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"understand, they walk on in darknefs," Pfal. lxxii. 5. Christ observes, "That every one that doth evil, "hateth the light, neither cometh to the light." And that "this is their condemnation that light is come into the world, yet men loved darknefs rather than light," John iii. 19, 20. And I may appeal to your own confciences, whether you have not wilfully rejected the maTry inftructions you have had and refused to hearken? Whether you have not neglected to feek after the light -Neglected your Bible Whether you have not been a very negligent hearer of the word preached And neglected other proper means of knowledge- -Neglected to cry to God for that wisdom which you need? Yea, have you not refifted the means of knowledge? Have you not refifted and quenched the motions of the Spirit, which at fometimes you have had? And hugged your own fottifhnefs; and taken a course to make yourself more and more ftupid, by ftifling the convictions of your own confcience, and doing contrary to the light thereof; whereby you have done thofe things that have tended to fear your confcience, and make yourself more and more fenfelefs and fottifh!
4. Confider what is the courfe that God will take to teach thofe that will not be taught by the inftructions of his word. He will teach them by briars and thorns, and by the flames of hell. Though naturalmen will remain to all eternity ignorant of the excellency and lovelinefs of God's nature, and fo will have no fpiritual knowledge; yet God in another world will make them thoroughly to understand many things, which fenfelefs unawakened finners are fottifhly ignorant of in this world. Their eyes in many refpects shall be thoroughly opened in hell. Their judgments will be rectified. They fhall be of the fame judgment with the godly.They fhall be convinced of the reality of thofe things which they would not be convinced of here- -Of the being of a God-His power Justice. That the fcriptures are
Son of God They will be Of the bleff. How much We read
the word of God.- -That Chrift is the That time is short and uncertain. convinced of the vanity of the worlded opportunity they had in the worldit is men's wifdom to improve their timeof the rich man, who was fo fottifhly blind in this world, that in hell he lift up his eyes, and faw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bofom, Luke xvi. 23. It is fo with many men, that the first time they open their eyes is in hell.
God will make all men to know the truth of those great things which he speaks of in his word, one way or another; for he will vindicate his own truth. He has undertaken to convince all men. They who will not be convinced in this world, by the gentle and gracious methods which God ufes with them now, shall be convinced hereafter by fevere means. If they will not be convinced for falvation, they shall be convinc. ed by damnation : God will make them know that he' is the Lord And he will make them know that he bears rule. "Confume them in wrath, that they 66. may not be and let them know that God ruleth in "Jacob, unto the ends of the earth," Pfal. lix. 13. "Let them be confounded and troubled forever :
yea, let them be put to thame and perish. That men "may know, that thou, whofe name is Jehovah, art "the Most High over all the earth," Pfal. xxxiii. 17, 18.
VI. Hence we may learn what great care we had need all have, that we be not deceived in matters of religion. If it be fo that our hearts are all naturally poffeffed with fuch an extreme brutish ignorance and blindness in things of religion, and we are exceedingly prone to delufion; then surely great care ought to be taken to avoid delufion. For that we are naturally prone to delufion, fhows our danger; but the greater our danger of any calamity is, the greater had our watchfulness need to be.
Let us therefore be hence warned to take heed that
we be not deceived about our duty About our own hearts-About our ways- -About our state About our opportunitiesThoufands are deceived in these things, and thousands perifh by that means. Multitudes fall on our right hand and on our left, and are ruined eternally by delufion in these things.
VII. If we are naturally so blind and ignorant, and prone to delufion; then hence we learn how foolish a thing it is for men to lean to their own understanding, and truft their own hearts. If we are fo blind, then our own wisdom is not to be depended on; and that advice of the wise man is most reasonable; "Truft in "the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine "own understanding," Prov. iii. 5. So is that faying of his, "He that trufteth in his own heart, is a fool," Prov. xxviii. 26.
They therefore are fools, who truft to their own wisdom, and will queftion the mysterious doctrines of religion. Such asbecause they cannot fee through them and will not truft to the infinite wisdom of God.
And they who are confident and ftiff in their own judgment of themselves, and their own ftate, from an opinion of their own good difcerning.
And they who truft to their own refolutions.
If it be fo, that we are naturally under the power of fuch fottish blindnefs in the things of religion, then this leads and directs us to these two methods in order to our being truly wife.
1. That we fhould become fools: be fenfible of own natural blindness and folly. There is a treasure of wisdom contained in that one fertence: " If any man among you feemeth to be wife in this world, let him "become a fool, that he may be wife," 1 Cor. iii. 18. Seeing our own ignorance and blindness is the firft ftep towards having true knowledge. If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know, 1 Cor. viii. 2.
2. To afk wifdom of God. If we are fo blind in ourfelves, then knowledge is not to be fought for out of our own ftock, but must be fought from fome other fource. And we have no where else to go for it, but to the fountain of light and wisdom.
True wifdom is a precious jewel; and none of our fellow creatures can give it us, nor can we buy it with any price we have to give. It is the fovereign gift of God. The way to obtain it, is to go to him, fenfible of our weakness, and blindnefs, and mifery on that account. If any man lack wifdom, let him afk of God, James i. 5.
Men naturally God's Enemies.
ROMANS V. 10.
For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to •God by the death of his Son.
HE Apoftle, from the beginning of the epifle to the beginning of this chapter, hath infifted on the doctrine of juftification by faith alone. And having particularly fpoken to that, in this chapter he goes on to confider the benefits that are confequent on juftification. And there are three that flow from juftification, which are here fpoken of, viz. peace with God, prefent happinefs, and hope of glory. Peace with God is mentioned in the firft verfe. Therefore being juftified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Chrift. In the following verfes he fpeaks of prefent bleffednefs, and hope of glory, as benefits accompanying juftification. By whom alfo we have access by faith into this grace, wherein we fland, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And concerning this benefit of the hope of glory, the Apoftle does particularly take notice of two things, viz. the bleffed nature of this hope, and the fure ground of it.
1. He infifts on the bleffed nature of this hope, in > that it enables us to glory in tribulations. This excellent nature of true Chriftian hope is defcribed in the following words: And not only fo, but we glory in tribulations alfo, hnowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience, and experi.. ence hope and hope maketh not afhamed, because the love of God is fhed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghoft, which is given unto us, verse 3, 4, 5, q. d. Through hope of a bleffed reward, that will abundantly more than make up for all tribulation, we are enabled to bear tribulation with patience; patiently bearing, and patiently waiting for the reward. And patience works experience; for when we thus bear tribulation with patient waiting for the reward, this brings experience of the earneft of the reward, viz. the earnest of the Spirit, in our feeling the love of God fhed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghoft. So that our hope does not make us afhamed; though we do bear tribulation, our hope is not disappointed; for in the midst of our tribulation, we experience those blesfed incomes of the Spirit in our fouls, that make even a time of tribulation fweet to us; and is fuch an earneft as abundantly confirms our hope; and fo experience works hope..
2. The Apoftle takes notice of the fure and abundant ground there is for this hope; or the abundant evidence we have, that we fhall obtain the glory hoped for, in that peace we have with God, in our juftification through Chrift's blood; because that while we were without strength, in due time Chrift died for us; while we were ungodly and finners, enemies to God and Chrift, verfe 6,-10. The Apoftle's argument is exceeding clear and ftrong: That if God has done already fo great a thing for us, as to give us Chrift, to die and fhed his precious blood for us, which was vaftly