Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?—Proverbs 20.6

 
David Dickson's

Truth's Victory Over Error

Chapter. XVII.

Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

QUESTION I.

"CAN they whom God hath accepted in his beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, either totally or finally fall away from the state of grace?"

No.

"Shall they certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved?"

Yes; Phil. 1.6. 2 Pet. 1.10. John 10.28,29. 1 John 3.9. 1 Pet. 1.5,9.

Well then, do not the Papists, Socinians, Arminians, and some ring-leaders among the Quakers err, who maintain, That the saints may totally and finally fall away?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the saints are built upon a rock, and not upon the sand: Therefore when temptations of any kind assault, they can never fail, nor can the gates of hell prevail against them, Matt. 7.24. and 16.16,18.

2d, Because he that hath begun a good work in the saints, will finish it, until the day of Jesus Christ, Phil. 1.6.

3d, Because Paul says, Nothing can separate us from the love of God, Rom. 8.35,38,39.

4th, Because they that fall away, have never had true justifying faith, Luke 8.4-15. 1 John 2.19.

5th, Because it is impossible for the elect to be seduced, Matt. 24.24. I say impossible, not in respect of the will and power of the elect themselves, but in respect of the immutability of God's decree concerning them, and of his purpose of keeping them powerfully against seduction, according to his promises, of which he cannot repent; see John 10.28. Rom. 8.38,39. 1 Pet. 1.5.

6th, Because they that believe in the Son of God have life eternal, 1 John 5.13. John 6.47,54,58. And they have passed from death unto life, and shall never thirst, nor hunger any more, John 6.35.

7th, Because God hath promised in his covenant, that though he chastise his own children for their faults, yet he will never take away his mercy, and loving-kindness from them, Psalm 89.30-34. Jer. 32.38-40.

8th, Because that golden chain, that Paul speaks of, cannot be broken, Rom. 8.30. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called, &c.

9th, Because Christ says, this is the Father's will, which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I shall lose nothing, John 6.49.

10th, Because we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time, 1 Pet. 1.5.

11th, Because he hath prayed for us, that our faith fail not, Luke 22.32. John 17.20.

Quest. II. "Can believers, by reason of their sins and failings, incur God's displeasure, and grieve his holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt, and scandalize others; and bring temporal judgments upon themselves?"

Yes; Isa. 64.5,7,9. Eph. 4.30. Psalm 51.8,10,14. Rev. 2.4. Cant. 5.2,3,4,6. Isa. 63.17. Psalm 37.3,4. 2 Sam. 12.14. Psalm 89.31,32. Mark 16.14. 1 Cor. 11.32.

Well then, do not the Antinomians err, who maintain, That the sins of the regenerate do not displease God, and cannot grieve his holy Spirit; and that believers are not chastised in any wise for their sins?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the prophet says, thou art wroth, for we have sinned, Isa. 64.5.

2d, Because it is said, that the thing which David had done, (namely his murder and adultery) displeased the Lord, 2 Sam. 11.27.

3d, Because the scriptures testify, that the sins of believers grieve the Holy Spirit, Eph. 4.30.

4th, Because the saints, by reason of their sins, are deprived of some measure of grace and consolation, Psalm 8.9. Rev. 2.4,5.

5th, Because the Lord hath inflicted temporal punishments upon believers for their faults, Psalm 89.31,32. 2 Sam. 12.11. and 24.15. 1 Cor. 11.30.