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ASSURANCE AND FINAL PERSEVERANCE.
Of that increase which has reference to the Father and Son conjointly, the remaining part is GLORIFICATION.
Glorification is either IMPERFECT or PERFECT.
IMPERFECT GLORIFICATION is that state wherein, being JUSTIFIED AND ADoPTED BY GOD THE FATHER, WE ARE FILLED WITH A conSCIOUSNESS OF PRESENT GRACE AND EXCELLENCY, AS WELL AS WITH AN EXPECTATION OF FUTURE GLORY, INSOMUCH THAT OUR BLESSEDNEss Is IN A MANNER ALREADY BEGUN. John xvii. 22. the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them.
St. Paul traces this glorification by progressive steps, from its original source in the prescience of God himself: Rom. viii. 29, 30. whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.....moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. xv. 7. receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Eph. i. 3. blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. iii. 17–19. that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 1 Thess. ii. 12. that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 2 Thess. ii. 14. whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. v. 10. who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. 2 Pet. i. 3. that hath called us to glory and virtue.
OUR BLESSEDNEss Is IN A MANNER ALREADY BEGUN. Matt. v. 3, &c. blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven.
Both regeneration and increase are accompanied by confirmation, or preservation in the faith, which is also the work of God. 1 Cor. i. 8. who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. i. 21, 22. now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Eph. iii. 16. that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. 1 Pet. v. 10, the God of all grace, who hath called us ...... make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. Jude 24. unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding
These three, regeneration, increase, and preservation in the faith, considered as proximate causes on the part of God, and their effects, as Jaith, love, &c. considered as proximate causes on the part of man, or as acting in man, produce AssuPANCE OF SALVATION, and THE FINAL PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
On the part of God, however, the primary or more remote eause is his predestination or election of believers. Rom. viii. 30. whom he did predestinate, &c. as quoted above. xi. 29. the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Heb. vi. 17, 18. wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, &c. 2 Pet. i. 4. whereby are given unto us erceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.
Hence Assur ANCE OF SALVATION is A CERTAIN DEGREE OR GRADATION OF FAITH, WHEREBY A MAN HAS A FIRM PERSUASION AND conviction, FoundED ON THE TESTIMONY OF THE SPIRIT, THAT IF HE BELIEVE AND CONTINUE IN FAITH AND LOVE, HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED AND ADOPTED, AND PARTLY GLORIFIED BY UNION AND FELLOwsHIP witH CHRIST AND THE FATHER, HE will AT LENGTH Most certainLY ATTAIN to EveRLASTING LIFE AND THE consumMATION OF GLORY.
HAs A FIRM PERSUASION; or, to speak more properly, ought, and is entitled to have a firm persuasion. 2 Pet. i. 10. wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, that is, the fruit of your calling and election, eternal life; for the calling itself cannot be made more sure, inasmuch as it is already past; but this is of no avail, unless we give diligence to make both sure. It follows, that, as far as this depends upon ourselves, it must be in our own power to make it sure.
IF HE BELIEVE. John iii. 16. that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. See also vi. 47. Rom. v. 2. by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 2 Cor. xiii. 5. examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ? But Christ duells in our hearts by faith, Eph. iii. 17. Hence we are enjoined to prove our faith, lest we should be reprobates; not our election, which cannot be sure without faith.
CoNTINUE IN FAITH AND LovE. Heb. vi. 18–20. that we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil. x. 22, 23. let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water: let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. 2 Pet. i. 9–11. he that lacketh these things, is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins: wherejore the rather, brethren, &c........for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 1 John iii. 14. we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. iv. 18. there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear. Rev. ii. 17, to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Here each is represented as receiving the stone, or pledge of election, after he has individually obtained the victory.
HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED. Rom. v. 9, 10, much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him : jor if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. We are only justified, however, through faith.
ADOPTED. Rom. viii. 15, 16. ye have not received the spirit of bondage
again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
ON THE TESTIMONY OF THE SPIRIT. Rom. viii. 16. the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. Eph. i. 13, 14. in whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. iv. 30. grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ge are sealed unto the day of redemption. 1 Thess. v. 19. quench not the Spirit. Certainly, if we grieve the Holy 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 gour 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