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world, no, not for sin to reign—no, not for the powers of darkness; but rather that sin and Satan's works may be destroyed, and that my most holy Church maybe built up,and fortified against all the powers of death, hell, and sin; and now for to say that Christ prayed, and that with respect of persons altogether, it seems to me to be quite a contradiction, because it is said, that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever belie veth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life ; for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. (John iii. 16, 17.) And again, the people of God have great encouragement, for being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. i. 6.) Yes, if we love and fear God, he will surely do all on his part, and he hath done all on his part; and then if it be so with us, then our election, which is of grace, will be sure. But again, we plainly see by what St. John saith here that Christ's prayer was not limited, no otherwise than aforesaid—and what follows, I pray not for the world. And again, perhaps it may have some allusion to that blasphemous sin, even the sin against the Holy Ghost. (see Matt. xii. 31, 32.) There is a sin unto death, saith St. John: 1 do not say that he shall pray for' it. (1 John. v. 16.) But the sin against the Holy Ghost I would rather omit at this time, because I believe "that people know enough of sin, and to their shame, without my explaining unto them the nature and the meaning of that sin against the Holy Ghost; but one thing I would advise you to do, brethren, and that is, persevere with all diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things ye shall never fall.
But again, now because the nature of that Almighty Being 'is pure and holy, some people then may be ready to say, how is it then that his creature man was not kept pure and holy, and that without any possibility of falling into sin? Why it appears to me to be a great mystery, yet some learned men will say that the cause of this was by the falling angels, of whom the devil was the first and ringleader; but then if it be so, yet why was it suffered to be that he should tempt our first parent Adam, and that while he was in a pure and holy state in the garden of Eden, and in his innocency, and Ik .•*<n. (Gen. ii. 25.) But how those things were
^e at the first, it is not given me to know, for I
have searched the Scriptures, and I cannot find that it says but very little about it. (2 Peter ii. 4.—Jude i. 6.— Job iv. 18—xv. 15.—Rev. xii. 7—xx. 10.) But still I believe that there was a first cause of those things, and a great and important cause; and it is such a mystery altogether, which 1 believe was never fully revealed unto man, neither are we commanded to search much into'it; neither is it our duty so to do, and where we cannot trace the ways and works of Almighty God, and that to the source of things, we know that we are commanded to trust in him, and we are sure that the Judge of all the earth will do right, because he is righteous; but I could enlarge more upon these things aforesaid perhaps, but I would rather omit them, for fear that I should displease and offend my God; but this I know, that my God is exceeding righteous, holy, good, and full of love, and that the devil is exceeding wicked, cruel, bad, and full of evil. And again, this I believe, that God's purposes are for our good, and that the devil's purposes are for our everlasting destruction. And again, this we know, that all things work together for good to them that love God. (Rom. viii. 18.) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Rom. xi. 33.)
And now, as I have, by the help of God, said so much upon election, then the next thing therefore which I intend to do, by the help of God, is to show you that there is a danger or a possibility of falling from election or grace; now some people seem so weak, and so presumptuous as to think, and to say that there is no danger of falling from grace, or the divine favour of God, when once they have received it. And now concerning falling from grace, and that finally, is a thing known to God, but not to us in general; but notwithstanding God knows this, yet it seems to make nothing strange, nor no odds to us; for it appears that we are liable to stand or to fall all the same for that. And now my readers I plainly see, and do believe, that there is a great danger of falling from grace, and that I need watch and pray daily, for fear lest I should lose the grace and the love of God out of my soul; but some perhaps may say, it matters not to me what you say about it, but I should like to know what the word of God saith concerning it; well, if it be so, I will endeavour to show you what the word of God saith concerning it. And now I believe that there always was, and always will. be a danger of falling from grace, until we get nearly or quite to heaven. Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight; How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? (Job xv. 15.) And again, for if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. (2 Peter ii. 4. 6.) Therefore according to what I can understand of things, there is, and always.was, a danger of falling from grace, ever since, or before man was created upon the earth. But again, there are some perhaps that may say yet, but if what hath been said means that angels did sin, and that before this world began; and if it be so, it appears that they had no Saviour to interpose, nor to make reconciliation with God for them; but we have a crucified Saviour, and by his grace we stand; yes my readers, you are right, but yet there is a danger of falling from grace: now, for if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning; for it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, then, after they had known it, to turn from the holy commandments delivered unto them; but it is happened unto them according to the Proverb: The dog is turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2. Peter ii. 18, and following verses.) Therefore we see plainly that there is a danger of falling from grace; but my beloved brethren, this need not to be the case with any of us, because Christ hath died; but nevertheless, my beloved brethren, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things ye shall never fall. (2 Peter i. 10.) And again, was not our first parent Adam liable of falling, although at the first he was in a pure and holy state? yes, there was some danger of his falling; and did not God forewarn him of this when he commanded him, saying, Of every tiee of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Gen. ii. 16, 17.) But some perhaps may say, that this was a covenant of works, without any extraordinary grace or assistance from Gpd, to enable him to perform it, so by that yon say he was liable to fell, but we stand by the grace of Christ; yes, and I believe that he might have stood, and that by the grace of his Maker, for I believe that God gave Adam grace, and that sufficient for the obedience of works, for 1 believe that God never gave Adam a command to obey him without grace and power, neither do I believe that the Lord requires impossibilities of any man, and grace always goes first, and where there is grace, there is always obedience required. And again, it appears that the covenant of grace, took place from the fall of Adam, but then when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and to do exceedingly wicked, it appears then that they fell from grace, and that God swept them off by the flood. (Gen. vi.) And again, by the fire of his vengeance, for he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. (Gen. xix. 24.—2 Peter. ii. 5, 6.) And again, indeed Christ hast stood up for fallen man, • and that to bring his soul back from death, and to raise it up to its original and pure state, and as man now knoweth good and evil, if then he choose the good he shall be saved; but if he refuse the good, and choose the evil, he then jails back from the grace of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, for without holiness no man shall see the Lord. And again, was not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob chosen and elected? Yes, and why was it? Why because by grace they believed in God, and by prayer and faith, Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord, and he would not let him go until he knew that his grace was sufficient for him; therefore they fell not, because by grace they believed in him, and loved him, and feared him, and kept his commandments, and °he that doeth these things shall never fall; and Jacob's name was changed to that of Israel, and by him came the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: and was Israel in any danger of falling from grace, being the seed of Abraham? Why it appears that they were liable of falling from grace, and it is to be feared that many of them did fall from grace, and that they do fall from grace even to this day. And now, I will, by the help of God, endeavour to show you that they were in danger of falling from grace, and that by the plain word of God. But first, weis Israel a chosen and an elect people? 0 yes, for they were within the covenant of grace, even with their fether Abraham. (see Gen. xvii. 7.) And the Lord renewed his covenant again with his people Israel, even at the time of the Passover, when they eat and fed upon the Paschal Lamb, which was no less I believe than a type of feeding upon the love and grace of Christ himself. (Exod. xii.) And in short they were called a holy chosen people beloved of the Lord, even a peculiar, a special people of God. (Deut. vii. 6.— xiv. 2.—xxvi. 19.—1 Peter li. 9.) And these chosen, even these peculiar and special people were liable and in danger of falling from grace, and that you may plainly see by what follows: now concerning them, hear what Moses saith, What nations, saith he, is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? And hear the charge that Moses gives them, and how he cautions them against the danger of sin, and of falling from grace, only take heed to thyself, saith he, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thqu forget the things that thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life. (Deut. iv.) And again, thou shalt also consider in thine heart that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee, therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God to walk in his ways, and to fear him. (Deut. viii. 5.) Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you, lest the „ anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. (Deut. vi. 14, 15.) And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord t^iy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them; and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyed before your face, so Bhall ye perish, because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God. (Deut. viii. 19, 20.) Therefore thus it is a blessing if ye obey, and a curse if ye will not \>bey. (chap. xi. 27, 28.) And again, then did Israel obey, >r did they not obey? Why it is to be feared, it is to be beieved that many of them fell away, even the priests of the Lord. (1 Sam. ii. 22.) And their wickedness altogether, seems to have been the cause of thirty-four thousand men dying by the sword, and many thousands more. (see Judges xx.) And now hear the word of the Lord, 1 said indeed that thy house and the house of thy fathers should walk before me $>r ever; but now he saith, Be it far from me, for them that