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Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
I humbly conceive that this word, and which we often meet with in Scripture, is not so well understood, by the generality of readers, as it were to be wished. The common received opinion concerning backsliding is, that it is turning back, or going away, from the Lord. Whereas the very word itself implies sliding backward, and not turning round, and going away. The Lord himself, by his servant the prophet Hosea, makes use of a simile, which seems to explain the meaning, "Israel (saith the Lord) slideth back as a backsliding heifer." (Hosea 4:16) Now, how doth an heifer slide back? I apprehend not by turning back, and going another path; but like one on slippery ground, whose steps, so far from gaining ground, rather lose ground. But all the while the heifer is still with her face and feet the same way, only sliding back, and not getting forward. And what follows, in the same verse, seems to confirm this sense of backsliding. "Now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place." So that the Lord undertakes to preserve Israel from sliding back, by putting his people in a roomy place, where the ground shall not be slippery.
I do not presume to suppose, that I am right in this my conjecture concerning backsliding. I only venture to give my opinion upon it, as it strikes me. The Lord pardon me if I err. One thing, however, is certain, the recovery of all backsliding is of the Lord; and his promise to his people, on this subject, is most blessed. "I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely." (Hosea 14:4; Jeremiah 3:22)
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Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Backsliding'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/pmd/b/backsliding.html. London. 1828.