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heart will effectually and for ever " turn them aside, so that they cannot deliver their soul.” Nor would better natural abilities than they have, be of the least service to them. If ever they come to good, it must be by

All this may be, and undoubtedly will be, though his vicious disposition, which first gave rise to his disaticetion to his prince, still remains in its full strength. There is no need of his becoming a new man, a friend to righteousness and an enemy to iniquity, in order to his becoming in this manner, a warm friend to his royal patron and benefactor, considered merely as such. He may be so all his days ; may be one of the foremost in his commendation, at least in extolling the great things he has done for him; and he may behave excel. lently well when under the king's eye, or when he expects he will hear of it, with a view to please bim, and yet be at heart as unrighteous a creature as ever he was, even to his dying day.

Now such a kind of reconciliation to God will naturally take place in a sinner if he is only effectually terrified with the thoughts of " dwelling with devouring fire, and inhabit. ing everlasting burnings ;" and then gets a hope of God's love. There is no need of being born again, nor ever having any thing of the moral likeness of God, in order to it. Yea, there is no need of conviction in order to such a conversion as this. I mean a conviction of the equitableness and moral fitness of the divine administration. Light, concerning the holiness and justice, wisdom, or general goodness of God, is not what produces such a change as this; nor is it any way necessary in order to it. Accordingly persons of this kind of piety have commonly no great concern to know what God is in himself, but only what he is to them. They have no notion of entering much into the nature and ends of his law, or of the gospel, and seeing into the divine character and glory as thereby exhibited. These are matters of empty speculation with them ; things which vital piety hath nothing to do with. They know as much about God's general character; as much about the things the Psalmist prayed that his eyes might be opened to behold ; as much about “the things the angels desire to look into” as ever they expect or desire to know.

strength that is under a better direction than their's is. Greatness of capacity has not the least tendency to produce goodness, in one who is altogether destitute of it. Sinners of the most exalted genius and strength

These may perhaps, not improperly be denominated Antinomians ; though they are divided into a variety of sects, and contending parties upon particular questions, about the faith which is not founded in holiness, but which is the foundation. of every thing.

Some* strenuously insist, that no faith can administer hope and comfort enough to make men truly good, short of " persuasion and confidence of our own salvation.” Or, a being well satisfied “ of our reconciliation with God, and of our future enjoyment of everlasting, heavenly happiness." To get this persuasion is the grand secret, or “ mystery of sanctification.” To give this persuasion without any evidence of its truth, and even while it is supposed to be in fact not true, is the great work of the Holy Ghost, begetting "an inclination and propensity of heart to the practice of holiness.” Otherst not so fond of mystery, or not so well understanding " the way of manufacturing truth without evidence," and of making a falshood true by the pains taken to believe it ; choose ra. ther to suppose “the simple truth," or general report of the gospel, beat effectually into a man's head, when “he is thoroughly pinched with the impossibility of hope on every other side, will give such a refreshment to his mind," as will do the whole work. That " many in all ages, only on hearing this, have become quite ashamed of tlieir former rebellion, have been led to love their sovereign, and do those things which are well pleasing in his sight; and accordingly have known what it was to stand in his presence, and have their joy made full in beholding the light of his countenance! The faith that does all this, they would have to be a bare persuasion or conviction in the understanding of what is called the truth ; leaving the heart to take care of itself. This, we are told, some call the faith of devils. But that, “however keen the intended reproach be, it can have weight with none but such

a full

* Cudworth, &c.

Sandeman, &c.

of mind, are certainly no more able to make them. selves new creatures than the very weakest are. And the reason of this is as obvious as the fact is certain ; viz. because whatever strength any one has, he always lays it out according to his own heart, and not contrary to it. Consequently all the strength of men and an. gels, yea, even Omnipotence itself, if the sinner had the direction of it, would never make him good. Could

as are swayed by sound instead of sense. For, accordiag to the scripture, the same truth which saves Christ's people, torments the devils. So we find them saying, what have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? They believe, they hate, and yet they tremble at that truth which Christ's people believe, love, and find salvation in.” The difference then, in the affections excited by a belief of the gospel, in the minds of true believers and devils, arises entirely from the different circumstances they are under, and not from any difference in their tempers. The deyils hate to be tormented, and Christ's people love to be treated kindly and made happy. So the same belief of the same truth, which excites the hatred and horror of the former, fills the latter with joy and love. This difference is not hard to discern; and is naturally enough ac. counted for. But how any one who is not swayed by sound instead of sense, should think of making more of this than only a circumstantial difference, is not so easy to be conceived. A bare change of place and external treatment would make devils of such converts; and such converts of devils in a moment. They being after all, essentially, exactly alike.

This way of effecting all the alteration wanted in wicked men, merely by notions in the head, however firmly credited, and whether true or false, whether called an appropriating faith, or a simple belief, or by whatever other name, must for ever leave a change of nature quite out of the question. Indeed, it evidently proceeds on the supposition, that there is really no difference between saints and sinners, angels and devils, only they are treated differently, or some do not understand things so well as others.

he have divine power at his service, according to his utmost wish, it would not be to change his heart, but to enable him to act it without control. If, therefore, sinners only knew what hearts they have, this alone would bring them to despair of help from themselves, let their natural powers be ever so good, and make them see that if ever they are saved it will be no thanks to them*.

Sinners inwardly imagine, that if they were only dealt fairly with, they should do well enough. If they perish, they think it will be owing to the fatal influence of some dark decree, or to God's requiring more of them than they can possibly do, let them exert themselves ever so faithfully. But he that imagines thus, knows not “the plague of his own heart.” “He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool.”

* Should we even suppose a self-determining power in the will, those who are dead in sin would not be able to help themselves by it. For who is there to put such a power into action the right way? They will not do it. And a self-determined determination, contrary to a man's heart, were such a thing possible, would be no more thanks to him, than the haying his heart changed by divine power. It can never be by their own power or holiness, that they are first determined to that which is good, when, by the supposition, they have no holiness, and all their power is employed in opposition to it.


The natural Ability of Men to understand

and embrace the Gospel considered; and the Subject applied.

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No man can come to me, except the Father which hath

sent me, draw him.


HE general observation raised from these words, was to this effect,

That no man is able to comply with the gospel of Christ, without the effectual grace of God.

A principal thing I had in view was to clear this doctrine of the common objection in men's minds against it, as if it represented the Most High, as being insincere and unrighteous in his dealings with sinners. Offering them salvation on terms he knows they cannot comply with ; and then condemning and punishing them for their non-compliance with such impossible conditions. Accordingly I undertook, in the first place, to explain and illustrate a distinction of two kinds of inability ; and to show that men are, not unfrequently, both in common speech, and in the holy scripture, said to be incapable of actions to which they have an aversion, or which they have not an inclination to perform, as well as of things which they

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