Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

ON HOSEA 'KM-VERSES 3, 4. 167 professors of Christ in the other, committing this sin, should be capable of pardon. This doctrine of apostacy or backsliding, though worthy of a more large explication ; I shall here con- clude with adding but two words more. We should beware above all other sins, of this, of falling in soul as old Eli did in body, backward, and so hazarding our salvation ; if once we have shaken hands with sin, never take acquaintance with it any more, but say as Israel here, " What have I to do any more with idols ?" The church should be like mount Zion, that cannot be moved. It is a sad and sick temper of a church to toss from one side to another, and then especially when she should be healed, to be carried about with every wind. Again, we should not be so terrified by any sin, which our soul mourns and labours under, and our heart turneth from, as thereby to be withheld from going to the physician for pardon and healing. Had he not great power and mercy, did he not love freely, without respect of persons, and pardon freely without respect of sins, we might then be afraid of going to him : but when he extendeth for- giveness to all kinds, iniquity, transgression, and sin, Exod. xxxiv. 6. and hath actually pardoned the great- est sinners, Manasses, Mary Magdalen, Paul, publi- cans, harlots, backsliders ; we should, though not presume hereupon to turn God's mercy into poison, and his grace into wantonness, (for mercy itself will not save those sinners that hold fast sin, and will not forsake it,) yet take heed of despairing, or entertain- ing low thoughts of the love and mercy of God ; for such examples as these are set forth for the encourage- ment of all that shall ever believe unto eternal life, 1 Tim. i. 16. And the thoughts and ways which God