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hath trespassed ;” or as it may tasted the heavenly gift. And more literally be rendered ; " in
God has judged it proper to his falling away in which he fell guard his people against falling away,” or to lay aside the He
away by the most alarming combrew idiom,“ in his grievous or mination. The sins of wicked total falling away, he shall die."
men in general may be repented The Hebrew word syn in this
of and forgiven. But the sin of place the LXX sometimes ren- falling away, fixing men absoder by αποστασισ. .
lutely in impenitence, would, if What great difficulty then at- committed, be irremissible, and tends the construction of this exclude them forever from the passage? You, indeed, present covenant of grace.
How moone difficulty in the following mentous, then, how interesting to words; « Will it be said, that by Christians, and how conducive to falling away the apostle did not their persevering in holiness, is mean simply falling away, how- the apostle's premonitory adever complete, but an irrecovera
dress!* ble falling away? Then the text
5. Toward the close of your will amount precisely to this ; observations you inform us, that “ Those, who fall irrecoverably, it
“ the Calvinist tells a professor, is impossible to recover." This, as you observe, is not much in
• Since Luther finished his reply the apostle's way of writing. to J. C. and transmitted it to the Ed. According to him, their being itors of the Panoplist, the observa.
tions of a learned friend have excited irrecoverably lost is the conse
his attention to the following critiquence of the particular sin men
cism, tioned. “ If they fall away ;” if The hypothetical expression, "If they turn from their righteous- they shall fall away,” is not, it is asness, or totally apostatize from serted, a just translation of the origGod; this is the sin designed ;
inal. The words, xai TagATETOVTAS,
are evidently used to complete the “ it is impossible again to renew
description of the characters before them to repentance.” This is
introduced. The proper rendering the dreadful consequence, which of the passage is obviously this : For the righteousness of God has it is impossible to renew again to repent
ance those, who have been once enlightenthreatened.
ed, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, The falling away here design and have been made partakers of the Holy ed is extremely different from Ghost, and have tasted the good word of the sins, into which believers God and the powers of the world to come, daily fall, or into which they are
and have fallen away. The last clause, surprised by sudden temptation. thetical, than the one, which precedes,
και παραπεσοντας, is no more hypoFrom these, covenanted mercy will recover them. Falling away
και καλον γευσαμενους Θιου χημα,
&c. If this criticism be valid, differs also from the sins of the falling away mentioned actually those, who have never been re belongs to the persons described, newed to repentance. For good whom, on that very account, no
Calvinist will consider as true believ. men to apostatize from the
Accordingly, there will remain, kingdom of Christ and become
it is said, no further controversy reagain the servants of sin, would specting this passage among those, be widely different from the con who hold the doctrine of the saints' duct of those, who have never perseverance.
if you entirely lose holiness you be most seriously remembered, are lost." As you professedly that the only evidence of our embrace the principles of a Cal- being in the covenant of grace is vinist, I wish, Sir, without ques to be found in the exercises and tioning the propriety of such an fruits of holiness. address, to make a little inquiry 6. I cannot willingly close as to your meaning, when you without observing, that every use it. You tell a professor, “ if attempt to account for the perse. you entirely lose holiness, you are verance of saints on any ground, lost." Do you consider the pro- but the gracious purpose of God, fessor thusaddressed, as a sincere and the promised agency of his godly professor, or a false pro- Spirit, appears antiscriptoral, and fessor? Or do you leave it to be tends to keep them from the applied to either, without deter- rock of their confidence. The mining which ? If you inean hypothesis of a principle or seed a false professor, then the naked of holiness, inherent in belier. sentiment conveyed is this; if ers, is wholly inadequate to the you entirely lose the hutiness, which purpose. Admitting there is a you never had, you are lost. If principle in the renewed hearts you mean a godly professor, then of believers, distinct from actuihe address agrees perfectly with al conformity to God's law, and the construction of Ileb. vi. 4-6, antecedent to good affection, which has just been defended. which is nevertheless the foundaIf you would leave it to apply tion or spring of good affection ; to either, without determining that principle or substratum of which ; then you leave us at lib- good affection cannot be supposerty to adopt either of the two ed to operate independently. of meanings, which have been men- divine influence. So that persetioned, and the spirit of the ad verance mụsi still be considered, dress is plainly this ; whether as resulting wholly from the unyou are a trill, or a false profes- failing energy of divine grace. 807, if you entirely lose huline 88, After the writings of Reid, Stewyou are losi.
art, and others, it is too late to As to the evidence of persons' depend on any analogical or hybeing in the covenant of grace, pothetical reasoning respecting or not, I would briefly remark, the operations of the mind. In that their finding in themselves; "the present case such reasoning at present, no exercise of piety, appears quite unnecessary. Man is no certain proof against their possesses the faculties of a rationbeing saints. . As far, as sin pre- al, moral agent. He is capable vails in believers, it sensibly ob- of right, and of wrong affection, scures the evidence of their be- of holiness and sin. When, as ing heirs of glory. But their a moral agent, he is under the being conscious at any time, of sanctifying influence of the Spirnothing but sin, is no infallible it, or in the words of Scripture, proof against their saintship. If when God worketh in him both to they always perceived them- will and to do, his moral feelings selves to be the subjects of holi- and acts are lioly. When he is ness, they might always feel as- governed by a depraved heart, sured of salvation. But it is to his moral feelings and acts are
unholy. The regenerate are ha- bers.
At other times he may bitually, and on the whole, pro- perhaps be discouraged by the gressively under the influence of difficulties he meets, and even God's spirit, and consequently begin to go back. Yet, after all, they are habitually and progres- he may perseveringly pursue his sively holy. But they are not journey, and safely arrive at the always guided and sanctified by intended place. Though a man, God's Spirit. Sometimes they engaged in the pursuit of any are governed by a spirit, which science, is sometimes entirely is in direct opposition to the negligent of his study, and Spirit of God. Thus far we keep spends whole days in a manner, free from useless hypotheses, which directly tends to prevent and stand upon the ground of his success; he may, on the certainty. Scripture teaches, whole, persevere. In like manthat the holy affections of believa ner, Christians persevere in well ers are the special effect of God's doing, although at times they engracious Spirit. But Scripture tirely neglect well doing, and and experience teach also, that fald into great sin. their affections are not unintera verance is, indeed, the conseruptedly holy.
quence, not of any secret princiYou are pleased to assert that, ple or spring of holiness in them, according to Luther's scheme, but of God's special agency. the saints cannot with any pro
Their persevering is altogether priety be said to persevere, un
the effect of divine preservation. less persevering, and not perse. "They are kept by the power vering, are terms of the same of God." The Lord is their import. Again, you signify that Shepherd. He watches their Luther's scheme does not make steps; strengthens them when perseverance in well doing ne- they are weak ; raises them cessary to salvation.
But does when they fall; reclaims them not this all spring from mis- from all their wanderings, and apprehension ? For it is a prom- guides them by his own right inent truth in Luther's scheme, hand. All their springs are in that, although the salvation of him. Though in themselves real believers is certain, their per feeble, erring creatures, liable to severance in well doing is indis fall, backslide, and perish ; yet, pensably necessary, as the means with such a keeper and guide, of obtaining it. He indeed holds they are safe. Thus, dear Sir, that their perseverance in well have I been taught by the Scripdoing does not imply, that they tures to view the character and are always engaged in welldoing condition of believers in this A man's persevering in a jour. life ; thus to charge all weakney to a certain city does not ness, all imperfection, all sin to necessarily suppose, that he is them; and to ascribe wholly to always in motion towards the God the beginning, the continuplace. He'may sometimes stop ; ance, and the consummation of and sometimes turn aside from their holiness. the right way, and lose himself
LUTHER. in bye paths and dismal swamps, or be greatly hindered by robe Vol. II. No. 10. Mmm
and professed his sorrow for his AN EXPLANATION OF HEBREWS sin. Peter, as soon as Christ vi. 4, 5, 6.
turned and looked on him, went
out and wept bitterly. Whether, In the place above referred to, therefore, real saints be secured, we find these words, “ It is im- by the tenor of the covenant, possible for those, who were
from total apostasy, or not; the once enlightened, and have tast- apostates here described, were ed of the heavenly gist, and were
not of that class. They were permade partakers of the Holy sons endured with supernatural Ghost, and have tasted the good gifts; not with spiritual graces. word of God, and the powers of The gifts and the graces of the the world to come ; if they shall Spirit had no certain connexion. fall away, to renew them again some, possessing the former, unto repentance; seeing they were destitute of the latter. Our crucify to themselves afresh the Saviour tells us, “ Many will Son of God, and put him to an
come to him and plead, that they
had cast out devils, and done It is manifest, that the words
wonderful works in his name ; recited can have no reference to but he will say to them, I know the defectibility of true saints; you not ; depart from me, ye for all, who suppose that such workers of iniquity.” Paul supmay fall away, believe that it is
poses “ that a man may have all possible for them to be renewed
knowledge, may understand all again to repentance. But of the mysteries, may speak with the apostates, mentioned in the pas- tongue of angels, and may have sage before us, the apostle says, faith 10 remove mountains, and “ It is impossible to renew them not have charity.” again.” It will not help the mat
The descriptive terms, used ter to say, that by impossible the
in the passage under consideraapostle means extremely and ne- tion, relate to those supernatural culiarly difficult ; for then it will
gifts, and miraculous powers, follow, that the recovery of an
which were dispensed in the offending and backsliding saint is apostolic times, and of which mamore difficult and doubtful, than
ny unsanctified men were partak the conversion of an habitual and
These persons are said to customary sivner. This certain
have been enlightened, or “ to ly is not true.
David and Peter, have received the knowledge of when they had fallen, whatever the truth,” perhaps by inspiwe suppose their fall to have ration as well, as by hearing and been, were more easily brought by study; for knowledge in the to repentance, than habitual, un
mysteries of religion is mentionrenewed sinners. David, when the prophet reproved him, im
ed among the extraordinary gifts mediately declared his iniquity, have lasted, i.e. to have had a
of the Spirit. They are said to
measure of the heavenly gift. • This is true of Wesleyan Meth. They had received those endow. odists, and other Arminian writers, but it seems not of those who embrace
ments, which were the gifts of the construction of Luther, just given. the Holy Ghost ; such as pro
Editors. phecying, speaking with tongues
interpreting of tongues, &c.; “as sinning wilfully, after they which gifts were bestowed after have received the knowledge of Christ's ascension - by the Holy the truth ; as treading under Ghost, sent down from heaven. foot the Son of God; as countIn reference to these gifts, the ing the blood of the covenant, apostle adds, They were made wherewith he,” (the Son of God) partakers of the Holy Ghost. It “ was sanctified,” (proved to be is farther said, They had tasted the Messiah)" an unholy thing; the good word of God ; i. e. had and as doing despite to the Spirit seen the evidence of its truth; of grace.” felt a conviction of its impor The persons then, here detance; been in some measure scribed, are such as had been reformed by its influence ; and guilty of the sin unto death ; perhaps preached it to others the sin, which our Saviour dewith some success. St. Peter nominates, speaking against, speaks of some, who through or blaspheming the Holy Ghost,” the knowledge of the Lord and and which, he says, “ shall never Saviour escape the pollutions of be forgiven." The reason, why the world, and yet are again en it cannot be forgiven, the apostle tangled therein and overcome.” here assigns, “ It is impossible These apostates are farther said to renew them again to repentto have tasted the powers of the ance ; for they have malignantly world 10
The world or rejected the highest evidence age to come, is a phrase used in that can be given in favour of prophecy for the times of the the gospel; and have impiously Messiah. The same and simi- trampled on
the last means, lar phrases are used in the New which God will use for their Testament. The powers of the conversion ; and have not only world to come are the miraculous resisted, but blasphemed, and depowers, dispensed in the time of spitefully treated the Spirit of Christ and his apostles. taste these powers is to have a As this subject has been parportion of them.
ticularly illustrated, in the PanoIn this description there is plist, Vol. I. page 442, the wrinothing, which implies a reno ter begs leave thither to refer vation of heart, or any thing the reader for farther satisfacmore, than what an upsanctified tion. person might, in those days of
THEOPHILUS. miraculous gifts, be supposed to possess, The persons here described,
THE DECALOGUE. the apostle supposes, might fall away ; and so fall away, as totally to reject, and virulently
“ Thou shalt not bear false witness to oppose the gospel of salva
against thy neighbour.” tion. Of these apostates, he says, “They crucify to them, NEIGHBOUR, according to gosselves afresh the Son of God, pel use, extends to any of manand put him to an open shame.” kind, with whom we may have He afterward describes them, intercourse. “ This command.