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all the faculties and parts of soul and body," and as a natural and necessary consequence, “utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good.” Compare Gen. 6:5. Jer. 17:9. Rom. 3:10—19. Psalm 51:5. Rom. 7:18. The first holy desires therefore must originate from some other source, beside the human heart. There must be a thorough renovation, or rather a new creation, before the des can be made alive; and the sink of sin, a fit dwelling for the Holy Ghost. Hence, the Scriptures uniformly refer all holy action or desire on the part of man, to a previous action of the Holy Spirit. God first seeks the sinner-the sinner does not first seek God.* It is just as manifest that the spiritually dead must have spiritual life infused into them before they can perform its offices, as that the naturally dead must have natural life before they can perform its functions. Now this infusion of spiritual life, or regeneration, is, in broad English, an effectual calling of God's Spirit under which the sinner is, and, in the nature of things, must be, passive." It infuses spiritual light into his naturally darkened understanding; it renews the heart to love and relish what before it hated—the beauty of holiness—and it determines the will, formerly powerless in regard to good, to holy volitions. This infusion of light, renovation of the heart, and determination of the will, lead the sinner to spiritual apprehensions of the character of God, the nature of holiness, the odiousness of sin, and the necessity and suitableness of the blessed Savior, in whom he consequently fixes his trust. Now the question arises, why does God effectually call or regenerate any man? Are the motives by which the divine Being is determined, or the principles on which he acts, derived from the “ counsel of his own will,” or from the sinner himself? Not from the sinner surely. For Paul tells us, “ Not by works of righteouness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5. Here regeneration is ascribed to God's mercy; that is, to motives of benevolence in the divine Mind, and not to any thing in the subject of its influence. Again we are told that God“ worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” And if regeneration be a work of God, then the question is definitely settled. Besides, from the picture given of the whole human race, we should be driven to the dogma of universal salvation, if the originating causes of regeneration were found in the sinner himself.
From the depravity and inability of man, and the express testimony of Scripture, the conclusion is established, that regeneration and faith are the gifts and calling of God; and therefore, according to my text, “ without repentance" or change. The motives of divine action in these respects, are derived from the divine Being, and therefore, just as immutable and eternal as God himself. They depend upon no conditions in the sinner, but are acts of mercy exerted upon him as lost, helpless, and depraved. Until it can be shown that there is no gift and calling in the exercise of saving faith, the immutability of Jehovah stands absolutely pledged eventually to glorify all those whom his own Spirit has effectually called. In the mean time let such texts as these be seriously considered: 2 Thess. 2:13, 14. 2 Tim. 1:9, 10. Rom. 8:30.
3. This conclusion is further confirmed by the actual bestowment of the Holy Spirit as an abiding Paraclete in the bosoms of believers. “ And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may
abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive,
* Unrenewed persons ought not to misapply the preceding truth, for when God in his providence, gives an opportunity to read his word, to hear his gospel, &c. he is seeking them by means which the Holy Spirit can make effectual to salvation. When the sinner neglects or misimproves these means, he resists God; and sometimes is permitted to remain in a state of spiritual death. And justly so, inasmuch as he will not use his natural faculties in crying for help, &c.; and since God is not under obligations to save any one.-Ed.
because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for lie dwelleth with you and shall be in you.” John 14:16, 17. “Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Cor. 3:16. Compare 2 Tim. 1:14. 1 John 4:12, 15, 16. Rom. 8:11. From these texts, it is sufficiently obvious, that the Holy Spirit permanently dwells in the bosom of believers as his temple or abode; and the question naturally arises, why does he dwell there? Let the answer be afforded from the Scriptures.
He is, first, a Spirit of truth or instruction. “But the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26. “ But ye have an unction from the Holy One and ye know all things.” 1 John 2:20. Secondly, as a Spirit of sanctification. “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because, God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” 2 Thess. 2:13. It is through the Spirit that we “mortify the deeds of the body,” Rom. 8:13; and we are “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” Eph. 3:16. It is also obvious that sanctification is the work of the Spirit, from the fact that' regeneration is, which is nothing more than sanctification begun, since the same agent who begins the work “will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Compare also 2 Cor. 3:18. The Holy Spirit is also spoken of as a Spirit of consolation and hope, as the very title which the Savior gives him manifestly implies.
Now if the Holy Ghost takes up his residence in the hearts of believers, for the express purpose of enlightening their minds in the knowledge of the truth, and sanctifying their natures from sin and corruption, is it supposable that any believer can finally perish through ignorance or sin? Does the blessed Paraclete fail to discharge his office? Is he sent to sanctify, and unable to do it?
Is the power of human corruption too strong for him, and does he leave the a heart in conscious inability to dissolve its bondage? And if the Spirit be,
indeed, as the Bible represents him, a sanctifying energy in the heart, how absurd are the opinions of those who circumscribe his influence and limit his operations by previous conditions in the sinner himself! “ If the sinner will obey, the Holy Spirit will abide with him.” Whereas the Holy Spirit abides with him in order to work in him a willing and cheerful obedience. He does not by any thing in his own heart purchase the Comforter, Christ did that long ago and sends him by his grace.
Again: the Spirit is represented as an earnest of our inheritance: “ Who hath also sealed us and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” 2 Cor. 1:22. “ Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” Eph. 1:13, 14. Compare also 2 Cor. 5:5. Now an earnest means nothing more nor less than a pledge. The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a first-fruits and pledge of their
ultimate beatitude. If I owe a man a thousand dollars, and pay
him fifty in pledge of the remainder, that fifty is an earnest according to the Scripture phraseology. Now God, by the gift of his Spirit, has solemnly pledged himself to save all believers, and will he violate this solemn and self-imposed obligation? “God is not a man that he should lie; neither the
son of man that he should repent; hath he said and shall he not do it, or hath Ci he spoken and shall he not make it good.”
The doctrine of perseverance has now been viewed in its relations to the
Spirit of God, in his regenerating and indwelling influences, which may be Cont regarded as the internal work of Christ, and by all these it is, I apprehend,
unequivocally confirmed. I shall now view it in relation to what may be called the external work of Christ, or that which he does, not in, but for, the sinner.
4. Evangelical views of the great doctrine of justification necessarily include, not only a freedom from present condemnation, but likewise a freedom from all possibility of future condemnation. To be justified is not simply to be pardoned for our past sins, and then put on our good behavior for the future. It is a higher and a nobler work than this, and involves privileges infinitely more precious than this meagre, lame, and miserable caricature.
To be justified is not only to receive a pardon for all our sins through the blood of Christ, but to be accounted, and “accepted, and treated as righteous in the sight of God, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith.” “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Rom. 5:19. As on account of the transgression of Adam, their federal head and representative, all his posterity were regarded and treated as sinners, so on account of the righteousness of Christ, the federal head and representative of his people, all believers are treated as righteous. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. 5:21. Here is a fair exchange expressly asserted. Christ assumes the sins of the sinner, and gives the sinner the righteousness of himself; that is, he consents to be treated as a sinner, in order that the sinner may be treated as righteous. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Rom. 10:4. Christ has rendered a full and complete satisfaction to the law in the sinner's place, and therefore the sinner is completely delivered from it.. Hence, the apostle tells us, that he is “dead to the law that he might live unto God.” “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” Rom. 7:4. Now if the sinner, when he receives Christ, becomes invested before God with a perfect and" everlasting righteousness, how can he be condemned, and if he is as perfectly delivered from the law as a widow is delivered from the law of her husband, sleeping in the grave, what is there to condemn him? “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Let the thunders of Sinai roar around me, and dart their keen and fiery bolts at my head, I can hold up before them the broad, impenetrable shield of the Redeemer's righteousness, and bid defiance to their vengeance. Does the law demand, in its majesty, a full and penal satisfaction for all my multiplied transgressions, “ Behold the Lamb of God” when the horrors of hell gat hold upon him, and he poured out his soul an offering unto death, when he bore in his own body on the tree the penal wrath of God, satisfied the claims of eternal justice, and gave his people a complete deliverance. Does the law demand again, a perfect obed ice to all its requisitions? Behold the Savior's mantle thrown around my shouldersthe snow-white mantle of a perfect righteousness, co-extensive with the olaims of the law. Now just conceive of a man, having satisfied the penalty of the law in the sufferings of Christ, and having fulfilled the law in the obedience of Christ; how can such a man ever be condemned? It is clearly impossible. “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Men forget that justification is a complete deliverance from the law, as the ground of life and divine favor. They are too prone to regard it merely as a pardon of past offences, and consequently leave us, for the future, exposed to all the claims and vengeance of the law. They secure the past, but make no provisions for the time to come. But the truth is, the moment I receive Christ, I am pardoned for the past-completely justified. I die to the law and become married to Christ, and am henceforward under the law only to Christ-only as an index of his will and a rule of evangelical obedience. It is to him that I look for “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
To suppose that justification can be forfeited by a defective or imperfect sanctification, is to manifest a very unpardonable ignorance of both; since jus,
tification entitles us to the joys of life and sanctification fits us to receive them. By justification I am rendered righteous in the sight of God, and in sanctification I become the happy recipient of his “ saving health.” A man dies and leaves an estate to an infant child. Now the title of that child is al-ready perfect, but its qualifications to receive and manage the estate are defective, and therefore it is placed under “ tutors and governors” to train and develop its faculties. Just so in justification: my title to the “joys of God” is perfect, but my qualifications are defective, and therefore I am put under the training and discipline of the divine Spirit, to prepare me for the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Faith is the channel through which, by divine appointment, the righteousness of Christ is received, just as natural generation is the channel through which the guilt and corruption of Adam are received.
Now faith is represented as uniting believers to Christ, and creating a near and indissoluble relation between them. They become one, even as husband and wife are one. They are bound together as the vine and the branches; Christ abiding in them and they in him. And so very intimate and tender is this union, that Christ illustrates it by the mysterious union which he bears with the Father. The bonds of this union are twofold. Christ lays hold of the believer by his Spirit, and the believer lays hold of Christ by faith. It is the grasp of the Spirit which secures the grasp of faith, and until some power is found adequate to tear loose the grasp of the Spirit, the case of the believer is safe; for, whereever he goes, Christ must go with him; and wherever Christ is, there is safety.
5. The intercession of Jesus Christ affords a strong ground for the perseverance of his people. In the 17th chapter of John we have a pathetic prayer of our blessed Redeemer, not only for his immediate disciples and aposiles, but for those who should afterwards believe on him through their word. And if we believe, as he himself informs us, that the Father hears him always, it seems impossible to evade the efficacy of that prayer in securing the eter-, mal salvation of his saints. In one of the epistles of John he is represented as
“ Advocate with the Father;" and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the efficacy and merit of this part of his sacerdotal office are unanswerably established. “But Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Heb. 9:24. “ But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God; for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Heb. 10:12, 14. To suppose that the presence of Christ in the Holy of Holies, his pleading the merits of his own sacrifice, and his earnest prayers for the salvation of his people, should all prove ineffectual in the end, is to make Christ so complete a nullity and blank in the court of Heaven, as to shock the feelings of every pious heart. And the erection of a mediatorial throne, which the Scriptures represent as a throne of exaltation and glory, becomes but a dazzling show and an empty pageant. The sceptre is powerless, so far as the purposes of a willing obedience in the hearts of his people are concerned, and the only monuments of the Savior's dominion at the Great Day, will be the dust of those who are broken in pieces by his wrath. I am free to confess, that the priestly and kingly offices of Christ become to my mind altogether unintelligible, or, at least, most wretchedly obscure, if the Scripture accounts of them do not involve the final perseverance of the saints. Christ intercedes for them, but the results of his intercession are not absolutely certain. Christ rules in their hearts, but his dominion may be attended with no obedient subjection. It is all idle to say, that he will rule, provided they will submit. What becomes of this Scripture? “ Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Ps. 110:3; and this, “For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13, and 2 Cor. 3:5.
Lastly. There is one view of this subject upon which I have often reflected, and which weighs as strongly in my mind as any positive arguments in favor of the doctrine I am supporting. Arminians are driven to their views by the apparent incompatibility of election and moral agency. They cannot understand how God can secure the salvation of a sinner without infringing or impairing his moral liberty, and reducing his actions to a stern system of iron-bound necessity. Now suppose that there is an impossibility in the case—that man cannot be free and God sovereign at the same time—this same impossibility must extend beyond the grave; and if you blot out the sovereignty of God, and knock the props of the Christian from under his feet, there is the same danger of falling in the heavenly world as there is here. The possibility of falling grows out of the sinner's own mind-his own liberty of moral action—and so long as that liberty continues there must be danger of losing the favor of God. Upon the Arminian hypothesis, it is a possible, if not a probable case, that a soul may have basked for myriads and myriads of years in the rays of eternal glory, and then fall, and fall like Lucifer, never to rise again-fall from the heights of paradise, the dazzling throne of God, into the deep abyss of hell-suddenly exchange its shouts of praise and alleluiah for the wail of the damned, and drop the song of redeeming love for the gnashing of teeth and the fiendlike yell of despair. These monstrous results are necessarily involved in the Arminian theory, and carry along so complete a denial of many promises of Scripture, that they at once overthrow the whole foundation upon which they stand. In the language of Newton, “ I should expect that the opposers of perseverance, if thoroughly sensible of their state and situation, upon a supposition that they should be able to prove it unscriptural and false, would weep over their victory, and be sorry that a sentiment, so apparently suited to encourage and animate our hope, should not be founded in truth. And if it be so, that God cannot influence and determine the actions of moral and intelligent agents without the destruction of their liberty, prayer becomes utterly vain, and conversion is worse than nonsense; the most precious part of the Bible is swept off at a blow, and the sinner is left, with nothing but his boasted liberty, to withstand the shock of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Well might we weep at such a triumph? Just think of the multiplied temptations with which we are surrounded-corruptions within and snares withoutbattling not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places—beset with hell and its infernal host beneathallured by the world around us—depravity within us and having no help above us--well may we ask with the apostle, Who is sufficient for these things? Ah, verily, none could stand. But unfold the covenant of grace, and read the promises of God, and how are our hearts cheered with the hopes of victory! All things are counted but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and we can triumph in the language of Inspiration: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. “Our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”