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taught were in the first place ad- that they may receive forgive. dressed to the understandings of ness of sins, and an inheritance his audience; and then pointed among them which are sanctified. to their hearts and consciences, Has not this been the case in a that they might feel what they greater or less degree, in every were, what God is, and what age since the promulgation of they must become, to enjoy his Christianity ? Does not the hisblissful presence.
tory of the church from its comWhen those important and in- mencement sufficiently justify teresting truths of the gospel the observations which have been were illustrated before their eyes, made? Will not the age in and pressed home upon their which we live, clearly confirm consciences, with the apostle's them? Particularly, when we usual, conclusive and forcible find the same truth taught from manner of reasoning; could they the highest authority. So then avoid reflecting upon their con- faith cometh by hearing, and dition in a moral view ? that hearing by the word of God. without an influence from the
IMPROVEMENT. divine Spirit they should never 1. We may infer that it is the yield to take their seats at the immediate duty of every one, footstool, and place God on the who has heard the gospel, to, throne in their affections ? The embrace it. If the offer of life conclusion must be, in their and salvation has been made to moments of cool reflection, that us, to Jews, or heathen, and the they were justly in the hands of conditions upon which they are an holy God, and at his disposal. attainable have been clearly exAre not such means calculated plained and illustrated in our in the best manner to bring sin- hearing, can it be otherwise than ners to see and feel that they reasonable, and true, that all are encompassed on every side such ought immediately to comby an holy God, and their only ply with those conditions ? Is it hope, is immediately to surren- not their reasonable duty to make der their whole souls to him, a surrendry of their whole through Jesus Christ? Better souls to God through Jesus means cannot be devised to awa- Christ immediately; and present ken sinners, to open their eyes, their bodies living sacrifices, hoand to turn them from darkness ly, and acceptable? To repent of to light, and from the power of sin, to believe on the Lord Jesus Satan unto God.
Christ, and love God with all Again, the divine blessing and their hearts ? success which have attended the A review of our subject natadministration of the words of urally shows us the obligations eternal life, show their fitness men are under to embrace the and propriety. This is a strong gospel plan with the most corevidence that such means were dial affection ; especially, from appointed of heaven, therefore this consideration, that the Most were blessed ; and they carry High has extended his arm of their own evidence with them, mercy to rebellious subjects, that they were devised in the when there was none to pity, nor highest wisdom to accomplish any other possible way of escape. the purpose mentioned in the text, | Redemption for sinners was proVol. VI. No. ),
cured, at no less expense than place to place, from country to precious blood ; in this, was in-country, preaching the word of finite benevolence displayed ; a God with great success, gatherview of which ought to inspire ing churches and ordaining them every man with gratitude, and Elders in every church. At the lead all to feel the force of the appointed time, they returned, obligations they are under to be- and rehearsed all that God had come immediately religious. done with them, and how he had
2. From the light in which opened the door of faith unto this subject hath been consider- the Gentiles. Is there not an high ed, and the wonderful events of resemblance of these things, in the present day, may we not what has, and does still take conclude there is some resem- place in the present age ? Parblance between the present and ticularly in many parts of Christhe apostolic age ? From the in- tendom, and in parts on which formation given us in our text, the light of the gospel had never men were raised up soon after beamed. Many are sent on misChristianity had beamed on the sions, not only into new and desworld, and sent to preach good titute settlements, but into heatidings of peace and salvation to then lands. Turn your eyes perishing sinners. Is not this northerly, southerly, easterly, the case at the present day? and westerly, and what pleasing Those who were raised up in scenes will unfold to view ? God the apostles' days, for this benev- is carrying on his work, not only olent purpose, were not confined in America and Europe, but in within the limits of Jerusalem South Africa, and the East Innor Judea, but were sent among dies. Are not these tidings that the Gentiles, to carry them good God has opened the door of faith news from heaven; that good unto the heathen ? will was proclaimed to mankind through Jesus Christ. Barnabas
But another prominent feaand Saul appear to have been ture in this resemblance is the among the first, who were pur- opposition which the apostles posely sent to preach the gospel met, and which is now met from among the Gentiles. Previously the enemies of religion. Is this to this there had been a small any thing more than is to be exchurch formed at Antioch in pected from the human heart, if Syria ; and these pious men
it be as it is described in the pawere members of the same, and ges of inspiration ? Has not this by direction of the Holy Ghost, always been the case, and will it were set apart for this important not continue while the impeniwork. They sailed first to Cy- tent heart remains the same ? prus, and preached the word of Have not error and infidelity God, at Salamis, then they went always made rapid progress, to Paphos, to Perga in Pamphi- notwithstanding the increase of Jia, from thence to Pisidia." In light and knowledge, and the these places they preached the clear manner in which divine gospel, but not without much truth has been illustrated ? Was opposition from the Jews who not this the case in the days of dwelt in those parts. In this the apostles, when the unbelievinanner they proceeded from ing Jews stirred up the Centiles
and made their minds evil affect- is approaching when the Jews ed against the brethren ? shall have an hearing ear given
3. When we candidly reflect them, and an understanding on the manner in which Chris- heart, and shall be gathered in tianity has been promulgated a- with the fullness of the Gentiles, mong mankind, may we not rest and the appearance of this assured, that its author and sup- world, in moral things, shall be porter must be divine, and that like a new creation of God ? all the promises of good to the From this view of things as church, which are found in the they are now directed by infinite record of God, will be accom- wisdom, will not every one be plished. No other weapons have animated with the pleasing prosbeen used to overcome the oppo- pects of Zion's prosperity, and sition made by the depraved readily lend his aid by prayer, heart than light and truth ; and and giving liberally as God has these, attended by the divine ef- enabled him, remembering that ficacy, will eventually prevail the earth is the Lord's and the and be completely victorious. fulness thereof; that all having Many promises of good to the freely received ought freely to church have been accomplished, give; for the cause is the Lord's, and others are now accomplish- and the boundless bliss belongs ing, which may be considered to men. May we not when we as the earnest that those which look forward to the future prossemain shall be fulfilled.
perity of the church, adopt the Has 'not Jesus come in the language of the prophet, Arise, flesh, and did not the Jews do shine, for thy light is come, and unto him as it had been foretold ? | the glory of the Lord is risen Do they not now answer the upon thee. The Gentiles shall ry description given of them by come to thy light, and kings to Moses their leader, and lawgiver the brightness of thy rising. under God? When we cast our eyes upon the heathen world, does not the wilderness begin to blossom, and Ethiopia to Thoughts on Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. stretch out her hands unto God?
NO. II. Behold, Philistia, and Tyre with “ FOR it is impossible for Ethiopia, this man was born those, who have been once enthere. Is it not true that the lightened,” &c. heathen now testify that they are given to the Son for his in- N the thoughts on this pas. heritance, and the utterinost sage, which were published parts of the earth for his posses- in Vol. V. No. 12. Page 448 of sion ?. Is it not evident that he this Magazine, an attempt was is saying to the north give up, made to show, that it must be to the south keep not back, understood, with reference to bring my sons from far, and my real saints. daughters from the ends of the Setting aside the construcearth ?-- That the river Euphra- tion there given, it has beeħ urtes is drying up, and the way ged, that, when saying, in a subpreparing for the kings of the sequent verse, Beloved, we are east to come in ? That the time persuaded better things of you,
and things that accompany sal- | to go on unto perfection, as to vation, though we thus speak, have gone, first of all to prove, the apostle had reference to that, if men who had made great being enlightened, tasting the progress in unholy attainments, heavenly gift, &c. and was per- should commit the unpardonable suaded better things of the He- sin, they must inevitably perish? brews than these. This seems, For invalidating the arguhowever, to have been suggested | ment in the preceding number, by the want of more cogent it may be said, the apostle's reaand decisive proof. The better soning seems to imply, that things, of which the apostle was those who had been once en. persuaded, most naturally refer lightened, &c. might fall away ; to the similitude of the earth, that, therefore, they were not mentioned in the preceding real saints ; and that he would, verse, which is said to bring otherwise, have reasoned to no forth briars and thorns, and to be purpose. The conclusiveness of nigh unto cursing, whose end is all this depends, however, on its to be burned; evidently denot being absurd, and suited to aning the character and fearful end swer no valuable purpose, to of the ungodly. Saint Paul, have deduced a consequence, therefore, was persuaded better from a supposition of what could things, than the apostasy and fi- not consist with the faithfulness nal destruction of such as had of God, and the stability of his been savingly enlightened; tho', gracious covenant with believers. he took occasion to reason with | As the alleged impropriety of them from a supposition of their reasoning in this sort, and its falling away, that he might not being readily seen, that any thence illustrate, and enforce on practical use can be made of it, them, in the most impressive are the main difficulties attend. manner, the duty and importance ing the construction here given, of going on unto perfection.- a solution of these difficulties will But the contested passage hav- now be attempted. ing reference to a peculiar de- Of the impropriety of reasonscription of persons, who had | ing in this way, we are not at never known the grace of God, liberty to judge, from any feelin truth, he must be considered, ings, or prepossessions of our as laboring at nothing higher, own, nor from any arguments than to guard such persons which are not furnished by an against falling away, from those appeal to the word of God. If graceless and unholy attain- it appear, on a fair examination, ments, which
not the that the Spirit of inspiration has smallest approach towards sav- had recourse to the same mode ing religion ; attainments, which, of reasoning with mankind en if rested in, would as surely this, or on other important subleave them to perish, as if they jects, the objection, so far as had already committed the sin respects propriety, will be sufunto death. But can it be ima- ficiently obviated. We shall begined, that the apostle should gin with what is said, Ezekiel have so soon, and so far depart-xviii. 24. But when the righted from the proposition, with eous turneth away from his which hc began the chapter, viz. righteousness, and committeth
iniquity, and doth according to will doubt, whether this intends all the abominations, that the evangelical and saving repent, wicked man doth, shall he live? ance. On this, and on nothing All the righteousness that he hath short of it, is it promised, that done, shall not be remembered : men shall surely live. The rightin the trespass that he hath tres-cous, therefore, to whom this passed, and in the sin which he promise is exclucively made, are hath sinned, in them shall he doubtless subjects of the repentdie. In this book of prophecy ance, which must here be unare two other passages, which derstood. They alone have cast are parallel with that now quo- away from them all their transted : i. 20, and xxxii. 13. To gressions, and turned unto God, the present purpose it seems ne- in exercise of a new heart, and cessary to show, that, by the a new spirit. The promise of righteous, in these passages, we living is made on no inferior conmust understand real saints ; ditions. Hence it is said in the and by their righteousness, that immediate view of this direction, holiness of heart and life, which Turn ye, for why will ye die ? distinguish them from the rest But still, it is declared, that, If of mankind. The righteous and the righteous turn asvay from his wicked, in each of the chapters righteousness, and commit iniquireferred to, are accordingly con- ty, which are of similar import trasted, as men of opposite char- to falling away, after having ence acters, in the sight of God; the been renewed unto repentance, former, as having a divine prom- all his righteousness which he hath ise of eternal life; and the lat. done, shall not be remembered ;ter, as threatened with that death he shull surely die. Here then which is the wages of sin. It is, is an example, which is an extherefore, written, verse 20, The act parallel, in point of sentiment soul that sinneth, it shall die : and reasoning, with that which but verse 21, If the wicked will has been considered, from the turn from all his sins that he epistle to the Hebrews. Tho' hath committed, and keep all what is here said of the righteous my statutes, and do that which if he shall turn away from his is lawful and right, he shall sure- righteousness, is not expressed ly live ; he shall not die. This in precisely the same terms, it turning from all his sins, and is conceived, that it admits the keeping all God's statutes, which same construction, with what is have his promise of life, are ex- said of apostates from the Chrisplained to mean, not a mere out- tian faith, viz. that they cannot ward reformation, which might be renewed again unto repentbe connected with temporal bles- ance.
He shall surely die, he sings, but that repentance, out shall not live. In point of propriof a renewed heart, which is ety, therefore, there can be no said in the gospel to be unto life. objection to the apostle's having Hence saith the Holy One, verse reasoned from a case, which 31, Cast away from you all your shall never be realized in fact, transgressions, whereby ye have This is proved, by an appeal to trunsgressed, and make you a new the things which are taught by heart and a new sfiirit, for why the Holy Spirit
. Other examwill ye die ? It is presumed none ples may be adduced from the