Page images

the perfecting of the faints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Chrift.

Q. 2. Cannot false, or seeming, grace grow?

A. It may {pring up, and feem to flourish, for a time, but comes not to perfection; Luke viii. 14. And that which fell among thorns, are they, which when they have heard, go forth, and are choaked with the caress, and riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

Q. 3: What is the first respect in which grace grows ?

A. It grows by deeper rooting itself in the foul ; Eph. iii. 17. That Chrift may dwell in your hearts by faith ; that ye þeing rooted and grounded in love, may be able, &c.

Q. 4. What is the second respect or manner of its growth?

A. It grows in respect of its greater fitness and readiriefs for acts of obedience; Col. i. 11. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience, and longsuffering, with joyfulness.

Q. 5. What is the third refpect or manner of its growth? - A. It grows in respect of its abilities to fix the mind more steadily on fpiritual things. Hence grown Christians are called fpiritual men ; Gal. vi. 1. Ye which are fpiritual, restore such an one in the fpirit of meeknefs. : Q. 6. Why muft all true grace grow? '

A. Because there is a stature to which Christians are appointed; Eph. iv. 13. 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 stature of the fulness of Christ.,

Q. 7. What are the causes of a Christian's growth?

A. Union with Christ; John xv. 4. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. And his bleffings on the ordi. nances; Isa. lv. 10, 11. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the lower, and bread to the eater ; so thall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I fent it. And providences ; Phil. i. 19. For I know that this shall turn to my falvation thro' your prayers, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Q. 8. May not true grace sometimes decay?

A. Yes, it may ; Rev. ii. 4. Nevertheless, I have someWhat against chee, because thou hast left thy first love. But:

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

4. Hen What is the fat and ey hally

het utterly; 1 John Mi. 9. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit fin; for his seed remaineth in him.

Q. 9. What is the first inference from hence ?

A. 'To bless God for gospel ordinances ; Pfalm xcii. 13, 14. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God; they fhall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing,

Q. 10. What is the second inference ?

A. Hence we see the miserable state of them, that grow worse and worfe ; Jude, ver. 12. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feaft with you, feeding themselves without fear: Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds : Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the root.

Q. 11. What is the third inference? .

A. Chriftians [hould not be discouraged at their weakness in grace, for they have a merciful Christ; Isaiah xlii. 3. A bruis-ed reed shall he not break; and the smoaking flax fhall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. And a sure promise ; Job xvii. 9. The righteous also fhall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands, thall be stronger and Itronger.

Q. 12. What is the last inference? .

A. That all true Christians draw daily nearer and nearer to the heavenly and perfect state; 2 Cor. iv. 16. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day; Rom. xiii. 11. For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.,

Of Perfeverance.
Quest. 1. TIT Hat is perfeverance to the end ?

V A. It is the steady and constant continuance of Christians in the ways of duty and obedience, amidst all temptations and discouragements to the contrary ; Col. i. 23. If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.

Q. 2. Do all that profess Christ, continue in hiny ?

A No; many that at first zealously profess him, afterwards fall away; John vi. 66. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Q. 3. Why do not all perfevere?

A. Because all professors have not a good root and foundation ; Matth. xiii. 20, 21. But he that received the feed into sto.

because of the worst the first grouwhich they are

ny places, the fame is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dure eth for a while;' for when tribulation, or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Q. 4. What is the first ground of the saints perseverance ?

A. God's electing love, in which they are given to Chrift; John X. 29. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

l. 5. What is the second ground of perseverance ?

A. The immortal nature of fanctifying grace; John iv. 14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst': but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everiasting life. 1 John iii. 9. For his seed remaineth in him. .

Q. 6. What is the third ground of it?

A. The covenant of grace; Jer. xxxii. 40. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good ; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

Q. 7. What is the fourth ground of it?

A. Christ's effectual intercession ; Luke xxii. 32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. · Q. 8. Are there no declinings of grace in the faints ?

A. Yes, there are; Rev. ii.4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Yet grace cannot be totally or finally loft: For the feed of God remaineth in the sanctified; 1 John'iii. 9. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his feed remaineth in him: And he cannot fin; because he is born of God.

Q. 9. Is there no hope of salvation for final apostàtes ? .

A. No, the gospel gives none ; Heb. x. 38. But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Q. 10. What is the first instruction fronı hence ?

A. It warns all men to lay a good foundation, lest the buildings of hope be overturned when the storm comes; Matth. vii. .24, 25. Therefore, whosoever 'heareth these fayings of mine, and doth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

Q. 11. What is the second instruction ?

A That all men should look to themselves, lest they lose the things which they have wrought; 2 John verse 8. , Look to yourselves, that we lose not these things which we

have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 1 Cor. x. 12. Wherefore let him that thinketh he ttandeth, take heed left he fall.

Q. 12. What is the last instruction ?

A. Let no true Christian be discouraged, how weak foever, for God is able to make him stand; Rom. xv. 4. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? To his own master he standeth or falleth ; yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand.

Of Perfection at Death. Quest. 37. WITHat benefits do believers receive from Christ

V at their death? A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.

Q. 1. What is the state of perfect holiness?

A. It consists in a perfect freedom from fin, or the least inclinations to fin; Eph. V. 27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Q. 2. Wherein else doth perfection confift?

A. It consists in the attainment of the highest measures and degrees of holiness the creature is capable of; Eph. iv, 12, 13. For the perfecting of the saints, 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 stature of the fulness of Christ.

Q. 3. Cannot this be attained whilst in the body?

A. No, for here all our graces are imperfect; 2 Cor. xiii. 12. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face. And we live at a distance from God; 2 Cor. v. 6. Whilft we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.

Q. 4. How is this attained at death ? . - A. At death the roots of sin are pulled up out of the be

liever's nature ; Heb. xii. 23. And to the spirits of just men made perfect.

Q. 5. Why must the soul be made perfect at death?

A. Because the purity of the heavenly state admits no sin or imperfection ; Rev. xxi. 27. And there shall in no wife enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Q. 6. What is the first inference from hence ?

A. That death should be lovely and desirable in the eyes of believers ; Phil. i. 23. Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.

Q. 7. What is the second inference ?

A That God hath provided fingular relief for his people that now groan under their fins, and many imperfections,

Cor. xiii. 12. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: Now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as I am known.

Q.8. What is the third inference ?

A. That the heavenly state is infinitely above and beyond whatever we enjoy here; i Cor. ii. 9. But as it is written, mye hath not feen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Q. 9. What is the fourth inference ?

A. That believers are but at a small distance from the fatis. faction of all their desires; Rom. xiii. 11. For now is our fala vation nearer than when we believed.

Q. 10. What is the fifth inference?

A. That the saints should earnestly pursue that perfection, even in this imperfect state ; Phil. iii. 13, 14. Brethren, Í count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. . 11. What is the sixth inference?

A. That death to the saints is better than life; Phil. i. 21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. . Q. 12. What is the last inference ? · A. That faith is absolutely necessary to entitle us to this perfect state.

Of immediate Glorification. Quest. 1. T O all that die in Christ immediately pass into

glory? A. Yes, they do ; Luke xxiii. 43. To day fhalt thou be with me in Paradise ; Phil. i. 23. Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ.

Q. 2. What is the first reason for their immediate glorification ?

XXV. 34. Come, ye blefsed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

« PreviousContinue »