Page images
PDF
EPUB

ye

be re

glory of God.” 2 Cor. xiii. 5. “examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith ; prove your own selves : know not

your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye probates ?

But “ Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, Eph. iii. 17. Hence we are enjoined to prove our faith, lest we should be reprobates ; not our election, which cannot be sure without faith.

CONTINUE IN FAITH AND LOVE. Heb. vi. 18-20. “ that we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” x. 22, 23. “ let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water : let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.” 2 Pet. i. 9—11. "he that lacketh these things, is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins: wherefore the rather, brethren, &c. .. .. for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 1 John iii. 14. know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." iv. 18. “ there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear.” Rev. ii. 17. “ to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Here each is represented as receiving the stone, or pledge of election, after he has individually obtained the victory..

HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED. Rom. v. 9, 10. “much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him : for if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” We are only justified, however, through faith.

ADOPTED. Rom. viii. 15, 16.“ 'ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father."

ON THE TESTIMONY OF THE SPIRIT. Rom. viii. 16. “ the Spirit itself bearetli witness with our Spirit that we are the children of God." Eph. i. 13, 14. “in whom ye also trusted

we

after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." iv. 30. “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” 1 Thess. v. 19.“quench not the Spirit.' Certainly, if we grieve the Holy Spirit, if we quench that by which we were sealed, we must at the same time quench the assurance of our salvation.

This assurance of salvation produces a joy unspeakable. John xv. 10, 11. “ye shall abide in my love .... these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Rom. xiv. 17. “ the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” 1 Pet. i. 1, 9.“ in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory ; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

THE FINAL PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS is THE GIFT OF God's PRESERVING POWER, WHEREBY THEY WHO ARE FOREKNOWN, ELECT AND BORN AGAIN, AND SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, PERSEVERE TO THE END IN THE FAITH AND GRACE OF GOD, AND NEVER ENTIRELY FALL AWAY THROUGH ANY POWER OP: MALICE OF THE DEVIL OR THE WORLD, SO LONG AS NOTHING IS WANTING ON THEIR OWN PARTS, AND THEY CONTINUE TO THE UTMOST IN THE MAINTENANCE OF FAITH AND LOVE.

THE GIFT OF GOD'S PRESERVING POWER. Psal. xxvi. 1. “I have trusted in Jehovah, therefore I shall not slide.” Luke xxii. 32. “ I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.” John vi. 37.“ all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.” Rom. 5. 5. “hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Jude 1. "preserved in Jesus Christ.”

FOREKNOWN. 2 Tim. ii. 19. “the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his ; and, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

: my

BORN AGAIN. John viii. 35. “the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the Son abideth ever.

THROUGII ANY POWER OR MALICE OF THE DEVIL OR TEIE WORLD. Matt. xxiv. 24. " insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” John x. 28, 29. “neither shall any man pluck them out of my

hand : Father which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” xvii. 15. “ that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” Rom. viii. 35, 38, 39. “who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

SO LONG AS NOTHING IS WANTING ON THEIR OWN PARTO. In adding this limitation, I was influenced by what I had observed to be the uniform tenor of Scripture. Psal. cxxv. 1, 2. “ they that trust in Jehovah shall be as mount Sion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” 2 Chron. xv. 2. " Jehovah is with

you
while

ye
be with him ; and if

ye

seek him, he will be found of you ; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” Jer. xxxii

. 40. “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good ; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” In promising to “put his fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from him," God merely engages to perform what is requisite on his part, namely, to bestow such a supply of grace as should be sufficient, if properly employed, to retain them in his way. At the same time he enters into a covenant with them. Now a covenant implies certain conditions to be performed, not by one, but by both the parties. “They shall not depart from me; that is, from my external worship, as the whole of the context shows, from the thirty-seventh verse to the end of the chapter, compared with the twentieth and twenty-first verses of the following; “if ye can break my covenant or the day .... then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant.... and with the Levites.” Lastly, it appears that these very persons, in whose hearts he promised to put

VOL. IV.

BB

his fear that they should not depart from him, did actually so depart; for the same promise is made to their children, chap. xxxii. 39. The event therefore proved, that although God had according to compact put his fear into their hearts to the very end that they should not depart, they nevertheless departed through their own fault and depravity. Moreover, the words are addressed to, and include, the whole nation; but the whole nation was not elect; it follows therefore that the passage cannot refer to the elect exclusively, as is contended. Ezek. xi. 19—21. “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you ; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh. .. that they may walk in my statutes ;. ... but as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads.” Matt. vii. 24, 25. “whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man that built his house upon the rock.”

John iv. 14. “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him .... it shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” vi. 51. “ if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever.” 1 Cor. x. 12. “let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” Philipp. ii. 12. “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling 1 John ii. 17. “ he that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever.” v. 28. “abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

CONTINUE TO THE UTMOST IN THE MAINTENANCE OF FAITH AND LOVE. This clause is subjoined for the same reason as the preceding. John 2. every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.

v. 6. “if a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” v. 10. “if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." Rom. xi. 20. “because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.” v. 22. “ behold therefore the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity ; but

XV.

4 By Calvin, &c. Whitby argues similarly to Milton on this passage. On the five Points, p. 281.

toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Thus the gifts of God are said to be “without repentance, v. 29. inasmuch as he did not repent of his promise to Abraham and his seed, although the greater part of them had revolted; but it does not follow that he did not change his purpose towards those who had first changed theirs towards him. 2 Cor. i. 24. “by faith ye stand. Eph. iii. 17. “ being rooted and grounded in love." 1 Pet. i. 5. " who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” 2 Pet. i. 5-10. “beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.. for if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful .. for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” That a real believer, however, may fall irrecoverably, the same apostle shews, chap. ii. 18. “they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error ;" if indeed this be the right reading, and not, as others contend, escaped a little : not to mention, that it appears doubtful whether the knowledge of the Lord should be understood here of a saving faith, and not of an historical only; and whether their escape from the pollutions of the world implies a truly regenerate and Christian purity of life, and not a mere outward and philosophical morality: so that from this passage nothing certain can be inferred. The text in Ezekiel, xviii. 26. is clearer ; “when a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness . . he shall die.” The righteousness here intended must necessarily be true righteousness, being that from whica whosoever turns shall die. But, it is replied, the event is conditional, if he turneth away ; which, on our hypothesis, will never happen.

I answer, first, that the Hebrew does not express any condition, and

5 The Alexandrian MS. here reads ólíyws, a little, instead of ovrwG, Other MSS. read óliyov, and the Vulgate paululum. Wetstein's note upon the passage gives a full view of the various readings, and the authorities on which they rest. •óliyws A.B. 8, 9, 19. in ora 25. Editio. Colinæi. Versio Vulg. Syr. utraque. Copt. Æthiop. Ephrem. prob. S. Castalione, T. A. Bengelio. óliyov 32, 42. Editio Complut. Plant. Genev. όντας 40. όλιγου D. Heinsius. ούτως Erasmi. oινoφλυγούντας R. Bentleius.'

6 This will be best explained by a parallel passage in Whitby. • Whereas some take refuge in the supposed conditional proposal of the

« PreviousContinue »