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Neither does this perseverance of the saints, depend upon their renewed will, or any sufficiency of grace granted unto them. If these things could have been of any avail, Adam would not have fallen. He was holy in his will, and perfect in all the powers of his mind. His fatal example demonstrates that holiness is neither absolutely unleseable in its own nature, nor can the most perfect free will be a security against such a loss. But the saint's continuance in grace is not of themselves; they are built upon a better foundation, even the rock of ages, a rock which fails not.

The grounds on which the believer's perseverance is founded, ase these the everlasting nature of the covenant of grace, the effectual intercession of Christ, and the promises of God.

The covenant of grace is such, that it cannot be changed or broken. It is well ordered in all things and sure; and it is often stiled an everlasting covenant. And the sum of the engagements on the part of God to his people is, "I will not turn away from "them to do them good." On this immutable foundation their safety and salvation rests.

The all prevalent intercession of Christ, is another pillar which supports this doctrine. He is a Saviour of infinite power, all his addresses are ever available with the Father, and he continually intercedes on the behalf of his people. He lives forever, and is the Mediator in this everlasting covenant of grace. "There"fore, he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto "God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for "them." The intercession of Christ can never intermit or fail, and the Father heareth him always. Hence the salvation of believers resteth sure, so that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. His effectual intercessory addresses always are," that "they may be where he is, that they may be kept from evil, and "that their faith fail not." Therefore, they will assuredly be kept through faith by the almighty power and prevalent intercession of Christ, unto eternal life.

The promises of God are also a firm foundation on which the perseverance of the saints is founded. These are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus. God is truth itself, he cannot lie, neither can his promises be as waters that fail. Is pardon of sin promised believers? Then it is in these ample terms, " I will remember their "sins no more." Is purifying grace promised? It is in the like ampletude of phrase: "They shall fear me forever, and they shall "not depart from me." The promise of resurrection to eternal life is certain. For he has engaged he will change our vile bodies, which have been putrefying in the dust of the earth, and make them like to his own glorious body. Yea, God hath promised to his people, never to leave them nor forsake them."He will be their God, and they shall be his people. For the "mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kind66 ness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of "my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee." Is God infinite in power, truth, and faithfulness? The perseverance of the saints is secured by all these perfections. And it would seem from the scriptures, the former must fail, as soon as the latter.

Yet, with all the stability, this doctrine appears, from the cor-, ruptions, blindness and scruples of men, it is covered in doubt by some, and denied by others, which leads me to the

Third thing proposed, to wit, To attend to some of the difficulties, perplexities, and objections with which this doctrine is surrounded.

Those who doubt upon this subject, readily enquire, "Did "not Noah, David, Solomon, Peter, &c. fall from grace

These difficulties are easily removed by the after rising of these people to be the peculiar favourites of heaven by repentance. Noah, though he fell foully into drunkenness, yet he did not continue therein, but was afterwards reckoned by the prophet

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Ezekiel with Daniel and Job, as the three holiest men upon earth. David and Peter, the evidences of their repentance and recovery, none can deny. Solomon's case is left in more perplexity, that others may fear and tremble at backsliding. Yet his whole book of Ecclesiastes witnesses the sense to which he was brought of the vanity, folly and evil of his departures from God, and proves his repentance and restoration to divine favour.

The question is not how far a saint may fall, for it is readily granted he may fall into the grossest iniquities which can be named, into incest, murder, and idolatry; yet saints who fell into these sins, are now triumphing in heaven, and singing the praises of free and sovereign grace.

It is said of others, that they never recovered from their apostacy, such as Joash, Hymencus, Alexander, Demas and others. They who raise this difficulty ought to prove that these ever were saints, or any thing but hypocrites and deluded professors. Joash supported a good character, while Jehoiada the pioushigh priest lived. No sooner was this godly man dead, than he exhibited all the corruption and baseness, which had always. been in his heart; Jehu once in a fit of religion shewed much zeal for the Lord, but no one ever supposed him to be a saint.

With regard to Demas, little can be said of him, St. Paul, in one place calls him "a fellow labourer," and in another, he says, "he forsook him because of this world." Surely his being once a minister, cannot prove him to be a good man, more than the traiterous Judas can be proved to be a sincere disciple.

As to Hymeneus and Alexander," who put away a good con"science and made shipwreck of the faith; St. Paul delivered "them to satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme." As these shipwrecked their holy profession, and their consciences were never sanctified by divine grace, so as it is elsewhere said by another apostle, "They went out from us, but they were

"not of us; had they been of us, they would no doubt have "continued with us."

Many texts are brought up as à cloud to destroy the comfort of christains, and overwhelm this doctrine. The first class of texts are such as speak" of righteous persons turning away from "their righteousness." The explanation of these are easy. All the world acknowledge a difference between appearances and reality; between an external show and sincerity of heart. The former may perish, while the latter endures forever. Seeming religion, and apparent righteousness will surely fail, but can this assume the appearance of argument, that real grace, sincerity and truth must fail also? Blushing should cover the face, and silence seal the mouths of all who would wish to avail themselves of this feeble objection.

It is further said, "It is impossible to renew them to repentance "who have apostatised, after they have been enlightened, tasted "of the heavenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy "Ghost," &c. This text falls as heavy on the adversaries of the doctrine of perseverance to explain, as upon its friends. Their difficulty is always in a bungling manner removed. Ours is obvious and of the plainest kind. Impossibilities are often sup. posed in the apostolic writings, as that a good angel might descend from heaven, and preach a gospel contradictory to the apostle, or that Christ is not risen from the dead, &c. As these are suppositions impossible, so a man who has tasted the celestial gift, and been made partaker of the Holy Ghost, he cannot be left of God to fall away, either totally or finally, more than a good angel, can be left to preach a false gospel, or that the resurrection of Christ is not an existing event. Other explications of this extraordinary passage might be easily quoted, but let this at present suffice.

It is further said, the perseverance of the saints is placed upon conditionalities in the gospel, such as, "If you continue in my

"word, if you continue in the faith; he that endureth to the "end," &c. Nothing can be argued from these hypothetical assertions, only that the saints obtain the salvation of their souls, in the way of watchfulness and holy living. These texts imply no uncertainty of the event, but are a strong admonition to goodness in all manner of conversation.

The last difficulty, I can attend to in my narrow limits, is, relinquishing scripture, a dreadful cry is raised, "That this doctrine "tends to, and promotes licentiousness." This is immediately answered, by requiring an instance of this kind. None such has ever existed or can be produced. So far is it from such an abhorred consequence, that we constantly affirm where true grace is, it is an excitement to holiness, "Works by love, purifies the 66 heart, and overcomes the world.”

However different the opinions of christians may be on this subject, there is an agreement in general sentiment, "That it is "the holy and persevering saint, who arrives at life eternal." O that God might keep us all in true faith and holiness unto compleat salvation!

Your patience cannot allow me more than a very brief conclusion of this subject.

First, We are here taught the distinction between true religion, and all its appearances. The morning cloud will vanish, and all dew be evaporated by the rising sun. Land floods fail, and even the flood of Noah was dried up. But true religion fails not. It is a spring of water springing up unto everlasting life. These 66 streams fail not, supplied by a fountain which never runs "dry. Heaven and earth may pass away, yet the seed of God re"mains. "He that hath begun a good work will certainly carry "it on to the end."

Secondly, This doctrine teaches that none can receive the consolations of grace, only those who are exercised unto godliness.

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