Page images
PDF
EPUB

which, Heb. x. 29. is produced; on which it is observed", that it is undeniably plain, that the person mentioned was once sanctified by the blood of the covenant; that he afterwards by known wilful sin trod under foot the Son of God, and hereby incurred a sorer punishment than death, namely, death ever. lafting; whence it follows, that one so sanctified may fall, as to perish everlastingly. The sense of the passage, and the argument upon it, depend intirely upon the meaning of the phrase, sanctified by the blood of the covenant, and of whom it is spoken ; and according to the rules of speech, since the immediate antecedent to the relative be, is the Son of God, it must be he, and not the apoftate that is here intended; and it is mentioned as an aggravation of the sin of such a person, that counted that blood unholy by which the Son of God himself was fanctified, let apart, hallowed and consecrated, to the difcharge of that part of his priestly-office, which lay in intercession for his people; as Aaron and his sons were by the sacrifices of Nain beasts, to minifter in the priest's-office: it was a most grievous fin to treat with contempt such a person, as not only God the Father had sanctified, and sent into the world, and who had also sanctified, and set apart himself for the redemption of his people, that they might be sanctified through the truth; but having offered himself a sacrifice for their sins, whereby the covenant of grace was ratified and confirmed, was through the blood of that covenant brought again from the dead, and declared to be the Son of God, and so was sanctified, or set apart by it to accomplish the other part of his priestly-office, intercession for his people; co do which he ever lives and sits at the right hand of God. And this being the sense of the words, it leaves no room for any argument to be taken from hence, against the final perseverance of the saints.—But, 2. admitting that the words are to be understood of the apoftate having been fanctified by the blood of the covenant; it should be explained in what sense he had been so, which this writer does not pretend to do, that we may judge whether it is a descriptive character of a real saint, or no; for if it is not, then it is still nothing to the purpose. It is not to be understood of the inward sanctification of nature, or of the heart; for that is by the Spirit of God; this the Arminians do not say: Dr Whitty himself owns', it has no relation to that; yet this is what ought to be proved, to make the person to have been a real saint, or a true believer; or else he can be no instance of the saints final and total apoftacy. Nor is it to be understood of remission of sins, and justification by the blood of Christ, as the above Doctor interprets it; for either this must be a partial remission of sins, and justification from them or a full one ; not a partial one, for when God forgives sins for Christ's fake, he forgives all sins, and justifies from all iniquities ; and if a full one, then even these heinous sins he is charged with, must be forgiven; and so he stood' in no need of any more sacrifice for sin; nor could any punishment be inflicted on him for them; nor needed he fear any; and especially fo fore and severe a one as is here represented: wherefore if these words are to be understood of an apoftate, and of his having been sanctified by the blood of the covenant; the meaning must be, either that he was fanctified and separated from others by a visible profesfion of religion, had submitted to baptism, and partook of the Lord's fupper, had drank of the cup, the blood of the New Testament or covenant, though he did not Spiritually difcern the body and blood of Christ in the ordinance, but counted the bread and wine, the symbols thereof, as common things; or else that he profeffed himself to be fan&ified, or to have his fins expiated by the blood of the covenant, and to be justified by it, and was looked upon by others to be soz when he really was not; and take the sense either way, it furnishes out no argument against the final perseverance of the saints.

iniquities; * Serious Thoughts, P. 22.

1 Discourse concerning Election, &c p. 141, 406.

Thus having gone through the Eight propositions, laid down by the writer of the Serious Thoughts, &c. and shewn that they are without any foundation or authority in the word of God, and that the doctrine of the saints final perseverance stands unshaken by them; I shall now proceed to offer fome arguments in proof of it, and to establish the minds of God's people in it, and shall vindicate such of them, as are excepted to by the above writer. And,

First, This doctrine may be concluded from the perfections of God: whatever is agreeable to them, and they make necessary, must be true; and what. cver is contrary to them, and reflects dishonour on them, must be falfe. The doctrine of the saints final perseverance is agreeable to them, and is made intirely necessary by them, and therefore muft be true; and the contrary doctrine, of the falling away of real saints, so as to perish everlastingly, is repugnant to them, and reflects 'great dishonour on them, and therefore must be false; as will appear by the following particulars.

1. The immutability of God is concerned in this affair ; I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob' are not consumed ": if they were, he must change in his love to them, and whom he now loves he must hate ; he must alter his purposes concerning them ; whereas, he has appointed them to falvation, he must consign them over to ruin and destruction; he must reverse his promises to them, and his blessings of grace bestowed on them; he must alter the thing that is gone out of his lips, his counsel, and his covenant, and be of a different mind from what he has been ; but he is of one mind, Vol. III,

li

and # Mal iii, 6.

and who can turn him ? he is the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever : and, therefore, his saints shall never perish ; this is inconsistent with the unchangeableness of his nature, will and grace, and would greatly reproach this glorious perfection of his. This doctrine makes God changeable, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning; nor can this writer disprove it; he is indeed unchangeably holy, just and good, as he says"; but he is also unchangeably loving to his people; unchangeably true and faithful, and unchangeable in his will, purposes, promises, and covenant; which he would not be, if his. beloved, chofen, and covenant-ones should perish.

2. The wisdom of God is concerned in this doctrine: No wise man that has an end in view, but will prepare and make use of proper means; and, if in his power, will make those means effectual to attain the end, or he will not act a wise parț: the end which God has in view, and has fixed, is the salvation of his people; and is it consistent with his wisdom to appoint insufficient means, or not to make those means effectual when it is in his power to do it? which must be the case, if any of those he has appointed to salvation should perish : No, as he has appointed the end, salvation, he has fixed the means, sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, which he prepares, produces, and makes effectual. Where would be his wisdom to appoint men to falvation, and never save them; to send his Son to redeem them, and they never the becter for it; to begin a good work of grace in them, and not finish it? No, the wisdom of God is wonderfully displayed in this affair, in providing all blessings for his people in a covenant ordered in all things, and sure; in putting them into the hands of his Son for the security of them; in their compleat redemption by him, wherein he has abounded in all wisdom and prudence; and in alligning the work of sanctification in its beginning, progress, and issue, to the divine Spirit, who is equal to it, and will perform it. There is no searching of bis understanding ; hence he giveth power to the faint, and to them thet bave no might be increaseth strength. Wherefore, they shall run, and not be weary, and walk, and not fainto; shall persevere to the end, and get safe to heaven and happiness.

3. The power of God is concerned in this matter ; such who are the eleft according to the fore-knowledge of God the Father, and are begotten again according to his abundant mercy, who have a lively hope of a glorious inheritance, these are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation Pi, they are kept as in a garrison, as the word used signifies; they are surrounded with the power of God; he is a wall of fire round about them?, to protect and defend them, and

1

to

'n Serious Thoughts, p. 11. a Zech. ii. 5.

• Ira. xl. 28, 29, 31.

pi Pet. i, 2, 3, 5.

to offend their enemies; as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about his people, from benceforth, even for ever. Wherefore they that trust in the Lord, fhall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides for ever"; and this power of God is continually employed in the preservation of his people, he keeps them night"and day, lest any hurt them'; they are kept in, and through a course of believing unto the end, and their faith is as much secured and preserved by the power of God, as their persons are, who performs the work of faith with power, as well as begins it; they are kept by it, unto, and till they come to compleat salvation in heaven ; their whole spirit, soul and body, are preserved blameless, to the coming of our Lord Jesus, and safe unto his heavenly kingdom': and therefore, since the power of God is so strongly engaged for them, they cannot fall so as to perish everlastingly. The writer, I have to do with, owns, that “ undoubtedly so are all they (kept by the power of God) “ who ever attain eternal salvation; it is the power of God only, and not our

own, by which we are kept one day or one hour.” Now there are not any real saints who are not kept by the power of God, and do not attain salvation; and it lies upon him to fhew how the falling away of such, so as to perish everlastingly, is consistent with the words of the apostle Peter referred to, as he says it is, or with their being kept by almighty power.

4. The goodness, grace, and mercy of God, serve to establish this truth; his goodness endures for ever; his mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, on them that fear him"; the mercy of God as it is free and sovereign, plenteous, boundless, and infinite, so it is sure, permanent and perpetual; those that are once the objects of it, are always so, and therefore can never perilh ; it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because his compasions fail not *; which they would, should any of his be consumed and perish. Can it be thought that that God who is gracious and merciful, abundant in goodness and truth, para doning iniquity, transgression, and fin; that he who has begotten men again, according to bis abundant mercy, and because he is rich in it, and for his great love to them, quickens them when dead in trespasses and fins, after all will suffer them so to fall, as to perish everlastingly? No, as the Psalmist says, the Lord will perfet that which concerneth me; the work of grace upon his heart, his whole salvation; his reason for it is, thy mercy O Lord endurcth for ever : hence follows a prayer of faith, forsake not the work of thine own bands * ; God will not.

5. The justice of God requires that those should be certainly and eternally faved, for whose sins Christ has died, for which he has made satisfaction by

ii 2

suffering · Psalm cxxv. 1, 2.

* Ifa. xxvii.

ti Theff. v. 23.

2 Tim. iv, 18. u Psalm ciii. 17

" Lam, iii, 22.

* Plalm cxxxvii. 8.

3.

suffering the punishment due unto them ; it is contrary to the justice of God to punish sin twice, once in the surety, and again in the redeemed, Christ is a furety for ; and yet this must be the case, if true believers in Christ, for whom Christ suffered and died, should everlastingly perish ; for to perish everlastingly, is the same as to be punished with everlasting destruction.

6. The truth and faithfulness of God secures the final perseverance of the faints ; his counsels of old are faithfulness and truth'; whatever he has appointed shall be performed; be is faithful sbat bas promised”; and will make good whatever he has said: and, whereas there are many things he has said respecting the perseverance of his saints, his faithfulness is engaged to fulfil them; God is faithful by whom they are called to the fellowship of bis Son, to confirm them to the end, that they may be blamelefs in the day of our Lord Jesus *; and though he suffers them to be afflicted and tempted, yet he is faithful, who will not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able to bear, but will, with the temptation also make a way to escape: and those whom he sanctifies, shall be preserved unto the coming of our Lord Jesus, faithful is be that has called them, who also will do it; and the same Lord is faithful, who sboll Bablis and keep his people from cvila: but if any of these should perish everlastingly, where is his faithfulness ? we may be assured therefore they shall not perish, for he will never suffer his faithfulness to faild: nor is there any condition annexed to chose declarations and promises; the conditions this writer suggests, are not of God's making, but of his own forging.

Secondly, The final perfeverance of the saints, may be concluded from the everlasting love of God unto them. Those who are once the objects of God's love, are always so; his love to them in every state and condition into which they come is invariable and unalterable ; it is constant, permanent, perpetual, and for ever : God loves his people with the same love he loves his Son, and therefore it will always continue ; and if it always continues, it is imposible they should ever perish ; can a man perish eyerlastingly, and yet be the object of everlasting love? the love of God to him must cease, or he can never perish : but that never can ; God always refts, in his love to his people ; it is more immoveable than bills and mountains ; they may depart, but his loving-kindness never shall, that is from everlasting to everlasting; I bave loved thee, faich the Lord', with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee: but it is said', this “simply declares God's love to the Jewish church ;" be it so, wbatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that

we , Ifa. xxv, 1.

: ; Cor. i. 8, 9.

di Cor. x. 13. . , Thel. v, 23, 24. 2 Thesi. iii. & Pfalm lxxxix. 330

• Scrious Thoughts, po 11, 12. ! Jer. xxi. 3.

Scrious Thoughts, P. 7:

* Heb. I. 23.

« PreviousContinue »