Page images

which, Heb. x. 29. is produced; on which it is obferved, that it is undeniably plain, that the perfon mentioned was once fanctified by the blood of the covenant; that he afterwards by known wilful fin trod under foot the Son of God, and hereby incurred a forer punishment than death, namely, death everlafting; whence it follows, that one so fanctified may fall, as to perish everlaftingly. The sense of the paffage, and the argument upon it, depend intirely upon the meaning of the phrafe, fanctified by the blood of the covenant, and of whom it is spoken; and according to the rules of speech, fince 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 fin of fuch a perfon, that counted that blood unholy by which the Son of God himself was fanctified, fet apart, hallowed and confecrated, to the dif charge of that part of his priestly-office, which lay in interceffion for his people; as Aaron and his fons were by the sacrifices of flain beasts, to minifter in the prieft's-office: it was a moft grievous fin to treat with contempt fuch a person, as not only God the Father had fanctified, and fent into the world, and who had also fanctified, and set apart himself for the redemption of his people, that they might be fanctified through the truth; but having offered himself a facrifice for their fins, 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 fo was fanctified, or fet apart by it to accomplish the other part of his priestly-office, interceffion for his people; to do which he ever lives and fits 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 perfeverance of the faints.-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 fo, which this writer does not pretend to do, that we may judge whether it is a defcriptive character of a real faint, or no; for if it is not, then it is ftill nothing to the purpose. It is not to be understood of the inward fanctification of nature, or of the heart; for that is by the Spirit of God; this the Arminians do not say: Dr Whitby himself owns', it has no relation to that; yet this is what ought to be proved, to make the perfon to have been a real faint, or a true believer; or else he can be no inftance of the faints final and total apostacy. Nor is it to be understood of remiffion of fins, and justification by the blood of Christ, as the above Doctor interprets it; for either this must be a partial remiffion of fins, and justification from them or a full one; not a partial one, for when God forgives fins for Chrift's fake, he forgives all fins, and juftifies from all iniquities; 1 Discourse concerning Election, &c p. 141, 406.

Serious Thoughts, p. 22.

iniquities; and if a full one, then even these heinous fins he is charged with, must be forgiven; and fo he stood in no need of any more facrifice for fin nor could any punishment be inflicted on him for them; nor needed he fear any; and especially fo fore and fevere a one as is here reprefented: wherefore if these words are to be understood of an apoftate, and of his having been fanctified by the blood of the covenant; the meaning must be, either that he was fanctified and feparated from others by a vifible profeffion of religion, had submitted to baptifm, and partook of the Lord's fupper, had drank of the cup, the blood of the New Teftament or covenant, though he did not fpiritually difcern the body and blood of Chrift in the ordinance, but counted the bread and wine, the fymbols thereof, as common things; or elfe that he pro feffed himself to be fanctified, or to have his fins expiated by the blood of the covenant, and to be juftified by it, and was looked upon by others to be so, when he really was not; and take the fenfe either way, it furnishes out no argument against the final perfeverance of the faints.

Thus having gone through the Eight propofitions, laid down by the writer of the Serious Thoughts, &c. and fhewn that they are without any foundation or authority in the word of God, and that the doctrine of the faints final perfeverance stands unfhaken by them; I fhall now proceed to offer fome arguments in proof of it, and to eftablish the minds of God's people in it, and fhall vindicate fuch 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 neceffary, must be true; and whatever is contrary to them, and reflects difhonour on them, must be falfe. The doctrine of the faints final perfeverance is agreeable to them, and is made intirely neceffary by them, and therefore must be true; and the contrary doctrine, of the falling away of real faints, fo as to perifh 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 fons of Jacob' are not confumed ": if they were, he must change in his love to them, and whom he now loves he muft hate; he must alter his purposes concerning them; whereas, he has appointed them to falvation, he must confign them over to ruin and deftruction; he must reverse his promises to them, and his bleffings 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.

I i


Mal, iii, 6.

and who can turn him? he is the fame to-day, yesterday, and for ever; and, there fore, 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 fhadow of turning; nor can this writer difprove 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, promifes, and covenant; which he would not be, if his beloved, chofen, and covenant-ones fhould perish.

[ocr errors]

2. The wisdom of God is concerned in this doctrine: No wife 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 wife part: the end which God has in view, and has fixed, is the falvation of his people; and is it confiftent with his wisdom to appoint infufficient means, or not to make those means effectual when it is in his power to do it? which must be the cafe, if any of those he has appointed to falvation fhould perish: No, as he has appointed the end, falvation, he has fixed the means, fanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, which he prepares, produces, and makes effectual. Where would be his wifdom to appoint men to falvation, and never save them; to fend his Son to redeem them, and they never the better 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 bleffings for his people in a covenant ordered in all things, and fure; in putting them into the hands of his Son for the fecurity of them; in their compleat redemption by him, wherein he has abounded in all wisdom and prudence; and in affigning the work of fanctification in its beginning, progrefs, and iffue, to the divine Spirit, who is equal to it, and will perform it. There is no fearching of his understanding; hence he giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might be increaseth ftrength.-Wherefore, they shall run, and not be weary, and walk, and not faint; shall perfevere to the end, and get fafe to heaven and happiness.

3. The power of God is concerned in this matter; fuch who are the elect according to the fore-knowledge of God the Father, and are begotten again according to his abundant mercy, who have a lively bope of a glorious inheritance, these are kept by the power of God, through faith unto falvation; they are kept as in a garrison, as the word used fignifies; they are furrounded with the power of God; he is a wall of fire round about them, to protect and defend them, and • Ifa. xl. 28, 29, 31.

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

1 Pet. i, 2, 3, 5.



[ocr errors]


to offend their enemies; as the mountains are round about Jerufalem, fo is the Lord round about his people, from henceforth, even for ever. Wherefore they that truft 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 prefervation of his people, he keeps them night and day, left any hurt them'; they are kept in, and through a course of believing unto the end; and their faith is as much fecured and preferved by the power of God, as their perfons 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 falvation in heaven; their whole fpirit, foul and body, are preserved blameless, to the coming of our Lord Jefus, and fafe unto his heavenly kingdom and therefore, fince the power of God is fo ftrongly engaged for them, they cannot fall fo as to perifh everlastingly. The writer, I have to do with, owns, that "undoubtedly fo are all they (kept by the power of God) "who ever attain eternal falvation; 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 faints who are not kept by the power of God, and do not attain falvation; and it lies upon him to fhew how the falling away of fuch, fo as to perish everlaftingly, is confiftent with the words of the apostle Peter referred to, as he fays it is, or with their being kept by almighty power.

[ocr errors]

4. The goodness, grace, and mercy of God, ferve to eftablish this truth; his goodness endures for ever; his mercy is from everlafting to everlasting, on them that fear him"; the mercy of God as it is free and fovereign, plenteous, boundless, and infinite, fo it is fure, permanent and perpetual; thofe that are once the objects of it, are always fo, and therefore can never perish; it is of the Lord's mercies we are not confumed, because his compaffions fail not"; which they would, should any of his be confumed and perish. Can it be thought that that God who is gracious and merciful, abundant in goodness and truth, pardoning iniquity, tranfgression, and fin; that he who has begotten men again, according to his 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 fuffer them fo to fall, as to perish everlastingly? No, as the Pfalmift fays, the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; the work of grace upon his heart, his whole falvation; his reason for it is, thy mercy O Lord endureth for ever: hence follows a prayer of faith, forsake not the work of thine own bands; God will not.

5. The juftice of God requires that those should be certainly and eternally faved, for whose fins Chrift has died, for which he has made fatisfaction by

Pfalm cxxv. 1, 2. u Pfalm ciii. 17.


ri 2
• Ifa. xxvii.
Lam, iii. 22.

ti Theff. v. 23.
2 Tim. iv. 18.
* Pfalm cxxxvii. 8.

fuffering the punishment due unto them; it is contrary to the juftice of God to punish fin twice, once in the furety, and again in the redeemed, Christ is a furety for; and yet this must be the cafe, if true believers in Chrift, for whom Chrift fuffered and died, fhould everlastingly perish; for to perish everlastingly, is the fame as to be punished with everlasting destruction.

6. The truth and faithfulness of God fecures the final perfeverance of the faints; his counfels of old are faithfulness and truth'; whatever he has appointed shall be performed; he is faithful that has promised; and will make good whatever he has faid: and, whereas there are many things he has faid respecting the perfeverance of his faints, his faithfulness is engaged to fulfil them; God is faithful by whom they are called to the fellowship of his Son, to confirm them to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jefus*: and though he fuffers them to be afflicted and tempted, yet he is faithful, who will not fuffer 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 fanctifies, shall be preserved unto the coming of our Lord Jefus, faithful is be that has called them, who also will do it ; and the fame Lord is faithful, who shall stablish and keep his people from evil ˆ : but if any of these should perish everlaftingly, where is his faithfulness ? we may be assured therefore they shall not perish, for he will never suffer his faithfulness to fail: nor is there any condition annexed to thofe declarations and promises; the conditions this writer fuggests, are not of God's making, but of his own forging.

Secondly, The final perfeverance of the faints, may be concluded from the everlasting love of God unto them. Those who are once the objects of God's love, are always fo; 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 fame love he loves his Son, and therefore it will always continue; and if it always continues, it is impoffible they should ever perish; can a man perish everlastingly, 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 fhall, that is from everlasting to everlasting; I have loved thee, faith the Lord', with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee: but it is faid, this "fimply declares God's love to the Jewish church;" be it so, whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »