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pardon and eternal life upon no easier terms, he does but dissemble with us, and mock and deride us in our misery." And since this is the true state of the case, therefore it is no wonder that even infinite goodness itself, has fixed upon a day when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And then shall ungodly sinners be convinced of all their hard speeches which they have ungodlily spoken against the Lord; and then shall the righteousness of all God's ways be made manifest before all the world.

To conclude. God, the great Lord of all, has threatened eternal damnation against all those who do not perfectly keep the law, (Gal. iii. 10.) even although they live and die in the midst of the heathen world, Rom. i. 18, 19, 20. (of which more afterwards.) And at the day of judgment he will execute the threatening upon all, (those only excepted, that are by faith, interested in Christ and in the new covenant,) and his so doing will evidently be justifiable in the sight of all worlds, on this ground, viz. That they were not under a natural necessity of sinning, but were altogether voluntary in their disobedience. Luke xix. 27. But those mine ENEMIES which WOULD NOT that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them them before me.

And this, by the way, is the very thing which stops the mouth of an awakened, convinced, humble sinner, and settles him down in it, that he deserves to be damned, notwithstanding all his doings, viz. that he is what he is, not by compulsion, or through a natural necessity, but altogether voluntarily. There is nothing more difficult in the whole work preparatory to conversion, than to make the sinner see, and feel, and own, that it is just, quite just, altogether just and fair, for God to damn him. He pleads, that he is sorry for all his sins, and is willing to forsake them all for ever, and is resolved always to do as well as he can. He pleads, that he cannot help his heart's being so bad; that he did not bring himself into that condition, but that he was brought into it by the fall of Adam, which he could not possibly prevent, and which he had no hand in. But when he comes in a clear and realizing manner, to see and

feel the whole truth, viz. that he does not care for God, nor desire to, but is really an enemy to him in his very heart, and voluntarily so, and that all his fair pretences and promises, prayers and tears, are but mere hypocrisy, arising only from self-love, and guilty fears, and mercenary hopes, Now the business is done. For, says he, It matters not how I came into this condition, nor whether I can help having so bad a heart, since I am voluntarily just such a one as I am, and really love and choose to be what I am. Rom. vii. 8, 9. Sin revived and I died. He feels himself without excuse, and that his mouth is stopped, and that he must be forced to own the sentence just; for he feels that it is not owing to any compulsion or natural necessity, but that he is voluntarily and heartily such a one as he is. And now, and not till now, does he feel himself to be a sinner, completely so; for he, all along before, fancied some goodness to be in him, and thought himself in some measure excusable: and now, and not till now, is he prepared to attribute his salvation entirely to free and sovereign grace. All along before he had something to say for himself, like the Pharisee: But, with the publican he now sees that he lies at mercy, Luke xviii. 13. This is the very thing that makes all mankind to blame, altogether to blame, for be ing what they are, namely, that they are voluntarily so ; is the reason they deserve to be damned for being so, and this, when seen and felt by the awakened sinner, effectually stops his mouth.


And this, also, is the very thing that makes believers see themselves wholly to blame for not being perfectly holy, and lays a foundation for their mourning for their want of a perfect conformity to the law. They feel their defects are not the result of a natural necessity, but only of the remains of their old aversion to God, which, so far as they are unsanctified, they are voluntary in*. And hence they cry out, I am car

* OBJ. "But does not St. Paul say, in Rom. vii. 18. To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not ?"

ANS. 'Tis true, he had a strong disposition to be perfectly holy, but his disposition was not perfect. He had a strong disposition to love God supremely, live to him entirely, and delight in him wholly, but his whole heart was not perThere was a spirit of aversion to God, and love to sin,

fectly disposed to do so.

nal, sold under sin, O wretched man that I am! Rom. vii. 14. 24; and set themselves down for beasts and fools. Psalm lxxiii. 22.

And finally, this want of a good temper; this voluntary and stubborn aversion to God, and love to themselves, the world, and sin, is ALL that renders the immediate influences of the Holy Spirit so absolutely necessary, or indeed at all needful, to recover and bring them to love God with all their hearts. A bare representation of what God is, were men of a right temper, would ravish their hearts; for his beauty and glory are infinite. It is nothing, therefore, but their badness that makes it needful that there should be line upon line, and precept upon precept. It is their aversion to God, that makes any persuasions at all needful; for, were they of a right temper, they would love God with all their hearts, of their own accord. And surely, were not men very bad indeed, there would be no occasion for his ambassadors with such earnestness to beseech them. We pray you, says the apostle, in Christ's

remaining in him. In me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing: and this was the ground and cause of all his impotency. So that when he says, To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not, he means, “To be in a measure disposed to love God supremely, live to him entirely, and delight in him wholly, is natural and easy; but how to get my whole heart into the disposition, I find not; it is beyond me, through the remains of the flesh, i. e of my native contrariety to God, and love to sin." Which remaining contrariety to God, and propensity to sin, so far as he was unsanctified, he was voluntary in; but so far as he was sanctified, he perfectly hated. With my mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with my flesh the law of sin. Ver. 25. And so the spirit lusted against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit; and these two were contrary the one to the other, and hence he could not do the things that he would. Gal. v. 17.

OBJ. "But does not St. Paul speak several times, in Rom. vii. as if he was not properly to blame for his remaining corruptions, when he says, It is not 1, but sin that dwelleth in me!"

ANS. He only means, by that phrase, to let us know that his remaining cor ruption was not the governing principle in him: according to what he had said in Rom. vi. 14. Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace: but does not at all design to insinuate, that he did not see himself to blame, yea, wholly to blame, for his remaining corruption. For though he says sometimes, It is not I, but sin that dwelleth in me, yet, at other times, I am carnal, sold under sin. Ver. 14 O wretched man that I am. Ver. 24. like a broken-hearted penitent. But he could not have mourned for his remaining corruption as being sinful, if he had not felt himself to blame for it.

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stead, be ye reconciled to God. 2 Cor. v. 20. But now, that all external means that can possibly be used; all arguments, and motives, and entreaties, urged in the most forcible manner, should not be able to recover men to God, no, not one, in all the world, without the immediate influences of the Holy Spirit, can surely be attributed to nothing short of this, that an apostate world are, in very deed, at enmity against God, and their contrariety to him is mightily settled and rooted in their hearts; mightily settled and rooted indeed, that Paul was nothing, and pollos nothing, and all their most vigorous efforts nothing; so that without the immediate influences of the Holy Spirit, not one, by them, although the best preachers, of mere men, that ever lived, could be persuaded to turn to God. 1. Cor. iii. 7. But that the world should, in fact, rise in arms, and put the messengers of heaven to death, seems to argue enmity and malice, to the highest degree. It is men's badness that keeps them from taking in right apprehensions of God, and that makes them blind to the beauty of the divine nature, and that makes them hate God, instead of loving him: but for this, they would love God of their own accord, without any more ado. If God were your father, (says Christ,) ye would love me; ye are of your father the devil, therefore ye hate me. Surely, then, all the world are inexcusable, and wholly to blame, for their continuance in sin, and justly deserve eternal damnation at the hands of God, as was before said. Nor is it any excuse to say, "God does not give me sufficient grace to make me better;" since I might love God, with all my heart, of my own accord, with all the ease in the world, if I were but of a right temper. Yea, such is his glory and beauty, that I could not but be ravished with it, were I such as I ought to be; and my needing any special grace, to make me love God, argues that I am an enemy to him, a vile, abominable wretch, not fit to live. And to pretend to excuse myself, and say, "I cannot, and God will not make me," is just as bad as if a rebellious child should go to his father, and say, "I hate you, and cannot love you, and God will not, by his almighty power, make me better, and therefore I am not to blame;" for the wretch could not but love his good father, were it not that he is so exceedingly vitiated in his temper.—

If our impotency consisted in and resulted from our want of natural capacities; if it was the business of the Holy Spirit to give us new natural faculties, then we might plead our inability, and plead God's not giving us sufficient power, in excuse for ourselves. But since all our impotency takes its rise entirely from another quarter, and all our need of the influences of the Holy Spirit to bring us to love God results from our badness, therefore are we without excuse, although God leaves us entirely to ourselves. And indeed nothing can be more absurd than to suppose the Governor of the world obliged to make his creatures love him, in spite of all their aversion; or more wicked than to lay the blame of their not loving him, upon him, in ease he does not. Jer. vii. 8, 9, 10—16.

OBJ. But if it be granted that men's natural powers are adequate with the law of God, and so they, as to their natural capacities, are capable of a perfect conformity to the law; and if it be granted that the outward advantages, which all have who live under the gospel, are sufficient, were men but of a right temper, to lead them to the true knowledge of God, and so, that all such are without excuse; yet, if any part of mankind do not enjoy sufficient outward advantages for the true knowledge of God, without which it is impossible they should either love or serve him, how can such justly and fairly be accounted altogether to blame, and wholly inexcusable? If the heathen, who have no other outward advantages whereby to gain the true knowledge of God, than the works of creation and providence, do but honestly improve what they have, shall not they be accepted, although they fall short of sinless perfection? Or is it right and fair that they should be damned?

ANS. I suppose that those advantages, which all mankind do actually enjoy, would be sufficient to lead them to a true knowledge of God, and so to love and serve him, were they of a right disposition, and were it not for the prejudices that blind and darken their minds, which arise from their enmity to God, and love to themselves, the world, and sin. Rom. i. 20. 28. And I suppose that God, the wise and holy, just and good Governor of the world, is under no natural obligation to use any supernatural means for the removal of those

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