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3. All the christian's prayers and devotions are upon this plan, and agreeable to this doctrine. They contain in them, either an express or implicit acknowledgment of his entire dependence on God for salvation, and every thing, for which he prays or gives thanks ; and that all the good he desires must be ihe fruit of the determination of him, who changes not in his purpose and design ; and express, or imply, an unconditional, implicit resignation to his wise and holy will.

The opposers of this doctrine, in heart and words, do often really acknowledge it in words, in their prayers to God for salvation, &c. But the real christian does it with his heart. He may indeed, through the prejudices of education, or otherwise, by not understanding the doctrine in theory, and entertaining wrong conceptions of it, and of other points, which are connected with it, be led to oppose it, in speculation ; but so far as his heart is renewed, all his religious exercises and devotions are agreeable to the doctrine of election, and an acknowledgment of it. And so far as

And so far as it appears, that any person is at heart an enemy to that doctrine ; there is just so much evidence that he is an enemy to him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

Section XIII.

Whether any of the Redeemed arrive to Perfect Holiness

in this Life.

THAT no man, whatever his advantages and attainments may be, does arrive to sinless perfection in this life, seems to be clearly asserted in a number of passages of scripture. Solomon says, " There is no man that sinneth not. There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. Who can say, I have

heart clean, I am pure from my sin ?»* These are strong expressions, asserting that there is no man on earth so perfect, as to be wholly without sin. Job says, “If I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.”+ How could his saying he was perfect, prove

* 1 Kings vüi. 46. Eccl, vü. 20. Proy. XX9. + Job. ix. 20

made my

tian, or is elected to salvation ; but has great and prevailing doubts of this. He knows that if he were left to himself, he should not determine the point in his own favour ; but his impenitent, unbelieving heart, would reject Christ, and he go on to destruction. That he is wholly dependent on God for salvation, and if he do not determine in his favour, and have not elected him to salvation, and do not distinguish him from others, by granting him those influences, and that renovation, which they who perish have not, he shall not be saved, but perish forever. Therefore, the doctrine of election can be no matter of discouragement to him, it cannot render his case worse that it would be if none were elected: for then he could have no hope of salvation ; and the only hope he can have is grounded on this doctrine, and that he may be one of the elect. And his hope rises or sinks according to the evidence he has of this, by perceiving himself to be the subject of the regenerating, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit : Or the contrary.

2. The true believer is pleased, with being entirely dependent on God for his salvation, and that he should determine whether he shall be saved or not; and does not desire, that he himself or others should be saved in any other way, but according to the eternal purpose of God. It is most disagreeable to him, that any creature should determine this, in any one instance. He knows it belongs to God, to decide this important matter ; that he has a right to do it, and he only is able to determine it perfectly right, agreeable to infinite wisdom and goodness, so as shall be most for his glory, and promote the interest of his kingdom. He is pleased, that in this way, God is exalted, in the exercise of sovereign grace, and the sinner humbled, and the most important interest for. ever secured and promoted in the best manner. He desires no other salvation, for himself or others, but that which is the free gift of God, and the fruit of his electing love ; and which infinite wisdom sees will be most for the glory of God, and the general good; and that without knowing whether his salvation be consistent with this, or not, and whether he be one of the elect, or not.

3. All the christian's prayers and devotions are upon this plan, and agreeable to this doctrine. They contain in them, either an express or implicit acknowledgment of his entire dependence on God for salvation, and every thing, for which he prays or gives thanks ; and that all the good he desires must be the fruit of the determination of him, who changes not in his purpose and design ; and express, or imply, an unconditional

, implicit resignation to his wise and holy will.

The opposers of this doctrine, in heart and words, do often really acknowledge it in words, in their prayers to God for salvation, &c. But the real christian does it with his heart. He may indeed, through the prejudices of education, or otherwise, by not understanding the doctrine in theory, and entertaining wrong conceptions of it, and of other points, which are connected with it, be led to oppose it, in speculation ; but so far as his heart is renewed, all his religious exercises and devotions are agreeable to the doctrine of election, and an acknowledgment of it. And so far as it

appears,

that any person is at heart an enemy to that doctrine ; there is just so much evidence that he is an enemy to him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.“

SECTION XIII.

Whether any of the Redeemed arrive to Perfect Holiness

in this Life.

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THAT no man, whatever his advantages and attainments may be, does arrive to sinless perfection in this life, seems to be clearly asserted in a number of passages of scripture. Solomon says,

“ There is no man that sinneth not. There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin ?"* These are strong expressions, asserting that there is no man on earth so perfect, as to be wholly without sin. Job says, “ If I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.”+ How could his saying he was perfect, prove

* Kings vũi. 46. Eccl. vij. 20. Proy. XX, 9. + Job. ix. 20;

or as lie did before he was born of God.

He no longer lives in sin, and makes it his trade and business, as the unregenerate do ; but lives a holy life, devoted to Christ, though attended with much imperfection and sin. If this be not his meaning, which is a natural and easy one, he not only contradicts what he had said in the words quoted from the first chapter, by asserting that christians may live without sin in this world ; but asserts that every one that is born of God, does not, from that time, commit one sin, or have the least degree of sin in his heart or conduct : Which few or none of those who have made use of these passages, to prove christians may be perfectly holy in this life, do believe is true; so that these words prove too much, or nothing at all, for them,

Christians are frequently represented as being perfect, in distinction from those who are not real christians, or from other real christians, who are not perfect. This has been improved as an argument, that some christians do obtain sinless perfection, in this life, supposing that this is intended by being perfect.

But the careful read. er of the Bible will find, that to be perfect has a various and different meaning, when used with respect to different subjects and relations.

When used with respect to God, it means absolute perfection, in which sense it is not applicable to any creature ; especially to man in this state.-When applied to christians, it sometimes means real sincerity and uprightness of heart, or their being real christians, or good men, in distinction from those who are so only in appearance and pretence. In this sense Hezekiah appears to use it, when he says, “Remember now, O Lord, how I have walked before thee iir truth, and with a perfect heart.”* And in this sense God speaks of Job as a perfect and upright man. Job himself uses the word in a different sense, when he says, “If I say I am perfect, it would prove me perverse. "I Otherwise he would contradict his Maker, and himself too ; for he held his integrity fast, and appealed to God that he was upright.g Sometimes it means whole and entire christians, acting out every christian grace, or every branch of christianity, in distinction from those who were defective in some christian attainments, while Isaiah xxxviii. 3. Job i. &

# Chap. ix. 20. Chap. xxxi.,6.

they appeared to be chiefly attentive to others. And sometimes they are called perfect, who have made great er proficiency in the christian life, and are stronger and more thorough christians, in distinction from the weaker, and those of less attainments. He who carefully studies his Bible, will find, that christians are not said to be perfect in any higher sense than these.

The Apostle Paul, in a forecited place, says, that he did not think himself perfect; yet in the very next words speaks of him. self and others as being perfect.

« Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded."* He must use the word in two different senses, otherwise he would contradict himself. When he says, he does not think or pretend that he is perfect, he means sinless perfection. When he says, “As many of us as be perfect,” he means those who had made considerable improvement, and advances in christianity ; not being, in this respect, babes or children, but grown men.t It is certainly the duty of all christians to be

perfectly holy, in obedience to the law of God, requiring them to love God with all their heart, and soul, and mind, and strength; and their neighbours as themselves. And every thing contrary to this, or short of it, which takes place in their hearts or lives, is criminal. The law cannot be abated, nor their obligation to obey it perfectly annulled in the least degree. But it does not follow from his, that any one does, or will, come up to the rule, and do the whole of his duty, in this life. For this the christian depends wholly upon God. He is !0 farther holy, than he is made so by the omnipotent energy of the divine Spirit ; and though God requires them to be perfectly holy, yet he is under no obligation, by promise, or any other way, to make them perfectly holy in this world. His requiring it of them, does not imply any such obligation, and the covenant of grace contains no promise of this. In that thcre is a divine promise, that they shall persevere in holiness to the end of life ; and that they shall be perfectly holy in his kingdom forever; for this is necessarily implied in perfect happiness and eternal life. But it contains no promise of any particular degree of holiness, more than is necessary to prevent their falling totally and finally, • Phil. iü. 12, 13, 14, 15.

See Heb. v. 13, 14.

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