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wrought upon by the spirit of he who forks fhall find ; but alas, God; and the scriptures, I find, Ilave asked and fought again and confirm this conclufion.--" Ex-again ; and yet do not receive or cept a man be born again, he can find. I therefore conclude the not fee the kingdom of God.-alking and feeking, to which the By grace are ye faved through promife is made, is a different faith; and that not of yourselves; thing from any to which I have it is the gift of God. Not by attained; or implies another kind works of righteousness which we of defire, and acting from other "have done, but according to his principles and motives, or for othmercy he saved us, by the washing er ends, than I have ever yet done. of regeneration, and renewing of I likewife find, that God claims the Holy Ghost.-Every good it as his right and prerogative, to gift and every perfect gift is from do as he pleases, with respect to above, and cometh down from the the beitowment of his favor and Father of lights. · Of his own grace. His language is, “ I will will begat he us with the word of be gracious to whom I will be truth." These and numerous gracious, and will shew mercy on other passages plainly teach me to whom I will thew mercy. view all the goodness or holiness F. Is it not then a fact, a real ever found in men, as being ori. truth, that if you are ever conginally not of themselves, but of verted and saved, it will be by the God.
free grace of God, to which you F. Why then do you hope that have no claim, and which he may you shall yet repent and turn to grant or withhold as he sees fit; God ? Do you think that he is so that it may be truly faid, if under any obligation to grant the God sees fit or is pleased to bestow special influences of his spirit to his grace upon you,—to give you all mankind ? or that he actually an heart to know him, to repent doth so ? or that he hath promised and turn and receive the love this infinite favor to any thing that of the truth, you will be convertyou shall do, whilst out of Christ, ed and saved; but otherwise you altogether felfish, and dead in fin? will certainly perish ? or that you can lay him under any T. This doth indeed appear to obligation to do it for you be the true state of the case.
T. I must confefs I do not F. What then is the ground find any evidence that this is the of your hope? or what reason case. On the contrary, I find have you to hope, that you may that so long as I am out of Christ yet be converted and saved ? -so long as I do not believe on 7. So far as I can learn from him, in the manner required to in the scriptures, and from the title to falvation, I am so far preaching and instructions which from having either a present title appear to me to correspond with to life, or a gracious promise of them, all the reason I have to the special, efficacious influences hope that I may yet be converted & of his spirit to change my heart, laved, may be fummarily expressed that I am under the curse, con- in these following particulars, viz. demned already, and the wrath of 1. Jesus Christ, by the one of God abideth on me. Indeed, Ifering of himself for fin and befind there is a promise, that he coming obcdient unto death, hath who alks shall receive, and that made an atonement for sin and
wro't out a righteousness perfect well disposed, cannot believe in ly acceptable and well-pleasing to him of whom they have not heard, God, every way sufficient to ren or of whom they have no knowlder it consistent with his justice edge ; and the word appears to and the best good of Itis kingdom, be the divinely appointed mean to justify and save every one who of the knowledge necessary in orbelieveth in Jesus ; and also to der to actual believing on the Lord grant the special influences of his Jesus Christ. Nor can I discover, Spirit to whomsoever he pleases, that God doth often, if ever, for their conviction, quickening change the hearts of finners who and fanctification. Hence, God have come to years of discretion, not only declares that he will be without fome knowledge of the gracious to whom he will be gra- object of faith derived from the cious, but hath also expressly word. It does not appear, that promised salvation to every one in the days of the apostles falva, who bclieveth.
tion was sent to any except where 2. God is infinitely gracious the gospel, the word of salvation, and merciful.
was sent ; and wherever this 3. He hath in fact had mercy word was sent, there appears to on many, and even on some of the be evidence, that it was made efchief of finners. Therefore, it fectual to the faith and salvation may be that he will have mercy of some. Hence there appears
to be more reason to hope for the 4. It is plain from the scrip- falvation of some among those tures, that he interds to save a who have opportunity to hear the number of mankind. Therefore, word or derive instruction from it, it may be that I shall yet be saved. than among those who have not ;
5. His sending the gospel, the and I accordingly entertain more word of salvation, into a place, hope of my own salvation, than I seems to carry an intimation, that fee present reason to have of that he hath a design to convert and of any individual among those save at least some in that place. where the gospel is, and appears
The gospel is called the word likely to continue, totally unof faith, and the word of salva- known : And especially, if the tion; and Paul says, “ Faith com word hath taken effect
upon me eth by hearing, and hearing by the fo far, that my attention is greatword of God.” If I rigitly ap- ly engaged to it, and I am exciprehend the scriptures upon this ted to listen to and search it, with head, the word of God is the serious and deep concern about divinely appointed meun of faith my spiritual state and etcrnal wel. and falvation, and ncceflary to it, fare, there fcems to be proportionat least, according to God's ordi- ably greater reason to hope God nary method of operation. intends to make it effectual to my
Although an heart to believe, I falvation. But after all, so long or to receive the love of the truth, as I am impenitent and destitute is an eifect of the special opera of all real holiness, unbelieving and tion of the spirit of God ; yet in out of Chrilt, and do not receive order to the actual exercise of the love of the truth, I am far faith in Chuit, it is receitary that from having any promise or sure he should be revealet or made evidence that I shall be saved. krown. For men, thi' trer foId if I have long lat under the
word, and heard the gospel preach- ever find mercy; and nothing ap
any pears to keep me from sinking insaving effect, and especially, if I to despair, but a persuasion of the am now as careless and stupid and important truths which I have alhard-hearted
or even i ready mentioned, and that God is more fo, it is evident, that I have an infinitely wise, holy and gravery great reason to fear, that I cious Sovereign, who can and will fhall die in my fins, and lie down in have mercy on whom he pleases, sorrow. There is a may be, a pos- and even on some of the chief of fibility, that I shall be saved ; but finners. to all appearance, far greater rea If any reader of the preceding son to fear that I shall perish.
discourse should be ready to say, Sir, I have now stated the sum that, according to the statement and substance of what I can say contained in it, the case of fin. respecting the grounds or reason ners is very awful and alarming ; of my hope ; from which you will it will be readily admitted, that it readily perceive, that when I said, is indeed so. Yetif thisis in truth I had some hope that I should be the case, is it not best that it saved, I did not mean to intimate should be known ? Is it not evi, that I thought I had any prefent dently of importance, that finners title to falvation, or any measure should be convinced of the truth of that kind of hope which the with respect to their rcal character real Christian experiences ; but and situation ? only, that I considered my con If it should be inquired, whethdition as being not altogether er this representation of the case hopelessor totally desperate--that of finners will not tend rather to I believed there was a possibility, discourage them, and to drive and, at least, some degree of them into despair, than to be of probability, that I should be fa- any real service to them ; it may ved; such, however, as may ad be replied, that it is calculated mit a greater probability that I and designed to make them despair fhall finally perih. And I freely of obtaining salvation by their acknowledge, that I often appear own righteousness, or of bringto myself to be upon the point of ing God under any obligation to concluding my case is quite hope- convert and save them, or of atlefs. Notwithstanding all the taining to true happiness in any awakening and instructive means way except that of meer free which I enjoy, and all the infi- grace through the redemption nitely folemn and weighty argu- which is in Chrift. And till they ments and motives which are pla- | are brought to this kind of delced before me, I find myself fo pair, it is conceived, they will nevextremely bliad, stupid and uni- er rightly apprehend and cordially feeling, and my heart so entirely embrace the gospel. Great nuneftranged from God, so perfectly bers, it is probable, are ruined by dead in sin, so deceitful and del- presumption, to one that is lost perately wicked, and apparently by despair. And if the preceding growing worse ard worfe, that I exhibition shonld prove a means am, at times, almoft driven to the of bringing any unrenewed finners conclusion, that God will certain to a realizing conviction that their ly cast me off forever--that there condition is quite as awfully danis no rcom left to hope that I shall gerous and alarming as the exhina
bition suggests--and if, as the must imply those who were nearly natural consequence of this, it connected, by natural relation, should prove instrumental of exci. friendship, or in some other way. ting in them the most earnest en As the expression is rarely used, quiry how they may escape im- except in the case of those who pending destruction, and the deep were reputed the people of God, est concern about theevent ; which it may be designed to express the again would naturally excite them relation which is peculiar to them. to cry earnestly to God for mer. The following observations are cy,
whilft other source of submitted. hope was wholly removed ; it is 1. The expression, « They believed, there would be a hope. were gathered to their fathers,” ful prospect of their deriving fpe- points out an event which is concial benefit from it. God grant nected with dying and takes that this may be the case ; and place at that time. that sinners may be not only con
This is evident from the use of vinced, but also converted and fa- the words, in the passages already ved, of his infinite mercy, thro' quoted, and in most places where Jesus Christ!
they occur, and in some places ASTHENES. this only is mentioned, when it
is evident that death also is in. The re-union of saints in the world cluded. * of Spirits..
2. The fathers to whom they Judges ii. 10.“ All that gen. who died before them, and exift
are said to be gathered, are those eration were gathered to their fathers."
ed in the world of spirits. This
is evidently true, because, at SIMILAR form of exА.
death, they were separated from pression, occurs in various their friends and connexions in passages in the holy fcriptures.- the present world, so that they Thus it is said of Abraham, that could not be said to be gathered he died and was gathered to his peo- to them. And, if their departed ple*--of Ishmael, he died and was friends had not an existence in the gathered to his peoplet-Isaac died invisible world, it would be aband was gathered to his people - surd to speak of being gathered to and thus God faid to Mofes, die, them. The expreflion suggests and be gathered to thy people, as the idea of an assembly, or society, Aaron thy brother died, and was collected from different places and gathered to his people. In thefe ages of the world and united in and a few other passages, we find happy existence, beyond the grave, this form of expreffion, differing
3. This gathering to their fathfrom our text only in this way, ers is diftinguifhed from death, that the word people is used instead though connected with it. Death of farkers, meaning no doubt as it respects the diffolution of this much the same. If any differ- | bodily life ; and a separation of ence be supposed, it is only that the soul and body, is mentioned, people isthe most entenfive in its fig-in moft places, referred to above nification. Their people or fathers, as distinct from this gathering.
Gen. rv. 8. Gen. xxv. 17. Ge.. xxxv. 29. S Deus. xxxii. 5o.
* Numbers xx. 24. xxvii. 13. and chap. xxxi, 2.
Thus we have seen in the history | buried him in a valley, in the of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Mo- land of Moab, and no man know. ses and Aaron. Each of these eth of his fepulchre, unto this died and were gathered to their day.* From these passages it is people. Were nothing further evident that, the burial of the defigned by this than the dissolu- body, and the gathering to their tion of this mortal life, the impro- fathers, are by no means the same, priety must forcibly strike the but widely different.-One, the mind of the reader. In that case gathering to their people or fathas has been hinted already, they ers, is uniformly mentioned as an would not have been said to be event immediately connected with gathered to their people, but sep. dying, though distinct from it, arated from them. We add, and in no degree dependent on
4. This expression cannot be the will or conduct of their furdesigned to imply the burial of the viving friends on earth. The othdead, or that their bodies were er, (the burial of the body) as gathered to the bodies of their dependent on their will and perfriends and progenitors ; and that formed by them. for two obvious reasons, first, We observe secondly. That their burial is mentioned in dif- these two are distinct from each tinction from this gathering, and other, 'appears from this, viz. as something quite different from The bodies of these ancient it. This appears from passages saints were not in all instances, of holy scripture already recited. gathered to the bodies of their Thus Abraham died, and was people and fathers by burial. gathered to his people, “and his Thus, in the case of Abraham, fons Isaac and Ishmael buried him the bodies of his people and proin the field of Machpelah.”* genitors were hundreds of miles " Isaac died, and was gathered to distant from the place of his buhis people, and his sons Esau and rial. The body of Muses was Jacob buried him.”+ Jacob be- not gathered to the bodies of his fore his death, informed his fons people in his burial, for it was that he was about to be gathered placed alone, and the bodies of to his people, and charged them the generation mentioned in the to bury him, in the burying place passage under consideration, were of his fatliers, and when he had not gathered to their fathers in made an end of commanding his this fenfe—their immediate profons, he gathered up his feet into genitors were buried in the wilderthe bed, and yielded up the ghost, ness, and the more remote, in the and was gathered to his people.f land of Egypt. After which we have an account Thus it appears that when the of the transportation of his body inspired writer informs us that all by his sons from Egypt to Canaan, that generation, were gathered to and that it was deposited in the their fathers, it is not delignburying place of his fathers ac-ed merely to let us know that cording to his direction. Mofes they ceased to live on eartlı, or also died and was gathered to his that their dead bodies were put in people. But, hc, i. e. the Lord, graves : Much less, that the spir.
it, or the soul, ceased to exist and • Gen. xxv. 8, 9. † Gen. xxxv. 29. Gen. xlix. 29-33.
* Dcut. xxxiv. 6.