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TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE V - True Saints paragraph 0
TRUE SAINTS

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE V - True Saints paragraph 2

TRUE SAINTS.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE I - True and False Conversions paragraph 21

     IV. Now I am to show some things in which true saints and deceived persons may agree, and some things in which they differ.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE I - True and False Conversions paragraph 48

     They may be both opposed to sinners. The opposition of true saints is a benevolent opposition, viewing and abhorring their character and conduct, as calculated to subvert the kingdom of God. The other is opposed to sinners because they are opposed to the religion he has espoused, and because they are not on his side.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE I - True and False Conversions paragraph 58

     18. They may be equally self-denying in many things. Self-denial is not confined to true saints. Look at the sacrifices and self-denials of the Mohammedans, going on their pilgrimage to Mecca. Look at the heathen, throwing themselves under the car of Juggernaut. Look at the poor ignorant papists, going up and down over the sharp stones on their bare knees, till they stream with blood. A Protestant congregation will not contend that there is any religion in that. But is there not self-denial? The true saint denies himself, for the sake of doing more good to others. He is more set on this than on his own indulgence or his own interest. The deceived person may go equal lengths, but from purely selfish motives.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE I - True and False Conversions paragraph 65

     3. If selfishness is the prevailing character of your religion, it will take sometimes one form and sometimes another. For instance: If it is a time of general coldness in the church, real converts will still enjoy their own secret communion with God, although there may not be so much doing to attract notice in public. But the deceived person will then invariably be found driving after the world. Now, let the true saints rise up, and make a noise, and speak their joys aloud, so that religion begins to be talked of again; and perhaps the deceived professor will soon begin to bustle about, and appear to be even more zealous than the true saint. He is impelled by his convictions, and not affections. When there is no public interest, he feels no conviction; but when the church awakes, he is convicted, and compelled to stir about, to keep his conscience quiet. It is only selfishness in another form.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE I - True and False Conversions paragraph 67

     I do not say that true saints do not enjoy their hope. But that is not the great thing with them. They think very little about their own hopes. Their thoughts are employed about something else. The deceived person, on the contrary, is sensible that he does not enjoy the duties of religion; but only that the more he does, the more confident he is of heaven. He takes only such kind of enjoyment in it, as a man does who thinks that by great labor he shall have great wealth.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE I - True and False Conversions paragraph 97

     Many feel a natural sympathy for sinners, and wish to have them saved from hell; and if that is gained, they have no farther concern. But true saints are most affected by sin as dishonoring God. And they are more distressed to see Christians sin, because it dishonors God more. Some people seem to care but little how the church live, if they can only see the work of conversion go forward. They are not anxious to have God honored. It shows that they are not actuated by the love of holiness, but by mere compassion for sinners.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 290 234 Lecture IV. True and False Religion ...

And now, beloved, I ask you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether you have the religion of the gospel. I have, in this discourse, endeavored to set before you, in as simple a form as is possible, the grand distinction between true saints and hypocrites. To which of these classes do you belong? Remember the eye of God is upon you. "Be ye not deceived, for God is not mocked." "If the Son hath made you free, then are ye free indeed." And I exhort you in the words of the text, "Stand fast therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." But, on the other hand, if the Holy Ghost sees you with the chains of slavery upon your soul, driven on by conscience, as by a slave-holder, working out your painful religion, lest you should lose your soul, I beseech you, in the name of Christ, get up out of this bondage--lay aside these chains--"loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, 0 captive daughter of Zion,"--lay aside this legal yoke, and come forth from slavery, and death, that Christ may give you liberty and life.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 966 928 Lecture XX Design or Intention Constitutes Character ...

8. You see the real distinction between true saints and hypocrites. It does not lie in the fact, that they pursue opposite courses of life, but in that they pursue substantially the same courses of life, with opposite ultimate intentions. The true Christians' ultimate intention being to glorify God; the hypocrite's intention being his own happiness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 340 292 Lecture XXX. Entire Consecration a Condition of Discipleship ...

8. But this would be a state of permanent or continued sanctification. To my mind it is really shocking, that the Church should be alarmed when it is taught that persons are to expect to attain a state of entire sanctification in this life. It is certainly a monstrous error, to maintain that any thing short of entire consecration to God is regeneration. If any thing short of this is admitted by the teachers of religion to be true religion, it will inevitably lead the Church into a fatal error. And here I could inquire of my brethren upon my knees in agony, whether it is not true that the preaching of the present day often makes the impression that entire consecration to God is a rare attainment--something to be aimed at indeed--but seldom if ever reached in this life--that the best services of the saints, and the best states of mind in which they are, are mingled with much that is wrong--and that they hourly, nay, continually offend and even sin in their most holy performances. Now how infinitely dangerous is such teaching as this. How many thousands of souls have gone to hell, because they have been led to believe they could be truly religious and yet be conscious of sin all the time. They have been convicted, felt condemned, and conscious indeed that their best performances were sinful. But they have been taught that this is the case with all true saints, and that a consciousness of present sin is not at all inconsistent with their being saints. Nay, that the more deeply conscious they are, of sinning daily, in word, thought and deed, the greater is the evidence of their humility, knowledge of their own hearts, and of the soundness of their piety. Now I humbly ask is this the standard God has set up? Does this look like complying with the conditions of this and many similar texts? Is this daily living in sin consistent with being a disciple of Christ? I beseech you, my brethren, look to this, and see whether the blood of deceived professors is not to be found in your skirts. Why, some of you talk about the dangerous tendency of preaching the doctrine of entire sanctification in this life. What can it mean, my brethren, that you do not perceive the dangerous tendency of preaching the opposite doctrine--the absolutely ruinous tendency of admitting, for one moment, that any thing less than a state of entire consecration, is at all acceptable to God, or at all consistent with the existence of true religion. Here I wish to be understood. I do not mean to be understood, that a person's occasionally falling into sin, is entirely inconsistent with his ever having been converted, or with his being a true Christian. But I do mean, and I solemnly believe, that Christ meant to teach, that nothing is acceptable to God, short of entire obedience; and that every act which is really acceptable to God implies entire consecration to God. I have so recently addressed you upon this subject, that I need not enlarge upon these thoughts.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 744 722 Lecture XIV. Joy in God ...

9. The happiness of the true saints is secure, because it depends not on external and contingent circumstances, but on God Himself. They know God, and to know Him is eternal life. As long as God lives and reigns, they know their happiness cannot be disturbed.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1844 paragraph 40 12 Lecture I. Hardness of Heart ...

(15.) The entertaining of false hopes, is another manner in which the influence of hardness of heart is illustrated. People often "indulge a hope," as they call it, when the very fact that they can entertain a hope under the circumstances, shows conclusively that their hearts are very hard. Probably there is not one of you, who has not known many individuals professing Christ, whose lives have been such, that you have been struck with wonder, that they could dare to call themselves Christians. But very likely their hearts have been so hard, that they have sincerely believed themselves to be accepted of God, notwithstanding their foul deeds. This was the case with the Scribes and Pharisees who persecuted Jesus. They doubtless thought themselves to be true saints. Paul, while he was breathing the very spirit of hell, deemed himself a real servant of God. The reason why people make this mistake is, because their hearts are so hard that they are mistaken as to what Christianity is--they are utterly in the dark as to what the true spirit of religion consists in, and as to who and what Christ is.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1844 paragraph 104 61 Lectures II. & III.The Eyes Opened to the Law of God- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

1. I notice the danger there is in preaching some of the spiritual truths of the Bible. Not that they tend in themselves to produce mischief, but, men being as they are, those truths will by very many, certainly be perverted. This has always been true, and it is true in respect to many doctrines. Justification by faith&emdash;salvation by grace&emdash;have they not been sadly perverted? Yet they are most precious doctrines. So the doctrine of spiritual illumination. Many will go straight into delusion under such a discourse as I have preached, or make it the occasion of confirming their minds in a previous delusion. Many will seize hold of some one or other of the consequences I have enumerated of spiritual illumination, and finding such a fact in their own case, they will conclude they are surely divinely enlightened. I said that those who are divinely illuminated will differ much in their views from others, that their views will be reckoned peculiar and wonderful, that they will be thought deranged, that they will be persecuted. Now we differ from those about us&emdash;we are counted strange and fanatical&emdash;they call us crazy or chatter-brained&emdash;we are persecuted for our opinions and conduct&emdash;therefore we are spiritually enlightened. The doctrines of spiritual religion will certainly be abused&emdash;but that is no reason why they should not be preached. They are the food of the saints&emdash;the bread of their souls&emdash;and shall it be withheld? If others will abuse them, who can help it? They must not be withheld from the true saints who are panting after them, because some will abuse them, and so be lost thereby. It is the less of two evils to preach them for the good of the true saints, though incidental evils result to some, than to withhold them and starve the souls of the faithful and thus curse the world. I have often seen persons confirming themselves in delusion in this way. I know not how many times in reference to this very subject, when I have met with persons laboring under curious delusions, and have expostulated with them, they have quoted my own sermons and writings in support of their fantasies. They will say, you used to preach that men might be taught of God. Yes, I preach the same doctrine now. But because a man may be taught of God, does it follow that you are taught of God in your strange vagaries? Because you may have your eyes opened so as to behold wondrous things out of God's law, is it certain that your wondrous things are contained in the Bible? A certain class of minds will almost surely be deluded, and this most likely to their ruin. To such God says by the prophet, "Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand&emdash;ye shall lie down in sorrow."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 672 633 Lecture X. The Blessedness of Enduring Temptation ...

1. With this subject before us, we can see the real difference between those who are true saints and those who are not. The former are distinguished by enduring temptation; the latter by being overcome by it. All, both saints and sinners, are tried for the very purpose of developing character; in all cases it produces this very result; some endure the trial and some do not. The former of course are the real saints; the latter are deceived if they suppose themselves to be Christians. Temptation does not overcome the Christian; he overcomes it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 44 - Regeneration--Continued (Part III) paragraph 56 Evidences of regeneration . . Introductory remarks . . Wherein the experience and outward life of saints and sinners may agree . . Remarks

     (29.) They may both appear to manifest all the graces of true saints.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 44 - Regeneration--Continued (Part III) paragraph 79 Evidences of regeneration . . Introductory remarks . . Wherein the experience and outward life of saints and sinners may agree . . Remarks

     Oh, how much all classes of persons need to have clearly defined ideas of what really constitutes sin and holiness. A false philosophy of the mind, especially of the will, and of moral depravity, has covered the world with gross darkness on the subject of sin and holiness, of regeneration, and of the evidences of regeneration, until the true saints, on the one hand, are kept in a continual bondage to their false notions; and on the other, the church swarms with unconverted professors, and is cursed with many self-deceived ministers.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 45 - Regeneration--Continued (Part IV) paragraph 17 Wherein saints and sinners or deceived professors must differ

     The regenerate heart is disinterested benevolence. In other words, it is love to God and our neighbour. All regenerate hearts are precisely similar. All true saints, whenever they have truly the heart of the saints of God, are actuated by one and the same motive. They have only one ultimate reason for all they do, and suffer, or omit. They have one ultimate intention, one end. They live for one and the same object, and that is the same end for which God lives.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 45 - Regeneration--Continued (Part IV) paragraph 39 Wherein saints and sinners or deceived professors must differ

     (7.) The sinner's experience is the opposite of this. He is under condemnation, and seldom can so far deceive himself, even in his most religious moods, as to imagine that he has a consciousness of acceptance either with his own conscience or with God. There is almost never a time in which he has not a greater or less degree of restlessness and misgiving within. Even when he is most engaged in religion, as he supposes, he finds himself dissatisfied with himself. Something is wrong. There is a struggle and a pang. He may not exactly see where and what the difficulty is. He does not, after all, obey reason and conscience, and is not governed by the law and will of God. Not having the consciousness of this obedience, his conscience does not smile. He sometimes feels deeply, and acts as he feels, and is conscious of being sincere in the sense of feeling what he says, and acting in obedience to deep feeling. But this does not satisfy conscience. He is more or less wretched after all. He has not true peace. Sometimes he has a self-righteous quiet and enjoyment. But this is neither peace of conscience nor peace with God. He, after all, feels uneasy and condemned, notwithstanding all his feeling, and zeal, and activity. They are not of the right kind. Hence they do not satisfy the conscience. They do not meet the demands of his intelligence. Conscience does not approve. He has not, after all, true peace. He is not justified; he cannot be fully and permanently satisfied that he is. He is not, for any length of time, satisfied with his best performances. He is conscious, after all, of sinning in all his holiest duties, and he is the more sure of this, in proportion as he is more enlightened. He thinks that this is the universal experience of all true saints; that although neither conscience nor God is satisfied with his obedience,--not even in his best frames and states,--yet he thinks, to be sure, he has some degree of holiness and conformity to the will of God, although not enough to bring out the approbation of conscience, and the smile of God upon his soul. He imagines that he has some true religion; some half-way obedience. He is a true, though an imperfect, saint, whose best obedience can and does satisfy neither his own sense of duty nor his God. With him, justification is a mere theory, a doctrine, an opinion, an article of faith, and not a living-felt reality; not an experience, but an idea, a notion, and, at best, a pleasing and dreamy delusion.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 46 - Regeneration--Continued (Part V) paragraph 8 In what saints and sinners differ . . What is it to overcome the world? . . Who are those that overcome the world? . . Why do believers overcome the world?

     The good of being is the end for which the saint really and truly lives. This is not merely held by him as a theory, as an opinion, as a theological or philosophical speculation. It is in his heart, and precisely for this reason he is a saint. He is a saint just because the theory, which is lodged in the head of both saint and sinner, has also a lodgement and a reigning power in his heart, and consequently in his life. The fact is, that saints, as such, have no longer a wicked heart. They are "born again," "born of God," and "they cannot sin, for his seed remaineth in them, so that they cannot sin, because they are born of God." "They have a new heart," "are new creatures," "old things are passed away, and behold all things are become new." They are holy or sanctified persons. The Bible representations of the new birth forbid us to suppose that the truly regenerate have still a wicked heart. The nature of regeneration also renders it certain that the regenerate heart cannot be a wicked heart. His heart or choice is fixed upon the highest good of God and the universe as an end. Moral agents are so constituted, that they necessarily regard truth and righteousness, as conditions of the highest good of moral agents. These being necessarily regarded by them as indispensable to the end, will, and must be considered as important, as the end to which they sustain the relation of indispensable conditions. As they supremely value the highest good of being, they will, and must take a deep interest in whatever is promotive of that end. Hence, their spirit is necessarily that of the reformer. To the universal reformation of the world they stand committed. To this end they are devoted. For this end they live, and move, and have their being. Every proposed reform interests them, and naturally leads them to examine its claims. The fact is, they are studying and devising ways and means to convert, sanctify, reform mankind. Being in this state of mind, they are predisposed to lay hold on whatever gives promise of good to man. A close examination will show a remarkable difference between saints and sinners in this respect. True saints love reform. It is their business, their profession, their life to promote it; consequently they are ready to examine the claims of any proposed reform; candid and self-denying, and ready to be convinced, however much self-denial it may call them to. They have actually rejected self-indulgence, as the end for which they live, and are ready to sacrifice any form of self-indulgence, for the sake of promoting the good of men and the glory of God. It is not, and cannot be natural to them to be prejudiced against reform, to be apt to array themselves against, or speak lightly of, any proposed reform, until they have thoroughly examined its claims, and found it wanting in the essential attributes of true reform. The natural bearing or bias of the saint's mind is in favour of whatever proposes to do good, and instead of ridiculing reform in general, or speaking lightly or censoriously of reform, the exact opposite is natural to him. It is natural to him to revere reformers, and to honour those who have introduced even what proved in the end not to be wholesome reforms, if so be there is evidence, that they were sincere and self-denying in their efforts to benefit mankind. The saint is truly and greatly desirous, and in earnest, to reform all sin out of the world, and just for this reason is ready to hail with joy, and to try whatever reform seems, from the best light he can get, to bid fair to put down sin, and the evils that are in the world. Even mistaken men, who are honestly endeavouring to reform mankind, and denying their appetites, as many have done in dietetic reform, are deserving of the respect of their fellow men. Suppose their philosophy to be incorrect, yet they have intended well. They have manifested a disposition to deny themselves, for the purpose of promoting the good of others. They have been honest and zealous in this. Now no true saint can feel or express contempt for such reformers, however much mistaken they may be. No; his natural sentiments and feelings will be, and must be, the reverse of contempt or censoriousness in respect to them. If their mistake has been injurious, he may mourn over the evil, but will not, cannot, severely judge the honest reformer. War, slavery, licentiousness, and all such like evils and abominations, are necessarily regarded by the saint as great and sore evils, and he longs for their complete and final overthrow. It is impossible that a truly benevolent mind should not thus regard these abominations of desolation. The cause of peace, the cause of anti-slavery, and that of the overthrow of licentiousness, must lie near the heart of every truly benevolent mind. I know that sinners often have a certain kind of interest in these and other reforms. This will be noticed and explained in the proper place. But whatever is true of sinners under certain circumstances, it must be always true of Christians, that they hail the cause of peace, of the abolition of slavery, and of the abolition of every form of sin, and of every evil, moral and physical, with joy, and cannot but give them a hearty God-speed. If they see that they are advocated on wrong principles, or with a bad spirit, or by bad men, and that injurious measures are used to promote them, the saints will mourn, will be faithful in trying to find out and to proclaim a more excellent way. Do but keep in mind the fact, that saints are truly benevolent, and are really and heartily consecrated to the highest good of being, and then it will surely be seen, that these things must be true of real saints.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 47 - Regeneration--Continued (Part VI) paragraph 49 Wherein saints and sinners differ

     (24.) True saints rejoice to see souls converted and God glorified by any instrumentality. But hypocrites do not rejoice in this for its own sake, and are apt to be envious and jealous, unless they, or their friends, or denomination, are the instruments.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 56 - Justification. paragraph 116 What justification is not . . What it is . . Conditions of gospel justification

     Observe, I am not here calling in question the fact, that all true saints do persevere in faith and obedience to the end; but am showing that such perseverance is a condition of salvation, or of ultimate justification. The subject of the perseverance of the saints will come under consideration in its proper place.--(See "Perseverance.")

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 58 - Sanctification (Part 2) paragraph 14 Remind you of some points that have been settled in this course of study . . Definition of the principal terms to be used in this discussion

     8. We have seen that all true saints, while in a state of acceptance with God, do actually render, for the time being, full obedience to all the known requirements of God; that is, that they do for the time being their whole duty--all that God, at this time, requires of them.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 145 Objections answered

     (3.) The consecration is designed to be entire, and everlasting; that is, the consecrated soul does not enlist as an experiment, nor for a limited time; but true consecration or devotion to God is comprehensive, so far as present intention goes, of all the future. This consecration to be real is comprehensive of all future duration, and of all space; that is, the soul in the act of true consecration, enlists in the service of God for life, to be wholly God's servant in all places, at all times, and to all eternity. These are the true elements of all acceptable consecration to God. The soul in the act of consecration makes no reserves of time, or place, or powers; all are surrendered to God. It does not intend nor expect to sin at the moment of consecration. It fully intends to be, and remain wholly the Lord's. It chooses the great end upon which benevolence fixes, and designs to relinquish it no more for ever. But experience teaches the Christian his own weakness, and that, if left to himself, he is easily overcome by temptation. His sensibility has been so little developed in its relations to eternal realities; his will has so long been in the habit of being led by the feelings and desires of the sensibility, that when the propensities are strongly excited, he finds to his confusion and unspeakable grief, that he is weak; and that if left to himself, he invariably yields to temptation; or that he is at least very liable to do so, and that he frequently sins. Now, the question is, Is there no ground of rational hope that he may attain such an established state as uniformly to have the victory over temptation? Is there no ground of rational hope in this respect, until after this life? Has grace made no such provision, as to render it rational in the true saints, to expect or hope to gain so complete a victory that Rom. v. 21, shall be realized in their own experience: "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord;" Also, vi. 14: "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under law, but under grace." Also, Thess. v. 23, 24: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole soul, &c., faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." Also, Jeremiah xxxii. 40: "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Also, Col. iv. 12: "That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." I say, the true question is, Is there no hope for the Christian, that these and such-like passages shall be fulfilled to him, and realized in his own experience in this life? Can he not rationally hope, that the developements of his sensibility may be so corrected, that he may be thoroughly and constantly enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and enjoy so constant and so deep an anointing, may be so baptized into Christ, and made so thoroughly acquainted with him, in his various offices and relations, as to break effectually and permanently the power of temptation; and so confirm the soul in its consecration as that, through the indwelling of Christ by his Spirit, he shall be more than conqueror in every conflict with the world, the flesh, and Satan? Is there no hope? This is the agonizing inquiry of every soul who has felt the galling and fascinating power of temptation. Observe, in the case supposed, the soul is at present willing, and deeply solicitous to avoid all sin in future. Thus far grace has prevailed; the soul has committed itself to God. Is there no hope that it can abide in this state of committal? Is it irrational for it, in the midst of its anxieties, to stand fast for ever; to hope that it shall ever in this life find itself practically able to do so? If not, what do the scriptures mean? If I may not rationally hope to stand in every hour of temptation, what can this passage mean? 1 Cor. x. 13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Does this only mean, that we shall have the natural ability to bear temptation? Does it not mean, that such Divine help shall be vouchsafed, as that we may rationally hope and expect to stand in the hour of trial? Indeed it does.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 30 Objections--continued Part II

     But here it may be asked, does not this reasoning prove too much, and will it not follow from this, that all the promises must be, and are really due and fulfilled to all true saints; for all true saints have true confidence in the veracity of God? If faith in the veracity of God is the true condition of all the promises, it follows, that every true believer has fulfilled the conditions of all the promises; then the veracity of God is pledged for the fulfilment of all of them to every true believer. To this I answer, that the promises are made to believers in Christ, or in other words, to all true saints. Their being true saints is the condition of their right to appropriate them, and claim the fulfilment of them to themselves. True confidence in God is the condition of the promises, in the sense, not that they will all be fulfilled to us, of course, upon the bare condition that we confide in the general and universal veracity of God, without either pleading, appropriating, or using means to secure the fulfilment of certain specific promises to us. But confidence in the veracity of God is the condition of our having a right to appropriate the promises to ourselves, and to expect their fulfilment to ourselves. A consciousness that we confide in the veracity of God gives us the right to consider every promise as made to us which is applicable to our circumstances and wants, and to lay hold upon, and plead it, and expect it to be fulfilled to us. Observe, the promises are not merely conditioned upon confidence in the veracity of God, but also upon our pleading them with entire confidence in the veracity of God, and in the fact that he will fulfil them to us, and also upon the diligent use of means to secure the promised blessing. God says, "I will be enquired of by the house of Israel to do these things for them." By trusting the veracity of God, we become personally and individually interested in the promises, and have a title to the things promised, in such a sense as to have a right, through grace, to claim the fulfilment to us of specific promises, upon the further condition of our pleading them with faith in the veracity of God, and using the necessary means to secure their fulfilment to us. Most, not to say all, of the promises of specific blessings have several conditions. An implicit faith or confidence in God as a hearer and answerer of prayer, and as a God of universal sincerity and veracity, as true and faithful to all his word, is the general condition of all the promises.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 78 - Perseverance of Saints paragraph 31 Notice the different kinds of certainty . . What is not intended by the perseverance of the saints

     3. It is not intended, that the true saints are in no danger of apostacy and ultimate damnation. For, humanly speaking, there may be, and doubtless is, the greatest danger in respect to many, if not of all of them, in the only sense in which danger is predicable of any event whatever, that they will apostatize, and be ultimately lost.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 78 - Perseverance of Saints paragraph 40 Notice the different kinds of certainty . . What is not intended by the perseverance of the saints

     It is intended, that all who are at any time true saints of God, are preserved by his grace and Spirit through faith, in the sense that, subsequently to regeneration, obedience is their rule, and disobedience only the exception; and that being thus kept, they will certainly be saved with an everlasting salvation.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 79 - Perseverance of Saints proved paragraph 13

     By perseverance some seem to mean, not that the saints do persevere or continue in obedience, but that they will be saved at any rate, whether they persevere in obedience or not. It was against this idea that such men as the Wesleys, and Fletcher, and their coadjutors fought so valiantly. They resisted justly and successfully the doctrine of perpetual justification, upon condition of one act of faith, and maintained that the saints as well as sinners are condemned whenever they sin. They also contended, that there is no kind of certainty that all true saints will be saved. Since I have endeavoured to refute the doctrine of a perpetual justification, conditioned upon the first act of faith, I cannot of course infer the final salvation of the saints from the nature of justification. Those who hold, that the first act of faith introduces the soul into a new relation of such a nature that, from thenceforth, it is not condemned by the law, do what it will, may justly infer from the nature of such a justification, that all who ever exercise faith will escape the penalty of the Divine law. But we have seen, that this is not the nature of gospel justification, and therefore we must not infer that all saints will be saved, from the mere fact that they have once believed and been justified.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 79 - Perseverance of Saints proved paragraph 22

     Now, if it can be shown, that some saints have been really lost, it will follow, that some have been converted who were not of the elect. And, on the other hand, if it can be shown that no saint has been, or will be, finally lost; but, on the contrary, that all the true saints are, and will be saved, it will follow that none but the elect are converted. For all who are, or will be saved, are saved by God, and saved by design, and in accordance with an eternal design, and of course they were elected to salvation from eternity.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 79 - Perseverance of Saints proved paragraph 45

     It is plain that the apostles regarded regeneration as conclusive evidence of election. The manner in which they address Christians seems to me to put this beyond a doubt. Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, 2 Thes. ii. 13, says, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." Here the apostle speaks of all the brethren at Thessalonica as beloved of the Lord, and as being from eternity chosen to salvation. He felt called upon to give thanks to God for this reason, that God had chosen them to salvation from eternity. This he represents as true of the whole church: that is, doubtless, of all true Christians in the church. Indeed, the apostles everywhere speak as if they regarded all true saints as of the elect, and their saintship as evidence of their election. Peter, in writing to the Christians in his first letter, says:

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 80 - Perseverance of Saints III paragraph 6 Further objections considered

     (2.) I remark, that God is able to preserve and keep the true saints from apostacy, in consistency with their liberty: 2 Tim. i. 12: "For the which cause I also suffer these things; nevertheless, 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 unto him against that day." Here the apostle expresses the fullest confidence in the ability of Christ to keep him: and indeed, as has been said, it is most manifest that the apostles expected to persevere and be saved only because they believed in the ability and willingness of God to keep them from falling. Again: Rom. xiv. 4: "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant; to his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand." Again, Phil. iii. 21: "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Again, Eph. iii. 20: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Again, Jude 24: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." Again, 2 Cor. ix. 8: "And God is able to make all grace abound towards you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." Eph. i. 18: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. 19. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20. Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." Again, Heb. vii. 25: "Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." These and many other passages prove beyond a doubt that God is able to preserve his saints.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 80 - Perseverance of Saints III paragraph 71 Further objections considered

     Here the apostle represents himself as giving thanks for all the saints at Philippi, upon the ground of his confidence that he who had begun a good work in them would perform, or perfect it, until the day of Christ. His confidence did not rest in them, but in the faithfulness of Christ. He did not express a confidence, that they would of themselves persevere, but that he who had begun a good work in them, would carry it on: that is, that he would so work in them as to keep them, and as to secure their perseverance to the end. This he expected with respect to all the saints at Philippi. But if he believed this of all the saints at that place, it is plainly and fairly inferable that he believed it, simply because he expected this, as to all true saints. He does not intimate, that he expected this because of any peculiarity in their case,--that is, not because they were better than other saints, or that God would do more for them than for others. He seems plainly to have expressed this confidence, upon the ground of his expectation, that he who begins a good work in any saint, will carry it on and perfect it until the day of Christ. Should it be said, that Paul intended merely to express the conviction or opinion of a good man, that the Philippian saints would be saved, but that he did not intend to utter this as the voice of inspiration; I reply, that Paul plainly expresses a confidence that they would all be saved, and that God would perfect the work which he had begun. Now, how came he by this confidence? He was an inspired man. If inspiration had taught him that real saints do fall away and are lost, how could he consistently express so thorough a persuasion, that all the saints at Philippi would be saved? If Paul believed in the perseverance of the saints, it must be true, or he was deceived in respect to this important doctrine. But is it not safe to trust Paul's opinion of this doctrine? If any one is disposed to contend, that we cannot with strict justice infer that Paul believed the same in respect to God's perfecting the work in all saints, that he believed in respect to the Philippians, I will not contend with him with respect to this. It is, however, clear, that Paul no where in this epistle, nor elsewhere, intimates that he had higher expectations in regard to the salvation of the Philippians, than he had in respect to the salvation of all true saints. In writing to the churches, the apostles appear to have regarded and spoken of all true saints as the elect-children of God. They seem to represent the salvation of all such persons as certain, but always keeping in mind and holding forth, either expressly or by way of implication, the nature of this certainty, that it was conditioned upon the right and persevering use of their own agency. They consequently constantly endeavour to guard the churches against delusion, in regard to their being real saints, and admonish them to prove themselves in this respect, and also warn them against the supposition, that they can be saved, without actual perseverance in faith and obedience to the end of life.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 80 - Perseverance of Saints III paragraph 75 Further objections considered

     In these passages as elsewhere, the conversion of sinners is spoken of as settling the question of their salvation. But if true saints do fall from grace and perish, why should the inspired writers so often express themselves, as if they regarded the regeneration of a person as an indication that he is one of the elect, and as securing his salvation?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 80 - Perseverance of Saints III paragraph 115 Further objections considered

     In reply to this objection I remark, that instead of these passages being otherwise than might be expected if the doctrine in question were true, and therefore implying that the doctrine is not true, they are precisely what might be expected, if the doctrine as I have stated it, were true. If the certainty be but a moral certainty, even when the fact of conversion is settled beyond all doubt, or possibility of mistake, if the final salvation of the truly regenerate be as really conditioned upon perseverance as if there was no certainty about it; and if, moreover, the fact of conversion is seldom settled in this life beyond the possibility of mistake, then these passages, instead of implying any real uncertainty in regard to the final salvation of the saints, are just as and what might be expected, because they are just what is needed, upon the supposition, that the doctrine in question is true. They do not affirm that any true saints are, or will be, lost. They do imply the natural possibility, and, humanly speaking, the danger of such an event. They further imply, that without watchfulness and perseverance salvation is impossible. They also imply, that caution, warning, and threatening, are needed. They also imply, that some men, to say the least, are not certain of their own salvation, and that they do not certainly know that they are saints, beyond all possibility of mistake.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 80 - Perseverance of Saints III paragraph 138 Further objections considered

     Here it is expressly declared, that none are Christians who have not the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of Christ, and that they who are Christ's do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit; that they who are Christ's have crucified, that is killed, the lusts of the flesh. This is the real character of all true saints. Such like passages, observe, are designed to distinguish true religion from its counterfeits, and to teach that perseverance in true obedience is a characteristic of all real saints.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 80 - Perseverance of Saints III paragraph 157 Further objections considered

     If Paul in the eighth of Romans does not settle the question, that all true saints will be saved, how could it be settled? Let us in few words sum up the argument, as he here presents it:--

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 80 - Perseverance of Saints III paragraph 161 Further objections considered

     To this I answer, true; we may, or can do so; but the question is, shall we, or will any of the elected and called do so? No, indeed; for this is the thing which the apostle intended to affirm, namely, the certainty of the salvation of all true saints. The apostle manifestly in this passage assumes, or affirms, that all who ever truly loved God are elect, or are chosen to be conformed to the image of his Son; and are called, and sanctified, and justified, in conformity with such predestination.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 81 - Perseverance of Saints IV paragraph 20 Consideration of principal arguments in support of the doctrine

     But still it is said, that when Christians backslide, they know if this doctrine is true, that they shall not die in a backslidden state, and that, therefore they are naturally rendered presumptuous by it. I answer, that the same objection lies against the doctrine of election, which cannot be denied. Who does not know that sinners and backsliders say, If I am elected, I shall be saved; and if not, I shall be lost? The event is certain at any rate, and if I am to use the means, I shall use the means; and if I am to neglect them, I shall neglect them. If I am one of the elect, I shall not die in sin; and if not, I shall, do what I may. The backslider says, I have been converted, and am therefore one of the elect; for there is no evidence that any of the non-elect are ever converted; but the elect cannot be lost, or will not be lost, at any rate; therefore I shall be reclaimed before I die. Now who does not see that all such refuges are refuges of lies? They are abuses of precious truth. The objection we are considering is based upon an overlooking of the all-important distinction between the natural tendency and the abuse of a doctrine. If this doctrine has a natural tendency to mischief, it must be calculated to mislead a humble, honest, and prayerful mind in search of truth. It must tend to lead a true saint away from, instead of to Christ. The fact that sinners and backsliders, who for the time being are the chief of sinners, will and do abuse and pervert it, is no better reason for rejecting this doctrine, than it is for rejecting the doctrine of atonement, of justification by faith, or the doctrine of the free pardon of the greatest sinners, upon condition of repentance and faith. It is true that no person whom God foresees will be saved, will die in sin. It is true that no elect person will die in sin; and as I believe all true saints are elect, nevertheless, the natural tendency of this doctrine is anything else than to beget presumption in the real saint; but on the contrary, it has a natural and a powerful tendency to impress him with sin subduing views of the infinite love, compassion, faithfulness, and grace of God, and to charm him away from his sins for ever. If by any means he falls into temporary backsliding, he may abuse this, as he may every other doctrine of the gospel; but let it be understood, that he does not believe for the time being one of the doctrines of the gospel. Not believing them, he of course is not injured by their natural tendency, but only by a perverse abuse of them.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 81 - Perseverance of Saints IV paragraph 24 Consideration of principal arguments in support of the doctrine

     3. It is objected, that the Bible speaks of the saints as if there were real danger of their being lost. It requires them to spend the time of their sojourning here in fear, and abounds with cautions, and warnings, and threatenings, that are certainly out of place, and not at all to be regarded, if the salvation of the saints is a revealed certainty. How, it is inquired, can we fear, if God has revealed the certainty of our salvation? Is not fear in such a case a result of unbelief? Can God reveal to us the fact, that we shall certainly be saved, and then call on us or exhort us to fear that we shall not be saved? Can he require us to doubt his word and his oath? If God has revealed the certainty of the salvation of all true saints, can any saint fear that he shall not be saved without downright unbelief? and can God approve and even enjoin such fears? If a person is conscious of possessing the character ascribed to the true saints in the Bible, is he not bound upon the supposition that this doctrine is true, to have and to entertain the most unwavering assurance that he shall be saved? Has he any right to doubt it, or to fear that he shall not be saved?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 82 - Perseverance of Saints V paragraph 33 Perseverance proved

     But thus far I have replied to the objections upon the assumption, that the certainty of the salvation of the saints is revealed, in the sense that individual saints may know the certainty of their own salvation. I have shown, as I trust, that admitting this to be true, yet the nature of the certainty leaves abundant room for the influence of a wholesome sense of danger, and for the feeling of hope and fear. But the fact is, that in but few cases comparatively does it appear, that the certainty is revealed to the individuals as such. The salvation of all true saints is revealed, as we have seen, and the characteristics of true saints are revealed in the Bible. So that it is possible for individual saints to possess a comfortable assurance of salvation, upon the knowledge that they are saints. And as was shown, it is doubtless true that in some cases, in the days of inspiration, and not improbably in some cases since the Bible was complete, individuals have had a direct revelation by the Holy Spirit that they were saints, and accepted of God.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 83 - Perseverance of Saints VI paragraph 27 Further objections answered

     But it may be said, that the apostle speaks of those as falling who had eaten of the spiritual meat, and drank of the rock Christ, and therefore must have been real saints. To this I reply, that the apostle does indeed use universal language, and speak of all the Israelites as doing these things; but who will soberly contend that he intended really to be understood as affirming, that all the Israelites that passed through the sea, &c., were true saints? What he says does not necessitate the conclusion that any of them were truly regenerated saints. They were all baptized unto Moses, that is, were all introduced into the covenant of which he was the mediator. They all ate of the same spiritual bread, that is, the manna on which the Lord fed them. They all drank of the spiritual rock; that is, of the water that gushed from the rock when Moses smote it with his rod, and which rock was a type of Christ, as was also the manna. Now, does the apostle mean to say, that all the Israelites understood the typical meaning of these waters, and this manna, and that they were all truly spiritual or regenerate persons? I think not. All that he intended appears to me to be, that all the church of the Jews at the time were so far partakers of the grace of Christ, as to receive this baptism, and as to have this spiritual or typical bread and water, and also to enjoy great light and much miraculous instruction, but that, nevertheless, with many of them God was displeased. Their being baptized in their passage through the Red Sea, did not imply that they so understood and consented to it at the time, nor does the assertion that they ate the spiritual food, and drank of the spiritual rock, imply anything more than that they enjoyed these great and high privileges, and counted themselves as very secure in consequence of them. It is certainly straining the sense to make the apostle affirm, that all the Israelites were real saints who passed through the sea. Indeed, it is doubtful whether he intended to affirm the real piety of any of them. It was not essential to his purpose to do so.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 83 - Perseverance of Saints VI paragraph 29 Further objections answered

     But since, from the previous examination it has appeared, that the doctrine is plainly and unequivocally taught in the Bible, all that needs to be shown of the class of texts now under consideration is, that they do not, when fairly interpreted, really and unequivocally teach that some true saints have been lost. This showing will sufficiently vindicate the scriptures against the imputation of self-contradiction, in both affirming and denying the same doctrine. Observe, I am not called upon to show, that the passages in question cannot be so construed, and with considerable plausibility, as to make them contradict this doctrine; but all I am called upon to show in this place is, that they do not necessarily, by fair construction, contradict it; that they do not necessitate the admission either that the Bible contradicts itself, or that a different construction must be given to the passages that seem to teach this doctrine.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 83 - Perseverance of Saints VI paragraph 35 Further objections answered

     I will now attend to 1 Tim. i. 19, 20: "Holding faith and a good conscience, which some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck. Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." Of this text I may say, that the apostle was writing to Timothy as an eminent religious teacher, and was giving him cautions respecting his influence in that relation. Hymeneus and Alexander, as we may infer from this, and which is still more plainly taught in other passages, were religious teachers, who had cast off or perverted the true faith or doctrine of the gospel, and thus made shipwreck. They had put away faith and a good conscience, and by so doing had made shipwreck of the true gospel. This passage does not teach that these men were true Christians, nor does it necessarily imply that any had been true saints who had gone with them. The expression, "some having put away," does not necessarily imply that they once had true faith and a good conscience, but only that they taught that which was inconsistent with either; or it may mean that they had rejected or refused both faith and a good conscience; that they practised and taught things inconsistent with either true faith, or with the true gospel, or with a good conscience, and had therefore run upon a rock, and wrecked their souls, and the souls of those who followed them. But this proves nothing in respect to their ever having been real saints.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 83 - Perseverance of Saints VI paragraph 58 Further objections answered

     Again: It has been said, that from Christ's letters to the churches in Asia, recorded in Revelations, we learn that those churches, some of them at least, were in a state of apostacy from God; and that from the fact that the judgments of God annihilated those churches, there is reason to believe that the apostacy was complete and final, and their destruction certain. To this I reply, that those letters were written to churches as such, just as the prophets spoke of the Jewish Church as such. The things which the prophets declare of the Jewish church were declared of them as a body of professed saints, some generations of whom had more, and some less, real piety. The prophets would rebuke one generation for their backsliding and apostacy, without meaning to represent that the particular individuals they addressed were ever true saints, but meaning only that the body as such was in a degenerate and apostate state, compared with what the body as such had been in former times. So Christ writes to the churches of Asia, and reproves them for their backslidden and apostate condition, asserts that they had fallen, had left their first love, &c., from which, however, we are not to infer, that he intended to say this of those who had been truly converted as individuals, but merely that those churches as bodies had fallen, and were now composed of members as a whole who were in the state of which he complained; just as we say of the Roman Catholic church, or of the Lutheran or German Reformed, or of other bodies in which piety is at a low ebb, that they have left their first love, &c. In saying this, we should not mean to be understood as affirming, that the individuals who now compose those churches were at any time in a better spiritual state than they are at present but only that the churches as such are fallen from what those bodies once were, and had left the love, and zeal, and obedience once manifested in them.