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state, from which they could not fall; but I am as firmly persuaded that there is a state of grace, favour, and real sonship, from which man may, and some have fallen, and that even Paul and those of whose perseverance he was so fully assured, had been in that state, and might have fallen and become castaways. And this, I conclude, is one thing which has led many into a too early persuasion and confidence, that they cannot fall; that they find by the sacred records, that some did attain to that state and assurance, and so they conclude that all who are once truly in a state of grace, are thus far arrived ; not carefully observing the several degrees and growths in grace, from that of children, to young men, and so on to fathers; and hence it comes to pass, that many an infant in Christian experience, and attainment, is bold and confident; and instead of maintaining a proper fear, and a right engagement to keep under the cross, lest he or she should become a castaway, is unwisely assuming the utmost assurance that belongs to any, even to fathers in Christ. And too many have hereby been lulled asleep, in a very imperfect state; have sat down at ease in sin, and made little or no advancement in the race that was set before them, since the moment when they first confidently concluded that they were converted. Some of these have settled into flat and lifeless formality, and some have centred in the bondage of corruption, and returned to the wallowing in the mire of their former pollutions. And it is past all controversy with me, that this short stopping by the way, and turning back again to Egypt, will cast away many an one at the bar of final retribution, who have begun well and run well for a season.
REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS
HELD FORTH IN THE SCRIPTURES:
Some serious considerations on the unsoundness of that doctrine, which of late
is propagated under the specious title of Universal Salvation : with remarks on its obviously hurtful influence on the manners of men, and the affairs of human society here, and its dangerous tendency as to the state of mankind hereafter.
AND INCLUDING, IN THE COURSE OF THE CONSIDERATIONS,
Many particular observations, by way of Answer to “A Treatise on Union,
&c. by James Relly.” Evincing the utter impossibility of such a union as the author endeavours to establish or prove; exposing the absurdity of many of his arguments, and pointing out divers of the self-contradictions contained in said Treatise.
I MAKE no apology for writing upon this subject, after divers others have appeared on the same side of the controversy. The hurtful tendency of the sentiments here opposed, I conceive to be sufficient to justify a well meant endeavour to expose them in their true colours, and to strip them, as far as may now seem needful, and ability is afforded, of those glosses and allurements, whereby too many are in danger of being, as it were, charmed inadvertently into a belief, which, in proportion as it prevails in the mind, is very likely, if not certain, to operate directly against their best interest; and may, if not specdily guarded against, not only corrupt their manners, and destroy their morals here among men, but also prove the cause of their final ruin.
A degree of experience, in once entertaining a favourable idea of such a sentiment, I believe warrants my conclusion, that its tendency in serious minds, is relaxation of religious engagement. For though I did not so long favour the opinion, as to be influenced by it into any very considerable degree of open deviation from the laws of religious circumspection; yet I may honestly confess, that I sensibly found a very great abatement in the ardency of that breathing desire, that hungering and thirsting after righteousness, wherein I had often before panted after the enjoyment of divine good, was the hart panteth after the water-brooks." Here I feelingly met with a loss, and in hopes of the certainty of eternal salvation to all mankind, grew lukewarm, and inwardly sitting down in degree at ease, though outwardly in a good measure regular and exemplary, I sensibly began to wither and decay as to the health, strength, and firmness of the inward man. The divine presence, once my greatest