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terms are repentance of fin, and faith in the Rea deemer. On our compliance with these terms, salvation is fecured to us by promife. While we reject them we are under condemnation. Thus far our duty is plain, and the way of salvation is obvious. It is also certain, that there is no hid. den purposę, which will set aside God's express word. He is of one mind; none can turn him. “Secret things belong to God; things which are revealed belong to us, that we may do the words of his law.”

Though many from the decree of God argue themselves into licentiousness in their moral conduct, yet none of them will allow the same argu. ment to influence their worldly conduct. No man will throw himself down a precipice, depend. ing for security on a decreę, which has fixed the bounds of life. No man will say, that if his term of life be not run out, a fall cannot hurt him. No man, in a dangerous sickness, will neglect the means of his recovery, presuming, that the decree of God will save him without means. No man lets feed time pass unimproved on presumption that the decree of God will bring him a harvest, without feeding or cultivating his ground. Here most men argue rationally, and ac prudent. ly. They believe, that there is a regular providence, on which they are dependent for every thing, and that, in order to receive the blessing of providence, they must occupy the

powers, and apply the means, which they possess. Here the government of providence is an argument for industry. Whence is it, that fa many argue differently in matters of religion ?-The reason is obvious. The duties of religion are disagreeable to them, and they wish to be excused from them. The interests of the world are pleasing to them, and these they pursue

with ardour ; and hence the same doctrine, which is an argument for negligence in the former case, is an argument for diligence in this. : III. In much the same manner fome abuse the do&rine of God's grace in the conversion of sinners.

The scripture often tells us, that we are saved by grace that our renovation is a work of God that faith is his gift. Hence serious and humble souls take encouragement to work out their salvațion ; for if the grace of God works in them, there is hope, that they may work with success. But the negligent and careless argue differently. They reason with themselves, as the devil reasoned with our Saviour. They say, “ If conversion be the work of God, then it is not our work, and we need not concern ourselves about it. God needs not our help to accomplish the purpose of his grace.

If he is pleased to effect a saving change in us, we shall be saved ; if not, we must suffer the consequence, and we cannot prevent it.”

Now this fame argument you may just as well ufe in your secular business. You at once fee the abfurdity of it in this cafe : it is equally absurd in the other. It is not pretended, that you can renew your own souls, and prepare them for hea. ven, independently of God.

But repentance and faith must be your own acts and exercises. And you are to consider, that God, of his free and sovereign grace, has put into your hands the ineans of faith and repentance, and affords the influence of his good Spirit to accompany them. While, therefore, you are in the use of thefe means, you are in the way, in which God ordinarily grants his blessing. Attend on the means and trust God's grace, as you attend on your secular business and trust his providence, for success.

* But is it not dishonoring the grace of God to

think, that we must do any thing for our salva. tion ? Let me ask, Is it not dishonouring the providence of God to think, that you must do any thing for your daily bread ? It is not dishonouring God to seek his blessing in the way, which he has prescribed. If you presume on his grace in any other way, you do not magnify, but mock it you do not trust, but tempt the Lord.

IV. The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints has often been perverted, in the same man. ner, as other doctrines of

grace. The gospel teaches us that true believers “ are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”—That “ they who are born of God, do not commit fin," or yield themselves to it to obey it, for in the language of fcripture, “ He that committeth sin, is a servant of lin.” They who are born of God, “ do not thus commit fin; for their feed remaineth in them, and they cannot fin, because they are born of God.”

Some will say, “ This certain perseverance of saints we fully believe, and we trust we have been born of God. Our salvation therefore is sure, for God's promise will never fail. We may live as we list; we may return to our fins, and be safe ; for they will never separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus."

But do you call this perseverance ?-It is apoftacy; and such a kind of apostacy as too clearly proves,

that

you never were born of God; for it is the character of him, who is born of God, that he does not commit fin, or become a servant of fin. What? Because God has promised his grace to preserve true believers unto salvation, will you conclude, that you shall obtain falvation, even though you pervert this grace to encourage yourfelves in iniquity ? Such perversion of grace is an Vol. V.

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evidence, that you are not true believers. You are never to depend on any paft experiences, as evidential of a new heart, unless these experiences are permanent in their operations and effects. The promise of eternal life is made to those, who seek it by a patient continuance in well doing. If you refuse to seek it in this manner, you have no title to the proinise. '“ If any man draw back, God has no pleasure in him.

The believer's security is not in a promise, that he shall obtain salvation even though he should return to a course of sin ; for there is no such promise : but it lies in a promise of all necessary grace to prevent a total and final relapse. This grace he obtains by waiting on God in his appointed way. This is the language of godly fouls, “Shall we fin, because we are under a promife of grace ? God forbid. How shall we, who are dead to fin, live any longer therein ?"

V. When any measures are proposed for the spread and promotion of the gospel, they who, from unbelief or avarice, are unfriendly to such measures, often say, “ God has promised, that he will give his Son the heathens for his inheri. tance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his poffefsion : and will he not make good his promife? What occafion is there for us to be at any expence or trouble in the matter?

This is arguing exactly as fatan argued. “ Caft thyself down from the temple, for God has promised, that he will give his angels charge of thee." It is, indeed, plainly foretold, and expressly promised, that the gospel shall spread and prevail in the world ; and we believe the event will be realized. But then it is also foretold, how this event will be brought about : it shall be by the zeal and labour of Christians to send the gospel abroad in the world. And whenever we see Chriftians remark, ably engaged to extend the knowledge and influence of the gospel, then we may hope the good work is begun. God will bring to pass this work, as he does other great works, for the benefit of mankind, not by an immediate and miraculous power, but by employing, supporting and succeeding human labourers, as his subordinate agents.

The spread of the gospel after Christ's resurrection, was agreeable to previous predictions and promises ; but it was effected by the labour and preaching of ministers, and by the zeal and liber. ality of Christians to support them. And God wrought with his minifters to confirm and succeed their preaching. The future spread of the gospel, which is so often foretold in fcripture, will, like the past, be effected by God's blessing on human means.

God has promised, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church. “Why then,” fome ask, “ need Christians and minifters be so much concerned about the church? Why so much talk and preaching in favour of the church, and against infidelity ? If the promise can be depended upon, infidels will never fubvert the church."

They never will ; because there will always be a competent number of witnefses to oppose and confront them, and to bear testimony against them, and in defence of the truth. And, thank God, there is such a number in this day. But if the time were ever to come, when there would be none to plead for the truth, but all would filently yield to the influence and comply with the will of its enemies, the church would cease of course. We trust that there never will be such a time. This may be the case in particular places.

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