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means vouchsafed to avoid it: whereas, on the other hand, tho' there is a possibility of falling into such an evil, thro' the corruption of nature, and the temptation of satan ; yet if preservation from it is secured by the power of God, which is promised to be engaged, and is engaged for that purpose, is creates no trouble and anxiety; tho” ic puts a man upon the diligent use of those means, which, by the will of God, are signified to him, and which the power of God makes use of co that'end..
4. It is observed, That this doctrine of the impoffibility of faints falling finally from grace, cannot be truly comfortable, for two signal reasons". . (1.) Because tho' it seems comfortable to a man, who thinks himself a good Christian, to believe he ever shall continue so; yet the reverse of this doctrine is as uncomfortable, viz. That he who does not so continue to the end, let him have been never so fruicful in the works of righteousness, or in the labour of love, or in religious duties, or in a zeal for God and goodness, was never better than an hypocrite.” To which may be replied; it is certain that such who have made a profession of religion, and drop it, and do not continue to the end, appear to be hypocrites, formal professors, and such . Whitby, p.483, 484. Ed. 2. 462, 463.'
who sever received the race o: Goi . truth ; vet i will no: * 82T * Time that ever any, Fruittu. II. IX W IESTE teouspels, which. I think a mzr cenno: de Vickour the grace of God, OZ DO: COLDES to the end, or ever BIOVET a brdocrit: nor has fuch an onz, who are from a internal principle of grace, ant reaior to doub: er ther of his fiaceTIIT, OF his conUIDUD the way of righteonides ; for the CD: prove the truth of his farth by Dette: WOTE than an hypocrite mat do it: fres : te te is conscious to himself of iDWATC DIC ples of love to God, and regari Ini glory, from whence be acts, which al birpocrice is an utrer stranger to. I: is, indeed, uncomfortable for a man to dobbi either of his fincerity, or of his continuance in the way of righteousness, and a tree believer may be left to doubt of both, and yet bis final perseverance be certain; which does not depend upon his frames, DU
upon his frames, but the power of God, the confideration of which may yield him relief and comfort, when the contrary doctrine muft be distressing.
(2.) “Let men hold what doctrines they please, yet, as it is with them who question Providence and a future Judgment, their impious persuasions cannot remove theit fears, arising from the dictates of a natural conscience ; fo neither can mens theologi cal perfuafions remove the fears and double
ings, which do as naturally arise fron the dictares of a conscience enlightòed by the word of God.” We are obliged to this writer, for the kind and good-nätur'd comparson he makes between us and the dif puters of Providence and a future Judgment; between their impious' perfuafions concerning these things, and our theological ones, as he calls them, about the doctrinė of perseverance, and between cheir fears, arising from the dictates of a natural conscience, and those of others, arising from the dictates of an enlighened one. Tho' it' Thould be observed, that the doubts and fears of be. lievers concerning falling from grace, do not arise from the dictates of a conscience enlighened by the word, but rather from a conscience darkned by lin, and loaded with the guilt of it, upon which a'wrong judg. ment is formed of their state and condicion. A believer may fall into fin, and conscience may pronounce him guilty of it, and condemn him for it, whereby his peace may be broken, and his comfort loft; which are restored, not by sincere repentance, removing the guilt, as is intimated, but, by the application of the blood of Christ, which speaks peace, yields comfort, and encourages confidence in God, notwithstanding all the condemnations of his heart and conscience. It is in this way he' only desires to have peace and comfort; nor does the word of
God deny ic him this way, but gives it, and he receives it, tho' his heart cannot afford it, but suggests the contrary : for if our beart condemn us, God is greater than our beart and knows all things*. And tho'a be
liever may lose the comfort of the divine 1. favour, when his interest in it remains form
and inviolable; yet his loss of comfort does not necessarily cut off his assurance of being a child of God, and of his perseverance to the end; nor has he any reason, upon every fall into sin and condemnation of conscience for it, to suspect his fall from grace, and the truth of his lincerity: nor does this doctrine of perseverance make men less careful, but more fo, to avoid all wilful violations of the law; nor less speedy, but more fo, in their application to the blood of Christ for pardon and cleanling, in the exercile of faith and repentance, and in the performance of every religious duty ; since these are means of their holding out and persevering to the end,
CHA P. VII. Of the Prescience and Providence of God.
ONTON the controversy beţween the
Calvinifts and Arminians conW cerning the decrees of Election
and Reprobation, the Freedom of man's will, and the Specialty of God's grace, it is observed by the former, that many of the arguments of the latter feem as strongly to conclude against God's foreknowledge of future contingencies, as against his abfolute decrees; tha what is said in favour of the freedom of mens wills, and against the determination of them by a divine influence, weakens che providence of God, and that the case of the heathens being left withouț a revelation, cannot well be reconçiled to the doctrines of universal Grace and general Redemption. The learned writer, attended to, proposes, in his fixth Discourse, an answer to these three objections, which he easily saw lay against the doctrines he had asserted in his former discourses, and the arguments by which he endeavoured to con