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prejudices; (Rom. ix. 15.) especially considering that men love them, and are obstinate in them, and will not let them be removed if they can help it, as is, in fact, the case. Rom. i. 18. 28. John iii. 19. And I suppose that, since the law is holy, just, and good, nothing short of sinless perfection can, or ought to, pass with the supreme Law-giver and Judge of the world, as a condition of acceptance. Gal. iii. 10. Rom. iii. 20. And I suppose that God was under no obligations to provide a Saviour to bear the curse of the law, and answer its demands for any, since all are voluntarily at enmity against him and his law. Rom. v. 8. Upon the whole, I suppose that all mankind might have been left in their fallen state, without a Saviour, or any offers of pardon and peace, or any supernatural advantages whatsoever; and that yet their natural obligations to love God with all their hearts, would have by no means ceased; and that it would have been perfectly just and right with God, to have inflicted eternal damnation upon us, for our not doing so. Rom. i 18. iii. 19. And besides, I suppose that all the nations of the earth might have had the gospel preached to them, and, to this day, enjoyed it, had not the world been in arms against it, and killed the messengers of peace, who were sent to carry the glad tidings of pardon and salvation round the world. Mat. xxviii. 19. And I suppose, that still, in every age of the Christian church, there have been ministers of Christ, who would gladly go to the furthest parts of the earth, to carry the joyful news of a Saviour, were men but willing to receive the news, and repent, and convert, and return to God. I know there are such in this age; from all which, I suppose that it is right, fair, and just, for God to execute the threatening of his law according to his declared design. Rom. ii. 5, 6. Thus much in general; but, to be more particular,

1. It is plain that the heathen, as well as the rest of mankind, are under a law that forbids all sin, and requires perfect holiness. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, let them be Jews or Gentiles. Rom. i. 18. And since God is what he is, and they his creatures, there is the same general ground and reason that they should love him with all their hearts, as

that others should. And it is plain St. Paul looked upon the heathen under obligations to glorify God as God, and be thankful. Rom. i. 21. Which is the sum of what is required in the first table of the law. And none will pretend that the heathen are not obliged to love their neighbours as themselves, and do as they would be done by; which is the sum of what the second table requires. So that it is a plain case, that they are, by the law of nature, obliged to the same perfect holiness which is required, in God's written word, of the rest of mankind.

2. It is plain, St. Paul looked upon them as enjoying sufficient means of knowledge, and so to be without excuse. Rom. i. 18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. "Who hold the truth in unrighteousness, i. e. who, instead of heartily receiving, and loving, and conforming to the truth, do, from love to their lusts, hate, and wickedly suppress, all right notions of God, of truth, and duty, stifling their consciences." But how do the Gentiles discover this aversion to the truth, who are under no advantages to know it?" I answer," says the apostle, " their advantages are sufficient; for, (verse 19.) That which may be known of God is manifest in them; i. e. the perfections of God, which is all that is knowable of God, are discovered to them;" as he adds, " For God hath showed it unto them." But were not the perfections of God discovered to them so darkly as not to be sufficiently evident and perceivable? "No," says he; “for, (verse 20.) The invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are CLEARLY SEEN, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse; i. e. ever since the creation of the world, the perfections of God are clearly to be seen in his works, the things which he has made manifesting plainly what a God he is so that those who see not his perfections, and are not sensible of his infinite glory, cannot plead their want of sufficient outward advantages, in excuse for their ignorance and insensibility; and therefore the heathen, who have this advantage, are without excuse." And, still fur

* If it should be objected, that St. Paul only means that their advantages were so great as to render them inexcusable in their gross idolatry and high-handed

ther to clear up the point, the apostle seems to go on, as it were, to say "Yea, it is evident that the present ignorance of the Gentile nations is affected, and so inexcusable, not only from the sufficiency of their present outward advantages, but also from their former misimprovement of the advantages which they heretofore did enjoy. Because, (ver. 21.) when they knew God, i, e. when the heathen nations formerly had right notions of God instilled into them, being instructed in the knowledge of the true God, by Noah and his sons, from whom they descended, yet then they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; their instructions had no influence upon them to make them holy: but they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; i. e. they soon fell off to idolatry, and lost that knowledge of the true God, in which they had been instructed and educated: For (ver. 28.) they did not like to retain God in their knowledge ; i, e. to remember those instructions which had been given them concerning the nature and perfections of God*: But they aban

wickedness, because they did, or might have known better than to do so, it may be easily answered, from the 18th verse, that he means to prove that they were altogether inexcusable, not only in their gross sins, but also in all their ungodliness and unrighteousness, i. e. plainly, in all their want of a perfect conformity to the moral law, or law of nature; for the least degree of non-conformity, in heart or life, to the first table of the law, is a degree of ungodliness, and the very least degree of non-conformity to the second table of the law, is a degree of unrighteousness. And St. Paul is express in it that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL ungodliness, &c. And, in ver. 21, he is full in it that the heathen are wholly inexcusable for not glorifying God as God which is manifestly all that the law ever required; so that it is plain he does not design merely to prove that they were inexcusable in their idolatry, and the gross wickedness of their lives, but also that they were inexcusable in, and wholly to blame for their not being perfectly holy; for they did, or might have known, that God deserved to be loved with all their heart, and their neighbour as themselves.

* And I may add. Concerning the seed of the woman; the promised Messiah, and the way of salvation through him; for, no doubt, Noah and his sons had heard of this promise, and told it to their posterity; and if they had handed it down safe from age to age, the heathen world might, throughout all generations, have been in a salvable state; for this promise contained the sum and substance of the gospel. Methuselah lived two hundred and forty years in the days of Adam Noah lived six hundred, and his sons about a hundred years in the days of Methuselah and Isaac was fifty years old before all Noah's sons were dead: so that this promise might easily have been handed along down by tradition, and doubtless would have been so, had it been precious in the eyes of the children of men : And


doned themselves to idolatry; (ver. 23, 25.) For which cuuse, (ver. 24. 26.) for which contempt cast on God, God gave them up to all manner of wickedness; so that the present extreme ignorance, blindness, and wickedness of the Gentile nations, they have, through their aversion to God and love to sin, brought themselves into: so that it is manifest they do not desire the knowledge of God, but evidently hate all right notions of him, and so are, beyond dispute, without excuse; which was the point to be proved." Thus he proves that they are without excuse, because their present advantages for the knowledge of God are sufficient; which advantages, ever since the creation of the world, have been common to all; and because they had once superadded advantages from parental instructions, which, instead of well improving, and of carefully handing down from generation to generation, they hated to remember, and so soon forgot.

And these passages ought to be of more weight to decide the case, because they are not merely occasional strokes, but the apostle is evidently upon the very same point that I am: For, from the 18th verse of this fisrt chapter, to the 19th verse of the third, he is industriously labouring to prove, that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, and so the whole world guilty before God: And his arguments are not fetched from Adam's first sin, but from comparing them with the law of God, whereby he discovers their weaknesses; all the blame whereof, he entirely lays upon them: and because it might have been objected, that the heathen world had not sufficient means of knowledge, and so were not wholly to blame and inexcusable in their nonconformity to the law, he does here designedly obviate the objection, and prove and declare them to be without any objection from that quarter. The apostle evidently takes it for granted, that they had sufficient natural powers to capacitate them for the knowledge of God, and he proves that their outward advantages were sufficient; and so he lays the whole blame of their ignorance, blindness, and wickedness upon themselves; and finally sums them up, with the rest of mankind, as having their mouths stopped, and standing guilty before God. Chapter iii. 19. afterwards, further light might have been obtained from Israel, God's peculiar people, by the Gentile nations, had they really been desirous of it.

The truth of the case seems, in a few words, to lie here; that if Adam had never fell, the works of creation and provi dence had been the glass in which he himself, and all his posterity, would have beheld the glory of the Lord, from age to age; whereby, being naturally of a right temper, they would have been effectually influenced to love him, live to him, delight in him, and praise him for ever; or, in St. Paul's words, To glorify God as God, and be thankful. And I suppose that all mankind, still having the same natural powers, and the same outward advantages, are therefore entirely to blame for, and wholly inexcusable in, all their ignorance, blindness, and wickedness; especially considering they perfectly love to be what they are, and hate to be reclaimed, and stand ready to resist the light when offered, and shut their eyes against the truth, from whatever quarter it comes. The heavens, still as clearly as ever, do declare the glory of the Lord, and the firma – ment showeth his handy work; day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. Psalm xix. 1. The natural perfections of God are clearly to be seen in all his works at the first glance, and his moral perfections would be equally evident to an intelligent creature of a right temper at the second thought: And then his glory would immediately shine brighter than the sun, and every heart be ravished with his infinite beauty. But such is our alienation from the Deity in this apostate world, and such the vitiated temper of our minds, that while angels see the divine glory in all his works, (Rev. iv. 11.) men, sottish brutish men, though they have eyes to see, see not; but are blind to the manifestations which God makes of himself, because they do not like to have God in their knowledge. And now,

3. As to the heathens being accepted for honestly improving their powers and advantages, it is, in the first place, most certain, from St. Paul's account, that they were at the very greatest distance from doing so. But, secondly, if they had done so, yea, if they had discovered so good a temper of mind as perfectly to have conformed to the divine law, yet it is the very scope of all the apostle's reasoning, in the three first chapters of his epistle to the Romans, to prove that. by the deeds of the

no flesh, neither Jew nor Gentile, can be justified. And

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