The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 2 Chapter 6

Section 8—Ephesians 1:13, 14.

[See also Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:21,22].
In whom, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise: which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.


The argument from these passages of scripture, proving the saints' final perseverance,may be thus formed: if true believers are sealed,certified and assured, by the Spirit of God, that they are the sons and heirs of God, and shall enjoy the heavenly inheritance: and if the same Spirit is the earnest and pledge of it, and that until the redemption of the purchased possession,or until the day of redemption; that is, until all those who are the possession of Christ, or his peculiar people, whom he has purchased with his blood, are redeemed from their mortality and corruption, which will be done in the resurrection morn, and not before; I say, if the Spirit of God does thus seal believers, and is, and continues to be an earnest of their future glory, until this time; then they shall certainly and finally persevere. But the Spirit of God does do, and is all this to them, unto this time; therefore, they shall certainly and finally persevere. In answer to this it is said,[1]

1st. "That these metaphors neither do, nor can signify that they, who have once the Spirit, can ever lose him, or cause him to depart from them, is evident from these considerations;

1. "That they who have been the temples of God,by virtue of his Spirit dwelling in them, may so corrupt this temple as to be themselves destroyed, as is demonstrable from 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, and that they, whose bodies are the members of Christ,and who are one spirit with him,may make these bodies the members of an harlot;and so cease to be the members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15)." I reply that these metaphors both can, and do signify that they, who have once the Spirit, can never wholly lose him, or cause him finally and totally to depart from them; for otherwise he would not be a sealer of them, nor an earnest of their inheritance to them, until the day of redemption:nor do the words of the apostle, in 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, demonstrate that they, who have been the temples of God, may so corrupt this temple as to be themselves destroyed; but only that such,who attempt to corrupt or defile the temple and church of God, by bringing in among them damnable heresies,shall be destroyed by God; and not they who are the temples of God: nor do the words, in 1 Corinthians 6:15, prove that they, whose bodies are the embers of Christ, may make them the members of an harlot. The apostle only puts the question, Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?Which he answers with a God forbid.And his design is to show how unbecoming the sin of fornication is to such, whose bodies are the members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Ghost; but does not in the least insinuate that such, who were truly so, might cease to be the members of Christ, or cause the Holy Spirit entirely to depart from them.

2. This is also said[2] to be "farther evident from the apostle's fears, that Satan might so far have tempted his Thessalonians,as to render all his labor vain among them;whom yet he acknowledges, had received the word with joy of the Holy Ghost,and were the elect of God." But it should be observed, that the apostle's fears were not, lest, through Satan's temptations, they might so fall away as to cause the Holy Spirit wholly to depart from them; but lest Satan, through false teachers, should so stagger their faith, that they should in any respect give way to erroneous principles and practices; and thereby not all his labor, but that part of it should be in vain,which he had bestowed upon them in establishing them in the truths of the gospel.

3. This is said[3] to be still farther evident "from the exhortations in these epistles, directed to those men, who are said to have this seal and earnest of the Holy Spirit; as to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 6:1; 11:3, and 12:20, 21), and to the Ephesians, (Ephesians 5:3, 6; 3:13; 6:13). To which may be replied, that these exhortations, which regard the saints continuing in the doctrines of the gospel, avoiding sin, and withstanding temptations, though they imply danger to the saints, as considered in themselves, as of falling from some degree of steadfastness in the faith, and into sin, and of fainting in the evil day; yet do not suppose that they may, or shall fall finally and totally, or so as that the Holy Spirit would wholly withdraw from them; though they might so fall and faint as to grieve him, to do which would be unkind and ungenerous; since he is the sealer of their persons, and the earnest of their inheritance.Besides, these exhortations are to be considered as means, being designed, and doubtless as such were blessed, for the final perseverance of God's sealed ones.

2ndly. In answer to the argument above, it is observed,[4] that "the expressions are designed only to inform us that the Holy Spirit, vouchsafed to Christ's church and members, gave them a just assurance of the truth of the Christian faith; and consequently of the farther blessings promised to his faithful persevering servants in the world to come. Hence it is evident, that they who had these first fruits of the Spirit, had thereupon an argument to satisfy them of the future blessings promised to them. And hence they, by his Spirit, are said to have the earnest of their future inheritance, and to be sealed up to the day of redemption." But let it be observed, that the Holy Spirit, vouchsafed to Christ's church and members, does not only give a just assurance of the truth of the Christian faith, as a doctrine; but also assures believers of the truth of the grace of faith, and of all other graces in them, and of their right to glory, and certain enjoyment of it. Moreover, if the Spirit, thus vouchsafed, gives a just assurance of farther blessings promised by Christ; and if such, who have these first fruits of the Spirit, have thereupon an argument to satisfy them of these blessings; then they may, with faith and patience, wait for the redemption of the body: and be assured that when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, they have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and that the Lord will deliver them from every evil work, and preserve them unto his heavenly kingdom (Rom. 8:23; 2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Timothy 4:18). The argument from 2 Timothy 2:19, is vindicated, under the head of Election,[5] whither the reader is referred.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Whitby, p. 459; ed. 2.439.

[2] Ibid., p. 460; ed. 2.440.

[3] Ibid., p. 460,461; ed. 2.441, 442; Remonstr. Coll. Hag. art. 5: p. 94.

[4] Whitby, p. 462; ed. 2.442.

[5] Section 9.


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