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the reason, which the apostle assigns for his care in subduing his carnal inclinations, was not the true reason. Here J. C. appears less discerning than usual. We unite with him in rejecting the supposition, that Paul was uncertain whether he were the subject of gospel grace. We agree with him in his inference, that, if the doctrine of perseverance be true, Paul was as certain of his final salvation as he was of his present holiness. That he was animated by a lively and assured hope, that he should obtain salvation,appears from ver. 26. "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air." He pressed on with entire satisfaction and full confidence that, in the way prescribed, he should gain the crown of glory. In ver. 27, he manifests nothing contrary to such a firm and confident hope of final salvation, but only teaches us what means he used to obtain it. Whatever hope, or even assurance he might have, that he should obtain, he was certain he should not obtain, unless he sirove lawfully. He knew that, if he did not bring under the body of sin, but gave way to self-indulgence, and became a slave to carnal desire, he must in the issue be rejected of God. This the nature of things and the gospel constitution both required. His assured hope of the final enjoyment of God excited him to mortify his corruptions, and to purify himself even as God was pure. He knew, that unless he maintained great watchfulness, and perfected holiness in the fear of God, he must, after all his pleasing expectations, lose his soul. The Vol. II. No. 3.
crown of victory was promised to none but conquerors.
J. C. is doubtless right in thinking, that Paul's final salvation was suspended on the condition of his subduing his sinful inclinations. But how this can
be made an objection againt the doctrine of the saints' perseverance is not easily conceived, unless any supposable condition is an equal objection. J. C. thinks this passage very unfavourable to the conclusion of those, who argue the final perseverance of the saints' from the nature of holiness, and who hold, that a single exercise of holiness gives an infallible title to everlasting life. We question the correctness of their theological knowledge, who make perseverance depend on the nature of holiness. Awful facts prove, that the holiness of angels and men, while probationers, is not indefectible. If believers persevere in holiness, it is not because there is any thing unchangeable in their holy affection, but because they are interested in the sure covenant of grace. The reason, which Christ mentions of the security of his people, was not the nature of their holiness, but his own and his Father's almighty grace. John x. 28, 29. “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
If a single exercise of holiness gives an infallible title to salvation; it is because that single exercise is, by the constitution of grace, connected with perseverance in holiness.
The spirit of the apostle's observations, Heb. vi. 4-6, appears somewhat different from the gloss of J. C. Upon the supposition that believers are moral agents, capable of being influenced by proper motives, what difficulty encumbers this striking passage? Is it not the method of inspiration to set life and death before the saints; to address their fears as well as their hopes; to show them, on one hand, the crown of righteousness which awaits the faithful, on the other, the certain ruin which will overtake them, if they turn again to folly? This passage seems not, in spirit, to be different from the cautions, which Jesus frequently gave his "No man, putting disciples. his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of heaven. Ye are the salt of the earth. But if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men." Neither Jesus, nor his apostles ever considered believers in such a light, as to render the most solemn warnings against apostasy, either improper or unnecessary. Who shall find fault, if divine wisdom has chosen to use such warnings, as one means of securing their perseverance? Who shall think of disproving the certain perseverance of the saints by those Scriptures, which were inspired to support it, and which, through grace, are effectual to that purpose?
in its favour. In him we plainly see, that the saints are interested in the unchangeable grace of God, which secures their perseverance; so that, if they fall, they shall rise again; if they sin, they shall have the gift of repentance. If it be asked, what would have become of David, if he had died in the midst of his crimes? I answer, if he had died impenitent, he would have been lost. But it may, with the same pertinence, be asked, what would have become of Paul, or John, or any of the saints in heaven, if they had died before their conversion? Suppositions may assist our feeble reason, and correct our mistakes. But they hinder not the purpose and operation of infinite grace. The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal; The Lord knoweth them that are his; and he will keep them by his mighty power through faith unto salvation.
David has been often introduced, as a standing proof against the doctrine of perseverance; whereas he is a standing proof
1. It is no decisive evidence against any religious tenet, that some passages of Scripture are found, which, taken by themselves, appear inconsistent with it. The most established truths of the gospel may be opposed by detached parts of God's word. On a cursory view, many texts convey to our minds a very different meaning from that which serious and thorough investigation discovers.
2. Admitting that the doctrine now before us has sometimes been placed in a false attitude, believed on wrong principles, and defended by unsound reasouing; this is not a proof, that the doctrine wants evidence, but that its friends want wisdom.
The word of prophecy and the aspect of the times lead us still to expect great changes in the world. The fall of the papal power and the dissolution of the Turkish empire are events, which cannot be far distant from each other. Mahometanism as well as Popery, must be removed before pure Christianity can generally prevail. As they arose, so they will probably fall, nearly at the same time. If, as interpreters suppose, the prophecy of Daniel, in the eleventh chapter of his book, respects the Turkish empire; then the same period is assigned for the duration of this, as for the duration of the Papal power; viz. a time, times, and half a time, or three and a half years, which are 1260 prophetic days or literal
years. And there are now many circumstances, which threaten the dissolution of that empire.
John, having predicted the great events, which were coming on the world, solemnly calls the attention of mankind to the means of safety at such a perilous season. And, if this is the time, when the sixth vial is running, the warning which he gives is immediately addressed to us; and it sounds to me, like a voice, sent this day, from the skies.
It is remarkable, that John, filled with a sense of the magnitude of the events in his eye, and of the dangers coming on the world, breaks off in the midst of his description of events, to proclaim the warning of Heaven; and then resumes his subject. He introduces the Saviour thus speaking to his people; "Behold, I come, as a thief: Blessed is he, that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Again, having described the judgments under the next vial, he adds, "I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, come out of Babylon, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues, For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."
It hence appears, that in the judgments, to be executed on the papal nations, other nations will have a share, greater or less, according to their moral and religious state. If we partake of the sins of Babylon, we shall receive of her plagues.
Great events we have already seen, and greater are to be expected. Blessed is he, that
us, that, as the Jews were broken off and dispersed by their infidelity, so Christian nations stand by faith. If nations, which have enjoyed the gospel, impiously and ungratefully renounce it, they lose all their security, and become obnoxious to severer punishments, than if they had never known it. To them may be applied God's reproof and threatening to Israel; "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities."
A regular administration of, and peaceable submission to our own chosen government, are matters of high importance to our security and happiness. Our general constitution is probably as liberal, as can reasonably be desired, and perhaps as can be safe for a people, so numerous and spread over so extensive a territory; and it is as energetic as is necessary for a well-inform, ed and virtuous people. But, if it should be relaxed from its proper energy, or strained beyond its due tone-if it should be mutilated, twisted, and changed, until it cease to be the same; it will become the sport and bau▾ ble of conflicting parties, and general confusion will ensue.
The people, if they be wise, will steadily support, and prompt ly obey their own governmentwill favour no unnecessary innovations-will seek redress of supposed grievances in no other than a constitutional way-will entrust the powers of government in the hands of those only, whose reputed wisdom and integrity entitle them to general confidence, While there is wisdom in rulers, virtue in the people, and union and confidence between both,
The prevalence of infidelity will succeed to the extinction of popery. This intimation of prophecy is confirmed by observation. But its triumphing will be short; and, when this is past, the triumph of the gospel will be glorious.
The safety of our country will depend on the maintenance of the religion of Christ; on the strict observance of the Lord's day; on a just encouragement of, and respect to the plain institutions of the gospel, and the stated ministry of the word; on the increase of the churches and the preservation of peace and or der in them; on a general regard to family religion; and on harmony and mutual confidence in civil society. The apostle warns
there will be little danger from foreign powers.
That there should be different sentiments on many public measures is naturally to be expected. But wisdom and virtue will forbid all acrimony of speech and severity of treatment in parties toward each other. Every thing of this kind tends to the corruption of national manners, to the weakness and inefficacy of government, to the obstruction of the channels of information, to insolence and despotism in the dominant party, to discontent and faction in the feebler party, and to loss of liberty in the people. A spirit of free and candid discussion may be useful. But mutual slander, crimination, scurrility, and contest for power endanger the common liberty, and degrade the national dignity. In absolute governments, where the power of the nation is concentrated in a point, parties may be of use to check the progress of despotism; but in republics, where the power is diffused through the body, parties are always dangerous, because they diminish the național strength, and when the parties become nearly equal, the national strength is lost. Party spirit has been the common source of ruin to republican governments.
In public elections preference should always be given to religious characters. "He that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God." If the open enemies of religion should ever become administrators of our government, we should lose all security; for such men have no inherent principle to ensure their fidelity, nor on them will an oath have a binding efficacy.
Foreign influence should be spurned and repelled. If this should ever dictate our elections, direct our councils, control our government, corrupt our religious principles, and vitiate our social manners; we shall of course lose our independence. The rapid increase of foreigners, from whatever nation they come, is dangerous to our liberty. Israel was ruined, when he mixed himself with strangers; for they devoured his substance, and he knew it not. Our independence, virtue and religion are safest with the gradual increase of our natural population.
In a time, when the nations of Europe are convulsed by wars and revolutions, too close a connexion with them may expose us to be shaken by their changes, and perhaps to be crushed by their fall,
Amidst the convulsions of a changing world, it becomes us to rejoice in the immutable justice, wisdom and goodness of the Divine government. We lament the miseries, which attend the wars of nations, and the revolutions of kingdoms; but it is a consolation to believe that all these calamitous events are preparing the way for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom, which will diffuse peace and happiness over the earth.
While God's judgments are, as we believe, removing the obstructions, which have long lain in the way of a general reformation; we are pleased to see some other appearances, more directly tending to so desirable a result.
Wonderful is the zeal, which has appeared, and the exertions, which have been made in Britain and some other parts of Europe,