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there to be enjoyed. And on this hypothesis, and on this hypothesis alone, can the divine conduct toward that people be vindicated. For in fact he always did strike dead and send to hell impenitent sinners, under that dispensation at what time he pleased, according to his own sovereign pleasure, just as he hath done ever since. And that he had a right so to do, by the constitution which they were under, is evident from Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxvii. and xxviii, and Ezek. xx.

And accordingly we may observe, that by the divine appointment, the whole congregation of Israel were obliged to acknowledge this as soon as ever they entered into the holy land, in a most public, solemn, and affecting manner, saying, with united voices, AMEN, Deut. xxvii. 2-26. And as soon as they entered into the holy land they did acknowledge it, according to the divine appointment. Josh. viii. 30—35. So that while in an impenitent, unpardoned state, they by their own acknowledgment were under the curse of their law, at the sovereign mercy of their God. And thus the Mosaic dispensation was of old understood; but in later ages, the Pharisees by their false glosses put another sense upon their whole law, justifying themselves, and supporting their claims of having God for their Father, whereby the nation were prepared to reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whereas, had they retained the ancient meaning of their ļaw like a schoolmaster, it might have led them to Christ. As this view of things, if agreeable to truth, will without more ado settle the present controversy ; so it is worthy of a particular consideration.

3. No unregenerate Christless sinner hath, as such, any right, in entering into covenant, 10 promise and engage' to obey the whole will of God by divine assistance.' Because they have no title to the divine assistance,' for any one holy act. Indeed, it is their duty to obey the whole will of God;' and they are justly liable, in the judgment of him whose judgment is according to truth, to the curse threatened, if they continue not in all things ; and that on the foot of inere law, which promiseth no assistance at all to any sinver. And while sinners reject Christ and the grace of the Gospel, they

have by the divine constitution, no title to any inward assistance of the Holy Spirit at all, on the foot of the covenant of grace.

For all the promises of God are in Christ Jesus, yea, and in him amen. 2 Cor. i. 20. But as to those who are out of Christ, they are ander the law; and sin hath dominion over them. Rom. vi. 14. This is their standing, and this is their true and real state. They are bound to perfect obedience. They are considered as moral agents. They are held to be without excuse. Rom. i. 21. They stand guilty before God. Rom. iii. 19. They reject the grace of the Gospel. Eternal death is threatened for every transgression, by the divine law. Gal. iii. 10. And the Gospel doth not make void, but establish the law. Rom. iii. 31. As it is written, he that believeth not is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him. John iii. 18. 36. And so every impenitent, Christ-rejecting sidner, lies at the sovereign mercy of God; as it is written, Rom. xi. 7. The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

Death and damnation may fill them with terror, and beget reformations, tears, vows, and promises; and so, in the language of the apostle, they may bring forth fruit unto death. For DEATH coming into the view of their consciences, begets all the religious exercises of their hearts, and is the father of the children they bring forth. And this, according to St. Paul, is the state of all those who are married to the law. For sin still hath dominion over them while under the late. But when once they are married unto Christ, they become temples of the Holy Ghost, and so now they bring forth fruit unto God. God is the Father of all the holy exercises of their hearts, he works in them to will and to do, and so all Christian graces are not only called, but in reality are the fruits of the Spirit. Law, death, and hell, will not beget one holy exercise in an unregenerate hearı ; rather they will irritate the corruption of the carpal mind. Rom. vii. 5. 8, 9. Hence the sinner who, while ignorant of law, death, and hell, hath a good heart, as he imagines; when these come into view his goodness is lost, bis heart grows worse ; and so far as he can discern, he grows worse and worse, until all bis hope of acceptance with God, on the foot of law, languishes

and dies. So that the law which was ordained unto life, and by which life was originally to be obtained, he finds to be unto death; as it is written, Rom. vii. 8, 9. Sin taking occasion by the commandment raged the more, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once, and had a good opinion of myself : but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. For it is not the design of God by legal conviction to make the heart better, or so much as to excite one holy thought, or holy desire in the unregenerate sinner; but rather to give sach light to the conscience, as that all those thoughts and desires which used to be accounted holy, may appear to have no holiness in them, but to be of a nature contrary thereunto : to the end that the sinner who is in fact dead in sin, and at enmity against God, may come to know the truth; and so find himself condemned, lost, and undone by the very law by which he sought and expected life. Thus, as by the covenant of works, sidders have no title to any divine assistance; so while unregenerate, God doth in fact never assist them to one holy act. Nor under genuine conviction do they seem to themselves to grow better, but on the contrary to grow worse and worse, until they find themselves perfectly destitute of every good thought, and of every good desire, and in a state of mind 'wholly opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil,' in the language of our confession of faith : or in the more accurate and expressive language of Scripture, until they find themselves dead in sin, and at enmity against God; i. e. until they see themselves to be as in fact they are, and as in fact they always were before they saw it. But to see themselves dead in sin, and enemies to God, and wholly inexcusable, and altogether criminal in being so, and on this foot justly condemned, is what, above all things, impenitent, self-justifying sinners are averse unto. And therefore their hearts, instead of concurring to promote this conviction, do resist the light, and twist and turn every possible way to evade it: and often even rise and fight against it, with horrid blasphemous thoughts. And it is seldom that awakened sinners are brought to a thorough conviction b. More generally they have some partial conviction, and some short terrors, and then false humiliations, and then false light and joy, which lasts a while, and then all their joward religion is at an end. Or else, without receiving any comfort true or false, they gradually lose their convictions, and go to sleep again as secure as ever. For straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it. But to return,

If self-righteous, Christless sinners, while under the curse of the law, have no title to divine assistance for any one holy act; and if, as was before proved, the divine law requires hoJiness and nothing but boliness; then they have no warrant to enter into covenant to obey the whole will of God by divine assistance. It is true, the Gospel offers pardon to impenitent, self-righteous sinners, for not continuing in all things written in the book of the law to do them: but impenitent, self-righteous sinners, plead NOT GUILTY, in manner and form, as set forth in the divine law : and so reject the pardon offered. And it is true, the Gospel offers the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit to impevitent, self-righteous sinners, to enable them to love that character of God which is exbibited in his law, and which is honoured on the cross of Christ; but they do not desire to love it, and therefore the assistance offered is rejected. Now when they have thus rejected the only assistance which God ever offered, to obey the very law winch he hath given to be the rale of their lives for ihem, under these circumstances, 'to enter into covenant to obey the whole will of God by divine assistance,' is a piece of hypocrisy suited to the character of none, but such as are in fact totally depraved ;' and yet, at the same time, near, or quiie totally blind, as to their true character and real state.

A woman, however poor and low in the world before marriage, and however insufficient to be trusted by any of her neighbours; yet no sooner is she married to a rich man who

b' It is not enough for men to see that they can do nothing of themselves. Men may say that, when they only find need of assistance, and not of the infusion of a principle of grace into them.'

Stoddard's Safety. p. 183. Edit. S.

loves her, and whom she takes delight to obey and honour, but with his approbation she may trade largely at any merchant's shop for any thing she needs, and may warrantably promise,

by the assistance of her husband,' to make good pay; nor will the merchant, who knows her husband's riches, and his love to her, and his approbation of her conduct, be backward to trust her. And thus it is with the poor bankrupt sinner, who is in himself not sufficient for one good thought, as in him there dwelleth no good thing, as soon as he is married to Christ Jesus, in whom all fulness dwelleth, and of whose fulness he receives, and grace for grace, he may now enter into covenant with God, and warrantably promise, ' by the assistance of Christ Jesus,' to love God, and walk in all his ways with an upright heart. But should a woman of an adulterous heart enter into covenant with a man of honour and of a great estate before the priest, and as soon as the ceremony was over, even on the very same day, leave his bed and board, and run off, and prostitute herself to her former gallants, and refuse to return, and continue to refuse, although invited thereto by her hushand, yea, obstinately refuse, notwithstanding repeated invitations and repeated offers of pardon and forgiveness, until he being justly provoked should advertise her in all the publie papers,

and forbid all to trust her on his account, for that he would hold bimself unobliged to pay any of her debts, or to afford ber any assistance,' until her perverse heart should be humbled, and she should confess her iniquity, and justify him in this token of his displeasure, and ask forgiveness for her crimes, and return to her duty with true matrimonial affection : and should she, on seeing what her husband had done, declare, that' to love such a husband is the same thing as to love to be advertised as a run-away in the public papers, which is to love disgrace itself, which is in its own nature impossible, and even contrary to the law of God, which requires us to love ourselves; in this view, therefore, I can never return, nor is it my duty to return; for I ought to have a regard to my own reputation ; until, therefore, he will recall this advertisement, and assume a different character, I can no more love him than I can love my own misery;' and in this femper should she go on, giving her heart to her lovers, and

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