Page images

* walk not as other Gentiles walk in the vanity us of their mind;" and caution them to “ let

no man deceive them with vain words; for “ because of thefe things the wrath of God « cometh on the children of disobedience;" and bid them “ put on the whole armour of “ God, that they may be able to stand against 66 the wiles of the devil, to with ftand in the “ evil day, and having done all to stand k?" Wherefore does he exhort “ the faints in “ Christ Jesus at Philippi,” whom he commends for their Chriftian character, and dee' fcribes as

partakers of his grace, " to “be. “ ware of the dangers which beset them;" to • stand fast in the Lord ;" and to " work out “ their own falvation with fear and trembling;"* that he may “ rejoice in the day of Christ, that “ he has not run in vain, neither laboured in “ vain "?" Wherefore, in writing to “ the saints " and faithful brethren at Colosse," whom he

" the elect of God, holy and beloved," does he promise the bleffings of Christ's facrifice, “ if they continued in the faith rooted and “ fettled, and were not moved away from the

hope of the Gospel m?” Wherefore to the church of the Thessalonians, of whom he der

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

* Eph. i. 3, 4, 5, 6. iv, 1, 17. v. 6. vi. 11, 13.
| Phil. i. 1, 7. ii. 2. iv. l. ii. 12, 26.
m Col. i. 2. üi, 12. i. 23.

clares, that he “ knows their election of God," and that “God had from the beginning chosen “ them to salvation through fanctification of " the Spirit and belief of the truth," does he signify his apprehension“ left by some means “ the tempter should have tempted them, and 66 his labour should be in vain "?" Wherefore does St. John, addressing himself to “ the elect “ lady and her children,” admonish them to " look to themselves ; that we lose not,” he adds, “ those things which we have wrought,

but that we receire a full rewardo?”. And wherefore does St. Peter, writing to thofe, whom he represents as “ having obtained like “ precious faith with himself,” and whom he styles “elect according to the foreknowledge “ of God the Father," at the same time mof fervently charge them, to " be fober and vigi- lant” in withstanding the artifices of the devil; to “ beware, left they being led away “ with the error of the wicked, should fall " from their own steadfaftnefs ;" and to "give

diligence to make their calling and eleclion « fure P ?"

Surely if there ever was an individual of a character inferior to the apoftolical, who might be regarded as absolutely predestined to fal

A i Theff. i. 4. 01. 5. 2 Theff. ii. 13. • 2 John, ver. 8.

Pet, i. 1. 1 Pet. i. 2. v. 8. iii. 17. i. 20.

fight the

mation, it was Timothy, St. Paul's “ own son bol in the faith.” Wherefore then does St. Paul charge him with paternal authority, to “ take “ heed unto himself,” that fo he might be Javed ; to “flee foolish and hurtful lufts, which “ drown men in perdition and destruction to “ follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, " lore, patience, meekness ;” to “ " good fight of faith,” and so to “ lay hold on $ eternal life 9?"

Surely if ever an Apostle may be considered as absolutely elected to everlasting life, it was St. Paul himself, converted by the miraculous interposition of Christ to a profession of his religion ; '“ a vessel chosen by the Lord to bear A his name before the Gentiles, and kings, and

the children of Israel;" filled with the Holy Ghọft; and “ separated” by his especial appointment “ to the work whereunto he had to called him." Wherefore then does St. Paul affirm of himself: “ Brethren, I count not my: " self to have apprehended ; but this one thing " I do, forgetting those things which are be" hind, and reaching forth unto those things 66 which are before, I press toward the mark “ for the prize of the high calling of God in

Christ Jesus'?” And whạt meaning, short of

9 1 Tim. iy. 16. vi. 9, 11, 12.

Acts. ix. 15. xiii, 2.

• Puil, iii. 13


a possibility of his ultimate rejection, can be understood by that declaration, where, urging the necessity of temperance in the Christian race, he immediately fubjoins, “ I therefore fo

run, not as uncertainly ; fo fight I, not as one that beateth the air ; but I keep under

my body, and bring it into fubjection, left " that by any means, when I have preached " to others, I myself should be a castaway?".

Peter undoubtedly did fall from grace: although by the intercession of Chrift, which implies that he was in danger of an irrecoverable fall, he was enabled to repent and rife again. And the example of Judas affords a Itill more awful warning to those, who have been elected like him to the Gospel, but who have certainly been 'endowed with less noble spiritual gifts than he, to take good heed, left they also prove traitors to their Master, and fall into final perdition. Judas indeed, we may be told, "us truly lived, moved, and had bis

being from God, as Peter:” that whilft the other Apostles “ were chosen to partake of * Chrift's kingdom, he was chosen and pitched

upon to betray him, and to be the means of " shedding his blood;" that both the final

perfeverance of the one, and the rejection of the other, were solely effected by God's free and

1 Cor. ix. 26,9%

abfolute will, for that “ he gave repentance to 6. Peter, and left Judas to perish in his fino." Rather let us adhere to the founder doctrine of Latimer, (“ that veteran and true apostle of 46 our nation and of Christ*," as his brother martyr styled him,) unsophisticated by the comment of the author to whom I have just referred; * Christ fhed as much blood for * Judas as he did for Peter; Peter believed it, 6. and therefore he was faved ; Judas would not 66 believe, and therefore he was condemned; as the fault being in him only, and in nobody 56 else y."

2. With respect to the latter point that was to be proved, namely, as the same venerable Reformer expresses it, that “there are none of ss us all, but we may be saved by Chrift;" and that " men are the cause of their own damna ** tion, for that God would have them faved, * but they refuse it, like as did Judas the trai. 66 tor, whom Christ would have had to be K fared, but he refused his falvation ?:"if every man is not capable of performing the services

Toplady on Predeft. p. 64, 110, 68. * Ridley's Life of Bishop Ridley, p: 593.

Sermons, vol. i. page 556. See Winchester on the seventeenth Article in the Churchman's Remembrancer, No. ii p. 66. and Mr. Churton's Biographical Preface,

p. xvi.

* Latimer's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 891, 888,

« PreviousContinue »