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Q. Is not this then the very end for which God appointed teachers in his church?
A. And he gave fome apoftles, and 4 fome prophets, and fome evangelifts, and fome paftors and teachers; for the perfecting of the faints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Chrift; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the ftature of the fulness of Christ.
Job 1. 8.
presented blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jefus Chrift.
Luke I. 5,6.
Q. Seeing this is so much pressed by the holy men, doth not the fcripture, which cannot lie, give none of the faints this teftimony, as being free from fin at fome times, and fo not always and daily finning, as is fuppofed?
A. Noah was a juft man, and perfect in his generations; and Noah walked with God. And the Lord faid unto fatan, haft thou confidered my fervant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and efcheweth evil. There was in the days of Herod, King of Judea, a certain priest, named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth; and they were both righteous before God, walking
in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Q. That proves fufficiently as to particular perfons; but what doth the fcripture intimate of this nature, even of confiderable numbers ?
4, 5, 6.
A. But God, who is rich in mercy, for Eph. 2. his great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead in fin, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us fit together in heavenly places in Chrift Jefus. Heb.12. But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and 22, 23. unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerufalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general affembly and church of the firft-born, which are written in heaven, to God the judge of all, and to the fpirits of juft men made perfect. Rev.14. And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on 1. 4. 5« the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his father's name written in their foreheads. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whitherfoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firft-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
2 Pet. I. 10.
1 Cor. 9.27.
Concerning Perfeverance, and falling from Grace.
Queft.-IS it enough for a believer to be fure that he hath once received true grace? Or is there any further certainty requifite?
A. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election fure; for if ye do these things ye fhall
Q. May one that hath received true grace, have ground to fear; or fuppofe he can fall?
A. But I keep under my body, and bring it into fubjection, left that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.
Q That greatly contradicteth the doctrine of fuch as fay, Once in grace, ever in grace: But doth the apostle Paul express this only out of an humble esteem of himself? Or doth he judge or fuppofe the like of other faints?
A. Take heed, brethren, left there be in 12, 13. any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day; left any of you be hardened Heb. through the deceitfulness of fin. Let us labour therefore to enter into that reft, left any man fall after the fame example of
unbelief. For it is impoffible for those who Heb 6. were once enlightened, and have tafted of 4, 5, 6. the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghoft, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they fhall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; feeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open fhame.
Looking diligently, left any man fail of Heb. the grace of God, left any root of bitterness 12. 15fpringing up, trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Q. Doth be fpeak this only by fuppofition, or doth be affert it not only poffible, but certain?
A. For the time will come, when they 2 Tim. will not endure found doctrine; but after 43, 4. their own lufts fhall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they fhall turn away their ears from the truth, and fhall be turned unto fables.
Q. Doth the apoftle even judge it neceffary to guard fuch an one, as his beloved fon Timothy, against this hazard ?
A. This charge I commit unto thee, fon 1 Tim. Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare, holding faith and a good confcience; which fome having put away, concerning faith have made hipwreck. For the love of money is the
I Tim. root 6. 10.
root of all evil; which while fome coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many for2 Tim. rows. And their word will eat as doth a 2. 17, canker; of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus, who concerning the Truth have erred, faying, that the refurrection is paft already; and overthrow the faith of fome.
Q. Doth the apostle any where express his fears of this, as a thing that may happen to any number of people who once truly received -the faith of Chrift?
A. Well; because of unbelief they were 11. 20. broken off, and thou ftandeft by faith. Be 1 Tim. not high-minded, but fear. Now the fpirit fpeaketh exprefsly, that in the latter times I Thef. fome fhall depart from the faith, &c. For this caufe, when I could no longer forbear, I fent to know your faith, left by fome means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
Q. What is the apoftle Peter's mind? Does he judge, that fuch as have known the right way, may for fake it?
2 Pet. 2.
A. Curfed children, which have forfaken 14 to 18. the right way, and are gone aftray, following the way of Balaam the fon of Bofor, who loved the wages of unrighteoufnefs, but was rebuked for his iniquity; the dumb afs fpeaking with man's voice, forbad the madnefs of the prophet. These are