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and “sendeth them strong delusion.” He doth not stand by idle and indifferent, while thus beholding the dishonour of his Son, but he asserteth his honour by visiting in his wrath those who reject him: and as they have offended, so are they judged. They offended by wilfully blinding their eye against the truth ; and their judgment is to be blinded more and more. Satan they received, when God entreated them to receive his Son. They rejected their glory, and elected their destruction; wherefore God, who useth Satan to his own glory, doth unloose and unbridle him against the reprobates, and open their hearts to receive him; and they are filled with the wine of strong delusion; and their conscience is seared with a red hot iron, and they lose the very capacity of discovering and loving truth, but do, of their own will and preference, love a lie ; and so hasten into the condition of the devil himself, who is "a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies:" “ That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in uprighteousness.” Such is the progress of every apostasy: not proceeding without the preaching of the word, and certain to follow upon the preaching of the word, so long as this present dispensation endureth. And for this very reason I would go forth to preach the Gospel every where, in order to separate the moral chaos of the world into these two parts,-a church, and an apostasy; to divide the light from the darkness; to shine also into the darkness, and shew its des formity; to order the beauty of holiness, and to manifest the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Preaching is the ordinance appointed of God for this very end : and wherever it produceth this effect, it converting all, but of calling out the election of God, and raising up witnesses in the midst of the universal apostasy.

Exactly in the same spirit, with exactly the same views, would I go forth and preach to the idolatrous heathen nations; to the whole world, which I understand to have been condemned when its prince was condemned at the resurrection of Christ, lying at the mercy of the Father, and about to be judged upon the coming of Christ. And therefore is it, as I understand doctrine, that the church since that time hath been called an election, and not a congregation ; to denote that it is a part, and a small part, for certain wise ends of God, preserved from the whole who are under the condemnation, and passing continually to the execution of death. And he who thinketh to convert the world by preaching, thinketh to gainsay a word, and undo a purpose, of God : while he who thinketh to call out and make manifest the election, till Christ come to execute judgment, and gather again the scattered congregation, thinketh a good thought, which the Lord our God will bless; because it is of his revealed purposes to do so. And this I understand to have been the Apostolical, the Reformation, and the Missionary doctrine, aye, and until these last thirty years; when the religious world hath arisen to change all our ideas and convert the world. Therefore, I would go forth as my fathers did; and my first note should be, “ Repent and believe the Gospel, or ye are all dead men.” And every soul that God was pleased to convert, I would call more precious than the ransom of a world : nor would I tax my God for even that single guerdon of my pains, but would exceedingly rejoice to preach his Gospel in the ears of reprobates, that his justice and holiness in their destruction might be gloriously revealed; yea, and if no ears of men were willing to receive the joyful sound, and all turned themselves away abhorrent from the word of his grace, I would be right glad to preach in the ear of the lower creation, and of the inanimate creatures, of the waste howling wilderness, and the desert winds which howl there, that redemption which awaiteth them in the day of the manifestation of the Son of God. I would sanctify by word of prayer and preaching the element of earth, and the element of air, if the children of men had become too savage. This is the true doctrine concerning the preaching of the word. It is not to convert all, but to witness against the wickedness of all; and to glorify God's justice in the destruction of all, and his free grace in the salvation of any.

The same course which I would follow towards the heathen nations, I would feel free to observe also among the nations of the Christian Apostasy; concerning whom it is written in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, that they are underlying a vindictive sentence of as severe, or even of a severer kind than that which lay upon the Jews and the heathen, in the time of the preaching of the Lord and his Apostles (2 Thess. ii. :9-12): “ Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that

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they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.' The dealing of God with the apostasy, as shewn forth in this passage, is full of instruction upon this point of preaching the word, into which we now. inquire. That Wicked is not revealed to lead the church astray into utter apostasy till after the word hath been preached unto them, and hath gathered them together as a church : and then it is that Satan beginneth to address his subtleties to them, as he did heretofore to Eve in paradise, and to bring forward his mazy counterfeits of truth, as he did unto our Lord in the wilderness. The preaching of the word, and the ordering of the church, never faileth to set Satan's spite on edge, and to increase the diligence of his unwearied labour to destroy. And this his most diligent and artful seduction is attended with two fruits equally to the praise and glory of God: of which the first is, his defeat and discomfiture by the election according to grace, in whom the Spirit is mighty to work the work which he wrought in Jesus Christ; and thus the glory of God's almighty power and saving grace is shewn forth. The second effect is that described in the passage before us, where the temptation of Satan succeedeth against the many, who, giving ear to his glozing seductions, turn away their ear from the truth, and love not to hear it, but are more glad to hear some counterfeit of it; some abridgment of it; something intermediate and palliative to their evil hearts; until at length, the evil leaven operating more and more, they utterly reject the whole, and apostatize into error. And, God doth now interfere with his stern judgment,

and “sendeth them strong delusion," He doth not stand by idle and indifferent, while thus beholding the dishonour of his Son, but he assérteth his honour by visiting in his wrath those who reject him: and as they have offended, so are they judged. They offended by wilfully blinding their eye against the truth; and their judgment is to be blinded more and more. Satan they received, when God entreated them to receive his Son. They rejected their glory, and elected their destruction; wherefore God, who useth Satan to his own glory, doth unloose and unbridle him against the reprobates, and open their hearts to receive him; and they are filled with the wine of strong delusion; and their conscience is seared with a red hot iron, and they lose the very capacity of discovering and loving truth, but do, of their own will and preference, love a lie ; and so hasten into the condition of the devil himself, who is “a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies :" “ That they, all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in uprighteousness.” Such is the progress of every apostasy: not proceeding without the preaching of the word, and certain to follow upon

the preaching of the word, so long as this present dispensation enduréth. And for this very reason I would go forth to preach the Gospel every where, in order to separate the moral chaos of the world into these two parts, --a church, and an apostasy; to divide the light from the darkness; to shine also into the darkness, and shew its deformity; to order the beauty of holiness, and to manifest the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Preaching is the ordinance appointed of God for this very end : and wherever it produceth this effect, it

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