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anointing, which ye have received of him, abideth in you, and ye need not that any man should teach you ; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." This anointing is evidently here spoken of as a thing peculiar to true saints. Sinners never had any of that oil poured upon them : and because ungodly men have none of it, therefore they have no discerning of spiritual things. If they had any degree of it, they would discern in some measure. Therefore, none of that sense which natural men have of spiritual things, is of the same nature with what the godly have. And that natural men are wholly destitute of this knowledge, is further evident, because conversion is represented in scripture by opening the eyes of the blind. But this would be very improperly so represented, if a man might have some sight, though not so clear and full, for scores of years before his conversion.
$ 70. That unbelievers have no degree of that grace that the saints have, is evident, because they have no communion with Christ. If unbelievers partook of any of that spirit, those holy inclinations, affections and actings that the godly have from the Spirit of Christ, then they would have communion with Christ. The communion of saints with Christ, certainly consists in receiving of his fulness, and partaking of his grace, John i. 16. - Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” And the partaking of that spirit which God gives
. not by measure unto him, the partaking of Christ's holiness and grace, his nature, inclinations, tendencies, affections, love, desires, must be a part of communion with him. Yea, a believer's communion with God and Christ, does mainly consist in partaking of the Holy Spirit, as is evident by 2 Cor. xiii. 14. But that unbelievers have no communion or fellowship with Christ, appears,
1. Because they are not united to Christ; they are not in Christ. Those that are not in Christ, or are not united to him, can have no degree of communion with him : for union with Christ, is the foundation of all communion with him. The union of the members with the head, is the foundation of all their communion or partaking with the head; and so the union of the branch with the vine, is the foundation of all the communion it has with the vine, of partaking in any degree of its sap or life, or influence. So the union of the wife to the hus. band, is the foundation of her communion in his goods.- But no natural man is united to Christ; because all that are in Christ shall be saved ; 1 Cor. xv. 22. “ As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive;" i. e. all that are in Christ; for this speaks only of the glorious resurrection and eternal life. Phil. iii, 8, 9. “Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord :
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having on my own righteousness," &c. 2 Cor. v. 17. • Now, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." 1 John ii. 5. - Hereby know we that we are in him." Chap. iii. 24. “ And he that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him, and he in him; and hereby we know that he abideth in us," &c. and iv. 13. 6
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us."
. 2. The scripture more directly teaches, that only true saints have communion with Christ; 1 John i. 3–7. “ That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." And I Cor. i. 8,9. “ Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” By this it appears, that those who have fellowship with Christ, are those that cannot fall away, whom God's faithfulness is bound to confirm to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of Jesus Christ.
$ 71. Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones is an illustrative confirmation, that however natural men may be the subjects of great and wonderful influences and operations of God's great power and Spirit ; yet they do not properly partake at all of the Spirit before conversion. In all that is wrought in them, in every respect fitting and preparing them for grace, so that nothing shall be wanting but divine life; yet as long as they are without this, they have nothing of the Spirit. Which confirms the distinctions I have elsewhere made, of the Spirit of God influencing the minds of natural men under common illuminations and convictions, and yet not communicating himself in his own proper nature to them, before conversion; and that saving grace differs from common grace, not only in degree, but also in nature and kind. It is said, Rev. iii. 8. of the church at Philadelphia, which is commended above all other churches, Thou hast a little strength; certainly implying that ungodly men have none at all.
§ 72. That those that prove apostates, never had the same kind of faith with true saints, is confirmed by what Christ said of Judas, before his apostacy, John vi. 64. “But there are
, some of you who believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginVol. VII.
ning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” By this it is evident, that Judas, who afterward proved an apostate, (and is doubtless set forth as an example for all apostates, though he had a kind of faith in Christ, yet did not believe in Christ with a true faith, and was at that time, before his apostacy, destitute of that kind of faith which the true disciples had, and that he had all along, even from the beginning, been destitute of that faith. And by the 70th and 71st verses of the same chapter, it is evident, that he was not only destitute of that degree of goodness that the rest had, but totally destitute of Christian piety, and wholly under the dominion of wickedness; being in this respect like a devil, notwithstanding all his faith and temporary regard to Christ. “ Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ? He spake of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. For he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve."
§ 73. Why should we suppose that God would make any promises of spiritual and eternal blessings to that which has no goodness in it? Why should he promise that they shall obtain conversion, who do not do any thing right, or use any proper means in order to obtain it ? For the proper means of obtaining grace is seeking it truly, with a love and appetite to it, and desire of it, and sense of its excellency and worthiness, and a seeking of it of God through Christ: and to such as seek it thus, God has faithfully promised he will bestow it.-But though there be no promise to any seekers of grace, but gracious ones; yet there must be a greater probability of their conversion who seek, though not after a gracious manner, and though they are not thoroughly and sufficiently resolved and sincere in their seeking, than of those who wholly neglect their salvation : there is not so great an unlikelihood of it. And therefore, if persons are out of the way of these means, there is no likelihood of their receiving grace. Because God bestows his grace by means; and so the more they are in the way of means, and the more they attend them, the more are they in the way of being met with by God, and receiving his grace by those means.
$ 74. Indefinite promises, as they are called, seem to be no other than promises of the public covenant, or the promises made to a professing covenant people. God has promised to his visible church a blessing on his ordinances : and with respect to the public society, the visible church to whom the promises are made, they are absolutely promised. But, not being limited to particular persons, to them they are no more than encouragements. Such promises as these, children are interest. ed in by baptism. God has promised to bestow salvation on his church, and in the way of his appointed worship. "In all
places where I record my name, there will I come unto thee, and will bless thee.” When God set his tabernacle amongst his people, he annexed a promise of his blessing.
CONCERNING THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS.
§ 1. There is just the same reason for those commands of earnest care and laborious endeavours for perseverance, and threatenings of defection, notwithstanding its being certain that all that have true grace shall persevere, as there is for earnest endeavours after godliness, and to make our calling and election sure, notwithstanding all that are elected, shall undoubtedly be saved. For as the case with respect to this is the same, decree or no decree, every one that believes shall be saved, and he that believes not shall be damned. They that will not live godly lives, find out for themselves that they are not elected ; they that will live godly lives, have found out for themselves that they are elected. So it is here : he that to his utmost endeavours to persevere in ways of obedience, finds out that his obedience and righteousness are true; and he that does not, discovers that his is false.
§ 2. As persons are commanded and counselled to repent and be converted, though it is already determined whether they shall be converted or no; after the same manner, and with the same propriety, persons are commanded and counselled to persevere, although by their being already converted, it is certain they shall persevere. By their resolutely and steadfastly persevering through all difficulties, opposition, and trials, they obtain an evidence of the truth and soundness of their conversion ; and by their unstableness and backsliding, they procure an evidence of their unsoundness and hypocrisy. And it always happens, that persons who have the most need of being cautioned and counselled against falling, and apostacy, by reason of the weakness of their grace, have most need of an evidence of the truth of their grace. And those who have the least need of any evidence, by reason of the strength and lively exercise of grace, have least need of being warned against falling, they being least in danger of it. And so the same persons, when they are most in danger of falling,--by reason of the languishing of their graces, their ill-temper and workings of corruption-have most need of evidence; and, when in least need of care and watchfulness not to fall, by reason of the strength and vigorous actings of grace, they have least need of evidence.
So that there is as much need of persons exercising care and diligence to persevere in order to their salvation, as there is of their attention and care to repent and be converted. For our own care and diligence is as much the proper and decreed means of perseverance, as of any thing else; and the want of perseverance, is as much an evidence of the want of true conversion, as the want of conversion is a sign of the want of election. Labour and diligence to persevere, is as rational a way to make sure of the truth of grace, as they are to make sure of the truth of election. God's wrath and future punishment are proposed to all sorts of men, as motives to an universal and constant obedience, not only to the wicked, but also to the godly. Indeed, those that have obtained full assurance of their safe estate, are not capable of this motive, and they have no need of it. But when persons are most capable of the fear of hell, through their want of assurance-and their uncertainty, whether or no they are not exposed to damnation-by reason of the weakness of their grace, then they have most need of caution.
Coroll.-Here we may observe, that it is not the scripture way of judging of the truth of grace, to be determined prin. cipally by the
method and steps of the first work, but by the exercise and fruits of grace in a holy life.
83. Perseverance in faith, is, in one sense, the condition of justification ; that is, the promise of acceptance is made only to a persevering sort of faith ; and the proper evidence of its being of that sort, is actual perseverance. Not but that a man may have good evidences that his faith is of that sort, before he has finished his perseverance, yea, the first time that he exercises such a faith, if the exercises of it are lively and vigorous. But when the believer has those vigorous exercises of faith, by which he has clear evidences of its being of a persevering kind, he evermore feels most disposition and resolution to persevere, and most of a spirit of dependence upon God and Christ, to enable him so to do.
§ 4. As to the passages of scripture like that, Ezekiel xviii. 24, wherein are declared the fatal consequences of turning or falling away from righteousness, they do not at all argue but that there is an essential difference, in the very nature of the righteousness of those that persevere, and the righteousness of those that fall away.
The one is of a lasting sort, the other not; and so, falling away, or holding out, are in those places respected as natural fruits, or discoveries, of the nature of the righteous, or of the wicked. If a man that had a prospect of being, ere long, in calamitous circumstances, of being poor, and the object of general contempt, and should make this declaration concerning his friend, or him that now appeared to be such, that if his friend would cleave to him through all his