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be in our first surety, and that we might have a remedy for the mischief that came by those defects. But the defect of our first surety was, that he did not persevere. He wanted steadfastness; and therefore God sent us, in the next surety, one that could not fail; but should surely persevere. But this is no supply of that defect to us, if the reward of life be still suspended on perseverance, which has nothing, as to ourselves, greater to secure it still, than the strength of mere man and the perseverance of our second surety is no remedy against the like mischief, which came by failure of our first surety; but on the contrary, we are much more exposed to the mischief than before. The perseverance on which life was suspended, depended then indeed on the strength of mere man: but now (on the supposition) it would be suspended on the strength of fallen man.
In that our first surety did not persevere, we fell in and with him; for doubtless, if he had stood, we should have stood with him. And therefore when God in mercy has given us a better surety to supply the defects of the first, a surety that might stand and persevere, and one that has actually persevered through the greatest imaginable trials; doubtless we shall stand and persevere in him. After all this, eternal life will not be suspended on our perseverance by our own poor, feeble, broken strength. Our first surety, if he had stood, would have been brought to eat of the tree of life, as a seal of a confirmed state of life in persevering and everlasting holiness and happiness; and he would have eat of this tree of life as a seal of persevering confirmed life, not only for himself, but as our head. As when he eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he tasted as our head, and so brought death on himself and all his posterity; so, if he had persevered and had eat of the tree of life, he would have tasted of that as our head, and therein life and confirmed holiness would have been sealed to him and all his posterity. But Christ, the second Adam, acts the same part for us that the first Adam was to have done, but failed. He has fulfilled the law, and has been admitted to the seals of confirmed and everlasting life. God, as a testimony and seal of his acceptance of what he had done as the condition of life, raised him from the dead, and exalted him with his own right hand, received him up into glory, and gave all things into his hands. Thus the second Adam has persevered, not only for himself, but for us; and has been sealed to confirmed and persevering and eternal life, as our head; so that all those that are his, and who are his spiritual posterity, are sealed in him to persevering life. Here it will be in vain to object, that persons persevering in faith and holiness is the condition of their being admitted to the state of Christ's posterity, or to a right in him; and that
none are admitted as such till they have first persevered. For this is as much as to say, that Christ has no church in this world; and that there are none on this side the grave admitted as his children or people; because they have not yet actually persevered to the end of life, which is the condition of their being admitted as his children and people; which is contrary to the whole scripture.
Christ having finished the work of Adam for us, does more than merely to bring us back to the probationary state of Adam, while he had yet his work to finish, knowing his eternal life uncertain, because suspended on his uncertain perseverance. That alone is inconsistent with Christ's being a second Adam. For if Christ, succeeding in Adam's room, has done and gone through the work that Adam was to have done, and did this as our representative or surety, he has not thereby set us only in Adam's probationary, uncertain state, but has carried us, who are in him, and are represented by him, through Adam's working probationary state, unto that confirmed state that Adam should have arrived at, if he had gone through his own work.
§ 7. That the saints shall surely persevere, will necessarily follow from this, that they have already performed the obedience which is the righteousness by which they have justification unto life; or it is already performed for them, and imputed to them: for that supposes, that it is the same thing in the sight of God as if they had performed it. Now, when the creature has once actually performed and finished the righteousness of the law, he is immediately sealed and confirmed to eternal life. There is nothing to keep him off from the tree of life. But as soon as ever a believer has Christ's righteousness imputed to him, he has virtually finished the righteousness of the law.
It is evident the saints shall persevere, because they are already justified. Adam would not have been justified till he had fulfilled and done his work; and then his justification would have been a confirmation. It would have been an approving of him as having done his work, and as standing entitled to his reward. A servant that is sent out about a work, is not justified by his master till he has done; and then the master views the work, and seeing it to be done according to his order, he then approves and justifies him as having done his work, and being now entitled to the promised reward; and his title to his reward is no longer suspended on any thing remaining. So, Christ having done our work for us, we are justified as soon as ever we believe in him, as being, through what he has accomplished and finished, now already actually entitled to the reward of life. And justification carries in it
not only remission of sins, but also being adjudged to life, or accepted as entitled by righteousness to the reward of life; as is evident, because believers are justified by communion with Christ in his justification. But the justification of Christ did most certainly imply both these things, viz. his being now judged free of that guilt which he had taken upon him, and also his having now fulfilled all righteousness-his having perfectly obeyed the Father, and done enough to entitle him to the reward of life as our head and surety-and therefore he then had eternal life given him as our head. That life which was begun when he was raised from the dead, was eternal life. Christ was then justified in the same sense that Adam would have been justified, if he had finished his course of perfect obedience; and therefore implies in it confirmation in a title to life, as that would have done; and thus, all those that are risen with Christ, and have him for their surety, and so are justified in his justification, are certainly in like manner confirmed. And again, that a believer's justification implies not only a deliverance from the wrath of God, but a title to glory, is evident by Rom. v. 12. where the apostle mentions both these as joint benefits implied in justification: "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." So, remission of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified, are mentioned together, as what are jointly obtained by faith in Christ: Acts xxvi. 18. "That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified, through faith that is in me." Both these are undoubtedly implied in that passing from death unto life, which Christ speaks of as the fruit of faith, and which he opposes to condemnation: John v. 24. "Verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life."
To suppose that a right to life is suspended on our own perseverance, which is uncertain, and has nothing more sure and steadfast to secure it than our own good-wills and resolutions, (which way soever we suppose it to be dependent on the strength of our resolutions and wills, either with assistance, or in the improvement of assistance, or in seeking assistance,) is exceedingly dissonant to the nature and design of the gospel scheme. For, if it were so, it would unavoidably deprive the believer of the comfort, hope, and joy of salvation; which would be very contrary to God's design in the scheme of man's salvation, which is to make the ground of our peace and joy in all respects strong and sure; or else, he must depend much on himself, and the ground of his
joy and hope must in a great measure be his own strength, and the steadfastness of his own heart, the unchangeableness of his own resolutions, &c.; which would be very different from the gospel scheme,
§ 8. It is one act of faith to commit the soul to Christ's keeping in this sense, viz. to keep it from falling. The believing soul is convinced of its own weakness and helplessness, its inability to resist its enemies, its insufficiency to keep itself, and so commits itself to Christ, that he would be its keeper. The apostle speaks of his committing his soul by faith to Christ, under great sufferings and trials of his perseverance; 2 Tim. i. 12. "For which cause also I suffer these things. Nevertheless, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day." And we are commanded to commit our way and our works unto the Lord; Psalm xxxvii. 5, Prov. xvi. 3. Faith depends on Christ for all the good we need, and especially good of this kind, which is of such absolute necessity in order to the salvation of our souls. The sum of the good that faith looks for, is the Holy Spirit. It looks for spiritual and eternal life; for perfect holiness in heaven, and persevering holiness here. For the just shall live by faith. It seems to be because continuance in faith is necessary to continuance in justification, at least in part, that the apostle expresses himself as he does, Rom. i. 17. For therein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith unto faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith." For it is by faith that we first perceive and know this righteousness, and do at first receive and embrace it; and being once interested in it, we have the continuance of faith in the future persevering exercises of it made sure to us. And thus that is fulfilled, "The just shall live by faith." Agreeable to 1 Pet. i. 5. "We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." And also Heb. x. 35-39, "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. Now, the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
§ 9. Perseverance is acknowledged by Calvinian divines, to be necessary to salvation. Yet it seems to me, that the manner in which it is necessary has not been sufficiently set forth. It is owned to be necessary as a sine qua non; and
also, that though it is not that by which we first come to have a title to eternal life, yet it is necessary in order to the actual possession of it, as the way to it; that it is as impossible we should come to it without perseverance, as it is impossible for a man to go to a city or town, without travelling throughout the road that leads to it. But we are really saved by perseverance; so that salvation has a dependence on perseverance, as that which influences in the affair, so as to render it congruous that we should be saved. Faith (on our part) is the great condition of salvation; it is that by which we are justified and saved. But in this faith, the perseverance that belongs to it is a fundamental ground of the congruity that faith gives to salvation. Perseverance indeed comes into consideration, even in the justification of a sinner, as one thing on which the fitness of acceptance to life depends. For, God has respect to perseverance as being virtually in the first act. And it is looked upon as if it were a property of that faith by which the sinner is then justified. God has respect to continuance in faith; and the sinner is justified by that, as though it already were; because by divine establishment it shall follow; and so it is accepted, as if it were a property contained in the faith that is then seen. Without this, it would not be congruous that a sinner should be justified at his first believing; but it would be needful that the act of justification should be suspended till the sinner had persevered in faith. There is the same reason why it is necessary that the union between Christ and the soul should remain in order to salvation, as that it should be begun; for it is begun, to the end that it might remain. And if it could be begun without remaining, the beginning would be in vain. The soul is saved no otherwise than by union with Christ, and so is fitly looked upon as his. It is saved in him; and in order to that, it is necessary that the soul now be in him, even when salvation is actually bestowed, and not merely that it should once have been in him; and therefore God, in justifying a sinner, even in the first act of faith, has respect to the congruity between justification and perseverance of faith. So that perseverance is necessary to salvation, not only as a sine qua non, or as the way to possession; but it is necessary even to the congruity of justification.
§ 10. That perseverance is thus necessary to salvation, not only as a sine qua non, but by reason of such an influence and dependence, seems manifest from scripture; as particularly Heb. x. 38, 39. "Now the just shall live by faith. But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe unto the saving of the soul." Rom.