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the outset a foundation for the whole system by establishing, on independent ground, the doctrine of total depravity. I next showed you that from this truth followed the unavoidable inference that God must change the heart, uninduced and unaided by man, and must make one to differ from another according to his sovereign pleasure; all which could not be true if men were not totally depraved. I then proceeded to support this view of regeneration by plain and positive declarations of Scripture. I next showed you that from this truth inevitably followed the doctrine of absolute personal election; which could not be true if regeneration was not what it had been represented. I then proceeded to support this view of election by a great number of texts of the most explicit and decisive cast. I next opened the Bible and showed you that none but the elect are regenerated. This being settled, it was manifest that from election unavoidably followed the perseverance of the saints; which could not be accounted for on any other principle. I then proceeded to establish the doctrine of perseverance by a large array of scriptural proofs; a part of which supported the point independently, and a part showed its indissoluble connexion with the preceding article.
There still remain some arguments in confirmation of the whole system, to be drawn from the analogy of faith, and some remarks illustrative of the practical importance of the truths established. That I may glean up what remains, I will attempt,
I. To show, from some additional considerations, that these four articles, as they have been explained, really belong to the true Gospel.
II. To prove that every system which rejects these four doctrines, is “another gospel.”
III. To urge the infinite importance of ascertaining, by deep and careful examination, what the true Gospel is.
I. I am to show, from some additional considerations, that these four articles, as they have been explained, really belong to the true Gospel. I say, as they have been explained, for the reasonings which follow must be understood as applicable to the doctrines in no other than the precise shape in which they have been exhibited.
(1.) It is apparent to reason that these four doctrines must stand or fall together. They support each other like the different parts of an arch, and you cannot tear one away without demolishing the whole structure. Or to use a more exact illustration, they are inseparable links of a chain, of which if one is supported the whole are supported. The entire system must stand or every vestige of it must be destroyed. There is as much evidence that the whole is true as that the whole is not false. To you who have attentively followed the train of reasonings in the foregoing lectures, it must be manifest that the man who would overthrow one of these articles, must demolish the four, and leave not a wreck of the system behind. Till one is prepared to perform the whole of this mighty task, he ought to beware how he undertakes.
(2.) These doctrines, thus indissoluble, are separately supported by four distinct and strong classes of texts. This shows you the whole chain supported by a column under each link, yielding to each a fourfold support. The literal meaning of four numerous classes of texts must be swept away before one of the articles can fall. To bring either of them into doubt, a man must march through the Scriptures and twist into a forced construction the great body of the Sacred Writings.
That there are four classes of texts which speak severally of the moral deadness of man, the new birth, election, and God's preserving care of his saints, cannot be denied. The only question is,
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what do they mean? What are the four doctrines which they support? In their plain, obvious meaning they unquestionably support such doctrines as have been set before you. Is the plain obvious meaning the true one? This is the only question that remains to be tried; and this, if I mistake not, may be settled, if any thing can be settled, beyond the power of controversy. At any rate I will try.
The general remark which I have to make is, that if you would get rid of the plain interpretation, you must set aside the obvious meaning, not of one, but of four distinct classes of texts, relating to four distinct subjects, subjects connected by reason just as they are by the obvious meaning of the texts. To display this argument in a fair and perspicuous form, I observe,
[1.] That the four doctrines, in the shape in which they have been exhibited, appear to the eye of reason, (if you will suffer the expression,) like four timbers dovetailed into each other. Now to support the construction which gives them this form, the Scriptures join the doctrines contained in the four classes of texts, in the same order, and in each case show you plainly the mortise and the joint. The junction of total depravity and regeneration is exhibited in this text: "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The junction of regeneration and election, in this: “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called.” Or this: “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” The junction of election and perseverance, in this: “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also-glorified.” But because this is the most important joint of the whole, I will make it a little more visible by the following quotations: “This is the Father's will,-that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." "I lay down my life for the
sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.-But ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.-My sheep hear my voice,-and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of Father's hand.” “Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.” “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain."*
Perseverance, thus jointed in upon election, is of course indissolubly connected with regeneration; and this connexion is sometimes displayed without bringing election into view: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.”+
Here then are the four doctrines as they stand in the Scriptures, joined together in the same order in which they are connected in these lectures. This alone would go far towards confirming the construction which I have given; but there is one circumstance which establishes it, I should think, beyond the reach of doubt. Upon no other possible plan of construction can the doctrines contained in the four classes of texts be strung together in one indissoluble chain. If you say for instance, that the moral deadness ascribed to man means a pagan state, that regeneration is only a conversion from paganism to the knowledge and profession of Christianity, and that election is nothing more than a selection
* John vi. 39. and x. 15, 16, 26–29. and xv. 16. and xvii. 2, 24. Acts xiii. 48. Rom. viii. 30. Eph. ii. 1. f 1 John iii. 9.
of the nations to be visited with the light of the Gospel; here are three links, but where is the fourth? Perseverance is altogether excluded. But this is plainly connected with the rest as they stand in the Bible. Try any other plan of construction, and the result will be the same. The more deeply this argument is considered, the more plain will it appear that this construction must certainly be right. But in confirmation of it I have something still more decisive to offer. I add,
[2.] That the doctrines supported by the most obvious meaning of these four classes of texts, growing together as they do by the inviolable connexion of premiss and consequence, lend each other an influence to settle the construction abundantly more than fourfold. That a book in its obvious meaning should distinctly support a premiss, (say total depravity, as it has been explained;) and then by a literal construction as plainly support an inference deducible only from that premiss, (say regeneration, as it has been explained;) and then in its literal import as decidedly support another inference deductive only from the former, (say election, as it has been explained;) and then by a plain construction as clearly support a third inference deducible only from the second, (say perseverance, as it has been explained;) and after all mean neither, but something entirely different; is vastly more incredible than that it should speak unintelligibly on a single point in instances equally numerous. There is indeed one case which must be considered an exception. Where the writer is labouring to support a figure of speech, and carries out the figure through the several inferences, neither the premiss nor any of the consequences require or admit a literal construction. But nothing of this kind occurs in the present case. You find the texts belonging to each class detached, and scattered through the Old Testament and the