THERE remains on the foregoing subject one anxious question for us to ask and for our consciences to answer: are such speculations profitable, or are they trivial?
Profitable they are, if and so far as they encourage any poor soul to tread the path of obedience.
And perhaps they may effect this, because either line of thought (such as it is) tends to testify: that election is certified, and final perseverance is achieved, by one and the same process open to us all alike,--by simple obedience.
The mystery of predestination or of election may baffle our intellects: obedience will assuredly not transcend our powers.
And there is a second way in which our problem may, I hope, prove helpful: this shall we do, and leave weightier matters undone? We should have been--or at least, I should have been disappointed not to reach an accurate intelligible result by the foregoing calculation. A degree of shame often adds a sting to disappointment; for often we have ourselves, our own rashness or negligence to thank for our failures.
What will it be to have misstated or misworked the whole problem of life; to behold at length the perfect number of the elect made up to the last man, woman, child; and ourselves (God forbid!) to be left out in shame and everlasting contempt?