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tares of Antinomianism! O, Sir, when you plead for such doctrines, instead of wielding aright 'the sword of the Spirit,' do you not plunge it in muddy, Stygian waters, till it is covered with sordid rust, and reeks with poisonous error ? But you pursue :
VIII. P. 64. “ To scruple the use of that expression, Finished Salvation, argues the greatest mistrust of the Mediator's power, and casts the highest reflection upon his infinite wisdom, by supposing that he did not count the cost before he began to build, and therefore that either his own personal work, or that which he does in his members (for they are only parts of the same salvation), is left uufinished.” sf we do not admit your doctrine, honoured Sir, it is not because we mistrust the Mediator's “power," and have low thoughts of his “wisdom ;' but because we cannot believe, that he will use his Power in opposition to his Wisdom and Truth, in taking the elect by main force into heaven, as a strong man takes a sack of corn into his granary ; much less can we think, that he will use his Omnipotence in opposition to his Mercy and Justice, by placing millions of this creatures in such forcible circumstances, as absolutely necessitate them to sin and be damued, according to the horrible doctrine of finished damnation.
Nor do we suppose, that Christ unwisely forgot to count the cost.' No : From the beginning he knew that some would abuse their liberty, and bury their talent of good-will, and gracious power to come unto him, 'that they might have more abundant life. But far from being disappointed, as we are when things fall out contrary to our fond expectation, he declared heforehand, I have laboured in vain, yet surely my work is with my God.' (Isa. xlix. 4.) As if he had said, “ If I cannot rejoice over the obstinate neglecters of my great salvation ; if my kindly dying for their sins, excepting that against the Holy Ghost; and my sincerely calling upon them to turn and live,' prove useless to them, through their “doing despite to the Spirit of grace,' and committing the sin uuto death ;'
yet my work will not be lost with respect to my God. For my impartial, redeeming love will effectually stop every mouth,' and abundantly secure the honour of all the divine perfections, which would be dreadfully sullied, if, by an absolute decree that all should necessarily fall in Adam, and that millions should never have it in their power to rise by me, I had set my seal to the horrible doctrine of finished salvation." · Here then, in flourishing with your sword, you have beaten the air,' instead of turning to flight the armies of those who are not clear in the doctrine of absolute predestination, whom you call aliens ;' and in a quotation, p. 37, “ absolutely place among the numerous hosts of the Diabolonians, who hy the best of laws must die as election-doubters." · IX. P. 64. “ If any thing be left unfinished, Christ would never hare said, 'He that believeth hath ererlasting life ;' it is already begun in his soul.” Well, if it is but begun, it is not yet finished. But you add, “ It is so certain in reversion, that nothing shall deprive him of it.”—True, if he continues in the faith, and abides in Christ, hearing his voice, and following him :' For who shall pluck you out of the Redeemer's hand ?'
'- Who shall harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ?' But if the believer “makes shipwreck of his faith,' and 'ends in the flesh,' after having begun in the Spirit,' with all apostates he shall' of the flesh reap destruction.' Again,
• Everlasting life,' in the passage you quote, undoubtedly signifies a title to eternal bliss, as it appears from these words of our Lord, “He that has left brethren, &c., for my sake, shall receive in the world to come eternal life :' And from these words of St. Paul, ' Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life :' Now if we give over following after holie
and do not continue to leave all for Christ's sake, may we not forfeit our title to glory, as the servant who had ten thousand talents forgiven him, forfeited his pardon and the privilege annexed to it, by taking his fellow servant by the throat,' and arresting him for
a ' hundred pence?' But supposing the expression
everlasting life,' means, as you intimate, “ the life of God already begun in the soul,” agreeably to these scriptures: “The life that I live, I live by faith in the Son of God; for the just shall live by faith ;' how can you infer, that the life of faith is inamissible? If you can believe, that every child quickened in the womb grows up to be a man, because he has human life in embryo; I will grant, that no soul, quickened by the seed of grace, can miscarry, and that the seed of the word brings forth fruit to maturity in every sort of ground.
Should you reply, “ That the life of faith, or spiritual life, cannot be lost, because it is of an eternal nature," I deny the consequence. Suppose I have lost an everlasting jewel, do I not quibble myself out of my invaluable property, if I say, “ I have not lost it, for it is everlasting ?" Did yot Satan and Adam lose their spiritual life? Do not all apostates lose it also ? Is there a damned soul but what has lost it twice ? Qnce in Adam, and the second time by his own personal transgressions ? Are not all men who burn ‘in fire unquenchable, trees plucked up by the roots ;' not because they died in Adan,' but because they are twice dead;' because they personally
destroyed themselves,' and, when Christ gave them a degree of life, would not come to him, that they might have it more abundantly?' Thus, by resisting to the last the quickeniug beams of the Spirit that strove with them, they quenched him’ in thensselves and became apostates. If Christ is “the light and the life of men,' and if he' enlightens every man that comes into the world,' are not all the damned apostates? Have they not all fallen from some degree or other of quickening grace? Have they not all buried one or more talents ? And is it not Satan's masterpiece of policy, to make good men assure quickened sinners, that they cannot lose their life, no not by plunging into the whirlpools of adultery, inurder, and incest ? The ancieut serpent deceived our first parents
by saying, “ Ye shall not surely die,' if ye eat of the forbidden fruit : But now, it seems, he may take his rest ; for, O astonishing ! gospel ministers do his work; they inadvertently • deceive the very elect,' aud overthrow the faith of some,' by making them the very same false promise.
I have already observed, that he who beliereth' is said to have everlasting life;' not only because, while be keeps the faith, he has a title to glory, but because living' faith always works by love,' the grace that
nerer faileth,' the grace that “ lives and abides for ever;' not indeed in this or that individual, during his state of prohation, but in the kingdom of heaven, 'amoug the spirits of just men made perfect in love,' and confirmed in glory. However, you still urge, “ To say that everlasting life can be lost, is a contradictiou in terms : If it is everlasting, how can it be forfeited or lost ?" How? Just as the Jews forfeited the land which God gave to Abraham for an everlasting possession. (Gen. xvii. 8.) Just as the seed of Phineas lost the everlasting priesthood.' (Numb. xxv 13.) Just as the Israelites' broke the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah xxiv. 5.) Just as Hymeneus and Philetus forfeited the everlasting privileges of believers; that is, by 'making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.' Here, then, the edge of your own sword is again blanted, and the stroke given to the “ alieus” easily parried, with the unbroken "sword of the Spirit:' I mean the word of God illustrated by itself, and taken in connexion with itself. How. ever, you proceed :
X. P. 64. “ The chosen vessel, Paul, tells his be.. loved Timothy, that God hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling,' &c. Hence you conclude, that if we are elect, our salvation is finished. I grant, that God hath saved us from hell, placed us in a state of salvation begun, and called us with a holy calling, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling ;' under some dispensation of that “grace which was given us in Christ before the world begun ; according VOL. II.
to God's own purpose, that Christ should be the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe.' But, alas ! though many are thus called, yet but few are chosen; because few walk-worthy of their high vocation, few make their calling and election sure.' Numbers, like David and Solomon, Demas and Sapphira, believe for a while, and' in time of temptation fall away;' some of whom, instead of rising again, • draw back unto perdition.'
Hence “ the chosen vessel, Paul," himself cries to balting believers, ‘ How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?' So far was he from imagining that the salvation of some, and the damnation of others, “ were as firmly secured,” as if the one were already in heaven, and the others in hell! So little did he think, that to preach the gospel was to present the elect with nothing but the cup of finished salvation, even when they take away the wives and lives of their neighbours; and to drench the reprobates with the cup of finished damnation, even while they ask, seek, knock, and endeavour to make their mock calling sure !
Certain it is, that if the apostle spoke of your finished salvation, when he said, 'God hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling,' reprobated myriads may reasonably give over wrestling with almighty, everlasting wrath, and cry out, “He hath damned us, and called us with an unholy, hypocritical, and lying calling, according to his own purpose and wrath, which was given us in Adam before the world began.” O Sir, by this frightful doctrine, you give a desperate thrust to the hopes which millions entertain, that God is not yet absolutely merciless towards them, and that they may yet repent and be saved ; but happily for them, it is with the dagger of error, and not with the sword of the Spirit.'
XI. P. 65. “ But farther. Believers are said to be "saved by faith' and to be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.' Now true faith and salvation are here inseparably linked by the apostle.” Inseparably linked! Pray, Sir, where is the inseparable