« IndietroContinua »
called Arminianism must be true, and boasting must be introduced. But if God alone produce this willingness without any help, and notwithstanding every hindrance, from man's evil nature, then the grand principles of Calvinism are established, and boasting is excluded. Notions in the head indeed do not always suitably influence the heart and conduct. . Many of those who are called, and who call themselves, Arminians, are far from boasting, nay, are remarkably pious and humble : and too many Calvinists are haughty, dogmatical, censorious, and contentious. But a humble believer in Jesus is a brother, and entitled to our cordial love, though he cannot subscribe our whole creed.
This, however, being the real question, it contains nothing that militates against invitations: we invite all that will to come to Christ for his sulvation; and as it is not necessary to make any limitation in respect of the unwilling, who suiliciently distinguish themselves; so we give the invitation in all respects general and unencumbered; -"As many as ye shall find bid to the mar“riage.” My fellow sinners, if you are willing, you will seek our merciful Saviour, and you shall find mercy and grace: but if any of you are not willing, raise no slander against him; charge him not with unwillingness, but be sure the fault is entirely your own.--I proceed then,
V. To observe, THAT CHRIST'S COMMISSION REACHETH TO THE INFALLIBLE AND EVERLASTING SALVATION OF THE BODY AND SOUL OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL, WHO IS GIVEN TO HIM, SEES HIM, AND BELIEVES ON HIM. “ This is " the Father's will which hath .sent me, that “ of all which he hath given me, I should lose no“ thing, but should raise it up again at the last day. “ And this is the will of him that sent me, that “ every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on “ him, should have everlasting life, and I will “ raise him up at the last day.” Indeed this unavoidably follows from all that hath been already discoursed; and likewise from the unchangeable wisdom, faithfulness, and love of God; and from his promise, covenant and counsel, “ confirmed “ with an oath: that by two immutable things, in “ which it was impossible for God to lie; we night “ have a strong consolation who have fled for re“ fuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; “ which hope we have as an anchor of the soul « both sure and stedfast.""_" Whom he did “ foreknow, he did also predestinate to be con“ formed 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. “ What shall we say then to these things? If "God be for us, who can be against us? He that
! Heb. vi. 17-19.
“ spared not his own Son, but delivered him up “for us all, how shall he not with him freely give “ us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the “ charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.” -“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? _" 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 froin the love of God, “ which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."" To object, thạt though nothing else can, our own șin may separate us from Christ, is a mere evasion; for nothing hạs any tendency to separate betwist Christ and the believer but sin, or as it powerfully tempts him to sin.
In like manner Peter confirms thợ doctrine of his “ belgyed brother Paul,” at the very opening of his first epistle, which begins in this manner: “To the strangers,—elect according to the fore“ kŋowledge of God the Father, through sancti“ fication of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprink6 ling of the blood of Jesus-Grace unto you and « peace be multiplied. Blessed be the God and “ Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which accor“ ding to his abundant mercy hath begotten us “ again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of “Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance "incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth
* Rom. viii, 29—29
“not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are “kept by the power of God through faith unto " salvation."" And again, “ Unto you that be“lieve he is precious; but unto them that be dis“obedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, " the same is made the head of the corner; and a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, even " to them which stumble at the word, being diso“ bedient whereunto also they were appointed. “ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priest“hood, an holy nation, that ye should shew forth “ the praises of him, who hath called you out of “darkness into his marvellous light.? "? For God “had not appointed them to wrath but to obtain “salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. }” Thus likewise says another apostle, “ Of his own will, “ begat he us with the word of truth; that we “ should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.4” And our Lord himself says, “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 who gave them me, is “ greater than all, and none is able to pluck them “out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are “One.5” The only way, in which Satan, or any other enemy, can endeavour to pluck the sheep out of Christ's hand, is by tempting them to wil-,
I 1 Pet. i. 1-5. Comp. Luke xxii. 22. ? 1 Pet. ij.7—10,
3 i Thess. v. 9, James i. 18. 5 John X. 27—30,
ful and final apostacy: but in this attempt every enemy must be unsuccessful, according to the obvious meaning of such express and absolute promises: and if this conclusion may not be decluced from them; both these, and all the other numerous Scriptures, which are calculated to give a strong consolation to them who fiee for refuge to Christ, not providing against this only danger, mean just nothing at all.
What though many professors apostatize? Who can warrant their preceding sincerity?“. They “ went out from us, because they were not of us," says one apostle. “There must be heresies” (false teachers and false doctrines) “ that they that are “ approved may be madle manifest,” says another. But surely this is not applicable to all who decline in their profession. Let us then suppose the persons in question, not to be apostates, but backsliders. Can we positively say, this or that man dies impenitent? Such decisions belong to God, not to us. Without all doubt, if a professed chris. tian turns aside to notoriolis sin, or throws up his religion, and live and die impenitent, he will perish everlastingly: for he alone, “who endureth “ unto the end shall be saved.” The doctrine of final perseverance is not at all concerned in this case; for the man's apostacy is the detection of his hypocrisy: and the only question is, whether God hath not in his word, engaged to preserve all real believers from thus finally departing from him?