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not take from bim, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips". Tho' he sometimes chides his people in a providential way, and hides his face from them on account of their fins; yet with everlasting kindness will he have mercy on them. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but his kindness Mall not depart from them, neither all the covenant of his peace be removed". Nothing shall ever be able to separate from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lordo. Nor is this at all inconsistent with the truth, righteousness and holiness of God, since the fame. covenant which gives this assurance, and contains these absolute promises, not only provides fatherly chastisements for fin, but a full and compleat Saviour from it; who, by the facrifice of himself, has made such an encire satisfaction for it, that the purity and holiness of God, in the abhorrence of sin, the truth of his threatnings against it, and his strict justice and righteousness in the punishment of it, are perfectly reconciled to the everlasting standing of these persons in the love and favour of God. As for the promises and declarations of the old and new testament concerning this point,
m Pfal.lxxxix. 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.
o Rom, viii, 38, 39.
they they have been taken notice of in the two former Parts of this work; and what was the fenfe of the ancient writers upon this head, will be considered in another. I shall 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, Thew grace and mercy to them, send 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 foever: it would be contrary to his justice, to take satisfaction at the hands of his Son for their fins; and yet punish them eternally for them: and it would greatly reflect upon both his wisdom and
power, to begin a work of grace upon che souls of any he does not go through with, and which does not spring up unto and issue in eternal life.
II. That the faints should not persevere to the end, is not consistent with the purposes and counsels of God, which are absolute, unchangeable, and unfrustrable: for
if God has chosen and appointed any unto salvation, and these should miscarry of ir upon any account, he must be disappointed of his end; which disappointment must arise either from want of foresight of those things which obstruct the attaining of the end, or from want of power to accomplish it : neither of which are to be once thought of him, whose understanding is infinite, and who is the Lord God Almighty.
III. The defectibility, or total and final apostacy of the saints, is contrary to the promises of God, which are absolute, unconditional, and all, yea, and amen, in Christ Jesus: for if God has promised, 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 ihall hold on their way, be preserved blameless to the coming of the Lord, and be eternally saved; and yet some of them ac last eternally perish; the reason must be, either because he could not, or because he would not fulfil his promises: to say 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 say 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 perseve2
rance of the saints. Should any of themi come short of eternal happiness, the glory of the Father in election, of the Son in redemprion, and of the Spiric in sanctification, would be entirely sunk; for the purpose of God, according to election, would noc stand; the price of Christ's blood would be paid, and the purchase by it, made in vain, and the work of grace upon the soul come to nothing; and consequently, Jehovah must be frustrated of his grand and ultimate end in chusing, redeeming, and fanctifying of persons, even his own glory; which is not reasonable to suppose.
V. That saints may totally and finally fall away from grace, is obstructive 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 state. To this last argument, many things are excepted; as,
1. In general?, That the doctrine of the saints apostacy truly teacheth, with the holy scriptures, that a well-grounded peace is the fruit of righteousness; that all true peace and comfort arise from the testimony of an upright conscience; that then only have we ground of confidence with God, when our beart doth not condemn us of wilfully
? Whitby. p. 482. Ed. 2. 401.
& departing from him ; that we ought to work
out our salvation with fear and trembling; and to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear; and that happy is the man that feareth always with the fear of caution, which rent ders him more watchful against fin." To which I reply, That a well-grounded peace is, indeed, the fruit of righteousness; but not of our own, which is polluted and imi perfect, but of Christ's ; for, being justified by faith in his righteousness, which for ever secures from all condemnation, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Chrift, True peace and comfort do not arise from the testimony of conscience, which, being thought to be upright, speaks a false peace; but from the blood of Christs
by which the heart' is sprinkled from an evil us
conscience; and tho’then have we confidence to
towards God, when our hearts do not con1
demn us; yet our confidence in him doe's not arise from the non-condemnation of our hearts, but from the freedom from condemnation, which we apprehend we have through che blood, righteousness and sacrifice of the Son of God. The fear, which the scriptures referred to speak of, is not a fear and dread of falling from a state of grace, , and into hell-fire and everlasting damnation ; but an holy; filial, reverencial
ICC of ve
9 Rom. v. I.
s Heb. X. 226