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IRENEUS. A. D. 180.

IRENEUS has several passages in his writings which favour this doctrine. Allegorizing the history of Lot's wife, he thus expresses himself *: "The church, which is the salt of the earth, is left in the confines of the earth, suffering the things which are human; and whilst whole members are often taken away from it, perseverat statua salis quod est firmamentum fidei, firmans et præmittens filios ad Patrem ipsorum, the pillar of salt continues, which is the firmament of faith, confirming and sending before the children to their Father." He speaks of the grace of love as an abiding one: "Love," says he†, "perfects the perfect man; and he that loves God is perfect both in this world, and in that which is to come; nunquam enim desivimus diligentes Deum, for we never cease loving God, but the more we look upon him, the more we love him." He also represents the Spirit of God as never leaving the man he has taken up his residence in; for, he says, "The breath of life is one thing, which makes the man animal, and another the quickening Spirit, which makes him spiritual. That which is made is different from him that makes it, wherefore the breath is temporal, το δε Πνευμα aervaor, the Spirit eternal.” The breath indeed is vigorous for a little while, and remains some time, after which it goes away, leaving it breathless where it was before; but the Spirit encompasses man within and without, ατε αει παραμονιμον ουδέποτε καταλείπει auтov, as always abiding, and never leaves him." Yea, he represents it as blasphemy to say, that the members of Christ shall not be saved, but destroyed; for he makes this observation on 1 Cor. iii. 17, If any one defile the temple of God, &c.: Templum igitur Dei in quo Spiritus inhabitat Patris, et membra Christi non participare salutem, sed in perditionem redigi dicere, quomodo non maxima est blasphemiæ ? "Therefore to say, that the temple of God, in which the Spirit of the Father dwells, and the members of Christ, shall not partake of salvation, but be brought down to destruction, is it not the highest blasphemy?" Vossius § refers to a chapter in Irenæus |, as militating against the doctrine of the saints' final perseverance, in which are these expressions: "All are of the same nature, and able to retain and do good, and able to lose it again and not do it." And a little after ¶, "Disobedience to God, and loss of good, are indeed in the power man." But it should be known and observed, that Irenæus is disputing against those heretics who held, that some men were by nature good, and others evil; whereas, he says, they are all of the same nature, as at first created by God, capable of doing good and evil. Besides, he speaks only of the loss of natural and moral good in the natural man, and not of the loss of spiritual good, or of supernatural + Ib. c. 25, p. 342.

*Iren. adv. Hæres. 1. 4, c. 51, p. 392.

Ib. 1. 5, c. 12, p. 450; vide Fragm. Græc. ad Calcem Irenæi. § Hist. Pelag. 1. 6, thes. 12, p. 566. Adv. Hæres. 1. 4, c. 72, p. 417.


Ib. p. 418.

grace in the regenerate man. Moreover, Irenæus has a passage in the very same chapter* which seems to favour the saints' perseverance ; for he says, that "the Lord bore all these things for us, that by all things being learned in all, we might be cautious for the future, et perseveremus in omni ejus dilectione, and persevere in all love to him."

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THE letter of the Martyrs in France I place here, because it is thought by some learned men † to have been drawn up by Irenæus, who was first a presbyter, and then bishop of the church at Lyons. In what year it was written is not certainly known; it must be after the death of Pothinus, predecessor to Irenæus, since it gives an account of his martyrdom. The letter is written in a truly grand, noble, Christian spirit; it begins thus: "The servants of Christ dwelling in Vienna, and Lyons in France, to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia, which have the same faith and hope of redemption with us, peace, and grace, and glory, from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord." In it they give an account of the sufferings and martyrdom of many excellent and godly persons in those parts, how bravely they endured, persevered, and held out to the end; which constancy and perseverance they all along ascribe to the grace and power of God. Among other expressions they have these t: "When," say they, "we were not only driven from houses, baths, and markets, but were entirely forbid to appear in any place, αντιστρατήγει δε η χαρις του Θεου, the grace of God fought for us against the adversary," and delivered the weak, and set against him firm or solid pillars, able, through patience, to draw upon themselves the whole force or power of the wicked one." And a little after § they make mention of others, "who were bitterly tormented, insomuch that it seemed as though they could not live, notwithstanding every kind of medicine they made use of; they remained in prison, destitute indeed of the help and care of men, but avaрpwvvμevoι vпо Tоν Κυριου και ενδυναμούμενοι και σωματι και ψυχη, being afresh strengthened by the Lord, and enabled or assisted in body and soul,' they stirred up and comforted the rest." And of Blundina, in particular, they say, that "though she was little, and weak, and despicable, yet, μεγαν και ακαταγώνιστον αθλητην Χριστον ενδεδυμενη, being clothed with that great and invincible champion, Christ,' many a time overcame the enemy, and through the combat is crowned with the crown of immortality." And after having taken notice of some who had denied the faith at first, afterwards, beyond the expectation of the heathens, made a confession of it; whereby Christ was greatly glorified, and all they were added to the number of the martyrs. They speak of others after this manner ¶: But they remained without, οι μη δε ίχνος πωποτε


*Adv. Hæres. 1. 4, c. 72, p. 419.

+ Vide Vales. Anuot. in Euseb. Eccl. Hist. 1. 5, c. 1, p. 86; Fabricii Bibl. Græc. 1. 5, c. 1, In Euseb. Eccl. Hist. 1. 5, c. 1, p. 155. § Ib. p. 159. Ib. p. 162. ¶ Ib. p. 163.

p. 74.

πιστεως, 'who never had the least appearance of faith,' nor sense of the wedding garment, nor understanding of the fear of God, but through their whole conversation caused the way to be blasphemed; that is to say, the sons of perdition." From whence it appears, that these early pious Christians, as they observe that such as had the true grace of God held out to the end, which they ascribe to the power of God; so such as finally and totally fell away, were such who never had the root of the matter in them.



CLEMENT of Alexandria frequently suggests the stability and permanency of such as have received the grace of God. Thus allegorizing Isaac's sporting with Rebecca his spouse, whom he makes to signify the church; "which has," says he," a firm and solid name put upon her, νпоμоνε, 'patience;' either because she only eis тovs alwvas pével, ' abides for ever,' always rejoicing; or because she consists of the patience of believers, who are the members of Christ, and the testimony of them των εις τέλος υπομειναντων, that endure to the end.” And in another place he says, "David cries out, The righteous shall not be moved for ever, neither by deceitful words, nor by deceitful pleasure; hence neither shall he be moved from his own inheritance, nor shall he be afraid of evil tidings, nor of vain calumny, nor of false opinion that is about him." And elsewhere ‡, speaking of a devout and religious person, he says, that “such a soul ου διορίζεται ποτε του Θεου κατ' ουδενα kaupov, shall never at any time be separated from God." Having cited Psalm xlviii. 12, he gives this sense of the words§: "It signifies, I think, that such who have received the word from on high, shall be high as towers, και βεβαίως εν τε τη πίστει και τη γνωσει στησεσθαι, and shall stand firmly in faith and knowledge." Both which, namely, faith and knowledge, he often represents as abiding and durable: of the former he has these expressions || "The life of Christians, which we are now giving some instructions about, is a certain system of rational actions, that is, of those things which are taught by the Logos, or Word, adiαπштоs Eveруelα, ‘a never-failing energy,' which we indeed have called faith." And in another place, "Faith, I say, whether it is founded on love or on fear, is something divine, unтe vñо a φιλιας κοσμικής διασπωμένην, μητε υπο φοβον παροντος διαλυομενην, which cannot be pulled asunder by any other worldly friendship, nor be dissolved by present fear." And elsewhere**, "Faith is toxus es σwtnισχυς εις σωτηριαν και δύναμις εις ζωήν αιώνιον, strength unto salvation, and a power unto everlasting life." Yea, he observes ++, "The power of faith is such, that it exceeds every thing that is contrary to it, Kaι avтov oλov ενισταμένου του κόσμου, and even the whole world itself that stands in *Clement. Pædagog. 1. 1, c. 5, p. 90, 91. § Ib. 1. 7, p. 749.

+ Ib. Stromat. 1. 6, p. 655.
|| Ib. Pædagog. 1. 1, c. 13, p. 136.
** Ib.


Ib. 670.

¶ Ib. Stromat. 1. 2, p. 372.

tt Ib. 1. 6, p. 674.


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the way of it." To which may be added another passage of Clement's: "I am persuaded that neither death, which is inflicted by persecutors, nor the life which we here live, nor angels, the apostate ones, nor principalities, the principality of Satan, which is the life he chooses, for such are the principalities and powers of darkness, according to him; nor things present, among which we are in this time of life, as the hope of the soldier, the gain of the merchant; nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, by an operation proper to men, resists the faith of him who makes a free choice. Creature, synonymously, is called operation, being our work, and such an operation cannot separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." And as to the continuance of true spiritual knowledge he thus expresses himself: "Divine instruction," says he, “kτημa eσtiv eis ael mapaμevov, is a possession that abides for ever." Yea, he speaks of it as what cannot be lost: "To him that has by exercise, proceeding from knowledge," says he, "got that virtue which cannot be lost, the habit of it becomes natural, and as heaviness to a stone, ουτως τουδε η επιστημη avаTOBANTOS, so his knowledge cannot be lost,' neither unwillingly nor willingly; by the power of reason, knowledge, and providence, it is so established that it cannot be lost; through a godly fear it becomes so as that it cannot be lost. The greatest thing therefore is the knowledge of God, because this is so preserved that virtue cannot be lost." This perseverance of the saints is ascribed by Clement, not to themselves, but to the power and kindness of their Lord. "We shall not fall," says he §, "into corruption, who pass through into incorruption, oτi avoεceτaι nμov avtos, 'because he sustains us ;' for he hath said, and he will do it." And a little after he says ||, that "his, that is, Christ's goodness towards them, who through hearing have believed, is aμeraKINTOS TE Kaι appens, immoveable, and turns neither one way nor another." Vossius ¶ refers to this writer as favouring the saints' apostacy; who does indeed, in the book** referred to, cite Heb. x. 26, and observes, that those who go on sinning and repenting, repenting and sinning, do not at all differ from such who never believed; and that he knows not which is worse, to sin wilfully, or to repent for sin, and sin again; but then he gives no intimations, that he thought that such had ever received the true grace of God, who go on at this rate, and were now fallen from it. I have produced two passages out of the same book in proof of the doctrine of perseverance.



TERTULLIAN was no stranger to the doctrine of the saints' final perseverance. "Satan," he says ++, "cannot do anything against the servants of the living God, unless he permits, ut aut ipsum destruat per

* Clement. Strom. 1.4, p. 512. † Ib. Pædagog. 1. 1, c. 7, p. 109. ‡ Ib. Stromat. 1. 7, p. 726. § Ib. Pædagog. 1. 1, c. 9, p. 125. || Ib. p. 126. Hist. Pelag. 1. 6, thes. 12, p. 566. Tertull. de Fuga in Persecut. c. 2, p. 690.

**Stromat. 1. 2, p. 385.

fidem electorum in tentatione victricem, aut homines ejus fuisse traducat, qui defecerint ad eum, either that he may destroy him through the faith of the elect, which overcomes in temptation, or that he may openly show that the men were his, who fell off to him." You have an example in Job. So he desired power to tempt the apostles, not having it but by permission; since the Lord in the gospel says to Peter, Satan hath desired that he might sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; ne tantum Diabolo permitteretur, ut fides periclitaretur, lest only it should be permitted to the devil, as that faith should be in danger;' whereby is showed, that both are with God, the shaking of faith, and the protection of it; since both are desired of him, shaking by the devil, protection by the Son; and seeing the Son of God has the protection of faith in his own power, which he requested of the Father, from whom he receives all power in heaven and in earth; how can the devil have the shaking of faith in his own hand?" And a little after he observes*, that "the legion of devils had had no power over the herd of swine, unless they had obtained it of God; tantum abest ut in oves Dei habeat, so far are they from having any over the sheep of God.' The devil seems now to enjoy his own power, si forte in eos qui ad Deum non pertinent, though perhaps over them who do not belong to God." Moreover, against the household of God he can do nothing of his own power; for when he is allowed, the instances in Scripture demonstrate from what causes it is; for either the power of tempting is granted to him, provoked or provoking, for the sake of probation, as in the cases above; or for the sake of reprobation, is the sinner delivered to him as to an executioner for punishment, as Saul;-or for the sake of restraint, as the apostle relates, that there was given him a staff, a messenger of Satan to buffet him. Nor is this kind permitted to the devil, for the humbling of the saints, by afflicting the flesh; nisi simul ut et virtus tolerantiæ scilicet in infirmitate perfici possit, "unless that also, at the same time, the power of patience might be made perfect, namely, in weakness." He elsewhere suggests +, that it is impossible the elect of God should be destroyed by Satan, notwithstanding all the signs and wonders done by him. "God forbid," says he, "that we should believe that the soul of any saint, much less of a prophet, should be drawn out by the devil, who are taught, that Satan may be transfigured into an angel of light; not only into a man of light; yea, that in the end he will affirm himself to be God, and will do more wondrous signs, ad evertendos si fieri possit electos, to destroy the elect, if possible."

Moreover, Tertullian asserts, that the work of God cannot be lost, extinguished, or cease; "for what is of God," says he ‡, "is not so extinguished, as it is overshadowed; for it may be overshadowed, because it is not God; it cannot be extinguished, because it is of God." And if this is true of natural good, which God puts into men, of which he seems to speak, it must be much more so of supernatural good *Tertull. de Fuga in Persecut. c. 2, p. 691.

Ib. c. 41, p. 342.

Ib. de Anima, c. 57, p. 356.

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