« PreviousContinue »
honour me, I will honour, and they that despise me, shall lightly esteemed. (1 Sam. li. 30.) And so you see that when we hring things altogether, our salvation appears to be on condition, and that faith if it hath not good works is dead being alone. (James ii. 17.) But some perhaps may say that St. Paul concludes that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law. (Rom. iii. 28.) And that Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (chap. iv. 3.) And all very right my readers so far, for we know that grace and faith stands first, for by grace and love, God made man at the beginning, and I love the doctrine of St. Paul, as much as I do the doctrine of St. James, and I love the doctrine of St. James, as much as I do the doctrine of St. Paul, and neither of them stagger me, but they both comfort me; therefore first grace with its faith, Abraham embraced it, and thereby, and that with obedience he believed in God, and he counted it unto him for righteousness. (Gen. xv. 6.) And again, we see that Abraham had obeyed the command of the Lord before. (Gen. xii. 1, 4.) And where there is grace, there always is obedience required. But now 1 wish to make it as plain as I can to my readers; therefore, first grace, whereby Abraham believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness; and then works, that is, I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Gen. xvii. 1.) And then the establishment of the covenant, and that is, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. (Gen. xvii. 1.) As much as if God had said unto him, Now Abraham, if you will love and fear me, and keep my commandments, then I will establish my covenant with thee, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. , And now it appears to me, that St. Paul speaks of that faith of justification; but St. James seems to speak more fully of that faith of justification, and of that faith and works which leads on to sanctification, for it may be that Abraham found his soul more in a sanctified state at that time when he had offered up his son Isaac upon the altar, even at the time when the Lord blessed him, more so then perhaps, than he did at that time, when he believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness: but yet I believe that there is no Scripture that speaks of good works, more than that of St. Paul, and that his works are to be commended with the topic of the Holy scriptures. And now my readers, I hope that I have given you satisfaction so far, but yet I have something more to say concerning falling from grace: for after these things, when Solomon had built the house of the Lord, we See God's covenant with him, and that how the Lord hallowed his house which Solomon had built, and that to Put my name there for ever, saith the Lord, and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments; then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father. But if jrou shall at all turn from following me, you or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them: and this house which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a by-word among all people. (1 Kings ix. 6.) And thus we see that there is a great danger of falling from grace; and thus it plainly appears that many of Israel did fell away, and that thpy are a proverb and a by-word among most people until this day. Now again, it appears that Joash, king of Judah reigned well at the beginning, and that he did repair the house of the Lord. And it appears that he was in favour with the good priest and his God. But after this we See how that he did fall away to Idolatry, and killed Zachariah the priest's son, which thing it appears was to his destruction. (2 Chron. xxiv.) And we see that Uzziah reigned well for a time, and as ldng as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper, but when he became strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he disobeyed the cornmand of his God, and invaded the priests office: and by so doing he became a leper unto the day of his death. (4 Chron. xxvi.) And it plainly appears, and in many places that the children of Israel did fall away very much from the love and favour of the Lord their God, and that they are an ensample to all generations following, that is, to show unto us that there is danger of falling from grace. Again, How is the faithful city become an harlot, saith the Lord, it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. ^(Isaiah i. 21.) Therefore, thus saith the Lord, If ye will not hear, and if he will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts; I will even sent} a cuiseupon you, and I will curse your blessings:.yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. (Mai. ii. 2.) And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. viii. 11.) Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise, thou also shalt be cut off. (Rom. xi. 22.) And St. Paul himself, I believe, saw that there was a danger of falling from grace. 1 keep under my body, saith he, and bring it into subjection: lest or for fear that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away. (I Cor. ix. 27.) And so it appears that St. Paul saw the necessity of watching and praying against falling from grace as much as any man, and he that thinkest lie standeth let him take heed lest he fall. And again, take heed, brethren, saith he, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. (Heb. iii. 12.) But if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. x. 26.) And again, the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (verse 38.) And again, our Lord saith, No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke ix. 672.) Now, seeing that these things are so, brethren, then let us be careful, so as to not lose our first love. (Rev. ii. 4.) ' Oh, then let us pray unto the Lord that these things may be strengthened which remain, that are ready to die: lest for fear, that after we have tasted of the grace of Christ, our works are not perfect withGod. (Rev. iii. 2.) But again. 1 must mention twoor three
things more before that I can conclude this little book. And again, it hath been said, that St. Paul concludes that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law; and all very right, and I conclude so, for when a man is first called by the grace of God, the man hath got no good works to show, nor to merit anything, but he believes by faith, that the grace of God through Christ is sufficient to save his soul, but then is not that man after 'rthis to walk in newness of life, and in humble obedience to the laws and commands of his God V And now I suppose that some people will allow this to be air very right, but then after this does not St. Paul speak of no' danger of falling from grace? Yes, he does, and hast done, and now hear these awful and important words of St. Paul, and that is, he exhorteth us not to fall back from the faith by laying again the foundation of repentance from. dead works, and tint we should not trust in the outward forms and ceremonies of religion, but that we should grow in graee, and go on unto perfection, for it is impossible, saith he, for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted tha good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away to renew them again unto repentance: seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Heb. vi. 4.) And now we see by what St. Paul saith here that it is enough to make a man tremble for fear of falling from grace, and you see he• mention.; eth it again. (chap. x. 25.) And now if we rightly consider upon these passages of the Holy Scriptures which' I have permed down, it must be brought in, and that by a clear demonstration that there is a great danger of falling from grace; I say, it is drawn from such principles that every. owe vi'hd considers it in the right way must own its truth. But again', and now by what St.. Paul saith here, some poor soul may say, then if I fall from grace is^ there no recovery for me by repentance, whereby my poor soul might be saved? 0 yes• my fellow sinner if you do not go to the length of that sin against the Holy Ghost; and by what is above mentioned by St. Paul, I am ready to think that it has some allusion to that sin against the Holy Gho ;t; for we know that the Scriptures are in pari filled up with the mercy and goodness of God, towardsa poof returning prodigal. (see Luke x'v.) And again", ffoi* out''en* couragement'hear the word ofilicLord to• backsliding' l'sfaeP,
Come now and let us i asofi together; saith the Lord, thought your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like erimson, they shall be as weol (Isaiah is 18.) And again, for your encouragement, see my Book dalled Exhortation. And again, if we repent, and turn from our sins, then the Lord will repent of the evil which he thought to do unto us; for thus it is written, at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concern. ing a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. (Jer. xviii. 7.) And now I have shown you as well as I can in my Books the good, and the plain way of God, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness; Therefore I beseech you in the name and strength of Christ to endeavour, and to persevere, and that with all diligence so as to make your calling and election sure; and may the Lord give us all grace now, so that we may consider and repent, before it be too late—I do not say that it is too late now; but this I know, that it will be too late when an unrepenting sinnei finds himself in hell. Therefore my fellow sinners, let 118 seek the Lord whilst he may be found, and call upon him whilst he is near, so that we may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to him be glory both now, and for ever. Amen.
And now gracious Lord, I lay this Book as it were at thy feet, hoping and trusting by faith that thou will accept of it; but if I have written any thing down that is wrong, and that through weakness and ignorance, I pray thee forgive me: but all that is acceptable in thy sight, be thou pleased to make it beneficial to all them that shall read or hear it, and that through Jesus Christ our Lord. And that thou may still see of the travail of thy soul, thou Lamb of God, and be satisfied, and that thou may be the desire of all nations, both now, and for evermore. Amen.
Passages of Scriptures, by chapter and verse, whereby you may ilti something more concerninigh a danger of falling from