“According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love—having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” — Eph 1:4-5
It is a very solemn but a very true assertion, that no man can quicken his own soul; and it is an equally solemn, we might almost say, a tremendous truth, that the gospel only comes in power to those whom God has chosen unto eternal life. Indeed the one flows from the other; for if no man can quicken his own soul, it necessarily follows it must be of sovereign grace that it is quickened at all. Once allow the fall, and acknowledge that a man is by nature so thoroughly dead in trespasses and sins that he cannot raise himself up out of this state to newness of life, and the doctrine of election necessarily follows.
A living soul may reason thus—“Am I quickened? Yes. Did I quicken myself? No. I could not; for I was dead in sin. Did God then quicken me? Who but he could have given life to my dead soul? But why did he quicken me, when dead in sins? Because he loved me, and chose me in Christ to be an heir of his eternal glory.” Whether, however, you can speak thus or not, there is no doubt that the Lord has a people who are dear to him, and to whom he makes himself dear. These, though despised of, or unnoticed by men, are the elect of God; and if you are a vessel of mercy whom he has thus chosen to eternal life, the gospel either has already come, or, in his own time and way, will be made to come with power to your heart and conscience.