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Ses M.intention, and of consequential Obligation* VIII. Our Lord came not to call the Righteous,

tyrv>^i (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 sinned, This Duty is of Such a Nature, that 'tis a particular Privilege to them to be permitted to perform it. Æls xi. 18. When the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, first heard of the Apostles being authorized to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, they faid, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted Repentance unto life. Granting Repents ence, 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 ihe - 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

this present State are; there are None, in S E R M. strictness of Speech, free from Sin; and consequently None, but what are obliged ""^"^ 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 Manaffeh King of Judah, we find this Notion expressed in very strong Terms: Ibou, O Lord, fays he, that art the God of the Ju/i, hast not appointed Repentance to the Just, as to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, which

have not finned against thee; but of

thine instnitc Mercies thou hast appointed Repentance unto Sinners, that they may be saved. The word, Sinners, here, 'tis plain, is not used in 'That sense, wherein .All men are declared to be Sinners; but in

That

Se R M. That fense, wherein the Scripture declares VIIL that the Wicked are an abomination to the Lord, and fhem that work iniquity hi* 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 [Severity. The yr\mA.().Law ffays St Paul) is not made for a righteous man, (for against fucht there is no law, Gal. v. 23 ;) but it is made for the lawless and disobedient', for the ungodly and for Sinners, for the unholy and frosane, for man-flayers, for whoremongers,——~for Liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any Other thing that is contrary to found doBrine. In comparison with These; men who love Truth, and do Righteousness, and sincerely fear God, however they be incompafled 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; Israelites 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. Repentance. There is a Repentance, to S £ s M. which even the Best of men are continu- "ll* ally obliged; a Sense of their unworthi-*-rv">* ness before God j 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 perfection. But This is not That Repentance, to which our Saviour came to call Sin* tiers: That 'Total Change of Life and Manners, of which when our Lord faw an instance in Zacbeus, he faid, This day is Salvation come unto this house; and in describing of which, he calls it a New Birth, a being Born again of Water and of the Spirit. In contradistinction to which, and under the very iame figure of expression, 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. xiii. 10, He that is washed, needeth not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.

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

S E R M. contained in this his Answer to the Proud VIII. and Hypocritical Pharisees. They were

*,/~v"s^ Whole it seems, and therefore had no need of a Physician; 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 dejpifed 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 Jhall be abased; and he that humbleth himself, Jhall be exalted. They were the fame persons, to whom the fame Evangelist tells us our Lord faid 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 Jesus, for keeping company with Publicans and Sinners, which They thought it beneath Themselves to do;

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