Oh how happy to be engaged in the work of sharing the gospel. What joy knowing that the elect are out there and that they will hear and respond to the call of their Shepherd (John 10v27) their Saviour! We see much of the Lord’s joy that we can share, in the parable of the widows coin (Luke 15 v8-10.)
There be some preparatory colors in dying of cloth, as blue, that dispose the cloth for other colors more easily; so it is here. And a fish that hath swallowed the bait, and is in the bosom of the net, is nearer being taken, than a fish free and swimming in the ocean. Yet a fish may break the net, and cut the angle, and not be taken. A legally fitted man may be not far from the kingdom of God, Mark 12:34, and yet never enter in. And those same dispositions, in relation to God’s end in saving the elect, are often means and disposing occasions, fitting souls for conversion. Though some be like a piece of gold lying in the dirt, yet it is both true metal, and hath the king’s stamp on it, and is of equal worth with that which goeth current in the market. So, in regard of God’s eternal election, many are in the way of sin, and not converted as yet, notwithstanding all the luster of foregoing preparations, though they be as truly the elect of God as either those that are converted, yea or glorified in heaven; yet their preparations do lead them, in regard of an higher power (that they see not) to saving grace.