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Justin Martyr tells us, " that by calling upon God the Father, and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

, and the name of the Holy Ghoff, o Φωτιζόμενος λάφεται, the enlightened person is washed ; and again more expressly, Kansitold die této dotpor Patiguos, this laver (speaking of baptism) is called illumination. And St. Cyprian gives us the reason; because by virtue of baptism in expiatum pectus ac purum defuper fe lumen infundit, Light is infused from above into the purified foul. And that this expression is so to be understood here in the text, as also chap. x. 32. the Syriac and Ethiopic give us good ground to believe ; for they render the text thus, It is impossible for those who have been once baptised, and have tasted of the heavenly gift. And at the 10th chap. ver. 32. which we translate, But call to remembrance

, the former days, in which after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of af flictions; that is, call to mind the former days, in which after by baptism ye had publickly embraced the profeflion of Christianity, ye were upon that ac, count exposed to many grievous sufferings and pers secutions. So that I think there can be no great doubt, but, by those that were once enlightened, the Apostle means those that were baptifed.

To proceed then, For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heaven. ly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost; these two expressions seem to denote the fpiritual benefits and graces of the Holy Ghost conferred upon Christians by baptism ; particularly regeneration, which is the proper work of the Holy Ghost, and justification and remission of sins. So we find faith, where by we are justified, called the gift of God, Eph. ii. 8. Faith is the gift of God; and our juftification is called a gift, and a free gift, five several times in one chapter, Rom. v. 15, 16, 17, 18. But not as the of fence, so also is the free gifts for if through the of fence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is boy one man, Fesus Christ, hath abounded unto many; and what this free gift is, he tells us in the next words, viz. justification, or remission of sins, yer 16. And not as it

was

was by one that finned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation ; but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence, death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation : even so by the righte. ousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. So that by the heavenly gift, I understand remission of fins; and by being made partakers of the Holy Ghost, the sanctifying power and efficacy of God's Spirit,

And have tasted the good word of God; that is, entertained the gospel, which is here called the goodo word of God, by reason of the gracious promises contained in it, particularly the promises of eternal life and happiness.

And the powers of the world to come, durémens is ué aortas är@ros, the powers of the gospel age; that is, the miraculous powers of the Holy Ghost which were bestowed upon men, in order to the propagation of the gospel. And that this is the true meaning of this phrale, will, I think, be very plain to any one who shall but consider, that the word suvepers is generally in scripture used for miraculous powers and operations; and particularly to express the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were bestowed upon the Apostles and first Christians; ( I need not cite the particular texts for the proof this, they are so many and so well known;) and then if we consider farther, that the times of the gospel, the days of the Meflias, are frequently called by the Jews feculum futurum, the age to come. And indeed this is the very phrase used by the LXX concerning our Saviour, Ila. ix. 6. where he is called according to our translation, The everlasting Father, but according to that of the LXX, Watne méanovi davo, The Father of the future age. And this very phrase is used once more in this epistle to the Hebrews, chap. ii. 5. For unto the Angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we now speak. He had laid before, that the law was given by Angels, ver. 2. if the word spoken by angels was stedfaft; but the dispensation of the gospel, which he calls the world to come, or the future age, was not committed to them, this was administred by the Son of God; Unto the Angels hath he not put in fubjection the world to come. And it is observable, that this phrafe is only used in this epiftle to the Hebrews, because the Jews very well understood the meaning of it, being that whereby they commonly expressed the times of the gospel, according to that ancient tradition of the house of Elias, which distributed the duration of the world into three a bõves, or åges; the age before the law, the age under the law, and the age of the Mesa sias, which they called the seculum futurum, or the age to come; and which is likewise in fcripture called, the last days, or times, and the conclusion of the ages. Concerning which it was particularly prophesied, that the Holy Ghost should be poured forth upon men in miraculous gifts and powers, And to this very purpose the Prophet Joel is cited by St. Peter, Aas ii. 16, 17. This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Foel, And it shall come to pass in the last days (faith God) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your fons and your daughters fhall prophefy, &c. From all which it is very evident, that by tafting of the powers of the world to come, is meant being partakers of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were poured forth in the gospel age, by 'the Jews com-. monly called the world to come. :

If they shall fall away; that is, if after all this, they fhall apoftatize from this profession, out of love to this present world, or from the fear of persecutions and sufferings.

It is impossible to renew them again to repentance; that is, it is a thing, very difficult, hardly to be hoped for, that such wilful and notorious apoftates should be restored again by repentance. For the word id uvccmov, which we tranllate impossible, is not always to be taken in the strictest fense, for that which: absolutely cannot be; but many times for that which is so very difficult that it seems next to an impossia.

bility.

bility. So our Saviour, that which in one place he calls exceeding hard; viz. for a rich man to enter into the kindom of heaven, he aftewards calls impoffible with men; and so here I understand the Apostle, that those who apoftatize from Christianity, after baptism and the benefits of it, it is exceeding hard to recover them again to repentance : This phrase, neλιν ανακαινίζειν εις μετάνοιαν, to renew them again to repentance, some understand of restoring them again to the peace and communion of the church, by a course of penance, such as was prescribed in the ancient church to great offenders; and then they understand by áfúvatov, not a natural, but a moral impoffibility; that which cannot be done according to the orders and constitutions of the church; that is, the church did refuse to admit apoftates, and some other great offenders, as murderers and adulterers, to a course of penance, in order to their reconciliation with the church: This Tertullian tells us was the Atrictness of the church in his time,Neque idololatria, neque fanguini pax ab ecclefia redditur ; they admitted neither idolaters, nor murderers, to the reconciliation of the church. Though they were never fo penitent, and shed never so many tears, yet he says they were jejuna pacis lachryma, their tears were in vain, to reconcile them to the peace and communion of the church. He says indeed they did not absolutely pronounce their case desperate in respect of God's. pardon and forgiveness; sed de venia Deo reserva. mus, for that they referred them to God: but they were never to be admitted again into the church; fo. ftrict were many churches, and that

upon

the authority of this text'; though the church of Rome was more moderate in this matter, and for that reason called the authority of this book in question.

But I see no reason why thefe words should primarily be understood of restoring men to the communion of the church by pepance : but they seem to be meant of restoring men to the favour of God by repentance; of which indeed their being restored to the coinmunion of the church was a good sign. This the Apostle says was very difficult, for those who after

baptism, baptism, and the several benefits of it, did apoftatize from Christianity, to be recovered again to repentance.

Seeing they crucify to themselves the son of God a. fresh, and put him to an open Mame. This is spoken by way of aggravation of the crime of Apostacy, that they who fall off from Christianity, in effect, and by interpretation do crucify the Son of God over again, and expose him 10 shame and reproach, as the Jews did; for by denying and renouncing of him, they declare him to be an impostor, and consequently worthy of that death which he suffered, and that ignominy which he was exposed to; and therefore, in account of God, they are said to do that, which by their actions they do'approve; so that it is made a crime of the highest nature, as if they should crucify the Son of God, and use him in the most ignominious manner, even tread under foot the Son of God, as the expression is to the fame purpose, chap. x. 29.

Thus I have endeavoured, as briefly and clearly as I could, to explain to you the true meaning and im. portance of the several phrases and expressions in the text; the sense whereof amounts to this, That if those who are baptized, and by baptism have received remission of lins, and do believe the doctrine of the gospel, and the promises of it, and are endowed with the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, if such persons as these shall after all this apoitatize from Christianity, it is very hard, and next to an impoflibility, to imagine how such persons should recover again by repentance, seeing they are guilty of as great a crime, as if in their own persons they had put to death and ignominiously used the Son of God, because, by rejecting of him, they declared to the world, that he suffered deservedly:

Having thus explained the words, in order to the further vindication of them from the mistakes and misapprehensions which have been about them, I shall endeavour to make out these five things :

ift, That the fin' here mentioned is not the fin a. gainst the Holy Ghoft.

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