THE REIGN OF GRACE
OF GRACE, AS IT REIGNS IN THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS TO ETERNAL GLORY
IT appears, from the preceding chapters, that the state of believers, whether considered as relative, or as real, in their justification, adoption, and sanctification, is highly exalted; and that the privileges attending it are of incomparable excellence, and of infinite worth. In each of these particulars it has also been proved that grace reigns; that the exceeding riches of grace are manifested.
The believer, notwithstanding, who knows himself, will be ready to inquire with great solicitude; "How shall I persevere in this happy state? By what means shall I attain the desired end? What provision has the Lord made, that, after all, I shall not come short of the expected bliss? Grace, I thankfully acknowledge, has done great things for me: to reigning grace I own myself unspeakably obliged. But if grace, as a sovereign, do not still exert her power, I not only possibly may, but certainly shall finally miscarry." Thus will every Christian conclude, when he considers the number and power, the malice and subtilty, of his inveterate spiritual enemies, compared with his own inherent strength to resist them. For the world, the flesh, and the devil are combined against him. These, in their several ways, assault his peace and seek his ruin. These attempt, in various forms, to cause him to wallow in the mire of sensuality, as the filthiest brute; or to puff him up with pride, as Lucifer. By insinuating wiles or open attacks, with the craft of a serpent, or the rage of a lion, they endeavour to compass his ruin: and, alas, how small his ability, considered in himself, to resist and overcome! The corruption of nature, even in the regenerate, renders the believer's desires after that which is good, too often exceedingly languid, and enervates all his moral powers His pious frames are fickle and uncertain to the last degree; nor can he, with safety, place the least confidence in them.
This humbling truth was exemplified in the case of Peter. Though all men be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended –Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee – was his confident language. But, alas! in a very little while his frame of mind is altered, His courage fails. His pious resolutions hang their enfeebled heads: and, notwithstanding his boasted fidelity, he cannot watch with Christ so much as one hour, though there be the greatest necessity for it. He is brought to the trial, and, like Samson, his locks are shorn; his presumed strength is gone. He trembles at the voice of a silly' maid; and, shocking to think! denies his Lord with dreadful oaths and horrid imprecations. Such are the inherent abilities of those who are to fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Such, considered in themselves, are the best of saints.
Now, can these unstable and impotent creatures hope to persevere, and to attain eternal life? Can those who know not how to trust their own hearts for a moment; (Prov. 28:26. Jer. 17:9) whose moral strength, in a comparative view, is mere weakness; who are continually surrounded with crafty, powerful, and unwearied adversaries, rationally expect a complete victory and an everlasting crown? Yes; these very persons can do all things through Christ strengthening them. God can enable even a worm to thrash the mountains. They shall not only come off victorious, but be more than conquerors over all their enemies. Nor can this appear strange, or in the least incredible, when it is considered, that omnipotent Grace reigns –that the love, the power, the wisdom, the promises, the covenant, and faithfulness of God--that all the divine persons in the eternal Trinity, and every perfection in the Godhead, are concerned in their preservation, and engaged to maintain it.
The love of God is engaged for their everlasting security. Having chosen them to life and happiness, as a primary fruit of his own eternal favour, his love must abate, or his purpose be rendered void, before they can finally fall. But if the Lord of hosts hath purposed, who shall disannul it? If his hand be stretched out, for the execution of his gracious designs, who shall turn it back, before the end be accomplished? As he thought, so it shall come to pass; and as he purposed, so shall it stand. (Isa. 14:24, 27) Nor shall his love to their persons ever abate. For he rests, he takes the highest complacency in the exercise of his love, and in all its favoured objects. Such is Jehovah's delight in his people, that he rejoices over them with singing, and takes a Divine pleasure in doing them good. (Zeph. 3:17. Jer. 22:42) His love is unchangeable as himself, and unalterably fixed upon them. Consequently, though the manifestations of it may vary, yet, while infinite wisdom is capable of directing, and almighty power of executing his gracious purposes toward them, they shall never perish. Agreeable to which, we hear the apostle exulting in God's Immutable love; affirming, that nothing in the heights above, nor any thing in the depths beneath; nothing present, nor any thing future, should be able to separate him from it. (Rom. 8:38-39)
The power of God is also engaged on the behalf of all those who are begotten again to a lively hope. They are kept by it, as in a garrison, through faith to salvation. (I Pet. 1:2-4) His power surrounds them as a fiery wall, to be their protection and the destruction of their adversaries. (Zech. 2:5) Omnipotence itself is their shield, and keeps them night and day. (Isa. 27:3) As omnipotence is their guard, so omniscience is their guide; the honour of Divine wisdom being concerned in their preservation. For if a regenerate soul, one that has been rescued out of Satan's hand, were finally to fall and perish forever; it would argue, if not a want of power in God to maintain the conquest, yet a change of resolution; and so would bring no honour to the wisdom of his first design. It is no reputation to the wisdom of an artificer to suffer a work, by which he determined to manifest, in ages to come, his exquisite skill, and upon which his affections were placed, to be dashed in pieces, before his eyes, by an inveterate enemy, when he had power to have prevented it. Now the Scriptures inform us that, in the method of redemption, the wisdom of God is peculiarly concerned, is greatly diversified, and in the most wonderful manner displayed. Jehovah abounded in all wisdom and prudence, in forming the stupendous plan, and in choosing suitable means to attain the wonderful end. But if any of the chosen, redeemed, and called, were to be finally miserable, how could this appear?
The promises of God, those exceeding great and precious promises which are made to his people, afford them strong consolation respecting this matter. For the Father of mercies has declared that he will confirm them to the end, and preserve them to his kingdom. That the righteous shall hold on their way, and grow stronger and stronger; that they shall never depart from him, but fear him forever, that as they are in his hand and in the hand of Christ, they shall never be plucked thence; and, consequently, shall never perish. Yes, the blessed God has repeatedly and solemnly declared, that he will never, no never leave them, nor forsake them. And the reason is, not because they are worthy, or any way better than others; but for the glory of his own eternal name, and because he has chosen them to be his peculiar people. The Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake; because it hath pleased the Lord to make them his people. (1 Cor. 1:8. 2 Tim. 4: 18. Job 17: 9. Jer. 32:39, 40 Deut. 32:3. John 10: 28, 29. Heb. 13: 5. I Sam. 12:22) These promises, with many others of a similar kind, are yea and amen; are made, and unalterably confirmed, in Christ Jesus. Divine faithfulness is pledged in them, and infinite power is engaged to perform them. These promises, let Christians exult in the cheering thought! these promises were made by Him that cannot lie; to which he has annexed, amazing to think his most solemn oath; with this professed design, that every sinner who flees for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before him might have strong consolation. Now, the promise and oath of God, being two immutable things, must ascertain the believer's final happiness.
Jehovah's covenant with his people in Christ affords another glorious attestation to the comfortable truth That covenant, which is ordered in all things, which is stored with heavenly promises, replete with spiritual blessings, and absolutely sure; that covenant of peace which never shall be removed, runs thus: They shall be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them and of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn await from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not de part from me. The stability of the new covenant is here asserted in the strongest terms. This gracious covenant is entirely different from that which was made with our great progenitor Adam; the condition of which was perfect obedience, and the promise of life was suspended on that condition. It is also very different from that which was made with the people of Israel at Sinai; which, being broken by them, was abrogated by the Lord himself. The language of this is testamentary . It consists of absolute promises, requires no condition to be performed by man, and is perpetual. Here that sovereign Being, who cannot lie, declares in the strongest manner, that those who are included in this covenant shall not depart from him, and that he will never cease to do them good. Security greater than this is not to be conceived, nor can be had. It would indeed be absurd to suppose, that God should make a new and better covenant than that which he made with Adam, or with Israel at Sinai; a covenant without conditions to be performed by man; a covenant which displays rich goodness and boundless grace; and that, after all, the covenantees should be as liable to the dreadful forfeiture of life and happiness, as our first father, when under the covenant of works. Nay, if the new covenant had been conditional; if perseverance and immortal happiness had depended on our performance of' any condition, whether greater or less; our state, as believers, would have been much more hazardous than Adam's was, while under the covenant of works; because of the very great disparity between that state of uprightness, in which he was created, and ours of corruption, into which we are fallen. Perfect obedience was easier to him than the least possible condition would be to us.
The faithfulness, and inviolable, veracity of God give further assurance of the saint's perseverance. The rocks, though of adamant, shall melt away; the everlasting mountains shall be removed; yea, the whole terraqueous globe itself shall disappear; but the faithfulness of God in executing his covenant, and the veracity of God in performing his promises, are unchangeable and eternal. The Lord is faithful who shall establish you and keep you from the destructive power of every evil: and he has declared, that he will not suffer his faithfulness to fail. Yea, he hath sworn by his holiness, by the glory of all his perfections, that he will be faithful to his covenant and promises, respecting Christ and his chosen seed. (2 Thess. 3:3. Ps. 139:33-34,) So that if there be immutability in the purpose of God, if any stability in his covenant, if any fidelity in his promises, the true believer shall certainly persevere. –Rejoice, then, ye feeble followers of the Lamb. The basis of your confidence and consolation is firm and strong. Stronger than all the troubles of life; stronger than all the fears of death; and stronger than all the terrors of approaching judgment. Why should not you dismiss every slavish apprehension, when the God of power, of truth, and of grace, has made such ample provision for your deliverance from every evil you had any reason to fear; and for the enjoyment of every blessing you ought to desire, whether in this or a future world?
The merit of the Redeemer's blood, his intercession for his people, and his union with them, strongly argue their final preservation, and heighten their assurances of it. The merit of his blood. For, is it probable that he who so loved them as to give his life a ransom for them; that he who suffered such tortures of body and horrors of soul in their stead; that he who drank the very dregs of the cup of wrath, on purpose that joy and bliss might be their portion forever –is it probable, I say, that he should ever suffer those who are in the most emphatical sense his peculiar, his purchased people, and his own property, to be taken from him by craft or power, and that by the most abhorred of beings and his greatest enemy? Such a supposition is very absurd. Such an event would be highly injurious to the Saviour's character. What, will not He who underwent so much for them in the garden and on the cross; who bore the curse and suffered the pains of hell in their stead, even while they were enemies, protect them now they are become, by converting grace, his friends! Why was he willing to be at such an amazing expense in their purchase, if, after all, he permit their avowed enemy to make them his easy prey? That be far from him! The thought be far from us! No; while there is compassion in his heart, or power in his hand; while his name is JESUS, and his work SALVATION; he must see of the travail of his soul, and be completely satisfied. It cannot be, that one soul for whom he gave his life and spilled his blood; whose sins he bore and whose curse he sustained, should ever finally perish. For if that were the case, divine justice, after having exacted and received satisfaction at the hand of the Surety, would make a demand on the principal; in other words, would require double payment. Besides, the faithfulness of Christ to his engagements is greatly interested in the everlasting happiness of all his redeemed. For we cannot forget who it is that says, I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day. Now if Jesus, to whom the elect were given, and by whom they were redeemed, became responsible for them to the Father at the last day, as his own declarations import; were he not fully to execute the Divine will, in raising up all that were committed to his care, he would (I speak it with reverence) fail in the performance of his own engage-merits. Consequently, either his power, or his faithfulness, would be impeached: a supposition of which is absurd, and the assertion blasphemy.
The intercession of Christ for his people, in the heavenly sanctuary, affords another evidence of the glorious truth. This intercession is founded on his perfect atonement for all their sins: and it is a firm foundation for that purpose. So that, notwithstanding all the accusations of Satan lodged against them, notwithstanding all their weakness and all their unworthiness, the intercession of Jesus the Son of God, of Jesus Christ the righteous, must afford them the highest security. For their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name, he shall thoroughly plead their cause. And as every believer is interested in this intercession, so Jesus, the Advocate, is never denied in his suit. (John 17:20. and 20:12, 15) His plea is always valid, and always effectual to the end intended: which is, as he expressly informs us, that their faith fail not; and, that they may be preserved from destructive evil. (Luke 22:32. John 17:11) Our ascended Redeemer is not, in this part of his mediatorial undertaking, like a mere petitioner, who may or may not succeed; for, to all the blessings he solicits on their behalf he has a previous right. He can claim them, in virtue of the promise made to him and his spiritual seed, having, as their substitute, fully performed the conditions of the everlasting covenant. Yes, believer, the compassion of Him who bled on the cross, and the power of Him who pleads on the throne, ascertain your final felicity.
That ineffable union which subsists between Christ and his people involves the truth for which I am pleading, and clearly evinces the important point. For as every believer is a member of that mystical body of which He is the head; so, while there is life in the head, the members shall never die. neither by the wiles of craft, nor the assaults of power. For He who rules over all, with an unremitting regard to the church, declares concerning his people; Because I live, ye shall live also. His life, as Mediator, is the cause and support of theirs; and they are the fulness and glory of Him who filleth all in all. (Eph. 1:22, 23. 2 Cor. 8:23) As it is written, Christ is our life –Your life is hid with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3, 4) Your life is hid, like the most valuable treasure in a secret place. With Christ; committed to his guardianship, and lodged under his care, who is able to keep that which is intrusted to his hands. In God; the bosom of the Almighty is the sacred repository in which the jewel is safely kept. Cheering thought! For Jesus, the Guardian, will never be bribed to deliver up his charge to the power of an enemy; nor shall any sacrilegious hand ever be able, by secret fraud or open violence, to rifle the casket where Jehovah lays up his jewels. (Mal. 3:17) The life of believers is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord their God; (I Sam. 25:29) and the bond of that union shall never be broken, the mysterious connexion shall never be dissolved. For he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit with him, and, therefore, absolutely inseparable. (I Cor. 6:17)
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers furnishes them with another cogent argument in proof of the joyful truth. He is in them a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life. As a guide and a comforter, he is given to abide with them forever. His design, in regeneration, is their complete holiness and everlasting happiness. His gracious purpose, in taking up his residence in them, is to fit them for sublimer enjoyments, to secure their perseverance, to guard them through life, and conduct them to glory. By him they are sealed to the day of redemption: and he is the earnest of their inheritance. Now as an earnest is part of the whole, and is given in assurance of enjoying the whole; and as the Holy Spirit is called the earnest of our everlasting inheritance; the words must import the utmost certainty of our future bliss, if possessed of this earnest. Otherwise, which would be shocking to affirm, it must be esteemed precarious, as not answering the end for which it was given.
The word and ordinances of God, on which it is both the duty and privilege of believers to attend, happily subserve the great design. By these, as through the whole, the great Agent of the covenant works in a way suited to the nature of a rational being. For though the saints are kept by the invincible power of God; yet not by means merely physical but through faith. Whatever, therefore, is adapted to increase and confirm our faith in the great Redeemer, at the same time tends to our preservation. This the word and ordinances do. In the Divine word, believers have many great and precious promises to encourage them; many exhortations to direct and animate them in the performance of duty; many warnings given, and dangers pointed out, to deter them from evil; many examples of suffering patience and victorious faith, for their imitation, comfort, and support, whenever they come into similar circumstances; and many glorious things affirmed concerning that inheritance which God has provided for them, in order to raise their affections to heavenly things, and to invigorate their hope of eternal blessedness; all which are adapted to promote their edification, and to preserve them in the way of peace. The ordinances of God in general, which are compared to green pastures, in which the sheep of Christ delight both to feed and rest, (Ps. 23:2) being adapted to nourish their souls, and to increase the vigour of their spiritual life, must be happily conducive to their preservation. By a suitable attendance on Divine institutions, believers have their faith confirmed, their holiness advanced, and their hope brightened. In them they have the bread of God dispensed, by which they are nourished up to life eternal. On those appointments of Heaven, therefore, it is their duty and their blessing to attend: nor can they, without the highest presumption, expect preservation in the faith, while they neglect the salutary means. Nor are the Divine chastisements without their use, in this respect. For the children of God are chastened of their Father, that they might not be condemned with the world. (I Cor. 11:32. Ps. 139:30-34)
On the whole, then, we have the utmost reason to eon-elude with Paul, that wherever God begins a good work, he will certainly perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. For He that formed the universe is not such an inconsiderate builder, as to lay the foundation of a sinner's complete happiness in his own eternal purpose, and in the blood of his only Son, and then leave his work unfinished. No; it shall never be said by his infernal enemies, Here God began to build, but was not able to finish. He once loved, redeemed, regenerated, and designed to have saved these wretched souls. But his love abated; his purpose altered, or, which is more to our honour and his disappointment, we have rendered his plan of operation abortive: and now we torment, with a vengeance, myriads that were once high in Jehovah's favour, and numbered among his children. But, though this be the consequence of the opposite doctrine, Lucifer himself, with all his pride and enmity, will never entertain such a thought, nor thus blaspheme his Maker.
The following quotation may serve to exhibit, in a compendious view, the substance of the foregoing paragraphs: "Since we stand not, like Adam, upon our own bottom; but are branches of such a vine as never withers; members of such ahead as never dies; sharers in such a Spirit as cleanseth, healeth, and purifieth the heart; par takers of such promises as are sealed with the oath of God –since we live, not by our own life, but by the life of Christ; are not led or sealed by our own spirit, but by the Spirit of Christ; do not obtain mercy by our own prayers, but by the intercession of Christ; stand not reconciled to God by our own endeavours, but by the propitiation wrought by Christ; who loved us when we were enemies, and in our blood; who is both willing and able to save to the uttermost, and to preserve his own mercies in us; to whose office it belongs to take order that none who are given unto him be lost –undoubtedly, that life of Christ in us, which is thus underpropped, though it be not privileged from temptations, no, not from backslidings, yet it is an abiding life. He who raised our soul from death, will either preserve our feet from falling, or if we do fall, will heal our backslidings, and will save us freely." (Bp. Reynolds' Works, p. 173, 174)
Some, perhaps, may be ready to object: "If the preservation of believers depend upon God, in the manner asserted, they have no occasion to be at all careful how they live. No great harm can befall them, for they are certain of being finally safe." In answer to which I shall only observe; that the strength of this objection was long since tried, by Satan, upon our Lord himself. But as it appeared of no force to him, though the tempter proposed it as the necessary consequence of those promises made by the Father to Christ, as man and mediator, respecting his preservation; so it appears to have as little in the present case. The major proposition in the devil's argument was; if thou art the Son of God, his angels will certainly preserve thee: thou canst not be injured. And his conclusion was, therefore, without any danger, thou mayst cast thyself down from this eminence. So, in the present case, the argument contained in the objection, is, you be a child of God and in union with Christ, your perseverance must be certain. For, being the charge of Omnipotence, it is impossible you should finally fall. Therefore, you may safely bid adieu to all circumspection. You need not fear sin, or its consequences; nor is there any occasion to be solicitous about walking with God in the ways of holiness. But as our Lord, who had not the least doubt of the special care of his Father over him, rejected Satan's proposal with the utmost abhorrence; knowing it was a temptation to evil, and that the argument used to enforce it was an abuse of the Scripture: so the believer, though fully persuaded that grace reigns in every part of salvation: and though it strongly appears in that special care of God, which is incessantly exercised over him in his perseverance to eternal life; yet he is well convinced, that he must not continue in sin that grace may abound. On every such suggestion, therefore he will from his heart say, God forbid! Besides, there arc many important purposes answered, by walking in the ways of obedience, respecting the Christian himself, his neighbour, and his God; which, having been considered already, I shall not here particularly mention.
Nor can it, with any propriety, be objected against the doctrine for which I am pleading; "that the saints are exhorted to pray for the continual aids of grace; for Divine support, in times of trial; and for protection against their enemies," as if it argued their state uncertain, with reference to the final event. For Christ, who was absolutely sure of happiness, nor could possibly fail of enjoying the reward that was promised to him, as Mediator; or come short of possessing that glory which he had with the Father before the world was; yet prayed for it with as much fervour as any saint can possibly do for the most desirable blessing.' (John 17:1, 5. Compare 2 Sam. 7:27-29. Dan. 11:2, 3) A noble example this, of the assurance of faith, respecting our eternal state; and of an unreserved reliance on the Divine promises, being perfectly consistent with earnest and constant prayer for the fulfilment of them! Besides, whoever dares to act on the principle of this objection has no reason to consider himself as a Christian; but rather as dead in sin, and in the broad way to final ruin.
But notwithstanding the Lord has promised that his people shall never perish; yet as he has nowhere engaged that they shall not fall into sin, and as moral evil is provoking to the eyes of his holiness; they are bound to use the utmost caution, lest by disobedience they move him to use the scourge. For the frowns of a father will be hard to bear; as their spiritual peace and joyful communion with him will be much interrupted, by such disobedience and chastisement for it. The children of God, when careless in their walk and guilty of backsliding, have severely smarted under his correcting hand. The sorrowful confessions and bitter complaints of David, after his scandalous intrigue with Uriah's wife, are a standing incontestible proof of this observation. Their persuasion of interest in the everlasting covenant has been terribly shaken, if not lost for a season, so as to wound their hearts with keenest anguish; till, after many prayers and great watchfulness, they have been again indulged with the smiles of Jehovah's countenance, and with the joys of his salvation. (Ps. 101:8, 12. and 130:30-32) The remembrance of this, and a consideration how God the Father and his incarnate Son are dishonoured, the Holy Spirit grieved, the glorious gospel reproached, weak believers offended, and the hands of the wicked strengthened, by the careless conduct of Christian professors, afford a sufficient reason for those multiplied cautions, which are given to the disciples of Christ in the book of God, that they indulge not any criminal passion in the least degree; without supposing that their final happiness depends on the steadiness of their walk, or on the goodness of their conversation. For our perseverance in faith and holiness depends on the excellency of our state; as being in covenant with God, his adopted children and the members of Christ; not upon our obedience and endeavours.
Hence you may learn, believer, that as the enemies of your soul are inveterate, subtle, and powerful, and your spiritual frames inconstant, it is highly necessary you should live under a continual remembrance of those awakening considerations. What more advisable, what so necessary for you, as to walk circumspectly; to watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation? A sense of your own weakness and insufficiency should ever abide on your mind and appear in your conduct. As the corruption of nature is an enemy that is always near you, and always in you, while on earth; and as it is very strongly disposed to second every temptation from without; you should keep your heart with all diligence. Watch, diligently watch, over all its imaginations, motions, and tendencies. Consider whence they arise, and to what they incline, before you execute any of the purposes formed in it. For such is the superlative deceitfulness of the human heart, that he who trusteth in it is a fool; ( Prov. 28:26. Jer. 17:9. Prov. 4:23) ignorant of his danger, and unmindful of his best interests. This consideration should cause every child of God to bend the suppliant knee, with the utmost frequency, humility, and fervour: to live, as it were, at the throne of grace; nor depart thence till far from the reach of danger. Certain it is, that the more we see of the strength of our adversaries, and of the danger we are in from them; the more shall we exercise ourselves in fervent prayer. Can you, O Christian, be cool and indifferent, be dull and careless, when the world, the flesh, and the devil, are your implacable and unwearied opposers? Dare you indulge yourself in carnal delights, or in a slothful profession, while the enemies of your peace and salvation are ever active and busy in seeking to compass your fall, your disgrace, and, if possible, your eternal ruin? Awake, thou that sleepest! Mistake not the field of battle for a bed of rest. Be sober; be vigilant.
Are there, notwithstanding the believer's weakness and the power of his enemies, such strong assurances given of his perseverance, complete victory, and final happiness? then, though with fear and trembling he should often re-fleet on his own insufficiency, he may rely on a faithful God, as his unerring guide and invincible guard, with confidence and joy. The remembrance of that will be a constant motive to humility and watchfulness. The exercise of this will maintain peace and consolation of soul; will be an inexhaustible source of praise, in spite of all the attempts of inveterate malice in his most enraged foes. For the Almighty says, Fear not: I am thy shield, forever to defend thee; and thy exceeding great reward, to render thee completely happy. While the eternal God is his refuge, and everlasting arms his support, there is no occasion to fear. If God be for us, who can be against us? When the gates of hell and the powers of earth united, assail the believer, menacing destruction to both body and soul, then the name, the promises the oath, and the attributes of Jehovah are a strong tower, an impregnable fortress: and, conscious of his own inability to resist the enemy, he runneth into it, and is safe from every attack, however crafty or violent. The righteous man, the real Christian, dwelleth on high, out of the reach of every evil. His place of defence is the munitions of rocks; immovable as their solid foundations; inaccessible as their lofty ridges. Nor shall the favoured inhabitants of this everlasting fortress ever be obliged to surrender for want of provisions. A fulness of living bread, and streams of living water, are united with invincible strength. For, it is added, Bread shall be given him, and his waters shall be sure. He shall want neither nourishment nor protection; outward defence, nor inward comfort. Happy, then, thrice happy they that are under the reign of grace! Every attribute of Deity is engaged to promote their felicity. All the eternal counsels terminate in their favour; and Providence, in the whole course of events respecting them, has a special regard to their advantage. Thus Divine grace appears and reigns in the perseverance of true believers. For grace provides the means necessary to it; grace applies them; and omnipotent grace crowns them with success, to its own eternal honour and praise.
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