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Acts xiii.


SER their endeavours otherwhere, toward persons

of a more docile and ingenuous temper ; thence

more susceptive of faith and repentance : To you (say 46. xxviii. Paul and Barnabas to the contradicting and reproachApoc. ii. 5.ful Jews) it was necessary that the word of God should

first have been spoken; but seeing you put it from, (or thruft it away from you, anwlcio autòn,) and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, we turn to the Gentiles. So when the Church of Ephesus was grown cold in charity, and deficient in good works, God threatens to remove her candlestick; or to withdraw from her that

light of truth, which shone with so little beneficial Kui yże râs influence. It seems evident that God for the like us (pach) rò reasons may withhold the discovery of his truth, or Sehen vis forbear to interpose his providence ; so as to transmit John iii. light thither, where men's deeds are so evil, that they 2 Cor . ii. will love darkness rather than light ; where their eyes

are so dim and weak, that the light will but offend, and by the having it, hurt them ; where they, by the having it declared to them, will only incur farther mischief and misery; it would prove to them but ócuni Javére, a deadly scent, as the most comfortable perfumes are offensive sometimes and noxious to distempered bodies. Wherefore as where the light doth ihine most clearly, it is men's voluntary pravity, that by it many are not effectually brought to salvation ; so it is men's voluntary depraving and corrupting themselves, (misusing their natural light, choaking the seeds of natural ingenuity, thwarting God's secret whispers and motions, complying with the suggestions of the wicked one,) so as to be rendered unmeet for the susception of God's heavenly truth and grace, which hinders God (who proceedeth ordinarily with men, in sweet and reasonable methods, not in way of impetuous violence and coaction) from

dispensing them: we may say of such in the words Ifa. Ixvi. 3. of the Prophet, They have chosen their own ways, and Jer. V. 25. their foul delighteth in their abominations. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your fins have



3 αυγάσαι


holden good things from you. Τη έαυτά αγαθότητι πάσιν δER M. ο Κύριος εγγίζει μακρύνομεν δε εαυτους ημείς δια της αμαρrías, God doth by his goodness approach to all, but we Jet ourselves at distance by sin, saith St. Bafil ; and Ou Bal. in Pfal. αυτο-προαίρετος πονηρία, εκεί και αποχή της χάριτος, where καxii. there is self-chofen or affe&ted wickedness

, there is a withholding of grace, faith another Father, (apud Cyrill. Hier.) The Gospel, if it be hidden, 'tis (as St. Paul fays) hidden εν τοις απολλυμένοις, in viris perditis, among 2 Cor. iv. 3. loft men, (that is, men desperately gone in wickedness, incorrigible, unreclaimable people,) in whom the God of this world (that is, as St. Chryfoftom expounds it, not the devil, but the good God himself) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, so that the els ci pent light of the glorious Gospel hath not shined to them, (vws

&v įTÚPAWEY; how then did God blind them? faith St. Chryf. in Chryfoftom,) εκ ενεργήσας εις τέτο, άπαγε' not by any efi- 2 Cor. iv. 4. cacy of his upon them toward that; fie on that; ara' αφείς και συγχωρήσας, but by permillion and concellion; for fo the Scripture is wont to fpeak; Επειδαν γαρ αυτοί ήπίσησαν πρώτοι, και αναξίες αυτές κατεσκεύασαν τα ιδείν τα μυσήρια, και αυτός λοιπόν είασεν" αλλα τι έδει ποιήσαι ; προς βίαν έλκειν, και εκκαλύπτειν μη βελομένοις ιδείν και άλλα μάλλον αν κατεφρόνησαν, και εκ αν είδον Seeing, faith he, they disbelieved first, and constituted themselves unworthy to see the mysteries, even God at last let them alone; for what should he have done? Should he have drawn them violently

, and discovered it to them being unwilling to see? They would then have more despised it, and not have seen it. God is ever willing and ready to dispense Luke xix. his mercies and favours, but he is not wont to do it 44. extraordinarily, (or beside the course of his ordinary Rom. xiii. provision,) but in a proper and fit season, in that 11. καιρος ευπρόσδεκτος, acceptable time and day of aluation, when he seeth men capable of receiving them ;) which season commonly dependeth upon man's will and choice, or the refults of them. Καθόλα γαρ ο Θεός οίδεν Clerm. τάς τε αξίας των αγαθών και μή· όθεν τα προσήκοντα εκάσοις Strom. vii. δίδωσιν. Σωτήρ γάρ έσιν έχι των μεν, των δε προς δη όσον


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Tom, iv
Part. i.
Venit de



SER Μ. επιτηδειότητος έκαςος είχεν, την έαυτά διένειμεν ευεργεσίαν

for (faith Clemens Alex. in his 7th of the Stromata, where he clearly and fully affirms our present doctrine) Our Lord is not the Saviour of some and not of

others : but, according as men are fitly disposed, he hath Quæft. 69. diftributed his beneficence to all. St. Augustine himself & Quæfit,83. somewhere speaketh no less; or rather more: Pre

cedit aliquid in peccatoribus (faith he) quo, quamvis óccultifimis

nondum fint justificati, digni efficiantur justificatione : el meritis, &c. idem præcedit in aliis peccatoribus quo digni sint obtu

fione. But,

3. If all these considerations do not throughly fatisfy us concerning the reason of God's proceedings in this case, we may consider that God's providence

is inscrutable and impenetrable to us ; that (accordPfal. xxxvi. ing to the Psalmist) as God's mercy is in the heavens,

and his faithfulness reacheth to the clouds ; so his righteousness is like the great mountains, (too high for our reason to climb,) and his judgments, woran d'Euroos, a great abyss, too deep for our feeble understanding to fathom; that his ways are more subtile and spiritual than to be traced by our dim and gross fight. So upon .contemplation of a like case, although, as it seems, hardly so obfcure or unaccountable as this, the cause concerning God's conditional rejection of

that people, whom he in a special manner had so Rom. xi. much and so long favoured, St. Paul himself doth

profess. That therefore although we cannot fully resolve the difficulty, we notwithstanding without distrust should adhere to those positive and plain de

clarations, whereby God representeth himself seri2 Pet. iii. 9.ously designing and earnestly defiring, That all men

should come to the knowledge of the truth; that none Mould perish, but that all should come to repentance ; not doubting but his declared mind, and his secret providence, although we cannot throughly discern or explain their confistency, do yet really and fully conspire. But no farther at this time.




The Doctrine of Universal Redemption asserted

and explained.

1 Tim. iv. 10.


-The living God; who is the Saviour of all men,

especially of those that believe.. 8. As our Saviour was such to all men by his doc-SERN. trine, or the general discovery of all saving truth ; so may he be esteemed such in regard to his exemplary practice; whereby upon the open stage of the world, and in the common view of all that would attend unto him, he did represent a living pattern of all goodness ; by imitating which, we may certainly attain salvation. He that will consider his prac shall find it admirably fitted for general instruction and imitation ; calculated for all places and all sorts of people ; suited to the complexions, to the capacities, to the degrees, to the callings of all men; so that every sort of men may from it draw profitable direction, may in it find a copy, even of his particular behaviour : for he was a great Prince, illustrious in birth, excellent in glory, and abounding in all wealth ; yet was born in obscurity, lived without pomp, and seemed to possess nothing ; so


H 2

SER M. teaching men of high rank to be fober, mild, and vi. humble ; not to rest in, not to regard much, not to

hug and cling to the accommodations and Thews of worldly state; teaching those of mean degree to be patient, content, and cheerful in their station. He was exceedingly wise and knowing, without bound or measure ; yet made no ostentation of extraordinary knowledge, of 1harp wit, of deep subtilty ; did not vent high, dark, or intricate notions ; had in his practice no reaches and windings of craft or policy; but was in his doctrine very plain and intelligible, in his practice very open and clear ; so that what he commonly said or did, not only philosophers and statesmen, but almost the simplest idiots might casily comprehend ; so that those might thence learn not to be conceited of their superfluous wisdom; these not to be discouraged in their harmless ignorance ; both having thence an equally sufficient instruction in all true righteousness, a complete direc

tion in the paths to happiness, being thereby 606:562 Tim. iii. usvos eis owinpiar, made wise and learned to falvation.

He did not immerse himself in the cares, nor engage himself into the businesses of this world ; yet did not withdraw himself from the company and conversation of men : he retired often from the crowd, that he might converse with God and heavenly things; he put himself into it, that he might impart good to men, and benefit the world, declining no sort of society ; but indifferently conversing with all ; disputing with the doctors, and eating with the publicans ; whence thereby both men of contemplative and quiet disposition or vocations, and men of busy spirits, or of active lives, may be guided respectively; those not to be morose, supercilious, rigid, contemptuous toward other men; these not to be so possessed or entangled with the world, as not to reserve fome leisure for the culture of their minds, not to employ some care upon the duty of piety and devotion ; both may learn, whether in private retirement, or in public con



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