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his ftate of innocence, as he was made after the image, and in the likeness of God, fo the biafs of his foul was only to that which is good, which he performed willingly, in obedience to the will of God. In his fallen state, he is averse to all that is fpiritually good, and is a flave to his finful lufts and pleasures, is wholly set upon them, and given up to them; and yet serves and obeys them with the utmost willingness and freedom. In his regenerate state, there is, indeed, an inclination both to good and evil; but this arifes from two different principles in the regenerate man. The new man, or principle of grace, is inclined, bent and determined to that which is good only; and yet freely ferves the law of God. The old man, or corrupt nature, is inclined, bent and determined to that which is evil only;. and yet freely ferves the law of fin. In the ftate of glorification, the faints will be impeccable, cannot fin, can only do that which is good; and yet what they do, or will do, is and will be done with the utmoft freedom and liberty of their wills. Whence it follows, that the liberty of man's will does not lie in an indifference or indetermination to good or evil; but is confiftent both with fome kind of neceffity, and a determination
VI. If liberty is not confiftent with neceffity in any fenfe, then it is not confiftent with the decrees of God, nor even with the foreknowledge of God; from whence muft follow fome kind of neceffity, not, indeed, a neceffity of co-action or force upon the will of man, but of event; for if there is not a neceffity of the things coming to pass, which are foreknown and decreed by God,, then his foreknowledge is uncertain, and is but mere fuppofition and conjecture, and his decrees must be fruftrable and precarious, It is faid, this "was of old the chief argument of the Fatalifts, efpoufed of late by Mr. Hobbs, and is ftill made the refuge of the Predeftinarians." Be it fo, if the Fatalifts and Mr. Hobbs meant no more by neceffity than we do, namely, a neceffity of the immutability and unfruftrablenefs of God's fore-knowledge and decrees, and not of co-action or force upon the will of man; we have no reason to be ashamed of the argument they made ufe of; and, instead of making it a refuge, or mere shift, fhall think B our felves obliged to defend it, and abide by it.
Of the Perfeverance of the Saints.
Now proceed to confider the arguments taken from reason, against the doctrine of the faints perfeverance: to which will be added, thofe that proceed upon rational accounts, in favour of it; with a vindication
of fuch as are excepted to. I shall begin with the arguments or objections against it. And,
I. It is objected, that this doctrine "gives a great encouragement to thofe, who have once gotten an opinion that they are the children of God, to indulge themfelves in the like iniquities, (that is, fuch as Lot, David, Solomon, and Peter committed) as being never able to feparate them from the love of God." To which To which may be replied, That tho' the fins committed by the perfons mentioned, were of fuch a nature, that those who do the like, and die
Whitby, p. 487. Ed. 2. 466.
without repentance for them, and faith in the blood and facrifice of Chrift, have no inheritance in the kingdom of God and Chrift, to which the law of Mofes threatned death, without admiffion of any atonement by facrifice, and the fevereft of God's judgments; yet the perfons of thefe men being high in the favour of God, remained fo, when thefe fins of theirs were abominable in his fight, difpleafing to him, and refented by him. He visited their tranfgreffion with a rod, and their iniquity with tripes; nevertheless his loving-kindness he did not utterly, nor at all, take from them, nor fuffer his faithfulness to fail. Thefe inftances of the falls of good men, are not recorded to encourage men in fin, but to caution against it, and to fet forth the free, unchangeable, and everlasting love of God, in pardoning and accepting his people, notwithstanding their aggravated? tranfgreffions, and fo to encourage fouls diftreffed with fin. What ufe fuch perfonsmay make of this doctrine, to indulge themfelves in fin, who have only gotten an opinion that they are the children of God, I know not; however, I am fure, that those who are the children of God by faith, or who have reafon to believe, and do believe that they are fo, or who have received the fpirit of adoption, witneffing their fon
§ Pfal. Ixxxix. 32, 33.
ship to them, under the influence of that fpirit, neither can nor will make any fuch ufe of it. Nothing has a greater tendency to promote holiness of heart and life, than the abfolute promises of God, respecting grace and glory, the affurance of adoption, the certainty of perfeverance to the end, and the fure enjoyment of eternal life. Now are we the fons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know, that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall fee him as he is, and every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth bimfelf, even as he is pure. The force of the prohibitions of fin, of exhortations to avoid it, and of cautions to refift and flee from temptations to commit it, is not abated by this doctrine of the faints perfeverance; feeing these things are made use of by the fpirit of God with great energy and power, as means in order to the thing it felf. How prepofterous and irrational must it be in a man, who thinks himself to be a child of. God, and believes he fhall perfevere to the end, from this confideration to indulge himself in all manner of fin, as refolving that he will perfevere no longer?
II. It is faid, that this doctrine "leflens the force of all the motives offered in the fcrip
■ John iii. 2, 3.
Whitby, p. 488. Ed. 2. 467.