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scriptures of truth, to the same awful consequence of falling apurpose.
When Paul, and those em- Such reasoning could have barked with him, were ship- been no more improper, in any wrecked in their voyageto Rome, view of it, than his saying, to the and had suffered almost every Galatians, If we, (the apostles thing but death, the angel of the of Christ) or an angel from heaLord appeared unto him, say- ven, preach any other gospel uning, Fear not, Paul, for thou to you, than that which we have must be brought before Cesar, preached unto you, let him be and, lo, God hath given thee all accursed. When we consider, them that sail with thee. Where that the apostles of Jesus not fore, said he, Sirs, be of good only had his spirit for leading cheer, for I believe it shall be them into all truth, but his promeven as it was told me. But ver. ise, that he would always be So, As the shipmen were about with them, will any regard him, to flee out of the ship, when they as suggesting the smallest doubt, had let down the boat to the whether the faithful, and even sea, Paul said to the centurion inspired ministers of Christ, or and the soldiers, Except these an angel from heaven, might abide in the ship ye cannot be sav. one day preach another gospel, ed. It was, however, as impos- subversive of that, which they sible, that any of them should be had already preached? All will lost, as that God should be uno answer, No. But if this be not faithful to his promise by the admitted, as proving the probaangel. Still, the apostle reason-bility, nor even possibility, of the ed with them, from a supposi- event supposed; then its being tion of what he had just assured received, as infallibly certain, them, should not happen. This that none who have been savinghe did, for evincing the import- ly illuminated, shall fall away, ance of such means and precau- or turn from their righteousness, tions, as were essential to their so as to be finally lost, is no preservation. This, as to the good reason why the apostle manner of reasoning, is the same should not have found a fit occawhich was used for showing, sion, for laying before them, that the saints, in order to being what the fearful consequence saved, must continue stedfast in must be, supposing them to fall the faith. The centurion did away. Other examples of like not charge Paul with reasoning reasoning from supposeable, but absurdly, when alleging the impossible events, might be adnecessity and importance of duced from the scriptures ; but means, from their connection these are deemed sufficient. with the end, nor even for assur- A few things will now be adding them, that, if these were ed, for showing the advantage, disregarded, the end would be and thence, more fully illustralost." And shall absurdity be ting the propriety of reasoning plead against the same apostle, with men, after this sort. Tho' when urging the duty of going in God's view of it, and as it reson unto perfection, as the neces- pects the certainty of all events, sary means of being saved, and the work of redemption was finthat, by alleging the certain and ished, from the foundation of the
world ; still, the final salvation requisite means of preservation, of believers is, in a sort, suspend-by alleging the fatal consequence ed on the condition of their en- of neglecting them. Men are during unto the end. None, often stimulated to pursue the however, who hold the certainty measures necessary, to sustainof their final perseverance, willing life, by a conviction, that the admit, that such suspension im- neglect of them must be inevitaplies any uncertainty, as to their ble death. The curse denounced being kept, by the power of God, against any one, who should thro' faith unto salvation. This preach another gospel, though power is exerted in giving effica- the case supposed were an imcy to such proper means, as are possible one, was not only a appointed, to promote their per- mode of reasoning, which is warseverance; and to those motives, ranted by the scriptures, and apwhich are set before them, in proved by common sense ; but the word of God, to this end. was highly pertinent and useful. Among these, we find the cer- Perhaps nothing could have bettain consequence of apostatizing ter expressed the infinite value from the faith. This which seems of the gospel, in its native purity, to be one special object, in the nor any thing have more fully passage before us, is by,no means realized to the Galatians the iminconsistent with the general portance of adhering to it, inflexscope of the scriptures. If ye ibly, and at all hazards. The do these things, ye shall never assurance, that all true believers fall. In due time we shall will persevere unto final salvareap, if we faint not. As the tion, and the implied assurance, branch cannot bear fruit of itself, that none of them will fall away, except it abide in the vine; no are essentially the same ; they more can ye, except ye abide in stand upon the same ground. me.
But will any urge, from this asThe certainty of preservation surance, that there is no occato Paul and his companions was sion for employing means, or for no greater, than of the means setting motives before men, to necessary to their being preserv- promote their perseverance, and ed. For showing the necessity to quicken them in the Chrisand importance of such means, tian race? Will any, on this nothing could have been more ground, urge the inexpediency pertinent, or forcible, than a view of setting before them the gloriof the consequence, which must ous prize of their high calling, attend the neglect of them. It which is sure to all who obtain is certain, that men will live their the victory ? They will not. But appointed time, supposing it to they might urge these, with as be a given number of years. much good reason, as object to Still it is as certain, such appoint- the motive, which is deduced for ment notwithstanding, that no this purpose, from their suppos. man can live a single year, if he ed apostasy. This is peculiarly neither eat, drink, nor sleep. Its fitted to realize, both the duty being a conceded point, there and importance, of not falling fore, that none will die, till the away ; for in the event of this, time appointed, is no reason for they not only cannot be renewed not urging the importance of the I again unto repentance, so as te be saved ; but will crucify to God, willing more abundantly to themselves the Son of God à show unto the heirs of promise, fresh, and put him to an open the immutability of his counsel, shame. However, as real saints confirmed it, by an oath ; that regard, not merely the salvation by two immutable things, in of their own souls, but the glory which it is impossible for God of their Redeemer, and the latter to lie, we might have a strong more than the former, both con- consolation, who have fled for siderations must be immensely refuge, to lay hold on the hope interesting and impressive. No set before us; which hope we motives could operate with grea- have as an anchor of the soul, ter effect, för quickening believ- both sure and stedfast, and which ers, in the race set before them, entereth into that within the and for strengthening their con- vail, whither the forerunner is kdence in Him, who is able to keep for us entered, even Jesus. The them from falling, and to present hope here spoken of, which is them, faultless, before the presence founded on the two immutable of his glory, with exceeding and things, the oath and faithfulness everlasting joy.
of God, is that hope of eternal Those who hold that real life, which is enjoyed exclusively saints may apostatize, or as their by true believers.
Which hope phrase is, fall from grace, after we have, says the apostle, addresbeing once renewed unto repent- sing the Hebrew saints. What is ance, will probably consider the here said of it shows plainly, that foregoing construction, as agree. it is an infallible hope ;-that it able, in part, to their sentiments, shall never lose its hold, within and as yielding them some meas- the vail, nor leave the subjects uire of support. The conse- of it, to disappointment and wo. quence, however, they must ad- By the view here taken of the mit, with great reluctance, viz. subject, the following inquiries the impossibility of renewing are suggested. First, How is the them again unto repentance. It Christian hope, an anchor of the is hencé proved, as fully as the soul, both sure and stedfast, if beword of God can prove it, that if lievers may fall away, and harbelievers fall away, so as to lose ing once fallen, must inevitably the divine image and favor, they perish ? This difficulty must must inevitably perish. The remain, to be disposed of, by strong and emphatical term im- those who deny, that al} true bepossible is used, to fix the awful lievers are kept, by the power of certainty, that the state of such God, through faith unto salvamust be absolutely hopeless ! tion. Again, if the saints may
But to denote the stability of fall away, and having once falGod's gracious covenant with len, it is impossible to renew believers, together with the con- them again unto repentance, so solation and hope, which they that they must surely die, wirere derive from it, the apostle says, is the strength of that consolafrom the 16th to the 20th versetion, which is derived from the of the context, For men verily oath and faithfulness of God, swear by the greater, and an who cannot lie, as the unfailing oath for confirmation is to them support of their hope ? One an end of all strife. Wherein would naturally conclude, that,
instead of strong consolation, and wisdom, when they do not and sted fast hope, they must be ex- will not improve it? An answer tremely disconsolate ; knowing to this inquiry will be my printhat they were every moment cipal subject. liable to fall away, and that, in
1. God doth this that he may the event of falling, they should make a display of his goodness, not only crucify to themselves even to those who despise it. the Son of God afresh, but must God delights in making a genperish without remedy.
eral display of his goudness; TROPHIMUS. and he doth this many ways, both
in the gifts of nature and providence. And by his common
and general goodness, he enforThoughts on Proverbs xvii. 16. ces such a spirit and practice on
He would have us imitate , N the scriptures of truth wick him in his extensive goodness,
ed men are stiled fools. In Matt. v. 44, 45. But I say unto the book of Proverbs, fool is the you, love your enemies, bless usual character of the sinner. Is them who curse you, and pray not this a just character? Will for them who despitefully use any call it in question ? Certain you and persecute you ; that ye ly the highest folly is justly char- may be the children of your Faged upon every wilful, impeni-ther which is in heaven'; for he tent sinner. But, a price is in maketh his sun to rise on the the hands of such fools, to get evil and on the good, and sendwisdom. By a price here is eth rain on the just and on the meant an opportunity and spe- unjust. And as God displays cial advantages to get wisdom his common goodness by sendto become savingly wise. A ing outward blessings to the price here means much the same children of men; so he doth in that a talent imports in the gos- bestowing spiritual advantages pel. By wisdom we are doubt on foolish man, to teach him less to understand true piety ; wisdom. How much is the goodagreeably to Psalm xc. 12,“ So ness of God manifested in beteach us to number our days, that stowing means of knowledge and we may apply our hearts unto grace on those who, he forewisdom.” The folly of the fool sees, will abuse and misimprove appears, in that he has no heart them? He will be good, though to the price in his hand to get man will be bad : He will be wisdom. He neglects the great kind, though man will be unsalvation ; despises the things of thankful and unfruitful. This his peace. He has no heart, i. e. may be a reason why there is a no will to improve his advanta- price in the hand of a fool to get ges. More may be intended than wisdom. is here expressed, even that he 2. Another reason why the is totally opposed to God, and the means of grace are granted and methods of his grace.
continued where there is no heart Wherefore then is it that God to improve them, may be, that will bestow advantages upon those may be benefited, who do men, and continue a rich price in some measure improve them. in their hands, to get saving! Were there none who improved VOL. VI. NO. 1,
them, perhaps they would have fusal of the offer made them; been taken from the world be- how few would there be saved ? fore this ; but for the elect's sake But though men refuse the first they are continued. This is the offer, it may be they will not restate of this world ; the tares fuse for ever ; but they may be and wheat must grow together ; induced most gladly to comply and as it is in the field of the with articles of peace. And God husbandman, the tares will have knows this will be the case with the same seasons, rains and sun- some. By God's patience being shine as the wheat ; and they lengthened out, how many fools must grow together till the har- have been won and made wise ? vest, and be encompassed with Satan's kingdom has been dethe same common hedge; were stroyed in the heart, and that of it not for the wheat they would Christ erected on its ruins. be trodden down. So, in this All are not called in at the case, because saints and sinners same hour of the day : some live together, such as have no at the sixth, some at the ninth, hearts to improve the means of &c. God will not fail to gather grace, must have them in com- in all his elect, though he wait mon with others, lest the servants | long. Christ will be sure to of God should be injured. Se bring home all that the Father verity to sinners might be of real hath given him, though his padisadvantage to the faithful and tience be lengthened out to long excellent in the earth. See this suffering. This is abundantly stated in the parable, Matt. xiii. evident from scripture declara29, &e. But he said nay, lest tions. while ye gather up the tares, ye
4. God is pleased to grant root up the wheat also with spiritual advantages to those who them-let both grow together do not, and will not, improve till the harvest, and in the time them, to glorify his justice in of harvest I will say to the reap- their condemnation. God's jusers, gather ye together first the tice will be glorified in all those tares, and bind them in bundles who shall fall under the curses to burn them ; but gather the of his law, whether they have wheat into my barn. As if the been treated with or not about great Husbandman had said to the common salvation. But how his servants, beware what ye do, glorious will it appear, when lest the wheat be hurt I would men fall into its hands, after a rather lengthen out my patience long offer of peace, a day of a little longer, and let the sun grace, and much divine patience ? shine upon the evil and unthank- How glorious will it be renderful, than that there should the ed, when in the presence least disadyantage accrue to my gels and men it will appear, that friends. But,
they had line upon line, and pre3. Sometimes God continues cept upon precept; had a valu. a price in the hands of such able price in their hands, and fools, as have no heart to it, in were solicited to improve it, but expectation that, at length, they had no heart to it, and turned a will improve it, so as to get wis- deaf ear to all the calls of mercy, dom. Should God abandon all obstinately refused compliance, men to ruin upon their first re- and rejected the counsel of God