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SER M. withstanding, by the voluntary neglect or abuse of

these means (the guides being blind, negligent, un-
faithful ; or the people being indocile, sluggish, re.
fractory; or both perverted with bad affections)
often ignorance, error, and impiety prevail, love is
cool and dead, schisms and factions are rife in the
church. Which events are not to be conceived de-
rogatory to God's good will and good intentions,
or to his kind and careful providence toward men;
but we are notwithstanding to esteem and acknow-
ledge him the author and donor of those good
things; in respect to them no less blessing and
prailing him, than if they were really accomplished by
man's concurrence and compliance ; he having done
his part in that due measure and manner which
wisdom prompts; having indeed done the same, as
when they are affected. So God having expressly de-
clared, that he would have all men to know and
embrace the Gospel, having made a universal pro-
mulgation thereof, having sent forth Apostles to dis-
feminate it every where, having obliged every man
to confer his best endeavour toward the propagation
thereof; if by the want of fidelity, zeal, or indus-
try in them, to whom this care is entrusted, or
upon whom this duty is incumbent ; or if by the
carelessness and stupidity of those, who do not re-
gard what is done in the world ; or if by men's vo-
luntary shutting their eyes, or stopping their ears
(as the Jews did of old to the prophetical instruc-
tions and admonitions), God's heavenly truth be-
coineth not universally known, it is not reasonable
to impute this defailance to God, or to conceive him
therefore not universally to desire and design men's
instruction and salvation consequent thereon. Let
me, for the illustration of this matter, put a case,
or propound a fimilitude. Suppose a great kingdom,
consisting of several provinces, should have revolted
from their sovereign; disclaiining his authority,
neglecting and disobeying his laws; that the good



prince, out of his goodness and pity toward them s ERM. (and upon other good considerations moving him thereto, suppose the mediation of his own son), instead of prosecuting them with deserved vengeance, should grant a general pardon and amnesty, in these terms, or upon these conditions; that whoever of those rebels willingly should come in, acknowledge his fault, and promise future loyalty, or obedience to his laws declared to them, should be received into favour, have impunity, enjoy protection, and obtain rewards from him. Farther, for the effectuating this gracious intent, suppose that he thould appoint and commiffionate messengers, impowering and charging them to divulge the purport of this act of grace to all the people of that kingdom. Admit now, that these messengers should go forth, and seat themselves only in some provinces of that kingdom, proclaiming this universal pardon (universal as to the design, and as to the tenour thereof) only in those, neglecting others; or that, striving to propagate it farther, they should be rejected and repelled; or that from any the like cause the knowledge thereof should not reach to some remoter provinces; it is plain, that indeed the effect of that pardon would be obstructed by such a carriage of the affair ; but the tenour of that act would not thereby be altered ; nor would the failure in execution (consequent upon the ministers or the people's misbehaviour) detract from the real amplitude of the prince's intent; no more, than the wilful incredulity, refusal, or non-compliance of some perfons, where the business is promulged and notified, would prejudice the same. It is plain the prince meant favourably toward all, and provided carefully for them ; although by accident (not imputable to him) the designed favours and benefits do not reach all. The case fo plainly suits our purpose, that I need not make any application. The holy Fathers do by feveral like fimilitudes endeavour to illustrate this matter, and somewhat to affoil the difficulty. They


compare our Saviour to the Sun*, who shines indif

ferently to all the world, although there be some private corners and secret caves, to which his light doth not come; although some shut their windows or their eyes, and exclude it; although some are blind, and do not see it. + That mystical Sun of Righteousness (faith St. Ambrose) is risen to all, came to all, did suffer and rose again for all-but if any one doth not believe in Christ, he defrauds himself of the general benefit. As if one shutting the windows should exclude the beams of the Sun, the Sun is not therefore not risen to all. They compare our Lord to a physician, who profesies to relieve and cure all that Thall have recourse to his help; but doth cure only those who seek for remedy, and are willing to take the medicine; because all (faith g St. Ambrose again) do not defire cure, but most do fhun it, left the u! cer should smart by medicaments; therefore volentes curat, non astringit invitos ; he cures only the willing, doth not compel those that are unwilling; they only receive health, who desire medicine. Evangelical grace,


* 'Ακούσατε ούν οι μακράν ακούσατε οι εγγύς" ουκ απεκρύβη τινας και λόγος" φως έσι κοινόν, επιλάμπει πάσιν ανθρώπους έδεις Κιμμέριος εν λόγω Clem. Alex. Protrep. Hiar that are far : bear ye tbat

are near : the word is not bid to any : it is a common light : it sbinetb to all men; there is no Cimmerian in the Word.

+ Mysticus Sol ille justitiæ omnibus ortus est, omnibus venit, omnibus paffus est, et omnibus resurrexit-fi quis autem non credit in Christum, generali beneficio fe fraudat, ut si quis claufis fenestris radios Solis excludat, non ideo Sol non ortus eft omnibus, &c. Amb. in Psal. cxviii. Ser. viii.

Si dies omnibus æqualiter nascitur, et fi Sol super omnes pari et æquali luce diffunditur, quanto magis Christus Sol et dies verus, in Ecclefia lua lumen vitæ æternæ pari æqualitate largitur. Cypr. Erift. 76.

Numquid non medicus idcirco proponit in publico, ut omnes se ostendat velle salvare si velint. Ambr. I. Tom. 2.

§ Venit-ut vulnera noftra curaret, sed quia non omnes medicinam expetunt, fed plerique rcfugiunt, ne medicamentis compungatur vis ulceris, ideo volentes, &c. Ambr. de David. 3. 11.



say they, is like a fountain standing openly, to which s E R M. all men have free access; at which all men may quench their thirst, if they will enquire after it, and go thereto. * The fountain of life, faith Arnobius, is open to all; nor is any man hindered or driven from the right of drinking it. The covenant of Grace is, say they, a door standing open to all, whereinto all have liberty to enter-When an entrance, faith St. Chrysostom +, being opened to all, and there being nothing that binders, fome being wilfully naught abide without, they bave no other but their own wickedness to impute their destruction unto.

And again he puts the question, * If Chrif enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, how is it ibat so many remain unenlightened ? &c. To which he answers, That if some wilfully Mutting the eyes of their minds, will not receive the beams of this light, it is not from the nature of light that those remain Aill in darkness, but from the wickedness of those who wilfully deprive themselves of the gift of it, &c. § St. Gregory Nazianzen resembles the


of baptism (as to its community and freedom of use) to the breathing of the air, to the spreading of light,

* Patet omnibus fons vitæ, neque ab jure potandi quisquam prohibetur, aut pellitur. Arnob. lib. 2.

ή “Όταν της εισόδου σασιν ανεωγμένης, και μηδενός του κωλύοντος όντος, εθελοκαμήσατίς τινες έξω μένωσι, παρ' ουδένα έτερον, αλλ' ή παρα την οικείας πονηρίαν απόλλυται. Chryf. in job. i. Homil. 7.

1 Ει φωτίζει πάλα άνθρωπον ερχόμενον εις τον κόσμον, πώς αφώτισου μεμενήκασι τοσούτοις ου γαρ δη τσάντες επίγνωσαν του Χρισού το σίβας σώς oύν φωτίζει πάντα άνθρωπος και τότε εις αυτόν ήκον' ει δέ τινες εκόντες τες της διανοίας οφθαλμούς μύσαντες, ουκ έθέλησαν παραδέξασθαι του φωτος τούτου τας ακτίνας, ου παρά την του φωτός φύσιν ή σκότωσις εκείνους, αλλα παρα την κακουργίας των εκoντί αποφερούντων εαυτούς της δωρεάς και μεν γδ χάρις εις πάντας εκκέχυται-σάλας δε ομοίως προσεχεμένη και μετα της ίσης καλούσα τιμής" οι δε μη θέλοντες απολαύσαι της δωρεάς ταύτης, εαυτούς δίκαιοι ταύτην αν είεν λογίσασθαι την τήρωσιν. Chry/. in fob. 1, Homil. 7.

και ως αέρος ανεύσιν, ώς φωτός χύσιν, και ωρών αλλαγές, και κτίσεως Siar Naz. Orat. 40.


Very well

S E R the vicissitude of seasons, to the aspect of the crev. ation; things most obvious and common to all.

If this answer do not fully satisfy, I adjoin farther,

2. That God, beside that ordinary provision, is ready to interpofe extraordinarily in disclosing his truth to them who are worthy of such favour, and fit to receive it; and that God's general desire and design of revealing his truth to all men is confiftent with his providential (not only negative and permissive, but even positive and active) withholding the discovery thereof from some persons, yea fome nations ; for that neither his wisdom, goodness, or justice might permit him, that he should impart that revelation to such persons whom he seeth altogether indisposed to comply therewith, and unfit to profit thereby ; who have extremely abufed the lefser graces, and not improved or milimproved the lefser

talents afforded them; detained inferior truths in Rom, i, 18.-unrighteousness, and have not liked to retain God in

their knowledge, have therefore justly been delivered up to a reprobate sense; who have so depraved their minds with wicked prejudices and affections, that the truth being offered to them, they would certainly either stupidly neglect it, or scornfully reject it ; or if admitting it in thew, would unworthily abuse it; so that from the imparting the means of knowing it, no glory to God, no benefit to man would accrue, but rather contempt of God and pre

judice to men would ensue upon it: there are some Ifa. xxx. 3o. persons of that wicked and gigantick disposition (con-·

tracted by evil practice), that, should one offer to instruct them in truth, or move them to piety, would be ready to say with Polyphemus in Homer, Odyff

. 6. 273, 4.

Νήπιος είς, ώ ξειν, ή τηλόθεν ειλήλουθας,
"Ος με θεούς κέλεαι ή δειδίμεν, ή αλέασθαι.
Friend, you are a fool, or a great stranger to me,
Who adviseft me to fear or regard the Deity.


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