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Chapter 6: 4­9. On the subject handled in these verses, Stuart asks and answers a question thus, “Does the whole paragraph pertain to real Christians, or to those who are such only by profession? To the former beyond all reasonable doubt.” The question is not suitable, for the Apostle only speaks of those who had enjoyed certain privileges, and as to whether they were real or merely professing Christians, he does not treat of. Paul addressed the Corinthians as “the Church of God;” and it might in the same way be asked, “Did he address them as real Christians, or as those who were only such by profession t” and it might be answered, “Doubtless as real Christians.” And yet we find that he says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” What is spoken of here is the enjoyment of certain privileges and the danger of not making a right use of them, and even the awful doom of those who disregarded them and turned away from the truth.

Our author indeed fully admits the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints; but a question of this kind, not relevant to the subject, tends only to create embarrassment. He indeed afterwards somewhat modifies it by saying, that “God treats Christians as free agents and rational beings, and guards them against defection, not by mere physical force, but by moral means adapted to their nature as free and rational agents.” No doubt God thus acts according to the whole current of Scripture; but this in no way contravenes the truth, clearly taught in many passages, that his elect people, real Christians, shall never perish.

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