Cornu.) Therefore, tho' she is as fit for the work, as niott of those which he does it with; he never puts her to his plow, no not when he makes the most crooked furrows. Should it be asked, why the devil did not encourage Christ to throw himself down, by giving bim some hints, that a grievous fall would humble him, would make him sympathize with the fallen, would drive him nearer to God, would give him an opportunity to fhout louder the praises of preserving grace, &c. I reply, that the tempter was 100 wife to fhow so openly the cloven foot of his doctrine : too decent, not to save appearances : tuo. judicious to imitate Zelotes.

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What thoughts cur Lord, St. John, St. Paul, and St.

Jemis, ettertained of fallen believers. A parallel berw.en she tacksliders delineated by St. Peter, and theje ulo are described by St. Jude. An horrible deAration atvaits them, for denying the Lord that bought them, and for turning the grace of Ged into lascivioufness.


T is impoffible to do the doctrine of perseverance

Apoftles say of apoftates. Even in their days the number of falling and fallen believers was so great, that a confi erable part of the last Epistles seems to be nothing but a charge against apoftates, an attempt to reclaim pharifaic and antinomian backsliders, and a warning to those who yet stood, not to fall away after the same example of unbelief and conformity to this present world.

Begin we by an extract from Christ's epiftles to the churches of Asia. Tho' the EPHESIANS hated the DEEDS of the Nicolaitans, yet after Sc. Paul's death, they so far inclined to lukewarmness, that they brought upon themselves the following reproof. I



have somewhat against thee, because THOU HAST LEFT thy first love. Remember therefore, whence THOU ART FALLEN, and repent, and do thy first works, OR ELSE I will remove thy candlesick. -The church at Per

was not in a better condition, witness the severe charge that follows: Thou haft them that hold the doétrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Ifrael, &c. to commit fornication. So haft thou also them that hold the do&rine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.Repent, or ELSE I will fight against thee with the Sword of my mouth. — The contagion reached the faithful church of THYATIRA, as appears from these words : Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel to SEDUCE MY SERVANTS TO commit fornication.-But unto, &c. as many as have not THIS DOCTRINe, and have not known the depths OF SATAN, I will put upon you none other burden.-In Sardis a few names (only) had not defiled their garments, the generality of christians there bad, it seems, a name to live and were dead.

But the fall of the Laodiceans was universal : before they suspected it, they had all, it seems, Nidden back into the smooth, downward road that leads to hell. I know thy works, says Christ, I wouls thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukeWürm, I will spue thee out of my mouth.-[Like those who stand complete merely in notions of imputed righteousness ) thou say, I am rich, &c. and have need of nothing; and knowejt not that thou art wretched, peor, blind, and naked. Rev. ii. iii.'

Can we read this fad account of the declension,' and falling away of the saints, without asking the following questions ? (1) If backsliding aud apostacy were the bane of the primitive church, according to our Lord's doctrine; and if he did not promise to ANY of those backsliders, that victorious, almighty grace would ceRTAINLY bring them back; what can we think of Zelotes's doctrine, which promises infallible perseverance, and ensures finished Jalvation to EVERY backsliding, apoftatizing believer? (2) If the primitive church, newly collected by the spirit and sprinkled by the blood of Christ, guided by apoftolic preachers, preserved by the falt of persecation, and guarded by miraculous powers, thro' which apoftates could be given to Satan for the deftruction of the flesh, [witness the case of Ananias, Sapphira, and the inceftuous Corinthian ;] - If the primitive church, I say, with all these advantages, was in such danger by the falling away of the saints, as to require all those reproofs and threatenings from Christ himself: is it not astonishing, that whole bodies of proteftant believers Ihould rise in our degenerate days to such a pitch of unfcriptural assurance, as to promise themselves, and one another, absolute, infallible perseverance in the divine favour? And (3) if the apoftate Nicholas, once a man of honeft report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, but afterwards (it seems) the ring-leader of the Nicolaitans : if Nicholas, I say, went about to lay a fumbling-block before christians, by teaching them that fornication would never hinder their final perseverance, never endanger their finished salvation ; does Zelotes mend the matter when he infinuates withal, that fornication, yea, adultery, and, if need be, murder, will do christians good, and even answer the most excellent ends for them?

Confider we next what were St. John's thoughts of antinomian apoftates. He had such a fight of the mischief, which their doctrine did, and would do in the church, that he declares, This is love, that we WALK after his commandments. This is the commandment, that ye have heard from the beginning, ye should WALK in it. For MANY DECEIVERS are entered into the world, who confess not (practically) that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (to destroy the works of the Devil: who deny Chrilt in his holy doctrine : and, among other dangerous absurdities, will even give you broad hints, that you may commit adultery and murder without ceasing to be God's dear children. But believe them rot.] Look to yourselves that we lose nor


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those things which we have wrought. Whosoever TRANSGRESSETH and ABIDETH NOT in the [prac. tical] doctrine of Christ, hath not God &c. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God (peed. 2 John 6, to jo. – Again, He that Jaith, I know him, and keepeth nor his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. - Thele things have I written unto you, concerning them that sedUCE you. 1 John i, 4, 26.- Little children, let no man DECEIVE you : He that does righteousness is righteous, &c. He that COMMITTETH fin is of the devil, &c. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil. 1 John iii, 7, &c. - They [who hold the contrary doctrine) went out from us, but [in general] they were not of us they were not ALL of us [the heart of most of them had already departed both from God and from us.) i John ii, 19.

What a fine opportunity had St. John of saying here, “If they are elect they will INFALLIBLY come back to us." But, as he believed not the modern doctrines of grace," he says nothing, either for Calvin's reprobation, or Dr. Crisp's election. Nor does he drop the least hint about a day of God's power, in which changeless love was infALLIBLY to bring back one of all those backsliders, to make him fing louder the praises of free, sovereign, victorious grace. See page 92. This passage of St. John therefore, which Zelotes quotes as a demonstration of Calvinian elec tion, makes against it, rather than for it.

Altho' I have frequently mentioned St. Paul's thoughts concerning fallen believers, I am persuaded,



That this is St. John's meaning appears from the absurdity of supposing, that one and all backsiders are calvinistically reprobated : For, if being of us, means being calvinistically elected; when the Joving apostle fays, If the bad been of us they would no doubt bave continued with us; it necessarily follows, that all who do not continue with us -- all who start aside for any time, are not of us, i. e. upon the Calvinian plan, are absolute reprobates, mere bypocrites: a doctrine this, too locking to be admitted even in mystical Geneva,

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with me,

that the reader will not be sorry to see them balanced with St. James's sentiments on the same subject. St. Paul's account of Si, James's account of Bakiders,

faithful believers. 1. Alexander the cop- 2. My brethren, &c. if per-smith, (who wis once there come unto

your a zealous christian, fee affembly a man in goodly Acis xix. 33.] did me apparel, and also a poor much evil; the Lord re- man in vile raiment, and ! ward him according to ye have respect to him his works, - No

that weareth, the

gay (i. t. 10 believer) stood clothing, &c. are ye not

but ALL for- partial ? &c. But YE HAVE fook me : I pray God

DESPISED the poor, &c. that it niay not be laid If ye have respect to perto their charge. 2 Tim. fons ye commit fin, &c. iv, 14. - I fear leit when for whosoever (of you] I come I shall not find shall keep the whole law, you such as I would left and yet offend in one there be debates, envy- | point, he is guilty of ings, wraths, itrifes, back. all. — From whence come bitiogs,whisperings, swell- wars among you? Come ings, tumulis; and left they not even of your my God humble me luits ? &c. YB ADULTERmung you, and that I

and adulteresses, thall bewail many, which i know ye not that, &c. have finned already, and whosoever will be have not repented of the friend of the world, is uncleanness, and forni. the enemy of God? Jam. cation and laciviousness, | ii. 1, &c. iv, 1, 4. which they have coinmitted. 2 Cor. xii. 20, 21.--Not forsaking the assembo ling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, &c. for if we fin wilfully (as they do] there Teraineth more sacrifice for fin, but a certain fearful looking for of jogdment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries, &c. (especially him] who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath coupied the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanciified, an unholy thing,






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