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Sum. places, and of renown j but Mysteries art revealed unto the Meek, Ecclus. iii. 19.

^"^"^ O N the contrary, where there is a vitious Inclination and an Aff'eSiion to Wickedness; there mens minds are not only blinded by the natural consequence of such a disposition, but God moreover withdraws his Spirit from them, and the Holy Ghost will not dwell in a Heart that takes pleasure in Unrighteousness. For into a malicious Soul Wijdom /hall not enter, nor dwell in the Body that is subject unto Sin; For the Holy Spirit of Discipline will fee deceit, and remove from Thoughts that are without Understanding, and will not abide when Unrighteousness cometh in, Wisd. i. 4. Nay, not only so; but, where men are obstinately incorrigible, God is represented in Scripture as justly giving them up in judgment to be deceived by the Evil One, that for a deserved punishment they may increase unto more Ungodliness. Rev. xx. 8, Satan is described as being let loose, that he may go out to deceive the Nations: And the destruction of Wicked Ahab, is thus eloquently represented in a most lively Image by the Prophet Mi

caiak, caiah, 1 Kings xxii. 19. /saw the LordSE* M. fitting on his throne, and all the host of Heaven fitting by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall perswade, (in the original it is, Who JJ:all deceive) Ahab, that he may go tip and fall at Ramoth-rGileadf and one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a Spirit, and flood before the Lord, and said, I will perswade him; And the Lord said, unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and be a lying Spirit in the mouth of all his Prophets; And he said, Thou shalt perswade him and prevail alJo; Go forth, and do so. The Representation is highly figurative, and by no means to be understood literally j But the meaning is, that God justly permits Wicked men, when they obstinately refuse to hear Him, he permits them to be deceived by the Evil One to their own destruction. The like expression is used, Judg. ix. 23. God sent an Evil Spirit between Abimekch and the men of Shechem: The meaning is, as it is explained in the following words, God permitted Abimelecb to be deceived and dealt treacherously . . E 3 with

S E R M- with by the men of Shechem, thai his cruelty and the blood which he had shed might come upon him. 'Tis nothing more, but an acknowledgment of the Justice and Wisdom of Providence, in suffering Wicked men to be judicially blinded, that they may fall according to their deserts. With him is Strength and Wisdom, the

Deceived and Deceiver are his —i Be

removeth away the Speech of the Trusty, and taketh atoay the Understanding of the Aged from them; Job xu\ 16, 20, The Heathen World, because they did not Me to retain God in their Knowledge, therer fore God gave them up to Uncleannefs, and to vile affeStions, and to a reprobate (i. e, an undij'cerning) mind, Rom. i, 24, 26, 28. Josh. xi. 20. Deut. ii. 30. Pha* raph, because of his obstinate Wicked* ness, God hardned bis Heart, i. e. suffered his Understanding to be more and more blinded, that he should not fee the Tendency of God's wonderful Judgments worked in Egypt. The fame Phrase is used of the people of the Jews, If. lxiii. 17. Thou hast hardned our Heart from thy Fear; or, as it is, ch. vi. 10. Make

the Heart of this people fat, lest they

1 understand understand with their Heart, and convertSerm. and be healed. The Meaning is expressed **' at large, ch. xxix. 13, 10. Forasmuch tfj<"/"^° this people draw near me with their mouth,

but have removed their Heart far

from me; Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this

people; The Wisdom of their Wife men

Jhall peri/h, and the understanding of their

prudent men Jhall be hid The Lord

has poured cut upon you the Spirit of deep steep, and has cldjed your eyes. And Ezek.Rom. *\. xiv. 5, 6, 9. Because they are all estranged*from me by their Idols, Therefore fay unto the House of Israel, If a prophet be deceived when he has spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. The like expressions are used in the New Testament, concerning corrupt Christians; He that is unjust, let him be Rev xx;j, unjust /it'll j aud he which is stithy, let him be filthy still j and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and be that is holy, Rev. xvii. let him be holy still. And God Jhall put it'7' into their hearts to deliver their Kingdom end Power unto the Beast. And 2 Tbest'.

£ 4 ii. 10.

S E R M ii. 10. Because they received not the Love

JI- of the Truth, for this cause God

"shall send them strong Delusion, that they should believe a Lye; That they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness: And, 2 Tim. iii. 13, Evil men and seducers fall wax -worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. All which paflages, arc as it were Paraphrases and Illustrations of the Words of the Text; None of the Wicked shall understand, but the Wise fall under^ Jland,

From what has been faid, we may infer, ijl, That Wicked men have no reason to complain, for their not being able to under/land Religion; and Infidels, no Excuse, for their not believing it. For God who commanded the Light to fine out of Larkness, hath fined in our Hearts, to give the light of the Knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ: But if our Gospel be hid, 'tis hid to them that are lost; In whom the God of this World has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God, should shine unto them, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 3, 4.

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