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Very different however is St. Peter's orthodoxy. Of whom a man is overcome, says he, of the fame is he brought into bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latler end is. worfe with them than the beginning. Nevertheless even such apostates, fe long as. the day of their viftation lafteth, may again repent and believe; for as you justly observe, they have still an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
VII. You try to prove your point by fcripture. There is, say you, no condemnation to them who are in Chrift. True! but it is while they walk not after the flejh, but after the spirit;. a. clause which you prudently keep out of sight. And surely David walked after the flesh, when in the aật of adultery 'and murder.-You proceed," who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's ele&t ?” Nobody, if God's elect are penitent believers, who walk nct after the flesh; but if ihey are impenitent adulterers and hypocritical murderers; Jews and Gentiles, Law and Gospel, Prophets and Apostles, God and their own conscience, ALI will agree to lay their crimes to their charge. You urge that." Chrift by one offering hath for ever: perfeEted them that are fančtified." True! but not thöfe who are unfan&tified. And certainly such are all adulterers and murderers. These ought rather to be ranked with those who tread under foot the blood. of the covenant wherewith they were fanctified.
“ It is said, however,. ye (believing, loving, fruita ful Colossians, see Chap. i. 4, 6.) are compleat in him.” It is so; but not ye impenitent backfliders, ye unclean defilers of another's bed. Such are compleat in evil not in good, in Belial not in Chrift. Alas for the prostitution of the sacred and pure word of: God! Can it also be pressed into the service of proa faneness and impurity? To rescue at least one sentence from such manifest abuse I might observe, the original may, with the greatest propriety be ren
dered "filled with (or by) him," instead of compleat in
and I think the context fixes this sense upon it.. The apostle is cautioning the Colossians against vain philosophers, whose do&trine was empty and deceitful. Now that he might do this the more effectually, he points out a more excellent teacher, whofe character and qualifications he describes when he says, in him dwelleth the fullnefs Thúcupice, of the Godhead. He immediately adds tenia.pwuívos év årlw. (a verb of the same etymology with the noun and undoubtedly of a similar import) ye are filled with (or by) him. As if he had said ó Christ is filled with the Godhead of the Father, and ye with the spirit of Christ, the spirit of wisdom, righteousness, and strength." Plenitudo Christi (says the learned and pious Bengelius on the patrage) redundat in ecclefiam, “ the fullness of God dwelling in the Mediator overflows
very translators liave given the very same two words in Ephef. iii. 19. Why they rendered them differently here is hard to say. VIII. You go on,
falls or backslidings in “ God's children, can ever bring them again under “ condemnation, because the law of the spirit of life in “. Christ Jesus: hath made them free from the law of fin 66 and death." A most dangerous proposition, exposed Vind. page 88, and contrary to the very fcripture by which you try to support it. (1.) To the context, where those to whom there is no condemiration, are said to be persons who walk not after the flesh, and are therefore very different from impenitént adulterers and murderers, who bring forth the most execrable fruits of the flesh. (2.) To the text itself; for if the law, or power of the spirit of life in Christ Jefus hath made the believer free from the law, or power of fin; how can he be represented as the tame servant of fin;-as sold under sin-fold under adultery and murder for ten months ! But you are not at a loss for an answer,
IX. “We IX." We are very apt, say you, to set up mouno tainous distinctions concerning the various degrees 6 of fin, especially of sins after conversion :” This, together with your placing " an angry thought" upon a level with deliberate murder, seems to insinuate that you make very little difference between an atrocious. crime and a fin of surprize; so that, upon your scheme, a bloody murderer may plead that he is not more guilty, than a man who has felt a motion of impatience; and the latter may be hurried out of his wits, as if he had committed murder. To remove this. mistake, I need only observe, that if all are papists who make a material difference between various. fins, or between the same fins variously aggravated, my worthy opponent is as found a papist as myself: for when he aêts as a magiftrate, he does not promifcuously pass the same sentence upon every one.
Не. commits one to prison, and dismisses another with a gentle reprimand. Our Lord himself sets you the pattern of this equity where he says, that the Pharisees shall receive the GREATER damnation, and that it shall be MORE TOLERABLE for Sodom than for Corazin in the day of judgment : whence we may juftly infer, that the sin of some is mountainous's than that of others..
But as you have made choice of David's case, per: mit me to argue from his experience. He was once, you know, violently angry with Nabal; but as he feasonably restrained' his anger, and meekly confessed his fin, God forgave him without “ breaking his bones.” Not so when the unrestained evil of his heart in the matter of Uriah produced the external fruits of treachery and murder. For then the Lord inflicted upon him all the dreadful punishments which we have already confidered. Hear the rod therefore, and learn what vast difference the Lord makes between fins whether committed after, or before conversion.
X. What follows is a sweet and smooth Antinomian pill, so much the more dangerous as it is gilt
with gold taken from the sanctuary, from the golders altar itself. Hence it is that multitudes. swallow it down as rich grace without the least scruple or sufpicion. Lord, dart a beam of thy wisdom into the mind of thy servant, that I may separate the precious from the vile, and expose the dangerous ingredient without depreciating the gold that covers it.
" What is all sin, do you say, before the infinitely “ precious atoning blood of Jesus?" Nothing at all, when that blood is humbly apprehended by penitent believers who depart from alliniquity. But, when it is accounted a common thing; and trodden under foot by impenitent apoftates; or wantónly pleaded. in defence of fin by loose Nicolaitans or lukewarm Laodiceans, it does not answer its gracious design, On the contrary, how shall we escape, fays St. Paul, if we thus neglect such great falvation! And of how much forer punishment than others shall they be thought worthy who do such despite to the spirit of grace! see Heb. ii. 32 and x. 29. You go on,
66 If Christ has fulfilled the whole law and borne " the curse, then all debts and claims against his 6 people, be they more or be they less, be they " Imall or be they great, be they before, or be they 66 after conversion, are for ever and for ever can“ celled. All trespasses are forgiven them. They are 6 justified from all things. They already have ever
lasting life.” What! before they repent and believe! A bold assertion this! which sets Jesus againft Christ-our PRIEST against our PROPHET. For Christ himself teaches us that
for whom his fatlings are killed, and all things are slow rady, thro' an obftinate refusal of his fincere (I hope no body will fay hypocritical) invitations, fhall never taste of his fupper. And as if this was not enough to arm us against your doctrine, he commissioned an apostle to assure his church, that some who have tafted of his gospelsupper, that is, who have been enlightened, have tasted the heavenly gift, the good word of God, and the powers
of the world to come, do crucify to themselves the fon of God afresh, and by that mean, fo totally fall away, that it is imposible to renew them again to repentance.
А clear proof this that those who once truly repented,
and were even made partakers of the Holy Ghost, may E quench the Spirit, and fin against the Holy Ghost, may not only fall, but fall finally, Heb. vi. 4.
(2.) Your doctrine sets also our high PRIEST againft our heavenly King, who declares, that if he who was once his faithful servant, begins to beat his fellow fervants, much more to murder them, he will, as judge of all, command him to be bound hand and foot, and delivered to the tormenters. See 2d check, page 4.
(3.) Your doctrine drags after it all the absurdities of eternal, absolute justification. It sets aside the use of repentance and faith, in order to pardon and acceptance. It represents the sins of the elect as for
given, not only before they are confessed, but even E
before they are committed ; a notion which that strong Calvinist Dr. Owen himself.could not but oppose. It supposes that all the penitents who have believed that they were once children of wrath, and that God was displeased at them when they lived in sin, have believed a lie. It makes the preaching of the gospel one of the moft absurd, wicked and barbarous things in the world. For what can be more absurd than to say repent ye and believe the gespel, he that
believeth shall be damned, if a certain number can never De repent or believe, and a certain number can never be
damned? And what can be more wicked, than to dis• tress eleet sinners by bidding them fly from the wrath : to come, if there is absolutely no wrath, neither past, present, nor to come for them, if all their fins 66 bé they more or less, be they small or great are for ever and for ever cancelled ?" As for the reprobates, how barbarous is it to bid them fly, if adamantine chains, eternal decrees of past wrath, perpetually bind them down, that they may never escape the repeated eternal rokes of the wrath to come ?