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fear of the divine Majesty, which is confiftent with an humble dependence upon him, strong confidence in him, full afsurance of his favour, and of final perseve'rance 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 opposite to, and destructive of the doctrine which is according to Godliness.” I reply; As to the doctrine of the Jewish Rabbies, Simon Magus, and the Valentinians, I have nothing to say in the defence of; but as to those who are reproachfully called Antinomians and Solifidians, who, with the apostle, 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 destructive of that which is according to godliness. However, let it be observed, that our argument does not proceed upon the comfortableness of the docurine we plead for, but upon the uncomfortableness of the opposite to it ; for tho' a doctrine may not be true, which is seemingly comfortable to a carnalmind; yet
that wbitby, p. 483. Ed. 20 462.
Rom. iii. 28.
doctrine is certainly not true, which is really uncomfortable to a sanctified heart, or which manifestly breaks in upon the true peace and comfort of a believer, as the doctrine of the saints falling away from grace évidently does.
3. It is said “, “ That a possibility of falling into a very great evil, cho', iç be such an one into which I see 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 chuseth fo to do; and unless he acts contrary to all the rules of reason and dire crecion, and the strongest motives and sufficient means vouchsafed to avoid it," I anfwer, Thac if the evil is of such a nacure, 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 possibility of a man's falling inco, which he Tees others fall into, and he himself is obnoxious to; it must needs create great trouble and anxiety in one sensible of the weakness of human nature, the strength of temptacion, and the insufficiency of moral suafion; if his preservation from it depends upon his own fickle and mutable will, and che power of it, and his conformity to the rules of rear fon and discretion, under the influence of that; notwithstanding all the motives and
Hibitby, p. 483, 484. Ed. 2. 462, 453.
means vouchsafed to avoid it : whereas, on the other hand, tho' there is a possibility of falling into such an evil, thro' the corruption of nature, and the temptation of satan ; yer if preservation from it is secured by the power of God, which is promised to be engaged, and is engaged for that purpose, ic creates no trouble and anxiety; tho' ic puts a man upon the diligent use of those means, which, by the will of God, are signified to him, and which the power of God makes use of co that'end.
4. It is observed, That this doctrine of the impoflibility of saints falling finally from grace, cannot be truly comfortable, for two signal reasons".
(1.) Because tho' it seems comfortable to a man, who thinks himself a good Christian, to believe he ever shall continue so; yet the reverse of this doctrine is as uncomfortable, viz. That he who does not so 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 goodness, was never better than an hypocrite." To which may be replied; it is certain chat such who have made a profession of religion, and drop it, and do not continue to the end, appear to be hypocrites, formal professors, and such
"Whitby, p. 487, 484. Ed. 2. 462, 463.
who never received the grace of God in truth; yer it will not be easy to prove that ever any, fruitful in the works of righteousness, which I think a man cannot be without the grace of God, did not continue to the end, or ever proved an hypocrice : nor has such an one, who acts from an internal principle of grace, any reason to doubt either of his sincerity, or of his continuance in the way of righteousness; for cho' he cannot prove the truth of his faith by better works chan an hypocrite may do in shew ; yet he is conscious to himself of inward principles of love to God, and regard to his glory, from whence he acts, which an hy, pocrite is an utter stranger to. It is, indeed, uncomfortable for a man to doubt either of his fincerity, or of his continuance in the way of righteousness, and a true believer may be left to doubt of both, and yet his final perseverance be certain, which does not depend upon his frames, but the power of God, che consideracion of which may yield him relief and comfort, when the con trary doctrine muf be distresfing.
(2.) “Let men hold what doctrines they please, yet, as it is with them who question Providence and a future Judgment, their impious persuasions cannot remove their fears, arising from the dictates of a natural conscience ; fo neither can mens cheological persuasions remove the fears and double
ings, which do as naturally arise from the dictares of a conscience enlightned by the word of God." We are obliged to this writer, for the kind and good-natur'd comparison he makes between us and the dif puters of Providence and a fucure Judgmeny; between their impious' persuasions concerning these things, and our theological ones, as he calls them, about the doctrine of perseverance, and between their fears, arising from the dictates of a natural conscience, and chose of others, arising from the dictates of an enlighened one. Tho' it thould be observed, that the doubts and fears of believers concerning falling from grace, do not arise from the dictates of a conscience enlightned by the word, but rather from a conscience darkned by sin, and loaded with ihe guilt of it, upon which a wrong judg. ment is formed of their state and condition.. A believer may fall into fin, and conscience may pronounce him guilty of it, and condemn him for it, whereby his peace may be broken, and his comfort loft; which are restored, not by sincere repentance,' removing the guilt, as is intimated, but, by the application of the blood of Christ
, which speaks peace, yields comfort, and encourages confidence in God, notwithstanding all the condemnations of his heart and confcience. It is in this way he only desires to have peace and comfort; nor does che word of