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Serm.Nature and Life of God; each in theif several Stations, according to the Degree of Light and Knowledge which they injoy, indeavouring to approve themselves to him by a chearful obedience to his Commands -, and constantly promoting the Great Ends of his Government by preserving the Harmony of the Moral World, in like manner as the Wisdom of his Government over the Natural and Material World is shown forth in the regularity of aU its Motions. By Sin, Moral Agents oppose and bring disorder into this Kingdom of God; which the inferior part of the Creation, having no Liberty of Choice, is not capable of doing. And they who thus oppose God's Kingdom of righteousness, become thereby Enemies to God, and alienated from his Favour. Nevertheless, man being a frail and fallible Creature, liable to be seduced, tempted1 and deceived; and there being, in the case of most Sinners, many Circumstances to excite Pky and Compassion.* therefore God does not immediately cast them off, but generally allows them Space and Time for Repentance. And for this very End did he fend his Son, our Lord Jesus

Christ, Christ, into the World; that, invitingSK R M. men to Repentance, declaring to them more distinctly the Malignity of Sin, gi-0^^ ving them the fullest Assurances of Pardon (upon their real and sincere Amendment) through the Merit of his own once offering himielf a Sacrifice for ever, and revealing to them more clearly the Certainty of a future Judgment, and the Rewards and Punisliments of the Life to come, he might by these means reduce them to the Obedience of God's Commands, and consequently restore them to the Divine Favour. Christ has once suffered for Sins, the just for the unjust^ that he might bring as to God, 1 Pet. iii. 18. And Col. i. 21. You that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of this Flesh through deaths to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his Sight. But then we must here carefully observe, that in like manner as God originally and from the Beginning, while the inanimate world obeys him absolutely and by necessity of Nature, would not compel the Obedience of rational Creatures by the irresistibleness

Serm. ness of his Powei-j but exacted it only *H. from the willing Compliance of their

'^^"'own Choice; so now likewise in the restoration of men by Christ, he will have no one reduced to his obedience by Force, but by such Motives as work properly upon rational Agents, Reason and Arguments, Promises and Threatnings, Hopes and Fears. Thus in the Old Testament; / taught Ephraim to go, &ys God by the Prophet, taking them by their arms, but they knew not that I healed them; I drew them with Cords of a man, with bands of Love, and I was to them as they that take off the yoke, Hos. xi. 3. And in the Gospel; No man, fays our Saviour in the words of the Text, can come to Me, except the Father, which has sent me, draw him: No man can be a worthy Disciple of Christ, if he has not first upon his. mind a due fense of God. No man can. be a sincere Follower of the Son of God, who is not in a disposition of being drawn to a Love of Virtue, and of being prevailed upon to practise Righteousness, by a Sense of the Goodness- and .Reasonableness' and Excellency of the eternal Laws of God, even the Father, who sent him. > For

For the clearer and more distinct ex-SErw. plication of which doctrine, and of our "^.> Lord's full Meaning and Intention \riJ^^S^ these words > it will be proper to confides particularly,

Firsts What is meant by the Phrase os Coming to Christ: No Man can Come to Me, except the Father which has sent me draw him. Some enthusiastick persons* judging of the Sense of this Phrase merely from the conceptions of their own imagination, and not from its Use and clear Signification in other passages of the fame Writings; (which indeed is the only possible way of Understanding the true meaning either ofoScripture, or of any book whatsoever:) and Others negligently following Their Interpretation, have supposed that Coming to Christ means a rely-' ittg or depending upon His Merits and Satisfaction, to bring them to Salvation, whether they obey his Commandments by a virtuous Course of Life, or no. But whoever considers the many Passages of Scripture, in which this expression is to be met with, cannot fail to observe, that it really signifies quite another thing. , Heb. xi. 6. He that cometh to God, must

Vol. III. F bclievi

S E R M. believe that he Is, and that he is a Rcwarder
HJ, of them that diligently seek him: Coming'

*"'"y"SJ'to God here evidently expresses the fame
thing, as diligently seeking him: And, di-
ligently seeking himr is the fame as sincerely-
desiring to know and obey bis Will, in order
to please him. Again, ch.vii. 25. Christ is
able to save to the uttermoft them that come
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to
make inter cestion for them: Coming unto God
by Christ, is, Sinners returning by Repen-
tance and real Amendment to the Obedi-
ence of God's Commands, in hopes of ob-
taining pardon for what is past, through the
intercession of Christ. In like manner
therefore, Coming unto Ch^jst, signifies
also serving and obeying Him, becoming
his Disciples, believing his doclrine and li-
ving according to it, sincerely desiring ta
understand and practise his Will: Joh. vi.
35. He that cometh to me, stall never
hunger; he that believes and obeys the
Gospel, mall never want any thing ne-
cessary towards his obtaining eternal Life.
And thus likewise in the words of the
Text; No man can come to Me, No
Man can be a worthy disciple of Christ,
no Man can a be true and sincere Christi-
an i

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