The Confession of Faith: A commentary on The Westminster Confession of Faith
Of God's Eternal Decree
SECTION 1: GOD from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass:(l) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,(2) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.(3)
SECTION 2: ALTHOUGH God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions;(4) yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.(5)
Scripture Proof Texts
(1) Eph. 1:11; Rom. 11:33; Heb. 6:17; Rom. 9:15,18. (2) James 1:13,17; 1 John 1:5. (3) Acts 2:23; Matt. 17:12; Acts 4:27,28; John 19:11; Prov. 16:33. (4) Acts 15:18; 1 Sam. 23:11,12; Matt. 11:21,23. (5) Rom. 9:11,13,16,18.
1. God has had from eternity an unchangeable plan with reference to his creatures.
As an infinitely intelligent Creator and providential Ruler, God must have had a definite purpose with reference to the being and destination of all that he has created, comprehending in one all-perfect system his chief end therein, and all subordinate ends and means in reference to that chief end. And since he is an eternal and unchangeable Being, his plan must have existed in all its elements, perfect and unchangeable, from eternity. Since he is an infinite, eternal, unchangeable, and absolutely wise, powerful, and sovereign Person, his purposes must partake of the essential attributes of his own being. And since God's intelligence is absolutely perfect and his plan is eternal, since his ultimate end is revealed to be the single one of his own glory, and the whole work of creation and providence is observed to form one system, it follows that his plan is also single-one all-comprehensive intention, providing for all the means and conditions as well as the ends selected.
2. The plan of God comprehends and determines all things and events of every kind that come to pass.
(1) This is rendered certain from the fact that all God's works of creation and providence constitute one system. No event is isolated, either in the physical or moral world, either in heaven or on earth. All of God's supernatural revelations and every advance of human science conspire to make this truth conspicuously luminous. Hence the original intention which determines one event must also determine every other event related to it, as cause, condition, or consequent, direct and indirect, immediate and remote. Hence, the plan which determines general ends must also determine even the minutest element comprehended in the system of which those ends are parts. The free actions of free agents constitute an eminently important and effective element in the system of things. If the plan of God did not determine events of this class, he could make nothing certain, and his government of the world would be made contingent and dependent, and all his purposes fallible and mutable.
(2) The Scriptures expressly declare this truth-
(a) Of the whole system in general. He "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11).
(b) Of fortuitous events (Prov. 16:33; Matt. 10:29,30).
(c) Of the free actions of men. "The king's heart is in the hands of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will" (Prov. 21:1). "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
(d) Of the sinful actions of men. "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:27,28). (Compare Gen. 37:28 with Gen. 45:7,8; Isa. 10:5.)
It must be remembered, however, that the purpose of God with respect to the sinful acts of men and wicked angels is in no degree to cause the evil, nor to approve it, but only to permit the wicked agent to perform it, and then to overrule it for his own most wise and holy ends. The same infinitely perfect and self-consistent decree ordains the moral law which forbids and punishes all sin, and at the same time permits its occurrence, limiting and determining the precise channel to which it shall be confined, the precise end to which it shall be directed, and overruling its consequences for good: "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Gen. 50:20).
3. This all-comprehensive purpose is not, as a whole nor in any of its constituent elements, conditional. It in no respect depends upon his foresight of events not embraced in and determined by his purpose. It is absolutely sovereign, depending only on the "wise and holy counsel of his own will."
A very obvious distinction must always be kept in mind between an event being conditioned on other events, and the decree of God with reference to that event being conditioned. Calvinists believe, as all men must, that all events in the system of things depend upon their causes, and are suspended on conditions. That is, if a man does not sow seed, he will not reap; if he does sow, and all the favorable climatic influences are present, he will reap. If a man believes, he shall be saved; if he does not believe, he will not be saved. But the all-comprehensive purpose of God embraces and determines the cause and the conditions, as well as the event suspended upon them. The decree, instead of altering, determines the nature of events, and their mutual relations. It makes free actions free in relation to their agents, and contingent events contingent in relation to their conditions; while at the same time, it makes the entire system of events, and every element embraced in it, certainly future. An absolute decree is one which, while it may determine many conditional events by determining their conditions, is itself suspended on no condition. A conditional decree is one which determines that a certain event shall happen on condition that some other undecreed event happens, upon which undecreed event the decree itself, as well as the event decreed, is suspended.
The Confession in this section teaches that all the decrees of God are unconditional. All who believe in a divine government agree with Calvinists that the decrees of God relating to events produced by necessary causes are unconditional. The only debate relates to those decrees which are concerned with the free actions of men and of angels. The Socinians and Rationalists maintain that God cannot certainly foresee free actions, because from their very nature they are uncertain until they are performed. Arminians admit that he certainly foresees them, but deny that he determines them. Calvinists affirm that he foresees them to be certainly future because he has determined them to be so. The truth of the Calvinist view is proved-
(1) From the fact that, as shown above, the decrees of God determine all classes of events. If every event that comes to pass is foreordained, it is evident that there is nothing left undetermined upon which the decree can be conditioned.
(2) Because the decrees of God are sovereign. This is evident-(a) Because God is the eternal and absolute Creator of all things. All creatures exist, and are what they are, and possess the properties peculiar to them, and act under the very conditions in which they act, because of God's plan. (b) It is directly affirmed in Scripture (Dan. 4:35; Isa. 40:13,14; Rom. 9:15-18; Eph. 1:5).
(3) God's decree includes and determines the means and conditions upon which events depend, as well as the events themselves: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy" (Eph. 1:4). "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:13). In the case of Paul's shipwreck, God first promised Paul absolutely that not a life should be lost (Acts 27:24). But Paul said, verse 31, "Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved."
(4) The Scriptures declare that the salvation of individuals is conditioned upon the personal act of faith, and at the same time that the decree of God with regard to the salvation of individuals rests solely upon "the counsel of his own will," "his own good pleasure." "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth," etc. (Rom. 9:11). "Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11; 1:5; Matt. 11:25,26).
4. The purpose of God is, with reference to all the objects embraced within it, certainly efficacious.
The decree of God is merely a purpose which he executes in his works of creation and providence. When it is said that all the decrees of God are certainly efficacious, it is not meant that they are the proximate causes of events, but that they render, under the subsequent economy of creation and providence, every event embraced in them absolutely certain. This is evident-
(1) From the nature of God as an infinitely wise and powerful person and absolute sovereign.
(2) From the fact that the decrees relate to all events without exception, and are sovereign and unconditional.
(3) The Scriptures declare, with reference to such events, that there is a needs-be that they should happen as it was determined (Matt. 16:21; Luke 24:44; 22:22).
5. This purpose must in all things be perfectly consistent with his own most wise, benevolent, and holy nature.
This is a self-evident truth from the nature of God as an eternal, absolutely perfect, and unchangeable Being. His decrees must be absolutely perfect in wisdom and righteousness. The problem of the permission of sin is to us insoluble, because unexplained. The fact is certain, the reason beyond discovery. If God be infinitely wise and powerful, he might have prevented it. It is evident that it is consistent with absolute righteousness to permit it and to overrule it. The Arminian admits that God foresaw that sin and misery would certainly eventuate upon the conditions of creation he established. He is therefore as unable as the Calvinist is to explain why God, notwithstanding that certain knowledge, did not change those conditions.
It remains certain, however, that God is not the cause of sin because He is absolutely holy. Moreover, sin is essentially defined as a violation of God's will (ovomia), and God cannot violate His own will. Also, having free agency we are responsible for our actions. We must assert that God has permitted sin for the purpose of overruling it in the interests of righteousness and benevolence, for His own glory and our highest good.
6. The purpose of God is in all things perfectly consistent with the nature and the mode of action of the creatures severally embraced within it.
This is certain-
(1) Because the one eternal, self-consistent, all-comprehensive purpose of God at the same time determines the nature of the agent, his proper mode of action, and each action that shall eventuate. As God's purpose cannot be inconsistent with itself, the element of it determining the nature of the agent cannot be inconsistent with the element of it determining any particular action of the agent.
(2) Because the decrees of God are not the proximate causes of events; they only make a given event certainly future. It provides that free agents shall be free agents, and free actions free actions; and that a given free agent shall exist, and that he shall freely perform a certain free action under certain conditions.
Now, that a given free action is certainly future, is obviously not inconsistent with the perfect freedom of the agent in that act: (a) Because all admit that God certainly foreknows the free actions of free agents, and if so, they must be certainly future, although free. (b) God's actions are certainly holy, though free; and the same is true of all glorified spirits in heaven. (c) The actions of the devil, and of finally reprobate men and angels, will forever be certainly wicked, yet free and responsible.
SECTION 3: BY the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels(6) are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.(7)
SECTION 4: THESE angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.(8)
SECTION 5: THOSE of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory,(9) out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto;(10) and all to the praise of his glorious grace.(11)
Scripture Proof Texts
(6) 1 Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:41. (7) Rom. 9:22,23; Eph. 1:5,6; Prov. 16:4. (8) 2 Tim. 2:19; John 13:18. (9) Eph. 1:4,9,11; Rom. 8:30; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:9. (10) Rom. 9:11,13,16; Eph. 1:4,9. (11) Eph. 1:6,12.
The preceding sections having affirmed that the eternal, sovereign, immutable, unconditional decree of God determines all events of every class that come to pass, these sections proceed to affirm, by way of specification, the following propositions:
1. The decree of God determines that out of the mass of fallen humanity certain individuals shall attain to eternal salvation, and that the rest shall be left to be dealt with justly for their sins.
The Socinian holds that the free acts of men, being in their nature uncertain, cannot be foreknown as certainly future. Since, therefore, God does not foreknow who will repent and believe, his election amounts to no more than his general purpose to save all believers as a class.
The Arminian holds that God, foreseeing from all eternity who will repent and believe, elects those individuals to eternal life on that condition of faith and repentance thus certainly foreknown.
The Calvinist holds that God has elected certain individuals to eternal life, and all the means and conditions thereof, on the ground of his sovereign good pleasure. He chooses them to faith and repentance, and not because of their faith and repentance. That God does choose individuals to eternal life is certain.
(1) The subjects are always spoken of in Scripture as individuals: "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48; 2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:4).
(2) The names of the elect are said to be "written in heaven," and to be "in the book of life" (Phil. 4:3; Heb. 12:23).
(3) The blessings to which men are elected are such as pertain to individuals, not to communities; and they are represented as elected to these spiritual qualifications, and not because they belong to the class which possesses them. They are elected "to salvation," "to the adoption of sons," "to be holy and without blame before him in love" (2 Thess. 2:13; Gal. 4:4,5; Eph. 1:4).
2. This election is unchangeable. This is self-evident.
3. It is not conditioned upon foreseen faith or repentance, but in each case upon sovereign grace and personal love, according to the secret counsel of his will.
(1) It is expressly declared not to rest upon works; but foreseen faith and repentance are works (Rom. 11:4-7; 2 Tim. 1:9).
(2) Faith and repentance are expressly said to be the fruits of election, and consequently cannot be its conditions. They are also declared to be the gifts of God, and cannot therefore be the conditions upon which he suspends his purpose (Eph. 2:10; 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 2:8; Acts 5:31; 1 Cor. 4:7). "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing" (John 6:37,39). "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep" (John 10:26). "And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48).
(3) The Scriptures represent men by nature as "dead in trespasses and sins"; and faith and repentance as the exercise of regenerated souls; and regeneration as the work of God-a "new birth," a "new creation," a "quickening from the dead." Faith and repentance, therefore, must be conditioned upon God's purpose, and cannot condition it (Eph. 2:1; John 3:3,5; Eph. 2:5,10).
(4) The Scriptures expressly say that election is conditioned on the "good pleasure of God's will": "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace...In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:5,11; Matt. 11:25,26; John 15:16,19).
(5) God claims the right of sovereign, unconditional election as his prerogative: "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (Rom. 9:21). If of the same lump, the difference is not in the clay. "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Rom. 9:16).
4. The ultimate end or motive of God in election is the praise of his glorious grace. This is expressly asserted in Eph. 1:5,6,12. In the chapter on Creation it will be shown that the final end of God in all his works, as a whole, is the manifestation of his own glory. If it be the final end of the whole, it must be the end also of the special destination of all the parts.
SECTION 6: AS God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto.(12) Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ;(13) are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified,(14) and kept by his power through faith unto salvation.(15) Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified and saved, but the elect only.(16)
Scripture Proof Texts
(12) 1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:4,5; 2:10; 2 Thess. 2:13. (13) 1 Thess. 5:9,10; Tit. 2:14. (14) Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:5; 2 Thess. 2:13. (15) 1 Pet. 1:5. (16) John 17:9; Rom. 8:28; John 6:64,65; 10:26; 8:47; 1 John 2:19.
This section affirms:
1. That although the decree of God is one eternal, all-comprehensive intention, the several elements embraced within it necessarily sustain the relation to one another of means to ends. In determining the ends he intends to accomplish, God at the same time determines the means by which he intends to accomplish them. And God's purpose with respect to the end necessarily, in the logical order, takes precedence of and gives direction to his purpose with respect to the means.
2. That, in the matter of the redemption of men, the end which God determined was the salvation of certain individuals, called "the elect"; and that he appointed, as means to that end, redemption by Christ, effectual calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance in grace unto death.
3. That as the means are intended to effect the end, so they are not to be exercised in the case of any whose salvation has not been adopted as that end. None but the elect are redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, or justified, or adopted, or sanctified.
1. That the purposes of God do sustain the relation to one another of means to ends is evident-
(1) From the fact that his purposes are the product of an infinite intelligence the very office of which is to coordinate a great system of means in the accomplishment of a great design.
(2) God accomplishes his eternal purposes in his works of creation and providence, and in the economy of both he habitually uses systems of means in subordination to predetermined ends.
(3) All the events decreed as a matter of fact eventuate in the relation of means in subordination to ends. They must therefore have been embraced in the same order in the divine decree.
(4) God explicitly tells us that he determines one thing in order to accomplish another. He predestinates men to salvation, "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," to "the praise of the glory of his grace" (2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:6).
2. That the gift of Christ to make atonement for sin, and of the Holy Ghost to regenerate and sanctify, are in the divine designed as means to accomplish his purpose to secure the salvation of the elect, has been doubted by some theologians, but is explicitly affirmed both positively and negatively in this section of the Confession. In the time that this Confession was written, the phrase "to redeem" was used in the same sense in which we now use the phrase "to make atonement for." The Confession affirms, first, positively, that Christ was eternally appointed to make atonement as a means of executing the purpose to save the elect; and second, negatively, that he has made atonement for none others. The class of theologians who do not agree with the Confession at this point, view the purposes of God, with respect to man's salvation and the gift of Christ to be a Savior, as sustaining respectively the following order: Out of infinite pity and universal benevolence, God determined to give his Son to die for the redemption from the curse of the law of all mankind, ruined by the fall; but, foreseeing that if left to themselves all men would certainly reject Christ and be lost, God, in order to carry out and apply his plan of human redemption, and moved by a special love to certain persons, elected them out of the mass of mankind to be recipients of the special effectual grace of the Holy Ghost, and thus to salvation. The doctrine taught in the Confession and held by the great body of the Reformed Churches is, that God, moved by a special personal love, elected certain men out of the mass of the fallen race to salvation, and in order to accomplish that purpose he determined to send Christ to die for them and the Holy Ghost to renew and sanctify them. That the view of the Confession is the true one is plain-
(1) From the very statement of the case. The gift of Christ to die for the elect is a very adequate means to accomplish the decree of their salvation. But, on the other hand, the decree to give the efficacious influences of the Holy Ghost only to the elect is a very inadequate means of accomplishing the purpose of redeeming all men by the sacrifice of Christ. A purpose to save all and a purpose to save only some could not coexist in the divine mind.
(2) All the purposes of God, being unchangeable, self-consistent, and certainly efficacious, must perfectly correspond to the events which come to pass in time. He must have predestinated to salvation those and those only who are as a matter of fact saved; and he must have intended that Christ should redeem those and those only who are redeemed. God's purpose in the gift of Christ cannot be in any respect in vain. (3) Christ says explicitly, "I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:15).
3. None but the elect are redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, or justified, or adopted, or sanctified.
This is only the negative statement of the same truth, designed to make the positive affirmation of it the more explicit and emphatic.
The doctrine as to the design of God in the sacrifice of Christ is stated again in Chapter 8. Section 8. of the Confession, and will be more appropriately stated and discussed in that place.
SECTION 7: THE rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.(17)
Scripture Proof Texts
(17) Matt. 11:25,26; Rom. 9:17,18,21,22; 2 Tim. 2:19,20; Jude 4; 1 Pet. 2:8.
This section teaches the following propositions:
1. That as God has sovereignly destinated certain persons, called the elect, through grace to salvation, so he has sovereignly decreed to withhold his grace from the rest; and that this withholding rests upon the unsearchable counsel of his own will, and is for the glory of his sovereign power.
2. That God has consequently determined to treat all those left in their sins with exact justice according to their own deserts, to the praise of his justice, which demands the punishment of all unexpiated sin.
This decree of reprobation, as it is called, is the aspect which God's eternal purpose presents in its relation to that portion of the human family which shall be finally condemned for their sins.
Reprobation consists of two elements, the negative and the positive. In its negative aspect God does not elect the reprobate, but "passes over" him; in this God is absolutely sovereign, resting upon His good pleasure alone, since those passed over are no worse than those elected. Positively, reprobation is not sovereign, but purely judicial, since God has determined to treat the reprobate according to what they deserve.
This doctrine, instead of being inconsistent with the principles of absolute justice, necessarily follows from the application of those principles to the case in hand.
(1) All men alike are "by nature the children of wrath," and justly obnoxious to the penalty of the law antecedently to the gift of Christ to be their Savior. It is because they are in this condition that vicarious satisfaction of divine justice was absolutely necessary in order to the salvation of any, otherwise, the apostle says, "Christ is dead in vain." Hence if any are to be saved, justice itself demands that their salvation shall be recognized as not their right, but a sovereign concession on the part of God. None have a natural right to salvation. And the salvation of one cannot give a right to salvation to another.
(2) Salvation is declared to be in its very essence a matter of grace; and if of grace, the selection of its subjects is inalienably a matter of divine discretion (Lam. 3:22; Rom. 4:4; 11:6; Eph. 1:5-7; John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; 4:10).
This doctrine as above stated is true-
(1) Because it is necessarily involved in the scriptural doctrine of election taught in the preceding sections.
(2) It is expressly taught in Scripture: "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth" (Rom. 9:18; 1 Pet. 2:8; Rev. 13:8; Jude 4).
(3) God asserts the right involved as his righteous prerogative: "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? Who art thou that repliest against God? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?" (Rom. 9:19-23).
SECTION 8: THE doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,(18) that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.(19) So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God,(20) and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation, to all that sincerely obey the gospel.(21)
Scripture Proof Texts
(18) Rom. 9:20; 11:33; Deut. 29:29. (19) 2 Pet. 1:10. (20) Eph. 1:6; Rom. 11:33. (21) Rom. 11:5,6,20; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rom. 8:33; Luke 10:20.
This section teaches that the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care. This necessity arises from the fact that it is often abused, and that its proper use is in the highest degree important.
The principle of divine sovereignty in the distribution of grace is certainly revealed in Scripture, is not difficult of comprehension; and is of great practical use to convince men of the greatness and independence of God, of the certain efficacy of his grace and security of his promises, and of their own sin and absolute dependence. But the philosophy of the relation of his sovereign purpose to the free agency of the creature, and to the permission of moral evil, is not revealed in the Scriptures, and cannot be discovered by human reason, and therefore ought not to be rashly meddled with. This truth ought not, moreover, to be obtruded out of its due place in the system, which includes the equally certain truths of the freedom of man and the free offers of the gospel to all.
While the principle of sovereign election as lying at the foundation of all grace is thus clearly revealed, the election or nonelection of particular persons is not revealed in the Scriptures. The preceptive and not the decretive will of God is the rule of human duty. Election is first with God, and grace consequent upon it. But with man duty and grace are first, and the inference of personal election only consequent upon the possession of grace. The command to repent and believe is addressed to all men indiscriminately, and the obligation rests equally upon all. The concern of the inquirer is simply with the fact that the grace is offered, and assured to him upon condition of acceptance, and with his duty to accept and improve it. Afterward it is the great privilege of the believer to make the fact of his eternal calling and election sure, by adding to faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge etc.; for if he do these things he shall never fall (2 Pet. 1:5-10).