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I do not see why the argument cannot be retorted upon them. Here is a point of doctrine in dispute between us, namely, Whether, according to the structure of the covenant of grace, it be possible that any hea ven born soul should be lost? They affirm it is possible; we deny. Now, it is certain, that we differ no more from them on this point, than they do from us. And we have as good a right to say to them, May you not be mistaken? as they to say so to us. If, to prove they are not mistaken, they proceed to show that the scripture is in their favor, we should have equal right to tell them, that by this they "assumed nearly as high ground as the Pope." Advancing a sentence or two beyond the above quotation, Mr. B. says; "Now any thing is possible which does not involve a contradiction; which no man, I think, will contend that the doctrine contended for does." He intends the doctrine of a possibility of falling from a state of grace. The universalist, in contending with my antagonist, might raise just such an argument; he might say, "Mr. B. are you certain you are right in opposing the doctrine of the salvation of all men? Now any thing is possible which does not involve a contradiction; which no man I think will contend, that the doctrine of a universal salvation does; for if God can save one, he can save all." If Mr B. should say, "I am certain that I am right in opposing you, not because there is any impossibility in itself considered, that all men should be saved; but the scriptures are most pointedly against your doctrine, and therefore I know you are wrong," might not the universalist reply, "You thereby assume nearly as high ground as the Pope still?”
The dispute between me and my antagonist, is not whether it is, in itself considered, possible that holiness should be lost out of the heart of any created intelligent; but whether it is possible it should be lost out of the hearts of the saints, in consistency with the gracious covenant in which they are interested. The fifth question in the Debate was, (I believe,) in these words; Will any one who is united to Christ, by a vital union, so fall away as to fierish? Both sides of this question cannot be true, therefore the Bible can say nothing only on one side of it. The Bible has, no doubt, reflected suf
ficient light on this question, to put it beyond all uncertainty. We do not ask any to believe as we do, merely because we believe so. This would do them no good. But as we believe, so we must speak. Our opponents have the same liberty. Still to God we are under perfect obligation to speak nothing contrary to what he has spoken.
The text which laid the foundation for the 5th Sermon, was John vi. 47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. It was supposed, that the truth contained in the text amounted to this; That the true believer in Christ cannot fall away. so as to fuil of eternal blessedness: or in other words, That every true believer will persevere unto the end.
The two pillars, which were considered as sufficient to support the doctrine of the certain perseverance of all real saints, are the covenant of redemption, and the covenant of grace. By the covenant of redemption, we understand that covenant concerning the redemption of sinners, which eternally existed between the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, those three who bear record in heaven, who are one. Mr. B. thinks the scriptures do not favor the idea of the existence of any such covenant. One reason, which he seems to suggest against the existence of such a covenant, is this, That the Persons of the Godhead are essentially one. But they are not one in such a sense, as to exclude their being also in a sense three; else why does Mr. B. himself speak of three Persons in the Godhead? Their unity does not prevent their promising, and performing to each other. Thus in the second Psalm, the Father says to his Son, "Ask of me, and I shall give the heathen for thine inheritance.” So in the 110th Psalm, "The Lord, (i. e. Jehovah the Father,)" said unto my Lord,” (i. e. the Lord Christ,) “Sit thou" &c.-Again in the same Psalm; "The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever." In the 49th chapter of Isaiah, the Father says to the Son, “I will give thee for a covenant unto the people." In the 17th chapter of John, the Son says to the Father," I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." This implies, that there was a certain work assigned him, and which he engaged
to perform, and that he had fulfilled his engagement by performing the work. He then makes application for the reward promised; "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self." Christ promised to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, when he should go to the Father. He says, "He shall glorify me for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." John xvi. 14. It appears from these passages, and from others which might be introduced, that each person in the Godhead has a part to act in the work of saving sinners, and that there is a perfect concert in their work. It would not even be necessary that we should be able to find the word covenant, used in application to this holy concert between the Persons of the Trinity; if we find the thing, it is all which concerns us.
That there is a concert, exhibited to us under the form of a mutual stipulation between the Persons of the Trinity, about the salvation of sinners, will appear with clearness, by examining the scriptures. The passage already quoted from the 2nd Psalm, implies a covenant, where the Father, who is represented as just having exalted his Son to sit on the holy hill of Zion, says, "Ask —and I will give thee the heathen." It is implied, that there was a grant of the Gentiles previously made to the Redeemer, upon his resurrection and ascension; and that now, upon his making intercession for them, they were to be given him for his possession.
In the 89th Psalm, where the Lord is said to make a covenant with his chosen, and to swear unto David his servant, there can be no reasonable doubt but that more is intended, than the real covenant with the literal David. This man after God's own heart, was in almost every thing typical of Christ. From references to the book of Psalms, which we find made in the New Tes tament, we are led to the conclusion, that Christ is the great Personage, to which much of that inspired book ultimately relates. If there are many things written in the Psalms concerning Christ, it would be exceedingly unnatural to suppose that no reference is had to him and his church in this 89th Psalm. What does this language import?"For I have said, Mercy shall be built up forever thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, Ï
have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations." No doubt, primary reference is had to the cov enant of royalty with David, in which there was prome, that his seed should sit upon his throne after him: But the mercy of which the Psalmist speaks, which shall be built up forever, most naturally leads us to the kingdom of grace, which is an everlasting kingdom. How naturally are we led to the great Antitype, by what we find in the 19th and 20th verses: Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help on one that is mighty: I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant ; with my holy oil have I anointed him. How much more applicable to the Antitype than to the type, are these words; Also I will make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth. And can any one doubt of the applicableness of the following verses to the mystical David, and his spiritual seed? My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving kindness I will not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing which is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for-ever, and his throne as the sun before me. If this scripture will bear to be applied to the kingdom of the Son and Lord of David, the only kingdom which will be es-tablished forever, and endure as the sun; then these lessons of instruction are clearly taught in it: 1. That there is a stable covenant between Jehovah, the Father, and Jehovah Jesus, the Son, which they are bound by their holiness to fulfil to each other. 2. This covenant between the Father and the Son, has respect to the spiritual seed of Christ, for he has no other than a spir itual seed. Separately from the covenant made with the seed themselves, there is evidently a covenant made with Christ, as the Head of this holy seed, 3. It
is implied, that if his seed were any of them to be utterly rejected and disinherited on account of their misconduct, the Father would take his loving kindness from his Son, and suffer his faithfulness to him to fail. It is implied, that this would be breaking covenant, and altering the thing which had gone out of his lips; and that it would be even lying unto David. What follows in this Psalm is not meant as a denial of the existence of such a covenant; but the church, being now in a low state, under the scourges of the rod, expostulate with the God of truth, in view of this covenant, that he would not utterly forsake them
We think we can discover the existence of such a covenant, as that which we have called the covenant of redemption, in the 110th Psalm. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. From the application, which is repeatedly made of this verse in the New Testament, we learn, that in the beginning of the verse, "the Lord," means Jehovah the Father, and "my Lord," means the Son of God; and that his being invited to sit at the right hand of the Father, refers to the time of his ascension into heaven The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Upon the ascension of Christ, the Spirit was sent down, and the apostles and ministers of the gospel, armed with the sword of the Spirit, the rod of divine power, with which to make conquests to the King of Zion, went forth from Jerusalem. This made way for the setting up of the kingdom of Christ in heathen lands, and for his ruling in the midst of his enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beau ties of holiness from the womb of the morning ; thou hast the dew of thy youth. "Thy people," must mean the people of king Messiah, now exalted to the right hand of the majesty on high. In the preceding verse we see the rod of his strength going out of Zion, and here we see the effect produced by it when accompanied with his power, that is, with the powerful influences of the Holy Ghost. It is a sweet description of the gospel, preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. His people, of whom is is said, that they shall be willing in the day of his power, are not the people sent out to make