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which, when first made, had a particular relation to God's dealings with his people in those circumstances in which they were at that time; which, notwithstanding, are applied in a more extensive manner, to New Testament believers in all ages. Thus when God tells his people, in the scripture before referred to, that all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, Isa. liv. 13. whatever respect this may have to the church of the Jews, our Saviour applies it in a more extensive way, as belonging to believers in all ages, when he says, Every man therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me, John vi. 45. And when God promises Joshua that he would not fail nor forsake him, and encourages him thereby, not to fear nor be dismayed, Josh. i. 5, 9. when he was to pass over Jordan, into the land of Canaan; and after that, to engage in a work which was attended with many difficulties: this promise is applied, by the apostle, as an inducement to believers, in his day, to be content with such things as they have; accordingly he adds, that what God told Joshua of old, the same was written for their encouragement, viz. that he would never leave them, nor forsake them, Heb. xiii. 5. We cannot therefore but conclude from hence, that this objeetion is of no force in either of its branches, to overthrow the doctrine of the saints' perseve.. rance, as founded on the stability of the promises of the covenant of

grace. 3. The saints' perseverance in grace may be farther proved from their inseparable union with Christ: this union is not only federal, as he is the head of the covenant of grace, and they his members, whose salvation he has engaged to bring about, as was observed under the last head; but he may be considered also as their vital head, from whom they receive spiritual life and influence; so that as long as they abide in him, their spiritual life is maintained as derived from him: if we consider the church, or the whole election of grace as united to him, it is called, His body, Col. i. 24. the fulness of him that filleth all in all, Eph. i. 23. and every believer being a member of this body, or a part, if I may so express it, of this fulness, if it should perish and be separated from him, his body would be defective, and he would sustain a loss of that which is an ingredient in his fulness.

Moreover, as this union includes in it that relation between Christ and his people, which is, by a metaphorical way of speaking, styled conjugal ;* and accordingly is mutual, as the result of his becoming theirs by an act of grace, and they his by an act of self-dedication; this is the foundation of mutual love, which is abiding, it is certainly so on his part; because it is unchangeable, as founded on a covenant-engagement, which he cannot

* See Page 11, 12, ante.


violate ; and though their love to him be in itself subject to change, through the prevalency of corrupt nature, which toc much inclines them to be unstedfast in this marriage-covenant; yet he will recover and bring them back to him, and will nog deal with them as persons do with strangers, whom they exclude from their presence or favour, if they render themselves unworthy of it; but they who stand in a nearer relation to him, and accordingly are the objects of his special love, shall not be cast off for ever, how much soever he may resent their unwor. thy behaviour to him. Not to be separate from Christ, is, according to the apostle's expression, not to be separated from his love ; and this, he says, he was persuaded that he should not be, or 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 do it, Rom. viii. 35, 38, 39. Accordingly it is said that having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the end, John xiji. 1.

Here I cannot but take notice of a very jejune and empty sense which some give of this text, to evade the force of the argument taken from it, to prove the doctrine we are main. taining. How plausible soever it may seem to be to those who conclude that this must be the true sense, because it favours their own cause : by his own they mean no other than Christ's disciples, whom he was at that time conversant with ; and indeed, they apply whatever Christ says, in some following chapters, to them, exclusive of all others; as when he says, Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, chap. xv. 19. and because I live, ye shall live also, chap. xiv. 19. This, they suppose, respects them in particular; and so in the text before us, having loved his own which were in the world; that is, his own disciples; as though he had a propriety in none but them; he loved them to the end; that is, not to the end of their lives; for that would prove the doctrine we are maintaining, but to the end of his life, which was now at hand; and his love to them, they suppose to be expressed in this, that he condescended to wash their feet. But if this were the sense of the words, his love to them would not be so extraordinary a privilege as it really is; for it would be only an instance of human and not divine loye. And indeed, our happiness .consists, not only in Christ's loving us to the end of his life; but in his continuing to express his love in his going into heaven to prepare a place, and there making continual intercession for us; and in the end, in his coming again to receive us to him-self, that where he is, we may be also ; which leads us to consider,

4. That the saints' perseverance farther appears from Christ's

dontinual intercession for them. This has been particularly explained in a foregoing answer;* and the apostle speaking of his ever living to make intercession for his people, infers that he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, Heb. vii. 25. This he could not be said to do, should he leave the work which he has begun in them, imperfect, and suffer them, who come to him by faith, to apostatize from him. We have before considered Christ's intercession, as including in it his appearing in the presence of God, in the behalf of those for whom he offered himself a sacrifice while here on earth; and also, that what he intercedes for shall certainly be granted him, not only because he is the Son of God, in whom he is well pleased, but because he pleads his own merits; and to deny to grant what he merited, would be, in effect, to deny the sufficiency thereof, as though the purchase had not been fully satisfactory; therefore we must conclude, as he himself said on earth, that the Father heareth him always. It is also evident, that he prays for the perseverance of his people, as he says to Peter, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, Luke xxii. 32. And there are many things in that affectionate prayer, mentioned in John xvii. which he put up to God, immediately before his last sufferings, which respect their perseverance in grace; as when he says, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are, John xvii. 11. and, I pray not that thoil shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil, ver. 15. that is, either the evil that often attends the condition in which they are, in the world, that so the work of grace may not suffer, at least, not miscarry therea by; or else, that he would keep them from the evil one, that so they may not be brought again under his dominion ; he also prays, that they may be made perfect in one, ver. 23. that is, not only that they may be perfectly joined together in the same design, but that this unanimity may continue till they are brought to a state of perfection; and that the world may know that God has loved them, even as he has loved Christ. And he declares his will; which shews that his intercession is founded on justice, and accordingly contains in it the nature of a demand, rather than a supplication for what might be given or denied, namely, That they whom the Father had given him night be with him where he is, that they may behold his glory, ver. 24. all which expressions are very inconsistent with the supposition, that it is possible that they, whom he thus intercedes for, may apostatize, or fall short of salvation. Object. It is objected by some, that this prayer respects

* Sce Vol. II. page 473_479. Qaest. ly. Vol. III.


none but his disciples, who were his immediate friends and foxlowers, and not believers in all ages and places in the world.

Answ. But to this it may be replied, That the contrary hereunto is evident, from several things which are mentioned in this prayer, as for instance, he says, That the Father had giver him power over all flesh; that he should give eternal life to as many as he had given him, ver. 2. the sense of which words will sink too low, if we suppose that he intends thereby, thou hast given me power to dispose of all persons and things in this world, that I may give eternal life to that small number which thou hast given me, namely, my disciples; whereas he speaks of that universal dominion which he has over all persons and things, which were committed to him with this view, that all those who were put into his hand to redeem and save, should attain eternal life: and again, he says, I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word, ver. 6. Did Christ -manifest the divine name and glory to none but those who were his disciples; and were there none but them that had kept his word? And when he says, that they whom he prayed for, are the Father's; and adds, that all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them, ver. 9, 10. Is the number of those, whom Christ has a right to, and the Father has set apart for himself, in whom he would shew forth his glory, as the objects of his love, and in whom Christ, as Mediator, was to be glorified, so small, as that it contained only the eleven disciples? Or does it not rather respect all that have, or shall believe, from the beginning to the end of time? and when he speaks of the world's hating them, because they are not of the world, John xvii. 14, 15. and of their being exposed to the evils that are in the world, or the assaults of Satan, who is their avowed enemy; is this only applicable to the disciples ? And when he says, Neither pray I for these alone, that is, for those who now believe, but for them also which shall believe, ver. 20. does it not plainly intimate that he had others in view besides his disciples? These, and several other passages in this prayer, are a sufficient evidence that: there is no weight in the objection, to overthrow the argument we are maintaining.

5. Believers' perseverance in grace may be proved from the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them. When at first they were regenerated, it was by the power of the Holy Ghost, as condescending to come and take up his abode in them : thus we read of their being acted by, and under the influence of; . the Holy Ghost, who is said to dwell where he is pleased to display his divine power and glory; and if these displays hereof be internal, then he dwells in the heart. Our Saviour speaks

of him, as another Comforter given, that he may abide with his people for ever, chap. xiv. 19. And this indwelling of the Spirit is very distinct from that extraordinary dispensation which the church had, when they were favoured with inspiration; for the apostle speaks of it as a privilege peculiar to believers as such, when he says, Te are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit ; if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you: Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. viii. 9. the meaning of which cannot be, that they have no interest in Christ, who have not the extraordinary aflatus of the Spirit, such as the prophets had ; therefore we must suppose, that this is a privilege which believers have in all ages. Now if the Spirit is pleased to condescend thus to take up his abode in the soul, and that for ever, he will certainly preserve it from apostacy.

And to this we may add, that there are several fruits and effects of the Spirit's dwelling in the soul, which affords an additional proof of this doctrine : thus believers are said to have the first fruits of the Spirit, ver. 23. that is, they have those graces wrought in them which are the beginning of salvation; and as the first fruits are a part of the harvest that will follow, these are the fore-tastes of the heavenly blessedness which God would never have bestowed upon them had he not designed to preserve them from apostasy. Moreover, believers are said to be sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the ear. nest of their inheritance, Eph. i. 13, 14. The earnest, as given by men, is generally deemed a part of payment, upon which they who are made partakers thereof, are satisfied that they shall, at last, receive the full reward; and shall believers miss of the heavenly blessedness, who have such a glorious pledge and earnest of it? Again, if we consider the Spirit as bearing witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ ; and that they shall be glorified together with him, Rom. viii. 16, 17. is this testimony invalid, or not to be depended on, which it could not be were it possible for them to fall from a state of grace?

This testimony is what we depend very much upon, in order to our attaining assurance that we are in a state of grace, and shall persevere therein, as will be observed under the next answer; therefore we shall at present, take it for granted, that there is such a thing as assurance, or that this blessing is attainable ; and the use which I would make of this supposition to maintain our present argument, is, that if the Spirit has an hand in working or encouraging this hope that we have of the truth of grace, and consequently shall persevere therein to salvation, this argues that it is warrantable, and not delusive; for

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