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their mind, to be fober, and hope to the end, and to pass the time of their fojourning here in fear; not once imagining that the force of these exhortations was leffened or weakened by the doctrine he had before advanced; or that this left no room for hope and fear, and the proper exercise of them.
III. It is urged', That "it feems not well confiftent with the truth, righteoufnefs and holiness of God, to give an abfolute affurance of his favour, and the fruition of himself for ever to any creature, tho he fall into the fins fore-mentioned." God to give an abfolute promife of his favour, and the fruition of himself for ever, can never be inconfiftent with his truth, righteousness and holiness. The feeming inconfiftency lies in his giving fuch affurance to any of his creatures, tho' they fall into fin. That God has given an affurance of his everlasting favour and loving-kindnefs to his children, tho' they fall into fin, is certain. If his children, fays he, forfake my law, and walk not in my judgments, if they break my ftatutes, and keep not my commandments, then will I vifit their tranfgref fion with the rod, and their iniquity with Atripes; neverthelefs, my loving-kindness I will
k 1 Pet. i. 2, 3, 5, 13, 17.
1 whitby, p. 488. Ed. 2. 467.:
not take from him, nor fuffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips". Tho' he fometimes chides his people in a providential way, and hides his face from them on account of their fins; yet with everlasting kindness will he bave mercy on them. The mountains fhall depart, and the hills be removed, but his kindness shall not depart from them, neither fhall the covenant of his peace be removed". Nothing shall ever be able to feparate from the love of God which is in Chrift Jefus our Lord. Nor is this at all inconfiftent with the truth, righteousness and holiness of God, fince the fame covenant which gives this affurance, and contains these abfolute promises, not only provides fatherly chaftifements for fin, but a full and compleat Saviour from it; who, by the facrifice of himself, has made fuch an entire fatisfaction for it, that the purity and holiness of God, in the abhorrence of fin, the truth of his threatnings against it, and his ftrict juftice and righteoufnefs in the punishment of it, are perfectly reconciled to the everlasting ftanding of these persons in the love and favour of God. As for the promises and declarations of the old and new teftament concerning this point,
m Pfal. lxxxix. 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.
they have been taken notice of in the two • former Parts of this work; and what was the fenfe of the antient writers upon this head, will be confidered in another. I fhall only add a few arguments in favour of this doctrine. And,
I. It seems not agreeable to the perfections and attributes of God, that he should take any into his love and favour, fhew grace and mercy to them, fend his Son to die for them, and his Spirit to begin a good work in them, if any of them should fall short of eternal glory and happiness. It would be contrary to his immutability, should he ceafe to love those whom he once loved, with-hold his grace from them, and shew no more mercy to them, let it be on what account foêver: it would be contrary to his justice, to take fatisfaction at the hands of his Son for their fins; and yet punish them eternally for them: and it would greatly reflect upon both his wifdom and power, to begin a work of grace upon the fouls of any he does not go through with, and which does not fpring up unto and iffue in eternal life.
II. That the faints fhould not perfevere to the end, is not confiftent with the purposes and counfels of God, which are abfolute, unchangeable, and unfruftrable: for
if God has chosen and appointed any unto falvation, and these should mifcarry of it upon any account, he must be disappointed of his end; which difappointment must arife either from want of forefight of those things which obftruct the attaining of the end, or from want of power to accomplish it: neither of which are to be once thought of him, whofe understanding is infinite, and who is the Lord God Almighty.
III. The defectibility, or total and final apoftacy of the faints, is contrary to the promises of God, which are abfolute, unconditional, and all, yea, and amen, in Chrift Jefus: for if God has promifed, as he certainly has, that he will put his fear into the hearts of his people; that they shall not depart from him; that they thall hold on their way, be preferved blameless to the coming of the Lord, and be eternally faved; and yet fome of them at laft eternally perish; the reafon must be, either because he could not, or because he would not fulfil his promises: to fay he could not fulfil his promises, is to impeach his wisdom in making them, and his omnipotence, in not being able to keep them; to lay he would not make them good, is to reflect upon his truth and faithfulness.
IV. The glory of Father, Son and Spirit, is greatly concerned in the final perfeve
rance of the faints. Should any of them come short of eternal happiness, the glory of the Father in election, of the Son in redemption, and of the Spirit in fanctification, would be entirely funk; for the purpofe of God, according to election, would not ftand; the price of Chrift's blood would be paid, and the purchase by it, made in vain, and the work of grace upon the foul come to nothing; and confequently, Jehovah must be fruftrated of his grand and ultimate end in chufing, redeeming, and fanctifying of perfons, even his own glory; which is not reasonable to suppose.
V. That faints may totally and finally fall away from grace, is obftructive of the peace and comfort of believers, impairs their humble confidence in God, and fills them with continual fear and dread of falling from their happy ftate. To this last argument, many things are excepted; as,
1. In general, That the doctrine of the faints apoftacy truly teacheth, with the holy fcriptures, that a well-grounded peace is the fruit of righteousness; that all true peace and comfort arife from the testimony of an upright confcience; that then only have we ground of confidence with God, when our heart doth not condemn us of wilfully
Whitby. p. 482. Ed. 2. 461.