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are virtually universal. Indeed the original Declaration of God to the Serpent, that he would put Enmity between him and the Woman, and between his Seed and her Seed, that it jhould bruise his Head, and he jhould bruise his Heel, apparently includes the whole Race of Mankind; and God's subsequent Promise to Abraham, that in him all Nations fiould be blejfed, is evidently of no less Extent. It is certain however, God entered into no immediate Covenant with any Nation for many Ages but that of the Jews, who were therefore emphatically fliled his peculiar People. Shall we therefore wholly confine the Goodness of God through so long a Tract of Time to the narrow Circle of Judæa ?— Since, indeed, the Christian Covenant (of which the other was only prefigurative) has comprised a far more considerable Portion of Mankind; though the greater Part of the known World does still live either in utter Ignorance of it, or in Opposition to
it. Now, I suppose, human Reason can never
assign a sufficient Cause why God should vouchsafe to illuminate with the Light of his Gospel some particular Nations, and leave others in Darkness, especially such as may be reasonably supposed to have been equally qualified for the Reception of the same.—But though this Cause can never be assigned, and it would be presumptuous to attempt to trace those Ways that are pajl finding out, yet the seeming Inequality of such a Dispensation will Vol. I. M perplex perplex us no longer, if we suppose infinite Love (and what less can we suppose of infinite Love ?) has virtually and intentionally some Reipect unto all Men.—It is said in the most general Terms, that1 Christ Jesus came into the World tosave Sinners, that as by the Offence of one, Judgment came upon all Men to Condemnation, even so by the Righteousness of one, the free Gift came upon all Men unto Justijication of Life: Jesus Christ is said to have tasted Death for every Man; he is the b L>amb of God that taketh away the Sin of the World, i. e. (as the Expression seems to have been reasonably explained) that taketh away the Guilt contracted, and the Penalty incurred by the original Sin of Adam, in the Consequences of which, as has been observed, the whole World was involved. And therefore, though both Nations and Persons may, through their own wilful Folly, Blindness, and Corruption, be given up by God to the Lusts of their own Hearts; or in other Words, though God may take away from them the common Grace or Light of human Reason, and in such Cases they will be judicially infatuated to their own Destruction, yet sure there can be no good Foundation either in Nature, or Scripture, to doubt that every Individual, every Man, as such, is, in virtue of the universal Atonement by Christ, capacitated for Salvation.—St. Paul expresly ascribes the vile Cor
* i Tim. i. 15. b John i. 29.
ruptions ruptions and Enormities of the Gentiles, to their wilful Abuse of their own natural Faculties, and the Judgment of their own Understanding. Thai which may be known of God is manifeji in them, says he, for God hath soewed it unto them: for the invisible Things of him from the Creation of the World are clearly seen, being understood by the Things that are made; even his eternal Power and Godhead: so that they are without Excuse. For this Cause God gave them up unto vile Asserlions; or, as he afterwards expresses it, to a reprobate Mind, a Mind void of Judgment, according to the marginal Reading. (Rom.i. 19. 26.)—The Consequence of Reprobation then is universally the same in all Men; they are hereby become pajl feeling, as our Apostle elsewhere says; and their Conscience is seared with a hot Iron.—But the same Apostle, in the Chapter following that before quoted, represents the same Gentiles as qualified for Divine Mercy, and the great Privileges of the Jewijh Covenant, provided they acted in Conformity to their own Knowledge, and agreeably to the Light of Reason within them. For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by Nature the Things contained in the Law, these having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves; which flew the Work of the Law written in their Hearts, their Conscience also bearing Witness, and their Thoughts the mean while accusing, or else excusing one another. (Ch. \\. 14.) The Application
of this Passage, and of the Doctrine of the whole Chapter, from the JewiJh to the Christian Church, might very naturallv be made;—but it will be sufficient to observe from it, that no Man's Title to Acceptance with God is founded in his Profession, as such; that the Mercies of the Gospel Covenant are transferable even to those that never heard of it, and that mere Inability and Want of Knowledge cannot invalidate the natural, inherent Right and Interest all Men have in the great Redeemer, nor consequently incapacitate them for Salvation.——If ye were blind, said our Saviour to the "Jews, ye should have no Sin; but now ye fay, we see; therefore your Sin remaineth; (John ix. 41.) St. Paul was by his own Account a Blasphemer, a Persecutor, a?id injurious: but he obtained Mercy because he did it ignorantly in Unbelief; si Tim. i. 13.) And no doubt the very same Circumstances will be finally entitled to the fame Compassion. For that Servant which knew his Lord's Will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his Will, shall be beaten with many Stripes; but he that knew not, and did commit Things worthy of Stripes, pall be beaten with few Stripes; [Luke xii. 47.) Thus far then Scripture and Reason go hand in hand together; and as the first Truth in Religion is, that there is a God, so the second I take to be this; that he is
a Re warder of them that diligently seek him.
indeed we read of particular Persons of old who were eminently distinguished by the Divine Favour; but we are not therefore to conclude that this Favour was partially, and arbitrarily conferred. Enoch, as the Apostle to the Hebrews declares, was translated that he foould not see Death, for before his Translation he had this Tejlimony, that he pleased God.—Noah found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord.—But then for this Grace hp was personally qualified; for Noah, as the next Verse tells us, was a just Man, and perfect in his Generations: so the extraordinary Faith of Abraham was counted to him for Righteousness; who against Hope believed in Hope, that he might become the Father of many Nations.—There was in these therefore, and many others, a certain Pre-eminence of Virtue and Righteousness, that recommended them to the particular Notice and Affection of their heavenly Father.—Indeed it is not always easy to ascertain the Impartiality of Divine Justice in temporal and transitory Dispensations; bus these, which are only a Part of the System of infinite Wisdom, must not be considered separately from the whole; and if not, no Impeachment can from hence be brought against the Goodness and Justice of God in Matters relative to the spiritual and eternal State of Man, with which if the present be compared, it sinks absolutely below our serious Consideration.