"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth."2 Thess. ii. 13.
Some of the sweetest enjoyments in grace, are the freeness and undeserved nature of that grace towards the happy objects of its distinguishing favour: and as the first and ultimate design of all, for which grace is given, is the glory of Jehovah; so the promotion of that glory, in the redemption and sanctification of the church of Jesus, is the means and end. Now, my soul, sit down, this evening, and mark well, in the blessed effects wrought in thine own heart, what the apostle hath here said, that if thou art chosen, it must have been from the beginning thou art chosen to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Pause, and ask thyself: art thou chosen? Hath this sovereign act of grace passed upon thee? How shall I know? Look at the effects. Art thou humbled to the very dust before God, under the impression of the distinguishing nature of it? Dost thou know, dost thou feel, dost thou stand as one most fully convinced, that the eternal choice of thee was not for aught wherein thou differedst from others, but wholly of the Lord's own free and sovereign grace? And in the recollection that such love was shewn to thee, when meriting it no more than others; yea, when meriting wrath, instead of receiving grace, as much as others; dost thou lie yet lower in the dust on this account? And in proportion to the astonishing goodness of the Lord, do thine own conscious undeservings make thee continually yet more acquainted with thine own vileness? And as the views of grace rise higher, does the sense of sin make thee fall lower; that where "sin hath abounded, grace should much more abound?" Look at the subject under another point of view, but which leads to the same conclusion. As the consciousness of being chosen, from the beginning, to salvation,. through the sanctification of the Spirit, becomes the highest and strongest of all possible motives to hide pride from the eyes, and to lay the soul down in the deepest self-abasement before God; so in the same breast, and from the same source, through the sanctification of the Spirit, there will be a most ardent affection towards the gracious author of such distinguishing mercy! Say then, my soul, should Jesus put the question to thee, as he did to Peter, "Lovest thou me more than these?" couldest thou appeal to him, who reads hearts, that he would find love in thine heart, because he himself had put it there? Pause over this great volume of inquiry, and follow up the question, in the numberless methods by which it might be sought and discovered. And, to add no more, if to those two great branches, under which God from the beginning makes choice of all the beloved of the Lord, through sanctification of the Spirit, thou canst add a satisfactory conclusion, in a third instance also, of sovereign power; and discover that since God called thee by his grace, and revealed his Son in thee, thou hast been conferring less and less "with flesh and blood," and by the Spirit hast been "mortifying the deeds of the body, and crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts: Oh! what cause wilt thou find also for holy joy in the distinguishing grace of God, and to cry out with the apostle, "I am crucified with Christ:" and, "I am bound to give thanks alway to God, because from the beginning he hath chosen me to salvation, through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth!"From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
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