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S E R M. the natural and genuine Tendency of the ". universal and sincere Practice of Chri
^^^^stianity in the present World, and the real EffeSl which shall be obtained by it in the World to come: Whatever, I fay, be the strict and literal Meaning of these Prophecies; it becomes not Us to be too curious and inquisitive after the particular 'Times and Seasons which the Father has put in his own Power; But in general, the Uses we are to make of all these Predictions, are very obvious. In the
i/l place, 'T i s Our Duty, in our whole Behaviour and Practice, to promote, as much as in Us lies, the Knowledge of God, and the Interest of True Virtue and Righteousness amongst Men. This is contributing Our Part, towards the introducing That Happy State and Constitution of things, which is the accomplishment of the fore-mentioned Prophecies, And when we have thus done our Own Duty, we are then to remember the Admonition of our Saviour, Luk. xxi. 19. In your patieiice possess ye your Souls; and rgly upon the Providence of God, to accomplish
complish the Great Events which he hasS E R M. promised, in his own Manner and at his ". own Time. In matters of This nature,t^*v' which have not a conditional dependence upon the Behaviour of /ingle persons, but relate to the General Scheme of Providence in the Government of the World; In 'these things, I fay, the Gifts and Calling of God are without Repentance, Rom. xi. 29. The Promises of God will certainly be accomplished, and his Purpose shall not fail. But because it is not for Us to know beforehand, the exact Times and Seasons which God has appointed; the Duty therefore of every particular Christian, whatever be the Circumstances of Time and Place in which Providence has fixed him, is to take care that He himself be in the Number of those, who, in all Holy conversation and godliness, look for, and hajle unto, the Coming of the day of God, Z Pet. iii. 12.
zdly, Another Inference arising from the consideration of such Predictions as This in the Text, is, that we may hence learn to justify to ourselves the various
Serm. Methods, in which the Wisdom of God V- has chosen at divers times to reveal itself
V^^ to the World. With regard to single persons, to whom Providence has given very different natural capacities, or different Means and Opportunities of Knowledge, or different Manners of Revelation, the divine Justice and Equity consists in judging them finally according to their respective Abilities, accepting every one according to what he has, and not according to what he has not. With regard to Whole Nations, the justification of the Divine Wisdom, is his so doing what he pleases with his own, as, through a Succession of various and great Events, to accomplish General Designs of Mercy and Goodness. Of This, St Paul has given us an admirable Instance, in his account of God's setting up first the Nation of the yews, and afterwards the Churches of the Christian Gentiles, to be the Standard of true Religion to the World; intending to finish the whole Dispensation, by having Mercy upon Both. Rom. xi. 30. For as ye (Gentiles) in times pajl have not believed God, yet have Now ob- S E R M. tained Mercy through Their (the Jews) ". Unbelief: Even so have These also now ^^ not believed, that through your mercy They æ^o may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them All in unbelief that he might have mercy upon All. 0 the depth of the Riches both of the Wisdom and Knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his Judgments, and his Ways pajl finding out!
%dly and Lastly, The Last Inference I shall draw from what has been said, is This. In the words before my Text, the reason given of God's rejecting the Jews, is the unworthy manner in which they had behaved themselves, while unto them were committed the Oracles of God. In the Text itself, the acceptableness of the converted Gentiles unto God, is expressed by their offering up unto his Name a Pure Offering. "Which Pure Offering, denotes the Holiness and real Purity, of the Gospel-dispensation, in opposition to the external Ceremonies of the Jewijh Law. If therefore We, under the greater Light
SErM.of the Everlasting Gospel, still live vitiV- oujly and corruptly, as the Jews did under those carnal Ordinances; how much more severe Judgments shall we have reason to expect, than what fell even upon That People! For (as St Paul excellently argues, Rom. xi. 20.) Because of Unbelief They were broken off, and Thou jlandest by Faith: Be not high-minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural Branches, take heed left he also spare not Thee.