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blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their beart, and be converted, and I should heal thema. Not that John meant by this turn of expression, that Efaias's having said this was the efficient cause of their not believing, or that God himself had hardened their hearts; but only, that it was at that time no wonder they did not in fact believe, fince the Spirit of God had foretold by the prophet Esaias, in the customary prophetical manner and turn of expression, that they themselves would harden their hearts, and refuse to believe. Exactly similar to which is that paffage, where God faith to Jeremiah - See, I have this day set thee over the Nations, and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, and to build, and to plant :-- That is; when divested of the common prophetical turn of expreffion ;. to declare or foretell, which nations will in fact rise, and which will in fact fall. And that these kind of prophetical expressions were thus understood by the Jews, is still further evident from St. Paul: who, when speaking of the blindness of the Ifraelites, in his Epistle to the Romans, says; - It happened, as it was written; God bath given them; (that is, permitted them to fall into, through their own fault,) the spirit of sumber; eyes that they should not fee, and ears, that they Mould not hear : but when speaking, on the very fame subject, to the Jews themselves at Rome, quotes the passage of Isaiah, just as Matthew describes Jesus to have done; attributing their shutting of their eyes, &c. not to God, but wholly to themselves, and their own perverse disposition". Agreeably to what we find both in Ezekiel and Jeremiah, where the house of Israel is expressly declared to be a rebellious, and a foolish house ; for this very reason, because they had eyes to see and saw not, and cars to bear and beard note.
a John xii. 40. • Jerem. i. 10. Act. xxviii. 2
• Roma chap. xi. 8.
From this comparison of the two Evangelists with each other, with St. Paul, and with the Prophets, it plainly appears, that Mark intended nothing more than to express concisely the substance of what Matthew has related at large; and which relation very probably Mark had seen; that the prophetical style which Mark has made use of was familiar to the Other Apostles likewise, as well as to the people for whom they wrote; and that the meaning of Jesus's answer, as recorded by Mark, as well as Matthew, was not, as the Author contends, that Jesus designedly guarded against the conversion of the Jews; but only, that the perversenefs of their disposition at that time render: ing plainer revelations uselefs, he taught them in Parables because they neither deferved, nor would make a proper use of more explicit declarations. And accordingly Mark himself, after relating two other parables, which Jesus delivered at the same time with the passage in question ; immediately adds, — And with many such parables fpake be the word unto them, AS THEY WERE ABLE TO HEAR IT': clearly signifying, that their own unfitness and indisposition to be instructed at all, was the real reason why Jesus made use of parables of this nature; not a desire in him to keep from them any information to which they would have paid regard.
After all, it was in the nature of the thing itfelf utterly imposible, that Jesus could make use of the parables he did deliver, in order to prevent the conversion of the Jews to the Gospel;
f Mark iv. 34.
• Ezek. xii. 2. q. 5. Jerem, V. 21.
for this plain reason, that those particulars which he delivered in these parables could not possibly have converted them, had he explained them as clearly to the people in general, as he did in private to the Apostles themselves. Could the Jews have been converted to the faith in Christ, if Jesus had explained to the multitude the Parable of the Sower; that very Parable which is the subject of the passage in question; instead of giving them only the parable itself? Or could they have been converted by an explanation of the Parables of The good Seed and the Tares; -The Seed that sprung up filently; - The grain of Mustard Seed; and The Leaven; - All which he delivered at the same time with that of the Sower; or, in a word, by an explanation of any, or all the Parables he ever delivered? If the Jews could have been converted at all, it must have been by the Miracles he worked, not by the Declarations he delivered: His Miracles were the only satiffactory proof he could give them of his divine authority; and therefore, the only proof they asked for, though at the same time they so per-. versely resisted it; and That proof to which he himself constantly appealed. This was, in fact, the very proof which did convert all the Jews, who were converted, and that superabundance of incontestable miracles which he wrought among them, is such a proof of the design of God, and the disposition of Jésus, to do far more than was necessary, for their conversion, as admits of no reply. But as their prejudices were so inveterate, that even all this abundance of Miracles could not overcome them; he taught them the mysteries of the kingdom of God; that is, he revealed many particulars relating to the complete establishment of the Gospel Dispensation, and the subversion of the Polity of the fews ; fo covered in parables as
to prevent them from giving offence at the time ; and yet made so clearly applicable to the facts themselves, when they should come to pass, as to serve greatly to illustrate his Divine Knowledge and Character, when the Revelation of CHRIST should have spread itself in the world.
Thus we see the falsehood of that interpretation, which the Author would give to the Two Passages he has alleged; as well as of the general Principle itself he has alleged them to support; “ That it seems from the mysterious parts of the New Testament, that God purposely with hed evidence from the Jews, left they should have been converted by Jesus.” And yet I may venture to add, That if, after he had given theni abundantly sufficient evidence, he purposely resolved to give them no 'more; with this view, that in case they rejected what they had before them already, they should be punished on that account; this would not shew, as the Author contends, that'God would not have been well pleased with their yielding to it ; nor would it be inconsistent with his Attributes, or unsuitable to the ordinary course of his Providence, in which He often takes
further means of instruction from those who make an evil use of what they are indulged with; and removes them by death from all possibility of actual repentance.
The Author's Objections founded on some mistaken
Notions of the DIVINE DISPENSATIONS,
that stands in need of no Proof, that all Mankind are represented in Scripture, as PUNISHED for the Sin of their First Parents *. And upon this supposition he objects, - " That the punish
ment of the whole race of mankind for the crime " of one man appears contrary to all our ideas “ of infinite perfection ' ; – Unnatural, unreafon«able, and opposite to all the principles of com“ mon justice, if considered with regard to God."
And yet " That this is the foundation upon « which all the mysterious and unintelligible « Doctrines of the New Testament are érected ; " the rest being pure Morality, that is, the Reis
ligion of Nature !." And from hence he would infer, that nothing but the Moral Doctrines of the New Testament can have been revealed.
Now the very foundation of this objection, which the Author takes for granted, is án ütter falsehood ; covered only by the ambiguous and improper use of the word, Punished; as applied to the particular case in question. Scripture does not represent all mankind, or even any single individual of the human race, as being, in a proper sense of the word (upon which the whole point turns) Punished, for the Sin of Adam. Scripture does indeed inform us, that Adam himself was,