the Disobe­dience of that one man: Nor in the Eternal Judgment shall there be any occa­sion for the use of that Proverb, The Fa­thers have eaten sower Grapes, and the Chil­drens teeth are set on edge, 1 Cor. 15. 20, 21. Jer. 31. 29, 30. Ezek. 18. 2, 4. And in the Cross of Christ, and Virtue thereof, we so see the admirable Love of God to every sin­ful Creature of Mankind, while it is called to day; aswell as also in plain Intimations and Instructions given us in the Testimony of the Scriptures: That we cannot but judge, that His Requirings and Expectati­ons will be no other then according to His Distributions and Dispensations; that is, where much is given, of them He will re­quire the more; and where little, He will require but according thereto: And where [Page 42]He hath not sown He will not reap, nor gather where He hath not strowen. And therefore all Infants, who die in their Infan­cy, and were never guilty of that Condem­ning Sin of the World, of loving Darkness rather than Light, after Light is vouch­safed, shall in the general Resurrection have Eternal Life through Christ's Name. And all others who have not had any distinct knowledg of Christ, and yet by the Good­ness and Mercy of God through the Media­tour have been led to Repentance, and have feared God, and been Workers of Righte­ousness, according to the means vouchsafed; and continued such to Death, shall also through Christ have the reward of Everlast­ing Life, 1 Tim. 2. 4, 6. 2 Pet. 3. 9, 15. Rom. 2. 4, 7, 12, 16. Luke 12. 48. Mat. 25. 24, 26. Rev. 20. 12, 15. But how can they have such Charity, or desire to have it, who deny, or believe not, the Great and Funda­mental things of the Gospel, as spoken and delivered to us in the Words which the Ho­ly Ghost teacherh! Do men gather Grapes of Thorns, or Figs of Thistles? Mat. 7. 15, 16. Those Builders can never Build well who dis-alow and reject the Foundation.

3. Nor do we believe that by the [many] called are meant, all such as are Called by[Page 43]realous Teachers, and such as name them­selves the Ministers of Christ; or however not such in this consideration, as Called by them; for there are many such who in their evil Doctrines rather Call men from Christ then to Him. How many are there that disciple men to Antichrist, instead of invi­ting them to our Lord Jesus; and steal a­way the Word of God from the People in the Records of them? And how mauy o­thers are there, though not so grosly evil, yet as dangerous and destructive to the souls of men; who though they would have the Scriptures continued amongst men in such Languages as are understood by them; yet they tell them the meaning of the Scrip­ture is the Scripture, and that is such as lieth not in the plain import of the Expres­sions; however not in many of the funda­mental Sayings of the Gospel: And the Scripture, some call, a dead Letter; other some call it, the Letter: And their Glosses and Interpretations are the Spiritual mean­ing. Thus they call the World which God so loved as to give His Son to be, and of which He is, the Saviour, the World of Elect, the [all and every man] for whom Christ! Dred, some of all sorts, or every Godly man, &c. thus indeavouring to per­vert[Page 44]the Gospel of Christ. And yet ap­pearing very zealous in seeking the good of men, which is indeed somewhat strange, considering that they believe Christ Died for the fewest of men only, and for whom they know not: As one of them lately ex­prest himself in his Prayer, such an one as it was, as I was instantly informed by some Credible persons that heard him. [Lord, said he, if there be any one Soul in this Con­gregation (which was a great one) for whom Christ hath Died, let me not lose my Labour.] And considering also that they believe that there is a precise and certain number of Per­sons determined to Salvation: And these shall Infallibly be Saved, though they held their Tongues; and all the rest inevitably perish. I say, these things considered, it is somewhat strange they should be so ap­pearingly zealous in seeking the good of men Indefinitely: It may be fcared, this Zeal pro­ceeds not from the Love of Christ: For the Love of Christ constraineth us, saith the Apostle, because we thus judg, that if one Died for all, then were all dead, and that He died for all, &c. Which they believe not: But that herein they are like them who did shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, neither entring in themselves,[Page 45]nor suffering them that were entring to enter: And yet for a pretence they made long Prayers (for their Hearts went after their Covetousness) and they did compass Sea and Land to make a Proselite, Mat. 23. 13, 14, 15. Truly, concerning such who Preach and Plead for such Doctrines as these, viz. That Christ Died not for all men, but for the fewest only. That God hath Decreed a set and determinate number of Persons in a Personal consideration to be­lieve and be saved: And these all shall In­srustrably believe and be saved, and these only; and all the rest must unavoidably perish. That such as are once in Christ cannot pos­sibly fall finally from the Grace of God, &c. It may be said: Hearken not to the Words of these Prophets—they make you vain, they speak a Vision of their own Heart, and not out of the Mouth of the Lord, Jer. 23. 16. 21. 2 Pet. 2. 1. For how much soever these thus Call, and how much soever others Listen thereto; and how Reformed and Zealous soever they appearingly be come hereby; they are not, in this Consideration, of the Cal­led here spoken of, much less of the Cho­sen.

But the [many] that are Called, are such as are Called to Christ (as is before[Page 46]said) by Christ's Servants, in proclaiming Christ's Gospel unto them, in the Words which the Holy Ghost hath Taught. As the Great King directs His Servants to Call to the Wedding; so He puts into their Mouths what they should say, which is Sum­marily the form of sound Words. He sent forth other Servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, behold, I have prepared my Din­ner, my Oxen and Fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, come unto the Marriage, Mat. 22. 4, 8, 10. 2 Cor. 5. 19, 20. 1 Tim. 2. 4, 7. 1 John 4. 13, 14. And what hath been said shall suffice to this Enquiry.

Fourthly, To what end are the many Called?

Certainly, They are therefore Called and Invited to the Wedding and Dinner, that they might obey the Call, and come and Eat of Wisdom's Bread, and Drink of the Wine which She hath mingled: Forsake the Foolish and Live, and go in the Way of Un­derstanding, Prov. 9. 1, 3, 6. That they might come to the knowledge of the Truth and be Sa­ [...]ed, 1 Tim. 2. 4, 6. His end herein was not, nor is, to leave men without excuse, or to aggravate their Condemnation; though this will be the Issue and Effect of mens stubborn, and still continued in refu­sal:[Page 47]But we may see the End of the Lord to be such as declareth, that He is very piti­ful, or, very well Bowelled, and of tender Meroies to the Souls of men, as James 5. 11. For as God sent not His Son into the World to condemn the World, but that the World through Him might be saved, John 3. 17. 1 John 4. 14. And the Son of Man came not to destroy mens souls or Judge the World, but to save them, to save the World, Luke 9. 55, 56. John 12. 47. So, as the Father sent Him, and accordingly He came into the World; He sent and preserveth His Servants in the World, that they might Call men unto Himself, to the end they might come and be Saved, John 17. 18, 22. He sendeth them to open the Eyes of the Blind, and to turn them from Darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive Forgiveness of Sin, and Inheritance among them that are Sanctified by Faith that is in Christ, Acts 26. 17, 18. We have this same Parable, or a like to it, men­tioned in Luke 14. 16, 17. And there it followeth after our Saviour's giving Instru­ctions about an earthly Feast; and was spoken, as it seems, at a Feast, Ver. 1. 14. Now to what end doth an honest man pro­vide a great Dinner or Supper, and Invite [Page 48]Persons to it by his Servants? Is it not that they might come and partake hereof? Doth he Intreat and Beseech men to come? And when they will not be perswaded and prevailed with, is he very angry with them for such refusal? And yet had no Cordial desire, or intention they should come. What should we call this amongst men? Not Ho­nesty, or Sincerity, but Dissimulation. And shall we entertain such evil evil and wicked thoughts of God as to think; That though He hath prepared a Dinner at such a dear Cost, and Invites men thereto, and is ex­ceedingly and eternally Angry with them who will not come, yet He never meant or intended they should come? Or shall men call this an holy Dissimulation, when they cannot but see it is a Dissimulation? Is not this the way to make them Dissem­blers also who thus think and speak of God, how Holy soever they appear, or would be thought to be, as they were whose Leaven was Hypocricy? Mat. 23. Oh! far be it from us to think thus wickedly of God! He is Perfect, Upright, and without Dissi­mulation in all His Mercy and Kindness: Hence whereas in one Evangelist, our Savi­our saith: Be ye merciful as your Father is: In another, it is: Be ye Perfect as your [Page 49]ther in Heaven is Perfect: And then pre­sently warneth His Disciples to beware of Hypocrisie, Luke 6. 36. with Mat. 5. 48. and 6. 1. &c. To signifie to us, that in all Gods Kindness, and Kind and Gracious In­vitations, He is perfectly Merciful, And hath pleasure in Uprightness, 1 Chron. 29. 17. And because He knows what evil thoughts and jealousies concerning Him proceed na­turally out of our Hearts; and to the end they should not lodg within us: Therefore He assures us of His Uprightness and Sin­cerity in His Calls and Invitations: Unto you, O men, I call, and my Voice is to the Sons of man: O ye simple understand Wisdom, and yee fools be ye of an understanding Heart; hear, for I will speak of Excellent things, and the opening of my Lips shall be right things: For my Mouth shall speak Truth, and Wicked­ness is an abomination to my Lips. All the Words of my Mouth are in Righteousness (and not in Hypocrisie, for these two are opposed the one to the other, Mat. 23. 28.)—Receive my Instruction, &c. Prov. 8. 4, 7, 10. He ha­teth burning Lips and a wicked Heart, and saith, Their wickedness shall be shewed before the whole Congregation, Prov. 26. 23, 26. And warns us to beware of such whose Lips drop as the Hony-comb, and their Mouths[Page 50]are smoother then Oyl: But their end is bit­ter as Wormwood, sharp as a two-edged Sword, Prov. 5. 3, 4. And certainly He is not such an one as they are, though some foolish ones so think, Psal. 50. 21. He doth not com­mand the Gospel to be Preached to all, and yet intendeth the most of men should not believe it: But therefore He causeth it to be proclaimed, that all to whom it is so pub­lished might through Christ believe, John 1. 7. We may read His gracious End in His Invi­tation: He saith, Come, that we might in­deed come; and so not only be of the Many who are Called, but of the Chosen ones also. And this leadeth us to the latter part of the verse.

[But few are Chosen.] In speaking unto which Words we shall indeavour to shew these things, God assisting.

  • I. Who the Elect, or Chosen ones here spoken of, are: And what is the Election or Chusing the Scripture speaketh of.
  • II. That few of the many Called ones are Chosen.
  • III. That it is mens [...] Iniquity that they are not Elected, or Chosen.

First, We shall indeavour to shew, who the Elect or Chosen ones here spoken of are; and what is the Election or Chusing the Scrip­ture[Page 51]speaketh of. And in speaking hereto, we no otherwise intend to speak of Election unto Worldly things, or to choice Advanta­ges, or Offices only, then as may illustrate, or conduce unto the Election here intimately intended, to wit; that which is unto Sal­vation.

In speaking then to this first Thing, we shall first shew, What is not the Election here spoken of, and who are not the Elect or Chosen ones: And then, what it is, and who are the subjects of it.

1. Then, By [Election] here intimate­ly spoken of, or elsewhere in Scripture, is not meant An absolute and irrespective Predestinating, or Decreeing from Eterni­ty, a determinate and set number of Persons in a personal consideration to Believe and be Saved: And that these All, and these Only, shall Inevitably and Infallibly obtain the Salvation in Christ Jesus with Eternal Glory: Nor are the Chosen and Elect ones here spoken of, the subjects of such a pur­pose; or Predetermination as this is; such an Election, and such Elect ones are none of God's. But the Doctrines and Notions here-about proceed from the Vain, Corrupt, and dangerous Imaginations of mens Hearts; out of which proceeds naturally all that is[Page 52]evil. And that by God's Election, and Elect ones, such a thing is not meant will appear if we consider.

1. That [Calling] in the sense intended in the Text, is always placed before [Ele­ction;] when they are mentioned together, either in the Order of Expressions, or how­ever in Order of Nature. So it is here in this place we are considering; as also in Mat. 20. 16. For many be Called, but few Chosen. Thus again, 2 Pet. 1. 10. Give diligence to make your Calling and Election sure. To the former also agreeth, Rev. 17. 14. They that are with the Lamb, are Called and Chosen, &c. To the same purpose also the Lord Speaketh unto Jacob by the Prophet Isaiah: Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the Earth, and [Called] thee from the Chief men there­of, and said unto thee, thou art my Servant, I have [Chosen] thee, &c. Isa. 41. 9. In­deed in 2 Thes. 2. 13, 14. Chosen, is there placed in words before Called: But it evi­dently appeareth to any Judicious and Un­prejudiced Reader, that in that place, Cal­led goeth before Chosen in Order of Nature; for thus the Words are: God hath Chosen you from the beginning unto Salvation, through, or in, the Sanctification of the Spirit, and Be­lief of the Truth. Whereunto (namely, un­to[Page 53]which Sanctification of the Spirit, and Belief of the Truth, in which they were Chosen) He Called you by our Gospel, &c. It is very clear that in order of Work, though not of Word, Called went before Chosen: For if they were Chosen in the Belief of the Truth; And men cannot believe on Him of whom they have not heard, nor hear without a Preacher of the Gospel, then it necessarily followeth, men must be Called by the Gospel before they can Believe, and so before they are Chosen, Rom. 10. 14, 15. And so in the Order of Nature, this agrees with the other Scriptures forementioned.

Now, though the order of expressions simply, when but at sometime onely so pla­ced, proveth nothing: yet when the same order is alwayes, or generally so observed by the Holy Ghost, it is worthy our conside­ration, and not lightly to be passed over by us. Gen 48. 5. 20. Indeed ofttime in Scrip­ture, for some good reason, those persons or things are mentioned last in words, which otherwise should have been before spoken of; because the Holy Ghost would begin with them again; or speak more fully of them. So [Believing] is put after [Confessing] in one Verse; but then it is begun with, and first mentioned in the next, Rom. 10. 9, 10.[Page 54]So [Jesus Christ] is placed after the seven Spirits, because He is largely Described and Treated of in what followeth, Rev. 1. 5, 6. And thus we might shew in many other places. But neither of these can be affirm­ed concerning the order of Words in the Scripture we are speaking to, for it is the Conclusion of our Saviour's Speech in this Parable; nor of the rest mentioned.

2. That by Election is not meant such a Purpose or Decree, as is before spoken of, nor by the Elect here, the subjects of such a Decree, may appear further in this; that those who were afterward Elected, or made of the Chosen Generation, were not of it in former times. To this purpose the Apostle Peter speaketh: Ye are a Chosen, or Elect Generation, a Royal Priesthood, &c. Which in time past were not a People, but are now the People of God, which had not obtain­ed Mercy, but have now obtained Mercy, 1 Pet. 2. 9, 10. Where it plainly appear­eth, that Ver. 10. sheweth, They were not formerly such Persons as he affirms them now to be in Ver. 9. Now ye are Elected or Chosen, but in times past ye were not so, even in the time past when they walked in Lasciviousness, Lusts, excess of Wine, Re­vellings, Banquettings, and abominable[Page 55]Idolatries, Chap. 4. 3. To the same pur­pose also the Apostle Paul speaketh, as with respect to Jews and Gentiles, Rom. 9. 24, 25, 26. I will call them my People (which not only were not called, but) were not my People: And her Beloved (or Elect, compare Isa. 42. 1. with Mat. 12. 18.) which was not Be­loved, or Elect. And indeed men are Cho­sen in Christ, as afterwards we may shew: But there was a time when Paul (who was after Converted, a Chosen Vessel) was not in Christ; and then he was not an Elect, or Chosen one, Ephes. 1. 4. with Rom. 16. 7. So the Preacher also signifieth, that such as not at present Elected may be so, while it is called to day, in that he saith: Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, or, of thy Elections, (as others do also rightly read it) that is, either, 1. In the days of thy Ele­ctions, whilst thou mayest chuse Life, chuse the best part, which shall not be ta­ken from thee, Deut. 30. 19. Luke 10. 42. Or, 2. In the days of thine Elections, when thou mayest be Chosen, though at present thou art not; there are days for that, in which such as are not Elected may be so, while it is the day of his Grace and Pati­ence, Eccles. 12. 1. Yea in our Types, the very precise time is intimately set down,[Page 56]when God chose Israel, Ezek. 20. 5. Thus saith the Lord God [in the day when I chose Israel.] And sometimes [Chusing] is men­tioned in the present time. As, Blessed is the man whom thou [Chusest] and causest to approach unto thee, Psal. 6 5. 4.

3. It is further evident, That God's E­lect are not such manner of Persons as ma­ny would perswade us they are: For they, who plead for such an irrespective, or abso­lute purpose, affirm: That the Elect were Chosen before the World in a personal Con­sideration, and so remain such when Born into the World; and while they abide also in their Ignorance and Unbelief, and Diso­bedience to God: They suppose, though it be not manifested, that prophane Persons, Drunkards, Whoremongers, Unbelievers, yea, Persecutors of Christ and His People, may be of the Elect. But however they are some mens Elect, they are not the Elect of God: For the Elect of God are such as are Holy and Beloved, Col. 3. 12. The Elect Generation is an holy Nation, 1 Pet. 2. 9. God's Elect are such as to whom there is no Condemnation; as the Apostle intimateth when he saith: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's Elect? It is God that Justi­fieth, who shall Condemn? It plainly appear­eth,[Page 57]that God's Elect are such as He con­demneth not, but in the present time Justi­fieth. Now He condemneth all Unbelie­vers, and condemneth no Unfeigned belie­vers: Therefore it plainly appeareth, that the Believers only are the Subjects of God's Election, and not any Unbelievers, while abi­ding in their Unbelief. To this purpose God's prime Elect one saith: He that believeth is not condemned: Who shall lay any thing to His charge? It is God that Justifieth. But he that believeth not is condemned already (and so at present none of God's Elect) because he hath not believed, &c. compare Rom. 8. 33, 34. with John 3. 16, 18, 19. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting Life: But he that believeth not the Son shall not see Life, but the Wrath of God abideth on him, John 3. 36. Yea, who are God's Elect whom He Con­demneth not, but Justifieth; the Apostle gives us to understand, namely, such as are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit: Not such as are in Christ simply, but such as together there with walk in Christ as to their demeaner, compare Rom. 8. 33, 34. with Ver. 1. Now then, time was when Paul was in Unbelief, 1 Tim. 1. 13. And then he was condemned, and so not of the Elect, or Chosen Generation.[Page 58]And again, God's Elect are such as cry un­to Him night and day, Luke 18. 7.

4. God's Elect can hardly be deceived, as our Saviour signifieth when He saith: There shall arise false Christs, and false Pro­phets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if possible they shall deceive [the very Elect,] Mat. 24. 24. Mark 13. 22. By the way; Our Saviour here doth not sig­nifie, that none of the very Elect may pos­sibly be deceived: This Phrase [if possible] denotes not the utter and absolute Impossi­bility of such a thing, no more then it doth elsewhere. As where the Evangelisc saith of Paul: He hasted [if possible] for him to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost, Acts 20. 16. Certainly, no wise man would hasten to do that which he knew was altogether impossible to be done. So Rom. 12. 18. with Heb. 12. 14. But our Saviour signifieth, Both that the false Teachers would use all ways and means possible to seduce them, so that those that were not seduced by them, we may safely conclude, they could not pos­sibly deceive. Aswel as also the Phrase de­noteth, that it is a very difficult thing for such to be seduced and deceived, though it be not altogether and absolutely impossible, But now as with respect to such as remain in[Page 59]their Ignorance and Unbelief, they are al­ready deceived, and may still and further be easily deceived and beguiled, Tit. 3. 3. 2 Cor. 4. 4. Therefore, such, while so abi­ding, are none of God's Elect, or Chosen ones. Compare Mat. 24. 24. with Verse 4. 5.

5. Again, That by [the Elect or Cho­sen] here spoken of, such persons are not intended as some dream of, is further mani­fest: Because it is here signified to be a great and provoking Iniquity in those Persons who were not Chosen, that they were not Chosen; and therefore they are commanded to be cast into utter darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Mat. 22. 12, 14. Now it is no mans great and damning Iniquity that he was not Chosen in a perso­nal Consideration before the World was (if any such so were, as doubtless they were not:) For no man could possibly Contri­bute any thing to such an Election, nor possibly by any means hinder it; because then he had no being; not only none in a personal Consideration, but also not any in the first publick Man; for he was Created since the Creation of the World. Though it would be a mans unavoidabl [...] Misery not to be Chosen in such a sense as some plead [Page 60]for; yet it could be no more his Iniquity, then it would be for a man not to Act before he was a man, or formed of God; or that he was not of God's Privy Counsel when he had no existence, or personal being; yea, none in the Loins of the first Adam, nor he any being or existence: Which surely is none at all.

6. And lastly, Election means not such an Absolute fore-ordination from Eternity; nor are the Elect the Subjects of such a purpose: Because the Elect may make their Election sure; as the Apostle Peter signifieth in say­ing; Wherefore the rather, Brethren, give diligence to make your Calling and [Ele­ction] sure, (firm, Heb. 3. 6. Stedfast, Ver. 14. even standing and setled upon its founda­tion, Christ; make it valid and of force, Heb. 9. 17.) for if ye do these things ye shall never fall, 2 Pet. 1. 10. Now certainly, the Ab­solute Decrees of God cannot be made more firm or stable, more sure or stedfast by us: But the Counsel of the Lord shall stand for ever: As the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, so it shall stand. What He hath purposed who can disanul, and so by consequence, who can esta­blish, or make it of force? Psal. 33. 11, 12. Isa. 14. 24, 27.

By all which it is evidently manifested,[Page 61]that God's Election is not such a Purpose or Decree of God respecting some mens Per­sons in a personal Consideration, nor are His Elect the Subjects of such an irrespective Fore-ordination.

Object. 1. But against what hath been said, some may Object that in Ephes. 1. 4. who hath Chosen us in Him before the foundation of the World. From whence some Collect, that the Elect were Chosen be­fore the World was in a personal Considera­tion.

Answ. In Answer to what many would prove from this Scripture, we may say ma­ny things, which we desire may be consi­dered. As

1. Suppose we that such a thing could be concluded from this one Scripture, as many do conceive, and are confident may be; which we can by no means grant: Yet when as we have seen many Scriptures clearly deny the truth of such a conclusion, whether is it not more reasonable to hearken to the many ra­ther than unto this one? seeing though they be all alike worthy of acceptation, and one Scripture may make a truth evident, yet many concurring make it more evident and un­questionable, See Heb. 7. 14, 15. Suppose we that one honest and credible person should [Page 62]affirm a thing, and urge it on us to be be­lieved; we might give credit to him: But if twenty persons, every one equally honest and credible with that one, should affirm the contrary: Should we not rather believe the truth so established in the mouth of so many Witnesses, than wave them all, and adhere to this one? This Comparison illu­strates the matter we are speaking of: Cer­tainly the Scriptures in general do with one mouth and consent disclaim that notion of personal election; and should we deny all for one, if that did speak to the contrary? Which God forbid we should imagine: But mens hasting from all other Scriptures speak­ing about election, and as it were, lightly esteeming them in comparison of this one, is a great Argument to me, that the Electi­on they contend for is such an one as is sutable to the Spirit of this World, and those evil Thoughts which proceed out of our corrupt Heart; and therefore they hastily embrace one Scripture which they groundlesly judge is on their side; and run away from, and evade the force of twenty to one, every one whereof is of equal Authority: For cer­tainly we are naturally destitute of all good, and inclined to all that is evil: The Lord knoweth and hath declared, that the thoughts[Page 63]of Men, yea of the wisest of them, are vain; every thought in us standeth cross to the obedi­ence of Christ and his Gospel, Psal. 94. 11. 1 Cor. 3. 20. 2 Cor. 10. 4, 5.—But,

2. We further Answer, by way of excep­tion to the Objection, and say: This Scrip­ture contradicts not at all, no not seeming­ly, what is affirmed by the residue; nor affords any relief to them who so frequently betake themselves hereto for refuge: But sweetly and fully agrees with the rest men­tioned: And that we may rightly under­stand it, let us consider these things.

  • I. When they are said to be chosen.
  • II. In whom, or in what Root.
  • III. Who are the Subjects of this Electi­on.

1. When they are said to be chosen: This Scripture saith not any men were chosen be­fore the world was Created of God at first, but [before the foundation of the world.] Now that may signifie,

1. Either before the Dejection, or Cast­ing down of the World: For so the Word translated [Foundation] doth properly sig­nifie; and comes from a word that signifi­eth, to Cast down, or Downwards, Rev. 12. 10. 2 Cor. 4. 9. Now then the Subjects of this Election are such as were Chosen[Page 64]before the Dejection of the World in the Sentence of God, before He denounced the Curse and Judgment upon the World for the Sin of man. But that was not before the World, but since the Fall of Adam, and Interposition of the Mediator, Gen. 3. 15, 19.

2. Or as we read it [before the foundation of the World] may not signifie, before any thing was formed of God; but before the foundation of it as now laid. The World as at first made was marr'd by the Sin of man; the Earth and all the Inhabitants thereof were dissolved: Now Christ steps in, and makes it again, John 1. 10. And is, as it were, the Basis on which the Pillars of the Earth, or World, stand, Psal. 75. 3. By Christ He made the Worlds: God made all things by Him at the first, and made them, when they were marred by mans Sin: And He upholds all things by the Word of His Power, having by Himself purged our Sins, Heb. 1. 2, 3. And so, As Abel's blood was said to be shed from the foundation of the World, Luke 11. 50, 51. So these were Chosen before that time, yea, before he was Born: Yea, indeed at that time (as I con­ceive) when Christ interposed Himself, af­ter the Fall of man, and in order of Nature[Page 65]after that. And so their Election is in­cluded in that Oracle, Gen. 3. 15. And this is the time when they were Chosen: And so it was before the Agie, or Secular Times, 1 Tim. 1. 9, 10. Tit. 1. 2.

2. In whom were they Chosen, or in Root? And that is expresly declared to us [in Christ] the last Adam: Therefore it is evident, they were not Chosen in the first Man Adam, nor so early. For that was not first which is Spiritual, but that which is Natural, and afterward that which is Spiritual, 1 Cor. 15. 46. Hence Christ is called the second Man, who was Interpo­sed as Mediator after the Fall of the first, Ver. 47. And as considered in Him, and not in the first Adam, or in themselves, they were Chosen: And this is worthy our Con­sideration. But to this we shall not Inlarge here, because we may mention it again.

3. Who are the Subjects of this Electi­on? The Apostle saith [Us] whereby ei­ther more generally,

1. He may have respect to the Persons to whom he Writes, and such as are like to them. And so the Subjects here spoken of are, not any Persons in a personal Conside­ration; but [the Saints which are at Ephe­sus, and faithful (or believing Ones, Be­lievers, [Page 66] John 20. 27. 1 Tim. 6. 2.) in Christ Jesus] Ephes. 1. 1. Where also he shews to us what is the meaning of [us in Christ,] Ver. 4. Namely, us as Considered in this Root of Election and prime Elect, viz. Christ, and not as we are in our selves, or while we abide in our Natural estate. And so the Subjects of this Election in this dou­ble Description, to wit, [Saints and Be­lievers in Christ] are the same with that, 2 Thes. 2. 13. He hath Chosen us from the be­ginning in the Sanctification of the Spirit, and Belief of the Truth: Therefore not before it. And so God in Chusing Christ did Chuse, not any man while out of Him, but all such as should come into, and believe in Him, without difference, or respect of Per­sons. Now these Ephesians, who now were Believers, were sometimes without Christ, and then they were not Chosen in Him, because not Believers in Him, Ephes. 2. 12. with Chap. 1. 1. 4. But now believing in Him, after they heard the Word of Truth the Gospel of their Salvation, they were made of that Generation of Men that were Chosen in Him before the Dejection, or Foundation of the World: They were now of the Chosen Generation, which in time past were not an Elect People, as before, 1 Pet. 2.[Page 67]9, 10. with Ephes. 2. 1, 2. They had a new Name given unto them. And in thus un­derstanding it, it appeareth; that God work­eth all things according to the Counsel of His own Will; His actual Election, and Elect ones, are sutable to, and agreeing with His purpose, Ephes. 1. 11.

2. Or we may look upon the [Us] here spoken of, in a more especial Consideration, to have Respect and Reference, not to the Believers in general, as being Chosen in Christ to Salvation, but to some Persons being Chosen in Him to a more excellent Service and Ministration, then were any of the Holy Ones before the coming of Christ in the flesh, Mat. 11. 9, 11. And so the Persons here directly spoken of and in­tended are, Christ's extraordinary Ambas­sadors, viz. The Apostles of our Lord Je­sus. The Apostles here magnifies their Office and Service, Rom. 11. 13. And signifieth, that as before the Dejection, or Foundati­on of the World, God Chose Christ to be the Mediator, Saviour and great Apostle, and purposed to send Him forth in the last Ages to make Peace actually for us, and Preach Peace to us: So He reserved this Honour for His Son, that by Him the My­sterie should be opened. And in Him He[Page 68]Chose, not Paul, or Peter, as men simply considered, but the first Trusters in Christ, Ephes. 1. 12. to be Instruments in this choice Service, and to be sent forth into the World, as God sent Christ into the World, viz. To Preach the Gospel according to the Reve­lation of the Mysterie, Ephes. 1. 8, 10. And it appeareth this was His Counsel by His Work: For He worketh all things after, or according to the Counsel of His own Will, ver. 11. And that these are the Persons here directly spoken of appeareth plainly;

First, By the Change of the Persons: In the two first Verses, the Apostle Writeth to the Saints at Ephesus, &c. And Saluteth them, Ver. 2. [Grace unto you.] But then He changeth the Persons from Ver. 3. to Ver. 12. And always saith [We, and Us] and never [You] till Ver. 13.

Secondly, It plainly also appeareth, that from Ver. 3. to Ver. 12. He speaketh not directly of the Believing Ephesians, because He speaks of them that trusted in Christ before they were Believers; and it was by the Means and Ministration of these first Trusters they were after brought in, and helped through Grace to Believe, for so He saith: That we should be to the praise of His Glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom[Page 69]ye also trusted, or believed, after ye heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation; namely, by those first Trusters, or some of them: See and consider, Ver. 12, 13, 14. And surely, this is the clear and direct mean­ing and intendment of the Apostle in these words. But I shall add no more to this place, because it hath been spoken to by my Brethren and Companions in the Faith, viz. Mr. Thomas Moor, senior, in his Explicite Declaration of the Testimony, pag. 263, 274. And pointed unto by Mr. John Horn, in his Open Door, pag. 122. and in Reviewer Re­viewed, pag. 83.

Object. 2. If any one should further Ob­ject that in Rom. 9. 11, 13. to prove their Personal Election in a Personal Consideration from; I say.

Answ. This doth not at all prove what they alledg it for; And this will appear whi­ther we consider the words Historically, or Allegorically. We shall speak a little to each Acceptation.

First, Consider them Historically, accord­ing to their first and plain Intendment. And so,

1. This was not spoken of the Persons here intended, before the Creation of the World, but in time, and that after Rebecca [Page 70]had conceived by our Father Isaac. And after the Children strugled in her Womb, Gen. 25. 21, 22, 23. Rom. 9. 10, 12. And so it proves not the Election of some Per­sons in a personal Consideration before the World was.

2. Nor was this spoken of the Persons of Jacob and Esau onely, but of their Poste­rities also, as is most evident in what the Lord said to Rebecca, when she went to in­quire of Him. The Lord said unto her, two Nations are in thy Womb, and two manner of People shall be separated from thy Barrels; the one People shall be stronger then the other Peo­ple, and the Elder shall serve the Younger, Gen 25. 23. And though in Rom. 9. 11. the Translatours have put in [the Children] (whether in favour to that device of Per­sonal Election or no, I know not.) Yet these words are faithfully set down in a dif­ferent Character, that we may know they are not a part of the Text: But the Verse should thus be read: For they, or the Na­tions or Peoples, being not yet born, &c.

3. And it therefore appears, that the Election here spoken of, or the purpose ac­cording to it, was not an Absolute decree­ing Jacob Nationally considered to Eternal Life, and rejecting Esau and all his Poste­rity[Page 71]there-from; for neither can we have so much faith as to believe the former Nati­on was all Eternally saved, Rom. 9. 27. nor so little Charity as to conceive the latter was all damned, seeing we read of some Good men that came from him, as is pro­bable; as Job, compare Job 1. 1. with Lam. 4. 21. And Eliphaz the Temanite, com­pare, Job 2. 11. with Gen. 36. 9, 11. And his Posterity might enter into the Congre­gation of the Lord in the third Generati­on, Deut. 23. 7, 8. As well as also, the Apostle saith, [By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come] Heb. 11. 20. But this purpose according to Election was, that Jacob Nationally considered should be preferred before Esau, or Edom: That Christ should come of them accord­ing to the Flesh; and they should have the Word, and Oracles, and Ordinances of God committed to them, which was a great Advantage, Rom. 3. 1, 2. And thus He dealt not with any other Nation, Psal. 147. 19, 20. And yet in Esau's serving Jacob, he, or any of his Posterity might be Blessed also; and might in the third Generation enter into the Lords Congregation, as is said. And so now, notwithstanding that purpose in these last Ages, because of the[Page 72] Jews unbelief, the Kingdom of God is ta­ken from them who were become the Elder People, and given to Esau, and the Gen­tiles: Yet notwithstanding, if any of the Broken-off Jews abide not still in unbelief they shall be Graffed in again, Mat. 21. 43. compare Amos 9. 11, 12. with Acts 15. 14 17. Rom. 11. 23. And this well agrees with the Scope of the Apostle in this place.

As for that which is mentioned in Rom. 9. 13. Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. It was Spoken and Written long after Jacob and Esau, the Fathers of the two Nations were dead: And declares how God had priviledged the former Nation a­bove the latter according to His purpose, in Answer to that Demand, Wherein hast Thou loved us? And that hatred of Esau was, however at first, but comparative or a lesser degree of Love, as is signified in the Testimony of it, viz. I laid his Moun­tains waste, Mal. 1. 2, 3. with Gen. 29. 30, 31.

Secondly, Consider we these things Alle­gorically: As the Apostle speaketh of Sarah and Hagar, and their Children: Which things are an Allegory, Gal. 4. 22, 24, 31. So here, As Isaac, so Jacob also was a Type of Christ, [Page 73]and those Born of Him, Psal. 24. 6. Gal. 6. 16. Now before men are Born this is God's purpose, that whosoever believeth in Christ should not perish, but have everlast­ing Life: And whosoever rejecteth Him, though he hath never so great a zeal to God otherwise, and seek and take pains never so much to establish a Righteousness to hims [...]lf, of whom Esau was a Type, shall be reject­ed: But this without any discriminating Eye or Respect to any man in a personal Consideration. And so God's purpose shall stand according to Election: Namely, it shall abide and take place, not in accepting men into Favour and Fellowship with Him­self, according to their Works of Righte­ousness, but as the Grace of God doth chuse men out of, and sever them from the World, into Christ, so as they are made of His Seed, and reckoned after Him. And this understanding of these things is sutable to the scope of the Place. For, in Answer to the Jews who were ready to say, there was Unrighteousness with God should He reject them, because they were the Seed of Abraham according to the flesh, and zealous according to the Law, the Apostle saith; That not all Abrahams Seed according to the Flesh, nor any in that Consideration[Page 74]simply, were counted for the Seed, but in Isaac should His Seed be Called, namely, such as are born of the Promise in Christ by the Gospel, which no man is till he hath been once Born, John 3. 3, 5, 7. For the confirming which he brings in this Instance also of Jacob and Esau; the former a Type of Christ, and those who believe through Grace; the latter of the Law-workers, as hath been said, Rom. 9. 6. 11. And this also further appears to be the meaning of the place, in Ver. 30, 31, 32, 33. where the A­postle sums up briefly and clearly what he had said more largely and darkly. What say we then? (viz. in what he had forespo­ken from Ver. 6. to this place; the Answer to which Question followeth, viz.) That the Gentiles which followed not after Righ­teousness have attained to Righteousness, even the Righteousness which is of Faith. But Israel which followed after the Law of Righteousness hath not attained to the Law of Righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by Faith, but as it were by the Works of the Law: For they stum­bled at that stumbling Stone, &c. [See Mr. Thomas Moor, senior, in his Explicite Decla­ration of the Testimony, pag. 321. 353. 376. And Mr. John Horn, in his Essays, pag. 36, 37,[Page 75]And in Reviewer Reviewed, pag. 88, 92, 99. &c.]

Thus far we have indeavoured to shew [That by Election is not meant, an absolute Decree of God, respecting some mens Per­sons in a personal Consideration; nor are God's Elect and Chosen oncs the Subjects of such a purpose.] Now we add further,

2. Nor are the Elect here spoken of such as are called simply, as that doth signifie the Act of the Caller: For God may Call, and thus men may be Called to the most High, and yet not so Exalt Him as to come unto Him, Has. 11. 7. God may Call, and men refuse, Prov. 1. 24. So much is signified in the Words, that it is more and a further Business to be Chosen then to be Called: Many are Called, but few are Chosen: Though a man cannot be Chosen but he must be Cal­led (I speak of such as are come to years of Capacity) yet he may be Called and not Chosen. Yea, we may read the words as others do: Many are the Called. In some sense, namely, the Call may have some Pre­valency upon men, so as they may Credit the Report of the Testimony of Christ, and come amongst and be reckoned as Members of God's People, and make some right ac­knowledgment and profession of the Faith; [Page 76]and yet not be Chosen. Not every one that saith unto Christ, Lord, Lord, (either by way of Confession or Supplication) shall en­ter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doth the Will of Christ's Father which is in Heaven, Mat. 7. 21. Men may be so far prevailed with by the Call as to desire to have Christ's Name on them and be Hearers of the Word, and make a Trade of Hear­ing; they may seek Him daily, and frequent­ly tread His Courts, and use His Ordinances, and yet not be Chosen in this peculiar sense we speak of, Isa. 4. 1. and 48. 1, 2. Jam. 1. 22, 24. The man that had not on the Wed­ding Garment was not Chosen, and yet the Call had such Prevalency upon him, as that he was gathered thereby into the House, or Church of Christ, and was there when Christ found him, Mat. 22. 10, 12. And this is good to be considered also by us, that we deceive not our selves. For we are apt to think, that if we have been Baptized into the Name of Christ, and read the Scrip­tures, and frequent the Assemblies of Gods People, whether publickly only, or also privately, and are perswaded of the Good­ness and Truth of that Reported in the Gos­pel; and in some sort receive His Grace, and profess to know God, that we are certainly[Page 77]in a good and happy estate and condition; when as notwithstanding all this, though we be in these respects of the Called, we may not be Chosen: Men may be Bap­tized, and yet be in the Gall of Bitterness, and Bond of Iniquity, Acts 8. 13, 23. Men may be Hearers of the Word and no Doers, and so deceive their own selves, Jam. 1. 22. Men may Believe in vain, and receive the Grace of God in vain, 1 Cor. 15. 2. 2 Cor. 6. 1. Men may profess to know God, and yet in Works deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good Work reprobate, Tit. 1. 16. Oh therefore! Let none of us deceive our selves, in thinking our selves to be something when we are nothing. But let every one of us prove, and approve his own Work, and then he shall have his re­joycing in himself alone, and not in ano­ther, Gal. 6. 3, 4. Let every one of us so receive the Grace of God to purpose, that we may be not only of the Called, but of the Chosen ones also. And this leadeth us to the Affirmative Answer to the Question before propounded (having spoken so large­ly to the Negative, to shew, who are not the Chosen.) viz.

2. The Election here spoken of is a be­ing [Page 78]severed, or gathered out of the World in which men at first are; out of the State Principles, Ways, and Works of the World into Christ Jesus: And so the Elect are such as for the Excellency of the Knowledg of Christ do suffer the loss of all things, and count them but dung, that they may win Christ, and be found in Him, Phil. 3. 4, 9. 10. Such they are who are the Called ac­cording to purpose; such as so Answer the Call, and End of God in Calling them, as that they come unto and walk in Christ Je­sus, and after His Spirit: Consider and compare Rom. 8. 28. with Ver. 33, 34. and Ver. 1. The Elect or Chosen are such as come unto Christ, and so come, as that they forsake all that they have for His sake, that they may have this Pearl of great Price: So it appears in this Parable plainly. The Kings Oxen and Fatlings being killed, and all things ready, he sends forth his Servants first of all to the First-bidden Guests, to call them, saying, Come unto the Marriage namely, to Christ, and that Provision in Him, as is before shewn: These were Cal­led, but not Chosen; they came not to Christ that they might have Life: But in­stead thereof, they made light of the Mar­riage, and Marriage-feast, and Invitation[Page 79]thereto; And (came not, but) went their ways, one to his Farm, another to his Mer­chandise; and the Remnant took His Ser­vants, and intreated them spitefully, and slew them: But when the King heard He was wroth, &c. because they were not Chosen: They did not so highly value Christ as to prefer Him before the things of this World, and come unto Him, though they were thus Called, Mat. 22. 2, 4, 8, 14. The King then sends forth His Servants unto the Gentiles, to Invite them to come to the Marriage and to gather them into the House, which accordingly they do: And these ge­nerally come, and so are the Called; but amongst them some are not Chosen; the man was not, which had not on a Wedding Garment, and so all like unto him: Name­ly, such as though they come, in some sort, into the House, as the First-bidden Guests refused to do, yet they let not go their own Righteousness, which are as filthy Rags, that they might have the Righteousness which is through the Faith of Christ, even the Righteousness of God by Faith, that Robe of Righteousness, Phil. 3. 9. Isa. 61. 10. Or they so receive not the Grace of God, as in coming to Christ to be Justified And Cleansed (as Dan. 8. 14.) from their[Page 80]Iniquities and Idols, and conformed to the Mind and Image of Christ; but while they pretend to seek to be Justified by Christ, they themselves are found Sinners, as Gal. 2. 17. And still remain altogether, or in a great measure, unsanctified in Heart, and unreformed in Life, while yet they profess to be Christ's Disciples, and believe His Gospel. These though of the Called, as the First-bidden Guests were not so fully, yet are not Chosen, or Elect ones: And abi­d [...]ng in this condition will have their portion in the Lake, where their Worm dieth not, and their Fire is not quenched, Ver. 8. 14. By all which it plainly appears, that the Elect are such as come to Christ, and so come to Him, as to deny themselves, and prefer Him be­fore, and part with all for His sake.

And this is also confirmed by the like Pa­rable, and our Saviours Instructions in Luke 14. Where also, after the Supper was pre­pared, the Servant is sent forth to say to them that were bidden; Come, for all things are now ready: And they all with one con­sent began to make excuse: The first said un­to him, I have bought a piece of Ground, and I must needs go and see it, I pray thee have me excused, And another said, I have bought five Yoke of Oxen, and I go to[Page 81]prove them, I pray thee have me excused: And another said, I have Married a Wife, and therefore I cannot come. So the Ser­vant came, and shewed his Lord these things. Then the Master being angry, said unto his Servant, go out quickly, & [...]. to Invite others. And after he had signified his great displeasedness with those who re­fused to come to Christ when Called, say­ing, None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my Supper, he turned, and said unto the great multitudes that went with him; If any man come unto me, and hate not (comparatively) his Father, and Mother, and Wife, and Children, and Bre­thren, and Sister's, yea, and his own Life al­so, he cannot be my Disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his Cross and come after me, can­not be my Disciple. And—whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my Disciple, Luke 14. 16, 21, 24, 26, 33. Which confirmeth what we have said, and is agreeable to the Parable we are considering, and sheweth, that these are the Chosen ones who so come unto, and after Christ, as that they sell all that they have that they may be made partakers of Him: And o­thers that so do not, but prefer other things in general, or something else in particular be­fore [Page 82]Him, however they may be Called, or of the Called, yet are not, while so doing, of the Elect of Chosen Generation, or the Subjects of God's Election: As we have often said.

But, God assisting, we shall speak hereto a little more particularly and shew: What Election and Elect signifie in Scripture: And so we say,

First, Election doth properly and fre­quently signifie, a Chusing out, or Taking out some from others: And the Elect or Chosen are such as are Chosen out of, or from others, and so it is here. And for our Understanding and Usefulness of the proper and direct Signification of these Words and Things, we shall propound and give Answer from the Scriptures to these five following Queries, viz.

Que. 1. What is the Argument propounded for the effecting this Election?

Answ. The Grace or Love of God ma­nifested, and everlastingly commended to us in this, that He sent the Son, the Savi­our of the World, even of Mankind: And according thereto Christ came into the World, and was made Flesh, and was made Sin, and by the Grace of God tasted Death for every man; and is raised again for their[Page 83]Justification: And hath Redeemed them from the Curse of the Law, and obtained all the Fulness of Grace and Truth into Himself for them. This Grace as discover­ed, and made known to us by the Ministry of the great Kings Servants in and by the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, is the Argument propounded for Electing men. So in this Parable; to the end the Invited Guests might come into Christ, and so be the Subjects of God's Election, the King commandeth His Servants to tell them: Be­hold, I have prepared my Dinner, my Oxen and Fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, Come to the Marriage, Mat. 22. 3, 4, 8, 9: with Luke 14. 16, 17. To this also agreeth what the Apostle Paul saith; even so then there is a remnant according to the Election, or Out-chusing of Grace: A rem­nant like unto the seven thousand men in Elias his days, who had not bowed the knee to Baal; not Idolaters and False worship­pers as the Elect, some men speak of may be and continue a considerable time: But such as are freed from, and chosen out of such polluted ones, and pollutions; And that, not by Works of Righteousness which they had done, but by the Grace of God which is Saving, or bringeth Salvation to [Page 84]all men, Rom. 11. 4, 6. And so the being Saved, viz. From mens Sins and Idols, is the same with this being Elected, or Out­chosen; compare and consider 2 Thes. 2. 10, 12. with Ver. 13. And it is by the same Means or Argument effected, viz. By the Grace of God; as the Apostle signifieth to the Ephesians: For after he had declared what polluted ones they were in Times past, namely, before they heard and received the Word of Truth; he then puts them in re­membrance how they got an escape from their Pollutions: By Grace ye are saved. And again, By Grace ye are saved through Faith, and that not of your selves, it is the Gift of God: Not of Works lest any man should boast, Ephes. 2. 1, 2, 5, 8, 9. with Rom. 11, 6. Yea, the Lovers of God, and God's Elect, are signified to be the same Persons, compare and consider Rom. 8. 28. with Ver. 33. Now, How come men to be Lovers of God? Certainly, by the Grace or Love of God, even His first Love disco­vered to them, as the Apostle John saith: He that Loveth is Born of God, and knoweth God—for God is Love: But how doth this appear, and whereby i [...] i [...] evidenced that He is Love? In this was manifested the Love of God, because that God sent His[Page 85]only begotten Son into the World, that we might live through Him.—He sent the Son the Saviour of the World.—And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us, God is Love, &c. Hereby is our love made perfect; even through the Knowledg and Belief of His Love, and that He is Love. And what Love of God is the producer of our love to Him, is also declared by the same Apostle: We love Him, because He first loved us. It is the Manifestation and Discovery, not of any delightful, distinguishing Love of His, but of that great Love wherewith He loved us, and all Mankind; whereby we are begotten to the Love of Him, and there­in made of the Chosen and Elect Generati­on, 1 John 4. 7, 10, 16, 19. with Ephes. 2. 4, 5. And so it appears, that the Argu­ment for effecting this Election is, the Grace of God to Manward discovered in the Gos­pel of Christ.

Que. 2. What is the way owned and ap­proved of God in or through which men are Elected?

Answ. The way of His owning and ap­proving is, the Sanctification of the Spi­rit, and belief of the Truth, when, and as discovered to them: That is, Men are then Chosen, when they so with the Heart be­lieve[Page 86]the Word of Truth, and Grace of God therein discovered, as that thereby they are Sanctified and Cleansed in the Spirit of their Mind, and devoted unto God, and not before. To this purpose the Apostle Peter speaketh: Elect according to the foreknow­ledg (or Fore-approbation) of God the Fa­ther (according to that way fore-owned of Him) in, or through the Sanctification of the Spirit, 1 Pet. 1. 2. To which agreeth also that of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians. We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, Brethren, beloved of the Lord, be­cause God hath from the beginning (viz. of their Gospels coming to them, as 1 Thes. 1. 5. and 2. 13.) Chosen you to Salvation, through or in the Sanctification of the Spirit and Be­lief of the Truth: Whereunto He also Called you by our Gospel, &c. 2 Thes. 2. 13, 14. No man therefore while he abides in his Igno­rance, Unbelief, and Disobedience of God is Elected or Chosen; nor until he be in some measure Washed and Sanctified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God 1 Cor. 6. 9, 11.

Que. 3. Out of what are men Elected, or Chosen?

Answ. Out of the World which lieth in Wickedness, or in the Wicked one, 1 John [Page 87]5. 19. And of which, until they were Chosen out, they were as well as others; and not only in it, but also of it: They sometimes walked according to the course of this World, according to the Prince of the power of the Air, the Spirit that now work­eth in the Children of Disobedience: A­mongst whom we also had our Conversation in times past in the Lusts of our Flesh.—And were by Nature Children of Wrath, even as others, saith the Apostle Paul of both Gen­tiles and Jews, who were after Chosen out of this sad condition, Ephes. 2. 1, 3, 5. To this purpose speaks our Saviour unto, and concerning his Disciples: Ye are not of the World, but I have [Chosen you out of the World.] And, I have manifested thy Name unto the men which thou gavest me [out of the World,] John 15. 19. and 17. 6. In both which places it is plainly Intimated, that time was that they were (not only in the World in their Persons, for so they still were, nor did our Saviour pray to His Fa­ther to take them out of it in this sense, John 17. 11, 15. but also they were) of the World, as to their State, Condition, Fel­lowship, and Demeanour; and during that time they were not Elected, or Chosen out of it. For Gods Elect and Chosen ones,[Page 88]and the world are opposed the one to the other, and the former hated by the latter: As also our Saviour oft times signifieth in such expressions as these. If ye were of the world the world would love his own, but be­cause ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you, John 15. 18, 19. Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoyce, Chap. 16. 20. I pray for them, I pray not for the world, but for them that thou hast given me out of the world: I have given them thy Word, and the World hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, Chap. 17. 9, 14, 16, 20, 21, 23. 1 John 3. 1, 13. And so the chosen ones are such as are seperated and severed from others in their state, pol­lutions, evil principles, and manners. And so [Seperated] and [Chosen] are used indifferently, and put one for another in our Types, whom we are instructed to be­hold, 1 Cor. 10. 18. As whereas in Deut. 10. 8. it is said: At that time the Lord [sepe­rated the Tribe of Levi,—to minister unto him: It is thus rendred, Chap. 21. 5. & 18. 5. 2 Chron. 29. 11. The Sons of Levi shall come near, for them the Lord thy God hath [chosen] to minister unto him: So again, in one place it is said: I am the Lord your God[Page 89]which have [seperated] you from other people: Ye shall therefore put difference between clean Beasts and unclean.—And ye shall be holy, for—I have [severed] you from other peo­ple, that ye should be mine: In another place upon a like occasion it is thus said: The Lord thy God hath [chosen] thee to be a peculiar people unto himself:—Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. Consider and compare Levit. 20. 24, 26. with Deut. 14. 2, 3, &c. And so they are a chosen Generation who are called (not only whom God is calling, but who are eventually called) out of darkness (out of the darkness of this world, and out of their ignorance and unbelief) into his marvelous light. Compare 1 Pet. 2. 9, 10. with Chap. 4. 3. Such as are delivered out of the power of darkness, and translated or removed into the Kingdom of Gods dear sons, Col. 1. 13. with Acts 13. 22. This is that out of which men are chosen, even out of themselves, and out of the world and power of darkness.

Que. Into and in whom are Men cho­sen?

Answ. Into, and in Jesus Christ; as the Apostle saith, Who hath [chosen us in him,] Eph. 1. 4. As we have seen before: The E­lect are not chosen in the first Adam, nor [Page 90]in themselves, but in Christ, who is the prime Elect, unto whom God hath given the pre-eminence and first-ship in all things, Isa. 42. 1. Col. 1. 18, 19. Rom. 16. 13. And who is the Root and Foundation of Electi­on. To this purpose the Apostle Peter speaketh. To whom coming (to wit, unto Christ) as unto a living stone,—chosen or elected of God: Ye also as lively stones are built up a Spiritual House: Ye are a chosen Gene­ration. It is here signified, that in order of Nature however, and of Time also, Christ is first of all an Ele [...]t chosen stone, an Elect foundation and Corner stone: And those that come unto, and are built on him, are reckoned after him: And though before they were not chosen, yet now they are an Elect Generation, Kind, or Offspring, 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5, 6, 9, 10. with Isa. 28. 16. And hereby it appears, both that some who were before out of Christ, and so not Elected, after­ward were brought into him, and then chosen in him, and reckoned after him. Compare Eph. 2. 11, 13. with Chap. 1. 1, 4. As well as also, that some are Elected and chosen before other some, because some are in Christ before others, Rom. 16. 7. So in our Types of old: Abraham was chosen before his Seed. God chose him when he was in Ur of the Chaldees,[Page 91] Neh. 9. 7. But he chose his Seed after him, Deut. 4. 37. & 10. 15. Ezek. 20. 5. The Lord hath chosen Zion, even Jesus Christ first of all; who came and shall come out of Zion, Psal. 14. 7. And who sitteth now in our Nature on Gods holy Hill of Zion, Psal. 2. 6. And in whom God dwelleth, and will dwell for ever, John 14. 10, 11. Col. 2. 9. And secunda­rily those that are born in Zion, Christs Children, who come unto him, and so are born of the Law and Doctrine of Christ, which proceeds from Zion, Psa. 87. 5. And who trust in the Lord, such as are good and are of upright hearts, Psal. 125. 1, 5. and 132. 11, 13. Even Zion, whom no man careth for, to wit, Christ, who is disallowed indeed of men, and those that are brought into, and born of, and walk in Christ, hath the Lord chosen, and be­ing chosen in Christ, they are called into Gods marvelous Light; for Christ is the Light of the World, the Sun of Righteousness, and Fountain of Light, 1 Pet. 2. 9, 10. Psal. 36. 9. And so also are chosen and called into the Grace of Christ, into his special & peculiar favour, and are the subjects of that, Gal. 1. 6. to which afterwards.

Qu. 5. Unto what are the Elected chosen?

Answ. Unto Obedience, and sprinkling of the Blood of Christ; namely, that as Chil­dren of Obedience they should not fashion [Page 92]themselves according to their former lusts in their ignorance: But as he who hath call­ed them is holy, so they should be holy in all manner of Conversation: And that their Hearts might be sprinkled from an evil Conscience, and their Consciences from dead works, to serve the living God, and their bodies washed with pure Water, 1 Pet. 1. 2. with Heb. 10. 22. and 9. 14. He hath chosen them to be an holy peo­ple to himself; Eph. 1. 4. thus it was said to our Types: Ye shal be holy unto me, for I the Lord am holy and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine, Levit. 20. 26. And again: The Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar peo­ple unto himself, above all the Nations upon the Earth; a peculiar people Zealous of good Works, Deut. 7. 6. & 14. 2. with Tit. 2. 14. Hence an Elect Generation and Holy Nation are put together, 1 Pet. 2. 9. And as they are chosen in Christ, in the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth, as hath been said: So the end also is, That they should be holy and without blame before him in love: Eph. 1. 4.

And so he hath chosen them to be, and continue a Spiritual House, an Habitation for himself through his Spirit, 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5. And his House they are, who hold fast the confidence, and the rejoycing of the[Page 93]hope firm unto the end, Heb. 3. 6, 14. The Lord hath chosen Zion, be hath desired it for his Habitation. This is the rest for ever: here he will dwell, for he hath desired it, Psal. 132. 13, 14. And as in our Types he did chuse the Temple to be a place of Habitation, in some sense, for himself, whence it was often called the House of God, &c. 2. Chron. 7. 12. 16. So now those that come unto, and are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner Stone, they grow unto an Holy Temple in the Lord, Eph. 2. 20, 21. 1 Cor. 3. 16, 17. They are, and to that end he hath chosen them, that they might be the Temple of the Living God: As God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people, 2 Cor. 6. 16, 18.

He hath chosen them to bear his name unto, and before others, and to render his praise glorious. And as in former times God did chuse the Temple, that his name might be there forover, 2 Chron. 7. 14. So he hath chosen them that come unto Christ, that they might be a Spiritual Priesthood, to offer Sacrifices, and hold forth the Word of Life to others, and so be Instruments of good unto others: So it is said of Paul after[Page 94]he was Converted. He is a chosen Vessel (or a Vessel of Election) unto me, to bear my name, &c. Even to be Christs Witness unto all men of what he had seen and heard: To the End he might be an Instrument for opening the Eyes of the blind, both Jews and Gentiles, and turning them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may re­reive the forgiveness of their sins, and Inhe­ritance among them that are sanctified (and so chosen) thorow faith that is in Christ, Acts 9. 15. with Chap. 22. 14, 15. & 26. 16, 18. And this is his end also more generally in chusing others, that they might be Instru­ments of good to those that as yet are not chosen: As the Apostle Peter signifieth: Ye are an Elect Generation, a Royal Priesthood, &c. That ye might shew forth the Praises. If Him that hath called you out of Darkness into His marvellous Light.—That whereas o­thers speak evil of you as of evil doers, they may by your good Works which they shall behold, glorifie God in the day of Visitation, 1 Pet. 2. 9, 10, 12. So Simeon else-where declared, how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a People for His Name; and so to Build again the Ta­bernacle of David which was fallen down, &c. That the residue of men might seek after[Page 95]the Lord; and together with them be happy also in finding Him, Acts 15. 14, 17. with Isa. 55. 6, 7, 8. Mat. 7. 7, 8.

And ultimately, He hath Chosen them, that they might obtain the everlasting Glo­ry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So the Apostle Paul saith, God hath from the beginning Chosen you unto Salvation, &c. 2 Thes. 2. 13, 14. And again, I indure all things for the Elects sake, (viz. for Christ's Bodies sake, which is the Church) that they also may obtain the Salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal Glory, compare 2 Tim. 2. 10. with Col. 1. 24. and Ephes. 3. 13.

And so God's Elect here spoken of are such, as by the discovery of the Grace of God in Christ by the Gospel are brought in, and prevailed with to believe through Grace; And in that believing Sanctified by the Spirit; Chosen out of the World into Christ; delivered out of the power of Dark­ness, and Satan, and removed into the Kingdom of Gods dear Son; that they might be; and continue to be (and accord­ingly in some measure they are) a special Peo­ple unto Him here, an holy People, an Ha­bitation for God who is their Portion, to shew forth His Virtues, and be to Him for a Name, and a Praise, and a Glory, for the[Page 96]good of the residue of men among whom they are set and preserved: And might here­after, and being faithful to the death shall, Inherit that Inheritance incorruptible, and un­defiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the Heaven for them, who are kept by the Power of God unto Salvation, &c. 1 Pet. 1. 2, 5.

And so indeed Gods Elect are such as are redeemed by the Blood of Christ, out of others amongst whom they dwell, and of whom sometimes they were, Rev. 5. 9. 10. Hence whereas in one place it is said, They that were with the Lamb, were such as were redeemed from the Earth, and from a­mong men: In another it is said, They that are with the Lamb are Called, and Chosen, and Faithful, compare Rev. 14. 1, 4. with Chap. 17, 14. And so, the Lord hath set a part for Himself, or (as the Vulgar Translation reads it) Chosen to Himself the man that is Godly; Even such as Worship him in Spirit and in Turth, Psal. 4. 3.—And this is the first sense of Election, A Chusing out.

2. To Chuse, doth sometimes in Scrip­ture signifie the same with Appoint, or Command: And so to be Chosen, doth sig­nifie, one who Obeys, or Observes the Com­mands, or Appointment of another: So it [Page 97]is taken, 2 Sam. 15. 15. David's servants said unto the King; Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my Lord the King shall appoint, or [Chuse] as in the Margin. So again, 1 Sam. 19. 38. Whatsoever thou shalt require, or [Chuse] of me, that will I do for thee. And thus it may be well here also taken in this place: Many are Called, viz. Unto Christ by the Gospel, in the faithful Ministration thereof by his Servants. Many are by the King commanded to come, but few are Commanded, Ruled, or Appointed by Him; but too many of them are Unruly and Dis­obedient to the Gospel; or though some yield feigned Obedience unto Him, and after a sort receive His Grace, yet they receive it in vain: So it is in this Parable: The King sent forth his Servants to call them that were bidden to the Wedding, and they would not come: They would not have the Man Christ Jesus to Reign over them. Again, He sent forth other Servants, when all was actually done and prepared to say unto them; Come unto the Marriage: But they made light of it, &c. And though the man that had not on the Wedding Garment came into the House, yet he came not after the Appointment of the King; he did not from the Heart obey that form of Doctrine delivered in the [Page]Gospel, Mat. 22. 3, 4, 5, 8, 13. This is His Commandment and Appointment, and that which He requireth of us in the Gospel, when it is Preached to us; That we believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another. But the most to whom the glad tidings of the Gospel are Reported, and unto whom these Commandments are given by the Lord Jesus, will not come to Christ that they might have Life: And they are there­fore condemned because they obey not the Gospel, in believing on the Name of the only begotten Son of God, 1 John 3. 23. with John 3. 18. Rom. 10. 16. and 2 Thes. 1. 8, 9. God is faithful in Calling men in due time, to the end they might come to the Knowledg of the Truth: But alas, few there are who receive and obey His Com­mandment, but the greatest part remain sons of Belial in Heart, such Persons as will not take Christs Yoke upon them, nor learn of Him, though His Yoke be easie, and His Burden light, and His Commandments are not grievous; But give a with-drawing, or back-sliding shoulder: And so remain unruly, and uncommanded Persons, such as will do whatsoever goeth forth out of their own Mouth; and will not be appointed and or­dered by Him, and the Light and Instructi­ons[Page]of His Grace, which teacheth that de­nying ungodliness and worldly Lusts, we should live Soberly, Righteously, and God­ly in this present world, Zech. 7. 11. Jer. 44. 16, 17. 1 Thes. 5. 14. Tit. 2. 11, 12. And this understanding it well agreeth with, and is sutable unto the former sense given.

3. Chosen, or Elect, signifieth choice ones, and such as are more Excellent then others, more Precious and Eminent then others. Hence we have [Chosen and Pre­cious] twice joyned together, and both op­posed in one Verse to disallowed, 1 Pet. 2. 4, 6. So Chosen and Dispised are opposed the one to the other, Jam. 2. 5, 6. So whereas in one place it is said, A good Name is rather to be [Chosen] then great Riches. In another it is said, A good Name is [Better] then precious Oyntment, compare Prov. 22. 1. with Eccles. 9. 1. To signifie, that such Persons or Things are the Subjects of Election which are better then others. Thus it is said of Christs Spouse: There are threescore Queens, and fourscore Con­cubines, and Virgins without number. But my Dove, my undefiled, is but one, she is the only one of her Mother, she is the choice, pure or elect one (as some read it) of her that bare her. She is a choice, elect, and excellent one, one that excels all others whatsoever, Cant. 6. 8, 9.[Page 100]So where we read, With the pure thou wilt shew thy self pure: It is thus rendred by others, With the Elect thou wilt be Elect, Psal. 18. 16. So [Chosen] oftentimes sig­nifies, Choice, or Excellent, whether Per­sons or Things, Exod. 14. 7. and 15. 4. Psal. 78. 31. Ezek. 24. 5. So it is here also; Those who are chosen out of the World by the out-chusing of Grace, and so Ruled and Commanded by the Gospel, they are indeed the precious Sons of Zion, in comparison of whom the residue of men, though Called, are yet Vile, Refuse persons, Psal. 15. 4. The Righteous is more excellent then his Neighbour, even such an one as comes un­to, and believes in, and puts on Christ for his Righteousness, to Cover, Cleanse, and Conform him to His Will and Image, Prov. 12. 26. The Lover of God, the Elect one, is the most Excellent person, Luke 1. 3. distinguished from, and preferred before all others, and is allowed of God; the Saints are the Excellent ones, 1 Pet. 2. 4. Psal. 16. 2, 3. Born of more excellent Seed then o­thers, even of incorruptible Seed, 1 Pet. 1. 2. 23. Of a more excellent Father, even of God in Christ, 1 John 4. 7, 9. Ingraffed into Christ, and made partakers of him, and are one spirit with Him; and shall in[Page 101]due time inherit gloriously, and are now by Faith Heirs of the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, James 2. 5. And so, many are Called, but few are Chosen; choice Ones: The greatest part will be refused and disallowed of God, because of their own stubborn refusal of, and disobe­dience to Christ.

4. Elect, or Chosen, doth signifie in Scripture, Beloved, or Loved, with a de­lightful and peculiar manner of Love: So it is said, The Sons of God saw the Daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them Wives of all that they chose, viz. delighted in, or were well pleased with, Gen. 6. 2. So these two words, Chosen and Delighted in, are used indifferently: They have Chosen their own Ways, and their Soul delighteth in their abominations, Isa. 66. 3, 4. So whereas in the Prophet Isaiah, it is thus said: Mine Elect in whom my Soul delighteth: That Scripture is thus read and rendred by the Evangelist Matthew: My beloved, in whom my Soul is well pleased, compare Isa. 42. 1. with Mat. 12. 18. Thus again, Is it such a Fast as I have [Chosen?] Wilt thou call this an [Acceptable] day? Chosen and Accep­table, or Well-pleasing, are the same: And Chosen signifieth a Delight, or Delightsome [Page]day unto the Lord, Isa. 58. 5, 6, with vers. 13. So chosen in the Lord, and beloved, or beloved in the Lord, are used indifferently by the Apostle, Rom. 16, 8, 12, 13. So it is here also; Many are called, but few are chosen, few beloved, or delighted in; no more than come to Christ, for they are beloved in him the beloved one, Rom. 16. 8. Eph. 1. 6. In­deed God loves all men, while it is called to day, with a love of pity and compassion, with a love of mercifull kindness, and hath abundant­ly manifested it, in that he hath given his only begotten Son to be the Saviour of the World, Joh. 3. 16. & 4. 42. And as is evident in what he doth unto them thorow Christ: Thus he loves them who hate him, and hath there­fore propounded himself as an example to be imitated by us, to the end we might so see and follow him, as to love and be mercifull to our Enemies, and bless them that curse us, &c. Matth. 5. 44, 45. Luke 6. 27, 35, 36. He so loves all men, that he is not willing that any man should perish, but that all should come to repentance, Ezek. 18. 23, 31, 32. & 33. 11. 1 Tim. 2. 4, 6. 2 Pet. 3. 9. But yet, though he love them thus, and is piti­full and compassionate toward them, and hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but rather that he should turn and[Page]live, yet notwithstanding he cannot delight in them that still abide in their ignorance and unbelief of the Gospel, and are Enemies to his Son: But contrarily, he hates them with such an hatred as is opposed to a love of Well-pleasedness: He that believeth not the Son shall not see Life, but the wrath of God abi­deth on him, John 3. 36. He is not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with him: The foolish shall not stand in his sight. he hateth all the workers of iniquity, Psal. 5. 4, 5. So he saith concerning Ephraim: All their wickedness is in Gilgall, for there I hated them for the wickedness of their doings, Hos. 9. 15. The wrath of God cometh and abi­deth on the Children of disobedience, Eph. 5. 5, 6. Col. 3. 5, 6. And therefore none such are delighted in, nor chosen, while so abi­ding and coutinuing. They wearied the Lord with their words, who said, He delight­eth in them that do evil, Mat. 2. 17. As they now do who say, Such as are unbelievers, Ido­laters, Adulterers, profane persons, drunkards, and notorious sinners may, while abiding such, be the elect of God; and loved of him with peculiar distinguishing love, which is directly contrary to the Scriptures, as hath been said; which signifie, that though God pity, and is compassionate to foolish ones,[Page 104]yet he delighteth not in them: He hath no pleasure in fools, Prov. 1. 20, 22, with Eccles. 5. 4. But now his Elect ones are such as he delighteth in, and loves with pe­culiar manner of love: Hence the Elect are such as are said to be beloved, Col. 3. 12. All his delight is in them that are chosen out of the World, and keep his Commande­ments, and which are the excellent ones, Psal. 16. 2, 3. They that are of a froward Heart are abomination to the Lord, but such as are upright in their way are his delight, Prov. 11. 20. & 12. 22. All such and only such as love Christ, the father loveth with delightfull love; (I speak of such are come to years of capacity, and have the Gospel plainly declared to them.) As our Saviour himself signifieth, saying: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God, such he loveth with such manner of love, as that he calls and owns them as his Sons by faith: And if Sons then Heirs, John 16. 27. 1 John 3. 1. And such as these Christ loveth, and delighteth in: As he saith, I love them that love me. And as the father hath loved me, so have I loved you, continue ye in my love. Prov. 8. 17. John 15. 9. But who are they that love Jesus Christ, and so are the subjects of[Page 105]his, and his fathers peculiar love, his Elect ones, in whom he delighteth? They are such as when called, come to, and are ruled by Jesus Christ; such as he not only com­mands, but also they are commanded by him, and obedient to him, and so chosen; as in the second sense of the word [chosen] be­fore spoken to: So saith our Saviour him­self; He that hath my Commandements and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and be that loveth me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him and will manifest my self to him. And again; If any man love me he will keep my Word, and my father will love him, and we will come unto him, &c. Once more; If ye keep my Commandments ye shall continue in my love, even as I kept my fathers Commandments, and abide in his love, John 14. 21, 23. & 15. 9, 10. 1 John 2. 3, 5. & 5. 2, 3, 2. John 6. Truly God so loveth his Son Jesus Christ, because he laid down his life for us that he might take it up again, that he loves all them that love him with a delightful love; they are his chosen ones, with whom he is well pleased: He gives unto them Eternal Life, John 3. 16, 18. Jam. 2. 5. And he so loveth his Son, that he hates, and cannot delight in them that are his Enemies, and hate him: He will beat down his foes before his face, and[Page]plague them that hate him, Psal. 89. 23. John 3. 36. Psal. 16. 3. 4. And therefore while they abide such, being not lovers of Christ, they are not of the elect or chosen Generation, Job. 14. 24. Paul was not so while he was anememy unto him [...] persecuter of them that called upon his name: But he with others, found favour, and was made ac­cepted in the beloved one, in coming unto, and believing in him, Eph. 1. 6. with Luk. 1. 28. 30—

5. And lastly: By [Chosen ones] in our types are often meant and signified such as were souldiers, and were pithced upon and imployed to fight the battells of the Lord against their enemies: or more ge­nerally, such as fought against their ene­mies: Military men, are hereby meant, and sons of valour, who were indued with courage and strength to go forth against, and contend with their Adversaries: such are often called Elect, or chosen ones: so Jo­shua Chose out Thirty Thousand mighty men of valour to go up against Ai, Joshua 8. 3. So David gathered all the chosen men &c. 2. Sam. 6. 1. And, Abijah set the bat­tell in aray with an Army of valiant men of warre, even four hundred thousand cho­sen men; Jeroboam also set the battell in[Page]array against him with Eight Hundred Thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour. 2 Chron. 13. 3. 17. So oft time it is taken in this sense. Judg. 20. 15. 16. 34. Psal. 78. 31. &c. And thus also this sense may be accommodated to these words: few are chosen; namely, few there are who betake themselves unto, and fight manfully un­der the banner of Christ against their spi­rituall enemies with the weapons of Gods warfarre: few there are who so love and cleave to Christ; as to endure hardness as his good soldiers; to deny themselves, and take up their Cross, and follow him: To watch, stand fast in the faith, quit them­selves like men &c. 2. Timoth. 2. 1-3, 4. 1, Cor, 16. 13, 14. Rev. 17. 14. Few love his gospel so well, though called by the trum­pet of it, as to leave the world, as it were, and be valiant for the truth, earnestly con­tending for the faith, [...] striving for the faith of the Gospel against the world, and against that sin that dwel­leth in them, and those fleshly lusts after their Merchandise & Farms, &c. And against the Devil: And so, in this consideration; they are not chosen men. But this sense may not so well as the former suit with the scope of this place; And therefore it is the more briefly spoken unto.

[Page 108]Thus we have also spoken unto the Af­firmative part in the first thing propoun­ded, to be considered from the latter part of this verse, and shewed who are Gods elect ones: namely, such as are by the grace of God chosen out of the world into Christ, and abide in him: such as are commanded ap­pointed, and ruled by his law the law of faith: such as are more excellent then others, choice ones, precious in his sight and account: such as are the subjects of his peculiar love, and delighted in by him: And such as come unto, and follow after the Captain of our salvation, fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold on eternall life.

In a word; his people in a peculiar con­sideration, all hearty and unfeigned belei­vers, are the elect and chosen ones here in­ten [...]ed by our Saviour: The Nation, the blessed Nation, whose God [...] the Lord, is the people which he hath chosen for his own Inheritance. Psal. 33. 12. and 105. 43. Such God hath chosen who are rich in faith, as Jam. 2. 5. hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world (but not all the poor, nor any that have not faith, but such as are) rich in faith; and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? And as[Page 109]in order of nature Christ, the prime elect, and root of election, was first Gods servant, to finish the work in own personal Body, which the Father gave him to do, before he was his Chosen or Elect one, Isai. 42. 1. Phil. 2. 8, 9, John 3. 35. with chap. 10. 17. So also as with respect to others who are Chosen in Christ, They are his Servants be­fore they are the Subjects of Election: hence the same order of expressions is used fre­quently concerning them: As thou Israel my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Isai. 41. 8, 9. and 43. 10. And again, Hear, O Jacob, my servant, and Israel whom I have chosen: thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the Womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob my servant, and thou Jesurun (or righteous people) whom I have chosen, Isai. 44. 1, 2. and 65. 13.—15. And these only are Gods Elect and chosen ones, and the persons intended in this Text we are speaking to, and such as abiding faithfull unto the death, shall in due time receive the Crown of life which God hath promised to them that love him, and look and wait for the appearing and coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as his Grace teach­eth and instructeth, Jam. 2. 5. with chap. 1. 12. Titus 2. 11,—13.

[Page]And what we have said of this Electio [...] or choosing, and who ar [...] not, and who are the subjects of Gods Election, as in the Scri­pture of truth plainly appeareth, may be of usefulness to us.—

1. To preserve, or redeem us from that evil and hurtful Notion and Doctrine of personal Election in a personal consideration, which some call the Gospel of Election; In which Men think and teach, that God hath from Eternity Decreed and purposed a set determinate number of Persons in a personal consideration to Believe and be saved: And that all such shall in due time be brought in to Believe, and be Converted by an invin­cible and irresistable Power: And that Men may be of this number, and the subjects of this purpose, who are Fornicators, Idolaters, Adulterers, Effeminate, Abusers of them­selves with Mankind, Theeves, Covetous, Drunkards, Extortioners, &c. Yea, and Per­secutors, Blasphemers, and Injurious ones, while abiding such: Yea, that some abiding such till almost their departure out of this world, are yet, and continue the Elect of God, and his Chosen ones.

This is a very groundless, & Scriptureless, and Pernicious Doctrine; And that which renders the Cross of Christ, foolishness. For [Page]if Men were absolutely decreed to Salvation before the consideration of Christs interpo­sing himself, and humbling himself to death, the Death of the Cross; This Decree might also have been as righteously put into Exe­cution without it: And so, as the Apostle saith in another case, which is as true in this; Christ dyed in vain, or without any just cause; which thought and imagination is to be rejected by us, as that which renders needless his precious Blood; And represents Gods love to his only begotten Son to be very small, or indeed none at all; In that he put him to so much grief, and spared not him, but delivered him up to death for our offences, when there was no Absolute neces­sity for it: And blemishes his Wisdom also (not to speak of his other Atributes) Seeing, if this Doctrine were true, God could have saved those he intends and resolves to save, without the death of his Son; Without this blessed device which he devised, that his ba­nished ones might not be expelled from him, Gal at. 2. 21. Acts. 17. 2, 3. 2. Corinth. 5. 14. Matth. 26. 39-42. 2. Sam. 14. 14.

And this evil and dangerous Doctrine makes the Preaching of the Cross foolishness also; and all the Commands, Instructions, Calls, Counsels, Admonitions, and Reproofs[Page 112]thereof, useless or unnecessary: Seeing, such as belong to this Election, as they speak, shall be brought i [...] when Gods time comes, by such a Power as cannot be resisted: (And such an one is not put forth in the Gospel, 1 Thes. 4. 8. Acts 7. 51.) And therefore there is no necessity of Preaching that as to them: And for all others, there is no necessity to Preach to them, for they must inevitably go to Destruction, and Perish, do they what they can or will to avoid and flee from it; If this ungodly Device and Doctrine were true: And then, as their Elect must be brought in by an irresistable Power, so they shall be preserved also to the enjoyment of eternal Salvation hereafter, and cannot pos­sibly miscarry: And then what need is there of the Ministry of the Word to any? 1 Cor. 1. 18. 21,—25. Yea, this Device hinders many that listen to it, from conversion, of turning to the Lord; in leading them to neg­lect their hearing Wisdom, and watching daily at her gates, and waiting at the Posts of her dores: For, as an eminent asserter of such like Doctrines, and one of the most mo­derate ones also (though he greatly fault the manner of propounding it, Yet] saith, and thus speaketh. [Whether ye run or sleep, whe­ther ye receive the Word into your hearts, or[Page]reject it: ye shall all be such as God who is invin­cible decreed ye should be; as God who is in­fallible foresaw ye would be, this is indeed a most true doctrine.] And as I my self have heard from more then one of the receivers and entertainers of this vision of mens owne hearts, this hath led them thus to say. [If The one of the elect, God will bring me in, in due time, by an irresistible power, will I, nill I, and till that time come I had as good sit at home, or walk after the imagination of mine owne heart, and sight of mine eyes. And if I be not of this number, but one of the reproba­tes, what ever paines I take, or how diligent and frequent soever I am in hearing, reading, praying, frequenting the assemblies of Gods peop­le, and using, his ordinances; yet I am sure in conclusion I must have my portion in that lake of fire which is prepared for the Devill and his Angells.] Or as one speaketh publickly and plainely; without mincing it at all. [It is, saith he, a certain truth, that whomsoever God hath elected before the foundation of the world, such cannot possibly perish: And he, whom he hath rejected cannot possibly be saved, though he doe all the workes of the saints.] that is, though he repent and believe the Gospell, and persevere therein unto the death. This is the fruit of this wicked and corrupt root, which[Page]persuades men, that it is in vaine to serve God, as with respect to the greatest part of men. Mal. 3. 14. Or else some beleivers of it, and zealous pleaders for it, are unac­quainted with their beloved and fast holden opinion. and thus, and otherwayes also, this evill and erronious doctrine opens the gap to all profaness, licentiousness, and wic­kedness whatsoever.

This doctrine also exposeth, and driveth many men to desperation, And causeth to say, there is no hope: namely, such persons as dare not think themselves to be better then others; nor judge themselves to be of this Chosen Number: And even to wish they had never been, or that there were no God. And what the issue and consequence of mens saying there is no hope is, the Scripture de­clareth unto us; that it makes men resolve they will Walk after their owne devices, and will doe the imaginations, of their evill heart. Jer. 2. 25. and chapt. 18. 10, 11.

And others it leades to persumption, tel­ing them, that it is altogether impossible for them to miss of eternall life, however they behave themselves: though they may so sin as to be frowned upon, or corrected here, yea to be sharply chastised: yet they cannot possibly be unson'd, or disinherited:[Page]they shall have peace in conclusion, though they walk after the imagination of their owne hearts, adding drunkeness to thirst as long as they can: These trust in lying words; saying the temple of the Lord are we: And we still belong to the election of grace, though we kill, steale, commit Adultery, sweare falsly and burne incense to other Gods: As they said. Jer. 7. 4-8. 9. Deut. 29. 18, 19, 20, &c. How con­trary is this to the Scriptures of truth! Rom. 11. 20 22. 1 Cor. 9. 27. John. 15. 6. Hebr. 4. 11. And the minding and conside­ring what is the election of God, and who are the subjects, of it, is proper and powerfull to preserve us from this device of mens evill hearts; And so from the evill fruits thereof: or if we have been polluted therewith, to give us an escape therefrom; As may be also further shewen in what followeth.

2. What hath been said of Gods election, and elect ones, may be usefull also, to shew unto us, that mens eternall states are not fixed in a personall consideration, before they were borne. It is true indeed this is Gods purpose; that he that beleiveth and is baptized shall be saved. And he that be­leiveth not (the gospell while and as it is preached to him) shall be damned. God[Page]hath determined and decreed, that such as unfeignedly beleive his Gospell, and abide faithfull to the death, shall have eternall life: And such as abide impenitent, and unbeleiving ones, or after they have belei­ved turne aside to their crooked pathes, and abide therein to the end, shall be destroy­ed with an everlasting destruction. And this was his purpose before men were born, John. 3. 14-18. Marke 16. 15, 16. But this respects not men in a personall conside­ration, nor necessitates one man to beleive, or another not to believe: But it was pur­posed without difference, or respect of per­sons. But, I say, respecting men in a per­sonall consideration, the doctrine of Gods election sheweth, that no mans state is fixed or unalterable, before he came into the world, and much less from eternity, or before the world was: No, nor while they are joyned to all the living, and the day of Gods grace and patience lasteth. Indeed, when men are cut off from the land of the living, then there is a great gulfe fixed, so as there is no passing from one state or place to another. Luk. 16. 25. As the tree falleth so it lieth (and so it shall rise and remaine for ever.) Whether it fall toward the South, or to­ward the North: In the place where the tree[Page]falleth there it shall be. Eccles. 11. 3. Those that dye in union with Christ shall be so rai­sed, and be ever with him: And those that dye in their sins and out of Christ, shall be so raised, and perish for ever from his pre­sence: And the consideration hereof might awaken and Ingage us all, that while it is an acceptable time, and day of salvation, we receive the grace of God to purpose, even to be saved thereby: For there is no work, nor device, nor Wisdome, nor knowledge in the grave whither we are going. Eccles. 9. 10, And not to neglect the present time; considering also, our times are in Gods hand, and we cannot boast our selves of the morrow, for we know not what a day may bring forth. Our times are in Gods hand: In his hand is the soule of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. And Behold he breaketh downe, and it cannot be built againe: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him? Prov, 27. 1. Job. 12. 10, 14. and 11. 10. T [...]y therefore if we will hear his voice, let us not barden our hearts. Hebr. 3. 7, 8. But now while it is called to day; and while men are joyned to all the living there is hope: their states are not now unalterable. [Page]but men may pass from one state to another, Such are at present out of Christ, and so none of Gods Elect, but under the sentence of death and condemnation, may be of God made in Christ, and so of the Elect, and chosen generation, And shall so be if they abide not still in unbeleife, and diso­bedience to God, and his Gospel: As our Saviour signifieth, and assureth the truth of it with a double asseveration. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life: Or, out of death into life; Out of a state of death, wrath, and rejection; into a state of Life, Justification, the favour of God, and Election, John 5. 24. To which also agreeth what the Apostle John saith; signifying that they were instances of the truth hereof: We know that we have passed out of Death into Life, because we love the Brethren, 1 John 3. 14. Men may now be delivered out of the Kingdom of Dark­ness, and removed into the Kingdom of Gods dear Son, Coloss. 1. 13. Men may now be turned from Darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan unto God: And in being so turned, they shall receive the forgiveness of their Sins, and Inheritance among them [Page]that are sanctified by Faith in Jesus Christ, Acts 26. 18. This Doctrine of Gods Election, as it is declared to us in the Scriptures of truth, is a sweet and comfortable Doctrine, agreeing with the whole Gospel of Christ; It leads us to mind and consider the precious­ness and necessity of the Blood and Sufferings of Christ, without which there could have been no Remission of Sins, nor Eternal Life; But all must have gone to Hell without difference, or respect of Persons, 2 Cor. 5. 14. And that if Christ had not been raised again, we had been yet in our Sins, and Preaching, Faith, and Hope had been all in vain, 1 Cor. 15. 12. 20. It sheweth unto us, that the Gospel of Christ is the Power of God, in which his Arm is put forth for pulling men, and choo­sing them out of the world into Christ, And that such as obey it are blessed, and such as reject it, judge themselves unworthy of Eter­nal life, 1 Thes. 1. 3, 5. 2 Thes. 2. 13, 14. Acts 13. 46. And so leads us to glorifie the word of the Lord. It sheweth unto us, that such as are Elect may possibly fail of the Grace of God, if they abide not in Christ, John 15. 2. 6. 16-19. And so instructeth us, to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear: To have and hold fast Grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with Reverence and Godly fear, for[Page]our God is d consuming Fire; And so preserv­eth us from high-mindedness, presumption, and licentiousness, Heb. 12. 16-29. And it assureth us, that such as are at present of the world, and not chosen out of it, and so none of Gods Elect, may be chosen, and shall be, if they with the heart believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God, Joh. 15. 19. and 17. 6. Ephes. 2. 2-5-8. 1. Pet. 2. 9, 10. Whereas that other Doctrine, that device of such mens brains as are of no judgement in that particular concerning the Truth, is a most comfortless, and heart-breaking Do­ctrine to the greatest part of mankind; for it perswadeth them that mens states were fixed before they were born: And the grea­test part by far reprobated, or past by, before they had a personal being; And that there is no hope for them, nor possibility of their be­ing saved; And that Gods end in all the mercies he bestows on [...]en, and means he vouchsafeth to them, is but to leave them without excuse, and to aggravate their con­demnation, and render their sin more sinful, and their Judgement more exceeding ter­rible.—

But this Doctrine of Gods Election agreeeth with, and is founded upon the word of the be­ginning of Christ, Hebr. 6. 1, 2. 1 Cor. 3. 10, 11.[Page]In which are declared glad tidings of great joy unto all people, because Christ the Savi­our hath taken the nature of Man upon him, of that kind or species of Creatures; not as distinguished from another part of that kind; but as distinguished from the nature of Angels which he laid not hold on, Luke 2, 10, 11. Hebr. 2. 14,—16. And that be the Lamb of God bare the sin of the world of mankind, Jo [...]. 1. 29 And by the Grace of God tasted death for every man, Hebr. 2. 9. 2 Cor. 5. 14. And gave him self a ransom for all, 1 Tim. 2. 6. In which Doctrin we see the cordialness of Gods heart to man-ward, And that he would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the Truth: The end of Christs dying for all men being, that they which live should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him that dyed for them, and rose again, 2 Cor. 5. 15. Tit. 2. 11-14. And so be happy for ever. And to the end they might so do and be, Christ is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world: And he is therefore a light to them, that he might be for salvation to them, that through him they might be saved from their sins, and from the wrath of God, and so out of, and from that miserable condition and estate in which men are, while they abide in ignorance and unbe­lief, Joh. 1. 9. with Acts 13. 47. Joh. 3. 17.

[Page]This Doctrine sheweth unto us, that such as are not chosen out of the world at pre­sent, may be so hereafter, through the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men: (Though it also shews, that it is dangerous to neglect the present opportunity.) And so it speaks good and comfortable words unto men, to the end they might repent, and turn to God, and doe works meet for repentance, Acts 26. 18,—20,—23. And is proper to com­fort poor, dejected, despairing creatures, who are greatly discouraged by that device of men, we have opposed; Isai. 61. 1, 2.—

For some one may say; Oh! If I did but know my self to be one of Gods Elect ones; If I did but know that I belong to the Election of Grace, then mine heart would be quieted and comforted: This would be a lifting up to me now I am cast down, and my heart disquieted within me: But alas! I fear I am none of Gods Elect and chosen ones; I cannot find such and such frames and changes from whence I might safely conclude that I am one of that number: Nay, I find so much evil and wickedness in my self, that I may rather fear and conclude that I am one of them that are rejected of God, and that I am not Elected, And then what will become of me, I must perish for ever, and be everlastingly wretched and miserable.

[Page]Well, What solid and certain comfort af­fordeth this devise of Absolute election to such an one in such a condition? Certainly, no true or Soul-quieting Consolation, and reviving? For,

1. It either saith in general; though thou beest never so wicked, yet thou mayest be­long to the Election of Grace at present, though thou knowest it not, nor doth it ap­pear to any one else that thou dost so: But by their own Doctrine. 1. This is but a per­adventure, and it is ten to one whether it be so or no: And may not such a one much ra­ther still continue fearful and doubtful, then the Disciples might be so, when our Saviour said, One of you shall betray me, they all said, Lord is it I? is it I? Seeing that was but spoken of one in twelve, whereas here twelve to one are not Elected or Chosen, according to their own devise? And 2. This is com­forting men with a lie, and so none of Gods way of comforting; For this supposeth that wicked ones may be, while such, the subject [...] of Gods Election, which is very false, as hath been shewn; And as may be seen in Isai. 65. 11,—15. Where Gods Chosen are opposed to them that chuse that in which he delights not, even the wicked; Whereas Gods way of comforting is with the[Page]Truth: Hence the Comforter ir said to be, the Spirit of Truth, and so the Comforter, John 14. 16, 17. and 16. 26.—

2. Or they may answer more particularly, and say; Thy fear is a good sign that thou art one of the Elect. But though it were (as in­deed it is not) a good signe, yet it is not a sure one: For the sinners in Zion may be afraid, and fearfulness surprize the Hypo­crite, Isai. 33. 14.—

But what saith the Doctrine of Gods Ele­ction to such a despairing, sorrowful one? It is proper to comfort all that mourn, and so such an one as we are here speaking of, Isai. 61. 1, 2. Though it answer not with their speeches, (as, Job 32. 14.) Yet it de­clareth good news, and true news to such an one; it daubeth him not up with untemper'd morter, nor telleth him he may be one of Gods Elect, though a wicked person, and unbeliever; But it assureth him the contrary: And yet shews him, both that while it is called to day he may through grace believe; And in so doing, shall have a new name gi­ven unto him: And though formerly he were not Elected, yet now shall be one of Gods Elect. This sheweth that such as were not his People, may be his People; and that such as were not beloved or Elected, may become[Page]beloved and Elected, which is the same as we have shewed, Rom. 9. 25, 26. That such as were not his children, may become his chil­dren, and shall so do, in believing in Christ, as the Scripture hath said: For, To as many as receive him, to them he gives the right and priviledge to become the Sons of God, even to them who believe on his name, Rom. 9. 26. with John 1. 12. 13. 1 Pet. 2. 9, 10. And thus God in his Doctrine doth create the fruit of his lips, Peace, Peace, to him that is far off, to such stout-hearted ones as are far from righteousness: To the end they might for­sake their unrighteous wayes and thoughts, and return to him, and he will have mercy upon them, and multiply to pardon them, Isai. 57. 19. with chap. 46. 12, 13. & chap. 55. 6, 7, 8. Therefore though this Doctrine saith, Wo to the wicked, that men might hear and fear, and not continue such: Yet it cal­leth to the wicked, look unto Christ and be ye saved: Come unto him and he will give you rest. And to move them thereto, it assureth men, that God hath no pleasure, none at all, neither secret nor revealed in the everlasting destruction of the wicked, while it is called to day; As he hath both said and sworn, and given his Son to be an actual, clear, universal, and everlasting wit­ness [Page]of the truth of it, Ezek. 18. 23. 30,—32. and 33. 10, 11. John 3. 16. and 12. 47. And so it propounds true and encouraging Com­fort to such a one, not to continue in his Iniquity, for in so doing, it will be his ruine; but to come unto Christ, who is the root and foundation of Election, in coming unto, and abiding in whom, he shall be reckoned after him, and blessed with him to all Eter­nity.

Nay, Let me yet adde further; This Do­ctrine of Gods election contains in the womb of it, and proclaims with the mouth of it, encouragement and comfort to such, as ha­ving been formerly ingrassed into Christ, the prime Elect, and root of Election, and so made of the chosen number, have yet for their iniquity or unfruitfulness, been cut off from Christ; And to whom God hath given a Bill of Divorce after they have been espou­sed to him; while they are joyned to all the living: that such as these might not utterly [...]spaire, or be discouraged from returning unto him: (Though indeed such iniquity as procures such an heavy Judgement is high­ly provoking and dangerous.) For it assu­reth, that while it is the day of Gods, grace, and patience, in returning and rest, they shall be saved. Isai. 30, 15. That he can righ­teously [Page]again choose such as after once cho­sen, have been rejected, and refused by him, as it is said of Jerusalem; Cry yet, (saith the Lord unto the Prophet) The Lord shall yet com­fort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem, Zech. 1. 17. And the Lord shall choose Jerusalem a­gain, Chap. 2. 12. Thus it is said concerning the Jews who were our Types, and whom we are instructed to behold, 1 Cor. 10. 18. that some of the branches were broken off from the true Olive-Tree because of their unbelief. And yet, if they abide not still in unbelief, they shall be graffed in, for God is able to graff them in again, who had been, but at present were none of Gods chosen ones, Rom. 11. 17. 23. with ver. 7. Thus also he com­mandeth the Prophet to proclaim these words to such as he had put away, and to whom he had given a Bill of Divorce; Return thou back-sliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever: only acknowledge thine Ini­quity, &c. Jer. 3. 8. 12, 13. He hath reserved this Prerogative to himself, that he can righ­teously shew mercy where Men cannot. If a man put away his Wife, and she go from him and become another mans, shall he re­turn to her again? shall not (not that man[Page]only, but also) that Land be greatly pollu­ted? (where such Iniquity is committed.) But thou hast played the Harlot with many lo­vers, yet return again to me, saith the Lord. And concerning such, He, as it were, be­thinks himself how he may againe receive his former favour, and their former nigh­ness. But I said, How shall I put thee among the Children, and give thee a Land of desire, an heritage of glory, or beauty of the Hosts of Nations? And I said, Thou shalt call me my Father, and shalt not turn away from me, Jer. 3. 1. 19. And hence he thus expostulateth with such as had sold themselves for their Iniquities, and for their transgressions were put away; Wherefore when I came was there no man? when I called was there none to answer? Is my hand shortned at all that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deli­ver? Namely, from all your transgressions, and from that miserable condition you have brought your selves into.) Behold at my rebuke I dry up the Sea, &c. The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to Him that is weary; even to such also as have wearied themselves in wandring from Mountain to Hill, and forgotten their resting place, his hand is not shortned at all, [Page]but he hath still power to help, turn, par­don, and receive such backsliding ones, Isai. 50. 1, 2, 3, 4. Such like comfort this Doctrine of Gods Election propoundeth, and pro­claimeth to poor sinful ones while it is called to day; not to strengthen men in their Ini­quity: But to allure them, and prevaile with them to come to him; that he may take away their iniquities, and receive them graciously; that he may heale their backsli­dings and love them freely, Hose. 14. 1, 2-4.

3. This doctrine of Gods election is also a monytory doctrine, to admonish and warne us all, neither to reject the grace of God; nor to receive it in vaine: But so heartily to entertaine and retaine it, and yield up our selves to the operation thereof, that we may now be saved from our evill thoughts and wayes; And bring forth fruit meet for him by whom we are dressed, that we may receive further blessing from God. In the former use we have shewed, that though at present we be not, yet we may be chosen: But here we have to shew, that we must of necessity receive the grace of God to this end and purpose, or else we shall be excluded the kingdom of Christ and of God, To this end Christ gave him­selfe for our sins, that he might deliver us[Page]from, or pluck us out of, or Chuse us out of, this present evill World, according to the will of God and our father, Gal. 1. 4. with Matth. 5. 29. and 18. 9. with 2 Thes. 2. 13. The whole world lieth in wickedness, or in the wicked one, and will be hereafter condemned, and all that remaine of it; needfull there­fore it is that we be saved from, and cho­sen out of this untoward generation, 1 Joh. 5. 19. with 1 Cor. 11. 32. God indeed so loved the World, that he gave his onely be­gotten son: But it was not with a delight­full well pleased love, as is before said: nor so as he ever intended that it or any abi­ding in the state and fellowship of it, should partake of eternall life and salvation: But to this end he so loved it, that whosoever of it beleiveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, John. 3. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. But unless men so receive the love of the truth as to be saved, and Chosen there­by, while the day of Gods grace and pa­tience is vouchsafed and continued to them, they will be damned hereafter: not because they were reprobated from eternity: for so no man was in a personall consideration; nor because they had no true and saving grace afforded to them; and for want there­of [Page]thereof they could doe no better then they did: For the saving Grace of God, or Grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared: But because they beleived not so as to have pleasure in the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, Tit. 2. 11. 2 Thes. 2. 10, 12, 13. Oh! this will be the Worm that will never die, but will gnaw upon them, and torment their Souls for ever, that when God so loved them as to give his Son to die for them, to deliver them from that so great a death as they were fallen under the Sentence of, viz. the first death: And to obtain Eternal Life into the nature of man for them, both which he hath done by his Blood and Sacrifice: And that he gave him to be a Testimony of Gods goodness and love to them in due time; and so preached to their Spirits by his Spirit, that they might have been saved: That notwith­standing all this they would not come unto Christ that they might have life, but held fast deceit, and refused to return. Oh! that in due time it may be so considered by us, that we may hearken diligently unto Christ, and so receive the Word of God, as it is in truth the Word of God, that it may work effectually upon us: So as we may not only[Page]be called thereby, but chosen also: And so may flee from the wrath to come.

Quest. But some may say: The Elected are chosen by Christ, and cannot chuse themselves: Is there any thing then in order to this Electi­on, or chusing required of us, that we may be the subjects of it? What should we do?

Answ. It is true indeed, they are cho­sen by Christ who are elected, and cannot chuse themselves by any Wisdome, Strength, or Works of Righteousness of their own: But it is also as true, that in those things appertaining to the Salvation of the Soul in which they are Passives, yet there is somewhat required of them, as God is preventing them with his Grace: As to say, They cannot beget, or bring forth them­selves, but the Work of the new Birth is the Work of God, John 1. 13. Jam. 1. 18. But yet it is signified, that something in order hereto is required of Men, not in any wis­dome, or ability of their own, for they have none: But as God is preventing and assisting them with power and capacity; namely to hear the Word of Truth, and to be hearty Believers and doers of it, John 1. 12. 13. with Jam. 1. 18, 19, 22, 25. John 3. 3, 5, 7. So in the sense before spoken of, [Page]Men cannot reconcile themselves to God, but it is the Work of God by Christ to reconcile us to himself: And yet something is requi­red of men: Hence the Apostle saith. We pray you in Christ stead be ye reconciled to God, 2 Cor. 5. 18, 20. So here; Though God in Christ be the first chuser, and by him we are chosen; yet something is required of us in the strength he gives, that we may be chosen out of the world, ruled by him, be­come choice ones, and be the subjects of his peculiar love, &c. And though we find not this command any where, Be ye chosen, in express words given unto us; yet we have the same thing in other expressions given in commandement to us: As, Be ye saved, Isa, 45. 22. And save your selves, Acts 2. 40. Whereby the same thing is intended as is foreshewn, in comparing 2 Thes. 2. 10, 12. with verse 13. And, Be ye seperate; which in another Scripture is rendred, and read, Chosen; As also hath been noted by com­paring Deut. 10. 8. with Chap. 18. 5. and 21. 5. And Levit. 20. 24, 26. with Deut. 14. 2, 3. 2 Cor. 6. 17. And we may see this is required of men that they may be Chosen even to come to Christ, in which doing they shall be made of the chosen Generation, though formerly they have not so been. As[Page]also hath been said before, and may be seen in comparing 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5. with verse 9. 10. And to the end we may come unto Christ, and so be chosen, and pluckt out of the world; needfull it is,

1. To hear the Word of Christ; this is the first, and one thing needfull unto the saving of the Soul, Luke 10. 39, 42. It is good and needfull for us to chuse this good part: As God is speaking to us, and open­ing our Ears, even to hear in hearing: For saith, in which men are chosen, cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, viz. by the Gospel of Peace, and glad tydings of good things, Rom. 10. 14, 15, 17. with 2 Thes. 2. 13. It is the work of the Father by his Spirit, to glorifie Christ, and to bear witness of him: He speaketh excellent things unto us concerning him, and the opening of his lips are right things. And together herewith he both gives unto men capacity of hearing, and calls upon them to hear, Prov. 8. 4, 6, 17, 20. He saith; Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your Soul delight it self infatness: Incline your Ear, and come unto me, hear, and your Soul shall live, Isa. 55. 1, 3. Let every man be swift to hear, viz. the Word of Truth, Jam. 1. 18, 19, The hour is coming,[Page]and now is, saith our Saviour, that the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live, John 5. 25. And this is the first Branch of the description of him that passeth from death to life, from an Estate of wrath and misery, into a state of favour and blessedness; he that heareth Christs word, John 5. 24.

2. Needfull also it is, that we learn of the Father, that we may be Chosen, not onely that we hear, as that is distinguished from learning: But that also we heartily em­brace his heavenly lesson and doctrine: So, after Wisdome had called upon men first of all to hear, she after saith also; Receive my instruction and not Silver, Prov. 8. 6.—10. Indeed God teacheth many that are not taught by him, and so they deprive their soules of good, Isa. 48. 17, 18, But it is needfull, to the end we may be elected, that we receive the instruction of our Hea­venly father, even to buy the truth, and not sell it: even to buy it with an under­valuing, and parting with, and forsaking all that we have, that we may be made par­takers of Christ, Prov. 23. 23. with Luk. 14. 33. And every one that is taught of God, every one that hath heard and learned of the father cometh unto Christ. Job. 6. 45. [Page]with Matth. 22. 3, 4, 5. And so shall be cho­sen, and a subject of Gods election. And let no man be discouraged from coming un­to Christ in this way, because of his former vileness and wretchedness; for though he be the chief of sinners that cometh, yet him that cometh he will in no wise cast out, but will re­ceive such an one graciously: he will chuse him, and not cast him away, Isay 41. 9. with Joh. 6. 35. And as the wrath of God is re­vealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness; so as persisting in such like iniquity he will at last reject such, and give them up to a reprobate mind: Reprobate Silver shall men call them (who after all means used, yet will not come to Christ, who is the rest and way to it) be­cause the Lord hath rejected them, Rom. 1. 18, 28. Jer. 6. 16, 17, 30. So also all such as hear the joyfull sound sounded forth by the Father in the Gospel, and receive his in­struction so as to come unto Christ. Such shall find rest, Mat. 11. 28, 29. Their Souls shall live, Isa. 55. 3. And they shall have fellowship and partnership with Jesus Christ, in him be chosen, and after him reckoned; And shall, abiding in Christ, inherit the Kingdom which God hath prepared for them[Page]that love him, and look, and wait for his coming from Heaven, 1 Cor. 1. 8, 9.

Yea, this Doctrine of Gods Election may also admonish and warn them who are in Christ Jesus, not to depart from him. Upon this presumption, that the Elect can­not possibly be deceived: For certainly, it is possible for them so to be, and they will cer­tainly so be if they abide not in Christ by Faith and Love: As our Saviour saith, If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a Branch, and is withered, and men gather them, and they are cast into the fire, and they are burned, John 15. 6. In which words our Saviour signifieth, that such as have been ingraffed into himself, who is the true Vine, by his Father the Husbandman, may not abide in Christ, but may so depart from him, as not only to be cast into the fire, which a man may be, and yet be plucked out again, as a brand out of it, Jude 23. But also be burned; that is, he may finally perish. And to the same purpose the Apostle speaketh to the believing Romans, who were in, and did stand in the Root of Righteousness: Thou standest by faith, be not high minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural Branches, take heed also lest he spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of [Page]God, on them which fell severity; but towards thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off, Rom. 11. 20, 22. Men, as before we have seen, are the subjects of Gods election, in coming unto, and abiding in Christ. And in him all the Promises of God are Yea, and Amen, 2 Cor. 1. 20. And if we be Christs, then are we Abrahams Seed, and Heirs according to Pro­mise: And so an elect Generation, Gal. 3. 29. with Deut. 7. 6, 9, 10. & 10. 15. And they who dwell in this secret of the most high, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, Psal. 91. 1, 12. They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever: And the Lord will do good unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts: But as for such as turn aside (out of the path of the just) to their crooked paths, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity; but peace shall be upon Israel, Psal. 125. 1, 4, 5. with Psal. 73. 1. Therefore the Apostle Peter, writing to them who were elect according to the fore-knowledge of God the Father, and had obtained like precious faith with the Apostle, exhorts them to give diligence to make their calling and election sure; for saith he, If ye do these things ye shall never[Page]fall; plainly signifying to us, that otherwise they might and should fall, 1 Pet. 1. 2. with 2 Pet. 1. 1, 10. Those that are with Christ on Mount Zion, are such as are Call­ed, and not only so but Chosen; yea, and not only Chosen; but faithfull also: Faith­fully following the Lamb wheresoever he goeth, Rev. 17. 14. with Chap. 14. 1, 4. Oh that we may never say, We are the Elect of God, and our Mountain is so strong setled that we shall never be moved, however we demean our selves: But that we may be of the Sheep of Christ, and abide such, hearing conti­nually the voice of our Shepheard, and fol­lowing him; for to such as so do he will give Eternal Life, and they shall never pe­rish, neither shall any pluck them out of his hand; neither Death, nor Life, nor An­gels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor things present, nor things to come: Nor heighth, nor depth, nor any other Crea­ture, shall be able to seperate them that love God, and keep his commandments, from the love of God, which is (for ever in Christ Jesus, John 10. 27, 28, 29, with Rom. 8. 28, 33, 39.

And so much to the first Particuler, in which we have endeavoured from the Scrip­tures to shew, what is not, and what is Gods Election; and who are not, and who[Page]are the subjects of it. And now we come to shew,

2. That few of the many that are called are chosen: as our Saviour here plainly affirm­eth: But few of many, (as Jer. 42. 2.) even of the many which are called by the Servants in the plain Preaching of the Gos­pel, as it is now revealed: For that our Saviour speaks of and intends such, by the [Many] here, we have before shewn; and desire that may be considered, and what is contained in the three Cautions foregiven. Now of these many who have the Scriptures of Truth amongst them, which have been spoken and recorded by the Servants, the extraordinary Servants of the great King, viz. by the Holy Prophets, and Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And amongst whom also are some of his Servants preserved and continued, even such as have believed on Christ thorow the Apostles word, he here saith, Few are chosen, few compa­ratively to those so called; Few to the many who say they are Jews and are not. There are threescore Queens, and fourscore Concubines, and Virgins without number: But my Love, my undefiled is but one, saith our Lord Jesus: She is the onely one of her Mother, she is the choice and chosen one of her that bare her, [Page]Cant. 6. 8, 9. In this sense also it is true, and may be thus taken; As the Lilly among the Thorns, so is Christs love among the Daughters; one Lilly among many Thorns, one Love amongst many Daughters, other Professours, Churches, and Societies, Who swear by the Name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in Truth, non in Righteousness; for they call themselves of the Holy City, &c. Cant. 2. 2. Isa. 48. 1, 2. And as was also fore-prophesied. In that day, seven women (Churches, or Con­gregations) shall take hold of this one Man, Jesus Christ, (1 Tim. 2. 5.) saying, we will eat our own Bread, and wear our own Appa­rell, (as the Man did that had not on the Wedding Garment.) Only, let us be called by thy name (Christians) to take away our reproach, Isa. 4. 1. Many cleave unto him by flatteries, Dan, 11. 34.) And few heartily receive, or faithfully and constantly walk and abide in him unto the end: So that, [...]t may be applied to these chosen ones, the Israel of God, which was spoken of Israel after the flesh, a Type of the Spiritual Seed. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor chuse you, because ye were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people; not counted worthy in respect of the[Page]smallness of their number to be reckoned amongst the Nations of Professours, Deut. 7. 6, 7. Christ's flock of actual believers, and up­right followers of Him, is a little flock. Luk. 12. 32. I still mean, as compared with the many or multitudes which are called, and in some sort also, the called. And so much our Saviour giveth us to understand in His Parable which He spake in His per­sonal Ministration. In one He saith, The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Net that was cast into the Sea, which gathered of every kind, some good, and some bad. Mat. 13. 47-49. And in another He more plainly and evidently signifieth, that of the many to whom the Gospel is preached, but few comparatively obey it from the heart, or con­tinue so to do.

One sort of the hearers of the Kingdom He compareth to the Way-side ground, and and like to it many abide: The word hath little or no entrance into, or impression on them, in respect of any willing reception of it from them. The sower indeed soweth his seed in the hearts of this first sort of ground, And did they suffer it to take place in them, and enter into, and abide in their hearts, they should believe and be saved: But they understand it not, consider it not,[Page]set not their hearts to it, open not to let in this blessed seed, which would convert them in so doing; but letting it lye above ground, it is open unto, and fit to be taken away by the Fowls; And the wicked one cometh, and catcheth away that which was sown in the hearts of such, lest they should believe and be saved: Of this sort so abiding it may be said; It is a People of no understanding, therefore He that made them will not have mer­cy upon them, and He that formed them will shew them no favour, Matth. 13. 18, 19. with Luke 8. 11, 12. Isa. 27. 11.

Another sort of hearers He likeneth to stony places, or to the rock: they hear the word of the Kingdom, and the glad tidings therein declared: And in some measure un­derstand it: And so are not like unto the Way-side hearers; for anon, or immediately with joy they receive and gladly entertain it: And do believe for a while what is there­in reported, That Christ is indeed the Sa­viour of the World: But these have no root in themselves; they suffer not the word to sink deep enough to break the stone or rock at the bottom, and to effect in them an ho­nest and good heart, which it would do, were it with the heart believed. Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord, and like an bammer[Page]that breaketh the rock in peices, Jer. 23. 28, 29. this is powerful to convert and change the Soul, Psal. 19. 7. But they suffer it not to take root downward, but still retain some stone at the bottom, some design or enterprize of theirs unbroken: And though possibly in hearing this word gladly, they do many things which it is effecting in them, part with many things thereby re­proved, and do many things which are good in themselves, yet there is still some one beloved iniquity or other which they will not let this good and powerful word morti­fie and root up; some lust or idol remains at the bottom of their hearts, which hin­ders the seed from sinking deep enough, and and so in conclusion the Word becometh un­fruitful. Herod knew John the Baptist was a just Man, and an holy, and observed him (or kept him from danger) and when he heard him he did many things, and heard him gladly: But when John reproved him for Herodias his Brother Philip's Wife, and said, it is not lawful for thee to have her; he turned not at this reproof of God's instru­ction; he suffered not the word of God to purge out and root up this iniquity, but was angry with this faithful reprover, and first put him in Prison, and afterwards caused[Page]him to be beheaded, Mark 6. 17-20. Ezekielis hearers said one to another, Come, I pray you and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord: And they come unto thee, saith the Lord, as the People cometh, and they sit before thee as My People, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; For with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their Covetousness: And [...]e thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words but they do them not: For still from the least to the greatest of them every one was given to Co­vetousness, Ezek. 33. 30-32. Jer. 6. 12. Thus it is with too many now in our days; they hear the glad-tidings of good things brought to them in the Gospel of peace; and by and by they receive them with gladness; And they are perswaded that the word of Christ is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation; And they marvel at the graci­ous words therein contained, and wonder that every one doth not give credit thereto. But still they believe in vain; and though they have some love for what they hear, yet they love some thing reproved thereby rather and better; they hold fast a lye in their right hand, while the truth is but[Page]in their left; they set and keep up some stumbling block of iniquity in their hearts; some intemperance, or uncleanness, or strife, or covetousness, or pride, &c. And by the deceitfulness of that sin which doth so easily beset them, they harden their hearts like an Adamant stone, so that the word sinks not deep enough into them; And this is after­wards made apparent: For when tribulation or persecution ariseth for the word, by and by they are offended: As immediat [...]y at first they received the word of the kingdom with joy; so immediately in time of trial and temptation they are offended, and fall away.—Joh. 3. 19. 2 Thes. 2. 10. Isa. 44. 20. Matth. 13. 20, 21. with Luke 8. 13.

A third sort of hearers appear in conclu­sion to be like the thorny ground, they are such as hear the word, and receive the seed: And, it may seem, for sometime receive it to purpose, and it brings forth fruit in them. These understand as the Way-side hearers do not: These have some root in themselves, as the Stony-ground hearers had not: These bring forth fruit; but afterward without any good reason or cause, they go out and depart from Christ Jesus, and from the mindfulness of His Grace and Gospel,[Page]and abide not faithful unto the death: These endure not unto the end, though at first they did run well: They continue not rooted and grounded in the Faith: They abide not in Christ stedfast and unmoveable, but forsake the Lord the fountain of living waters, and wander out of the way of understanding, and turn aside to their crooked pathes, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world thorow the Know­ledge and Doctrine of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; And so are like Birds that wan­der from their Nests: they are removed from him that called them into the Grace in Jesus Christ: And after they have clean, and indeed, escaped from them that live in er­rour, yet they sin willingly, and erre from, and forsake the right way, in which abiding they should be saved: But they go forth, Luke 8. 14. and then the Thorns enter in, Mark 4. 19. They were not there always: they were, it may seem, rooted out and cast forth by the Plow of the Gospel: And had they abidden in Christ they had been still preserved from them. For, Whosoever abi­deth in Him sinneth not; He keepeth Him­self that the wicked one toucheth him not, in whom the seed of God remaineth, 1 Joh. 3. 6, 9. with Chap 5. 18. But going out,[Page]the cares of this world, and the deceitful­ness of riches, and lusts of other things enter in, and choak the Word, and it becom­eth unfruitful; namely, in conclusion, they bring no fruit unto perfection, none to the harvest; And so none which will abide and appear on their account in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. These may endure some of them a considerable time, and even al­most, though not altogether, unto the har­vest: And how far soever they go, or how long soever they continue; yet not enduring unto the end, not overcoming and keeping Christ's Works unto the end, but going out and departing from Him, and so persisting, all their righteousness shall not be remem­bred, but for their iniquity that they have committed they shall dye for it: there is no reaping if men faint, how long soever they have exercised themselves in well doing, Matth. 13. 22. with Mark 4. 18, 19. 2 Pet. 2. 18-20. Gal. 6. 9. Ezek. 33. 12, 13. Rev. 2. 26-29. Now the just shall live by faith, but if he (at any time) draw back, Gods Soul will have no pleasure in him, Hebr. 10. 38. with ver. 26. Those that died for their unbelief and murmurings, when they were almost come to the borders of the Land of Canaan, fell short of the typical rest, as [Page]well as they who were upon the same ac­count cut off presently after they came out of Aegypt, though they had continued longer in following the Lord, and endured much more hardship then the latter: Even so such as have put their hand to the Plow, and continued it there a good while, and suffer­ed many things, will yet-deprive them­selves of the reward, if they bring not forth fruit unto the end: All their former hear­ing, believing, professing, well doing and suffering, will in conclusion be in vain to such as these, Gal. 3. 4. Phil. 2. 12-16. Luke 9. 62. Oh that the consideration here­of may admonish and provoke us all, To be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing (in thus doing and continuing) our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord: But Christ will present us in the body of His flesh, unblameable and unre­bukeable, if we continue in the faith rooted and grounded, and be not moved from the hope of the Gospel, &c. 1 Cor. 15. 58. Col. 1. 22, 23. Gal. 6. 9. so shall we not be like the thorny-ground hearers.

Lastly, Some there are who receive the Word into the good ground, even such as hear the Gospel and understand: And therein they are better then the first sort of hearers com­pared [Page]to the way side. And they receive the seed in an honest and good heart; and there­in they are preferred before the second sort of hearers, who are compared to the stony ground. Yea and also they keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience and perseve­rance: In a patient continuance in well­doing, they seek for Glory and Honour, and immortality: And unto them in due season God will render eternal Life, Rom. 2. 6, 7. These all bring forth fruit unto per­fection, though not all alike; but some an hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty: Yet they continue keeping the seed, the good Word of God, and suffering it to bring forth fruit in them, and to make them fruitful even unto the end. And herein they are differenced from, and do more worthily then, the third sort of hearers, compared to the thorny ground. Though they indeed for some time, yea possibly for some consi­derable space of time, some of them how­ever, did retain the word of the kingdom; but before the harvest came they grew weary, & fainted in their minds, & so deprived them­selves of that reward of the inheritance of which otherwise they might and should have partaken: And so are compared to, and in con­clusion, become like the thorny ground; com­pare [Page]Matth. 13. 18-23. with Mark 4. 14-20. & Luke 8. 11-15.

Now in this Parable our Lord confirms the truth of what He affirms in the Parable we are considering a part of; to wit, that few of the many who are called are chosen: Among the many hearers of the word of the kingdom, there were three sorts that in conclusion received the grace of God in vain: And one sort only that received and retained the love of the truth to be saved thereby: Our Saviour in this Parable of the several grounds, speaks not of the heathen, who have not the Oracles of God committed to them, nor the Gospel of Christ plainly preached among them: nor of such as hear such instructions as cause to erre from the words of knowledge, and such foolish ones as have not the lip of knowledge: For no good fruit can be expected from such foolish per­sons, and such Doctrines: And therefore the Holy Ghost hath councelled us to go from the presence of such vain talkers; and to cease to hear such instructions which are so hurtful, Prov. 14. 7. & 19. 27. But He speaks of such persons as were hearers of the good Word of God, the word of Truth, the Gospel of our Salvation, which was spoken unto them, and sown in the hearts of them[Page]by the good sower, the Son of Man: And yet amongst these hearers there are but few who are the called according to purpose: Oh how few are there that are indeed re­deemed from the Earth, and from amongst men, and who faithfully cleave unto, and follow the Lamb that was slain whitherso­ever he goeth!

And the Reason why there are so few chosen is not (as we have said, and may again also shew) because the most were re­probated, or past by in a personal considera­tion from Eternity: Or because, no true and saving Grace was vouchsafed unto them, for both these are false: But because they strive not, or abide not striving to enter in at the strait gate: But against all the disco­veries, convincements, reproofs and opera­tions of the Spirit in the Gospel, walk on in, or return again unto, the broad way, in which there are such multitudes who hold fast deceit, and refuse to come unto Christ in His way. So much our Saviour signifieth when He saith unto His Disciples, Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat. Why so? Because strait is the gate, and narrow it the way which leadeth unto Life, and few there[Page]be that find it, Matth. 7. 13, 14. And again, when one said unto Christ, Lord, are there few that be saved? (Though our Savi­our gives not a direct Answer, yet He sig­nifieth in His Answer, That few compara­tively are so; and intimately declareth, That mens not being willing to enter in at the strait gate, or not to do it in the present time, is the Reason: For) He said (not to him only that propounded the Question, but indefinitely) unto them that heard Him: Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able, Luke 13. 22-24. He doth not here signifie that there was no gate, for such as in the event go to destruction; nor that it was not opened, but plainly giveth us to understand that there was a gate, and that it was so opened that any man might enter therein, Joh. 10. 9. Yea that it was held open all the day of Christ's mediation, in that it presently followeth; when once the master of the House is risen up, and hath shut to the door, &c. Luke 13. 25. clearly implying, That the door was not shut until that time, to wit, while the day of God's Grace and Patience is continued, and men are joyned to all the living: But He evident­ly signifieth that the reason why few are[Page]saved is, because they strive not, or will not strive to enter in at this strait gate, Ezek. 33. 31, 32. The gate is indeed strait; A Man in entring must deny and renounce himself daily, his sinful and fleshly lusts that war against the Soul: his wisdom, righteousness, will, designs, and enterprizes: his covetous­ness and love of the World, and the things thereof: his desires of vain-glory, praise, and honour of Men, and friendship of this World: his ease and pleasure: his inordi­nate affection to nearest and dearest relati­ons, yea and to his own life also; Yea and whatsoever doth hinder him, or would turn him aside from coming unto, and following after Jesus Christ. And the way is narrow which leadeth unto life; it is an afflicted, persecuted way, and those that walk in it must thorow much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God, Acts 14. 22. They that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer Persecu­tion, 2 Tim. 3. 11, 12. Christs Disciples and Followers, I mean such as are His Dis­ciples indeed, shall be hated of all Men for His name sake: not only of profane ones, though they will be the song of the Drunkards, and the by-word of base nameless Men, who are viler then the Earth: but also the appearingly righteous and zealous ones will reproach and[Page]villifie them, and the Doctrine professed by them, and cast out their names as evil for the Son of Man's sake; their Mothers Children will be angry with them, Cant. 1. 6. their Brethren will hate them, Isa. 66. 5. And the Sons of the Sorceress, the seed of the Adulterer and the Whore, such as are be­gotten of divers and strange Doctrines, will sport themselves against them, and make a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue against them, Isa. 57. 3, 4. so that in coming unto, and following after Jesus Christ, they can expect nothing but frowns, cruel mock­ings, reproachful words and gestures, scoff­ings, afflictions and persecutions from all that are not of their own company: He that is not with them is against them: so that they that will come after Christ, must not only deny themselves, but also take up their cross daily and follow him. For God hath predestinated and fore-ordained that all that are lovers of Him, who are the called according to purpose, and so Gods Elect ones, should be conformed to the Image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many Brethren: That as He was de­spised and rejected of Men, a Man of Sor­rows, and acquainted with grief, so they also should be made like unto Him, and [Page]drink of the same cup whereof He drank, Matth. 16. 24, 25. Luke 9. 23, 24. Rom. 8. 28, 29-33. Now because most of them who are called by the Gospell when they hear this saying are offended, crying out in their hearts at least, This is an hard saying, who can hear it? as they Job. 6. 60. and will not strive to enter in at this strait nor walk in this nar­row way which is so persecuted; hence it comes to pass that Christs flock of actual and unfeigned believers is a little flock, and small amongst the thousands of such as are called, and call themselves by the name of Christ. And so we have seen the truth of our Saviours saying in this place, else where confirmed, and have considered and shewed the reason thereof, why few of the many called ones are chosen.

And this assertion and instruction of our Saviours, That few are chosen, may be of use­fulness unto us.

1. To shew unto us how little reason they who hear and believe the Gospel with the heart, have to glory or boast of the multi­tude of them that come amongst them, and who are called thereby: seeing they know from the testimony of Christ, that of those many to whom the joyful sound is proclaim­ed, few unfeignedly entertain it, or yeild up [Page]themselves to the saving operations of it. Indeed it may be matter of gladness to them, that many do come to hear the Gospel of peace: for how can Men believe on Christ, if they hear not the Doctrine concerning Him? But when they wisely consider, That many who are called by the Gospel are only so, and will not come to Christ that they may have life, it occasions sadness unto them, and keeps them sober, and preserves them from glorying in the numerousness of them who come amongst them. Other persons who glory in appearance, and not in heart, are apt to be lifting up, and priding them­selves in their great companies, and in the many hundreds that come to hear the do­ctrines of such as consent not to wholsome words, the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Doctrine according to Godliness. But alas, for those who are indeed the Dis­ciples of Christ, they have so many occasions of sorrow and fighing presented to them, even amongst such as are professedly one with them, that instead of boasting of their num­bers, rivers of Waters run down their eyes, because such keep not Gods Law, Psal. 119. 136, And sometimes those who are in any good measure upright, are ready to take up that wish of the Prophets: Oh that we had [Page]in the Wilderness a lodging place of Way-faring Men, that we might leave the generality of our Brethren professedly, and go away from them, as Jer. 9. 2, 3. For though, as the Apostle saith, they have all heard, and many of them oftentimes heard, the Gospel of Christ; yet they have not all obeyed the Gospel, for Isaias saith, Lord who hath believed our report? Rom. 10. 14-16-18. Joh. 12. 37, 38. Oh how few are there who from the heart obey that form of Doctrine that hath been deli­vered to them! The Kingdom of Heaven, in the gracious and spiritual administration of it, is like to a Net cast into the Sea, that ga­thereth of all kinds: But how few are willing to be drawn out of their Elements into Jesus Christ! And to forsake, and go on to forsake all, that they may be and continue His Disciples indeed! Were this considered, it would preserve them from glorying in their number, and cause them rather to say; Woe is us, for we are as when they have gather­ed the gatherings of summer, as the grape glean­ings of the Vintage, there is no cluster to eat, Mich. 7. 1, 2.

2. It might also awaken and provoke us all, To examine our selves in the Glass of the Gospel, and see whether we ourselves are only of the many called, or whether we be[Page]also of the few who are chosen. Indeed, if all who are called by the plain and faithful ministration of the Gospel were chosen also, we might save our selves this labour, and rest secure and well satisfied, that we are of the remnant according to the election of Grace: Or if the greatest part of the called ones were elected also, it might nor so greatly concern us to search and try our selves, and inquire so diligently into this matter: But when our Lord, who is the truth it self, saith, few of those invited by the Servants are chosen, it greatly concerns us to try ourselves, that we may not think our selves to be something when when we are nothing, and so deceive our selves; which will be the saddest and miserablest cheat and of the most pernicious and everlastingly destructive consequence that ever was, Gal. 6. 3, 4. Examine your selves whether ye be in the Faith, prove your own selves; know ye not your own selves that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Cor. 13. 5. What a sad thing will it be for us to sport our selves in our self-deceiv­ings, as too many do? 2 Pet. 2. 13. Better it is now for us to deal faithfully with our selves, then to flatter our selves, or be flat­tered by others to our endless and eternal misery and calamity. Come we then to[Page]the light of the Lord, the Gospel of Christ, and therein and thereby we may see our selves, whether we be chosen no, Even he that is an hearer of the word and not a doer, is like unto a man that beholdeth his natural face in a Glass; for he beholdeth himself: Even as a man may see his natural face in a Glass, and see whether it be clean and free from spots and pollution or no: so a man that is only called by, and an hearer of the word of Truth, may see himself, and see what manner of person he is, Jam. 1. 22, 23, 24. He may see whether he be chosen out of the World by the Grace of God, or whether he be not, but still remain in, or be turned back again into the World, and so is at present rejected of God, and not loved with peculiar manner of love: As the Apostle intimateth, 2 Cor. 13. 5. And if by this Glass we see we are hearers, and of the called only, Oh let us give no rest to our eyes, not slumber to our eye-lids, until we so receive and retain the Grace of God which brings Salvation to us, that we may be chosen out. of this miserable condition, and redeemed from amongst Men, that it may be well with us for ever, and we may not perish with the World. And if it appear that we are of the number of those who are chosen, [Page]that we still abide and continue in the Do­ctrine of Christ, that we may have both Father and Son, 2 Joh. 9.

Inq. But some may say, how may we know whether we be of the chosen number or no? declare a little more particularly how we may know it.

Answ. Those who are indeed chosen do know that they are of God, and that the whole World lieth in Wickedness, as 1 Joh. 5. 19. by keeping His Commandments, as the Apostle saith, Hereby we know that we know Him, and are in Him, if we keep His Com­mandments, 1 Joh. 2. 3-5. And he that keepeth His Commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him, chap. 3. 24. that is to say, in more and plainer words; His Command­ments are, That we believe on the Name of Jesus Christ, and love one another as He hath given us Commandment, 1 Joh. 3. 22-24. He that hath and keepeth these, hath right unto the tree of life, and shall enter in thorow the gates into the City, even into the new Je­rusalem, Rev. 22. 14. that is to say, they do know they are chosen.

1. By this, That the Faith they have re­ceived, is the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according thereto, they believe with the heart that good report the Father hath given [Page]of Christ in His Word and Sayings; in which He hath testified; That He sent the Son into the World, not to condemn the World, but that the World thorow Him might be Saved: And so they believe on the Name of the Son of God, Joh. 3. 16-18. they have their Faith begotten by, closing with, and foun­ded on, not Mens Doctrines, or their own Thoughts and Imaginations, which they know to be corrupt and evil: But they have received and retain for their Faith, no­thing else then the Word of God and Testi­mony of Jesus, which was witnessed by the holy Prophets in former times, and is now revealed to us by the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: And so they be­lieve on Christ as the Scripture hath said and testified of Him; and not as Men in their Glosses and Interpretations speak of Him. They call no meer Man whatsoever their Rabbi, nor own any to have dominion over their Faith but Jesus Christ, and God in Him: He is their only Law-giver in this respect, the Father of their Spirits, the Lord of what they believe: And so accor­ding to His testimony they believe Him to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the World, the only Foundation of Faith and Hope, the only Fountain of all the fulness of Grace[Page]and Truth, the only Bread and Water of Life, the only door of approach of God, the only Lord of our Faith and Consciences, the only High Priest and Mediatour between God and Men: And according hereto, they come unto and depend on Him in His way, for bottoming all upon Him, for receiving all from Him, for living continually by Him and to Him, for approaching to God thorow Him, and expecting and waiting thorow His Spirit for His perfecting all that con­cerns them, &c. And so they hold forth this word of Life in Word and Conversation. And he that thus believeth on the Son hath the Witness in Himself, and gives not God the lye, but hath set to His Seal that God is true in all He hath testified of His Son, 1 Job. 5. 10, 11. Job. 3. 33. And in receiv­ing this Testimony of Jesus, they receive also therewith certainly and undoubtedly the Spirit of Gods Son, Gal. 3. 2-5. which Spirit beareth Witness with their Spirit, with their enlightened mind and judgment, that they are the Sons of God, Rom. 8. 16. And hereby they know that they dwell in Him, and He in them, because he hath given them of His Spirit: And they have seen (in the light, and by the evidence thereof) and do restifie, that the Father sent the Son to be the [Page]Saviour of the World, 1 Joh. 4. 13, 14. with 2 Cor. 13. 5.

2. They also know they are chosen by this, that this Faith worketh in them by Love, Gal. 5, 6. and therein is efficacious in them. And so they are distinguished from, and preferred before such as say, they have Faith, and have not its works, and so be­lieve in vain: But this Testimony of Jesus being received by them, not as the word of man, but as it is in truth the word of God, it worketh effectually in them. From the knowledge and belief of Gods love in Christ, His first love, they are begotten and pre­vailed with to love God, even to love Him withall the heart and mind, and soul, and strength: And so to love Jesus Christ, as to suffer the loss of all things, and count them but dung in comparison of Him. It makes them willing to part with their Sins and Idols for His sake, and prefer Him before all other things, which they may love with a mo­derate affection, 1 Joh. 4. 16-19. And this love of God in Christ known and heartily believed by them, begetteth them unto, and effecteth in them a delightful love to those who are begotten of Him, and that not in word and in tongue only, but in deed and in truth: And by this they know that they are[Page]passed out of death [...]nto life, because they love the Brethren: And hereby they know they are of the truth, and can assure their hearts before God, 1 Joh. 3. 14. 18-19. & 5. 1. And also they are taught and led of God by this love of His to the love of all men, even to love them with a love of pity and compassion, and to testifie love to them according to their needs, as they have opportunity, Mat. 5. 44, 45. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him: But whoso keepeth His word (in Faith and Love) in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him, 1 Joh. 2. 4, 5. And so hereby we may know whether the Grace of God hath its electing efficacy upon us. And so also on the contrary, we may be assured we are not of this chosen Generation, if we reject the testimony of God concerning His Son, 1 Joh. 5. 10, Joh. 14. 21-24. or re­ceive it in vain, and are not saved and sancti­fied thereby; But however we profess to be­lieve the testimony God hath given of His Son, yet while we love darkness rather then light, and imprison the truth, professed by us in unrighteousness, we believe in vain, and so persisting, shall miserably deceive our selves, Joh. 3. 19. Rom. 1. 18. Jam. 1. 22. [Page]In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil: Whosoever doth not righteousness (believes not with the heart the record God hath given of His Son, 1 Joh. 2. 29. with chapt. 5. 1, 10. & 4. 6.) is not of God, neither he that loveth not his Brother, 1 Joh. 3. 10. These two, Faith and Love being had and kept by us, to wit, The Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Love wrought thereby, we herein keep the Com­mandments of God; and have the new Creature, and are in some measure new Creatures, compare 1 Cor. 7. 19. with Gal. 5, 6. & chapt. 6. 15. And he that is called by, and an hearer of the Gospel, may in the Glass of the perfect law of liberty behold himself, that he is at present none of Gods elect, if he have not the Faith of God, and our Lord Jesus; if he believe not with the heart the word of God and Testimony of Jesus, so as to work effectually in him in some measure: Or if he hath not this love begotten, produced and continued in him, by this faith, as hath been said, Jam. 1. 22, 23-27.

And hereby also we may discern and know the Election or non-election of other per­sons; so as to have, or not have, delightful love towards, and fellowship with them[Page]that come amongst us; As the Apostle Paul saith, not only of himself, but also joyns with himself Silvanus and Timotheus, in this knowledge of others: knowing brethren beloved your Election of God; (to wit, by their work of Faith, and labour of Love, &c.) For, saith he, our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, &c. And ye be­came followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost, &c. And they were also taught of God to love one another, and all Men: Hereby they knew the election of these Thes­salonians: first it was the Apostles Gospel which was heartily received by them; and that not as the word of men, but as the word of God: And this wrought effectu­ally in them, to turn them, and they did turn unto God from all their Idols, 1 Thes. 1. 3, 4-10. & 2. 13. & 3. 12, 13. & 4. 9, 10. And whatever zeal men may have, or what­ever reformation be wrought in them, or whatever profession they make, or conver­sation they have: Yet if they hear, and im­brace not Gods Words, if they receive not the Faith of Christ as His Faith, they are not of God, Joh. 8. 47. 1 Joh. 4. 6. Who­soever transgresseth and abideth not in the Do­ctrine[Page]of Christ hath not God, 2 Joh. 9. On though men do in some sort believe the Word of God and Testimony of Jesus; yet if this be not yielded up unto, and suffered to work effectually in them, they do believe in vain, and they are vain men, 1 Cor. 15. 2. Jam. 1. 26, 27. & chapt. 2. 14-20, 22, &c.

Yea and by this Faith and Love, and the Fruits and Effects thereof, as being held forth unto, and before others; even those who are of the World may know, that those that walk in this Faith which worketh by Love, are Christs Disciples indeed, and so Gods Elect ones: they are Christs Disciples known and read of all Men, being by these two, manifestly declared so to be, even to such as hate them, and therefore make war with them which keep the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 3. 2, 3. with Rev. 12. 17. & 14. 12. By this shall all men know that ye are My Dis­ciples, saith our Saviour, if ye have Love one to another, Joh. 13. 34, 35. But we shall add no more to this use.

3. In that the Elect and chosen ones of God are few, it sheweth unto us the wonderfulness of Gods care concerning them, and protection over them, in preserving such an handful [Page]amongst so many enemies: They are like a Lilly amongst many Thorns, Cant. 2. 2. like a Turtle Dove amongst a multitude of birds of prey, Psal. 74. 19. And yet they are and shall be preserved, because they have a strong redeemer, and a careful and faithful Shep­heard, who will keep them and preserve them from this generation that hates them, and that for ever, Psal. 12. 7. If it were not the Lord who were on their side, they may always say: if it were not Jehovah who is on their side, when men rise up against them; they had been often swallowed up quick, when mens wrath was kindled against them, Psal. 124. But God is for them, and who then can be against them? Rom. 8. 31-33, 34. The Lord is their Shepheard, and they shall want no good thing: And their Salvation is of the Lord, He is their strength in the time of trou­ble: And He shall help them and deliver them, He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them because they trust in Him, Psal. 23. & 37, 39, 40. And hence also,

4. This instruction contains consolation and incouragement in it against cause and occasion of fear and discouragement: That the Elect are few, causeth fear to them: hence they are incouraged and strengthned against their fear occasioned by the smallness[Page]of their number. Fear not little flock, Luk. 12. 32. fear not thou worm Jacob, and ye few men of Israel, Isa. 41. 14. But that these few are chosen, chosen out of the World, choice ones in Gods account, and loved with delightful, well pleased, everlasting love, this is proper and powerful to strengthen them against the fear of evil; And to encourage them to lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees. Hence such incouragements and consolations are propounded to them as these: thou art My servant. I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away: fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God, Isa. 41, 8, 9, 10-14. Hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen: Thus saith the Lord that made thee and formed thee from the Womb, which will help thee: fear not, O Jacob My servant, and thou Jeshurun whom I have chosen: fear not, neither be afraid, Isa. 43. 1-5. & 44. 1. 2-8. The smallness and littleness of their number might occasion them to think God will take no notice of them: But the consideration of what is here affirmed of this small company, that they are chosen, chosen of God and precious in His esteem, is incouraging unto them: He will take them, though but one of a City, and two of [Page]a Family, and will bring them to Zion, Jer. 3. 14. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their Garments: And they shall walk with me in White, for they are worthy, saith our Saviour, Rev. 3. 4. And though He sift the Nations among whom they are like as Corn is sifted in a sieve: Yet shall not one Corn, no not the least Grain, fall to the Earth, Amos 9. 9, 10. And that they are chosen may cause them to lift up their head against the evil and fear of their Enemies; And assure them that God will avenge them in due time. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? It is God that justifieth, &c.—Who shall sepa­rate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulati­on, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? nay in all these things we are more then Conquerours thorow Him that loved us, and whose Elect we are, Rom. 8. 33-37-39. And shall not God avenge His own Elect, which cry unto Him day and night though He bear long with them? I tell you, saith Christ, He will avenge them speedily, Luk. 18. 7, 8. Yea though they are few in number, yet because they are chosen, they may be confident God will provide what is good for them while they are here in this World: And hence our [Page]Saviour saith, Fear not little, little flock, fear not Enemies, fear not Wants and Necessities, for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom; And therefore assuredly He will give you meat, drink and cloths, and no good thing will He withhold from you in seeking His Kingdom rather then any other thing, Luk. 12. 31, 32, 33. with Jam. 2. 5.

5. Seeing that few of the called are cho­sen, it may preserve us from being deceived by mystery Babylon (and any other like her) who flatters and perswades others, telling them that she is the holy Catholick Church: And that such as joyn themselves unto, and abide in Communion with her, are the true Sons of the Church, and in a good and happy condition: And living and dying therein shall be happy for ever. Alas, how plainly doth it appear that she is mise­rably mistaken, and such as listen to her; By what our Saviour here speaks, and speaks Prophetically of the Gentiles also, amongst whom few are chosen. It may be more readily and reasonably believed, That very few amongst them are called by the Ser­vants in the plain and faithful declaration of the Gospel of Christ, (seeing they steal away the word of the Lord, in the Records of [Page]them from the people, as also others do in their vain and foolish interpretations and glosses) then that many, or most of them are chosen, and shall hereafter inherit eter­nal life. And it is good for us rather to mind what the Holy Ghost saith unto us, then to listen to her lies, dreams and delusions, who saith, If any man Worship the Beast, and his Image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out with­out mixture into the cup of His indignation: And he shall be tormented with Fire and Brim­stone in the presence of the Holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; And the smoak of their Torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, &c. Rev. 14. 8, 9, 10, 11. & chap. 18. 4, 5, 6.

6. That few of the called are chosen, may be useful also to preserve us from such, and such like sayings as these, viz. [Every man is bound by the commandment of God to believe that he is chosen in Christ to Salvati­on; especially he that professeth Faith in Christ: And when we say every man is bound to believe this, we except none, no not the reprobates, who neither at any time do, nor can believe in Christ; And if the reprobate believe it not, he sinneth most [Page]grievously of all.] Oh how Evil and Dan­gerous are such expressions! And what oc­casion do such persons give to others to be­lieve them in nothing they say? These per­sons, who thus speak, deny that Christ died for all, and yet they tell us [every man is bound to believe that he is Elected in Christ:] And how falsly do such speak, as will appear, if we briefly consider? 1. That which is to be believed in this saying is a manifest lye, as with respect to the most of men even amongst the called ones also, as is shewed; And so such persons even say in such like expressions, That most men are bound to believe a lye. 2. It is supposed in this saying, that every one is bound to believe that he is Elected in Christ [by the com­mand of God.] In which saying they first signifie, That the God of truth doth com­mand men to believe a lye: Oh foolish charge! And then also they belye Him in saying, they are bound by His Command so to believe; when as He never commanded them, nor came such a thing into His mind. 3. In this former saying also is intimated; That if the reprobate do not believe he is Elected in Christ, he sins most grievously of all: And so it is signified, the most heinous iniquity in the reprobates (as they call [Page]them) is, that they believe not a lye; And for this they shall be damned hereafter: How contrary is this to what is spoken in the Scripture of truth! 2 Thes. 2. 10-12. And how contrary is this and such like sayings to our Saviours Doctrine here! So that I' hope this brief mention of one, will render that and its fellows sufficiently abominable and loathsome to us.

7. And lastly, Seeing few of the called are chosen, let it provoke us all so to obey the heavenly call by the Gospel, that we may come out from among men, and be se­parate, and touch no unclean thing, that He may receive us, and may be a Father unto us, and we may be Sons and Daughters unto Him, who is the Lord Almighty, 2 Cor. 6. 17, 18. Oh let us not receive the Grace of God in vain! But let us incline our Ears unto His call, so as to come unto Him, let us hear that our souls may live, and He may make an ever­lasting Covenant with us, even the sure mercies of David, Isa. 55. 2, 3. And to move us hereto, let us consider the last thing pro­pounded to be shewn; namely,

3. That it is the great and inexcusable ini­quity of those Men who are called by the Gospel, in the faithful ministration of it by the Servants, that they are not chosen:[Page]And such an one as is highly provoking to the great King. Thus it plainly appears here in the foregoing verses: first it appears to be an inexcusable iniquity, in that when the King came in to see the guests, and saw there a Man which had not on a wedding Gar­ment, He saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a Wedding Garment? And he was speechless. He was so silent to, or silenc'd by this Question, that he had not one word to say for himself. If there had been none for him, he might readily have made that reply; But this he could not do, for all things were ready. Or if he had not been acquainted with it, and called to it, this might have been a considerable excuse: But such a Plea he could not make; for he was called, and was one of the called ones into the house. Or if he could not have put it on, or it had been so far out of his reach that he could not come at it; this would have furnished him with an Answer near at hand. But he was convinced that his iniquity was altogether an inexcusable iniquity; And therefore he was like a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Again, it plainly appeareth, that this iniquity is highly and eternally pro­voking to the great King, by the judgment which such as are not chosen are therefore[Page]sentenced unto, and shall in due time have executed upon them. Then said the King unto the Servants, bind him hand and foot (who was tongue-tyed before) and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of the Teeth, ver. 11-13. But why must he be thus dealt with, and proceeded against? It followeth as the Reason: For many are called, but few are chosen: He must therefore perish for ever, because he would not come to Christ that he might be chosen: Him that cometh He will in no wise cast out; but it appeareth this man came not to Christ to this end, in that he was cast out: And therein his sin was written on his punishment; he was thus severely judged because he was not chosen, compare Job. 6. 37. Matth. 22, 13.

But as it appears here to be a great pro­voking and inexcusable iniquity that men are not chosen, so we shall a little further demonstrate the truth hereof, and shew how it appears to be such an heinous, cloak­less, and provoking iniquity: And in so do­ing, I shall take the course which our Savi­our and the Apostle sometimes do, to wit, say over again what I have said before, Joh. 14. 28. Gal. 1. 8, 9. Phil. 3. 1. And so,

[Page]1. It doth appear to be a great and inex­cusable iniquity that men are not chosen du­ring the day of Gods grace and patience, if we do consider what is proposed to, and set before men by Christs faithful Servants in their calling them, and to which they are called that they might be chosen: they are called unto Jesus Christ, to the fellowship of Gods Son Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 1. 9. And so

1. They are called unto the abasement and sufferings of Jesus Christ, to the Marri­age of the Son of the great King, in which the Lord hath created a new thing in the Earth, a woman hath compassed a Man, Jer. 31. 22. Gods own Son was made of a woman, and made under the Law: God made all our sins and trespasses to meet toge­ther on him, and executed upon him the judgment of the World. He was torment­ed for our Transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He put Him to Grief: He was oppressed and He was afflicted: And God brought Him into the dust of death. And all that which He indured, as it was inflict­ed on Him, or permitted and ordered unto Him by the Father, it was for our sins and [Page]offences. [...]e suffered for sins once, the just for us unjust ones; He was delivered for our offences; His Soul was made an offering for our sins. And hereunto are men called first of all, to the end they might be chosen out of this present evil World, Joh. 3. 14. 1 Cor. 15. 1-3. Gal. 1. 4. & 3. 1. and in this abasement and Cross of Christ is shewn unto Men.

The vileness and odiousness of their sins, and the necessity of their being Washed and Sanctified therefrom, to the end they might lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, as it is thus reproved and dis­covered. In the Flesh of Christ, and in what He hath suffered therein, God hath wonderfully condemned and judged against sin, and shewed His utter and irreconcileable hatred thereto, and abhorrency thereof, Rom. 8. 3. This was the day of vengeance of our God, in which He took vengeance on our ini­quities in the Person of His own Son, who knew no sin, but was Holy, Harmless, Undefiled, &c. Isa. 61. 1, 2. And though His own Son cried out, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Why art Thou so far from help­ing Me, and from the Words of My Roaring? Yet His God was so Holy, one of such pure Eyes as that He could not endure Iniquity,[Page] and therefore He spared Him not, but delivered Him up for our Offences, Psal. 22. 1-3. with Rom. 8. 32. & 4. 25. Herein He hath mani­fested the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that it might be abhorred and abstained from by us; in that it could not possibly be purged away by the blood of Bulls and Goats, nor by any Offerings and Sacrifices of the Law, Heb. 10. 1-4. But Christ must come into the World to suffer for them; and all His Sufferings would not avail, unless He dye for them: it was not one drop, nor twenty drops of His Blood would make peace for us, but Christ must needs Suffer, and lay down His Life for us, Acts 17. 3. It was otherwise impossible for our sins to be satisfied for, and purged away, Matth. 26. 39, 42. For with­out doubt, the Father, who so infinitely loved His own Son, would not without an abso­lute necessity have pleased thus to have dealt with Him. Herein brightly and most clear­ly appears the odiousness of our sins unto God. And unto this Cross of Christ are men called by the Gospel that they might look unto Him who was Crucified for them, and be saved from their sins, Isa. 45. 22. with Gal. 3. 1. And those that do thus come un­to it, as called by the Gospel, are made wil­ling to hate and deny that which is so dis­pleasing[Page]and abominable to God, and which is rendred so to be in the Blood of Christ, which is therefore also called, the Blood of Sprinkling, Heb. 9. 14. & 10. 22. & 12. 24. To this purpose the Apostle Paul saith, How shall we that are dead to sin (by the death of Christ) live any longer therein? Know ye not that so many of us as were Baptized into Christ, were Baptized into His Death? into His per­sonal Abasement, Sufferings and Death, whereto He was Abased, and which He suf­fered for our sins, 1 Pet. 3. 18. And how shall we then continue in sin! God forbid; let not such a thing be ever done by us: The beholding sin in the Blood of Christ did fill them with an abhorrency and detestation of their sins, Rom. 6. 1-3. And by the preci­ous blood of Christ, the Apostle Peter signi­fieth, the Believers to whom he wrote were re­deemed from their vain conversation, in which sometimes they walked, when they walked in Lasciviousness, Lusts, Excess of Wine, Revel­lings, Banquettings, and abominable Idola­tries, 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. with chapt. 4. 3. Hereby they were called out of Darkness, out of themselves, who were sometimes dark­ness, and out of their sinful and polluted condition and ways, into Gods marvellous light, and so were made of the elect and chosen[Page 180]generation, 1 Pet. 2. 9. with Eph. 5. 8.

Yea and in the cross of Christ, the vanity and emptiness of our Idols is discovered to us, and therefore it also evidenceth the great iniquity of those men who prefer vain things before the Lord of Glory.

Herein is made known and shewn unto us the vanity and unprofitableness of the world, and the riches thereof, In that we were not redeemed with corruptible things as Silver and Gold, but with the precious Blood of Christ, 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. They that trust in their Wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches: none of them can by any means redeem his B [...]other, nor give to God a ransome for him, Psal. 49. 6-8.

In the Cross of Christ is also discovered to us, the bruitishness of our Wisdom and Knowledge; In that this Wisdom was not found in the land of the living, how we might be redeemed & brought back to God, from whom we were banished, Job 28. 12-21. 2 Sam. 14. 14. nay, not only so, but our judgment stood cross and contrary to that blessed way and means which God hath in His Wisdom and Pity found out and devised, that His banished might not be expelled from Him, Joh. 12. 31. & 16. 11.

[Page 181]And herein the Honour and Glory of this World is manifested to be vain, and with­out [...]vail, as to our acceptance with God; in that Christ refused it, and was made as the filth of all things: His Visage was marred more then any mans, and His form more then the Sons of men: He received not Glory from men, but He was a reproach of men, and despised of the People, Joh. 6. 15. & 5. 41. Isa. 52. 14. & 53. 2, 3. Bsal. 22. 6, 7.

Herein is declared to us, That the friendship of this World is enmity with God: In that our Lord Jesus was hated and villified by the World, disallowed, rejected and refused by the men of it, as one that was judged altogether unworthy, and unmeet to be loved and delighted in by them, Joh. 7. 7. & chap. 15. 18. & 17. 14. 1 Pet. 2. 4.

Herein we may see the unprofitableness of our own works of Righteousness, and of all we can do or perform in any wisdom and strength of our own, to justifie us and ren­der us acceptable in the sight of God, in that Christ must needs have suffered: For if Righteousness could have come by the Law, then Christ died in vain, Gal. 2. 21. The Holy Spirit in Glorifying Christ, and taking of His things and shewing unto us, doth con­vince the World of Righteousness, and [Page 182]shews unto us the vanity and unavaibleness of ours, in that He is gone to the Father, and we see Him no more, Joh. 16. 10.

And such a discovery of the vanity of our Idols are we called unto in the Sufferings of Christ, That no flesh might glory in the presence of God, 1 Cor. 1. 29-31. but that thorow His Cross the World, in the Riches, Wisdom, Honour, Glory, Customs, Fashions, Friend­ship, Righteousness, &c. might be Crucified unto us, and we to the World, Gal. 6. 14. That we might not love the World, nor the things that are in the World, 1 Joh. 2. 15. And indeed in the Cross of Christ God hath wonderfully stain­ed the pride of all our gloryings, and brought into contempt all the honorable things of the Earth and World, that we might not set our hearts upon them, nor glory in our enjoyment of them, nor covet after them, nor trust in them; seeing they were not crucified for us, nor contributed any thing to our being deli­vered from that so great a Death, under the sentence whereof we were fallen, nor to the procuring and obtaining eternal Redemption for us, 1 Pet. 1. 23-25. with Isa. 40. 6-9. 1 Cor. 1. 13.

2. Yea, and unto Christ are men called by His faithful Servants in their preaching to them the Gospel, as unto one in whom all things[Page 183]are ready and prepared for them, Mat. 22. 4. Luk. 14. 17. Even all things appertain­ing unto, and in which consists the Kingdom of Heaven: and so unto such things as are infinitely better then our Sins and Idols: unto those spiritual blessings in Heavenly things, wherewith God hath blessed us in the Person of His Son, Eph. 1. 3. unto Him are we called who is the desire of all Nations; In whom there is that which may answer unto, and sa­tisfie all their desires: And in whom is to be found by way of eminency and excellen­cy, that which they desire after, and seek for, in wrong objects, and in such crooked Paths as in which they can find no peace, Hag. 2. 7. To Him are men called, in whom there is fatness to delight their Souls; a river of plea­sures of which they may drink, and drink abundantly; In whom are hid all the trea­sures of Wisdom and Knowledge, Psal. 36. 7, 8. Col. 2. 3. In whom is everlasting Righteous­ness and Strength, Prov. 8. 18. Isa. 26. 4. with whom are Riches and Honour, Prov. 3. 16. yea Glory and Honour that hath Immorta­lity joyned with it, Rom. 2. 7. In Him dwel­leth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, And in Him is all compleatness prepared for us, Col. 2. 9, 10. Unto Him all things are delivered of the Father, even all that the Father hath is His, [Page 184]Luk. 10. 22. Joh. 16. 14, 15. And so He is evidenced to be more precious then Rubies, yea, that all the things men can desire are not to be compared unto Him: In whose right hand is length of days, even Life for evermore; And in whose left hand are Riches and Honour, Prov. 3. 13-16. And therefore is the ex­cellency of Him, and the preciousness and compleatness of that provision in Him de­clared and made known to us, To buy us off from those things which are sinful and unpro­fitable; And to make us willing to come unto Christ, and for his sake to deny our selves, and take up our Cross and follow Him, that we might be of the very Elect. He setteth before us in the Gospel His all things, that we might forsake our all things, all that we have, That Christ might be the Portion of our Souls,, Luk. 14. 17-26-33. He doth hereby outbid all other things, and renders them evil and unprofitable, that we might for this treasure hid in a field, when disco­vered to us, and found by us, sell all that we have, and buy that field, Mat. 13. 44. Hence He calleth: hear, for I will speak of excellent things, such things as far excell those things you are apt to set your Hearts upon: and the open­ing of My Lips shall be right things.—Receive mine instruction, & not silver, and know­ledge[Page 185]rather then choice gold: for Wisdom is better then Rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared unto it.—Riches and Honour are with Me, yea durable Riches and Righteousness, My fruit is better then Gold, yea then fine Gold, and My Reve­nue then choice Silver, Prov. 8. 6-10-20, 21.

Now then, for Men to prefer their sins and vanities before Christ: To prefer their sinful lusts and pleasures; or their Oxen, Farms, Merchandize, Wives, Righteous­ness, or any other of their own things before Him, in whom God hath prepared such an excellent and incomparable feast; And in whom is such a true, compleat, and eter­nally blessed and glorious provision of eter­nal Life, and all Spiritual and Eternal Bles­sings: And to do thus also after they have been called unto the Sufferings of Christ, in which is given such a clear discovery of the odiousness and abominableness of mens lusts and iniquities unto God; And therefore also of the absolute necessity of their being washed and cleansed from them, without which they must be everlastingly unhappy and miserable: And in which Cross is also clearly manifested the vanity and worthless­ness of all those objects and things in which [Page 186]naturally they are seeking rest, contentment, and happiness to their Souls. Yea, and to do so, after they have been called unto Him, in whom are, and are discovered to them, infinitely better things then any of those, for the sake whereof they pollute themselves, and by which they are hindred from coming to Christ that they might have Life, and be the Subjects of Gods Election; What can such desperate and unreasonable folly be, but an highly provoking iniquity to the King, who loves His Son so inconceivably dearly, and hateth sin with an everlasting hatred? And what else can this be in such unworthy refusers and slighters of such Grace, but an inexcusable iniquity? What is this ini­quity less then that found with the Jews, who preferred a Murderer before the Lord of Glory? seeing such prefer such things as will tend to their everlasting destruction before Him: yea in some respects it is much greater: And yet how do many who can­not speak of their evil without the greatest dislike and detestation, yet justifie their act, in overpassing the deeds of those evil ones, as Jerusalem is said to have justified her Sister Samaria, Ezek. 16. 51, 52. Be asto­nished O ye Heavens at this, saith the Lord, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate:[Page 187]For My People have committed two Evils, they have forsaken Me the Fountain of living Waters, and hewed them out Cisterns, broken Cisterns, that can hold no Water, Jer. 2. 12, 13. & 17, 13. Such a blessed object are men called unto by the Gospel; And such is the Nature of Mens iniquity who come not un­to Christ, and therefore are not chosen; because they prefer lies and vanity before their own mercy. And thereby it appears, their sin is exceeding sinful, greatly displea­sing, and wholly inexcusable that they are not Elected; If we further also take in and consider what followeth.

2. That the called are not chosen, ap­pears also to be a great iniquity, if we consi­der the plainess and revealedness of the call, as compared with that which was in for­mer times vouchsafed. Christ by His Ser­vants hath now used great plainess of speech; and not as Moses which put a vail over his face; to signifie the vailedness and darkness of that ministration in former times, 2 Cor. 3. 12, 13. The mystery that was hid from Ages and Generations is now made mani­fest and revealed unto His Holy Apostles and Prophets by His Holy Spirit, as formerly it was not made known unto the Sons of men, Col. 1. 25, 26. with Eph. 3. 3-5. God[Page 188]having one Son, His well-beloved, He sent Him forth last of all, and spake unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things; and reserved this Honour for His Son, that by Him in His Personal mini­stration, and by the ministration of His A­postles, the true light should shine more brightly and clearly then it did in former Ages: He hath come a light into the World, who is the Sun of Righteousness: And by Him the Gospel hath been preached according to the Revelation of the mystery, Rom. 16. 25, 26. so as now in the Gospel of Christ, as now re­vealed, Jesus Christ is evidently set forth as one that hath been crucified for us: His Sufferings, the greatness and preciousness of them, are brightly pourtrayed before us, therein, Gal. 3. 1. And we all with open face may behold in this glass (in this most clear medium) the glory of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3. 18. And now the Grace of God which bringeth Salvation to all men hath appeared, and been brightly manifested, as in former times it was not: It was witnessed in former times in the Law, and by the Prophets: But in this was manifested the Love of God, because God sent His only begotten Son into the World, that we might live thorow Him, Tit. 2. 11. 1 Joh. 4. 9, 10. and answerably, sin is now rendred [Page 189]more odious then it was in former times, especially the sin of the World upon a new account: The Holy Spirit, saith our Sa­viour, shall convince the World of sin: of sin, because they believe not on Me, Joh. 16. 8, 9. As also now the holy spirit is poured forth upon all flesh, to wither it, and to stain the glory and goodliness of it, Acts 2. 17. 1 Pet. 1. 23-25. 1 Cor. 1. 17-20-29. Yea now there is a more plain declaration and discovery of the Subjects of Christs Redemp­tion, and of the love of God therein, then formerly was given forth, to wit, that it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accepta­tion, That Christ Jesus came into the World to save sinners, sinners indefinitely, without exception or exclusion of any, 1 Tim. 1. 15. That Christ by the Grace of God tasted Death for every man: And gave Himself a Ransome for all: And is the Saviour of the World. Heb. 2. 9. 1 Tim. 2. 6, 7, Joh. 4. 42. & 12. 47. 1 Joh. 4. 14. And on this ground Christ by His Servants doth beseech men, and perswade them not to entertain or retain evil and hard thoughts of Him, but to come unto Him, as the Apostle Paul saith, He hath committed unto us the ministry of Reconciliation, to wit, That God was in Christ reconciling the World unto Him not [Page 190]imputing their Trespasses to them.—Therefore we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christs stead be ye reconciled to God, 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15, 18-20. & 6. 1. Now then, by how much the more the greater light and clearer revelation is now vouchsafed to Men in the Gospel as now preached, and by which Men are called unto Christ, by so much the more their iniquity is inexcusable, and more highly displeasing unto God. Hence our Saviour saith, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgment then it should be for them that rejected Christ and His Gospel, as it began to be Preached in the time of His Personal ministration, Mat. 10. 14, 15. & 11. 20-24. Yea it will be more tolerable for Gods People in former times, who sinned under that dark and dreadful ministration of the Law, as the Apo­stle signifieth. Therefore (because God hath spoken to us in these last days by His Son) we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip: for if the word spoken by Angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward: How shall we escape if we neglect so great Salvation,[Page 191]which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him, &c. Heb. 1. 1-3. & 2. 1-4. And again, He that despised Moses Law died without mercy under two or three Wit­nesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be counted worthy, who hath troden under foot the Son of God? &c. Heb. 10. 28, 29. & 12. 15-25-29. This is the condemnation, that Light is come into the World (as in former times it did not) and Men loved Darkness rather then Light, &c. Joh. 3. 19. In the times of Mens ignorance God winked at them: but now (when thorow the tender mercy of our God the day spring from on high hath visited us; to give Light to them that sit in Darkness, and in the shadow of Death) He commandeth all Men every where to Repent: And they who will not so do, that they may believe and come to Christ that they may be chosen, will be more severely proceeded against, and dealt with in the day of Wrath; and Revelation of the Righteous Judgment of God; who will render to every one according to their works, and according to the means vouchsafed: And so Wrath will be rendred to the Jew, and so we may say to the Christian first; and also,[Page 192]and after unto the Gentile, Acts 17. 30, 31. Rom. 2. 4-8-12-16. Luk. 12. 47, 48.

3. Their iniquity who are called by the Gospel, as now preached, and not chosen, appears to be highly provoking, and alto­gether inexcusable, if we further consider the powerfulness of the call in and by which they are called, and by which they might be chosen also. Men are not only called with an outward call, as we have before said; but loe He sends forth His Voice therein, and that a mighty Voice: and speaks by His Spirit to the Spirits of Men, 1 Pet. 3. 18, 19. with Gen. 6. 3. And by this Voice of His He doth awaken them, and cause them to hear, to the end they might come unto Christ, that they might be made of the Elect Generation. He now speaks unto the dead Souls of Men, and His Voice is to the hearts of them, whose Voice all that are in the Graves shall hear, and shall come forth. It is the same Almighty Voice that is now sent forth for converting the Soul, as will be to raise the dead out of their Graves hereafter, but not put forth in such a manner, I mean, not irresistibly: nay indeed as to the effecting the former it is called, the Voice of the Son of God; As to the effecting the latter, it is said[Page 193]to be, the Voice of the Son of Man, Joh. 5. 25, 27, 28. And indeed the powerfulness of the voice of Christ, in its preventing ope­ration in the Gospel, appears to be pro­pounded by our Saviour, to remove such a jealousie as might arise in Mens Hearts to their own, or others discouragement, as with respect to their utter importency and helplesness in themselves. Hence when our Saviour had directed to the way and means how Men might now have their states al­tered, and be made of the chosen Genera­tion, who were not so formerly, in saying, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He (who­ever He be) that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath ever­lasting Life, and shall not come into condem­nation, but is passed out of Death into Life: lest any one should discouragingly say; Alas, herein is signified to us, that Men are naturally dead, and destitute of all Spiritual Life, and how then should they hear; To this our Saviour addeth; Verily, Verily, I say unto you the hour is coming, and now i [...], when the Dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God, and they that hear (as they are thus prevented) shall live. In which saying, though He still signifies, and gives us to understand, that Men are in and of them­selves [Page 194]Dead, and so have no free-will or inclination to any thing that is spiritually good, yet He both intimates that the Voice of the Son of God accompanieth His Word; And also, that it doth so not only in His Personal, but also, and rather more power­fully, in His Spiritual Ministration to the end of the world, to enable dead ones to hear, that they might hear and live, Joh. 5. 24, 25. & 7. 37-39. When persons are asleep, and dead in sins and trespasses, He then in and by His call in His Gospel, by the Ministry of His Servants, awakens them, and rouzes them out of that sad condition; Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the Dead, and Christ shall give thee Light, Eph. 5. 13, 14. It is indeed certainly true, That all Men are naturally helpless in themselves, and can neither will nor do any thing of them­selves, as of themselves that is spiritually good: But it is also as true, That the Grace of God doth bring Salvation to them in due time: And Christ lighteth every Man that cometh into the World: He open­eth the Eyes of the Blind in due time, and unstoppeth their Ears in and by His Spirit in His Gospel, and is turning Men from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of[Page 195]Satan unto God; And then in the power and capacity given unto them by Him, they might hear and see and be conver­ted: And it is Mens rebellious iniquity that it is not thus with them, Tit. 2. 11. Joh. 1. 9. & 5. 25. Acts 26. 18. Ezek. 12. 2, 3. It is verily true, That no Man can come to Christ, except the Father who hath sent Christ draw Him, Joh. 6. 44. But it is also as true, That God in and by Christ, in due time, doth draw them that come not; He draws all Men to Himself, Joh. 12. 31, 32. He draws them who refuse to come with cords of a Man, and bands of Love: And because He knows what a Yoke is upon them, without the removal whereof they would be hindred, therefore He takes off the Yoke on their Jaws, &c. Hos. 11. 3, 4, 5. And since Christ hath finished the work which the Father gave Him to do in His own per­sonal body on the Earth; since He laid down His Life, and is raised again; He hath now gloriously, and most immea­surably received the promise of the Spi­rit in the Nature of Man: And hath more abundantly poured it forth on His Ser­vants in their faithful declaring the Gos­pel then in former times: so that the [Page 196]Gospel is called, the Ministration of Spirit and Life, yea, and the Spirit also, 2 Cor. 3. 6-8. Phil. 2. 16. So that it is only Mens own wilful and stubborn refusal and rejection of the power of Christ in the call, which hinders their coming unto, and being chosen by Christ: they close their Eyes (when opened) and stop their Ears, lest they should see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, and understand with their Heart, and should be converted, and He should heal them, Mat. 13. 15. And this also sheweth unto us how pro­voking and excuseless an iniquity it is, that the called are not chosen.

4. And lastly, This also further appears so to be, if we consider the good will and gracious intention of the Caller, in calli [...]g Men by His Gospel; whose love and gracious heart towards sinners is most clearly manifested, and perpetually commen­ded to us in the Cross and Sufferings of Christ, Rom. 5. 6-8. Joh. 3. 16, 17. Heb. 2. 9. He therefore calls and stretcheth forth His hand, that they might come to the Feast He hath prepared for them. He doth not therefore call, that He might leave Men without excuse; though they will be so, they will be Speechless who [Page]are disobedient to the Gospel: nor is His end in calling them, to aggravate their condemnation; though their condemnati­on will be aggravated, who when they are thus called unto the most High, will not at all Exalt Him, Hos. 11. 2-4-7. But He therefore declares His Gospel to them, and therewith councelleth them to come unto Himself, that they might listen unto and obey Him, that it might go well with them for ever. Thus our Saviour graciously acquainteth the Jews, who sought to kill Him, with His gra­cious end in Speaking and Preaching the Gospel unto them: These things I say that ye might be saved, Joh. 5. 16-34. And by His Apostles the Gospel was Preached ac­cording to the Revelation of the Mystery; and according to the Commandement of the Everlasting God made known to all Nations for the Obedience of Faith, Rom. 16. 25, 26. He (i [...]deed) that hateth dis­sembleth with his Lips, and layeth up de­ceit within Him: When he speaketh fair, or maketh his voice gracious, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart, Prov. 26. 24-26. But far be it from us thus to think of the Almighty, who is a God of Truth and without iniquity, just and[Page 198]right is He, Deut. 32. 2-4. He is not like him that faith, Eat and Drink, but his heart is not with thee, Prov. 23. 6, 7. He saith not, come eat of My Bread, and drink of the Wine I have mingled, when either He hath prepared none for thee, or hath no cordial desire and intention thou shouldest partake thereof: but His gracious will is, that thou shouldest be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, Prov. [...]. 1-5. with 1 Tim. 2. 4-6. And therefore He thus expostulates, Where­fore when I came was there no Man? when I called was there none to answer? But how appears it that they did not answer His call? This is declared to us in another Scripture; They did Evil before Mine Eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. In which is plainly signified to us, that His end in coming and calling was, that they might have done what was good in His Eyes, and chosen that in which He de­lighted, that so they might have been of His chosen ones indeed. Compare and consider Isa. 50. 2. with chapt. 66. 3, 4. & chapt. 65. 12-15.

By all which it evidently appeareth, that it is their great iniquity who are called by the Servants in their preaching the Gospel [Page 199]of Christ, that they answer not His call who accompanieth them, and so are not chosen: This is that iniquity which is so greatly provoking unto the great King, that He thus threatneth to deal with such as are guilty of it: Therefore will I num­ber you to the Sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter, because when I called ye did not answer: when I spake ye did not hear, but did evil before Mine Eyes, and did chuse that wherein I delighted not. There­fore behold My Servants (My chosen ones who did answer My call) shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: Behold My Servant [...] shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: Behold My Servants shall rejoyce, but ye shall be asha­med: Behold My Servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and ye shall howl for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto My chosen, &c. Isa. 65. 12-15. with Prov. 1. 24-32. & Mat. 22. 13, 14.

And it appears to be an inexcusable ini­quity, that those who are so called are not chosen: There will be no Cloak for their sin. They cannot plead that Christ never dyed for them, or that saving Grace was not afforded to them; for both these are false, as we have said and shewn: But they will[Page 200]be convinced in the day of the Revelation of the Righteous Judgment of God, that their Destruction and Non-election was wholly of themselves: And therefore they will be found speechless, as the Man was who had not on the Wedding Garment.

Let the consideration then of all said, move and prevail with us all so to receive the Elec­ting Grace of God, that we may be of the number according to the Election of Grace. And let us not listen to such desperate say­ings as these [If I be Elected no sins can bereave me of Heaven; if I be Reproba­ted no good deeds can help me to Hea­ven.] But be we well assured, that the Scripture speaketh of none as the Sub­jects of Gods Election to Salvation, while they continue in their natural condition and filthiness: nor of any Re­probated before they were born, or Christ Preached by His Spirit to their Spirits: But all Men, while it is the day of Gods Grace and Patience towards them, may, thorow His Grace which bringeth Salva­tion to them, come to Christ, the prime Elect one, and root of Election, and so be reckoned after Him. God hath given His Son to be the sign of His Gracious heart towards all sinners; And to that [Page 201]End hath given Him by His Grace to tast Death for every Man, and hath raised Him again from the Dead for their Justification; And hath given them Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son: And sent Him in the Gospel to open their Eyes, and to bring forth the Prisoners out of the Pri­son, and them that sit in darkness out of the Prison-house; that in obeying Him they might be called out of Darkness into His marvellous Light, and therein be of the chosen Generation, Isa. 42. 1-7. with 1 Pet. 2. 9. Oh let none of us reject His Grace, nor receive it in vain: But let us, who are hearers of the word of truth, so look into the perfect law of Liberty, and continue therein, that we may not be forgetful hearers, but doers of the work, that we may be blessed in our deed, both now, and unto the day of Eternity. Oh! that we may not deceive our own Souls, in making a trade of hearing, and yet se­cretly prefer our Lusts and Idols before Him unto whom God hath given the pre­eminence in all things: If we should thus do, what shall we say when God riseth up? And when He shall judge the World in Righteousness, what shall we answer Him? Others may say for themselves,[Page 202](though unprofitably and wickedly) we knew thou art an hard and austere Master, Reaping where Thou hast not Sown, and Gathering where Thou hast not Strawn. They may say our Teachers perswaded us that Christ died not for all, and we knew not whither He died for us: nor was there any true and saving Grace vouch­safed to us, if it had, we should have done better. But thus, according to that judg­ment you profess to believe, you cannot plead. You have heard and been called by the Gospel of Christ, the doctrine ac­cording to Godliness: And if you be not also chosen, you know it is only your own iniquity; And therefore you know there remaineth nothing but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment and fiery Indignation, which shall devour all them that obey not the Gospel. Your Mouths have been already, and often stopt by the Gospel, so as you cannot but confess that God is not willing with your Perdition; And if you Perish, your Destruction will be altogether of your selves. Oh then! laying apart all Filthiness and superfluity of Naughtiness, receive with Meekness the in­graffed word, which is able to save your Souls. Oh that when it is too late, you[Page 203]may not take up that complaint; How have we hated Instruction, and our heart despised Reproof! And we have not obeyed the voice of our Teachers, nor inclined our Ears to them that instructed us. If it should be so with any of us, this will gnaw upon us to all Eternity, that when we were assured from Gods Testimony of Gods good will towards us, and that Christ wrought Redemption for us, and thorow the discovery thereof was powerfully Redeeming and Choosing us from the Earth, and from amongst Men, yet willingly and wilfully we, by observing lying vanities, did forsake our own mercy, Jonah 2. 8. That we for love to our sins and vanities, the sinfulness and vanity whereof we saw in the Cross of Christ, and when infinitely better things were proposed to us, should yet in our hearts love Darkness, and the Devil, rather then Light and Christ. How can our heart endure the remembrance hereof! Or how can our hands be strong when He shall plead with us! Oh consider this ye that forget God, and spend your mo­ney for that which is not Bread! And so consider the terrour of the Lord, as eviden­ced in the Cross of Christ, that the time past of your life may suffice you to have wrought the will of the Gentiles: And that now you[Page 204]incline your ear, and come unto Him who calleth you by His Servants, that you may hear, that your Souls may live, and He may make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Oh! be not like to them, unto and concerning whom the Lord saith: stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old Paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your Souls: but they said we will not walk therein. Also I set Watchmen over you saying, hearken to the sound of the Trumpet, but they said we will not hearken. For be we well assured, if such iniquity be found with us, and persisted in by us, that we will not come to Christ, who is the rest; nor hearken unto, and obey the Trumpet of His Gospel; if we will not be chosen, after all means used, and patience exercised, He will at last say of us as He did of them: The Bellows are burnt, the Lead is consumed of the fire, the Founder melteth in vain, for the wicked are not plucked away. Re­probate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them, Jer. 6. 16, 17-29, 30. Consider what is said, and the Lord give us understanding in all things.

The END.

Books Printed for▪ and Sold by Benjamin Southwood, at the Star next to Ser­jants-Inn in Chancery-lane.

  • THE Brazen Serpent, or Gods grand de­sign for Mans Salvation; a practical dis­course according to the Primitive Doctrine, in 4o. by John Horn of Linn Regis.
  • Needful Councel for Lukewarm Christi­ans, being a consideration of some part of the Message sent to the Angel of the Church of Laodicea; a seasonable discourse according to the Primitive Doctrine, in 4o. by Charles Phelpes of Lynn Regis.
  • The wonderful Councellor, his Councel and Charge to his Disciples to have Salt in themselves, that by the powerful and season­ing Efficacy thereof, they might have Love, Peace and Unity one with another; a blessed searching Discourse according to the Primi­tive Doctrine: whereunto is annexed some considerations on Rev. 22. 14. To do His Com­mandments, in 8o. by Thomas Moor, Sen.
  • Englands Improvement Reviv'd, a Trea­tise of Husbandry by Land and Sea, The Planting of Trees, Orchards and Gardens, with the several ways of improving all sorts of barren and wast Grounds, and enriching all Earths; with two Chains to plant Seeds or Setts by, and Hops. The nature and[Page]virtue of Trees, Plants, and Herbs, and their phisical directions. Also the ordering of Cattel, and observations about Sheep, with many remarks never before extant, in 4o. experienced in thirty years practise, by John Smith, Gent.
  • The reward of the Wise, and the fruitful Christians future Blessedness, being a Fune­ral discourse at the burial of Mr. Thomas Moor Sen. in 8o. by John Horn of Lynn Regis.
  • The object of Love, wherein it is mani­fested, and wherein it is to be perceived by us at all times, to the end we may love one another, in 8o. by Charles Phelpes of Lynn Regis.
  • Instructions for Children into the chief Grounds of Christian Religion, with the great mysteries of Redemption, Faith, Works, Law, Gospel, yea, and of Predestination, Election, Reprobation, being opened, there­in agreeable to Scripture, and most condu­cing to the promoting of Godliness, by John Horn of Lynn Regis: the second Edi­tion somewhat abbreviated.
  • A comfortable Corroborative Cordial against the fears and harms of Death, affording di­rections how to live and dye.
  • Run from Rome and beware of Babylon, or brief notes upon the Beast, his Image, Worship and Mark, in 8o. by John Horn of Lynn Regis.


PAge 3, l. 7, r. outer. p. 5. l. 13. r. made under. p. 11 l. 21. r. their. P. 19. 16. r. all, p. 24. l. 13. r. Apostle. P. 34. l. 30. r. is so. p. 39. 8. r. amongst the. p. 50. l. 25. r. own. p. 55. l. 14. r. as are. p. 59. l. 28. r. unavoidable. p. 81. l. 3. r. cannot. p. 84. l. 27. r. is it. p. 86. l. 15. r. 1 Thes. p. 89. l. 20. r. Son. l. 24. r. Que. 4. p. 90. l. 13. r. Elect. p. 106. l. 6. r. enemy, for the r. and. l. 14. pitched. p. 107. l. 21 dele striving for the Faith. ps 108. l. 11. r. Subjectr. l. 19. r. intended. l. 19 r. is. p. 109. l. 3. r. in his. p. 112. l. 3. r. in. p. 114. l. 24. r. ing. l. 25. r. however. p. 116. l. 2. r. as are. p. 118 l. 21. r. them. p. 121. l. 24. r. subjects, p 124. l. 23. r. despair. p. 126. l. 7. r. them into his. p. 139. l. 20 r. that. p. 140. l. 9. r. Parables. l. 19. r. hearers of the word. p. 144. l. ii. r. immediately p. 151. l. 4. r. An­swer. p. 154 l. 8. r. strait gate, p. 158. l. 3. r. Or no P. 160 l. 8. r. mens p. 163. i. r. into, p. 181. l. 3. r. abait p. 182, l. i. r. unavailableness. p. 189, l. 29. r. himself,

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