ELECTION A DIVISIVE DOCTRINE
The preaching of the sovereignty of God, as exercised by Him in foreordaining the eternal destiny of each of His creatures, serves as an effectual flail to divide the chaff from the wheat. “He that is of God heareth God’s words” (John 8:47): yes, no matter how contrary they may be to his ideas. It is one of the marks of the regenerate that they set to their seal that God is true. Nor do they pick and choose, as will religious hypocrites: once they perceive a truth is clearly taught in the Word, even though it be utterly opposed to their own reason and inclinations, they humbly bow to it and implicitly receive it, and would do so though not another person in whole world believed it. But it is far otherwise with the unregenerate. As the apostle declares, “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5, 6).
We know of nothing so divisive between the sheep and the goats as a faithful exposition of this doctrine.
If a servant of God accepts some new charge, and he wishes to ascertain which of his people desire the pure milk of the Word, and which prefer the Devil’s substitutes, let him deliver a series of sermons on this subject, and it will quickly be the means of “taking forth the precious from the vile” (Jer. 15:19). It was thus in the experience of the Divine Preacher: when Christ announced “no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father,” we are told, “from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:65, 66)! True it is that by no means all who intellectually receive “Calvinism” as a philosophy or theology, give evidence (in their daily lives) of regeneration; yet equally true is it that those who continue to cavil against and steadfastly refuse any part of the truth, are not entitled to be regarded as Christians.