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clude the instrumentality of ordinary means, any more than the word renew. Nay, the psalmist seems to expect that the clean heart must be created and the right spirit renewed, not by an immediate operation of sovereign and almighty grace, but by the instrumentality of those ordinary and usual means of grace which he had long enjoyed, and experienced the good effects of; and therefore he adds in the following words, v. II. Caft me not away from thy presence, i. e, deprive me not of the ordinances of thy worship in the tabernacle, where thou manifestest thy presence in a glorious manner, and take not thy holy Spirit from me, i. e. that holy fpirit with the illuminations of which he had, as a prophet, been so often favoured, and from which he had reaped great spiritual improvement.
Luke xxiii. 43. To-day falt thou be with me in Para:dise.
Although certain writers and teachers of religion profess not to mention the case of the penitent thief to encourage presumption and carelessness in any one, yet they mention it so often, and insist on it so much, as an instance of a great and sudden change taking place at the last hour of a poor finner’s life, at the faine time insinuating that the same change may take place in others (for the Lord's hand is not Aportened, that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear) that I fear they do, in facł, unhappily encourage presumption
and carelessness in many. Let us therefore consider this case with a little attention.
The abovementioned writers, &c. take for granted what is by no means certain, that the penitent thief's knowledge of Christ, and repentance of his own fins, commenced only at the time of his crucifixion along with Jesus. But is it not poffible, that the crime for which he suffered might have been committed a long time before, though he had been apprehended for it only very lately; when, whatever change might in the mean time have been wrought in his character and conversation, the law must take its course, and he must suffer the punishment due to his misdeeds, though he had repented of them very sincerely, and become a new man? The evangelist has said nothing that precludes: this supposition, and therefore we are at liberty to make it, especially if it will contribute to render the circumstances of the narrative more consistent and accountable. Let us see then what those circumstances are.
First, observe that this penitent, in the reproof which he gave to his fellow-criminal, makes a. candid and ingenuous confeffion of his crimes, and the justice of his punishment, and that grounded upon a juft and proper principle, the fear of God. Dost not thou fear God, seeing that thou also art in the same condemnation. And we indeed jusly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds. This seems
much more like the language of one who had long reflected upon, been seriously affected with, and formed inature conclufions from the sad subject, than of one who was but just now struck with a conviction of his fins, and a sense of his miserable ftate.
Secondly, observe also the clear and confident de. claration which he makes concerning Jesus. This man hath done nothing amiss. Can we suppose this declaration made by a man who had not known any thing of the person to whom he bears this testimony before this unhappy occasion? Doth it not seein rather the attestation of one who had had confiderable knowledge of the rectitude of his character and the unblameableness of his conduct ?
There are, I readily acknowledge, many difficulties attending the history of the penitent thief, which I have no occafion to consider in this place, it being sufficient for my present purpose to thew that the doctrine of the probability of repentance at the article of death proving acceptable will no longer have countenance from it.
John. vi. 44. 65. No man can come to me except it were given him of my Father. Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father cometh unto me. ----No man can come to me, except the Father who hath sent me draw him. Now how is it that God is elsewhere faid to draw men, but by the force of motives and instructions, which suppose that
men have a power of attending to them and improving by them. It is also to be observed that, in the whole of the discourse, in which the words quoted above are introduced, Jesus is blaming the jews for their infidelity; and it would be very extraordinary indeed, if for this purpose he should make use of an argument, which would intirely exculpate them, intimating that it was not in their power to do otherwise.
Our Lord sufficiently gives us to understand in what sense he uses the word drawing in the passage. quoted above. He explains himself v. 45. It is written in the prophets, (Isaiah liv. 13.) And they Mall be all taught of God. Every mantherefore that hath heard and learned of the father cometh unto me. This was the way in which God the Father drew some of the jews to Christ at that time; viz. such of them as, influenced by reverence, love and duty to him, heard attentively, and learned the truths which he had already taught them by Moses and the prophets; but they who were of a different spirit and conduct, with respect to the divine truths already revealed, could not come to Christ, who constantly referred them to the testimonies of Moses and the prophets in proof of his divine mission. To them it was not given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, Matt. xii. II. Agreeably hereto he says on another occasion, If any man will do his will, he Jall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or
whether I speak of myself, John vii. 17. And he thus remonstrates against the unbelieving jews, chap. v. 39. &c. Search the scriptures, for in them :... gje think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you-How can ye believe, who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only. This appears plainly to be the language of one who considered the cause of the unbelief of these jews as arising, . not from natural inability, or the with-holding of . the grace of God, but from contracted evil principles and habits, to which they determinedly adhered; as he speaks v. 40. Ye will not come unto me that ye. might have life.
II. OF ORIGINAL SIN. That mankind are confiderable sufferers in consequence of the fall of Adam, is not denied ; but all the evils which Moses specifies as affecting his pofterity on that account, are of a corporeal and temporal nature, viz. labour, forrow, and death. It is possible, indeed, that the body being more subject to disease, the mind may be more feeble, and therefore more prone to comply with some temptations ; but then it should also be considered, that a fickly constitution is favourable to many virtues, and we see that a state of confirmed health is often highly dangerous in a moral respect ; so that