« EdellinenJatka »
O time! than gold more sacred; yet more a load
Than lead to fools, and fools reputed wise.
What moment granted man without account?
What years are squander'd, wisdom's debt unpaid?
This is the last link of our chain that comes under the observation of our senses; we shall then come to the closing scene, when we must trace it by faith, and not by sight.
The period that "Christian" will have to sojourn in this lower world is very uncertain; but whatever that time may be, he must persevere to the end; for "he that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved." Matt. x. 22. "Christian" will have to encounter many difficulties, dangers, and troubles; his path will not be strewed with flowers, nor will be walk to heaven on velvet carpets: quite the reverse; the way from the City of Destruction to Emanuel's land is attended with many dangers-enemies without and enemies within-pains, afflictions, and persecutions must be his lot; otherwise he would be "a bastard, and not a son ;" Heb. xii. 8. and hence will appear the propriety of the following exhortations:
Let us, therefore, run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb. xii. 1, 2.
To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev. ii. 7.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. Rev. iii. 12.
*It was the writer's intention to have introduced, in this place, two or three additional links to the chain ; such as, "The nature of Temptation," "The Necessity of Christian's always appearing in Armour," &c. but finding the volume already extended far beyond the original design, it has been considered advisable to omit them.
I confess, when a man is converted, the principal part of his dan ger is over. He is safe in the love and care of Christ, and none can take him out of his hands; but this is only a part of the truth: the other part must be taken with it, or we deceive ourselves. There is still a great deal of work before us; and holiness is still the way to happiness; and much care and diligence is required at our hands; and it is no more certain that we be saved by Christ, than it is that we shall be kept in faith and love and obedience by him. It is as true, that none can separate us from the love of God, and from a care to please him, and from a holy diligence in the work of our salvation, as that none can take us out of his hands, and bring us into a state of condemnation. He that is resolved to bring us to glory, is as much resolved to bring us to it by perse verance in holiness and diligent obedience; for he never decreed the one without the other, and he will never save us by any other way. Indeed, when we are converted, we have escaped many and grievous dangers; but yet there are many more before us, which we must by care and diligence escape. We are translated from death to life; but not from earth to heaven. We have the life of grace; but we are short of the life of glory. the life of grace, but to use it, and live by it? the vineyard, but to work? And why came we into the army of Christ, but to fight? Why came we into the race, but to run for the prize? Or why turned we into the right way, but to travel in
And why have we
Why came we into
The Almighty Architect stretches out the north and its whole starry train over the empty space; he hangs the earth and all the etherial globes upon nothing; yet are their foundations laid so sure, that they can never be moved at any time. No unfit representation to the sincere Christian of his final perseverance, but such as points out the cause that effects it, and constitutes the pledge which ascer tains it. His nature is all enfeebled, he is not able of himself to think a good thought, he has no visible safeguard, nor any suff ciency of his own; and yet, whole legions of formidable enemies are combined to compass his ruin. The world lays unnumbered
snares for his feet; the devil is incessantly urging the siege, by a multitude of fiery darts or wily temptations; the flesh, like a perfidious inmate, under colour of friendship and a specious pretence of pleasure, is always forward to betray his integrity. But amidst all these threatening circumstances of personal weakness and imminent danger, an invisible aid is his defence:—“ I will uphold thee," says the blessed God," with the right hand of my righteousO comfortable truth! the arm which fixed the stars in their courses, and guides the planets in theirs, is stretched out to preserve the heirs of salvation. My sheep," adds the great Redeemer, 'are mine, and they shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." What words are these! and did they come from him, who bath all power in heaven and earth? and were they spoken to every unfeigned, though feeble, follower of the great Shepherd? Then, Omnipotence itself must be vanquished, before they can be destroyed, either by the seductions of fraud, or the assaults of violence.
If you ask, therefore, what security we have of enduring to the end, and continuing faithful unto death ?—the very same that establishes the heavens, and settles the ordinances of the universe. Can these be thrown into confusion? Then may the true believer draw back unto perdition. Can the sun be dislodged from his sphere, and rush lawlessly through the sky? Then, and then only, can the faith of God's elect be overthrown finally. Be of good courage, then, O my soul! steadily rely on those divine succours, which are so solemnly stipulated, so faithfully promised, Though thy grace be languid as the glimmering spark, though the overflowings of corruption threaten it with total extinction; yet, since the great Jehovah has undertaken to cherish the dim principle, many waters cannot quench it, nor the floods drown it. Nay, though it were feeble as the smoking flax, almighty goodness stands engaged to augment the heat, to raise the fire, and feed the flame, till it beam forth a lamp of immortal glory in the heavens! Hervey.
Therefore I believe that we shall, every one, be preserved and kept, in him, and for him, according to his own word. I dare
boldly say, with our everlasting Saviour, Jesus Christ, that all the elect shall be preserved and kept for ever and ever. So, then, none of them shall be damned at any time. They who say that any of them may be lost for ever, do as much as in them lieth to make (i. e. to represent) Christ unable to preserve and keep them; denying the power of Christ in so saying: for he saith, he loveth his unto the end; which love remaineth, and shall never be extinguished or put out; and is not as the love of man, which is sometimes angry, and sometimes pleased. God, at no time, is so displeased with any of his elect, to the end that he will deprive them of the purchased possession, which he hath laid up in store for them in Christ before, and were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ: which Lamb was killed from the beginning, according to God's divine will and providence. Christ was ordained to die in the flesh; and all was for our sins. Christ was ordained in this respect, that the Father, seeing the fall of Adam, for that purpose only he ordained Christ, to the end that he might preserve a remnant of the posterity of Adam, Toplady. even as it pleased his godly wisdom.
Let us see whether Satan be able to pluck the Christian away, and step between him and home. Abundant provision is made against his assaults; the saint is wrapt up in the arms of almighty power, and what can a cursed devil do against God, who laid those chains on him, which he cannot shake off? When he is able to pluck that dart of divine fury out of his own conscience, which God has fastened there, then let him think of such an enterprise as this. How can he overcome thee, that cannot tempt thee but in God's appointed time? And if God set Satan his time to assault the Christian whom he loves so dearly, surely it shall be when he shall be repulsed with greater shame. Away, then, with that doctrine which saith, one may be a saint to-day, and none to-morrownow a Peter, anon a Judas. O what unsavoury stuff! a principle it is which at once crosses the main design of God in the gospel, reflects sadly on the honour of Christ, and wounds the saint's com fort to the heart,
This is doutless the Spyryte of Chryste, whiche hath now begun to shewe his effycacy and strengthe in thy harte; and, as I hope and truste, shall fynyshe and make perfyghte that whiche it hath begun. For this is the earnest peny or pledge of the Dyuine Spyryte, whiche, by his secrete inspiratyon, doth so confy rm, strengthen and establishe mannes mynde, that neyther the power of the deuils, neyther aungells, neyther any creature at all, is able to departe it, and pluck it away from the fayth and hope whiche are in Chryste Jesu. Erasmus on the Crede.
It is not to be wondered at, that the doctrine of final perseverance should be opposed by the immoral, and by proud pharisaical persons; but it is to be lamented, that some serious persons, by mistaken views, should reject it. Yet, it is a glorious truth, that no power shall pluck the people of God out of his hand, or separate them from his love. But, after all, whatever judgment we form of it in a doctrinal view, unless we ourselves are enabled to persevere, our profession of religion will be utterly vain; for it is declared, that only they that endure to the end shall be saved.
The branch does not bear the root, but the root the branch; so the saint's security doth not so much consist in his laying hold on Jesus, as the Redeemer's hold of him. It is true, the child in danger taketh hold of his parent; but the child's safety is the parent's hold of him. Clark.
We stand not, like Adam, upon our own bottom, but are branches of such a vine as never withers; members of such a head as never dies; sharers in such a Spirit as cleanseth, healeth, and purifieth the heart; partakers of such promises as are sealed with the oath of God; since we live not by our own life, but by the life of Christ; are not led or sealed by our own spirit, but by the Spirit of Christ; do not obtain mercy by our own prayers, but by the intercession of Christ; stand not reconciled to God by our own endeavours, but by the propitiation wrought by Christ, who loved us when we were ene mies, and in our blood; who is both able and willing to save us to the uttermost, and preserve his own mercies in us; to whose office it