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is by no means the case. If God has unalterably determined or decreed, that some men shall be saved, doubtless their salvation is matter of necessity; but not otherwise. It is mat. ter of certainty that I write, but is it matter of necessity ? may
I not lay down my pen, and turn my attention to something else?
The substance of his second argument is derived from those metaphors which are used in the Bible, to represent the security of the saints.” The first is that by which Christ is styled the good shepherd; and Mr. H. has quoted the following passage, and in the following mutilated manner.“I am the good shepherd.” (John x. 11.) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and I give unto them eternal life,” ver. 27, 28. This is another proof that to carry their points, our opponents are reduced to the miserable shist of mutilating the word of God. The Presbyterians have quoted it in the same way, in their Confession of Faith, adopted May, 1821. The important condition of " following Christ, is essential to the perfection of the passage. Restore this, and it makes nothing for our opponents; for we all agree, that those who continue to hear his voice, and folloro him, shall never perish. Thus the poet
“Unless the fold we first forsake,
The wolf can never harm." So important a consideration is following Christ, that he himself has made it a principal condition of discipleship; saying, “If any man will be my disciple, let him deny him. seli, take up his cross daily and follow me.” Let any man continue to do this, and he has the character of a sheep of Christ; and while he sustains this character he shall never perish. Nay, I am persuaded with the Apostle, that "neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powe use deception, and assert that there is danger of defiling their hearts, and of being destroyed for it, when he did not believe it possible ? What a door to wickedness does such a doctrine open! The last metaphor is that which repre. sents all christians as belonging to the same family, and to whon Christ is a brother. He then supposes that brothers would " not give up each other to their common enemy, if they were able to prevent it.” Very true but might not one go voluntarily away ? See the case of the prodigal; yea, and thousands of mournful examples of the same un. happy step!
While we are on the subject of metaphors, we will help our author to one more. It is that taken from a vine and its branches; John, chap. xv. It represents the union between Christ and his Church. Addressing his disciples he ob. serves—“Now ye are clean, through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered ; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned ; verses 3, 4, 5, 6. But it is possible that Mr. H. will not allow that they were in Christ in reality, only professionally. Well, let us see how the passage
will read in that way. Now ye are clean pro. fessionally through the word which I have spoken unto you professionally. Abide in me professionally, and I in you professionally, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine professionally, no more can ye, except ye abide in me professionally. I am the vine, ye are the branches professionally. He that abideth in me, and !
I am the vine, ye
in him, professionally, the same bringeth forth much fruit. professionally; for without me, ye can do nothing profes sionally. If a man abide not in me professionally, he is cast forth as a branch, withered, gathered, cast into the fire, and burned professionally ! O, error, to what miserable shifts dost thou reduce thy advocates ! Again, look at Rom. xi, 16, 22, where the believing Gentiles are threatened with excision unless they continue in the goodness of God.
The third argument of Mr. H. according to his own account, may be drawn from those passages, which seem to admit that real christians, may lose the life and appearance of religion to a lamentable degree; which at the same time show us that they will not wholly apostatise." p. 167. Now as the life and appearance of religion, evidently make the whole of that blessed principle, it is very strange, indeed, that the Lord should so leave his word, that it should to admit that real Christians may lose both to a lamentable degree," if they cannot ; but if they may, then they may wholly apostatise. Nor has Mr. H. shown that they cannot from the passages which he mentions. But what are they? The first is, ' A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.' Prov. xxiv, 16. In the first place I deny that this text has any reference whatever to falling into sin ; and if it had, does it prove that a just man might not fall the eighth time, and not rise up again? It does not.
But what is the true meaning of the text? A just man falleth seven times into calamities or worldly troubles, and riseth up again. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” “He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea, in seven, there shall no evil touch thee.” Job, v. 19. Read the context, also, of the text in question, and it will be seen that this is its true sense. "Lay not wait, 0, wicked men, against the dwelling of the right
eous-spoil not his resting place--for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.” When the text, then, is put into its proper connexion, it speaks no such language as Mr. H. intimates. The falling mentioned, is by the oppressive hand of the wicked, and not by sin. Should some good Christian man,
“ be left” to defraud Mr. H. out of an hun. dred dollars, he would hardly give him the title of “a just man.'
But let us consider the second text.—But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will, with the temptation, make a way to escape. Does this
passage seem to admit that real Christians may lose the life and appearance of religion, to a lamentable degree?" Where is it shown from the text? Is it because it is said that they were tempted ? If so, the same argument will prove that Christ himself was a sinner, for he was “tempted in all points as we are." But there is no such thing intimated in the text; and we here again see, what shists our oppo. nents are under the necessity of making, to support their theory. But what does the text mean? Doubtless that God will not suffer the faithful soul to be tempted above that he is able to bear; but, on his part, will make a way to escape. The Apostle is speaking, in this chapter of the Israelites, who fell in the wilderness; he observes, And did all eat of that spiritual meat ; and did all drink of the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was Christ » Yet, he de. clares, that with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” on to set forth the sins by which they fell; the punishment of which he would turn to a most solemn warning, to the Christian Church. “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” They fell by idolatry,
Here he goes
fornication, tempting Christ, and murmuring against God. He then declares, for their encouragement, that “no temptation had taken them but such as is common to man," and that God is faithful, &c. evidently showing them, that if they apostatized after the same example of unbelief, it would not be from any failure on God's part; as if he had said, if you apostatise it will be your own fault, as it was that of the Israelites; you will not be able to say in extenuation of your guilt, that you were uncommonly tempted; for no temp. tation hath befallen you, but such as is common to man, and God, on his part, will be faithful. That this is the true meaning of the text, taken in its proper connexion, is evi. dent.
The last text in this argument, is found 2 Tim. ii. 18, 19. « Who concerning the truth have erred; saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal :- The Lord knoweth them that are his. And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” The observation of Mr. H. upon this passage is this. “The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to Timothy, admonishes him to shun certain teachers, alleging, that, by their corrupt instructions, they had overthrown the faith of some.” And then adds, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal ; the Lord knoweth them that are his.' He then goes on and observes :-“ From this we have an undoubted right to conclude, that the faith which had been overthrown, was not a living, but a cold and dead faith," p. 168. Two of the false teachers, mentioned by the Apostle, were Hymeneus and Philetus, who had erred from the truth, &c. Now suppose, as Mr. H. contends, that the faith which these men overthrew, was not a living, but a cold and dead faith ; did they not do an acceptable service to