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  • PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS PROVED - C,
    CHARLES FINNEY SYS. THEOLOGY

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    He then proceeds to expound the parable. He is the good shepherd having the care of His Father's sheep. He says:

    "Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, leaveth the sheep, and fleeth, and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and 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; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again" (John 10:7-17).

    He had other sheep which were not yet called they were not of this fold that is, they were not Jews, but Gentiles; these He must bring. To the unbelieving and cavilling Jews He said:

    "But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 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 My Father's hand" (John 10:26-29).

    Here it is plainly implied, that all those were sheep who were given to Him by the Father, and that all such would surely hear and know His voice and follow Him, but those that were not of His sheep, or were not given Him by the Father, would not believe. He says, verse 26: But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. What He here says amounts to this: all those are sheep who are given to Me of My Father. All My sheep thus given, shall and will hear My voice, and follow Me, and none others will. I do not notice in this place what He says of the certainty of their salvation, because my present object is only to show that those and those only come to Christ who are given to Him of the Father, or are of the elect.

    This same truth is either expressly taught, or strongly implied in a great many passages, and indeed it seems to me to be the doctrine of the whole Bible. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Here they that love God are represented as identical with those "who are the called according to His purpose." In other words, they who love God are the called according to, or in consequence of their election. All that love God do so because they have been effectually called, according to the purpose or election of God. This passage seems to settle the question, especially when viewed in its connection, that all who ever love God are of the elect, and that they are prevailed upon to love God in conformity with their election.

    We shall have occasion, by and by, to examine the connection in which this passage is found, for the purpose of showing that all who at any time truly come to love God, will be saved. I have only quoted this twenty-eighth verse here for the purpose of showing, not directly, that all that love God at any time will be saved, but that they are of the number of the elect, from which fact their ultimate salvation must be inferred.

    It is plain that the apostles regarded regeneration as conclusive evidence of election. The manner in which they address Christians seems to me to put this beyond a doubt. Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, says, "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:13). Here the apostle speaks of all the brethren at Thessalonica as beloved of the Lord, and as being from eternity chosen to salvation. He felt called upon to give thanks to God for this reason, that God had chosen them to salvation from eternity. This he represents as true of the whole church: that is, doubtless, of all true Christians in the church. Indeed, the apostles everywhere speak as if they regarded all true saints as of the elect, and their saintship as evidence of their election. Peter, in writing to the Christians in his first letter, says:

    "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than that of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:1-9).

    Here it is plain that Peter regarded all who had been born again to a lively hope, or who were regenerated, as elected, or as chosen to salvation. I might pursue this argument to an indefinite length, but I must attend to other considerations in support of the doctrine in question.

    I will for the present close what I have to say under this particular branch of the argument, by reminding you that Christ has expressly asserted that no man can or does come to Him except the Father draw Him, and that the Father draws to Him those and by fair inference those only whom He has given to Christ; and further, that it is the Father's will, that of those whom the Father had given to Christ, and drawn to Him, Christ should lose none, but should raise them up at the last day. It is, I think, evident, that when Christ asserts it to be His Father's will, that of those whom the Father had given Him He should lose none, but should raise them up at the last day, He intended to say, that His Father not merely desired and willed this, but that such was His design. That the Father designed to secure their salvation. This we shall more fully see in its proper place.

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