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which were in the world, evidently shew,) he loved them unto the end of his life, and manifested that love to the last. 19. Once more, “ Holy Father, keep through thine own

, name those whom thou hast given me, that they may

be one, as we are one," ch. xvii. Il.

Great stress bas been laid upon this text: and it has been hence inferred, that all those whom the Father had given him (a phrase frequently occurring in this chapter) must infallibly persevere to the end.

And yet in the very next verse, our Lord himself declares, that one of those whom the Father had given him, did not persevere unto the end, but perished everlastingly. His own words

are, « Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition,” ver. 12. So one even of these was finally lost, a demonstration that the phrase, Those whom thou hast given me, signifies here, (if not in most other places too,) the twelve apostles and them only.

20. On this occasion, I cannot but observe another common instance of begging the question, of taking for granted, what ought to be proved : it is usually laid down, as an indisputable truth, that whatever our Lord speaks to, or of, his apostles, is to be applied to all believers. But this canpot be allowed by any who impartially search the Scriptures. They cannot allow without clear and particular proof, that any of those texts ,which related primarily to the apostles (as all men grant) belong to any but them.,

V. 21. Fifthly, Those who so effectually know Christ, as by that knowledge to have escaped the pollutions of the world, may yet fall back into those pollutions, and perish everlastingly.

For thus saith the apostle Peter, “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, (the only possible way of escaping them,] they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the begining," 2 Pet. ii. 20, 21. '“ For it had been better for

" them, not to have known the way of righteousness, than

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after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”

That the “knowledge of the way of righteousness," which they had attained, was an inward, experimental knowledge, is evident from that other expression, “ They had escaped the pollutions of the world :” an expression parallel to that in the preceding chapter, “Having escaped the corruption which is in the world, ver. 4. And in both chapters, this effect is ascribed to the same cause : termed in the first, “ The knowledge of him who hath called us, to glory and virtue:” in the second, more explicitly, “ The knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

And yet they lost that experimental knowledge of Christ, and the way of righteousness: they fell back into the same pollutions they had escaped; and were again “entangled therein and overcome.” “They turned from the holy commandment delivered unto them,” so that their “ latter end was worse than their beginning.”

Therefore, those who so effectually know Christ, as by that knowledge to have escaped the pollutions of the world, may yet fall back into those pollutions and perish everlast ingly.

22. And this is perfectly consistent with St. Peter's words, in the first chapter of his former epistle: “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." Undoubtedly so are all they who ever attain eternal salvation. It is the power of God only, and not out own, by which we are kept one day, or one hour.

VI. 23. Sixthly, Those who see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” and who have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” of the witness and the fruits of the Spirit; may nevertheless so fall from God, as to perish everlastingly. For thus 'saith the inspired writer to the llebrews, “ It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance ; seeing they crucity to

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themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame,” ch. vi. 4, 6.

Must not every unprejudiced person see, the expressions here used are so strong and clear, that they cannot, without gross and palpable wresting, be understood of any but true believers ?

They were once enlightened: an expression familiar with the apostle, and never by him applied to any but believers, So “ The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, give unto you

the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The eyes of your under

.--standing being enlightened, that ye may know what is the "hope of his calling—And what is the exceeding greatness of his power, toward us that believe," Eph. i. 17-19. So again, “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ;" 2 Cor. iv. 6. This is a light which no unbelievers have. They are utter strangers to such enlightening. 6. The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them," ver. 4.

They had tasted of the heavenly gift, (emphatically so called) and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. So St. Peter likewise couples them together : "Be baptized for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” (Acts ii. 38,) whereby the love of God was shed abroad in their hearts, with all the other fruits of the Spirit. Yea, it is remarkable that our Lord himself, in his grand commission to St. Paul, (to which the apostle probably alludes in these words,) comprises all these three particulars. Acts xxvi. 18," I send thee to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. [bere contracted into that one expression, “ They were enlightened”] “ that they may receive forgiveness of sins, (the heavenly gift,) and an inheritance among them who are sanctified;” who are made partakers of the Holy Ghost, of all the sanctifyin influences of the Spirit.

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The expression, “ They tasled of the heavenly gift,” is taken from the Psalmist, “ Taste and see that the Lord is good,” Psalm xxxiv. 8. As if he had said, be ye as assured of his love, as of any thing you see with your eyes. And let the assurance thereof be sweet to your soul, as honey is to your tongue.

And yet those who had been thus enlightened, had tasted this gift, and been thus partakers of the Holy Ghost, so fell away, that it was impossible to renew them again to repentance.

“ But the apostle only makes a supposition, If they shall fall away."

I answer, The apostle makes no supposition at all. There is no if in the original. The words are, ’Aduvalov Tus Anak Pwlis Jeylzs-x21 Tapateovlas. That is, in plain English, It

–και παραπεσονίας is impossible to renew again unlo repentance, those who were once enlightened and have fallen uwoy: therefore they must perish everlastingly.

24. “ But if so, then farewel all my comfort."

Then your comfort depends upon a poor foundation. My comfort stands not on any opinion, either that a believer can, or cannot fall away, not on the remembrance of any thing wrought in me yesterday ; but on what is to-day; on my present knowledge of God in Christ, reconciling me to himself. On my now beholding the light of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ; walking in the light, as he is in the light, and having fellowship with the Father and with the Son. My comfort is that, through grace, I now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and that his Spirit doth bear witness with my spirit, that I am a child of God. I take comfort in this and this only, that I see Jesus at the right hand of God; that I personally, for myself, and not for another, have an hope full of immortality; that I feel the love of God shed abroad in my heart, being crucified to the world, and the world crucified to me. My rejoicing is this, the testimony of my conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, I have my conversation in the world,


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Go and find, if you can, a more solid joy, a more bliss. ful comfort, on this side heaven. But this comfort is not shaken, be that opinion true or false; whether the saints in general can or cannot fall. If

If you take up with any comfort short of this, you lean on the staff of a broken reed, which not only will not bear your weight, but will enter into yo u hand and pierce you.

VII. 25. Seventhly, Those who live by faith, may yet fall from God and perish everlastingly.

For thus saith the same inspired writer, “ The just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him," Heb. x. 38. The just, the justified person, shall live by faith, even now shall he live the life which is bid with Christ in God: and if he endure unto the end, he shall live with God for ever. But if any man draw back, saith the Lord, my soul shall have no pleasure in him : that is, I will utterly cast him off; and accordingly the drawing back here spoken of, is terined in the verse immediately following, drawing back to perdition.

“ But the person supposed to draw back is not the same with him who is said to live by faith."

I answer, 1. Who is it then? Can any man draw back from faith who never came to it? But,

2. Had the text been fairly translated, there had been no pretence for this objection. For the original runs thus: Ο δικαιω εκ πιςεως ζησεται και εαν υπογειληθαι. 1fo δικαιο», the just man that lives by faith (so the expression necessarily implies, there being no other nominative to the verb] draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

“ But the apostle adds, We are not of them who draw back unto perdition.'” And what will you infer from thence? This is so far from contradicting what has been observed before, that it manifestly confirms it. It is a farther proof, that there are those who draw back unto perdition, although the apostle was not of that number. Therefore those who live by faith, may yet fall from God and perish everlastingly.


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