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Whether the right to the eternal inheritance
be applied to the Elect at their first nativity, or at their regeneration. And whether God imputes no more in point of guilt to an Elect person when living in exessive lasciviousness, than when
he is perfected in the heavens. 1. There is no actual difference between the reprobate and
the elect before regeneration. II. Except that according to the counsel of grace, the means of salvation are granted to the latter, which in its time shall be effectual to regeneration. III. In which indeed the actual application of salvation doth consist. W. V. VI. VII. VIII. The order of saving application. IX. The elect before their regeneration are in a condemned state.
1. CONCERNING the application of the chap.
CHAP salvation purchased by Christ, the following
V. things are controverted. 1. Whether the right to the eternal inheritance be applied to is no a&ual the elect at their first nativity: and the date of difference
between application is to be fixed at their natural gene- the reproration, whereby they become men, not at their bate and
, supernatural generation, whereby they become before re Christians. 2. Whether God imputes no
generation. more in point of guilt to the elect, even when living in all the excess of wickedness and lasciviousness, than when after they are truly sanctified, yea, also perfected and received into hea
3. Whether the elect are united to Christ
shall be ef
before faith. 4. Whether not only the fruits of Christ's righteousness, but also the righteousness itself, be imputed to them, so that by that imputation they become no less righteous and holy, than Christ himself.
II. And I trust that these controversies, according
however great they may seem at first sight, counsel of may be decided by the simple and the plain grace, the declaration of the truth. As to the first, what
if we conceive of the matter thus? After Christ salvation are granted satisfied Divine justice, God also declared in to the latter, which general that he would never demand satisfacin its time tion from any of the elect in their own person, fecual to
and so a right of immunity was purchased for all the elect at once.' But that universal right of all the elect profiteth none in particular, till it be applied unto him. No application is made by election as such. For it is an immanent act of God, the proper effect of which is the certainty of the event. It is the nature of all the Divine decrees, that by themselves they make no change in the subject; but all the actual existence of the thing arises from the omnipotent execution of the decree. The execution of the decree is the production of the thing decreed: which is effectuated by virtue of that eternal will, whereby God commanded that the thing should exist in that moment of time, the eternal will then only going out into that act, whereby the thing exists. Therefore, from election to grace and glory, it only follows, that the person so elected is admitted at the appointed time to
the participation of both. Before the fulness CHAP. of the time destined for the execution come, the election of God makes no real change in the person elected: who before his regeneration as well as all other mortals, is in a present evil world, in the kingdom and power of darkness, dead in trespasses and sizs, alienated from the life of God, a child of wrath even as others, condemned to bondage through fear of death, subject to the curse of the law, a stranger as to the promises of the covenants, without Christ, without God, without hope in the world, as the scripture every where speaks. And thus far there is no actual differe ence between the elect and the reprobate; except, as was said, that by virtue of God's election, and Christ's satisfaction for the form. er, they are certainly to be delivered at the appointed time from that miserable state; while the latter, for whom salvation is neither appointed by God, nor purchased by Christ, shall continue for ever in their deplorable condition.
UJI. In III. Now the execution of election may be
which one considered two ways. First, in respect of ly the ac
tual applic certain external actions, which, from the na
cation of ture of the thing indeed, have no certain con- salvation
doth con nexion with salvation, and therefore are ex- sist. ercised sometimes even upon the reprobares; yet by the appointment of God, they are directed as to this person in particular, to promote the work of grace gradually, in him. For since God embraces the elect with a love
- CHAP. of singular good will, to issue at last in alove of
complacency, he grants them the means of salvation, and causes them to hear the preaching of the gospel, dissuasives from vice, exhortations to the duties of virtue, instruction concerning saving truths, which being somehow perceived by their natural understanding, they fix them in their memory to be profitable afterwards for sanctification : there being added, in the mean time, some inward illumination of the mind, and an exciting of the will to good, ale though both are evanid, and not yet saving: but all this with the intention, that in their time they may be effeétually converted by these means.
Since all these things proceed from the counsel of grace, they are likewise justly referred to the execution of election : and since they are the fruits of Christ's merits, they somehow belong to the application of purchased grace; and are as it were, some of his attempts who begins to claim to himself what is his own; although they are nothing but some small beginnings of application, whereby the elect are not yet ingrafted into
IV. Then there follows a more perfect execution of the election unto grace, and a more solid application of the grace purchased by Christ, in that moment wherein the elect, being effe&tually called, are born again of the incorruptible seed of the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever, the Spirit of life co-operating; are endued with a principle of
new and spiritual life; are actually united un- CHAP. to Christ; and being rescued from the power of darkness, are translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son.
V. The order of this internal and truly savo ing application, arising from its first beginning by many steps to perfect happiness in the adult, of whom only we now speak, is generally represented to us in this manner by the scriptures. As soon as comes the hour of gracious visitation, prefixed in the unchangeable purpose of God, for every one of the elect, all of a sudden, into the elect person living under the administration of the gospel, there is infused a principle of spiritual life, by the application or influence of the Spirit of Christ, mystically uniting the soul to himself; the activity of which begins first to exert itself in the understanding illuminated with unusual light. For as in the old creation, so also in this second, the beginning is with light. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. iv. 6. VI. As soon as the elect
these VI. enlightened eyes of his mind, he begins to discern in general, the truth of evangelic doctrines; but at the same time, reflecting more particularly upon himself, he finds that great is the filthiness and the atrocity of his innumerable sins, great the rigour of Divine jus