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who made a bad use of their free-will. This bea ing a matter of great consequence to mankind, it behoves us to examine with attention, what is wrote on the subject by Mark, Luke, and John, before we determine which of the two cases was the real one. Mark, ch. iv. v. 11, 12.- And • he (Jesus) said unto them (his disciples) unto
you it is given to know the mysteries of the • kingdom of God; but unto them that are ' without, all these things are done in parables :
that seeing they may see, and not perceive, * and hearing they may hear and not understand :
left at any time they should be converted, and • their fins should be forgiven them.' Luke, ch. viii. v. 10.— And he (Jesus) said, unto you (his
disciples) it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in para
bles : that seeing they might not see, and hear'ing they might not understand. Thus we find St. Matthew up to the 15th verse aforesaid, St. Mark, and St. Luke, agree perfectly in their account of what Jesus said upon the subject of pas rables; and all these make for the first case. St, John says not a word of any parable spoken by Jesus. But in his 12th chapter, after recording what Jesus had taught the people, he says--as of himself. These things fpake Jesus and de
parted, and did hide himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him : that the F4
saying of Efaias the prophet might be fulfilled, ' which he spake-Lord who hath believed our
report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord • been revealed ? Therefore they could not believe, • because that Efaias said again—He (God) hath
blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts, ! that they should not see with their eyes, nor un. .derstand with their heart, and be converted, 15 and I should heal them. These things said Efaias when he saw his (God's) glory, and spake of him. Thus what St. John says is likewise strongly for the first case : therefore they could not believe. St. Paul is clearly for the first cafe, as it accords with his constant doctrine of election and grace. Upon these he is very explicit in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th verses of the 11th chapter in his epistles to the Romans— Even fo ( then at this present time also there is a rem. .. nant according to the election of grace. And ' if by grace, then it is no more of works ;
otherwise grace is no more grace : but if it be
of works, then it is no more grace : otherwise 6 work is no more work. What then? Ifrael
hath not obtained that which he seeketh for ; " but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were • blinded : according as it is written--God hath • given them the fpirit of flumber;, eyes that
they should pot fee, and ears that they should
not hear,' 'unto this day. St. Paul however, &t Rome, quoted this saying of Efaias in ano
ther way to the Jews who resisted the evidences he then offered to them in favour of Christianity, (Vide Acts, ch. xxviii.) But in the 11th and 12th verses of the 2d chapter of his second epis. tle to the Thessalonians, he says (believe it who will)- And for this cause God shall send them • strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, " that they all might be damned, who believed ? not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighte• ousness.' Thus every information I can obtain from the scriptures, relative to this subject, enforces me to determine ; that the first case is uniformly supported, and the second case is merely a misquotation of St. Matthew's. Unhappy fituation ! wretched people! Jesus said to them, ch. X. V. 32, 33.- Whosoever shall confess me be'fore men, him will I confess before my Father ! which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall de! ny me before men, him will I also deny before ļ my father which is in Heaven.' And soon after, ch. xi. v. 27, he tells them— No man • knoweth the Son but the Father. If this were so; if they were to be punished for not doing, that which they had no power to do* : nay that which their God prevented them from doing,
* St. John, in his 8th chapter, tells us that Jesus en. deavouring to convert some Jews, said to them or Why do 'ye not understand my speech ?' Adding, as an answer to bis own question, 'cven because ye cannot hear my word.'
Chapter Verre they might with reason exclainn-Where is the
mercy! Nay-Where is the equity of our God! And is he still the partial, the vindictive God of Israel! But rather than suppose this, I will suppose the scriptures are not genuine; or I must suppose the evangelists, or even Jesus himself, were misled by the rhapsody of Isaiah, dictated by folly or knavery-saying, In the temple he saw the Lord of Hosts, and from him received this direction- Go tell this people; hear ye in' deed, but understand not; and see ye indeed,
but perceive not.' Make the heart of this peoSple fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their reyes: left they see with their eyes, and hear with 6 their ears, and understand with their heart, and • convert, and be healed. Upon this fandy bottom, St. Paul erected the superstructure of predestination, election, and grace. To demolish them, the rain need not descend, the floods come, or the winds beat; one breath of common sense turns up the foundation, and buries the trio in its ruins. In this age, the gloom of superstition is dispelled, and the minds of men are exercised with freedom. We perceive not the God of Abraham, of Ifaac, and of Jacob only; not the God of Israel, partial, sanguinary, and revengeful; but the God of all mankind. Impartial, juft, and merciful to all his creatures.
We will now resume St. Matthew's history When Jesus had finished those parables, he de
parted thence into his own country, where he Chapter Verse taught the people in their synagogue. But they, knowing him to be the son of a carpenter, and that his mother, and brethren, and sisters were with them, were offended at his presumption. On which account, it is said.- He did not many xiii. 58 "mighty works there because of their unbelief.' Vide Mark's account of this affair*. If this was not a second attempt at Nazareth, St. Luke you differs exceedingly from Matthew and Mark. John is filent. St. Matthew begins his 14th chapter with— At that time Herod the tetrarch xiv. I
heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his ' servants. This is John the Baptist, he is risen
from the dead, and therefore mighty works do “Mhew forth themselves in him.' Is it likely that Herod should express himself in this manner ? Herod, who first imprisoned John for his prefumption, and afterwards gave his head for a dance : could he believe that mighty works were done by him, or that he was risen from the dead? Mark, as usual, gives nearly the same account, with a few additions. But Luke, ch. ix. v: 7. tells us-- Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all ' that was done by him (Jesus) and he was per< plexed because it was said of some that John was' risen from the dead : and of some that Elias had appeared : and of others, that one of
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