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crying, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory; and they are as flames of fire, all love, life, activity, in the delightful service of their glorious King. Even so here on earth, we, who bave been outcasts, are invited to return, come home, and be reconciled to the God o: glory, the God that made us, and view. his nature and all his conduct as they do, become of the same temper, and members of the same family, and join in like holy employments and pleasures. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven. There is a great high Priest entered into Heaven with bis own blood; and in his name, we, who deserve to be numbered with the damned, are invited to come with boldness within the vail, and to begin our heaven on earth.--To this feast we are invited to come, and we may eat and drink as much as we please. We have full and free liberty to have access to the fountain of all good, the God of glory, the supreme Lord of the universe, to view the beauty of his character, to be charmed with the glories of his nature, to rejoice that he is God over all blessed for ever, that he reigns and will for ever reign, that his government is universal and absolutely perfect; and through Jesus Christ, we may come and put our trust under the shadow of his wings, and in his name look up to him for all things, and love and cleave to him, and delight in bim with all our hearts; and devote our whole lives to his service, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; pressing toward the mark for the prize, (the everlasting enjoyment of God) of our high calling of God in Jesus Christ. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, will keep our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ; and the end will be eternal life. And,
II. All this is offered freely, without money, and without price, to us infinitely unworthy and ill-deserving, through Jesus Christ. Come, for all things are ready". Yea, it is urged upon us, we are prayed and beseecbed to be thus reconciled to God; and by every motive from duty and interest, from God and Christ, from heaven and hell, we are pressed, we are compelled, we are in a manner forced, to come in. Having not only verbal declarations, that whosoever will may come ; but the highest possible evidences from facts, that God can, consistently with his honour, and is willing to receive those who do come. The gift, the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and exaltation of his Son, is more than words, than promises, than oaths, to demonstrate that God is sincere and in earnest. So that there is on God's side no bar, no difficulty in the way, all things are ready, and we may come to the feast and welcome. In the universe there is nothing of the nature of an hinderance or impediment, which can prevent our coming, are we ourselves but inclined to come. But,
h If we are invited to a feast by a neighbour, the invitation gives us a good right to go. And if God invites us to repent, return, and be reconciled to him, the God of glory, the supreme good, through Jesus Christ, and enjoy him as the portion of our souls, the heavenly feast, it gives us good right to do so. Even as good a right as the Israelites had to take and cat the manna which lay around their tents of this there can be no dispute. But all these invitations give us no right nor warrant to believe that our sins are pardoned and God reconciled to
III. If through nere disinclination to the deity, to the God that all heaven loves, the God of glory, we make light us while impenitent, while we refuse to come to the feast to which we are invited, and even despise and hate it. Had God expressly declared, “if y
will believe your sins are forgiven, they shall be forgiven. Here I offer you pa.don as your own, impenitent as you are, only believe I thus offer it, and that this offer makes it yours, so as that you may with a good warrant believe it is your own, and enjoy the comfort of it as such ; and according to your faith, so shall it be to you. I pray you, I beseech yon, believe and take it home to yourself, impenitent as you are, and you never shall be disappointed.” Had God thus declared, it had been another case ; but there is not one tittle in the bible that looks that way. Yea, instead of this, God has expressly declared, except ye repent ye shall all perish. Therefore, repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
And this may help the weakest Christian to see through the mist, that Mr. Cudworth raises, p. 250. Note, the grand objections against their notions of faith, Mr. Cudworth has done nothing to remove. Yea he has not had courage to look them fairly in the face. Aecording to their scheme, 1st, “I a sinner out of Christ, am condemned by the law, and under the wrath of God," agreeable to John ii. 18. 36. And this is the very truth. And in the view of this truth, they say, “ I am necessarily full of hatred and heart-risings against God.” So that, (2.) it is “utterly impossible” that I should ever love God until I first of all know th: “ God is reconciled to me, loves me and will save me.” And yet they say, (3.) that “I a sinner out of Christ, have no evidence from Scripture, sense, or reason, that God is reconciled to me, loves me, and will save me, nay, so far from it, that in fact I am condemned, and the wrath of God abideth on me." However, they affirm, (4) that." I a anner out of Christ, just as I am, am firmly
of the feast, and go our ways, turn our backs upon God, refuse to return and be reconciled, even after a way has been opened for it by the blood of his own Son, and after such methods bave been used to persuade us; it will be the most aggravated kind of wickedness in the universe, and a degree of folly and madness not to be paralleled in any other part of God's empire. And to persist in our disaffection to the divine character from year to year, and to refuse to be reconciled to our dying hour, must render us worthy of such a punishment, and prepare us for such self-condemnation, inward remorse, and anguish of heart, as no tongue can express. Then will be accomplished on impenitent sinners the words which are written in Prov. i. 24. 31. Because I have called, and ye have refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and 'would none of my reproof. I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh, &c. And all holy beings in the universe, convinced of the justice and wisdom
to believe, that God is reconciled to me, loves me, and will save me.” And, (5.)
God stands bound by his promise, that I shall never be disappointed.” This is their scheme fairly stated : against which, among other things, I object, (1.) That their faith is presumption. A believing without evidence. There being no evidence that “God is reconciled to me, a sinner out of Christ.” (2.) Their faith is downright delusion. Believing a lie, viz. That “God is reconciled to me, a sinner out of Christ, loves me, and will save me.” While in truth every sinner out of Christ is condemned now, and will, dying as he is, be damned here. after. (3.) God has no where in the bible given the least hint, that if "sinners out of Christ do firmly believe, that God is reconciled to them, loves them, and will save them, it shall be unto them according to their faith : they shall never be disappointed.” There is not one text of Scripture that looks that way, but multitudes expressly to the contrary. Thus stands the case.
Now men may dodge, and skulk, and hide, and raise a dust, and fling, and cant, and call bad names ; but by cool and fair reasoning, they never can get over these difficulties. And it is plain they feel they cannot. Let any one read my Letters and Dialogues, and Mr. Cudworth's answer, and judge for himself. According to their scheme, I must believe that God is reconciled to me, loves me, and will save me; because otherwise it is utterly impossible to love him. And I must believe this while in the height of my enmity, because it is this belief which begets my first lore. This belief then takes place in the heart, while dead in sin, and full of enmity to God. It is the act of an unregenerate, carnal heart. And it makes a carnal heart feel well; and no wonder it does. And these good feelings are supposed to be the Christian graces; when in fact they are the good feelings of a carnal heart, comforted by the belief of a lie:
of the divine conduct, will join to cry, Amen, hallelujah. While the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever.
IV. How great is the absurdity of men's believing they have by the Gospel a title to heaven, when they reject the very heaven offered in the Gospel with abhorrence! The heaven offered is the everlasting enjoyment of God through Jesus Christ. Every one at enmity against God's real character, as exhibited in the law, and declared to be absolutely perfect on the cross of Christ, rejects this heaven with abhorrence! This feast is no feast to him. He is so far from a relish to those heavenly dainties, that his soul loathes this food. To say, that men may come to God by Christ, and find rest and satisfaction in him, while at the same time they are enemies to his real character, is as absurd, as to say, men may come to a feast and eat with pleasure, when they perfectly disrelish every thing set before them. It is true, one who is an enemy to the divine character, may be ravished in a belief his sins are pardoned. And this he may call a feast. And this belief he may call eating : and with this eating he may be satisfied, so as to live contentedly without God in the world. Yea, his contentment and confort supposes him to be ignorant of the real character of the true God. But it is absurd to suppose one should choose the true God for his supreme good through Jesus Christ, while at enmity against his real character. For men will not choose that for the object of their delight, which in their hearts they do not like. Nor will men desire a Mediator to bring them to the enjoyment of that which they have no appetite for, and which they do not desire to enjoy. While men are enemies to the divine character, they have no inclination to come to him through Christ, rather their aversion to come, is equal to their enmity to his character. Yea, that God should actually become the supreme good and satisfying portion of a sinner, who is of such a taste, as that God's real character can give him no delight or satisfaction, but the contrary, is a plain contradiction. We must love an object, or we cannot enjoy it. We must be suited, pleased, enamoured with the divine character, or we cannot enjoy the Deity. On this account therefore it is absolutely necessary, we become new creatures.
For except a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. A sinner could not enjoy heaven, were he admitted and allowed to live there for ever.- Besides,
Although God can, consistently with his honour, pardon and receive to favour the sinner who returns to him through Jesus Christ, and stands ready to do it; yet, it is equally true, that he cannot, consistently with his honour, pardon, and receive to favour, a sinner who refuses to return, while going on obstinate in his rebellion; nor is he at all willing to do it. Christ did not die, that impenitent sinners, while such, might be forgiven, and received into the divine favour. God can no more pardon an impenitent sinner, consistently with his honour, than if Christ had never died. The decree of heaven is fixed, and cannot, and never will be, revoked, ercept ye repent ye shall all likewise perish. But as this point is of great importance, and is generally denied by Antinomians; so it shall be taken into more particular consideration.
Repentance is before forgiveness.
IF God is an absolutely perfect, an infinitely glorious and amiable Being, infinitely worthy of supreme love and honour, and of universal obedience; and if our disaffection to the divine character and rebellion against God, is altogether inexcusable and infinitely criminal, agreeable to the voice of the divine law, and to the import of the cross of Christ; if God the great governor of the universe views things in this light, and in this view calls unto us from heaven to confess our sins, repent and turn unto him with all our hearts; if these things are so, and they are so if the bible is the word of God; then the meaning of his words is certain, the ideas designed to be conveyed by them are determinate. To repent, beyond dispute, is to change our minds as to the divine