Part II

W HAT has been already advanced, on the nature of faith <in Christ, may contribute to the deciding of the question, whether faith be the duty of the ungodly : but, in addition to this, the scriptures furnish abundance of positive evidence. The principal part of that which has occurred to me may be comprehended under the following propositions :—

I. Unconverted Sinners Are Commanded, Exhorted, And

JNVITED, TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST FOR SALVATION.

It is here taken for granted, that whatever God commands, exhorts, or invites us to comply with, is the duty of those to whom such language is addressed. If, therefore, saving faith be not the duty of the unconverted, we may -expect never to find any addresses of this nature directed to them in the holy -scriptures. We may expect that God will as soon require them to become angels, as Christians, if the one be no more their duty than the other.

There is a phraseology suited to different periods of time. Previously to the coming of Christ, and the preaching of the gospel, we read but little of believing: but other terms, fully expressive of the thing, are found in abundance. I shall select a few examples, and accompany them with such remarks as may show them to be applicable to the subject.

Psalm ii. 11, 12.—Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling: kiss the Son, lest he tie angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: bleated are all they that fiut their trus-t in him. The Psalm

is evidently a prophecy of the resurrection and exaltation of the Messiah. Whatever reference may be had to Solomon, there are several things which are not true, of either him or his government; and the whole is applicable to Christ, and is plentifully applied to him in the New Testament.

The kimjs and judges of the earth, who are here admon* ished to serve the Lord Messiah with fear, and to kiss the Son lest he be an/ry, are the same persons mentioned in verse 2, •which words we find, in the New Testament, applied to Her* od and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel:* that is, they were the enemies of Christ, unregeneyate sinners; and such, for any thing that appears, they lived and died.

The command of God addressed to these rulers, is of a spiritual nature, including unfeigned faith in the Messiah, and. sincere obedience to his authority. To kiss the Son, is to be reconciled to him, to embrace his word and ordinances, and bow to his sceptre, To serve him with fear, and rejoice with trembling, denoie, that they should not think meanly of him, on the one hand ; nor hypocritically cringe to him from a mere apprehension of his wrath, on the other; but sincerely embrace his government, and even rejoice that they had it to embrace. That which is here required of unbelievers, is the very spirit which distinguishes believers; a holy fear of Christ's majesty, and an humble confidence in his mercy; taking his yoke upon them, and wearing it as their highest delight. That the object of the command was spiritual, is also manifest from the threatening and the promise annexed to it, lest ye perish from the wayblessed are all they that put their trust in him. It is here plainly supposed, that, if they did embrace the Son, they should not perish from the way, and, if they did put their trust in him, they should be blessed. The result is, unconverted sinners are commanded to believe in Christ for salvation: therefore, be|ieving in Christ for salr vation is their duty.

Isaiah ly. 1—7. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ; and your labour for that which satisfieth not ?

* Acts.iv. 27.

Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live ; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure merciest of David. Behold, I have giruen him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knewest not ; and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy Cod, and for the holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him } and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. This is the language of invitation : but divine invitation implies an obligation to accept it; otherwise, the conduct of those who made light of the gospel supper, and preferred their farms and merchandise before it, had been guiltless.

The concluding verses of this passage express those things literally, which the foregoing ones described metaphorically : the persons invited, and the invitation, are the same in both. The thirst which they are supposed to possess, does not mean a holy desire after spiritual blessings, but the natural desire of happiness which God has implanted in every bosom; and which, in wicked men, is directed not to the sure mercies of David, but to that which is not bread, or which has no solid satisfaction in it. The duty, to a compliance with which they are so pathetically urged, is, a relinquishment of every false way, and a returning to God in His name who was given for a witness, a leader, and a com

V^mander to the people ; which is the same thing as repentance wards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. The encouragements held up to induce a compliance with this dimy, are, the freeness, the substantiality, the durableness, the cemtainty, and the rich abundance of those blessings, which as iiany as repent and believe the gospel shall receive. The whole passage is exceedingly explicit, as to the duty of the unconverted; neither is it possible to evade the force of it by any just or fair method of interpretation..

Jeremiah vi. 16. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ivays and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good ivay, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk therein. The persons here addressed are, beyond all doubt, ungodly men. God himself bears witness of them, that their ears were uncircumcised, and they could not hearken ; for the word of the Lord was to them a reproach, and they had no delight in it. ver. 10. Yea, so hardened were they, that they were not ashamed -when they had committed abomination, and so impudent that they could not blush. ver. 15. And such, for any thing that appears, they continued ; for when they were exhorted to walk in the goad way, their answer was, We will not walk therein. Hence, the awful threatening which follows : Hear, O earth, behold, I will bring evil ufton this {teople, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. ver. 19.

The good way, in which they were directed to walk, must have been the same as that in which the patriarchs and prophets had walked in former ages ; who, we all know, lived and died in the faith of the promised Messiah. Hence, our Lord, with great propriety, applied the passage to himself.* Jeremiah directed to the old paths, and the good way, as the only medium of finding rest to the soul: Jesus said, Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of met and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

We see in this passage also, as in many others, in what manner God requires sinners to use the means of grace : not by a mere attendance upon them, (which, while the end is disregarded, and the means rested in instead of it, is not using, but perverting them,) but with a sincere desire to find out the good way, and to walk in it. God requires no natural impossibilities. No man is required to believe in Christ, before he has opportunity of examining the evidence attending his gospel: but he ought to search into it, like the noble Bereans, immediately, and with a pure intention of finding and following the good way; which, if he do, like them he will soon be found walking in it.

* Matt. xi. 28.

If we teach sinners, that a mere attendance on the means of grace is that use of them which God requires at their hands, and in which consists the whole of their duty, as to repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be found false witnesses for God, and deceivers of the souls of men.

The New Testament is still more explicit than the Old. Faith in Jesus Christ, even that which is accompanied with salvation, is there constantly held up as the duty of all to whom the gospel is preached.

John xii. 36. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. The persons to whom this passage was addressed, were unbelievers; such who, though Jesus had done to many miracles among them, yet believed not on him: (ver. 37.) and it appears that they continued unbelievers, for they are represented as given over to judicial blindness and hardness of heart. (ver. 40.) The light which they were exhorted to believe in, appears to be himself, as revealed in the gospel; for thus he speaks in the context, I am come a light into the 'world, that whosoever believeth in me should not abide in darkness. And that the believing which Christ required of them was such, as, had it been complied with, would have issued in their salvation, is manifest, from its being added, that ye may be the children of light; an appellation never bestowed on any but true believers.

John vi. 29. This is the isork of God, that ye believe oft Aim whom he hath sent. These words contain an answer to a question. The persons who asked it were men who followed Christ for loaves, who believed not, and who, after this, walked no more with him. (ver. 26. 36. 66.) Christ had been reCuking them for their mercenary principles in thus following him about, and charging them, saying, Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life. (ver. 27.) They replied, by asking, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God ? which was saying, in effect,' We have been very zealous for thee in following thee hither and thither; yet thou dost not allow that we please God: thou directest us to labour for that which endureth unto everlasting life. What wouldest thou have us do; what can we do; what must we do, in order to please God ? To this question our Lord answers, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent : which, if it be a proper answer, is the same as saying, This is the first and greatest of all duties; and, without it, no other duty can be acceptable.

It has been said* in answer to the argument from this passage, " The words contain a declaration, that believing m Christ for salvation is necessary to the enjoyment of eternal life, and that faith in him is an act acceptable and pleasing to God ; but afford no proof, that it is required of men in a state of unregeneracy. To declare to unregenerate persons the necessity of faith, in order to salvation, which is what our blessed Lord here does, falls very far short of asserting it to be their present duty."*

We see, by this answer, that Mr. Brine, who will be allowed to have been one of the most judicious writers on that side the question, was fully convinced of three things. First: That the persons here addressed were unregenerate sinners. Secondly: That the faith recommended is saving. Thirdly : That, when faith is called the work of God, it does not mean the work which God fierforms, but an act of theirs, which would be acceptable and fileasing to him. Yet we are told, that our Lord merely expresses the necessity of it, without asserting it to be their present duty. Was it not the object of their inquiry, then, What was their present duty? or, What they ought to do, in order to please God ? What else can be made of h ? Further: How can our Lord be supposed, in answer to their question, to tell them of an act which was necessary, acceptable, and pleasing to God, but which was not their present duty ? Is such an answer worthy of him ? Nay, how could their believing be an act acceptable and pleasing to God, if it were not their present duty ? God is pleased with that only in us which he requires at our hands.

John v. 23. The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

* Mr. Brine's Motives to Jjove and Canity, (fc, p. 42.-

That men are obliged to honour the Father by a holy, hearty love to him, and adoration of him, under eveiy character by which he has manifested himself, will be allowed by all, except the grossest Antinomians: and, if it be the will of the Father that all men Should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, nothing less can be required of them than a holy, hearty love to him, and adoration of him, under every character by which he has manifested himself. But such a regard to Christ necessarily supposes faith in him: for it is impossible to honour him, while we reject him in all or any of his offices, and neglect his great salvation. To honour an infallible teacher, is to place ah implicit and unbounded confidence in all he says: to honour an advocate, is to commit our cause to him: to honour a physician, is to trust our lives in his hands: and to honour a king, is to bow to his sceptre, and cheerfully obey his laws. These are characters under which Christ has manifested himself. To treat him in this manner, is to honour him ; and to treat him otherwise, is to dishonour him.

The scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, abound with exhortations to hear the word of Godj to hearken to his counsel, to wait on him, to seek his favour, Ecc. all which imply saving faith. Hearken unto me, O ye children : for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise} and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that Hearetk me, watching daily at my gates, walting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me, love death !How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity ? and the scornera delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge ? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you..—*-hear, ye deaf, and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Hearken diligently unto me. Incline your ear, and come unto me : Hear, and yuur soul shall live.—Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, Call Ye Upon Him while he is near. This is my beloved Son : Hear him.And it shall come to pass, that every soui which will not Hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from

among the people. Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life.*

It is a grievous misapplication of such language, to consider it as expressive of a mere attendance upon the means of grace, without any spiritual desire after God; and to allow that unregenerate sinners comply with it. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The scriptures abound in promises of spiritual and eternal blessings to those who thus hearken, hear, and seek after God: such exercises, therefore, must, of necessity, be spiritual, and require to be understood as including faith in Christ. The scriptures exhort to no such exercises as may be complied with by a mind at enmity With God : the duties which they inculcate, are alt spiritual; and no sinner, While unregenerate, is supposed to comply with them.—So far from allowing that ungodly men seek after God, or do any good thing, they expressly deelare the contrary. God looked down from heaven npon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back ; they are altogether become filthy t there is none that doeth good, no, not one.f To reduce the exhortations of scripture to the level of a carnal mind, is to betray the authority of God over the human heart: and to allow that unconverted sinners comply with them, is to be aiding and abetting in their self-deception. The unconverted who attend the means of grace, generally persuade them-selves, and wish to persuade others, that they would gladly be converted, and be real Christians, if it were but in their power. They imagine themselves to be waiting at the pool for the moving of the water, and, therefore, feel no guilt on account of their present state of mind. Doubtless, they arewilling and desirous to escape the wrath to come ; and, under certain convictions, would submit to relinquish many things, and to comply with other things, as the condition of it; but they have no direct desire after spiritual blessings. If they had, they would seek them in the name of Jesus, and, thus seeking, would find them.

* Prov. viii. 32—36. i. 22, 23. Isa. xlii. 18. lv. 2, 3, 6. Mark Ix. 7. Acts iii. 23. John vi. 2T. fPsa.liii. 2.3.

That preaching, therefore, which exhorts them to mere outward duties, and tells them that their only concern is, in this manner to wait at the pool, helps forward their delusion, and, should they perish, will prove accessary to their destruction,

Simon the sorcerer was admonished to repent and pray to the Lord, \f perhaps the thought of his heart might be forgiven him. From this express example, many, who are averse from the doctrine here defended, have been so far convinced as to acknowledge, that it is the duty of the unconverted to pray, at least for temporal blessings: but Simon was not admonished to pray for temporal blessings, but for the forgiveness of sin. Neither was he to pray in a carnal and heartless manner ; but to repent, and pray. And, being directed to repent, and pray for the forgiveness of sin, he was, in effect, directed to believe in Jesus : for jn what other name could forgiveness be expected ? Peter, after having declared to the Jewish rulers, that there was none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, cannot be supposed to have directed Simon to hope for forgiveness in any other way.

To admonish any person to pray, or to seek the divine favour, in any other way than by faith in Jesus Christ, is the same thing as to admonish them to follow the example of Cain, and of the self-righteous Jews. Cain was not averse from worship. He brought his offering; but, having no sense of the evil of sin, and of the need of a Saviour, he had taken no notice of what had been revealed concerning the promised seed, and paid no regard to the presenting of an expiatory sacrifice. He thanked God for temporal blessings, and might pray for their continuance : but this was not doing well. It was practically saying to his Maker, « I have done nothing to deserve being made a sacrifice to thy displeasure : and I see no necessity for any sacrifice being offered up, either now or at the end of the world.' In short, it was claiming to approach God merely as a creature, and as though nothing had taken place which required an atonement. The self-righteous Jews did not live without religion: they followed after the law of righteousness ; yet they did not attain it: and wherefore ? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law ; for they stumbled at that stumbling'ttone. And shall we direct our hearers to follow this example by exhorting them to pray, and seek the divine favour, in any other way than by faith in Jesus Christ ? If so, how can tre deserve the name of Christian ministers ?

The scriptures exhort sinners to put their trust in the Lord, and censure them for placing it in an arm of flesh. Whether trusting in Christ, for the salvation of our souls, be distinguishable from believing in him, or not; it certainly includes it. To trust in Christ is to believe in him : if, therefore, the one be required, the other must be. Those who loved -vanity, and sought after lying, are admonished to offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and to put their trust in the Lord ;* and a trust connected with the sacrifices of righteousness must be spiritual. To rely on any other object, is to trust in vanity, against which sinners are repeatedly warned :—Trust not in oppresmon ; become not vain in robbery.He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the iorrf.f

It is allowed, that, if God had never sent his Son into the world to save sinners, or, if the invitations of the gospel were not addressed to sinners indefinitely, there would be no warrant for trust in the divine mercy : and as it is, there is no warrant for trust, beyond what God has promised in his word. He has not promised to save sinners indiscriminately; and, therefore, it would be presumption in sinners indiscriminately to trust that they shall be saved. But he has promised, and that in great variety of language, that whosoever, relinquishing every false ground of hopr, shall come to Jesus as a perishing sinner, and rely on him alone for salvation, shall not be disappointed. For such a reliance, therefore, there is a complete warrant. These promises arc true, and will be fulfilled, whether we trust in them, or not: and whosoever still continues to trust in his own righteousness, or in the general mercy of his Creator without respect to the atonement, refusing to build upon the foundation which God has laid in Zion, is guilty of the greatest of all sins; and, if God give him not repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth, the stone which he has refused will fall upon him, and grind him to powder.

* Psa. iv. 5. -j Psa. Ixii. 10. Prov. xxyiii. 26. .Ter. xyii. 5.

But, " until a man through the law is dead to the law," says Mr. Brine, " he hath no warrant to receive Christ as a Saviour, or to hope for salvation through him."* If, by receiving Christ, were meant the claiming an interest in the blessings of his salvation, this objection would be well-founded. No man, while adhering to his own righteousness, as the ground of acceptance with God, has any warrant to conclude himself interested in the righteousness of Jesus. The scriptures every where assure him of the contrary. But the question is, Does he need any warrant to be dead to the law : or, which is the same thing, to relinquish his vain hopes of acceptance by the works of it, and to choose that Rock for his foundation, which is chosen of God and precious ? To " receive" Christ, in the sense of scripture, stands opposed to rejecting him, or to such a non-reception of him, as was practised by the body of the Jewish nation.t An interest in spiritual blessings, and, of course, a persuasion of it, is represented as following the reception of Christ, and, consequently, is to be distinguished from it: To as many as received him, to them gave hepower to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. The idea that is generally attached to the term, in various cases to which the reception of Christ bears an allusion, corresponds with the above statement. To receive a gift, is not to believe it to be my own, though, after I have received it, it is so ; but to have my pride so far abased, as not to be above it, and my heart so much attracted, as to be willing to relinquish every thing that stands in competition with it. To receive a guest, is not to believe him to be my particular friend, though such he may be; but to open my doors to him, and make him heartily welcome. To receive an instructor, is not to believe him to be my instructor any more than another's; but to embrace his instruction, and follow his counsel. For a town, or city, after a long siege, to receive a king, is not to believe him to be their special friend, though such he may be, and, in the end, they may see it; but to lay down their arms, throw open their gates, and come under his government.

f Motives to Love and Unity, pp. 38,39. -$ John i. 11, 12.

These remarks are easily applied; and it is no less easy to perceive, that every sinner has not only a warrant thus to receive Christ, but, that it is his great sin, if he receive him not.

II. Every Man Is Bound Cordially To Receive And Approve Whatever God Reveals.

It may be presumed, that, if God reveal any thing to men, it will be accompanied with such evidence of its being what it is, that no upright mind can continue to doubt of it. He that is of God, heareth God's words.

It will be allowed, by those with whom I am now reasoning, that no man is justifiable in disbelieving the truth of the gospel, or in positively rejecting it: but then it is supposed, that a belief of the gospel is not saving faith; and that, though a positive rejection of divine truth is sinful, yet a spiritual reception of it is not a duty. I hope it has been made to apr pear, in the former part of this piece, that a real belief of the doctrine of Christ is saving faith, and includes such a cordial acquiescence in the way of salvation, as has the promise of eternal life. But, be this as it may, whether the belief of the gospel be allowed to include a cordial acquiescence in God's way of salvation, or not, such an acquiescence will be allowed to include saving faith. " Acting faith," says Mr. Brine, "i$ no other than suitable thoughts of Christ, and a hearty choice of him as God's appointed way of salvation."* If, therefore, it can be proved, that a cordial approbation of God's way of saving sinners is the duty of every one, it will amount to proving the same thing of saving faith.

I allow, there is a difficulty in this part of the work ; but it is that which attends the proof of a truth which is nearly self-evident. Who could suppose, that Mr. Brine, after such an acknowledgment concerning faith, could doubt of its being the duty of all mankind ? Ought we not, if we think of Christ at all, to think suitably of him ? and are we justifiable in entertaining low and unsuitable thoughts of him ? Is it not a matter of complaint, that the ungodly Jews saw no form nor comeliness in him, nor beauty, that they should desire him ?

* Johnson's Mistakes Noted and Rectified, p. p.34

And with respect to an hearty choice of him, as God's appointed way of salvation, if it be not the duty of sinners to choose him, it is their duty to refuse him, or to desire to be accepted of God by the works of their hands, in preference to him? Mr. Brine would censure men for this. So does Mr. Wayman. Speaking of self-righteous unbelievers, he says, " They plainly declare, that Christ is not all and in all to them, but that he comes in but at second-hand; and their regard is more unto themselves, and their dependence more upon their own doings, than upon the Mighty One upon whom God hath laid our help."*1 But, why thus complain, of sinners for theip not choosing Christ, if they be under no obligation to do so ? Is there no sin in the invention of the various false schemes of religion, with which the Christian world abounds, to the exclusion of Christ? Why, then, are heresies reckoned among the works of the flesh ?\ If we are not obliged to think suitably of Christ, and to choose him whom the Lord and all good men have chosen, there can be no evil in these things: for where no law is^ there is no transgression.

" A hearty choice of God's appointed way of salvation," is the same thing as falling in with its grand designs. Now, the grand designs of the salvation of Christ are, the glory of God, the abasement of the sinner, and the destruction of his sins. It is God's manifest purpose, in saving sinners, to save them in this way : and can any sinner be excused from cordially acquiescing in it ? If any man properly regard the character of God, he must be willing that he should be glorified : if he knew his own unworthiness, as he ought to know it, he must also be willing to occupy that place which the gospel-way of salvation assigns him; and, if he be not wickedly wedded to his lusts, he must be willing to sacrifice them at the foot of the cross. He may be averse from each of these, and, while an unbeliever, is so: but he will not be able to acquit himself of guilt; and it is to be lamented, that any who sustain the character of Christian ministers should be employed in labouring to acquit him.

If a way of salvation were provided, which did not provide for ihe glory of God ; which did not abase, but flatter the sinner ; and which did not require him to sacrifice his lusts: be would feel no want of power to embrace it.

* Further Inquiry, p. 160. + Gal. v. 20.

Nominal Christians, and mere professors, in all ages, have shown themselves able to believe any thing but the truth. Thus it was with the carnal Jews; and thus our Lord plainly told them : —/ am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not ;— If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.— Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin ? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me ? He that is of God, heareth God's words : ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God.* This is the true source of the innumerable false schemes- of religion in the world, and the true reason why the gospel is not universally embraced.

Unbelievers are described as disallowing of him who is chosen of God and precious.\ Now, either to allow or disallow, supposes a claim. Christ claims to be the whole foundation of a sinner's hope ; and God claims, on his behalf, that he be treated as the head of the corner. But the heart of unbelievers cannot allow of the claim. The Jewish builders set him at naught; and every self-righteous heart follows their example. God, to express his displeasure at this conduct, assures them, that their unbelief shall affect none but themselves ; it shall not deprive the Saviour of his honours: for the stone which they refuse, notwithstanding their opposition, shall become the head of the corner. What can be made of all this, but, that they ought to have allowed him the place which he so justly claimed, and to have chosen him whom the Lord had chosen ? On no other ground could the scripture censure them as it does ; and on no other principle could they be characterized as disobedient : for all disobedience consists in a breach of duty.

Believers, on the other hand, are described as thinking highly of Christ; reckoning themselves unworthy to unloose the latchet of his shoes, or that he should come under their roof; treating his gospel as worthy of all acceptation, and counting all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of him.

* John v. 43. viii. 45—47. f 1 Peler ii. 4—7.

They are of the same mind with the blessed above, who sing his praise, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom., and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. In fine, they are of the same mind with God himself: him whom God has chosen, they choose ; and he that is precious in his sight, is precious in theirs.* And do they overestimate his character ? Is he not worthy of all the honour they ascribe to him; of all the affection they exercise towards him ; and that, whether he actually receive it, or not ? If all the angels had been of the mind of Satan, and all the saints of the spirit of the unbelieving Israelites, who were not gathered ; yet would he have been glorious in the eyes of the Lord. The belief or unbelief of creatures makes no difference as to his worthiness, or their obligation to ascribe* it to him.

It is allowed by all, except the grossest Antinomians, that every man is obliged to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength ; and this, notwithstanding the depravity of his nature. But to love God with all the heart, is to love him in every character in which he has made himself known f and, more especially, in those wherein his moral excellencies appear with the brightest lustre. The same law that obliged Adam, in innocence, to love God in all his perfections, as displayed in the works of creation, obliged Moses and Israel to love him in all the glorious displays of himself in his wonderful works of providence, of which they were witnesses. And the same law, that obliged them to love him in those discoveries of himself, obliges us to love him in other discoveries, by which he has since more gloriously appeared, as saving sinn^s through the death of his Son. To suppose, that we are obliged to love God as manifesting himself in the works of creation and providence, but not in the work of redemption ; is to suppose, that, in the highest and most glorious display of himself, he deserves no regard. The same perfections, which appear in all his other works, and render him lovely, appear in this with a ten-fold lustre : to be obliged to love him on acccount of the one, and not of the other, is not a little extraordinary.

• Mark i. 7. \ Tim. 1. IS. Phil. iii. 8. Rev. r. 12. 1 Peter ii. 4-7.

As these things cannot be separated in point of obligation, so neither can they in fact. He that loves God for any excellency, as manifested in one form, must, of necessity, love him for that excellency, let it be manifested in what form it may ; and the brighter the display, the stronger will be his love. This remark is verified in the holy angels. At first, they loved their Maker, for what they saw in his works of creation. They saw him lay the foundation of the earth, and they Shouted For Joy. In process of time, they witnessed the glorious displays of his moral character in the government of the world which he had made; and now their love increases. On every new occasion, they cry, Holy, Holy, Holy Is The Lord Of Hosts : The Whole Earth Is Full Of His Glory. At length, they beheld an event, to the accomplishment of which all former events were subservient; they saw the Messiah born in Bethlehem. And now their love rises still higher. As though heaven could not contain them on such an occasion, they resort to the place, and contemplate the good that should arise to the moral system, bursting forth into a song: Glory To God In The Highest, And On Earth Peace, Good Will Towards Men. All this was but the natural operation of love to God; and, from the same principle, they took delight in attending the Redeemer through his life, strengthening him in his sufferings, watching at his tomb, conducting him to glory, and looking into the mysteries of redemption. With a heart like theirs, is it possible to conceive, that we should continue impenitent or unbelieving ? If, in our circumstances, we possessed that love to God by which they were influenced, it would melt us into holy lamentation for having sinned against him. If the gospel-invitation to partake of the water of life once sounded in our ears, we should instantly imbibe it. Instead of making light of it, and preferring our farms and our merchandise before it, we should embrac e it with our whole heart. Let any creature be affected towards God as the holy angels are, and if he had a thousand souls to be saved, and the invitation extended to every one that is willing, he would not hesitate a moment, whether he should rely on his salvation. It is owing to a want of love to God, that any man continues impenitent or unbelieving. This was plainly intimated, by our Lord, to the Jews: J know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not. It is impossible to love God, and not to embrace the greatest friend of God that ever existed ; or to love his law, and not approve of a system which, above all things, tends to magnify and make it honourable.

" The affections included in divine love," says an able writer, " are founded on those truths for which there is the greatest evidence in the world. Every thing in the world, that proves the being of God, proves that his creatures should love him with all their hearts. The evidence for these things is, in itself, very strong, and level to every capacity. Where it does not beget conviction, it is not owing to the weakness of men's capacities; but the strength of their prejudices and prepossessions. Whatever proves that reasonable creatures are obliged to love God and his law, proves that sinners are obliged to suitable hatred of sin, and abasement for it. A sinner cannot have due prevalent love to God, and hatred of sin, without prevalent desire of obtaining deliverance from sin, and the enjoyment of God. A suitable desire of so important ends cannot be without proportionable desire of the necessary means. If a sinner, therefore, who hears the gospel, have these suitable affections, of love to God, and hatred of sin, to which he is obliged by the laws of natural religion ; these things cannot be separated from a real complacency in that redemption and grace which are proposed in revealed religion. This does not suppose that natural religion can discover, or prove, the peculiar things of the gospel to be true; but, when they are discovered, it proves them to be infinitely desirable. A book of laws that are enforced with awful sanctions, cannot prove that the sovereign has passed an act of grace, or indemnity, in favour of transgressors: but it proves, that such favour is, to them, the most desirable and the most necessary thing in the world. It proves, that the way of saving us from sin, which the gospel reveals, i» infinitely suitable to the honour of God, to the dignity of his law, and to the exigencies of the consciences of sinners."*

* Bl'Laurin's Essay m Grace, p. 342.

« If any man has a taste for moral excellency," says another, " a heart to account God glorious for being what he is; he cannot but see the moral excellency of the law, and love it, and conform to it, because it is the image of God ; and so he cannot but see the moral excellency of the gosfiel, and believe it, and love it, and comply with it; for it is also the image of God; he that can see the moral beauty in the, original, cannot but see the moral beauty of the image drawn to life He, therefore, that despises the gospel, and is an enemy to the law, even he is at enmity against God himself. (Rom. viii. 7.) Ignorance of the glory of Gcd, and enmity against him, make men ignorant of tht glory of the law and of the gospel, and enemies to both. Did men know and love him that begat, they would love that which is begotten of him. (_ 1 John v. 1.) He that is of God heareth God's words : ye there-, fore hear themnot, because ye are not of God. (John viii. 47.)"* III. Though The Gospel, Strictly Speaking, Is Mot A Law,

BUT A MESSAGE OF PURE GRACE ; TET IT VIRTUALLY REQUIRES OBEDIENCE, AND SUCH AN OBEDIENCE AS INCLUDES SAVINS TAITH.

It is no uncommon thing to distinguish between a forma} requisition, and that which affords the ground, or reason, of that requisition. The goodness of God, for instance, though it is not a law, or formal precept, yet virtually requires a return of gratitude. It deserves it: and the law of God fois mally requires it, on his behalf. Thus it is with respect to the gospel, which is the greatest overflow of divine goodness that was ever displayed. A return suitable to its nature is required virtually by the gospel itself; and formally by the divine precept, on its behalf.

I suppose it might be taken for granted, that the gospel possesses some degree of virtual authority; as it is generally acknowledged, that, by reason of the dignity of its Author, and the importance of its subject-matter, it deserves the audience and attention of all mankind; yea, more, that all man* kind, who have opportunity of hearing it, are obliged to believe it. The only question, therefore, is, whether the faith which it requires be spiritual, or such as has the promise of salvation ?

♦ Bellamy's True Religion Delineated, p. 332.

We may form some idea of the manner in which the gospel ought to be received, from its being represented as an embassy. We are ambassadors for Christy saith the apostle, as though God did beseech you by us: toe pray you in Christ's stead, be ye Reconciled to God.* The object of an embassy, in all cases, is peace. Ambassadors are sometimes employed between friendly powers, for the adjustment of their affairs: but the allusion, in this case, is manifestly to a righteous prince, who should condescend to speak peaceably to his rebellious subjects, and, as it were, to entreat them, for their own sakes, to be reconciled. The language of the Apostle supposes that the world is engaged in an unnatural and unprovoked rebellion against its Maker ; that it is in his power utterly to destroy sinners ; that, if he were to deal with them according to their deserts, this must be their portion: but that, through the mediation of his Son, he had, as it were, suspended hostilities, had sent his serTants with words of peace, and commissioned them to persuade, to entreat, and even to beseech them to be reconciled. But reconciliation to God includes every thing that belongs to true conversion. It is the opposite of a state of alienation and enmity to him.f It includes a justification of his government, a condemnation of their own unprovoked rebellion against him, and a thankful reception of the message of peace; which is the same, for substance, as to refient, and believe the gosfiel. To speak of an embassy from the God of heaven and earth to his rebellious creatures being entitled to nothing more than an audience, or a decent attention, must itself be highly offensive to the honour of his majesty; and that such language should proceed from his professed friends, must render it still more so.

" When the Apostle beseecheth us to be reconciled to God, I would know," says Dr. Owen, " whether it be not a part of our duty to yield obedience ? If not, the exhortation is frivolous and vain."| If sinners are not obliged to be reconciled to God, both as a law-giver and a Saviour, and that with all their hearts, it is no sin to be unreconciled. All the enmity of their hearts to God, his law, his gospel, or his Son, must be guiltless.

* 2 Cor. v. 20. f Col. i. 21.

* Display of Arminianism, Chap. X.

For there can be no neutrality in this case: not to be reconciled, is to be unreconciled; not to fall in with the message of peace, is to fall out with it; and not to lay down arms, and submit to mercy, is to maintain the war.

It is in perfect harmony with the foregoing ideas, that those who acquiesce in the way of salvation in this spiritual manner, are represented, in so doing, as exercising Obedience : as obeying the gospel, obeying the truth, and obeying Christ.* The very end of the gospel being preached is said to be, for obedience to the faith among all nations.\ But obedience supposes previous obligation. If repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, were not duties required of us, even prior to all consideration of their being blessings bestowed upon us, it were incongruous to speak of them as exercises of obedience. Nor would it be less so, to speak of that impenitence and unbelief, which expose men to eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, as consisting in their not obeying the gospel.\ The passage on which the former part of this argument is founded, (viz. 2 Cor. v. 19, 20.) has been thought inapplicable to the subject, because it is supposed to be an address to the members of the church at Corinth, who were considered "by the Apostle as believers. On this principle, Dr. Gill expounds the reconciliation exhorted to, submission to providence, and obedience to the discipline and ordinances of God. But let it be considered, whether the Apostle be here immediately addressing the members of the church at Corinth, beseeching them, at that time, to be reconciled to God; Op, whether he be net rather rehearsing to them what had been his conduct, and that of his brethren in the ministry, in vindication of himself and them from the base insinuations of false teachers; to whom the great evils that had crept into that church, had been principally owing. The methods they appear to have taken to supplant the apostles, were those of underhand insinuation. By Paul's answers, they appear to have suggested, that he and his friends were either subtle men, who, by their soft and beseeching style, ingratiated themselves into the esteem of the simple, catching them, as it were, with

* Rom. x. IS. vL 17. f Rom-*•5- * 2 Tbes. i. 8, 9.

guile; (2 Cor. i. 12. xii. 16.) or weak-headed enthusiasts, beside themselves, (chap. v. 13.) going up and down, beseeching people to this and that; (chap. xi. 21.) and that, as to Paul himself, however great he might appear in his letters, he was nothing in company: His bodily presence, say theyy is weak, and his speech contemptible.

In the first Epistle to this church, Paul generously waived a defence of himself and his brethren; being more concerned for the recovery of those to Christ, who were in danger of being drawn off from the truth as it is in Jesus, than respecting their opinion of him; yet, when the one was accomplished, he undertook the other; not only as a justification of himself and his brethren, but as knowing, that just sentiments of faithful ministers bore an intimate connexion with the spiritual welfare of their hearers. It is thus that the Apostle alludes to their various insinuations, acknowledging that they did indeed beseech, entreat, and persuade men; but affirming that such conduct arose not from the motives of which they were accused, but from the love of ChristIf we are beside ourselves, it is for your sakes.

If the words in chap v. 19, 20, be an immediate address to the members of the church at Corinth, those which follow in chap. vL 1. must be an address to its ministers; and thus Dr. Gill expounds it. But, if so, the Apostle, in the continuation of that address, would not have said as he does, In all things approving Ourselves as the ministers of God: his language would have been, In all things approving YourSelves, &c. Hence, it is manifest, that the whole is a vindication of their preaching and manner of life, against the insinuations of the Corinthian teachers.

There are two things which may have contributed to the misunderstanding of this passage of scripture: one is, the supplement you, wliich is unnecessarily introduced three times over in chap. v. 20, and vi. 1. If any supplement had been necessary, the word men, as it is in the text of chap, v. 11, might have better conveyed the Apostle's meaning. The other is, the division of the fifth and sixth chapters in the midst of the argument.*

• See Dr. Guyse on the place.

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IV. The Want Of Faith In Christ Is Ascribed, In The

SCRIPTURES, TO MEN'S DEPRAVITY, AND IS ITSELF REPRESENTED AS A HEINOUS SIN.

It is taken for granted, that whatever is not a sinner's duty, the omission of it cannot be charged on him as a sin, nor imputed to any depravity in him. If faith were no more a duty than election or redemption, which are acts peculiar to God; the want of the one would be no more ascribed to the evil dispositions of the heart, than of the other. Or, if the inability of sinners to believe in Christ, were of the same nature as that of a dead body in a grave to rise up and walk, it were absurd to suppose, that they would, on this account, fall under the divine censure. No man is reproved for not doing that which is naturally impossible: but sinners are reproved for not believing, and given to understand, that it is solely owing to their criminal ignorance, pride, dishonesty of heart, and aversion from God.

Voluntary ignorance is represented as a reason why sinners believe not. Being Ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, They Have Not Submitted Themselves Unto The Righteousness Of God.—If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost ; In whom the god of this world hath Blinded The Minds Of Them That Believe Not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.* To the same purpose, we are taught by our Lord, in the parable of the sower, when any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and Understandeth It Not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart i and this, as Luke expresses it, lest they should Believe And Be Saved.f

If men, even though they were possessed of the same principles as our first father in paradise, would, nevertheless, be blind to the glory of the gospel; with what propriety is thenblindness attributed to the god of this world ? Is he ever represented as employing himself in hindering that which is naturally impossible, or in promoting that which is innocent ? Pride is another cause to which the want of saving faith is ascribed.

*Rotn. x. 3. 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. + Matt. sail 19. Luke viii. 12.

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek. God is not in all his thoughts.* ,We have seen already, that seeking God is a spiritual exercise, which implies faith in the Mediator 1 and the reason why ungodly men are strangers to it is, the haughtiness of their spirits; which makes them scorn to take the place of supplicants before their offended Creator, and labour to put far from their minds every thought of him. Hozo can ye Believe, said our Lord to the Jews, who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only.\

If believing were here to be taken for any other faith than that which is spiritual or saving, the suggestion would not hold good : for we are told of some who could and did believe in Christ, in some sense,'but who did not confess him ; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.% It was pride that blinded the minds of the wise and prudent of this world to the doctrines of Christ ; and what is it but this same proud spirit, working in a way of self-conceit and aelf-righteousness, that still forms the grand objection to the doctrine of salvation by mere grace ?

Dishonesty of heart is that on account of which men receive not the word of God, so as to bring forth fruit. This is fully implied in the parable of the sower, recorded in the eighth chapter of Luke. The reason why those hearers represented by the good ground, received the word, and brought forth fruit, rather than the others, was, they had good and honest hearts ; plainly intimating, that the reason why the others did not so receive it, was, their hearts were not upright before God. Indeed such is the nature of divine truth, that every heart which is honest towards God must receive it. An honest heart must needs approve of G%d's holy law, which requires us to love him with all our powers ; and this, because it is no more than giving him the glory due to his name. An honest heart will approve of being justified wholly for Christ's sake, and not on account of any of its own works, whether legal or evangelical; for it is no more than relinquishing a claim which is justly forfeited, and accepting, as a free gift, that which God was under no obligation to bestow.

• Psalm x. 4. \ John v. 44. * J»bn xii. 43.

Further: An honest heart must rejoice in the way of salvation, as soon as he understands it; because it provides a way in which mercy can be exercised consistently with righteousness. A right spirit would revolt at the idea of re. ceiving mercy itself, in a way that should leave a blet upon the divine character. It is the glory of Christ, that he has not an honest man for an enemy. The ufiright love him.

We are not ignorant who it is that must now give men honest hearts, and what is the source of every thing, in a fallen creature, that is truly good ; but this does not affect the argument. However far sinners are from it, and whatever divine agency it may require to produce it, no man who is not disposed to deny the accountableness of creatures to the God that made them, will deny that it is their duty: for if we are not obliged to be upright towards God, we are obliged to nothing ; and if obliged to nothing, we must be guiltless, and so stand in no need of salvation.

Finally : Aversion of heart is assigned as a reason why sinners do not believe. This truth is strongly expressed in that complaint of our Lord, in John v. 40. Ye will not, or Ye Are Not Willing to come unto me, that ye might have life. Proudly attached to their own righteousness, when Jesus exhibited himself as the way, the truth, and the life, they were stumbled at it; and thousands, in the religious world, are the same to this day. They are willing to escape God's wrath, and to gain his favour ; yea, and to relinquish many an outward vice, in order to it: but to come to Jesus among the chief of sinners, and be indebted wholly to his sacrifice for life, they are not willing. Yet, can any man plead that this their unwillingness is innocent ?

Mr^Huseey understands the foregoing passage, of barely owning Christ to be the Messiah ; which, he says, would have saved them, as a nation, from temporal ruin and death; or, as he in another place expresses it, " from having their brains dashed out by the battering rams of Titus," the Roman general.* But it ought to be observed, that the life for which they were not willing to come to him, was the same as that which they thought they had in the scriptures; and this was eternal life.

Glory of Chrkt Revealed, pp. 527,615.

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Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me : and -ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life. This was the same as saying,' These very scriptures, in which ye think ye have eternal life, testify of me, as the only way to it; but such is the pride and aversion of your hearts, that ye will not come to me for it.'

Dr. Gill, in general, opposed these principles; yet frequently, when his system was out of sight, he established them. His exposition of this passage is a proof of this remark. He tells us, that the " perverseness of their wills was blame-worthy, being owing to the corruption and vitiosity of their nature ; which being blame-worthy in them, that which follows upon it must be so too."

There is no inconsistency between this account of things, and that which is given elsewhere, that no man Can come to Christ, except the Father draw him.* No man can choose that from which his heart is averse. It is common, both in scripture and in conversation, to speak of a person who is under the influence of an evil bias of heart, as unable to do that which is inconsistent with it. They have eyes full of adultery, and Cannot cease from sin.'The carnal mind is enmity against God : for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed Can be. So then they that are in the flesh Cannot filease God.i

On account of this different phraseology, some writers have affirmed that men are under both a moral and a natural inability of coming to Christ; or that they neither will nor can come to him: but, if there be no other inability than what arises from aversion, this language is not accurate: for it conveys the idea, that, if all aversion of heart were removed, there would still be a natural and insurmountable bar in the way. But no such idea as this is conveyed by our Lord's words: the only bar to which he refers, lies in that reluctance, or aversion, which the drawing of the Father implies and removes. Nor will such an idea comport with what he elsewhere teaches. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin ?

* J«hn vi. 44, \ Rom. viii, 7, 8.

And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me ? He that it of God heareth God's words : ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Why do ye not understand my 9fieech ? Bkcause Ye Cannot Hear My Word. These cutting interrogations proceed on the supposition that they could have received the doctrine of Christ, if it had been agreeable to their corrupt hearts : and its being otherwise was the Onlt reason why they could not understand and believe it. If sinners were naturally and absolutely unable to believe in Christ, they would be equally unable to disbelieve : for it requires the same powers to reject, as to embrace. And, in this case, there would be no room for an inability of another kind: a dead body is equally unable to do evil, as to do good ; and a man naturally and absolutely blind could not be guilty of shutting his eyes against the light. " It is indwelling sin," as Dr. Owen says, (* that bpth disenableth men unto, and hinders them from believing, And That Alone. Blindness of mind, stubbornness of the will, sensuality of the affections, all concur to keep poor perishing souls at a distance from Christ. Men are made blind by sin, and cannot see his excellency ; obstinate, and will not lay hold of his righteousness ; senseless, and take no notice of their eternal concernments."*

A voluntary and judicial blindness, obstinacy, and hardness of heart, are represented as the bar to conversion.t But, if that spirit which is exercised in conversion, were essentially different from any thing which the subjects of it, in any state, possessed, or ought to haye possessed, it were absurd to ascribe the want of it to such causes.

Those who embraced the gospel, and submitted to the government of the Messiah, were baptized with the baptism of John, and are said, in so doing, to have justified God : their conduct was an acknowledgment of the justice of the law, and of the wisdom and love of the gospel. On the other hand, those who did not thus submit, are said to have rejected the counsel of God against themselves, not being baptized.

* On Indwelling Sin, Chap. XVI. f Acts xxviii. 27.

* Luke vii. 29,30.

But no Christian, I suppose, (certainly no Baptist,) thinks it was their sin not to be baptized, while they continued enemies to Christ; and, probably, very few, if any, serious Paedobaptists would contend for its being the duty of adults to be baptized in Ghrist's name, without first embracing his word. How, then, can this passage be understood, but by supposing that they ought to have repented of their sins, embraced the Messiah, and submitted to his ordinances ? Nor can the force of the argument be evaded, by distinguishing between different kinds of repentance and faith: for a profession of true; repentance, and of faith unfeigned, was required in order toi baptism. (

Finally : Unbelief is expressly declared to be a sin of which* the Spirit of truth has to convince the world.* But unbeliefcannot be a sin, if faith were not a duty. I know of no an-t swer to this argument, but what must be drawn from a distinction between believing the report of the gospel, and saving. faith; allowing the want of the one to be sinful, but not of the other. But it is not of gross unbelief only, or of an open* rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, that the Holy Spirit has toj convince the world; nor is it to a bare conviction of thisj truth, like what prevails in all Christian countries, that meni are brought by his teaching. When he, the Spirit of truths cometh, his operations are deeper than this amounts to: it isj of an opposition of heart to the way of salvation that he con-; vinces the sinner, and to a cordial acquiescence with it that he brings him. Those who are born in a Christian land, and who never were the subjects of gross infidelity, stand in no less need of being thus convinced, than others. Nay, in some respects they need it more. Their unbelieving opposition to Christ is more subtile, refined, and out of sight, than that of open infidels: they are less apt, therefore, to suspect themselves of it; and, consequently, stand in greater need of the Holy Spirit to search them out, and show them to themselves. Amongst those who constantly sit under the gospel, and who remain in an unconverted state, there are few who think themselves the enemies of Christ. On the contrary, they flatter themselves that they are willing, at any time, to be converted, if God would but convert them; considering themselves as lying at the pool for the moving of the waters.

• John xri. 8, 9.

But when he the Spirit of truth cometh, these coverings will be stripped from off the face, and these refuges of lies will fail.*

V. God Has Threatened And Inflicted The Most Awful Tunishments On Sinners, For Their Not Believing On The Lord Jesu» Christ.

It is here taken for granted, that nothing but sin can be the cause of God's inflieting punishment : and nothing can e sin, which is not a breach of duty.

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every Creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved;

4uT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT, SHALL BE DAMNED.f This

wful passage appears to be a kind of ultimatum, or last Resolve. It. is as if our Lord had said, 'This is your mesge .... go and proclaim it to all nations: whosoever ceives it, and submits to my authority, assure him, from Wie, that eternal salvation awaits him: but whosoever rejects it, let Mm see to it ... . damnation shall be his portion 1' Believing and not believing, in this passage, serve to Explain each other. It is saving faith to which salvation is premised; and to the want of this it is that damnation is threatened.

[ It has been alleged, that, "as it is not inferrible, from that declaration, that the faith of believers is the procuring cause of their salvation; so it is not to be inferred, from thence, that the want of that special faith in unbelievers is the procuring cause of their damnation. That declaration contains in it the descriptive characters of those who are saved, and of those who are damned; but it assigns not special faith to be the procuring cause of the salvation of the former, nor the want of it to be the procuring cause of the damnation of the latter."!

But, if this mode of reasoning were admitted, we should find it very difficult, if not impossible, to prove any thing to be evil, from the threatenings of God against it.

* See Charnock's excellent discourse, on Unbelief ilte Greatest Sin, from the above passage, Vol. II. of his Works.

f Mark xvi. 15,16.

* Mr. Brine's Motive* to Love and Unity, pp. 31, 32.

A multitude of plain texts of scripture, wherein sin, as any common reader would suppose, is threatened with punishment, might, in this manner, he made to teach nothing with regard to its being the procuring cause of it. For example, Psalm xxxvii. 18. 20. The Lord knoweth the days of the uprights and their inheritance shall be for ever. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs : they shall consume ; into smoke shall they consume away. But it might be said, as the uprightness of the upright is not the procuring cause of his enjoying an everlasting inheritance ; so neither will this prove that thfc wickedness of the wicked, or the enmity of the Lord's enemies, is the procuring cause of their being consumed. Again> Psalm cxlvii. 6. The Lord lifteth up the meek : he castetii the wicked down to the ground. But it might be alleged, that, as the meekness of the former is not the procuring cause of his being lifted up; so it cannot be, from hence, inferred, that the wickedness of the latter is the procuring cause of his being cast down. Again, Psalm cxlv. 20. The Lord preserueth all them that love him : but all the wicked will he destroy. But it might be said, as the love of the one is not the procuring cause of his preservation; so it cannot be proved, from hence, that the wickedness of the other is the procuring cause of his destruction; and that these declarations contain only the descriptive characters of those who are saved, and of those who perish.

In this manner, almost all the threatenings in the book of God might be made to say nothing as threatenings ; for the mode in which they are delivered is the same as that in the passage in question. For example, What shall be given unto thee ? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue ? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.He that showeth no mercy, shall have judgment without mercy.— Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.Be not deceived : neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.Behold, the day eometh that shall burn like an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble.Bring hither those mine enemies, which would not that Ishould reign over them,and slay them before me.—The fearful, and unbelieving, and abomtriable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, ant idolaters, and all liars, shall have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone : which is the second death.— But none of these awful threatenings declare that the respective crimes which are mentioned are the procuring cause of the evils denounced. Though it is said, concerning the false tongue, that sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper, shall be given him ; yet it does not say that these shall be given him because of his falsehood : and so on, of the rest. And thus they may be only descriptive characters of those who shall be damned; and all these things may, for aught these denunciations prove, be blameless. If this reasoning be just, it cannot be inferred, from the laws of England declaring that a murderer shall be put to death, that it is on account of his being a murderer. Neither could our first parents justly infer, from its being told them, The day ye eat thereof ye shall surely die, that it should be on that account.

The truth is, though eternal life be the gift of God, yet eternal death is the proper Wages of sin: and, though faith is not represented, in the above passage, as the procuring cause of salvation, yet unbelief is of damnation. It is common >for the scriptures to describe those that shall be saved, by something which is pleasing to God, and by which they are made meet for glory; and those that shall be lost, by something which is displeasing to God, and by which they are fitted for destruction.

John iii. 18. He that believeth on him, is not condemned : but he that believeth not, is condemned already, Because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. Two things are here observable. First: Believing is expressive of saving faith, seeing it exempts from condem-.. nation. Secondly : The want of this faith is a sin, on account of which the unbeliever stands condemned. It is true, that unbelief is an evidence of our being under the condemnation of God's righteous law for all our other sins ; but this is not all: unbelief is itself a sin, which greatly aggravates our guilt, and which, if persisted in, gives the finishing stroke to our destruction. That this idea is taught by the Evangelist appears, partly from bis dwelling upon the dignity of the

FROM ANY DEFECT OF POWER IN HIM, BUT FROM THE STATE, CONDITION, AND SITUATION IN WHICH HE WAS, AND FROM THE NATURE OF THE REVELATION MADE UNTO HIM ; for, DO doubt,

Adam had a power to believe every word of God, or any revelation that was, or might be made unto him."*

The reader will perceive the origin of this objection, if he look into Dr. Owen's Display of Arminianism, Chap. VIII. He there complains of the " attempt of Arminians to draw down our first parents, even from the instant M their forming, into the same condition wherein we are engaged by reason of corrupt nature." He mentions several of their maxims and sentiments, and, among others, two of their sayings t the one, of the Remonstrants, in their Apology ; and the other, of the six Arminian Collocutors at the Hague. " The will of man," say the former, " had never any spiritual endowments." «In the spiritual death of sin," say the latter, there are no spiritual gifts properly wanting in will, because they were never there." " The sum is," adds the Doctor, ironically, « Man was created with a nature, not only weak and imperfect, unable by its native strength and endowments to attain that supernatural end for which he was made, and which he was commanded to seek ; but depraved also with a love and desire of things repugnant to the will of God, by reason of an inbred inclination to sinning ! It doth not properly belong to this place to show how they extenuate those gifts also with which they cannot deny but that he was endued, and also deny those which he had ; as a power to believe in Christ, or to assent unto any truth that God should reveal unto him: and yet they grant this privilege unto every one of his posterity, in that depraved condition of nature whereinto by sin he cast himself and us. We have all now, they tell us, a power of believing in Christ; that is, Adam, by his fall, obtained a supernatural endowment, far more excellent than any he had before!"

That there are differences between the principle of holiness in innocent Adam, and that which is wrought in believers, may be admitted.

Cause of God and Truth, Part HI. Chap. III.

The production of the former was merely an expression of the Creator's purity ; the latter of his grace: that was capable of being lost; this is secured by promise : the one was exercised in contemplating and adoring God as the Creator and Preserver; the other, not only in these characters, but as the God of salvation. The same may be allowed concerning the life promised to Adam, in case of obedience, and that which is enjoyed through a Mediator. The one will be greater than the other; for Christ came not only that we might have life, but that we might have it more abundantly #but these differences are merely circumstantial, and, therefore, do not affect the argument. The joy of angels is greatly increased by man's redemption; but it does not follow, that their principles are different from what they were prior to that event. A life of joy in heaven is far more glorious than a life of communion with God on earth ; yet the principles of saints on earth, and saints in heaven, are not, therefore, of a different nature.

That the principle of holiness in Adam, and that which is wrought in believers, are essentially the same, I conclude, from the following reasons.

First: They are both formed after the same likeness, THE Image Of God. God created man in his own image ; in the image of Gad created he him.—Put Ye on the new man, which, After God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.* If God be immutable in his nature, that which is created after him must be the same, for substance, at all times, and in all circumstances. There cannot be two specifically different images of the same original.

Secondly : They are both a conformity to the same standard, The Mohal Law. That the spirit and conduct of man in innocence was neither more nor less than a perfect conformity to this law, I suppose, will be allowed; and the same may be said of the spirit and conduct of Jesus Christ, so far as he was our exemplar, or the model after which we are formed. God's law was within his heart. It was his meat and drink to do his will. He went to the end of the law for righteousness ; but it does not appear that he went beyond it. The superiority of his obedience to that of all others lay, not in his doing more than the law required, but in the dignity of his person, which stamped infinite value on every thing he did.

* Gen. i.2r. Ephe». iv. 24.

But, if such, was the spirit and conduct of Christ, to whose image we are predestinated to be conformed, it must, of necessity, be ours. This also perfectly agrees with those scriptural representations which describe the work of the Spirit as writing God's law in the heart ;* and with those which represent the ultimate state of holiness to which we shall arrive in heaven, as no more than a conformity to this law and this model : The spirits of just men Made Plhfect.— Wc shall be Like Him.

Thirdly : The terms used to describe the one imply that it is of the same nature as the other. Conversion is expressed by a return to God ;f which denotes a recovery to a right state of mind, after a departure from him. Regeneration is called a washing, which expresses the restoring of the soul to purity, from which it had degenerated ; and, hence, the same divine operation is, in the same passage, called the renewing of the Holy Spirit.

But, " this renovation," it has been said, " is spoken of the mind, and not of a principle in the mind."^ The renewal of the mind must either be natural or moral. If the former, it would seem as if we had divested ourselves of the use of our natural faculties, and that regeneration consists in restoring them. If the latter, by the mind must be meant the disposition of the mind, or, as the scripture speaks, the Spirit of our minds.§ But this amounts to the same thing as a principle in our minds. There is no difference between a mind being restored to a right state and condition, and a right .state and condition being restored to the mind.

Fourthly : Supreme love to God, which is acknowledged to be the principle of man in innocence, would necessarily lead a fallen creature to embrace the gospel way of salvation. This is clearly intimated in our Lord's reasonings with the Jews: / know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me 7iot.\\

* Psa. xl. 8. John iv. 34. Rom. x. 4. Jer. xxxi. 33.
f Isa. Iv. 7. i Motives to Love and Unity, p. 22.

$ Ephes. iv. 23. !J John v. 42, 43.

This reasoning, on the contrary hypothesis, was invalid ; for, if receiving the Messiah was that to which a principle of supreme love to God was unequal, a non-reception of him would afford no proof of its absence. They might have had the love of God in them, and yet not have received him.

The love to God which was possessed by Adam in innocence was equal to that of the holy angels. His being of the earth, earthy, as to his body, no more proves his inferiority to them, as to the principles of his mind, than it proves the inferiority of Christ in this respect, who, before his resurrection, was possessed of a natural, and not a spiritual body. But it cannot be denied, that the angels are capable of understanding, believing, and approving of the gospel way of salvation. It is, above all others, their chosen theme : which things the angels desire to look into.* It is true, they do not embrace the Messiah as their Saviour ; because they do not stand in need of salvation : but give a free invitation and their principles to a being that wants a Saviour, and he would not scruple a moment about accepting it. It is not possible for a creature to love God, without loving the greatest friend of God, and embracing a gospel that, m>re than any thing, tends to exalt his character : neither is it possible to love mankind with a holy and affectionate regard towards their best interests, without loving the friend of sinners, and approving of a doctrine that breathes good will to men.

CoNChRNING THK DECREES OF GoD.

A general invitation to sinners, to return to God, and be saved through Christ, it has been thought, must be inconsistent with an election of some and a consequent rejection of others. Such has been the mode of objecting used by the adversaries to the doctrines of discriminating grace ;t and such is the mode of late adopted by our opponents.

In general, I would observe, if this mode of reasoning prove any thing, it will prove too much : it will prove that it is not the duty of some men to attend the means of grace, or in any way to seek after the salvation of their souls, or to be in the least degree concerned about it; for it may be pleaded, that God cannot have made it their duty, or have invited them to attend the means of salvation, seeing he is determined not to bestow salvation upon them.

• 1 Peter i. 12.

t See Owen's Death of Death, Book IV. Chap. I.

And thus we must not only be driven to explain the general invitation to many who never came to the gospel-supper, of a mere invitation to attend the means of grace, but must absolutely give it up, and the Bible with it, on account of its inconsistency.

Farther: This mode of reasoning would prove that the use of means in order to obtain a temporal subsistence, and to preserve life, is altogether vain and inconsistent. If we believe that the future states of men are determined by God, we must also believe the same of their present states. The scriptures teach the one, no less than the other. God hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of our habitation.* Our cufi is measured, and our lot assigned us.f There is also an appointed time for man ufion earth : his days are as the days of an hireling. His days are determined, the number of his months are with God: he has appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.\ Yet those who reason as above, with regard to things of another life, are as attentive to the affairs of this life as other people. They are no less concerned than their neighbours, for their present accommodation ; nor less employed in devising means for the lengthening out of their lives, and of their tranquillity. But, if the purpose of God may consist with the agency of man in present concerns, it may in those which are future, whether we can perceive the link that unites them, or not: and if our duty, in the one case, be the same as if no such purpose existed, it is so in the other. Secret things belong unto the Lord our God ; but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever.

It was the duty of Pharaoh to have followed the counsel of Moses, and to have let the people go; and his sin to pursue them into the sea : yet it was the purpose of God by this means to destroy him.§ Moses sent messengers to Sihon king of'Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, Let me pass through thy land; and it was, doubtless, the duty of Sihon to have

* Acts xvii. 26. f Psalm xvi. 5.

% Job vii. 1. xiT. 6. $ Exod. vii. 1—4.

- complied with the request: yet it appears, by the issue, that the Lord had determined to give his country to Israel for a possession, and, therefore, gave him up to hardness of heart, by which it was accomplished.*

If the days of man are determined, and his bounds appointed that he cannot pass them, it must have been determined, that that generation of the Israelites which went out of Egypt should die in the wilderness: yet it was their duty to have believed God, and to have gone up to possess the land; and their sin to disbelieve him, and turn back in their hearts to Egypt. And it deserves particular notice, that this their sin is held up, both by David and Paul, as an example for others to shun, and that in spiritual concerns.! It was the determination of God, that Ahab should fall in his expedition against Ramoth-gilead, as was plainly intimated to him by Micaiah: yet it was his duty to have hearkened to the counsel that was given him, and to have desisted from his purpose.^ The destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans was determined of God, and frequently foretold by the prophets: yet the inhabitants were as frequently counselled to return from their evil ways, that they might avoid it. Jeremiah particularly entreated Zedekiah to follow his counsel, that he might save the city and himself from ruin.§

However such things may grate upon the minds of some, yet there are cases in which we ourselves are in the habit of using similar language, and that without any idea of attributing to God any thing inconsistent with the greatest perfection of moral character. If a wicked man be set on mischievous pursuits, and all the advices and warnings of his friends be lost upon him, we do not scruple to say, ' It seems as if God had determined to destroy him, and, therefore, has given him up to infatuation.' In the use of such language, we have no idea of the determination of God being unjust, or capricious. On the contrary, we suppose he may have wise and just reasons for doing as he does; and, as such, notwithstanding our compassion towards the party, we acquiesce in it.

* Deut. ii. 26—30. f 1 Cor. x. 6—12_

* 1 Kings xxii. 15—22. § Jcr. sxxviii. 29.

Whenever we speak of God as having determined to destroy a person, or a people, we feel the subject too profound for our comprehension; and well indeed we may. Even an inspired Apostle, when discoursing of God's rejection of the Jewish nation, though he glances at the merciful aspect which this awful event wore towards the Gentiles, and traces some great and wise designs that should be answered by it; yet feels himself lost in his subject. Standing as on the brink of an unfathomable abyss, he exclaims, 0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out .'* He believed the doctrine of divine decrees, or, that God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: but he had no idea of making these things any part of the rule of duty; either so as to excise his countrymen from the sin of unbelief, or himself from ustng every possible mean that might accomplish their salvation. On the one hand, he quoted the words of David as applicable to them, Let their table be made 0 snare, and a trap, and a stumblingrblock, and a recompense unto them. On the other, he declares, J? speak to you, GentUesif by Any Mkans / may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.\

There were those in that day, as well as in this, who objected, If things be as God hath purposed, Why doth he yet find fault; for who hath resisted his will ? This was no other than suggesting, that the doctrine of decrees must needs operate to the setting aside of the fault of sinners ; and this is the substance of what has been alleged from that day to this. Some, because they cannot conceive of the doctrine but as drawing after it the consequence assigned to it by this replyer against God, reject it: others appear to have no objection to the consequence itself,- stamped as it is with infamy by the manner in which the Apostle repelled it, and, therefore, admit the doctrine as connected with it! But so did not Paul. He held fast the doctrine of decrees, and held it as comporting with the fault of sinners. After all that he had written upon God's electing some, and rejecting others, he, in the same chapter, assigns the failure of those that failed to their

not seeking justification by faith in Christ ; but as it were by the works of the law, stumbling at that stumbling stone.*

" God's word," says Mr. Brine, " and not his secret purpose, is the rule of our conduct."! " We must exactly distinguish," says Dr. Owen, " between man's duty and God's purpose ; there being no connexion between them. The purpose and decree of God is not the rule of our duty ; neither is the performance of our duty, in doing what we are commanded, any declaration of what is God's purpose to do, or his decree that it should be done. Especially is this to be seen and considered in the duty of the ministers of the gospel; in the dispensing of the word, in exhortations, invitations, precepts, and threatenings, committed unto them : all which are perpetual declaratives of our duty, and do manifest the approbation of the thing exhorted and invited to, with the truth of the connexion between one thing and another; but not of the counsel or purpose of God, in respect of individual persons, in the ministry of the word. A minister is not to make inquiry after, nor to trouble himself about, those secrets of the eternal mind of God, viz. whom he purposeth to save, and whom he hath sent Christ to die for in particular: it is enough for them to search his revealed will, and thence take their directions, from whence they have their commissions. Wherefore, there is no conclusion from the universal precepts of the word, concerning the things, unto God's purpose in himself concerning persons ; they command and invite all to repent and believe ; but they know not in particular on whom God will bestow repentance unto salvation, nor in whom he will effect the work of faith with power."!

On Particular Redemption.

Objections to the foregoing principles, from the doctrine of election, are generally united with those from particular redemption ; and, indeed, they are so connected, that the validity of the one stands or falls with that of the other.

To ascertain the force of the objection, it is proper to inquire, Wherein the peculiarity of redemption consists ?

* Rom. ix. 32. -j- Certain Efficacy, &c. p. 151.

* Death of Death, Book IV. Chap. I.

If the atonement of Christ were considered as the literal payment character offended, the only-begotten Son of God ; and partly from his expressly adding, thiols The Condemnation, thatlight is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Luke xix. 2?. But those mine enemies^ which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. If Christ, as wearing his mediatorial crown, has not a right to unreserved submission and hearty obedience, he has no right to be angry ; and still less to punish men as his enemies, for not being willing that he should reign over them. He has no right to reign over them, at least not over their hearts, if it be not their duty to obey him from their hearts. The whole controversy, indeed, might be reduced to an issue on this argument. Every sinner ought to be Christ's friend, or his enemy, or to stand by as neutral. To say he ought to be his enemy, is too gross to be defended. To plead for his being neutral, is pleading for what our Lord declares to be impossible : he that is not with me, is against me. There is, therefore, no room for any other position, than that he ought to be his cordial friend; and this is the plain implication of the passage.

2 Thes. ii. 10—12. Whose coming is—With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because theif^ received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie : that they all might be damned, who helieved not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.—. From hence, we may remark two things: First: That faith is here called a receiving the love of the truth : and that it means saving faith, is manifest, seeing it is added, that they might be saved. Secondly : That their not receiving the love of the truth, or, which is the same thing, not believing with such a faith as that to which salvation is promised, wa3 the cause of their being given up of God, and carried away with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. The loose and coldhearted manner in which merely nominal Christians held the truth, would occasion the introduction of the grand Papal apostacy, by which great numbers of them would be swept away. And this, assuredly, ought to afford a lesson to nominal Christians of the present day, who, owing to the same cause, arc fast approaching to Infidelity. But unless we suppose that these professors of religion ought to have received the love of the truth, there is no accounting for the awful judgments of God upon them for the contrary.

VI. Other Spiritual Exkrcisks, Which Sustain An InSeparable CONNEXION WITH FAITH IN CHRIST, ARE REPRESENTED AS THE DUTY OF MEN IN GENERAL.

Though this controversy has been mostly carried on with respect to the duty of faith ; yet it, in reality, extends to the whole of spiritual religion. Those who deny that sinners are obliged to believe in Christ for salvation, will not allow that it is their duty to do any thing truly and spiritually good. It is a kind of maxim with such persons, that' none can be •bligedto act spiritually, but spiritual men.' Spiritual exercises appear, to me, to mean the same as holy exercises; for the new man which is created after God, is said to be created in righteousness, and True Holiness : and as to two kinds of true holiness, the scriptures, I believe, are silent. But, as my opponents affix different ideas to the term spiritual, to prevent all disputes about it, i shall proceed on a ground which they will not refuse. Whatever has the promise of spiritual blessings, is considered as a spiritual exercise. With this criterion of spirituality in view, let the following passages of Scripture be carefully considered. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity ; and the scorners delight in their scorningyand fools Hate knowledge ? Turn you at my reproof: behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge : but fools despise wisdom and instruction.-^ Wisdom crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my -voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom i and ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear, for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.Hearken unto me, O ye children : for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not : Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against -me, wrongeth his own soul : all they that hate me, love death. —And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of Ihee, but to Fear the Lord thy God, to walk in All his ways, and to Love him, and to Serve the Lord thy God with All Tht Heart, And With All Thy Soul ?—Circumcise, therefore, the fore-skin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.Rend your Heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God.—Refient ye : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. —repent ye, therefore, and be Converted, that your sin* may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall conrc from the firesence of the Lord.*

We may remark on these passages, First: The persons addressed were unconverted sinners ; as appears by their characters i foolsscornershaters of knowledgeuncircumcised in heartimpenitent. Secondly: The things to which they were exhorted were things spiritually good. This appears, in part, from the names by which the exercises themselves are denominated ; namely, such understanding as originates in the fear of the Lord-fearinglovingserving God with all the heart, and with all the soulcircumcision of the heart —repentanceconversion : and, partly, from the blessings of salvation being promised to them: these are expressed by the terms, blessednesslife-favour of the Lordthe blotting out of sin.

More particularly : The love of God is a spiritual exercise ; for it has the promise of spiritual blessings. All things work together for good to them that love God.He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.\ But the love of God is required of men, without distinction. The people of Israel, like all other people, were composed of good and bad men ; but they were all required to love Jehovah, and to cleave to him, and that with all their heart, and -soul, and mind, and strength.^ sup>1

* Prov. i. 22, 23. 7. viii. 3—6. 10. 32—36. Deut. x. 12.16. Joelii. 13. Matt. iii. 2. Acts iii. 19.

f Horn, viii. 28. 1 John iv. IS. 1 Cor. ii. 9. 1 Deut. vi. 5. xxi. 20.

The moral part of these precepts which God gave to them on tables of stone, were binding on all mankind. Even those who had no other means of knowing God than were afforded by the works of nature, with, perhaps, a portion of tradition, were required to Glorify Him As God, And To Be Thankful.*