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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 fuppofe.
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 teftimony 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.
departing from him; that we ought to work out our falvation with fear and trembling, and to pass the time of our fojourning here in fear; and that happy is the man that feareth always with the fear of caution, which rena 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 im perfect, but of Chrift's; for, being justified by faith in his righteousness, which for ever fecures from all condemnation, we have peace with God through our Lord Jefus Christ. True peace and comfort do not arife from the teftimony of confcience, which, being thought to be upright, fpeaks a falfe peace; but from the blood of Chrift, by which the heart is fprinkled from an evil confcience; and tho' then have we confidence towards God, when our hearts do not condemn us; yet our confidence in him does not arife from the non-condemnation of our hearts, but from the freedom from condemnation, which we apprehend we have through the blood, righteoufnefs and facrifice of the Son of God. The fear, which the scriptures referred to, fpeak 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, reverential
9 Rom. v. I.
r Heb. X. 22.
fear of the divine Majefty, which is confiftent with an humble dependence upon him, ftrong confidence in him, full affurance of his favour, and of final perfeverance in grace.
2. It is objected 'more particularly, "That a doctrine is not therefore true, because it is comfortable, if it be liable to just exceptions on other accounts; for very comfortable was the doctrine of the Rabbies to the Jews; of Simon Magus, and the Valentinians, to their followers; and of Antinomians, and other Solifidians to men of carnal minds; but very oppofite to, and deftructive of the doctrine which is according to Godlinefs." I reply; As to the doctrine of the Jewish Rabbies, Simon Magus, and the Valentinians, I have nothing to fay in the defence of; but as to those who are reproach fully called Antinomians and Solifidians, who, with the apoftle, affert, That a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law ; I know of no doctrines they hold which are oppofite to, and deftructive of that which is according to godlinefs. However, let it be obferved, that our argument does not proceed upon the comfortablenefs of the doctrine we plead for, but upon the uncomfortableness of the oppofite to it; for tho' a doctrine may not be true, which is feemingly comfortable to a carnal mind; yet that whitby, p. 483. Ed. 2. 462.
Rom. iii. 28.
doctrine is certainly not true, which is really uncomfortable to a fanctified heart, or which manifeftly breaks in upon the true peace and comfort of a believer, as the doctrine of the faints falling away from grace evidently does.
3. It is faid", "That a poffibility of falling into a very great evil, tho' it be fuch an one into which I fee daily others fall, and to which I may be obnoxious, creates no trouble or anxiety to any man, provided he knows he cannot fall into it, unlefs he will and chufeth fo to do; and unless he acts contrary to all the rules of reafon and difcretion, and the strongest motives and fuffi cient means vouchfafed to avoid it." I anfwer, That if the evil is of fuch a nature, as threatens at once an entire deprivation of the grace of God, and a total and final apoftacy from him, of which there is a poffibility of a man's falling into, which he fees others fall into, and he himself is obnoxious to; it must needs create great trouble and anxiety in one fenfible of the weakness of human nature, the ftrength of temptation, and the infufficiency of moral fuafion; if his prefervation from it depends upon his own fickle and mutable will, and the power of it, and his conformity to the rules of reafon and difcretion, under the influence of that; notwithstanding all the motives and "Whitby, p. 483, 484. Ed. 2. 462, 463. R 2
means vouchsafed to avoid it: whereas, on the other hand, tho' there is a poffibility of falling into fuch an evil, thro' the corruption of nature, and the temptation of fatan; yet if prefervation from it is fecured by the power of God, which is promised to be engaged, and is engaged for that purpose, it creates no trouble and anxiety; tho' it puts a man upon the diligent ufe of those means, which, by the will of God, are fignified to him, and which the power of God makes use of to that end.
4. It is obferved, That this doctrine of the impoffibility of faints falling finally from grace, cannot be truly comfortable, for two fignal reafons".
(1.) Because tho' it seems comfortable to a man, who thinks himself a good Chriftian, to believe he ever fhall continue fo; yet the reverse of this doctrine is as uncomfortable, viz. That he who does not fo continue to the end, let him have been never so fruitful in the works of righteousness, or in the labour of love, or in religious duties, or in a zeal for God and goodnefs, was never better than an hypocrite." To which may be replied; it is certain that fuch who have made a profeffion of religion, and drop it, and do not continue to the end, appear to be hypocrites, formal profeffors, and fuch
Whitby, p. 483, 484. Ed. 2. 462, 463.