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Who are they who are elect? They who have chosen Christ to be their Saviour. Make sure that you have chosen Christ, and never trouble yourselves about the question, whether he has chosen you. Do not try to peer into God's hidden book, which no man can penetrate, but read God's revealed book, and compare your character with it, for things revealed are for us and our children. If you love Christ, that proves that he loves you; for what is his own word, “ We love him, because he first loved us.” If I want to know whether I am elect, I do not begin at heaven and trace downward to my heart, but I begin at my heart and trace upward to heaven. I do not try to hook the ladder to the top of the monument first, but I put the base on the ground, and then place the top of the ladder against the top of the monument. High predestinarians first try to prove that they are elect, and then they infer that they may live as they like; whereas, the proper way is to see whether we live the life of the saints of God, and then infer that our name is written in the Lamb's book of life, in which are the names of all that believe.
Those who are elect and are chosen of Christ, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, rest upon his sacrifice for the pardon of sin, are clothed with his righteousness as their only title of heaven, and approach a communion-table and the judgment-seat trusting only in this, that “He who knew no sin was made sin for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him.'
The elect are the regenerate. Every man who is born again is elect. If your tastes have been altered, if you now love what once you hated, if you like the Bible much better than a novel or romance, if you like the house of God vastly more than the playhouse, if you prefer the things that belong to your peace more than the idle topics and political squabbles of the day, you give evidence that you are a child of God. It is not alleged that you should take no interest in the things of time, but that if you be the elect, the things of eternity will occupy a larger space in your hearts.
The elect are the sons of God. “Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ.” Election is the root, sonship and service are the blossoms and fruit that grow upon it.
Let us see here the safety of the people of God. Let the sun be darkened in his orbit, let the moon become pale, let the stars fall from their sockets, let all nature be covered with a funeral pall, let the first throes of nature's desolation be felt, let the footstep of the approaching Judge be echoing at our doors-nothing shall separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord; for he will gather his elect, however concealed, obscured, hidden, or suffering, from the four winds of heaven.
Behold the true unity of the Church of Christ
Christ in the midst of them. Those who are now ecclesiastically, mechanically, materially divided, will then be drawn to Christ, and constitute together the bride meeting the Bridegroom, the longwaiting widow seeing her Husband return from the skies, “and so be for ever with the Lord.” When we hear urged against Protestantism that it is destitute of unity, we should recollect that there is no such thing as perfect unity in the Church, just as there is no such thing as perfect holiness in the individual Christian's heart. The Apostle tells us, that as long as there is a ministry there will not be unity; for what does he say in Eph. iv. 11—13? “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith,” — implying that the existence of a ministry is to produce an ultimate unity, but that as long as that ministry exists, that is, as long as this dispensation lasts, perfect unity will not be.
Notice also the catholicity of the Church of Christ. It is selected from every tribe, and kindred, and tongue. The broken fragments are now its composition, but then they shall be all combined and consolidated for ever.
Let us see the true visibility of the Church of Christ. All creation groans and travails in pain, waiting—for what? The manifestation of the sons of God; that is, the visibility of the Church. The Church of Rome says she has visibility, catholicity, unity, antiquity. In all these things she pretends to bave what the Millennial church only shall have. She claims noble prerogatives, that are only to be actual when Christ comes, and gathers from the four winds all them that are his.
Are we among the elect? Are we believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? If we be Christians, whether he takes us to himself, or comes to us, it will be equally well. But the great question of the day should be, “ Am I a Christian ?" It is easy to be 80. There is nothing to prevent our being so. Christ invites us to become so. He merely bids us lay aside the bondage and the service of sin, and Satan, and the world; and decide for the service and the acceptance of him whose service is perfect freedom, and communion with whom is the highest happiness that human nature is susceptible of here below — a happiness that, like the opening spring, will melt into the perfect happiness of the everlasting summer, the first rays of which begin to sprinkle the distant hills, intimating already that the sun, long below the horizon, is about to ascend to his meridian throne, and send down his midday splendour upon a world ever holy and ever happy.
THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS.
The feeling in the heart of Christendom, expressed by “the Desire of all nations," is significant of the end in proportion to its intensity and depth. Let us analyze it as a past thirst partly satisfied, and as a present longing that can be met only when He who awakens and fills it shall come, the Hope of the Church, the Heir of the world. “For thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts : and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." (Haggai ii. 6—9.)
It is very remarkable, as well as refreshing to a Christian mind, to go back along the current of history, and to read those ancient prophecies which relate to the person, the coming, and advent in glory, of the Son of God. The angel said to the woman, “ Come and see the place” – that is, the