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are concerned in their preservation, and engaged to maintain it.
The love of God is engaged for their everlasting security. Having chosen and appointed them to life and happiness as a primary fruit of his eternal favour, this love must abate, or his purpose be rendered void, before they can finally fall. But if the Lord of hosts hath purposed, who shall disannul it? If his hand be stretched out to execute his designs, who shall turn it back, before he has accomplished the end he determined? As He thought, so it shall come to pass; and as He purposed, so it shall stand.* Nor shall his love to their persons ever abate. For He rests, He takes the highest complacency in the exercise of his love, and in all its favoured objects. Yea, his delight in his people is such, that He rejoices over them with singing, and takes a divine pleasure in doing them good. His love is unchangeable as himself, and unalterably fixed upon them. Consequently, though the manifestations of it may vary, yet while infinite wisdom is capable of directing, and almighty power of executing his gracious purposes towards them, they shall never perish. Agreeably to which, we hear the apostle exulting in the views of God's immutable love; affirming that nothing in the heights above, nor anything in the depths beneath, nothing present, nor anything future, should be able to separate him from it.‡
The power of God is also engaged on behalf of all those who are begotten again to a lively hope. They are kept by it, as in a garrison, through faith to salvation.§ His power surrounds them as a wall of fire, to be their protection, and the destruction of their adversaries. Omnipotence itself is their shield, and keeps them night and day. And as Omnipitence is their guard, so Omniscience is their guide, the honour of divine wisdom being concerned in their preservation. For if a regenerate soul, one that has
Isa, xiv. 24. 27.
+ Zeph. iii. 17. Jer. xxxii. 42.
Isa, xxvii. 3.
Zech. ii. 5.
been rescued out of Satan's hand, were finally to fall into his snare, and perish for ever, it would argue, if not a want of power in God to maintain the conquest, yet-a change of resolution, and so would bring no honour to the wisdom of his first design. It is no reputation to the wisdom of an artificer to suffer a work in which he determined to manifest exquisite skill for ages to come, and upon which his affections were placed, to be dashed to pieces before his eyes by an inveterate enemy, when he had power to prevent it. Now the scripture informs us that, in the economy of redemption, the wisdom of God is peculiarly concerned, and in the most wonderful manner displayed. In it divine wisdom is greatly diversified. Jehovah ' abounds in all wisdom and prudence,' in forming the stupendous plan, and in choosing suitable means to attain the wonderful end. But if any of the chosen, redeemed and called, were to be finally miserable, how could this appear?
The promises of God, those exceeding great and precious promises, which are made to his people, afford them strong consolation respecting this matter. He has declared that he will confirm them to the end, and preserve them to his kingdom; that the righteous shall, hold on their way, and grow stronger and stronger; that they shall never depart from him, but fear him for ever; that as they are in his hand, and in the hand of Christ, they shall never be plucked thence, and consequently shall never perish. Yes, the blessed God has repeatedly and solemnly declared that he will never,” no, never leave them, nor forsake them.' And the reason is, not because they are worthy, or any way better than others, but for the glory of his own eternal name, and because he has chosen them to be his peculiar people. No; the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake;' because it hath pleased the Lord to make them his people.'* These promises, with many more to the same purpose, are yea and amen ;'
1 Cor. i. 8. 2 Tim. iv. 18. Job xvii. 9. Jer. xxxii. 39, 40. Deut. xxxiii. 3. John x. 28, 29. Heb. xiii. 5. 1 Sam. xii. 22.
are made and unalterably confirmed in Christ Jesus. Divine faithfulness is pledged in them, and infinite power is engaged to perform them. These promises -let the Christian exult in the cheering thought!— these promises were made by him that cannot lie; to which he has annexed (amazing to think!) his most solemn oath; with this professed design, that every sinner who flees for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before him, might have strong consolation.' Now the promise and oath of God, being two immutable things, must ascertain the believer's final happiness.
Jehovah's covenant with his people in Christ affords another glorious attestation to the comfortable truth. That covenant which is ORDERED IN ALL THINGS-which is stored with heavenly promises, replete with spiritual blessings, and absolutely sure-that Covenant of peace which shall never be removed, runs thus: They shall be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.'* Here the stability of the new covenant is asserted in the strongest terms. And concerning it we may observe, that it is of a kind entirely different from that which was made with our great progenitor Adam; the condition of which was perfect obedience, and the promise of life was suspended on that condition. It is also very different from that which was made with the people of Israel at Sinai, which, being broken by them, was abrogated by the Lord himself. The language of this is testamentary. It consists of absolute promises, requires no condition to be performed by man, and is perpetual. Here that sovereign Being who cannot lie, declares in the strongest manner that they who are included in this covenant' shall not depart from him,' and that he will never cease to do *Jer. xxxii. 38-40.
them good. Security greater than this is not to be conceived, nor can be had. It would, indeed, be absurd to suppose that God should make a new and better covenant than that which he made with Adam, or with Israel at Sinai-a covenant without conditions to be performed by man-a covenant which displays rich goodness and boundless grace; and that, after all, the covenantees should be as liable to a dreadful forfeiture of life and happiness as our first father when under the covenant of works. Nay, if the new covenant had been conditional, if our perseverance and immortal happiness had depended on our performance of any condition, whether great or less, our state as believers would have been infinitely more hazardous than Adam's was, while in innocence, under the covenant of works; because of the very great disparity between that state of uprightness in which he was created, and ours of corruption into which we are fallen. Perfect obedience was easier to him than the least possible condition would be to us.
The faithfulness and inviolable veracity of God give further assurance of the saint's perseverance. The rocks, though of adamant, shall melt away-the everlasting mountains shall be removed out of their place-yea, the whole terraqueous globe itself shall entirely disappear; but the faithfulness of God in executing his covenant, and the veracity of God in performing his promises, are unchangeable and eternal. "The Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from the destructive power of every evil;' and he has declared that he will not suffer his faithfulness to fail.' Yea, he hath sworn by his holiness, by the glory of all his perfections, that he will be faithful to his covenant and promises respecting Christ and his seed.'*-So that if there be immutability in the purpose of God, if any stability in his covenant, if any veracity in his promises, the true believer shall certainly persevere. Rejoice, then, ye feeble followers of the Lamb. The basis of your confidence and con* Thess. iii. 3. Psalm lxxxix. 33. 55.
solation is strong indeed-stronger than all the troubles of life, stronger than all the fears of death, and stronger than all the terrors of approaching judgment. Why should you not dismiss every slavish apprehension, when the God of power, and the God of truth, has made such ample provision for your deliverance from every evil you had any reason to fear, and the enjoyment of every blessing you ought to desire, whether in this or a future world?
Again: The merit of the Redeemer's blood, his intercession for his people, and union with them, strongly argue their final preservation, and heighten their assurances of it. The merit of his blood: For is it probable that he, who so loved them as to give his life for their ransom-that he, who suffered such tortures of body and horrors of soul in their stead-that he, who drank the very dregs of the cup of wrath, on purpose that joy and bliss might be their portion for ever; is it probable, I say, that he should ever suffer them who are, in the most emphatical sense, his ресиliar, his purchased people, and his own property, to be taken from him by craft or power, and that by the most abhorred of beings, and his greatest enemy? Such a supposition is very absurd; such an event would be highly injurious to the Saviour's character. What! will not he, who underwent so much for them in the garden and on the cross-who bore the curse and suffered the pains of hell in their stead, even while they were enemies, protect them, now they are become, by converting grace, his friends? Why was he willing to be at such an amazing expense in their purchase, if, after all, he permit their avowed enemy to make them his easy prey? That be far from him! The thought be far from us! No, while there is compassion in his heart, or power in his hand-while his name is Jesus, and his work salvation, he must see of the travail of his soul, and be completely satisfied.' It cannot be, that one soul, for whom he gave his life and spilt his blood, whose sins he bore, and whose curse he sustained, should ever finally perish. For if that