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ditionality; but merely and absolutely of his own grace he calls and justifies those elect sinners, who, in the very instant of God's calling and justifying them, were in themselves, as Adam's children, ungodly, guilty, miserable sinners; as unable to contribute so much as a good thought, or the least inclination towards their own recovery, as a man naturally dead and rotten in the grave is to quicken and raise himself. Dead and lost they were in Adam their natural and federal head in the eye of God's precognition or fore-knowledge when he fixed his decree or purpose of saving them; and dead and undone they are, in themselves, when his good Spirit comes to call them out of a natural state to a state of favour and friendship with God. And who can, who dares to deny what is now asserted, but an ignorant papist, who is judicially given up to the power
of satanical delusion, 2 Thess. ii. 11, or a proud Arminian, who is not only a stranger, but an enemy, to that grace of God which justifies and saves a sinner without the concurrence of the sinner's own personal qualifications, as social causes with the grace
and merit of Christ in the work of justification ?
The Almighty was so far from foreseeing any good in the elect, which could move or incline him to fix on or choose them before others, that he himself declares the contrary, as is most plain and conspicuous to the eye which is not smitten with. judicial blindness, Isa. xlviii. 8, “ Yea, thou
heardest not, yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened : for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, , and wast called a transgressor from the womb." This agrees with Gen. vi. 5;
with Gen. vi. 5; “ And God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” If then this be the depraved state and condition of all Adam's children since the fall and apostacy of their natural and federal head, and that the eye of God's foreknowledge perfectly foresaw it would be so, whence can any rational being conceive a fallen sinner should have any qualifications which could move or invite the holy God to like or love such an one?
To say and hold that God bestows the qualifications which must render the sinner capable of disposing and inclining himself to conversion; and of doing such duties as may give him a right to claim the promise of pardon and salvation, he having performed the condition on which life and salvation is held forth and offered in the gospel, is, in effect, to say and hold that God hath bestowed his Son on sinners, that he might be made a curse to merit for them such qualifications as may render them capable of performing those conditions on which life and salvation is tendered in the gospel. And who sees not that by this doctrine or principle the crown is taken from off the head of God's free and sovereign grace, and
Christ his Son; and is put on the head of a poor, blind, and proud sinner, who by his best qualifications, till he be in Christ by regenerating grace, and Christ in him by faith, can neither will nor acquire any qualifications, but what meetens and fits him for the vengeance of eternal and unquenchable flames? O England ! England! miserable is thy present case, seeing that the wit and learning of thy most quaint and topping preachers, both conformists and nonconformists, is, by God's just judgment for their turning their back on the good old doctrine and discipline of Christ, chalked out in the gospel, become no better than froth and vanity; there being little else in the florid sermons of such than sound and noise, painted and set off with the varnish of human eloquence, which the Spirit of God styles the enticing words of man's wisdom, 1 Cor. ii. 4, and which God himself cautions us to beware of, Col. ii. 4, 8. It may be truly said of these noisy preachers as of the nightingale, · Vox et præterea nihil.'. All voice and nothing else. The nightingale hath neither flesh nor yet feathers which render her desirable and profitable to the sons of men; she hath only a charming voice, wherewith she tickles the ears of mortals.
Oh! the vanity of those nightingale-like preachers, here intended: how pernicious and destructive are they both to the interest of Christ in these kingdoms, and to the eternal welfare of the souls of the people; while, by their luxuriant
wit and jingling parts, they undermine the gospel of our salvation, not vouchsafing the Son of God so much honour as once to be named in many of their sermons, unless he be brought in as an abettor of the doctrine of free will and general redemption; those pestiferous and soul-damning delusions, of which the greater number by far of professing protestants, both nonconformists and conformists, are of late years grown too, too fond; an argument that desolating judgments ‘are hastening on the kingdoms. So much concerning the first branch, discovering the state of the man whom God will vouchsafe to hear. He must be one who is reconciled to God, who is at peace with Heaven through the spotless righteousness of Christ put on him, by God's own act of free justification, and his merciful act of pardoning all his transgressions. Nothing short of these two acts of God's passing on the sinner can bespeak him fit to stand before the incomprehensibly holy God, so as to find acceptance in his sight.
" Can two walk together except they be agreed?” Amos iii. 3. It is here as with a person who of a loyal and useful subject is become a notorious and traitorous rebel. Neither the loyalty and service of the time past, nor yet the personal accomplishments whereby he is fitted for future service, will be able to make way for him into the royal présence. Nothing can do this for a traitor and rebel but the king's free and gracious act of indemnity: Until this be granted, and passed upon him in a
legal way, the king can do po less, in honour and justice, than banish him his court and presence. Neither his past service, nor yet his great accomplishments, whether natural or acquired, will bespeak him pleasing and acceptable in the eye of the offended majesty.
As in a civil respect, when we behold a comely proper man, who for beauty, parts, and great estate, far surpasses and excels other men, riding backwards towards Tyburn, we shake the head, crying out, 0! what a pity it is that such a brave man should be hanged !-so, in like manner, when we consider a man of incomparable endowments, both natural and acquired, which bespeak the man a nonsuch in the church, both for learning, parts, and seeming zeal for God, we commonly cry out, O! what a pity it is that such an one should be damned at last!
But certain it is, and God will make men know it sooner or later, that, as without the king's royal pardon the former will, notwithstanding all his outward excellencies, be hanged; so, unless the work of regeneration pass on the other before death, he will as certainly be eternally damned, be his gifts and personal qualifications equal to those of the angels. The mouth of Christ, which never spoke a lie, affirms it, John iii. 3.
“ Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Secondly, Besides God's twofold act of imput