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prove that the Holy Ghost dwells in their souls, but shall assume a truth acknowledged by all who are worthy to be called Christians, and illustrated in the preceding part of this course, when we were treating of regeneration and sanctification. It is of importance to consider the character in which he is present with believers, or the office which he is appointed to perform. As a Divine Person, he inhabits the temple of the universe, and heaven and earth are sustained, and beautified, and enlivened by his influence; but he selects the souls of believers as the scene of his gracious operations. There he is present as the Spirit of truth and consolation; and it is his office to diffuse the cheering and tranquillizing light of heaven; to shed a divine serenity over the thoughts and feelings; to inspire and strengthen good principles; to elevate the affections above secular objects; to give a taste of the sweetness of spiritual things; to awaken hope, with all its blissful anticipations. To what can he be so fitly compared, as "to a well of living water, springing up to everlasting life?"* It is our Saviour's own similitude, and is alike worthy of notice for its expressive. ness and its beauty. Like a fountain which is in perpetual motion, and pours out its stream in summer and in winter, he exerts his gracious power in youth, in manhood, and in old age, to promote the growth of grace, and to give them a foretaste of celestial bliss. The joy of the Christian is therefore not only pure, but permanent. No man can take it from him. He is satisfied from himself; not from his own virtue and the resources of his own mind, as the old philosophers were wont vainly and presumptuously to boast; but from the communications of this Divine inmate in his bosom, whose presence is life, and whose favour is the sunshine of the soul. Omnia mea mecum porto, said one of the self-sufficient wise men of antiquity; but it was a poor stock, and he must have starved upon it without the assistance of pride. The Christian who has the Holy Ghost dwelling in his heart, can say with truth that he “ carries all his treasures with him;" for whithersoever he goes, and in whatever situation he is placed, his joy remains, and is full. “ The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”+

In connexion with this particular, I may mention, in the fourth place, the doctrines and promises of the word of God, as a source of spiritual joy; for although the operations of the Spirit are distinct from these, they are always carried on in concurrence with them. It is by his application of them to their hearts that Christians are filled with joy and peace in believing. It is from the word of God that they learn the nature and extent of the privileges which the mediation of Christ has procured for them, and the securities that they shall hold them in perpetual succession. Hence we can account for the high value which they set upon it, the interest with which they peruse its contents, and the inexpressible satisfaction which, according to their own testimony, it imparts to their minds. “More to be desired are thy testimonies than gold, yea than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey comb."! Let us attend to its influence in communicating joy to them in the season of affliction. Pain is as uneasy to them as to other men; they feel disappointments as severely, and are equally apt to despond and to sink under the burden of calamity. On such occasions the efficacy of the word of God is experienced. It enables believers to adopt that consoling train of reasoning which Paul pursues, in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and to infer from the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ, not only their present justification before God, but their uninterrupted interest in his love. “ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or persecution, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that

# John iv. 14.

† Rom. xiv. 17.

Ps. xix. 10.

neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."* Thus the word of God illuminates the darkest events; and faith, relying upon its assurances, keeps alive hope in circumstances which seem to justify despair, and turns the complaints and wailings of nature into songs of salvation. The people of God can rejoice in tribulation, because they know that it is sent with a benevolent design, and that it will terminate in their present and eternal good. With the staff of the promises in their hands, they fear no evil when they are pursuing their lonely journey in the valley and shadow of death. Providence sometimes speaks the language of wrath; but the word always speaks the language of love. Providence is sometimes like the stormy sky, in which neither sun nor star appears for many days; but the word is like the serene atmosphere of summer, illuminated by the solar rays, and showing on all sides agreeable objects. Hence it has been " the song of the saints in the house of their pilgrimage;" and we have their testimony, that “unless it had quickened them, they should have perished in their affliction.”

The last source of spiritual joy which I shall mention, is hope, the influence of which we have all experienced. It exerts a sort of magic power, by which distant objects are brought near, and the future is made present, and we enjoy beforehand the good of which we cannot immediately obtain the actual possession. He whose bosom is animated by hope, is transported from the scene around him, to another fairer and more blissful; and, tasting its delights by anticipation, he is sometimes raised above the painful sense of his actual circumstances. If such is its effect when it is only an illusion of fancy, and at best its objects are confined to this diurnal sphere, what must be its power when it brings to bear upon the heart the surpassing glories of the world to come! The hope of the Christian conducts him by its light beyond the boundaries of time, and fixes his views and desires upon the realities of eternity. When his eye is steadily directed to heaven, and catches a glimpse of its scenes, of the magnificence of which no terrestrial splendour can furnish even a faint image, how light must the evils of life appear, and how diminutive its pleasures! We do not wonder to hear that believers rejoice, when it is added, “ that they rejoice in hope of the glory of God;" a hope sufficient to warm the coldest heart, and to elevate the most depressed. This hope is founded on the righteousness of Christ, which was imputed to them when they believed. It is cherished by the Spirit of adoption, sent forth into their hearts as the earnest of the future inheritance; and it is strengthened by their progress in holiness, from which it appears that they are destined to possess that inheritance, and are now in a train of preparation for it. And hence we see to what cause it is owing that they are reconciled to a very hard lot in this world, and are content and happy in circumstances which would overwhelm others with dejection. Their minds are busy in making comparisons, not between their own condition and that of others who are more prosperous,--for such comparisons are the food and the fuel of discontent--but between their present and their future state, between what they now suffer and what they shall hereafter enjoy. Thus the Christian is elevated in a great measure above the influence of temporal things. They affect him but little when his faith and hope are strong. If they are disagreeable, they are of short duration; and his prospects are so consoling and interesting, that he has neither leisure nor inclination to give himselt much concern about his temporary accommodation. He who is hastening to take possession of a kingdom, will not be made unhappy by being uncomforta. bly lodged for a single night on the road. “I reckon that the sufferings of this

Rom. viii. 35-39.

present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." *

Such are the sources of the joy of believers in Christ. We see on what grounds the Scripture pronounces them to be blessed, and can enter into the spirit of the song of praise and thanksgiving which is sung by the church : “In that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust and not be afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” †

Let not the doctrine concerning the joy which flows from faith be misunderstood. It is not meant to assert, that those who have been justified, and adopted into the family of God, always feel transports and ecstacies. No such thing is implied, even in the exhortation to “rejoice evermore;" I nor would a state of perpetual rapture be consistent with their present condition, and their business in this world. If, in some happy moments, they are elevated to the mount of God, and, holding fellowship with him, lose the remembrance of sublunary things, they must again descend into the plain, and walk with men in the ordinary duties of life. For these, I think, they would be disqualified, were their minds powerfully affected at all times by bright visions of the glory of God and of heaven, and by such an overpowering sense of his love as the saints have sometimes experienced. The lively foretaste of future felicity is only occasional; and, in the usual train of life, they can expect nothing more than that tranquillity of mind, that placid frame, that calm cheerfulness and sober joy, which flow from the faith and hope of the Gospel. These may be compared to their daily food; but the former are delicacies and cordials, by which their exhausted strength is restored, and the injuries which sorrow has inflicted are repaired.

Still less should it be supposed, that Christians experience joy without interruption, because the sources of it are unfailing. Their state is always safe, but their feelings are not always comfortable. It is certain, however, that, if their joy suffers interruptions, and they live in fear, perplexity, and dejection, the fault is their own. "They must co-operate with God, both by avoiding whatever would counteract his gracious designs, and by a diligent use of the means appointed to give them effect.

They must live by faith, for their peace and joy will be in proportion to it. A man would not be delighted by the most beautiful objects in nature which he did not see, nor relieved from the apprehension of want by great riches which he did not know himself to possess :

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.'

.” Wher Paul triumphed in affliction, it was through faith : “I am persuaded that nothing shall separate us from the love of God.” When Asaph was dejected, unbelief was the cause : “I said, this is mine infirmity.” ||

They must beware of “forsaking the fountain of living waters, and hewing out to themselves broken cisterns which can hold no water." In other words, they must beware of setting their affections upon any other than God, and of seeking happiness from any inferior source. It is their folly in doing so which is the cause of all their disquietudes. If we hold up a dark body between us and the sun, must we not be in the shade? How can they rejoice who, with their own hands, shut out joy from their souls? If we wish God to remain in his temple, and to fill it with his glory, we must not permit any rival to usurp his place, nor erect an altar for unhallowed sacrifices. When sin in any form is indulged, the most fatal consequences ensue; as we learn from the earnest • Rom. viii. 18. + Isa. xii. 1-3.

# 1 Thess, v. 16. Rom. viii. 38.

| Ps. lxxvii. 10. Vol. II.-36

2 A 2

prayer of David, after God had been provoked to withdraw a sense of his love, and was testifying his displeasure against him: “Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit.”

Once more, They must be diligent, zealous, and constant in obedience, for thus the soul is maintained in a healthy vigorous state, and is capable of receiving and relishing spiritual joy : whereas by remissness, it becomes relaxed and languid. It is not to be expected that God will smile upon his disobedient children ; but, to the dutiful, he will give unequivocal proofs of his approbation: “ 'Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways." † Christians have always found, that when they walked with God in the exercise of faith, and the practical study of holiness, they were visited with the light of his countenance; but that darkness and distress were the never-failing consequences of the omission and careless performance of their duty.

Such are the methods by which Christians will secure to themselves the happiness which God has provided for them: “ If they do these things, they shall never fall.” | Life will flow on in the pure tranquil pleasures of religion; and their death will come to fill up the measure of their bliss in the heavenly world, where there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor any more pain, because the former things shall liave passed away,

LECTURE LXXIX.

ON THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.

Different opinions respecting the Perseverance of the Saints.—Their total or final fall impossi

ble.— Their perseverance inferred from the Immutable Decree and the Covenant of God, the Me liation of Christ, and the Indwelling and Offices of the Spirit.—Examination of the Passages of Scripture alleged against this Doctrine.

At peace

We have seen, that sinners are brought into a state of favour with God through faith in Jesus Christ; and that the Holy Spirit is given to them, by whom they are sanctified, that they may serve God in this world, and may be qualified for being admitted into his immediate presence in the next. The happiness which they enjoy in consequence of these privileges is great. with their Maker, they have peace in their own minds, and look forward to the future state with the anticipations of hope. There is only one thing wanting to complete their happiness, so far as it can be perfect in the present life; and that is, the certain knowledge that their present state is stable and immutable, and that those anticipations will be realized. If their interest in the salvation of Christ is secured beyond the possibility of change, they may, with the Apostle, triumphantly bid defiance to all the powers of earth and hell ; if, however, they may fall from a state of grace, there is not only a call for vigilance, but ground of anxiety, and their prospect will often be darkened by fearful forebodings. The question, therefore, respecting the perseverance of the saints, is not a mere speculation, but is intimately connected with their peace and con- . solation ; and, according as it is decided, will have a powerful influence in rendering their religion cheerful or gloomy. • Ps. li. 8, 11, 12.

† Is. Ixiv. 5.

# 2 Pet. i. 10.

Upon this subject, professed Christians are divided in sentiment, as indeed they are upon almost every article of faith. The doctrine of our Church, in which, I believe, all the Reformed Churches concurred, is expressed in the following words. “ They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved." *

The Church of England, which has a Calvinistic creed, although, as the great Lord Chatham said, her liturgy is Popish, and her clergy, many of them at least, are Arminian, teaches us the same doctrine in the sev. enteenth article. “ They which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God,” namely election, “ be called according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due season ; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely ; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

It is well known to you all, I presume, that the followers of Arminius maintain a very different doctrine, and that this is one of the articles by which their creed is distinguished from that of the followers of Calvin. Their sentiments are thus expressed by themselves. “ True believers may apostatize from the true faith, and fall into such sins as are inconsistent with true and justifying faith ; nay, it is not only possible for them to do so, but it frequently comes to pass. True believers may by their own fault become guilty of great and abominable crimes, and may continue and die in the same,and consequently may finally fall into perdition.” | After this authoritative statement, it may be deemed superfluous to subjoin the sentiments of an individual, but I shall quote the words of Limborch, their celebrated Professor of Theology. “ We maintain that, notwithstanding divine grace, by which a believer may persevere in faith, there remains in man a power of falling away, and, therefore, that a believer may totally lose his faith and regeneration, and may continue in apostasy to the end of his life, and so eternally perish." The Remonstrants are supported in this article of their creed by Papists, for the Council of Trent has decreed that“ if any person shall say that a man who has been justified, cannot lose grace, and that iherefore he who falls and sins was never truly justified, he shall be accursed." $

It is granted that believers, under the influence of temptation, may commit great sins, which are highly offensive to men and provoking to God. We have two remarkable examples in Scripture. The first is David, who seduced the wife of his neighbour, and then devised the murder of her husband. The atrocity of both actions is manifest; but the latter implied deeper guilt on several accounts, and particularly because it was the result of deliberation and contrivance; and being posterior to the other, it showed that he continued for a considerable time in a state of moral insensibility. The second is Peter, who denied his Lord, and whose crime was aggravated, because it was committed although he had been forewarned; because it was repeated a second and a third time; and because it was accompanied with oaths and imprecations, in themselves profane, and which changed his false affirmation into perjury. There is no doubt, that other saints have been guilty of the same sins, or of others equally heinous. It is not to be supposed, indeed, that such cases are of frequent occurrence, because then there would be no visible difference between those who have, and those who want the grace of God. There would then be no answer to the prayer of our Saviour for the former, that his Father would keep them from the evil of the world ; and to their own prayer, that he would

. Conf. chap. xvii. §. i. † Confession of Remonstrants, as quoted in Brandt's History of the Reformation in the Low Countrines, vol. iii. p. 89.

# Limborch, Theol. Lib. v. cap. lxxx. § Decret. De Justificatione, canon xxiü:

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