The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 2 Chapter 6

Section 12—Isaiah 54:10.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee.


These words contain an irresistible argument in favor of the saints' final perseverance; proving that they cannot fall from the grace of God, or ever be deprived of an interest in the covenant of peace, and the blessings of it. In which, the unalterableness of God's love to his people, and the immovableness of his covenant with them, are illustrated and confirmed, by the departure and removing of mountains and hills; when neither of these shall depart, nor be removed. Wherefore if the kindness of God to them never will depart from them, notwithstanding their fall in Adam, the depravity of their natures, their many actual sins before conversion, their frequent backslidings after; and though he hides his face from them as to sensible communion, and chides and chastises them in the course of his providence; if this is the case, I say, as it certainly is, then it is impossible that persons, thus held and embraced in the arms of everlasting love, should ever totally and finally fall away, so as to be lost and perish eternally. Moreover, if the covenant of peace is an immovable one, as there is the highest reason to believe it is; since God has not only said, but swore to it, that he will not break it nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips;seeing it is made with Christ, with whom it shall stand fast:then the persons interested in it cannot fail of grace here, and glory hereafter, which are blessings secured for them in it. But, in answer to these arguments,

1. It is said,[1] "that it is exceeding evident that this place, with some others, hereafter to be considered, speaks of nations in the general, and not of a few private persons among them." To which I reply; that it is exceeding evident that the persons spoken to, which are no other than the church of Christ, are spoken to in the singular number, as appears from the words thou and thee used almost in every verse in the chapter; which is not very suitable to the nations in general. Besides, the relations that Jehovah stands in to these persons are such in which he does not stand to the nations in general; for, though he is the maker of them all, and the God of the whole earth;yet he is only a husband and a redeemer of particular persons (v. 5). Likewise, the expressions of God's love and kindness (vv. 7-10), are too strong to be applied to the nations in general; as well as the promises of glory and happiness (vv. 11, 12), and particularly, that all her children should be taught of the Lord, and great should be the peace of them (v. 13). Add to this, that these persons are distinguished from the nations in general (v. 3), and from those that should gather and rise up against them (vv. 15-17). And the whole prophecy, concerning them, concludes thus; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord:which words contain in them both characters and privileges which do not belong to the nations in general.

2. It is further objected,[2] that the prophet here speaks of the time of the Jews' general conversion to the faith; as is evident from verse 11, 12, compared with Revelation 21. But it unhappily falls out for this objector, that the prophet is speaking of the conversion of the Gentiles, and not of the Jews; as appears from verse 1-3, compared with Galatians 4:27, in which he predicts, that the instances of conversion among the Gentiles, at the first preaching of the Gospel to them, would be far more numerous than what had been among the Jews. And it is evident from verse 11, 12, compared with Revelation 21:that he is there speaking of a very glorious state of the church among the Gentiles in the latter day; when their fullness shall come in, and the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of that glorious state, and the kings of the earth shall bring the glory and honor of the nations to it (Rev. 21:19,23,24). And it is also very evident, that the prophet is speaking, in verse 12, of the time when the earth,not the land of Judea, but the Gentile world, shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:9). But supposing that the time of the Jews' conversion is here referred to, and the converted Jews are the only persons intended; how does this militate against the saints' final perseverance? Since these converted Jews will appear to have a share in that kindness which shall never depart from them, and to be interested in that covenant which shall never be removed.And it should be observed, that this exception destroys the former; for if the Jews, and their conversion are spoken of, then not the nations in general.

3. It is farther urged,[3] that "the promise of a covenant of peace that should not fail, was made under a condition, as the words in Isaiah 55:3, show." To which I answer, that the phrases of inclining the ear, and hearkening to the Lord, mentioned in the place referred to, were not the conditions of God's making, that is, making known, and confirming his covenant to them; but the promises of making good, and applying the blessings of the covenant, is used as an encouragement to incline the ear to hearken to him. Besides were this covenant of peace a conditional one, depending on any thing to be performed by man, it would not be better than the old covenant; whereas the covenant of grace and peace, is represented as a new and a better one, established upon better promises (Heb. 8:6-8), which are absolute and unconditional. Add to this, that the covenant here spoken of, is represented to be such a one (v. 9), as was made with Noah. Now the covenant made with Noah was without any condition required on the part of man, as appears from Genesis 9:11.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Whitby, p. 469, ed. 2.449.

[2] Ibid., p. 471; ed. 2.460.

[3] Whitby, p. 472; ed. 2.452; Remonstr. Colossians Hag. art. 5: p. 72.


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