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Spirit, if we quench that by which we were sealed, we must at the same time quench the assurance of our salvation.
This assurance of salvation produces a joy unspeakable. John xv. 10, 11. “ye shall abide in my love.... these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.' Rom. xiv. 17. the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.' 1 Pet. i. 8, 9. in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
The final perseverance of the saints is the gift of God who preserves them, whereby they who are foreknown, elect and born again, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, persevere to the end in the faith and grace of God, and never entirely fall away through any power or malice of the devil or the world, so long as nothing is wanting on their own parts, and they continue to the utmost in the maintenance of faith and love.
The gift of God's preserving power. Psal. xxvi. 1. I have trusted in Jehovah, therefore I shall not slide.' Luke xxii. 32. “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.' John vi. 37. all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.' Rom. v. 5. hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.' Jude 1. preserved in Jesus Christ.'
Foreknown. 2 Tim. ii. 19. “the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'
Born again. John viii. 35. “the servant abideth · not in the house for ever ; but the Son abideth ever.'
Through any power or malice of the devil or the world. Matt. xxiv. 24. insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.' John x. 28, 29. ' neither shall any man 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.' xvii. 15. that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.' Rom. viii. 35, 38, 39. “ who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'
So long as nothing is wanting on their own parts. In adding this limitation, I was influenced by what I had observed to be the uniform tenor of Scripture. Psal. cxxv. 1, 2. they that trust in Jehovah shall be as mount Sion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.' 2 Chron. xv. 2. Jehovah is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.' Jer. xxxii. 40. "I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.' In promising to put his fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from him, God merely engages to perform what is requisite on his part, namely, to bestow such a supply of grace as should be sufficient, if properly employed, to retain them in his way. At the same time he enters into a covenant with them. Now a covenant implies certain conditions to be performed, not by one, but by both the parties. “They shall not depart from me;' that is, from my external worship, as the whole of the context shows, from the thirty-seventh verse to the end of the chapter, compared with the twentieth and twenty-first verses of the following; 'if ye can break my covenant of the day.....then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant.....and with the Levites.' Lastly, it appears that these very persons, in whose hearts he promised to put his fear that they should not depart from him, did actually so depart; for the same promise is made to their children, xxxii. 39. The event therefore proved, that although God had according to compact put his fear into their hearts to the very end that they should not depart, they nevertheless departed through their own fault and depravity. Moreover, the words are addressed to, and include, the whole nation ; but the whole nation was not elect; it follows therefore that the passage cannot refer to the elect exclusively, as is contended. Ezek. xi. 19–21. I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh.....that they may walk in my statutes ;.....but as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads.' Matt. vii. 24, 25. "whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man that built his house upon the rock.' John iv. 14. whosoever drinketh of
the water that I shall give him.....it shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. vi. 51.
if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever.? 1 Cor. x. 12. • let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.' Philipp. ii. 12. work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.' 1 John ii. 17, he that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever.' v. 28. “abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at bis coming.'
Continue to the utmost in the maintenance of faith and love. This clause is subjoined for the same reason as the former. John xv. 2. every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.' v. 6. if a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. v. 10. if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. Rom. xi. 20. because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by fạith.' v. 22. ·behold therefore the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.? Thus the gifts of God are said to be without repentance, v. 29. inasmuch as he did not repent of his promise to. Abraham and his seed, although the greater part of them had revolted ; but it does not follow that he did not change his purpose towards those, who had first changed theirs towards him. 2 Cor. i. 24. by faith ye stand.? Eph. iii. 17, • being rooted and grounded in love.' 1 Pet. i. 5. who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salva
tion.' 2 Pet. i. 5–10. beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue....for if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful....for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.' That a real believer, however, may fall irrecoverably, the same apostle shows, chap. ii. 18. they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error ;' if indeed this be the right reading, and not, as others contend, escaped a litile :* not to mention, that it appears doubtful whether the knowledge of the Lord should be understood here of a saving faith, and not of an historical only: and whether their escape from the pollutions of the world implies a truly regenerate and Christian purity of life, and not a mere outward and philosophical morality: so that from this passage nothing certain can be inferred. The text in Ezekiel xviji. 26. is clearer; when a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness.... he shall die.' The righteousness here intended must necessarily be true righteousness, being that from which whosoever turns shall die. But, it is replied, the event is conditional, if he turneth away; which, on our hypothesis, will never happen. I answer, first, that the Hebrew does not express any condition, and, secondly, that if it were so, an absurd and impractica
* The Alexandrian MS. here reads orégas, a little, instead of dyres. Other MSS. read énázor, and the Vulgate paululum. Wetstein's note upon the passage gives a full view of the various readings, and the authorities on which they rest. Smágicos A. B. 8, 9, 19. in ora 25. Editio Colinæi. Versio Vulg. Syr. utraque. Copt. Æthiop. Ephrem. prob. S. Castalione, T. A. Bengelio, orizov 32, 42. Editio Complut. Plant. Genev. dytas 40. érigou D. Heinsius, citas Erasmi. Divoonuz cortas R. Bentleius.'