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are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death ; and to the other the savor of life unto life: and who is sufficient for these
The writer of this article is willing to confess that this subject does not appear perfectly clear to him, but thinks, on a careful examination, it affords some meaning which bears an analogy to other passages of scripture, and things which are taught us by human experience. That the subject has been considered ambiguous is evident from the various ways in which different translators have rendered it. This will appear from the following quotations :
“For we are a sweet odor of Christ unto God, among those that are saved, and among those that are lost: to the one, we are the odor of death unto death ; and to the other, the odor of life unto life : and who is sufficient for these things ?”-Improved Version.
“For we are in God a sweet savor in Christ both unto them prepared for deliverance, and them for destriction : to one a deadly savor unto death; to the other, a living savor unto life ; according to the suitableness of each."-Wakefield.
"Because we are for God a strong odor of Christ among them who are saved, and among them who perish (to these indeed an odor of death for death, but to those an odor of life for life) who therefore is sufficient for this?"_Thomson.
The savor of death unto death, seems to import the addition of one death to another. This is evidently the sense given by Wakefield and Thomson. Admitting this to be correct, the subject naturally presents this difficult question, how can the savor of death be called a sweet savor of God to any one ? A Hopkinsian, perhaps, might say, It is the pleasure of God in beholding the miseries of the damned, as an endless display of his justice. But we are very sensible that such an answer will not satisfy us. If we say, death unto death means the destruction of death, the idea
does not well comport with their perishing or being lost, neither would it seem to form a proper
antithesis to the idea of life. unto life.
It is observed by a learned writer, “that the Apostle in this passage alludes to the perfumes which used to be censed during the triumphal procession of the Romans ; Plutarch, on an occasion of this kind, des. cribes the streets and temples as being full of incense, which might be not improperly called, an odor of death to the vanquished, and an odor of life to the victors
. It is certain however that the expressions, odor of death and odor of life, are agreeable to the Jewish phraseology."
The best way of explaining the passage, that is known to the writer of this article, is from this consideration that the good and perfect gifts of heaven, by perversion or abuse, produce consequences, directly contrary to their natural effects. The gospel is good news of great joy which shall be unto all people ; but is not now so received. And if a man receives these good news, and rejoices in his heart, and still he should be disposed to pervert his privilege, the good savor by abuse would prove a savor of death. If the inan were in a state of death before, which we may take for granted, the good savor is a savor of death unto death. This idea appears by the language of St. Peter in his 2d Ep. ii. 20, 21. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Sayior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." Christ's coming to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,” can take place, only by a perversion of the good savor of his knowl. edge. These remarks may perhaps be sufficient to give some general ideas of the subject; but after all it appears the more probable the Apostle had an allusion to some circumstance in the Corinthian church, which is unknown to us, and on which account, the passage is a little obscure, tho its general import is pretty evident from a comparison of various scriptures, and from its connexion, which the reader is requested to notice. Respecting the perishing and the lost, let it not be forgotten that Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. And if by perversion the gospel proves a savor of death unto death, still by the instrumentality of him who hath all power in heaven and in earth, the victory over death may be obtained in due time, and eventuate in a saror of life unto life.
REMARKS ON HEBREWS VI. 4, 5, 6. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance : seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." strong against the faith of universal salvation as any in the Bible, it is very seldom brought forward for that
Notwithstanding purpose. The reasons undoubtedly are because it equally opposes the popular sentiments of the day, One of these is, that the present life is a day of probation for eternity. This day of probation is the whole of a man's life, according to the poet;
"Life is the time to serve the Lord,
The vilest sinner may return." The argument in the text, therefore, comes not against the Universalists in a proper form to suit their opposers ; for this impossibility of renewal to repent: .
tánce, according to the text, is established when they fall away, which may be a number of years before death, the time in which the common opinion fixes the unalterable state. For this reason our opposers are careful, how they wield a weapon, that is so dangerous to themselves.
The doctrine of the “final perseverance of the saints," held by those who oppose the Arminian-system, meets with a very great difficulty in this passage of scripture. Some to avoid this difficulty, attempt to maintain that those experiences are not descriptive of what they understand by the new birth; but what the new birth has, that is better, we have never been told. We learn what it is to be enlightened, from Ephe. i. 18, 19, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe; according to the working of his mighty power." "Have tasted of the heavenly gift” and of the good word of God," is not a scanty participation, as some pretend, but an actual experience. When Christ tasted death, we all conclude, he died. What better gift, can any one have than to be a partaker of the holy spirit? No man ever prays for a better blessing. The world to come, no doubt means the same as the ages to come, in which God will shew “the exceeding riches of his grace." Ephe. ii. 7. Ages and world have the same original in the Greek, the one being singular and the other plural.
It appears evident from the passage under consideration, that there is no attainment in Christian virtue so high, as to render a person perfectly secure from falling. “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” The given description in the aforenamed passage in Hebrews, is evidently that of an open apostate. They who crucify the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame, must be those who not only secretly despise, but open
ly contemn the glorious Redeemer and his doctrine, after they had become acquainted with his mercy, and had tasted the good word of God through him.
Respecting the impossibility of such apostates beng ever renewed again to repentance, we shall do well to observe the usual import of such scriptural phraseology. There is no better way to interpret the words of an author, than by the known manner in which he uses language. The same is equally true of the inspired writers. By the analogy that one passage bears to another, and by the known manner in which particular expressions are used, are we to understand their meaning: When Christ said, “It is easier for a cannel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” the words naturally import an impossibility. They were so understood by the disciples who “were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved ?” Jesus then intimated that the expression had a particular application by saying, "With man this is impossible ; with God all things are possible.” This expression then was not calculated to militate against the power of God to save mankind. We notice another passage in John of a similar nature; “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” As forbidding as this passage appears, we learn that his exclusion from life is limited to his state of unbelief. Our hope of them, therefore, rests on their conversion from unbelief to faith in the Son of God; for "he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” Every unbeliever that is capable of conversion may, through this medium, attain everlasting iife; and it is generally thought, this liberty is granted to all men.
The apostle in stating the impossibility of renewing to repentance such persons as he described, had, it is thought, a more particular allusion to the means which are employed in this life. He who has slighted the means that once brought him to repentance ; despised the Savior whom he once loved ; and forsook