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any of their sins before they are committed. The justification of believers is conditional, and does not become complete and final, until they cease to sin. Perseverance in repentance and prayer is necessary as long as believers persevere in sin and moral imperfection. Job's three friends were undoubtedly good men, but they sinfully erred in respect to his character, and in respect to God's design in afflicting him. God, therefore, required them to repent, and seek for pardon, through the intercession of Job. David often sinned, and often prayed for the pardon of his sins. The fifty-first psalm is a penitential prayer for forgiveness of sin. And in another psalm he prays that God would pardon his iniquity, because it was great. The Lord's prayer was designed for the use of all his sincere followers, and requires them to pray every day for the forgiveness of their daily sins. Repentance and prayer are the conditions of pardon; believers, therefore, must continue to repent and pray, as long as they continue to sin. Their future forgiveness of future sins, as much depends upon their future faith, repentance and prayer, as their first forgiveness depended upon their first faith, repentance and prayer. God continues to pardon or justify believers upon precisely the same condition upon which he first pardoned and justified them.

3. Since God's first promise of salvation to believers, upon their first exercise of faith, is perfectly consistent with his second promise of salvation, upon the condition of persevering in faith, there is no weight in any of the objections usually made by Arminians against the doctrine of saints' perseverance. Most or all of the objections which Arminians make against the doctrine of the perseverance of saints, as maintained by Calvinists, are founded upon what the scripture says of the necessity of saints' persevering in faith and holiness in order to their final salvation. We must allow that both declarations of our Saviour in the text are equally true. The first is, “ He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation.” The second is, “ But he that endureth to the end, shall be saved.” We have shown that these two declarations do not destroy, but strengthen each other.

" he that believeth hath everlasting life;" that is, he has a title to eternal life, and shall not come into condemnation, because he shall endure to the end;" that is, persevere in faith and holiness through life. It is now easy to see that there is no weight in any objections which have been made, or can be made, against the Calvinistic doctrine of the perseverance of saints.

It is objected, that saints are required to persevere in faith and holiness in order to be saved; which implies that they

Christ says,

may fall away. But this we deny, because Christ has prom

. ised that they shall not come into condemnation, or fall away.

It is objected that, if saints do not persevere in holiness, they shall be lost; which implies that they may fall away and be lost. But this we deny, because their perseverance is secured by the promise of Christ. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me is greater

. than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.”

It is objected that some believers have actually fallen away, and consequently that others may fall away. We deny that any such instances can be found in the Bible. It is true, that false professors may fall away from their profession. Judas fell away from his profession, but not from his cordial faith in Christ, for he never was a true believer. The way-side hearers, the stony ground hearers, and the thorny ground hearers, fell away, because they never were rooted and grounded in true love and true faith. There were some that apostatized in the apostle's day, but he says they never did belong to the brotherhood or household of faith. There is no evidence in scripture, that any one who had been born of God and become a true believer, ever did finally fall away and perish.

It is objected, that the doctrine of saints' perseverance tends to licentiousness. But this objection is groundless, because when it is properly stated and understood, it requires perseverance in holiness as a necessary condition of salvation.

4. If the promise of salvation made to believers upon the first exercise of faith be inseparably connected with the promise of perseverance in holiness, then all true believers may make their calling and election sure. The Arminians and Methodists, who maintain that true believers may fall away, can never obtain assurance that they shall finally be saved. Their doctrine takes away all ground of assurance. Though they know that they have loved God and have believed in Christ, and though they know that they now love God and believe in Christ, yet they do not know and cannot know that they shall persevere in love to God and in faith in Christ; and of course they do not know but they shall be finally lost. Their unscriptural doctrine, that real saints may fall away, deprives them of the benefit and consolation of the full assurance of hope. But Calvinists, who truly love God and believe in Christ, have a solid ground for obtaining a full assurance of final salvation. For if they are conscious that they have once truly loved and believed in Christ, they may certainly know that their first love

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and first faith are inseparably connected with future love and future faith, and that they shall receive the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls. The ancient saints obtained the full assurance of hope, and spoke the language of full assurance. Job said, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within ine.” David could say to God with assurance, “ As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” Paul knew, and therefore could say, if he were absent from the body, he should be present with the Lord. All real christians might obtain full assurance of salvation, if they only knew what is true in respect to themselves. It is true of every real christian that he has become united to Christ by that faith which is founded in love; and this first faith is inseparably connected with perseverance in faith, which secures the salvation of his soul. If true believers did but know that they loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, they might have the assurance of hope, and look forward to their future and eternal blessedness without fear or doubt.

5. It appears from what has been said, that it is the duty of all real christians to seek and strive after the full assurance of their title to eternal life. They are entitled to eternal life, and they may know that they are entitled to it. God has enjoined this duty upon them, and pointed out the way in which they may perform it. The apostle Peter, in his second epistle to christians in general, very affectionately and forcibly exhorts them to grow in grace, that they may obtain a full and comfortable assurance of their present holiness and future blessedness. After mentioning the great and precious promises which God had given them, and by which he had purified their hearts, he goes on to say, “ And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you, that


shall neither be barren nor unfruitsul in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure ; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." Here the apostle tells christians that if they grow in knowledge and grace, they shall never fall away, but make their calling and election sure. They are certainly bound to grow in knowledge and grace, and of course they are bound


to attain the full assurance of hope. They have no right to live in darkness and doubt, while they are able to attain full assurance of their gracious state and final salvation. While they are growing in grace, they have a growing evidence that they have been born of God, that they are the children of God, and as children, joint heirs with Christ to future and eternal life. But how little do christians in general seek and strive after the full assurance of hope! They seem to think that full assurance is a mere privilege rather than a duty. It is, indeed, a great blessing, which all christians may attain by the constant and faithful discharge of their duty. Let them keep themselves in the love of God, and add to their faith every other christian grace and virtue, and their hearts will give them confidence towards God, and full assurance of his everlasting favor. Perfect love casts out fear, and gives that light which casts out darkness and doubt.

6. It appears from what has been said, that those christians who do not persevere in their love to God and faith in Christ, have reason to call in question their good estate. All real christians, who have sincerely loved God, and cordially believed in Christ, persevere in their love, faith, and obedience, which affords them a growing evidence of their gracious state, and title to eternal life. But those who do not persevere in their first supposed love, faith, and obedience, have ground to fear that they never had any true love to God, or true faith in Christ, or ever performed the least act of true obedience to any divine command. Their want of perseverance in love, faith, and obedience, is as strong an evidence against them, as the perseverance of real christians is an evidence in their favor. Christ has said that those who endure shall be saved, which is implicitly saying that those who do not endure shall be lost. There have been many nominal christians in the world, who have not endured, and have not been saved. Christ repeatedly checked those who were forward to profess their faith and obedience, while they had no true love to him. As doubting christians may remove their doubts by a growing, persevering faith, so doubting sinners may remove their doubts, by their growing, persevering unbelief. and disobedience. How many lose their first love, first faith, and first zeal! All such may know that they have deceived themselves, and that their last state is worse than their first. Hence it highly concerns all who have assumed the name of christians, to look back upon their past views, and feelings, and conduct, and compare them with their present views, and feelings, and conduct, and determine whether they have been going forward or backward in their christian course. This may be very easy to determine, for

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they have not been stationary, but have actually gone forward or backward. Their faith, and love, and obedience have increased, or decreased. Their love is purer, their faith is stronger, and their obedience is more uniform and sincere; or their love is waxed cold, their faith is wavering, and their obedience is reluctant and inconstant. It is true of all true believers, that they are either growing or declining in religion. And as to nominal christians, they have been continually declining, until they have nearly or quite lost every thing in their views, and feelings, and conduct, which has any appearance of religion. Self examination is very necessary for all real christians, whether they are growing or declining in grace. If they are growing in grace, it will encourage them to press forward after higher attainments in holiness in this life, and higher degrees of happiness in the next. If they are declining in grace, it will reprove them for their negligence, and excite them to greater diligence and activity in duty. And it may have a good effect upon those who have lost their religion, and constrain them to give up their groundless hopes, and lead them to repent and pray acceptably for pardon and salvation. Paul, who was self deceived, discovered his self deception, repented, and prayed, and found mercy. It infinitely concerns all who have deceived themselves to search their hearts, that they may discover their deception, danger, and guilt, and cast themselves upon the sovereign grace of God, by faith in the all sufficient Redeemer.

But are there not many non-professors, who are trusting in their own hearts, and depending upon their own goodness to save them? They are under a strong delusion, and are in imminent danger of destroying themselves for ever. They must put away their evil heart of unbelief, repent of all their self righteousness and self dependence, and cast themselves upon that mercy to which they have no claim, and cry like the poor publican, God be merciful to us sinners, or they will perish for ever.

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