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ally taking all pains, from age to age, to make them a holy people even as we are ready to say concerning the people of a particular parish, where there is a learned, godly, plain, searching, powerful, enlightening, faithful, minister, such as Mr. SHEPARD was in his day, What more could be done for such a people, that is not done? And therefore, when Stephen charged the Jews, that they always resisted the Holy Ghost, as their fathers had done, (in Acts vii. 51.) he means, that they had always resisted the Holy Ghost, as speaking in and by their prophets, as now they did the same spirit that spake in and by him; as is plain from verse 52, and as is also evident from Neh. ix. 30. And besides, there is not the least intimation, that those Jews, to whom Stephen spoke, were under any of the inward influences of the Holy Spirit, but they seem rather to act like creatures wholly left of God. And this hint may help us to understand that phrase in Neh. ix. 20. compared with Num. xi. 17. So that, from the whole, it is evident that the children of Israel, as a nation, were, in Isaiah's time, looked upon as enjoying advantages much more than sufficient for their being a holy and fruitful people, had they been of a right temper, and not so wickedly obstinate and perverse in their bad disposition; and yet their advantages were only outward, and the inward influences of the Holy Spirit are not taken into the account.

And well might their advantages be thus esteemed, upon the forementioned hypothesis: Yea, if all mankind are able in respect to their natural capacities, to yield perfect obedience, and if the advantages of the very heathen were sufficient, had it not been for the want of a right temper in them, and for their very bad disposition, it is no wonder that God speaks here concerning his peculiar people, whose outward advantages were exceedingly great, as if he had had very raised expectations of their being a holy people: Wherefore, when I looked it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ?-Q. D. "I have done all, as to outward means, that could be done, to make you a holy people; enough, and more than enough; and I looked and expected that you should have been so: and whence is it that you are not? How unaccountable is it? And how great is your wick

édness! And how great your guilt!" For it is God's way, in the holy scriptures, to speak to men after the manner of men, who are wont to have their expectations of fruitfulness raised, when they sow or plant in a fertile soil, well manured and cultivated. (See Mat. xxi. 33-41.) Just so a master is wont to speak to his servant, who is strong, and able for busi"I looked that you should have done such a piece of work, wherefore is it not done? You had time enough, and strength enough ;" and that although he knew, in all reason, beforehand, that his servant would not do it, because of his lazy, unfaithful temper; the design of such speeches being to represent the great unreasonableness and inexcusableness of such a conduct.


And finally, upon the same hypothesis, it is no wonder that Jesus Christ represents the people of Chorazin, and Bethsaida, and Capernaum, as enjoying advantages sufficient to have brought even Tyre, and Sidon, and Sodom, to repentance, which, in scripture account, are some of the most wicked cities in the world; and so, consequently, more than barely sufficient to have brought them to repentance, who were, by profession, the people of God; for they had enjoyed the ministry of Christ himself, and seen very many of his mighty works. Mat. xi. 20-24. If the advantages of the heathen world are sufficient, well might Christ, speaking after the manner of men, seem to be so confident that Tyre, and Sidon, and Sodom, would have repented, if they had seen his mighty works; and well might he speak as if the people of Chorazin, &c. had enjoyed advantages more than barely sufficient, and lay all the blame of their impenitency upon them; yea, and look upon them as under an aggravated guilt, and give them so heavy a doom. And yet nothing can be plainer than that the advantages which they enjoyed were only outward, for no other are brought into the account, as aggravations of their guilt: Wo unto thee, for if the mighty works which were done in you, &c. He does not, in the least, intimate as if they had any inward help from the Holy Spirit, but only says he has done mighty works among them; yea, in the 25th verse, he plainly declares that they were left destitute of special grace. And thus while with St. Paul, we look upon the advan

tages even of the heathen world as sufficient to lead them to the true knowledge of God, and a perfect conformity to his law, but for their want of a good temper, and their voluntary aversion to God and love to sin, we easily see whence it is that the external advantages of those who enjoy the benefit of a divine revelation, together with other outward means of grace, are represented as being much more than barely sufficient; and consequently their guilt in remaining impenitent and unholy, as being doubly aggravated.

And before I leave this point, I must make one remark more, namely, that if the advantages of the heathen world were sufficient, but for their want of a good temper, their voluntary aversion to God and love to sin, to lead them to the true knowledge of God, and a perfect conformity to his law, as has been proved, then God was not under any natural obligations to grant to any of mankind any supernatural advantages, but still might justly have required sinless perfection of all, and threatened eternal damnation for the least defect; I say, God was under no natural obligations, i. e. any obligations arising from his nature and perfections: for he might, consistent with his holiness, justice, and goodness, have left all mankind to themselves, without any supernatural advantages, since their natural advantages were sufficient, and they were obstinate in their ignorance, blindness, and wickedness. Most certainly God was not bound to have sent his Son, his spirit, his word, his messengers, and entreat and beseech those who perfectly hated him, and hated to hear from him, and were disposed to crucify his Son, resist his spirit, pervert his word, and kill his messengers, to turn and love him, and serve him; but might, even consistent with infinite goodness itself, have let them take their course, and go on in the way they were set in, and have damned them all at last.

All that the great and glorious Governor of the world requires of mankind, in the law of nature, is that they love him with all their hearts and souls, and live as brethren together in his world; which is infinitely reasonable in itself, and which they have sufficient natural powers to do. And he has stretched abroad the heavens as a curtain over their heads, which declare the glory of the Lord; and in the earth,

and in all his works, his perfections are clearly to be seen, so that all are under sufficient advantages for the knowledge of him; but mankind hate God, and say unto the Almighty, Depart from us, for we do not desire the knowledge of thy ways: and hence they still remain ignorant of God, averse to him, and in love with sin. And now, I say, it is as evident as the sun at noon day, that God might fairly have damned such creatures, without using any more means with them. His law being thus upon a perfect level with their natural powers and natural advantages, he was not obliged, as he was the righteous and good Governor of the world, to grant them any supernatural assistance, either outward, by an external revelation, or inward, by the internal influences of his Holy Spirit: and therefore it is, that the great ruler of the world has always acted sovereignly and arbitrarily in these matters, bestowing these supernatural favours upon whom he pleases, as being obliged to none. Thus he has done as to the external revelation: Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20. "He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation, and as for his judgments, they have not known them." And thus he has done as to the internal influences of his spirit. Mat. xi. 25, 26. "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." And thus God, even to this day, as to both outward and inward helps, hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and compassion on whom he will have compassion. He effectually sends the gospel to one nation, and not to another; and where the gospel is preached, he, by his Spirit, awakens, convinces, humbles, converts whom he pleases, and leaves the rest.

And thus the objection, from the heathen's not having sufficient outward advantages, has been answered; and, from the answer, I have taken occasion to make these, (I hope,) not unprofitable remarks; and may now return and repeat my former assertion, with still higher degrees of assurance, viz.that mankind are altogether to blame for, and entirely inexcusable in their non-conformity to the holy law of God,

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and therefore justly deserve damnation; and that even the heathen, as well as others.

Thus have I endeavoured to show what is the exact measure of love and obedience that God requires of the children of men, and that all mankind have sufficient natural powers and outward advantages, and that all their blindness, ignorance, and wickedness, are voluntary, chosen, and loved. And I have been the larger upon these things, in order to clear up the justice of God and his law, and the grace of God in his gospel-both which have been sadly misrepresented by those who have not aright understood or well attended to these things. They have said that it is not just in God to require sinless perfection of mankind, or dainn any for the want of it. They have said that the law is abated and brought down to a level with (I hardly know what, unless I call it) the vitiated, depraved temper of an apostate world, who both hate God and his holy law, and want an act of toleration and indulgence to be passed in favour of their corruptions, that, at heart, they may remain dead in sin, and yet, by a round of external duties, be secured from damnation at last : And so they have, like the Pharisees of old, (Mat. v.) destroyed the law by their abatements; and now the law, only by which is the knowledge of sin, being thus laid aside, they are ignorant of their sinful, guilty, helpless, undone state, and so are insensible of their need of the sovereign grace of God, through Jesus Christ, to save them; and fancy they are well disposed enough to turn to God of their own accord. And having imbibed such notions of religion, they easily see that the better sort of heathen have, for substance, the same religion with themselves, and therefore have equal charity for them not being really sensible of their need of gospel-grace for themselves, they have full charity for the heathen, who never so much as heard of it. But what I have said is sufficient, I think, to clear the justice of God in his law, and the grace of God in the gospel, and sweep away this refuge of lies, by which so many gladly quiet their consciences, and wofully deceive their own souls. However, of these things we shall still have something more afterwards.

Thus we have gone through what was proposed; have con

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