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of that order. They love God, hate sin, and believe in Christ. This is the real order of their exercises. But some may be more sensible of love to God at first; some may be more sensible of love to Christ at first; and some may be more sensible of self loathing and self condemnation for sin at first. This is easy to be accounted for, because, before their hearts were changed, they had a speculative knowledge of God, a speculative knowledge of sin, and a speculative knowledge of Christ. As soon, therefore, as their hearts are changed, they may instantly love God, and almost instantly hate sin for being against God whom they love, and almost as instantaneously love Christ for condemning sin in the flesh, and making atonement for it. But their minds may dwell more upon one of these objects than another, and, consequently, they may feel more sensibly affected towards one, than towards another, though really affected by each. It is by no means certain that those who most sensibly exercise love to God at first, do not hate sin before they love Christ. It is not certain that those who most sensibly love Christ at first, do not love God and hate sin before they love Christ. And it is not certain that those who most sensibly hate sin at first, do not love God before they hate sin. Converts may be very sensible of the various exercises of their hearts, without being sensible of the order and immediate connection of their exercises. The experience of christians is no evidence that love is not before repentance, and repentance before faith. This point must be determined by the nature of those exercises, and the representations of scripture. The nature of these exercises evidently requires that love should be before repentance, and repentance before faith. If we look into the Old Testament, we shall find repentance always placed before pardon, through the sacrifices which typified Christ, in whom true penitents virtually believed. And if we look into

New Testament, we shall find repentance placed before faith. Christ taught men to repent, and then believe. And Paul taught repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever repentance and faith are mentioned together, repentance is mentioned before faith. Though some may consider this as a matter of mere speculation, yet it is of great importance to refute Antinomians; who place faith before love and repentance, and, consequently, make all the Christian graces the fruit of an unholy and unrenewed heart.

3. If God teaches men in the manner that has been described, before they come to Christ, then there is more ground to hope that those will be saved who are under his peculiar leaching, than that those will who are not under it. When God. himself begins to operate upon the understandings and con

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VOL. VI.

sciences of sinners, there is ground to hope that he will continue to operate, until he changes their hearts. It is true that God can teach partially, and leave those to perish in their obstinacy whose eyes are wide open. He often does enlighten the understanding and awaken the conscience, without changing the heart. But when we see sinners awakened and convinced, there is ground to hope that their awakenings and convictions will terminate in conversion; not indeed on account of any goodness in them, but because God has taken them into his own hand, and is able to subdue their enmity, and reconcile them to himself, and so draw them to Christ. Awakened and convinced sinners often imagine that they really seek and strive to come to Christ; but if this were true, there would be no occasion of the Father's drawing them to Christ. They are so far from seeking and striving to come to Christ, that they are seeking and striving to be saved without him. And this is the reason why they cannot come to Christ without being drawn of the Father. This preparatory work of the Father ought to be distinguished from the preparatory work of sinners. God prepares sinners to come to Christ, but they never prepare themselves to come. Our Saviour himself says, they will not come except they be drawn. And no sinners know, before they are drawn, that they ever shall be drawn; for it depends upon the sovereign pleasure of God, whether he will draw them, or leave them to perish for ever.

4. It appears from the manner of God's teaching sinners, that his special teaching does not throw any difficulty in the way of their coming to Christ. His peculiar teaching does not throw any difficulty in the way of their being saved, but directly tends to remove the difficulty which they throw in their own way, that is, their unwillingness to come to Christ. By his teaching, he brings himself and divine things near to them ; opens their understandings to see them in all their weight and importance; and awakens their conscience to feel their obligations, and to feel properly towards himself, towards themselves, towards eternity, and towards him who has brought life and immortality to light and freely offers to save them from the wrath to come. By teaching them these things, he points out the way to eternal lise, without throwing any thing in the way of their coming. But you are now ready to ask, Is not this special teaching special grace, without which we cannot come to Christ? It is, indeed, special grace, without which you will not come to Christ, but with which you will come.

And can that which makes you willing to come, be any difficulty in the way of your coming ? Special grace does not give you any new power, but only a new choice. Special grace shows you

that there is no difficulty in the way of your coming to Christ but what you make; and, at the same time, removes the very difficulty you do make. Your refusing to come to Christ makes the only difficulty in the way of your coming; and special grace makes you willing, which removes that difficulty. You choose to misunderstand and misrepresent special grace, in order to make it a ground of excuse for not coming to Christ. How absurd is it for you to say that you cannot realize the being and perfections of God and the invisible things of the invisible world unless God enlightens you, when you are conscious you do not desire to be enlightened? Or to say you cannot realize your obligation to approve of these divine objects, when you are conscious that you do not desire to realize your obligations? Or to say you cannot come to Christ without being drawn, when you are conscious that you are unwilling to come to him, and even unwilling to be made willing?

5. If those, whom God himself effectually teaches by his special grace, will come to Christ, then those whom he does not thus effectually teach, will not come to Christ. All mere external instructions they can and will resist. They will be of no avail to draw them one step towards Christ. All outward means often fail to make sinners read the Bible, which they have in their hands, and which they have time and opportunity to read. They prefer reading any other book, rather than the Bible; or they choose not to read it at all. Outward means often fail of leading 'sinners to call upon God in secret or private, or of leading them to the house of God, or disposing them to receive any benefit from it, if they do come.

All out. ward means have always failed of drawing sinners to Christ, so long as God withheld the teachings of his special grace. What a variety of external means was used with the sinners in Zion! They had line upon line, and precept upon precept; but instead of bringing forth grapes, they brought forth wild grapes. What a variety of means are now using with sinners every where! But they produce no salutary effect, only when and where God is pleased to instruct them himself.

How easy it is for God to destroy sinners! It is only to afford them external teaching, and deny them internal. And he has a perfect right to deny them internal teaching. He is under no obligation to take them into his own hand, to enlighten their understanding, or awaken their conscience, or to soften their hearts. It is only for him to let them alone, and they will certainly destroy themselves. Has not God long let them alone, and have they not long remained untaught, though they have seen the hand of God in his providence, and heard his voice in his word ? Has not a spirit of slumber seized their minds, and do they not grope

in darkness at noon day? They know not at what they stumble. Their feet stand on slippery places, and every thing within them and without them, is constantly pushing them on to the gulf of destruction. While God is letting them alone, their situation is growing more and more dangerous every day. And they and others may despair of the efficacy of all external means alone, to awaken, convince, or convert them. These they have resisted, and will continue to resist, unless God, by his special grace, removes their resistance.

6. This subject affords ground of hope, that some who are now in the path to ruin, will be sooner or later taught of God, and drawn to Christ. God is able to awaken the most stupid, to convince the most hardened, and make the most obstinate willing to come to Christ. The Father has promised to do this for all whom he has given to his Son, and his Son places full confidence in the faithfulness of his Father. Hence he says,

, “ All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me.” If there be any here whom God has given to Christ, and whom he has not savingly taught, these he will take into his own hand, and effectually teach them the strait and narrow way to eternal life. He has hitherto delayed to do this, for wise and good reasons; either because he is waiting till they arrive at the brink of destruction, to make a more signal display of his almighty and sovereign grace; or because he is waiting to be inquired of by his friends, to take away the hard, stony, stubborn hearts of his enemies. Those, therefore, who have been taught of God, have great encouragement to cry sincerely and mightily to him, to arise and plead his own cause, and have mercy upon those who are abusing his mercy, and filling up the measure of their sins, and ripening themselves for ruin. You have a right to the promises of God. “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God;" that is, all the elect. And it is written in the Psalms, “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

SERMON VII.

THE EXCUSE OF SINNERS THEIR CONDEMNATION.

Tozs he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gath.

ering where thou hast not strewed. MATT. xxv. 24.

It is easy to understand the general design of the parable which contains these words. By the owner of the servants, Christ means to represent the Creator and owner of the world. By the servants, he means to represent mankind in general. By the different talents, he means to represent the different powers and faculties, and the different privileges and advantages, with which God distinguishes one person from another. By the two servants that faithfully improved their talents, he means to represent good men, who serve God with fidelity. And by the slothful and unfaithful servant, he means to represent the sinner, who entirely neglects the service of God, and blames him, rather than himself, for his negligence. “Lord, I knew thee, that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed." This language of the slothful servant, expresses the feelings of every impenitent sinner. From this we may conclude that all sinners are disposed to complain of God for requiring that of them which he has not given them. I shall,

I. Show what God does not require of them which he has not given them.

II. What he does require of them which he has not given them. And,

III. That they have no reason to complain of his requiring that of them which he has not given them.

I. I am to show what God does not require of sinners which he has not given them.

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