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end, to fufpend their happinefs on condition of their perfeverance; which is faid to be done in these words. But it should be obferv'd, that the crown of life, or eternal happinefs, is not a bleffing fufpended; fince it' never was promised, nor ever expected to be enjoy'd before death, much lefs fufpended on any condition whatever, to be performed by us; fince it is a gift, a gift wholly of free grace. Faithfulnefs unto death is not here' made the condition of enjoying the crown of life, but the gift of the crown of life is made the encouragement to faithfulness unto death. In the fame light are we to confider James i. 12. and the words of our Lord, in Matt. xxiv. 12, 13. Because iniquity fhall abound, not because tribulations do abound, as Dr. Whitby cites the words, The love of many fhall wax cold; but be that fhall endure to the end, the fame fhall be faved; where enduring to the end, is not the condition of falvation; but the promise of falvation is the encouragement to endure to the end.

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III. A third paffage referred to, is the exhortation to the church at Pergamus, not Ephefus, as Dr. Whitby, through mistake, calls it: Repent, or elfe I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with

Vid. Whitby, p. 431.

Ib. p. 432.


the fword of my mouth. This church is fo far from being an inftance of the apoftafy of real faints, that fhe is commended for holding faft the name of Christ, and not denying his faith in the worst of places, and in the worst of times; even where Satan's feat was, and wherein Antipas, a faithful martyr, was flain; and though there were fome among them who held the doctrines, and followed the practices of Balaam and the Nicolaitans; which should have been matter of humiliation, and on the account of which, Chrift exhorts to repentance; and though he says, that he will come to her quickly, that is in a providential way; yet not to fight against her, but them; for he fays not, I will fight against thee, the church, as Dr. Whitby inadvertently reads the words, but against them, the Balaamites and Nicolaitans; and that not with the temporal fword, but with the fword of his mouth, the word of God. The paffage out of the epiftle to the church at Thyatira, being much the fame with what is alledged from the epiftle to the church at Philadelphia will be confider'd with it. I proceed,


IV. To examine the inftance of the church at Sardis. There were but few true believers in this church; she had a name to live,

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but was dead; fhe had but a few names which had not defiled their garments; and therefore the defection of her, is no proof of the apoftafy of real faints. The things which remain, the is called upon to ftrengthen, are not to be understood of the graces of the Spirit in her members; fince these are never really wafting and declining, they are always all they were, and never lefs; but continually on the growing, thriving and increafing hand; for this good work of grace is daily carrying on, whether the faints are fenfible of it or no,. and will be performed until the day of Chrift; nor can the graces of the Spirit die, being immortal and incorruptible feeds; nor are they ever ready to die, unlefs in the apprehenfions of faints under fits of unbelief: Befides, it is God's work, and not man's, to ftrengthen these; and fhould these be intended in this paffage, it would be no proof of the real lofs of true grace; fince these are faid not to be dead, but ready to die, and recoverable. τὰ λοιπὰ, were the remaining members of this church; which fenfe is confirmed by the verfions of the Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Vulgar Latin, and others. The majority of the members were already dead, and many others of them were fickly, and ready to die; the angel or paftor of this church is called upon to do his duty, to confirm fuch as were wavering, and do all that in him




lay, by a diligent preaching of the word, and confam adminiftration of ordinances, to preferve them from a more general detection. The threating in der 3. regards the formal and Hfeleis part of this church, and as for the ref, the few undeħed names in Sardis, a promise of perseverance and happiness is made unto them: The fall walk with me in witte; for thee cre worthy, He that voercometh, the "ome hall be clothed in white raiment ; end I wid mot blot out his name cut of the book of life, but I wil confes his name before my Father, and before bis angels.

V. When Chrift fars to the church at

Thyatira, • That which we have chreads, not what thou baft attained to, as Dr. Whitby cites the words, * Hold fat till I come; and to that of Philadelphia, Hold that fat which theu bajt, that no man take thy crown`s by what they had, and fhould hold fast, he does not mean the grace, but the doctrine of faith, the faithful word, the form of found words; which both minifters and members fhould hold faft, in oppofition to wavering about it, cowardice in it, and a departure from it; and fuch exhortations, though they may imply that faints may have

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their temptations to, and there is a poffibility that they may fall from fome degree of stedfaftnefs in the doctrines of the gofpel, and therefore fhould be on their guard; yet not that they may, or fhall finally and totally let them go. And whereas the faints are stirred up to regard the more fuch exhortations from this confideration, that no man take their crown; by which may be meant, either the gofpel, which was their crown and glory; or the honour they had gain'd by their faithfulness and integrity in abiding by it; or if eternal life is intended by it, it follows not that this is liable to be taken away from, or be loft to true believers, tho' fome profeffors who expect it, will be difappointed of it; but the defign of the expreffion, in allufion to the olympic games, in which many ran, but one received the prize, is to excite the faints to industry, diligence and watchfulness,


VI. When Chrift fays to the church of the Laodiceans; • Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor bot, I will pue thee out of my mouth; let it be observed, that the ftate of this church, and the nembers of it, was fuch, that he was not cold, without a principle of fpiritual life and love, and a profeffion of religion; nor hot, lively,

Rev. ii. 15. vid. Remonftr. in Coll. Hag. Art. v. p. 14.


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