Outline of John Edwards' God's Sovereignty in the Salvation of Men

Romans 9:18. We observe in the text,

  1. God's different dealing with men. He hath mercy on some, and hardeneth others.
  2. The foundation of his different dealing w/mankind; viz. his sovereign will and pleasure.
Doctrine. God exercises his sovereignty in the eternal salvation of men.
  1. The sovereignty of God is his absolute, independent right of disposing of all creatures according to his own pleasure. The will of God is called his mere pleasure:
    1. In opposition to any constraint,
    2. In opposition to its being under the will of another,
    3. In opposition to any proper obligation.
  2. What God's sovereignty in the salvation of men implies.
    1. God can, without predudice to the glory of any of his attributes, bestow salvation on any of the children of men, except on those who have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost.
      1. God may save any of them without prejudice to the honour of his holiness.
      2. God may save any of the children of men without prejudice to the honour of his majesty.
      3. God may save any sinner whatsoever consistently with his justice.
      4. God can save any sinner whatsoever, without any prejudice to the honour of his truth.
    2. God may refuse salvation to any sinner whatsoever, without prejudice to the honour of any of his attributes.
      1. God may deny salvation to any natural person without any injury to the honour of his righteousness.
      2. God may deny salvation to any unconverted person whatever without any prejudice to the honour of his goodness.
      3. It is in no way prejudicial to the honour of God's faithfulness.
  3. God does actually exercise his sovereignty in men's salvation.
    1. In calling one people or nation, and giving them the means of grace, and leaving others without them.
    2. In the advantages he bestows upon particular persons.
    3. In sometimes bestowing salvation upon the low and mean, and denying it to the wise and great.
    4. In bestowing salvation on some who have had few advantages.
    5. In calling some to salvation, who have been very heinously wicked, and leaving others, who have been moral and religious persons.
    6. In saving some of those who seek salvation, and not others.
  4. The reasons for this exercise.
    1. It is agreeable to God's design in the creation of the universe to exercise every attribute, and thus to manifest the glory of each of them.
    2. The more excellent the creature is over whom God is sovereign, and the greater the matter in which he so appears, the more glorious is his sovereignty.
  1. Hence we learn how absolutely we are dependent on God in this great matter of the eternal salvation of our souls.
  2. Let us with the greatest humility adore the awful and absolute sovereignty of God.
  3. Those who are in a state of salvation are to attribute it to sovereign grace alone, and to give all the praise to him, who maketh them to differ from others.
  4. Hence we learn what cause we have to admire the grace of God, that he should condescend to become bound to us by covenant; etc. Let us, therefore, labour to submit to the sovereignty of God.
  5. To guard those who seek salvation from two opposite extremes - presumption and discouragement.