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SER M. intention, and of consequential Obligation

VIII. Our Lord came not to call the Righteous, m (but Sinners, to Repentance. The Original)

Duty of all rational Creatures, is to obey the Commandments of God: And Such Intelligent Beings, as have always lived in obedience to God's Commands, are not obliged to the Duty of Repentance. 'Tis Sin only, that brought in the obligation to this secondary and consequential Duty. And to those who Have finned, This Duty is of Such a Nature, that 'tis a particular Privilege to them to be permitted to perform it. Afts xi. 18. When the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, first heard of the Apostles being authorized to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, they said, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted Repentance unto life. Granting Repentance, does not signify, as Some Moderns have understood it, . God's working Repentance in men, or operating it upon them; but it means, his graciously allowing them the · Benefit of Repentance, or, his accepting their Repentance so as to render it available unto Pardon. Among such frail and degenerate Creatures, as Men in


this present State are ; there are None, in Ser M. ftri&tness of Speech, free from Sin; and Vill.. consequently None, but what are obliged on to this. Duty of Repentance. Nevertheless, according to the gracious estimation of things in the Gospel, and according to the more usual acceptation of words in Scripture; they who, allowing for the general frailties and infirmities of humane nature, sincerely endeavour, in the constant course and tenour of their Actions, to live in habitual Obedience to the Commands of God: are stiled Righteous in such a manner, as that our Saviour came not, comparatively speaking, to call Them to Repentance. . In the prayer of Manasseb King of Judah, we find this Notion expressed in very strong Terms : Thou, O Lord, says he, that art the God of the Fust, haft not appointed Repentance to the Just, as to Abraham and Ifaac and Jacob, which have not finned against thee; but of thine infinite Mercies thou hast appointed Repentance unto Sinners, that they may be faved The word, Sinners, here, 'tis plain, is not used in That sense, wherein All men are declared to be Sinners; but in


SERM. That sense, wherein the Scripture declares

VIII: that the Wicked are an abomination to m the Lord, and them that work iniquity his

Soul hateth. Against these persons it is, that the Wrath of God is denounced with indignation, and the Threatnings of bis

Law are thundred with Sevërity. The „Tim.i.g. Law (says St Paul) is not made for a

righteous man; (for against such, there is no law, Gal. v. 23:) but it is made for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for Sinners, for the unboly and pros fane, for man-flayers; for whoremongers, ---for Liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to found doktrine. In comparison with These ; men who love Truth, and do Righteousness, and sincerely fear God, however they be incompassed with many infirmities, are yet stiled in Scripture not only just and righteous, but even perfect in their generation, walking in All the commandments of the Lord blameless; Ilraelites indeed, in whom there is No Guile; just persons, that need no Repentance : and of whom our Lord in the text declares, that he came not to call Them to


Repentance. There is a Repentance, to Serm. which even the Best of men are continu. VIII. ally obliged; à Sense of their unworthi-am ness before God; an acknowledgment of their Weaknesses and Follies; a continual uninterrupted Endeavour to amend what they find amiss in themselves, and to improve more and more unto perfeetion. But This is not That Repentance, to which our Saviour came to call Sinners: That Total Change of Life and Manners, of which when our Lord faw an instance in Zacheus, he faid, This day is Salvation come unto this house ; and in de. fcribing of which, he calls it a New Birth, a being Born again of Water and of the Spirit. In contradiftinction to which, and under the very fame figure of expreffion, That perpetual Amendment of infirmities, which is the Duty of Good men, may well be represented in the words of our Saviour to St. Peter, Joh. xii. 10, He that is washed, needeth not, fave to wasla his feet, but is clean every whit.

3. A Third thing observable in our Saviour's manner of expressing himfelf in the Text, is the just and sharp Reproof 1 2


Ser m.contained in this his Answer to the Proud VIII. and Hypocritical Pharisees. They were

Whole it seems, and therefore had no need of a Pbysician ; They were very righteous, they thought, and therefore had no need of being invited to: Repentance. They were the persons who, St Luke tells us, chap. xviii. 9. trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised: Others; And therefore our Lord rebuked their Pride, by his Parable of the Pharisee, and the Publican ; telling them that the penitent Publican went down to his house justified; rather than the Boasting Pharisee; For every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased; and be that humbleth himself, mall be exalted. They were the same persons, to whom the fame Evangelist tells us our Lord said upon another occasion, chap. xvi. 15. ye are they, which justify yourselves before Men, but God knoweth your Hearts ; For That which is highly esteemed amongst Men, is abomination in the Sight of God. And thus likewise in the words of the Text, when the fame Hypocrites were finding fault with Jefus, for keeping company with Publicans and Sinners, which They thought it beneath Themselves to do ;


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