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Covington, GA., July 15, 1860.

Agreeable to the request of an esteemed friend of our acquaintance, we will give our views of this Scripture, “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

The text is expressive of the condition of a person who has had the eyes of his understanding enlightened by the Holy Spirit when called by grace, and his old, or former sins were purged by the blood of Christ in his deliverance from wrath and condemnation, but is now blinded by the corrupting and contaminating vanities, lusts, and intoxicating doctrines and practices of a gainsaying world, has become carnal and worldly-minded, is walking after the flesh, and is minding the things of the flesh, and manifests but little, if any of the excellent traits of character which constitutes a follower of Jesus. In the context the inspired Apostle enjoins upon his brethren certain things, which are called these things, in the following manner, “And besides this, {in addition to what he has before expressed,} giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance, and to temperance, patience, and to patience, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity. FOR if these things be in you and abound, they {these things,} make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Then comes the words of the text. But he that lacketh these things is blind. Yes, he who does not, in his practical course, give all diligence, to add to his faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge, &c., is a transgressor of the law of Christ, which is the law of love; and not only so, but these things do not abound in him, and as the legitimate result of his own course, he is barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, these important things are lacking on his part. This is descriptive of those who walk after the flesh, and not after the Spirit. Paul speaks against his brethren using liberty, or freedom in Christ, for an occasion to the flesh, but exhorts them by love to serve one another. Also to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” How important is this injunction, and yet, alas, how much it is overlooked, and apparently forgotten by many who profess better things. The flesh is indulged, carnal nature is brought into requisition in the settlement of difficulties often among brethren, the spirit of self-justification, crimination and recrimination is persisted in until all hope of an amicable adjustment of seeming differences are entirely obliterated. It is very plain where there is a lack of these things above mentioned, in an individual, as well as in a number of persons together, a settled blindness rests upon his mind, and perhaps continues for years. A hard, unyielding, unforgiving spirit; with a careless course of conduct, is manifest. No gospel fruit is seen, and a disposition to be continually finding fault with others, and to be justifying his own course is very observable. He cannot see afar off. No, while he has a beam in his own eye, which greatly obscures his vision, he seems to have wonderful ability to behold motes in the eyes of others. He is blind, and cannot see afar off, for he looks at objects in the “inverted mirror” of false reasoning, and through the “telescope” of prejudice. He, perhaps, reasons falsely upon the doctrine of grace, and has a prejudice against them who preach it and who believe it.

And hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. A man cannot forget what he never knew, therefore it is plain, at least to our understanding, that the character in our text, was a child of God, and as such, was blind, dim-sighted, so forgetful through the wicked imaginations of his own mind, as to overlook, or forget that he was purged from his old sins. He may imbibe erroneous sentiments, and become very much alienated from the truth as it is in Jesus for a length of time, until he feels the rod of correction from the chastening hand of God. We have known several instances of persons who through a vicious and willful course of conduct, have lost the confidence of their brethren, despised reproof and admonition, injured their usefulness, and never were, properly, restored to the confidence of the church. A sore punishment will be visited upon them, for the Lord will not suffer any of his children to go unpunished. They will suffer a loss, yet they themselves will be saved so as by fire. Truly, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for our God is a consuming fire.

There are some who do not believe that a person who has passed from death unto life, can so egregiously, get wrong, and do wrong. If not, we confess we do not know how to understand many portions of Scripture. For instance in Heb. 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation.” This is only applicable to the saints, and to no others, and should always so be understood. The saints cannot escape sore punishment when they neglect the word of the Lord, or turn away from him that speaketh from heaven. Again in Heb. 3:7, it reads, “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” This is almost, universally addressed to men and women destitute of grace, by preachers and others, when it has no such application. It applies only to the Lord’s people, who are alive from the dead, and have ears to hear. Therefore, now, while the Holy Ghost speaketh, they should hear his voice and follow Jesus. Not harden their hearts against any principle of doctrine or practice enjoined upon them to believe, or to follow, simply because the fleshly mind cannot receive it, or relish it. A large portion of the Israelites failed to enter the land of Canaan through unbelief, so there is a liability for the saints to fail of the glorious gospel rest in Christ Jesus, through unbelief. Not fail of eternal salvation, for that is secured to them in the Lord Jesus, but fail of that rest which is enjoyed by faith in the oath and promise of God. Therefore, take warning from what the Holy Ghost saith, and harden not your hearts against the truth of God, his word and promise, as Israel did. Yes, let us, brethren, exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of us {or you} be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we, says Paul, “are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” Here the practical course of the saints is clearly expressed. And Paul further says, “While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” A moments consideration will cause every saint to see the application of this subject to the Lord’s people only. If under the old dispensation, “he that despised Moses’ law, died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Heb. 10:28,29. By this we learn how wicked it is, and what a sore punishment will follow, when the Lord’s people forsake him, the fountain of living waters, and hew out to themselves cisterns, {institutions and inventions of their own,} yea, broken cisterns which can hold no water. The Lord will judge his people in truth and righteousness.

We have somewhat digressed from the text at the head of this article, and will now return to it. From the remarks which we have already expressed upon the text in connection with other Scriptures which we have presented, and also from what follows, we can have no other view of the subject. For in the verse following, Peter says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Here the way of obedience in the love, service, and worship of God is pointed out with the blessings annexed thereto also promised, as contrasted of him who lacketh these things, and is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.