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less, 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 recompense 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 di. vine 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. xi. 20. “ Well, because of unbelief they were broken off. But thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear.” John xv. 7. “ If ye abide in me, and my works abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Heb. iii. 14. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end." Chap. v. 12. “ Be ye followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises,”! So that not only the first act of faith, but subsequent acts of faith, and perseverance in faith, do justify the sinner: although salvation is in itself sure and certain after the first act. For the way in which the first act of faith justifies, is not by making the futurition of salvation certain in itself; for that is as certain in itself by the divine decree, before the first act of faith, as afterward. Salvation is in some sense the sinner's right, before he believes. It was given him in Christ, before the world was. But before a sinner believes, he has not any thing from God that he can lay hold of, so as to either chal
lenge it, or on good grounds hope for it. He cannot be said to have any right, because he has no congruity; and as to the promise made to Christ, he has no hold of that, because that is not revealed to him. If God had declared and promised to the angels that such a man should be saved; that would not give him any right of his own, or any ground of challenge. A promise is a manifestation of a person's design of doing some good to another, to the end that he may depend on it, and rest in it. The certainty in him arises from the manifestation ; and the obligation in justice to him arises from the manifestation being made to him, to the effect that he might depend on it. And therefore subsequent acts of faith may be said to give a sinner a title to salvation, as well as the first. For, from what has been said, it appears that the congruity arises from them, as well as the first, they in like manner containing the nature of unition to Christ as mediator ; and they may have as great, nay, a greater hand in the manifestation of the futurition of salvation to us for our dependence, than the first act. For our knowledge of this may proceed mainly from after-acts, and from a course of acts. The scripture speaks of after-acts of faith in both Abraham and Noah, as giving a title to the righteousness which is the matter of justification. See Rom. iv. 3; Heb. xi. 7.
§ 11. The doctrine of perseverance is manifest from the nature of the mediation of Christ. For as Christ is a mediator to reconcile God to man, and man to God, and as he is a middle person between both, and has the nature of both, so he undertakes for each, and, in some respect becomes surety for each with the other. He undertakes and becomes a surety for man to God. He engages for him, that the law, that was given him, shall be answered ; and that justice, with respect to him, shall be satisfied, and the honour of God's majesty vindicated. So he undertakes and engages for the Father with man, in order to his being reconciled to God, and induced to come to him, to love him, and trust confidently in him, and rest quietly in him. He undertakes for the Father's acceptance and favour, John xiv. 21. He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father.” He undertakes that the Father shall hear and answer their prayers. He becomes surety to see that their prayers are answered ; John xiv. 13. “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." He undertakes that they shall have all necessary supplies of grace from the Father; and he engages for the continuance of God's presence with them, and the continuance of his favour, and of the supplies of grace necessary to uphold and preserve them, and keep them froin finally perishing; John xiv. 16. " And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide
with you for ever.” And ver. 23. “ If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him.” Christ does not only declare that God will give us needed grace, but he himself undertakes to see it done. He promises that he will bestow it from the Father; John xv. 20. “ But when the comforter is come, whom I will send you from the Father.” It was necessary that some one should thus undertake for God with man, for the continuance of his pardoning and sanctifying grace, in order to the sinner's being fully reconciled to God, and brought fully and quietly to rest in him as his God; otherwise the sinner, conscious of his own weakness and sinfulness, could have no quiet rest in God, for fear of the union being broken between God and him, and for fear of incurring God's displeasure and wrath, and so having God an enemy for
He is in a capacity to undertake for us, and be surety for us, with the Father, because he puts himself in our stead. He also is in a capacity to undertake for the Father, and be surety for him with us, because the Father hath put him in his stead. He puts himself in our stead as priest, and answers for us, and does and suffers in that office what we should have done and suffered ; and God puts him in his stead as king.He is appointed to the government of the world, as God's vicegerent, and so, in that office, answers for God to us, and does and orders and bestows, that which we need from God. He undertakes for us in things that are expected of us as subjects, because he puts himself into our subjection. He appears in the form of a servant for us. So he undertakes for the Father, in that which is desired and hoped for of him as king : for the Father hath put him into his kingdom and dominion, and has committed all authority and power unto him. He is in a capacity to undertake for the Father with us, because he can say, as in John xvi. 15. “ All things that the Father hath are mine.
$ 12. The first covenant failed of bringing man to the glory of God, through man's instability, whereby he failed of perseverance, Man's changeableness was the thing wherein it was weak. It was weak through the flesh.* But God had made a second covenant in mercy to fallen man, that in the way of this covenant he might be brought to the glory of God, which he failed of under the other. But it is God's manner, in things that he appoints and constitutes, when one thing fails of its proper end, he appoints another to succeed in the room of it; to introduce that the second time, in which the weaknesses and defects of the former are supplied, and which never shall fail, but shall surely reach its end, and so shall remain as that which needs no other to succeed it. So God removed the first dispensation by Moses, Heb. viii. 7–13. “For if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second," &c. So the priesthood of the order of Aaron ceases, because of the weakness and insufficiency of it to answer the ends of priesthood, which are, to reconcile God to man. Therefore, God introduces another priesthood, of the order of Melchizedec, that is sufficient, and cannot fail, and remains for ever. Heb. vii. So Moses, the first leader of Israel, failed of bringing them into Canaan; but Joshua, the second leader, did not fail. The kingdom of Saul, the first anointed of the Lord, did not continue ; but the kingdom of the second anointed remains for ever. The first sanctuary, that was built in Israel, was a moveable tabernacle, and therefore ready to vanish away, or be removed finally and God forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh. But the second sanctuary was a firm building, an immoveable temple, which was typically an everlasting sanctuary, and that which God would never forsake; 2 Sam. vii. 10, 11. So the first covenant, that God made with Adam, failed, because it was weak through the weakness of human nature, to whose strength and stability the keeping was entrusted. Therefore, God introduces another better covenant, committed not to his strength, but to the strength of one that was mighty and stable, and, therefore, is a sure and everlasting covenant. God entrusted the affair of man's happiness on a weak foundation at first, to show man that the foundation was weak, and not to be trusted to, that he might trust in God alone. The first was only to make way for the second. God lighted up a divine light in man's soul at the first; but it remained on such a foundation, that Satan found means to extinguish it; and, therefore, when God lights it up a second time, it is, that it may never be extinguished.
* Not properly through the flesh, but through that passive power, that cause of liability to fail, that want of essential perfection (the only ground of infallibility) which belonged to the whole man, prior to any moral defect. W.
§ 13. Some things may yet remain, that are properly the conditions of salvation; on which salvation may be suspended, that it may well excite to the utmost caution, lest we should come short of eternal life, and should perish for the want of them, after it is already become impossible that we should fail of salvation. For the condition on which the man, Christ Jesus, was to obtain eternal life, was his doing the work which God had given him to do; his performing perfect persevering obedience, and his therein conquering Satan and the world, and all opposition, and enduring all sufferings that he met with. Therefore, Christ used the utmost diligence to do this work, and used the utmost caution lest he should fail of it; and prayed with strong crying and tears, and wrestled with God in a bloody sweat, that he might not fail, but might have