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we through patience and comfort of the fcriptures might have hope". The Jewish and Christian church are loved with the fame love; faints under the gospel-difpensation are not lefs loved, than under the legal one; if the Jewish church was loved with an everlasting love, then much more the Christian church, and believers in it, fince their privileges are greater; and if the bleffings of goodness bestowed on the Jewish church, by which the Lord drew and engaged them to himself, were evidences of his everlasting love to them; then surely the bleffings of the new covenant beflowed upon faints under the present difpenfation, and particularly, the Lord's drawing them by powerful and efficacious grace in converfion to himself, and to his Son, must be evidences of his everlasting love to them; and therefore, they cannot everlaftingly perish, because from his love they can never be feparated; for I am perfuaded, fays the apostle', that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things prefent, nor things to come, nor beight, nor depth, nor any other creature fball be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Chrift Jefus our Lord: which words do not merely declare the apoftle's full perfuafion of his own perfeverance at that time, as our author fuggefts; for he does not fay, shall not separate me, but us, and expreffes his full perfuafion of the perfeverance of all faints, whether they themselves had the full affurance of faith, or no; even of all the elect of God, against whom no charge can be laid, because God has juftified them, and on whom no condemnation can come, because Christ has died for them, and whose falvation is fure and certain, because he ever lives to make interceffion for them, and had made them more than conquerors over all their enemies; and therefore, nothing can obstruct their eternal happiness, or the bringing of them safe to glory, Rom. viii. 33-37:
Thirdly, This doctrine of the faints final perfeverance, may be established from the counfels, purposes, and decrees of God; particularly the decree of election, which stands fure, not upon the foot of works, but upon the will of bim that calleth', which is unalterable and irreversible. I take it for granted, that there is such a decree, by which God has chofen and appointed fome ment to everlasting salvation by Jefus Chrift; this writer may dispute it with me if he pleases. My argument upon it is this, if God has chofen fome men to eternal life by Chrift, and any of these should everlastingly perish, then the purpose of God according to election concerning them, would not stand; but his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure"; for who, or what, can difannul his purpofe? as he has thought, fo fhall it come to pass, and as he bas purpofed, *Serious Thoughts, p. 12...
b Rom. xv. 4. J Rom. ix. 11.
1 Rom. viii. 38, 39
Ifa. xlvi. 10.
purposed, so shall it stand; and therefore, they fhall not perish. Divine predestination to life, and eternal glorification are infeparably connected together; the former infallibly fecures the latter, and all the intermediate grace and means leading to it; whom he did predeftinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them be alfo glorified°.
Fourthly, This truth will receive further strength, from the confideration of the covenant of grace, made with the elect in Christ, before the world began; which is ordered in all things, with all bleffings and promifes, as well to provide for, and fecure the certain perfeverance, and eternal falvation of the perfons in it, as to promote the glory of God; and it is fure, all the bleffings and promises of it, and the falvation in it, are fure to all the feed, to all the covenant-ones; it is a covenant of peace, that can never be removed; fooner may rocks, hills, and mountains be removed than that; it has the oath of God annexed to it, and the faithfulness of God is engaged to fulfil it; who fays, I will not fuffer my faithfulness to fail, my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips; once have I fworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. Which covenant does not relate wholly to David and his family, literally understood, but to our Lord Jefus Chrift, the fon and antitype of David, and who is fometimes called David himself; this is he, whom the Lord found in his infinite wisdom to be a proper Saviour of loft finners; this is the mighty one, on whom he laid the help of his people; this is he, whom he chofe out from among them, and anointed to be, and invested with the office of, the Mediator, to whom he promised all help and affiftance as man; this is his firft-born, he has made higher than the kings of the earth, and whose spiritual feed and offspring shall endure for ever; all which can never be faid of David and his family, in a literal fenfe. Nor was this covenant a conditional one; there is no condition either implied or expreffed, on the failure of which God failed David, altered the thing that had gone out of his mouth, and broke the covenant of his fervant; all which is without truth affirmed: fooner may the covenant with day and night be broken, than this covenant with David. Indeed, in the latter part of the pfalm, fome objections are made to the everlafting love of God to his Son, to the immutability of his covenant, and the certain performance of it, taken from the fufferings and death of Chrift, and his continuance under the power of the grave; when the faith and hope of his people were almost funk and gone, fee Luke xxiv. 21. and when it seemed to them, being under the prevalence of unbelief, that the covenant made with Chrift
P Pfalm lxxxix. 33-35.
a Ifa. xiv. 24, 27.
• Rom. viii. 30.
247 Chrift was made void but fhall the unbelief of men nake the faith of God of none effect? whom fhall we believe, God that fays, my covenant I will not break; or his people in unbelieving frames, faying, Thou haft made void the covenant of thy fervant? not the latter, but the former. Befides, these persons whom the Pfalmift reprefents, emerged out of their temptation, darkness, and unbelief, when they faw the Lord rifen from the dead, and triumphing over death, and the powers of darkness, having obtained eternal redemption for them; wherefore the pfalm is clofed with expreffions of joy and thankfulness; bleffed be the Lord for evermore, amen, and amen. Since therefore the covenant of grace can never be broken and made void, those who are interested in it can never perish everlastingly; fooner may the heavens above be measured, and the foundations of the earth be fearched, than that all, or any of the fpiritual feed of Ifrael, and of the antitypical David be caft off, fo as to perifh, and be loft eternally.
Fifthly, This may be further concluded from the special and particular promifes made in this covenant, and which stand on divine record, relating to the perfeverance of the faints; and these are so many, that to name them all, would be to transcribe great part of the scriptures; as that the Lord will establish and keep his people from evil; will confirm them to the end, and preferve them safe to his kingdom and glory; that he will uphold them with the right hand of his righteousness, that they shall not be utterly caft down; that the righteous fhall hold on their way, and fhall grow stronger"; that he will put his fear into their hearts, and they shall never depart from him"; with a multitude of others of the fame import, which are all yea, and amen, in Chrift Jefus; and these promises are abfolute and unconditional: it is indeed faid, that in many the condition is expreffed, and in others implied; but let it be named what the condition is, that is either expreffed or implied in the above promises; and let the condition be what it will, it will be no difficult thing to prove that it is either elsewhere absolutely promised by the Lord, or undertook by Christ, or will be performed by the Spirit of God, in, and upon the Lord's people; fo that their perfeverance is not at all affected with it: That famous promife, I will never leave thee, nor forfake thee, applied to New Teftament-believers, Heb. xiii. 5. which, as it is an inftance of a promise made to a particular perfon, belonging to all the faints in common, and of one being made to a faint under the Old Testament, Joshua, belonging to thofe under the New Testament, so it is not a conditional one, as is afferted; fo far is any condition
from being exprefsly mentioned in it, or along with it, that that which is faid to be so, is strongly enforced by this abfolute and unconditional promise; and though it is recited to encourage in things temporal, yet alfo may be, and is accommodated to things fpiritual; and is of use with respect to such things, as appears from the inference deduced from it; fso that we may boldly fay, the Lord is our belper, and I will not fear what man fhall do unto me; no, nor devils neither: and, if God will never leave his people in time nor eternity, as the phrafe takes in both, then they cannot perish everlastingly: now, seeing the promises of God to his people are free, absolute, and unconditional, and he is able to perform them, and his faithfulness is engaged to do it, there is all the reason in the world, to believe he will; and, if he will, and does make good these promises to them, it is impoffible they should so fall, as to perish everlastingly.
Sixthly, This may be further argued from several acts of God's grace towards his people, which are of fuch a nature, as ascertain their fure and everlasting falvation; and, besides his acts of election of them, and making a fure covenant with his Son on their account, before-mentioned, and the putting of them into the hands of his Son, with all grace and glory for them, of which more hereafter, the following ones may be observed:
1. The adoption of them into his family. Predeftination to it is according to the good pleasure of God's will, and does not arife from, or depend upon any merit, motive, or condition, in the adopted; the covenant in which God takes men into this relation is absolute and unconditional; it runs thus, I will be a father to you, and ye shall be my fons and daughters: all obstructions are, removed, and way is made for the reception of this bleffing through the redemption of Chrift; the power and privilege of it is a gift of his, and his Spirit bears witness to it, hence called the Spirit of adoption; and such who thus become the children of God, always remain fo; they that are of the boushold of God, are no more strangers and foreigners, they abide in his bouse and family for ever, and are never caft out; if fons, no more fervants, but heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Chrift, and shall enjoy the eternal inheritance referved for them; and, therefore, cannot perish everlaftingly. To fay as our author does, that "he who is a child of God to-day, may be a child of "the devil to-morrow," is a moft vile expreffion, and reflects great difhonour on that manner of love, the Father has bestowed on men, that they should be called. the fons of God; his reafon for it is weak and groundless: "That a believer "to-day,
2 Cor. vi. 18.
• Serious Thoughts, p. 23, 24..
Eph. ii. 19. John viii. 35. Gal. iv. 7.
"to-day, may be an unbeliever to-morrow, seeing he may make shipwreck of "faith, and fo no longer a child of God;" but what, though a blafpheming heretic may make fhipwreck of the doctrine of faith, which is all that can be proved from the inftance referred to, does it follow that a true believer can make shipwreck of the grace of faith? no, he cannot: befides, adoption does not depend upon faith; it is not faith that makes men the children of God, but is what makes them manifeft, or makes them appear to be fo; it is the free fovereign grace of God, which puts them into this relation, and keeps them there, and therefore, they fhall never perish.
2. The juftification of them by the righteoufness of Chrift. Such who are justified, can never be unjustified, or be removed from the state of justification, in which they are, into a ftate of condemnation, but always remain righteous perfons through the righteousness of Christ, imputed to them; the righteouf, nefs by which they are justified is an everlasting one; the sentence of justification paffed upon them, can never be reverfed by man or devil; if God juftifies, who can bring a charge of any avail? who or what can condemn ? there is no condemnation to them that are in Chrift, and are clothed with his righteoufnefs; they are paffed into juftification of life, and shall never enter into condemnation; they have a right to eternal glory, through the justifying righteousness of Christ, and shall enjoy it; between their justification and glorification there is an infeparable connection: Whom he justified, them he alfo glorified, Rom. viii. 30, 33, 34. Wherefore, those that are righteous in the judgment of God himself, as all fuch are whom he justifies by the righteousness of Christ, cannot poffibly fo fall, as to perish everlastingly.
3. The pardon of their fins by the blood of Chrift. Thofe for whom Chrift has fhed his blood, for whofe fins he has made fatisfaction by his facrifice; thefe God pardons for Chrift's fake; and these he forgives all trefpaffes, he heals all their difeafes, and forgives all their iniquities; not one fin of theirs is left unfatisfied for by Chrift, or unpardoned by the Lord; and if so, then all the fins they ever fall into, or are guilty of, are pardoned; and consequently, never fo fall, as to perish everlastingly: for, is it poffible for a man to go to hell, and perish eternally, with the pardon of all fins? it is impoffible; what fhould he, what can he perifh for, when all his fins are fatisfied for and forgiven?
Seventhly, This truth may be proved by the love of Chrift to his faints, his care of them, what he has done and does for them, their intereft in him, and relation to him.
Col. ii. 13. Pfalm ciii. 3.