Free grace. A sermon preached at Bristol.
Wesley, John, 1703-1791.
Page  7

Rom. VIII. 32.
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all Things?

1. HOW freely does God love the World? While we were yet Sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. While we were Dead in Sin, GOD spared not his own Son, but deli|vered him up for us all. And how freely with Him does he give us all things! Verily free Grace is all and all!

2. The Grace or Love of God, whence com|eth our Salvation, is free in all, and free for all.

3. First, It is free in all to whom it is given. It does not depend on any Power or Merit in Man: No, not in any Degree: neither in whole nor in part. It does not in any wise depend either Page  8 on the Good Works or Righteousness of the Re|ceiver: Not on any thing he has done, or any thing he is. It does not depend on his Endeavours. It does not depend on his good Tempers, or good Desires, or good Purposes and Intentions: For all these flow from the Free Grace of GOD: They are the Streams only, not the Fountain. They are the Fruits of Free Grace, and not the Root. They are not the Cause, but the Effects of it. Whatso|ever Good is in Man, or is done by Man, GOD is the Author and Doer of it. Thus is his Grace Free in all; that is, no Way depending on any Power or Merit in Man: But in GOD alone, who freely gave us his own Son, and with him freely giveth us all Things.

4. But is it Free for All, as well as in All? To this some have answer'd,

No: It is free only for those whom GOD hath ordained to Life; and they are but a little Flock. The greater Part of Mankind GOD hath ordained to Death; and it is not Free for them. Them GOD hateth; and therefore before they were born, decreed they should die Eternally. And this he absolutely decreed; because so was his good Pleasure: Be|cause it was his sovereign Will. Accordingly, they are born for this, To be destroy'd, Body and Soul, in Hell. And they grow up under the irrevocable Curse of GOD, without any Pos|sibility Page  9 of Redemption. For what Grace GOD gives, he gives only, for this, To increase, not prevent, their Damnation.

5. This is That Decree of Predestination. But methinks I hear one say,

This is not the Pre|destination which I hold. I hold only, The Election of Grace. What I believe is no more than This, That GOD, before the Foundation of the World, did elect a certain Number of Men, to be justified, sanctified, and glorified. Now all these will be saved, and none else. For the rest of Mankind GOD leaves to themselves. So they follow the Imaginations of their own Hearts, which are only evil continually, and waxing worse and worse, are at length justly pu|nished with everlasting Destruction.

Is this ALL the Predestination which you hold? Consider. Perhaps this is not ALL. Do not you believe,

GOD ordained them to this very Thing?
If so, you believe the Whole Decree; you hold Predestination in the full Sense, which has been above described. But it may be, you think you do not. Do not you then believe, GOD hardens the Hearts of them that perish? Do not you believe, He (literally) hardned Pharoah's Heart, and that for this End he rais'd him up (or created him?) Why this amounts to just the same Thing. If you believe Pharoah, or any one Man upon Page  10 the Earth, was created for this End, to be damn'd, you hold all that has been said of Predestination. And there is no need you should add, that GOD seconds his Decree, which is supposed unchange|•••• and irresistible, by hardening the Hearts of 〈◊〉 Vessels of Wrath, whom that Decree had be|fore fitted for Destruction.

6. Well; but it may be, you do not believe even this. You do not hold any Decree of Re|probation. You do not think GOD decrees any Man to be damn'd, nor hardens, irresistibly fits him for Damnation. You only say, GOD eter|nally decreed,

That ALL being dead in Sin, he would say to some of the Dry Bones, Live, and to others he would not. That consequently, These should be made alive, and Those abide in Death: These should glorify GOD by their Salvation, and Those by their Destruction.

7. Is not this what you mean by the Election of Grace? If it be, I would ask one or two Ques|tions. Are any who are not thus Elected, saved? Or were any, from the Foundation of the World? Is it possible any Man should be saved, unless he be thus Elected? If you say No, you are but where you was. You are not got one Hair's-breadth further. You still believe, that in conse|quence of an unchangeable, irresistible Decree of GOD, the greater part of Mankind abide in Death, Page  11 without any Possibility of Redemption: Inasmuch as none can save them but GOD; And He will not save them. You believe He hath absolutely decreed, Not to save them; And what is this but decreeing to damn them? It is, in effect, neither more nor less: It comes to the same thing. For if you are dead, and altogether unable to make your self alive; then if GOD has absolutely decreed, He will make others only alive, and not you; He hath absolutely decreed your everlasting Death; you are absolutely consign'd to Damnation. So then, tho' you use softer Words than some, you mean the self-same Thing. And GOD's Decree concerning the Election of Grace, according to your own Account of it, amounts to neither more nor less, than what others call,

GOD's Decree of Reprobation.

8. Call it therefore by whatever Name you please,

Election, Preterition, Predestination or Reprobation,
it comes in the End to the same Thing. The Sense of all is plainly this;
By virtue of an Eternal, Unchangeable, Irresistible Decree of GOD, One Part of Mankind are in|fallibly saved, and the rest infallibly damn'd: It being impossible that any of the former should be damn'd, or that any of the latter should be saved.

Page  12 9. But if this be so, then is all Preaching Vain. It is needless to them that are Elected: For they, whether with Preaching or without, will infallibly be saved. Therefore the End of Preaching, "To save Souls, is void with regard to them. And it is useless to them that are not Elected: For they cannot possibly be saved. They whether with Preaching or without, will infallibly be damn'd. The End of Preaching is therefore void with re|gard to them likewise. So that in either case, our Preaching is vain, as your Hearing is also vain."

10. This then is a plain Proof, that the Doctrine of Predestination is not a Doctrine of GOD, be|cause it makes void the Ordinances of GOD: And GOD is not divided against himself. A Se|cond is, That it directly tends to destroy that Ho|liness, which is the End of all the Ordinances of GOD. I do not say, "None who hold it are Holy:" (For GOD is of tender Mercy to those who are unavoidably intangled in Errors of any kind.) But that the Doctrine it self,

That every Man is either Elected, or not Elected, from Eternity; and that the one must inevitably be saved, and the other inevitably damn'd,
has a manifest Tendency to destroy Holiness in general. For it wholly takes away those first Motives to follow after it, so frequently propos'd in Scripture, the Hope of future Reward, and Fear of Punish|ment, the Hope of Heaven and Fear of Hell. Page  13That these shall go away into everlasting Punishment, and those into Life eternal, is no Motive to him to struggle for Life, who believes his Lot is cast already. It is not reasonable for him so to do, if he thinks he is unalterably adjudged either to Life or Death. You will say,
But he knows not, whether it is Life or Death.
What then? This helps not the Matter. For if a sick Man knows that he must unavoidably die, or unavoidably reco|ver, tho' he knows not which, it is not reasonable for him to take any Physick at all. He might justly say, (and so I have heard some speak, both in Bodily Sickness and in Spiritual)
If I am or|dained to Life, I shall live; If to Death, I shall die: So I need not trouble myself about it.
So directly does this Doctrine tend, to shut the very Gate of Holiness in general, to hinder unholy Men from ever approaching thereto, or striving to enter in thereat.

11. As directly does this Doctrine tend to de|stroy several particular Branches of Holiness. Such are Meekness and Love: Love I mean of our Enemies, of the Evil and Unthankful. I say not, That none who hold it, have Meekness and Love: (For as is the Power of GOD, so is his Mercy.) Put that it naturally tends to inspire or increase, a Sharpness or Eagerness of Temper, which is quite contrary to the Meekness of CHRIST: As then especially appears, when they are opposed on this Page  14 Head. And it as naturally inspires Contempt or Coldness toward those, whom we suppose Outcasts from GOD.

O (but you say) I suppose no par|ticular Man a Reprobate.
You mean, you would not, if you could help it. You can't help sometimes applying your General Doctrine to Par|ticular Persons. The Enemy of Souls will apply it for you. You know how often he has done so. "But you rejected the Thought with Abhorrence." True: As soon as you could. But how did it sour and sharpen your Spirit in the mean time? You well know, it was not the Spirit of Love, which you then felt towards that poor Sinner, whom you supposed or suspected, whether you would or no, to have been hated of GOD from Eternity.

12. Thirdly, This Doctrine tends to destroy the Comfort of Religion, the Happiness of Christianity: This is evident as to all those who believe them|selves to be reprobated, or who only suspect or fear it. All the great and precious Promises are lost to them. They afford them no Ray of Comfort:

For they are not the Elect of GOD. Therefore they have neither Lot nor Portion in them.
This is an effectual Bar to their finding any Com|fort or Happiness even in that Religion,
whose Ways were designed to be Ways of Pleasantness, and all her Paths Peace.

Page  15 13. And as to you who believe yourselves the Elect of GOD, what is your Happiness? I hope, not a Notion, a speculative Belief; a bare Opinion of any Kind: But a feeling Possession of GOD in your Heart, wrought in you by the Holy Ghost; or, The Witness of GOD's Spirit with your Spirit, that you are a Child of GOD. This otherwise term'd the full Assurance of Faith, is the true Ground of a Christian's Happiness. And it does indeed imply, a full Assurance, that all your past Sins are forgiven, and that you are now a Child of GOD; But it does not necessarily imply, a full Assurance of our future Perseverance. I do not say, This is never join'd to it: But that it is not necessarily imply'd therein; for many have the one, who have not the other.

14. Now this Witness of the Spirit, Experience shews to be much obstructed by this Doctrine: And not only in those, who believing themselves Reprobated, by this Belief thrust it far from them: But even in them that have tasted of that good Gift, who yet have soon lost it again, and fallen back into Doubts and Fears, and Darkness, Hor|rible Darkness that might be felt. And I appeal to any of you who hold this Doctrine, to say be|tween GOD and your own Hearts, whether you have not often a Return of Doubts and Fears con|cerning your Election or Perseverance? If you ask, Who has not? I answer, Very Few of those Page  16 that hold this Doctrine. But many, very many of those that hold it not, in all Parts of the Earth: Many of those who know and feel, they are in CHRIST to Day, and take no Thought for the Mor|row; who abide in him by Faith from Hour to Hour, or rather from Moment to Moment. Ma|ny of these have enjoy'd the uninterrupted Witness of his Spirit, the continual Light of his Counte|nance, from the Moment wherein they first be|lieved, for meny Months or Years to this Day.

15. That Assurance of Faith which these enjoy, excludes all Doubt and Fear. It excludes all Kind of Doubt and Fear, concerning their future Perse|verance: Tho' it is not properly (as was said be|fore) and Assurance of what is Future; but only of what now is. And this needs not for its Sup|port, a speculative Belief, That whoever is once ordain'd to Life, must live. For it is wrought from Hour to Hour, by the mighty Power of GOD, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto them. And therefore that Doctrine is not of GOD, be|cause it tends to obstruct, if not destroy, this Great Work of the Holy Ghost, whence flows the chief Comfort of Religion, the Happiness of Christi|anity.

16. Again, How uncomfortable a Thought is This, That Thousands and Millions of Men, with|out any preceding Offence or Fault of theirs, were Page  17 unchangeably doom'd to everlasting Burnings? How peculiarly uncomfortable must it be, to those who have put on Christ! To those who being fill'd with Bowels of Mercy, Tenderness and Compassion, could even wish themselves accurst for their Bre|thren's Sake.

17. Fourthly, This uncomfortable Doctrine di|rectly tends to destroy our Zeal for Good Works. And this it does first, as it naturally tends (accord|ing to what was observ'd before) to destroy our Love to the greater Part of Mankind, namely, the Evil and unthankful. For whatever lessens our Love, must so far lessen our Desire to do them Good. This it does, secondly, as it cuts off one of the strongest Motives to all Acts of Bodily Mercy, such as Feeding the Hungry, Cloathing the Naked, and the like, viz. The Hope of saving their Souls from Death. For what avails it to relieve their Temporal Wants, who are just dropping into Eter|nal Fire?

Well; but run and snatch them as Brands out of the Fire.
Nay, this you suppose impossible. They were appointed thereunto, you say, from Eternity, before they had done either Good or Evil. You believe, it is the Will of GOD they should die. And who hath resisted his Will? But you say,
You do not know, whether these are elected or not.
What then? If you know they are the one or the other, that they are Elected or not Elected, all your Labour is void Page  18 and vain. In either Case, your Advice, Reproof, or Exhortation, is as needless and useless as our Preaching. It is needless to them that are Elected; for they will infallibly be saved without it. It is useless to them that are not Elected; for with 〈◊〉 without it they will infallibly be damn'd. There|fore you cannot, consistently with your Principles, take any Pains about their Salvation. Consequent|ly, those Principles directly tend to destroy your Zeal for Good Works; for all Good Works; but particularly for the Greatest of all, The Saving of Souls from Death.

18. But, fifthly, This Doctrine not only tends to destroy Christian Holiness, Happiness, and Good Works, but hath also a direct and manifest Ten|dency to overthrow the whole Christian Revela|tion. The Point which the wisest of the modern Unbelievers most industriously labour to prove, is, That the Christian Revelation is not necessary. They well know, could they once shew this, the Conclusion would be too plain to be denied,

If it be not Necessary, it is not True.
Now, this Fundamental Point you give up. For supposing That Eternal, Unchangeable Decree, One Part of Mankind must be saved, tho' the Christian Reve|lation were not in Being: And the other Part of Mankind must be damn'd, notwithstanding that Revelation. And what would an Infidel desire more? You allow him all he asks. In making Page  19 the Gospel thus unnecessary to all Sorts of Men, you give up the whole Christian Cause. O tell it not in Gath! Publish it not in the Streets of Askelon! Lest the Daughters of the Uncircumcised rejoice, lest the Sons of Unbelief triumph!

19. And as this Doctrine manifestly and directly tends to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation so it does the same Thing, by plain Consequence, in making that Revelation contradict itself. For it is grounded on such an Interpretation of some Texts (more or fewer it matters not) as flatly con|tradict all the other Texts, and indeed the whole Scope and Tenor of Scripture. For Instance; The Asserters of this Doctrine, interpret that Text of scripture, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," as implying that GOD in a literal Sense hated Esau, and all the Reprobated, from Eternity. Now, what can possibly be a more flat Contra|diction than this, not only to the whole Scope and Tenor of Scripture, but also to all those particular Texts, which expressly declare, "GOD is LOVE?" Again, they infer from that Text,

I will have Mercy on whom I will have Mercy,
(Rom. ix. 15.) That GOD is Love only to some Men, viz. The Elect, and that he hath Mercy for those only: Flatly contrary to which, is the whole Tenor of the Scripture, as is that express Declaration in particu|lar,
The Lord is loving unto EVERY Man, and his Mercy is over all his Works.
(Psal. cxiv. 9.) Page  20 Again, They infer from that and the like Texts,
It is not of him that willeth, neither of him that runneth, but of GOD that sheweth Mercy,
that he sheweth Mercy only to those whom he had Re|spect to from all Eternity. Nay, but who replieth against GOD now? You now contradict the whole Oracles of GOD, which declare throughout.
GOD is no Respecter of Persons,
(Acts x. 34.) "There is no Respect of Persons with him." (Rom. ii. 11.) Again, from that Text," The Children being not yet born, neither having done Good or Evil, that the Purpose of GOD according to Election, might stand, not of Works, but of him that calleth▪ It was said unto her (unto Rebecca) The Elder shall serve the Younger." You infer, that our being Predestinated or Elect, no way depends on the Fore-knowledge of GOD: Flatly contrary to this, are all the Scriptures; and those in particular, "Elect, according to the Fore-knowledge of GOD." (1 Pet. i. 2.)
Whom he did Fore-know, he also did Predestinate.
(Rom. viii. 29.)

20. And,

The same Lord over all, is rich in Mercy to all that call upon him.
(Rom. x. 12.) But you say,
No, He is such only to those for whom Christ died. And those are not All, but only a Few, Whom GOD hath chosen out of the World: For he died not for All, but only for those who were chosen in him before the Foundation of the World.
(Eph. i. 2.) Flatly contrary to Page  21 your Interpretation of those Scriptures also, is the whole Tenor of the New Testament; as are in particular those Texts,
Destroy not him with thy Meat, for whom Christ died.
(Rom. xiv. 15.) A clear Proof that Christ died, not only for those that we saved, but also for them that perish. He is "the Saviour of the World," (John iv. 42.) He is
the Lamb of GOD that taketh away the Sins of the World.
(John i. 29.)
He is the Propitia|tion, not for our Sins only, but also for the Sins of the whole World.
(1 John ii. 2.)
He (the living GOD) is the Saviour of all Men.
(1 Tim. iv. 10.)
He gave himself a Ransom for All.
(Tim. ii. 6.) "He tasted Death for all Men." (Heb. ii. 9.)

21. If you ask,

Why then are not all Men saved?
The whole Law and the Testimony an|swer, first, not because of any Decree of GOD, not because it is his Pleasure they should die: For,
as I live saith the Lord GOD, I have no Pleasure in the Death of him that dieth.
(Ezek. xviii. 32.) Whatever be the Cause of their perishing, it can|not be his Will, if the Oracles of GOD are true; for they declare,
He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to Repentance.
(2 Pet. iii. 9.) He willeth that all Men should be saved. And they, secondly, declare, What is the Cause why all Men are not saved; namely, that they will not be saved: So our LORD expresly, Page  22
They will not come unto me that they may have Life.
(John v. 40.)
The Power of the LORD is present to heal them; but they will not be healed. They reject the Counsel,
the merciful Counsel of GOD, against themselves, as did their Stiff-necked Forefathers. And therefore are they without Excuse, because GOD would save them, but they will not be saved: This is the Condemna|tion,
How often would I have gathered you toge|ther, and ye would not.
(Mat. xxiii. 37.)

22. Thus manifestly does this Doctrine tend to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation, by ma|king it contradict itself; by giving such an Inter|pretation of some Texts, as flatly contradicts all the other Texts; and indeed the whole Scope and Terror of Scripture. An abundant Proof that it is not of GOD. But neither is this all. For se|venthly, It is a Doctrine full of Blasphemy; of such Blasphemy as I should dread to mention, but that the Honour of our gracious GOD, and the Cause of his Truth, will not suffer me to be silent. In the Cause of GOD then, and from a sincere Concern for the Glory of his Great Name, I will mention a few of the Horrible Blasphemies, con|tained in this Horrible Doctrine. But first, I must warn every one of you that hears, as ye will answer it at the Great Day, not to charge me (as some have done) with Blaspheming, because I mention the Blasphemy of others. And the more you are Page  23 grieved with them that do thus blaspheme, see that ye confirm your Love towards them the more; and that your Heart's Desire, and continual Prayer to GOD be,

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

23. This premised, let it be observed, That this Doctrine represents our blessed Lord, JESUS CHRIST the Righteous, the only begotten Son of the Father, full of Grace and Truth, as an Hypocrite, a Deceiver of the People, a Man void of common Sincerity. For it cannot be denied, that he every where speaks, as if he was willing that all Men should be saved. Therefore to say, He was not willing that all Men should be saved, is to repre|sent him as a mere Hypocrite and Dissembler. It can't be denied that the gracious Words which came out of his Mouth, are full of Invitations. To say then, He did not intend to save all Sinners, is to represent him as a gross Deceiver of the People. You cannot deny, that he says,

Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden.
If then you say, He calls those that cannot come, those whom he knows to be unable to come; those whom he can make able to come, but will not; how is it possible to describe greater Insincerity? You repre|sent him as mocking his helpless Creatures, by of|fering what he never intends to give. You describe him as saying one Thing, and meaning another: As pretending the Love which he had not. Him, Page  24in whose Mouth was no Guile, you'll make full of Deceit, void of common Sincerity: Then especially, when drawing nigh the City, He wept over it, and said,
O Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto Thee; How often WOULD I have gathered thy Children togetherand YE WOULD NOT.
['Ethelesa kai 'uk 'ethelesate.] Now, if you say, They wou'd, but He wou'd not, you represent him (which who could hear?) as weeping Crocodiles Tears, weeping over the Prey which himself had doom'd to Destruction.

24. Such Blasphemy this, as one would think might make the Ears of a Christian to tingle. But there is yet more behind; for just as it honours the Son, so doth this Doctrine honour the Father. It destroys all his Attributes at once. It overturns both his Justice, Mercy and Truth. Yea, it re|presents the most holy GOD as worse than the Devil; as both more false, more cruel and more unjust. More False; because the Devil, Liar as he is, hath never said,

He willeth all Men to be saved.
More Unjust, because the Devil can|not, if he wou'd, be guilty of such Injustice as you ascribe to GOD, when you say, That GOD con|demned Millions of Souls to everlasting Fire pre|pared for the Devil and his Angels for continuing in Sin, which for want of that Grace he will not give them, they cannot avoid; And more Cruel, Page  25 because that unhappy Spirit seeketh Rest and findeth none; so that his own restless Misery is a kind of Temptation to him to tempt others. But GOD resteth in his high and Holy Place: So that to sup|pose him of his own mere Motion, of his pure Will and Pleasure, happy as he is, to doom his Creatures, whether they will or no, to endless Misery; is to impute such Cruelty to him, as we cannot impute even to the great Enemy of GOD and Man. It is to represent the most High GOD (He that hath Ears to hear, let him hear!) as more Cruel, False, and Unjust than the Devil.

25. This is the Blasphemy clearly contained in the Horrible Decree of Predestination. And here I fix my Foot. On this I join Issue with every As|sertor of it. You represent GOD as worse than the Devil: More False, more Cruel, more Unjust. "But, you say, you will prove it by Scripture." Hold! What will you prove by Scripture? That GOD is worse than the Devil? It cannot be. What|ever that Scripture proves, it never can prove this. Whatever its true Meaning be, this cannot be its true Meaning. Do you ask,

What is its true Meaning then? If I say, I know not,
you have gain'd Nothing. For there are many Scrip|tures, the true Sense whereof neither you not I shall know, till Death is swallowed up in Victory. But this I know, Better it were to say, It had no Sense at all; than to say it had such a Sense as this. It cannot mean, whatever it mean besides, that the Page  26 GOD of Truth is a Lyar. Let it mean what it will, it cannot mean that the Judge of all the World is unjust. No Scripture can mean, that GOD is not Love, or that his Mercy is not over all his Works. That is, Whatever it prove beside, no Scripture can prove Predestination.

26. This is the Blasphemy for which, (however I love the Persons who assert it) I abhor the Doc|trine of Predestination. A Doctrine, upon the Sup|position of which, if one could possibly suppose it for a Moment, (call it Election, Reprobation, or what you please, for all comes to the same Thing) one might say to our Adversary the Devil,

Thou Fool, why dost thou roar about any longer? Thy lying in Wait for Souls is as needless and useless as our Preaching. Hearest thou not, that GOD hath taken thy Work out of thy Hands? And that he doth it much more effectually? Thou, with all thy Principalities and Powers, canst only so assault, that we may resist thee: But he can irresistibly destroy both Body and Soul in Hell! Thou canst only entice; but his unchangeable Decree, to leave Thousands of Souls in Death, compels them to continue in Sin, 'till they drop into everlasting Burnings. Thou temptest. He forceth us to be damn'd. For we cannot resist his Will. Thou Fool, why goest thou about any longer, seeking whom thou mayest devour? Hearest thou not, that GOD is the devouring Lion, the Destroyer of Souls, the Murderer of Page  27 Men? Moloch caused only Children to pass thro' the Fire; and that the Fire was soon quenched▪ or the corruptible Body being consumed, its Tor|ment was at an End. But GOD, thou art told, by his Eternal Decree, fixed before they had done Good or Evil, causes not only Children of a Span long, but the Parents also to pass thro' the Fire of Hell: That Fire which never shall be quenched; and the Body which is cast thereinto, being now incorruptible and immortal, will be ever con|suming, and never consumed: But the Smoak of their Torment, because it is GOD's good Pleasure, ascendeth up for ever and ever.

27. O how would the Enemy of GOD and Man rejoice to hear these Things were so! How would he cry aloud and spare not! How would he lift up his Voice and say,

To your Tents, O Israel! Flee from the Face of this GOD, or ye shall ut|terly perish. But whither will ye flee? Into Hea|ven? He is there. Down to Hell? He is there also. Ye cannot flee from an omnipresent al|mighty Tyrant. And whether ye flee or stay, I call Heaven his Throne, and Earth his Foot|stool to witness against you, ye shall perish, ye shall die eternally. Sing, O Hell, and rejoice ye that are under the Earth! For GOD, even the mighty GOD, hath spoken, and devoted to Death Thousands of Souls from the Rising up of the Sun, unto the Going down thereof. Here, O Death is thy Sting! They shall not, cannot Page  28 Escape. For the Mouth of the LORD hath spo|ken it. Here, O Grave, is thy Victory! Nati|ons yet unborn, or ever they have done Good or Evil, are doom'd never to see the Light of Life, but thou shalt gnaw upon them for ever and ever. Let all those Morning-Stars sing together, who fell with Lucifer, Son of the Morning. Let all the Sons of Hell shout for Joy! For the Decree is past, and who shall disannul it?

28. Yea, the Decree is past. And so it was be|fore the Foundation of the World. But what De|cree? Even this;

I will set before the Sons of Men Life and Death, Blessing and Cursing. And the Soul that chuseth Life, shall live, as the Soul that chuseth Death shall die. This Decree, whereby "whom GOD did foreknow, he did predestinate,
was indeed from everlasting: This, whereby all who suffer CHRIST to make them alive, are Elect, according "to the Fore-knowledge of GOD, now standeth fast, even as the Moon, and as the faithful Witness in Heaven: And when Heaven and Earth shall pass away, yet this shall not pass away; for it is as unchangeable and eternal, as is the Being of GOD that gave it. This Decree yields the strongest Encouragement, to abound in all Good Works, and in all Holiness: And it is a Well spring of Joy, of Happiness also, to our great and endless Comfort. This is worthy of GOD. It is every Way consistent with all the Perfections of his Na|ture. It gives us the noblest View both of his Page  29 Justice, Mercy, and Truth. To this agrees the whole Scope of the Christian Revelation, as well as all the Parts thereof. To this Moses and all the Prophets bear Witness, and our Blessed LORD and all his Apostles. Thus Moses, in the Name of his LORD, "I call Heaven and Earth to record against you this Day, that I have set before you Life and Death, Blessing and Cursing; therefore chuse Life that thou and thy Seed may live." Thus Ezekiel (to cite one Prophet for all) "The Soul that sinneth it shall die: The Son shall not bear (eternally) the Iniquity of the Father (xviii. 20.) The Righteousness of the Righteous shall be upon him, and the Wickedness of the Wicked shall be upon him." Thus our blessed LORD, "It any Man thirst, let him come to me and drink." (John vii. 37.) Thus his great Apostle St. Paul (Acts xvii. 30.) "GOD commandeth ALL MEN, every where, to repent." "ALL MEN, every where:" Every Man in every Place, without any Exception, either of Place or Person. Thus St. James, "If any of you lack Wisdom, let him ask of GOD, who giveth to all Men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." (James 1. 5.) Thus St. Peter (2 Pet. iii. 9.) "The LORD isnot wil|ling that any should perish, but that all should come to Repentance." And thus St. John, "If any Man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,—and he is the Propitiation for our Sins: And not for ours only, but for the Sins of the whole World; (1 Joh. ii. 1, 2.)

29. O hear ye this, ye that forget GOD! Ye Page  30 cannot charge your Death upon him. "Have I any Pleasure at all, that the Wicked should die, saith the Lord GOD? (Ezek. xviii. 23, &c.) Repent and turn from all your Transgressions: So Iniquity shall not be your Ruin. Cast away from you all your Transgressions, whereby ye have transgrest,for why will ye die, O House of Israel? for I have no Pleasure in the Death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD. Wherefore turn yourselves and live ye." "As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked. Turn ye, turn ye from your Evil Ways: For why will ye die, O House of Israel? (Ezek. xxxiii. 11.)