Page images

1. The love of Chrift to them. They are the objects of his everlasting love; before the world was, his delights were with these fons of men, and have continued ever fince; as his incarnation, fufferings, death, and interceffion fhew. He loves them as his Father loved him; and therefore, his love to them must be very great, permanent and lafting, yea everlasting; and indeed, nothing can separate from it: and therefore, fuch who are interested in it, can never perish everlastingly; having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end". This, the writer I am concerned with', understands of the apostles only, and of Christ's loving them to the end of his life, and not theirs, to which may be replied, that all the apostles were not his own in a special sense, one of them was a devil, and was the devil's, and was not the object of Christ's special love, nor did he love him to the end; and besides, were the apostles the only perfons that were his own? had he, and has he no special property in others alfo? certainly he has; who are equally the objects of his love as they were; and are loved by him, not to the end of his life on earth only, but to the end of their lives, even for ever, to all eternity; which is the sense of the phrase used: for to understand it only of Christ's life as man on earth, is a moft trifling sense; it makes the love of Christ to be only an human affection, and to laft no longer than he lived; whereas, Christ loves his not merely as a man, but as a divine person, and the Saviour of men; and loves them as much now he is in heaven, as when on earth; as his advocacy, interceffion and preparations for them there fhew. Moreover, HTS, which we tranflate to the end, may be rendered continually, as in Luke xvii. 5. for ever; in which sense it is used by the Septuagint, in Pfalm ix. 6, 18. and xliv. 23. and answers to an Hebrew word, which fignifies for ever; and fo the text in John is rendered by the Ethiopic version, he loved them for ever:

2. Those who are the objects of Chrift's love, are given unto him by the Father, as his portion and inheritance, and to be kept and preferved by him: and will he lose his portion, his jewels, when it is in his power to keep them? He will not; he will keep them as the apple of his eye; they shall be mine, says he, in the day when I make up my jewels, and I will spare them, as a man spareth his only fon that ferveth him: when they were given to him by his Father, it was with such a charge, with fuch a declaration of his Will, that of all which he gave him, he should lofe nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day1; which Will he perfectly, observed; thofe that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is loft but the fon of perdition". It is indeed said, "the phrafe, thofe that

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

thou gavest me, fignifies here (if not in most other places too) the twelve apoftles, and them only; and that one of those whom the Father had given "him, did not perfevere unto the end, but perifhed everlaftingly ";" and fo, is rather against than for the doctrine of perfeverance: to which I answer, that what in the paffage and throughout the chapter is spoken of the apostles, is not faid of them purely as fuch, but as believers in Chrift, and the disciples of him, and fo in common belongs to all in that character; and, if fuch a fallacy can take place, once and again obferved by our author, that what fpiritual things are faid of the Jewish church under the Old Teftament, and of the apostles in the New, must be restrained to them, and them only, there will be little left for the faints to build their faith and hope upon befides, it is a most clear cafe, that others befides the apostles are meant by this phrafe, in that chapter where it is fo much ufed; more are meant by the many the Father had given him, ver. 2. to more than the apoftles had Chrift manifested his Father's name, ver. 8. fuch as are given him by the Father are opposed to the whole world, and diftinguished from them; and even all that the Father had are claimed by him as his, by virtue of this gift, and for whom he prays, ver. 9, 10. and it is certain, he prayed for more than the apoftles; even for all them that should believe in him through their word, ver. 20. as for Judas, the fon of perdition, it does not appear, though he was an apoftle, that he was among thofe that were given him by the Father; he is distinguished from them in the very paffage, and is opposed to them: for, un, but, is not exceptive, but adverfative; and the fenfe is, that none of those that were given to Chrift in a way of special grace were loft, but the fon of perdition, who was not given to him in any fuch way, he was loft; and fo, is no inftance of the apoftacy of fuch who were given to Christ; for of every one of these at the great day, he will fay, behold I and the children which God hath given me°.

3. These fame perfons were put into the hands of Chrift for safety and prefervation, even as early as the everlasting covenant was made with him; yea be loved the people, all his faints are in thy bands: hence they are faid to be preferved in Chrift Jefus, as the effect of their being fan&tified, or fet apart by God the Father in election, and previous to their being called effectually by grace; fo they were preserved through the fall of Adam, though not from it, and in their nature-ftate, till called to be faints, where they remain fafe and fecure; they are fet as a feal on his heart, and as a feal on his arm; they are engraven on the palms of his bands, and their walls are continually before him; they are a crown of glory, and a royal diadem in his band', and can never be removed

Serious Thoughts, p. 15.
Jude, ver. 1.

kk 2

• Heb. ii. 13.
P Deut. xxxiii. 3.
Cant. viii. 6. Ifa, xlix. 16. and lxii. 3.

[ocr errors]

removed from thence; they are called the sheep of his hand, from whence none can pluck them; I give unto them, fays Chrift, eternal life; and who or what then can hinder them of it? and they shall never perish; who dare say they may or fhall, when Chrift fays they shall not? neither fhall any man pluck them out of my hand; rs, not any one, man or devil, nor they themselves; nor is there any condition expreffed in these words, or in the context, on which the fulfilment of them depends; bearing Chrift's voice and following him, are not conditions of these promises, as is faid"; but descriptive of the sheep of Christ in his hand, and are plain marks of their perseverance; which is in the ftrongest manner infured to them by these words of Christ, and still more confirmed by the following; my Father which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hands. I and my Father are one.

4. They that are loved by Chrift, given him by his Father, and put into his hands, are redeemed by him, and are the purchase of his blood, and therefore, can never perish; fhould they, it must be either for want of sufficiency in the price paid for them, or of power in Chrift to keep them; neither of which can be faid: the price of Chrift's blood is a fufficient and effectual price for them; and he is able to keep them, and will; he will never lose the purchase of his blood; fhould he in any one inftance, his death would be so far in vain; nor could it be faid, that the pleasure of the Lord has profpered in bis band, or that he fees of the travail of his foul, and is fatisfied: but our author fays, borrefco referens, enough to make a man fhudder to read it; "If the "oracles of God are true, one who was purchased by the blood of Christ, may go thither, (that is, to hell;) for he that was fanctified by the blood of Chrift, was purchased by the blood of Chrift, and fuch an one may never"theless go to hell:" The affertion is bold and fhocking, and stands upon a mistaken sense of the paffage in Heb. x. 29. as has been fhewn before, and is without any foundation in the oracles of God.


5. Those whom Chrift loves, were given to him, and for whom he died, for them he ever lives to make interceffion; in which he is always heard, and therefore, they cannot perish: in particular he prays for their perfeverance; he prays for them, that their faith fail not; that God would keep them through his name, that they might be one; that he would keep them from the evil of the world, and that they might be with him where he is, to behold his glory; and now as he himself says to his Father, I know that thou bearest me always: if he is always heard, and his interceffion is prevalent and effectual in all things, for which it is made, then it is impoffible that thofe for whom it is made, should perifh

• Pfalm xcv. 7.
w Ifa. liii. 10, 11.

John x. 28, 29.

Serious Thoughts, p. 23.

■ Serious Thoughts, p. 14.

perish everlastingly; and, befides, fhould they, his preparations of manfions of glory for them in his Fathers's house would be in vain, John xiv. 2, 3.

[ocr errors]

6. There is a clofe and infeparable union between Chrift and the faints, which effectually fecures them from a final and total falling away, or so as to perish everlastingly; he is the head, and they his body; they are members of his body; they are the fulness of him that filleth all in all; and, if any one member, even the least, should perish, they could not be faid to be his fulness : nay, they that are joined to the Lord, are not only one body, but one spirit with him; they have their life from him; it is bid with him, and fecured in him; because he lives, they shall live also; their life is bound up in the bundle of life with bis: fo, that as Luther faid, fi nos ruimus, ruit & Chriftus, "if we fall, Chrift "muft fall too." They are laid on a foundation that is fure; they are built on a rock, against which, the gates of heil can never prevail; and from whence, all the winds and waves and floods of their own corruptions, Satan's temptations, and the world's perfecutions can never remove them".

Eighthly, The doctrine of the faints final perfeverance, may be concluded from the Spirit's work of grace upon their hearts, from his habitation in thems and from his being the earnest of their inheritance, and the fealer of them unto the day of redemption.

1. From his work of grace upon their hearts. The grace that is wrought in them by him, is a feed which remainetḥ, and therefore, the man in whom it is, cannot fin, that is, the fin unto death, or fo as to perish everlastingly; the feed he is born of is incorruptible, immortal, and never dies; the grace which is put into him, is a well of water springing up into everlasting life; eternal life is the certain fruit and effect of it; grace and glory are infeparable things; to whomsoever God gives grace he gives glory. The feveral graces of the Spirit are abiding ones, particularly faith, hope, and love; and now abideth faith, bope, charity, these three: love, though the first ardour of it may be abated, and firft-love may be left, it cannot be loft; it may wax cold, yet cannot be extinguifhed; many waters cannot quench it; nothing can feparate from the love of Chrift; as not from Chrift's love to his people, fo neither from theirs to him, so that it is intirely gone: No, in the worst of times, under whatsoever darkness, desertion, temptation or affliction, a believer is, ftill Chrift is the object of his love; as the cafes of the church in Canticles, and of Peter shew : hope is an anchor fure and ftedfaft, being caft on Chrift the foundation, from

Eph. i. 23.



1 Cor. vi. 17. Col. iii. 3. John xiv. 19. 1 Sam. xxy. 29. a Matt. xvi. 18. and vii. 24, 25. 1 John iii. 9. Pet. i. 23, John iv. 14. 1 Pfalm C Cant. iii. 1-3.

1xxxiv. 11.

· 1 Cor. xiii. 13.

d Cant. viii. 7. Rom, viii. 35.

John xxi. 17.

whence it can never be removed'; and faith is that grace, which is much more precious than gold that perifbeth; and what gives it its fuperior excellency is, because it does not perish itfelf: Chrift is the author and finisher of it; he prays for it that it fail not, and performs the work of it with power: falvation is annexed to it, and infeparably connected with it; he that believeth fhall be faved'; nay, it is said, that such an one bath everlasting life; is entered upon it, does in fome fenfe poffefs it, has the foretafte, earnest, and pledge of it; and that he is passed from death to life, and shall not come unto condemnation; and therefore, cannot perish everlastingly. But our author fays', the plain meaning is, be that believeth, if he continue in the faith, fhall be faved. But this is an interlineation of his; and to interline a record is felony; and what crime must that man be guilty of that interlines the record of heaven, the great charter of our falvation, the will and teftament of our heavenly Father, 'confirmed by Christ the teftator? Befides, he that believes fhall continue in the faith; there is no if or doubt to be made of it; he is of them that believe, or goes on believing to the faving of the foul, till he receives the end of his faith, even the falvation of his foul"; or otherwife it could only be said he may be faved: and moreover the phrafe, he shall be faved, afcertains his continuance in faith, as well as his falvation. But then it is urged", that "by all the rules of fpeech," the other part of the fentence muft mean, "be that does not believe at this "moment, shall certainly and inevitably be damned." To which I reply, that there is a great difference between faith and unbelief, or between a believer and an unbeliever at the present moment; the one is certainly final, the other may not be final: he that truly believes this moment goes on to believe, and shall certainly be saved; he that does not believe this moment may believe hereafter, and so not be damned: or take the answer in other words, more in the language of scripture; he that believeth bath everlasting life, now, this moment; and according to the tenor of the Gospel, be shall be certainly and inevitably faved: be that believeth not, according to the tenor of the law, shall not fee life, but the wrath of God abideth on him, even now, this moment; and he fhall be certainly and inevitably damned, unless God of his grace bestows. faith on him; and then he is openly entitled to what is in the other declaration, be that believeth fhall be faved. Upon which every individual believer may thus argue, whoever believes fhall be faved, I believe, and therefore I fhall be faved, and not perish everlastingly.

[blocks in formation]

2. In

1 Mark xvi. 16. 1 Pet. i. 9.


« PreviousContinue »