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were the case, divine justice, after having exacted and received the debt at the hand of Surety, would make a demand on the principal; in other words, would require double payment. Besides, the faithfulness of Christ to his covenant engagement is greatly interested in the everlasting happiness of all the redeemed. For we cannot forget who it is that says, 'I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.'* Now if Jesus, to whom the elect were given, and by whom they were redeemed, became responsible for them to the Father at the last day, as his own declarations import; were he not fully to execute the divine will, in raising up all that were committed to his care, he would (I speak it with reverence) fail in the performance of his own engagements. Consequently, either his power or faithfulness would be impeached; the supposition of which is absurd, and the assertion blasphemy.
The intercession of Christ for his people before the throne affords another evidence of this glorious truth. This intercession is founded on his perfect atonement for all their sins, and it is a firm foundation for that purpose. So that, notwithstanding all the accusations of Satan lodged against them--notwithstanding all their weakness and all their unworthiness-the intercession of Jesus the Son of God, of Jesus Christ the righteous, must afford them the highest security. For their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of Hosts is his name, he shall thoroughly plead their cause.'† And as every believer is interested in this intercession, so Jesus, the advocate, is never denied in his suit. His plea is always valid, and always effectual to the end designed; which is, as he expressly informs us, that their faith fail not, and that they may be preserved from evil.'§ Our ascended Redeemer is not, in the
*John vi. 38, 39.
John xvii. 20. and xi, 42.
+ Jer. 1. 34.
§ Luke xxii. 32. John xvii. 14, 15.
part of his mediatorial undertaking, like a mere petitioner, who may or may not succeed; for he has a previous right to all the blessings he solicits on their behalf. He can claim them in virtue of the promise made to him and his spiritual seed, having fully performed the conditions of the everlasting covenant, as their representative. Yes, believer, the compassion of him who bled on the cross, and the power of him who pleads on the throne, ascertain your final felicity.
That ineffable union which subsists between Christ and his saints, involves the truth for which I am pleading, and clearly evinces the important point. For as every believer is a member of that mystical body of which He is the head, so, while there is life in the head, the members shall never die, neither by the wiles of craft, nor the assaults of power. For he who rules over all, for the good of the church, declares concerning his people, Because I live, ye shall live also.' His life, as Mediator, is the cause and support of theirs, and they are the fulness and glory of 'him who filleth all in all.'* As it is written, Christ is our life. Your life is hid with Christ in God.'+ Your life is hid; like the most valuable treasure in a secret place. With Christ; committed to his guardianship, and lodged under his care, who is able to keep that which is intrusted to his hands. In God; the bosom of the Almighty is the sacred casket, the divine repository, in which the jewel is safely kept. Cheering thought! For Jesus, the guardian, will never be bribed to deliver up his charge to the power of an enemy; nor shall any sacrilegious hand ever be able, by secret fraud or open violence, to rifle the casket where Jehovah lays up his jewels. The life of believers is 'bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord their God ;'§ and the bond of that union shall never be broken, the ineffable connexion shall never be dissolved. For he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him, and therefore absolutely inseparable.||
* Eph. i. 22, 23. 2 Cor. viii. 23.
+ Col. iii 3, 4.
1 Cor. vi. 17.
Further The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers furnishes them with another cogent argument in proof of the joyful truth. He is 'in them a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.' As a guide and comforter, He is given to abide with them for ever.' His design in regeneration is their complete holiness aud everlasting happiness. His gracious purpose in taking up his residence in them is to fit them for sublimer enjoyments, to secure their perseverance, to guard them through life, and conduct them to glory. By him they are 'sealed to the day of redemption,' and he is the earnest of their future inheritance.' Now, as an earnest is a part of the whole, and is given in assurance of enjoying the whole-and as the Holy Spirit is called the earnest of our everlasting inheritance, the words must import the utmost certainty of our future bliss, if possessed of this earnest; otherwise, which would be shocking to affirm, it must be esteemed precarious, and not answer the end for which it was given.
Once more: The word and ordinances of God, on which it is both the duty and privilege of believers to attend, are happily subservient to the great design. By these, as through the whole, the great Agent of the covenant works in a way suited to the nature of a rational being. For though the saints are kept by the' invincible 'power of God,' yet not by means merely physical, but through faith. Whatever, therefore, is adapted to increase and confirm our faith in the great Redeemer, at the same time tends to our preservation. This the word and ordinances do. In the divine word, believers have many great and precious promises to encourage them-many exhortations to direct and animate them in the performance of duty-many warnings given, and dangers pointed out, to deter them from evil-many examples of suffering patience and victorious faith for their imitation, comfort, and support, whenever they come into like circumstancesand many glorious things affirmed concerning that inheritance which God has provided for them, in or
der to raise their affections to heavenly things, and to invigorate their hope of eternal blessedness; all which are adapted to promote their edification, and to preserve them in the way of peace. The ordinances of God in general, as they are the green pastures in which the sheep of Christ delight to feed and lie down,* and being calculated to nourish their souls, and increase the vigour of their spiritual life, must be happily conducive to their preservation. By a suitable attendance on divine institutions, believers have their faith confirmed, their holiness advanced, and their hope brightened. In them they have the bread of God dispensed, by which they are nourished up to eternal life. On the appointments of Heaven, therefore, it is their duty and blessing to attend; nor can they, without the highest presumption, expect preservation in the faith while they neglect these salutary
Nor are the divine chastisements without their use in this respect; for the children of God are chastened. of their Father, 'that they may not be condemned with the world.' On the whole, then, we have the utmost reason to conclude with Paul, that wherever God begins a good work, he will certanily perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. For he that formed the universe, is not such an inconsiderate builder as to lay the foundation of a sinner's complete happiness, in his own eternal purpose, and in the blood of his only Son, and then leave his work unfinished! No; it shall never be said by his infernal enemies, 'Here God began to build, and was not able to finish. He once loved, redeemed, regenerated, and designed to have saved, these wretched souls; but his love abated, his purpose altered; or, which is more to our honour and his disappointment, we have rendered his schemes abortive; and now we torment, with a vengeance, myriads that were once high in Jehovah's favour, and numbered among his children. But though this be
*Psalm xxiii. 2.
1 Cor. xi. 32. Psalm lxxxix. 30. 34. + Philip. i. 6.
the consequence of the opposite doctrine, Lucifer himself, with all his pride and enmity, will never entertain such a thought, nor thus blaspheme his Maker.
The following quotation may serve to exhibit, in a compendious view, the substance of the foregoing paragraphs. Since we stand not, like Adam, upon our own bottom, but are branches of such a Vine as never withers, members of such a Head as never dies, sharers in such a Spirit as cleanseth, healeth, and purifieth the heart, partakers of such promises as are sealed with the oath of God-since we live, not by our own life, but by the life of Christ-are not led or sealed by our own spirit, but by the Spirit of Christ-do not obtain mercy by our own prayers, but by the intercession of Christ-stand not reconciled to God by our own endeavours, but by the propitiation wrought by Christ, who loved us when we were enemies and in our blood; who is both willing and able to save us to the uttermost, and to preserve his own mercies in us; to whose office it belongs to take order that none who are given unto him be lost-undoubtedly that life of Christ in us, which is thus underpropped, though it be not privileged from temptations, no, nor from backslidings, yet is an abiding life. He who raised our soul from death, will either preserve our feet from falling, or, if we do fall, will heal our backslidings, and will save us freely.'*
Some, perhaps, may be ready to object-'If the preservation of believers depend upon God in the way and manner asserted, they have no occasion to be at all careful how they live. No great harm can befal them, for they will be sure to be safe in the end.' In answer to which I shall only observe, that the strength of this objection was long since tried on our Lord himself by the devil. And as it appeared of no force to him, though the tempter proposed it as the necessary consequence of those promises made by the Father to Christ, as a man and mediator, respecting his preservation ; so it appears to have as little in the present * Bishop Reynolds' Works, p. 173, 174.