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S E R M. Lord's Will, was yet to be beaten with XI. stripes, because he did things in them

^"v^ selves worthy of stripes; how much more severely must They expect to be punished, who do the same things in direct opposition to the express Will and known Command of their Master? This was the Reason why God punished the Sins of his own people the Jews, with greater Severity than those of the Heathen: And so Now in like manner, whereas the times of ignorance God winked at, as the Apostle expresses it, ASts xvii. 30. that is, he was less strict and severe with men before the Revelation of the Gospel; Now, on the contrary, under pain of his severest displeasure, he peremptorily commands all men every where to repent;. There being no excuse left, nothing that can alleviate their condemnation, if men, after that the clearest Light is come into the World, will still obstinately continue in their works of Darkness.

^dly, The Dignity and Excellency of the Person, by and through whom this great Salvation is proposed to us, is a

further further Aggravation of the Sin of reject- Serming it. It was at first begun to be Jpoken XL by the Lord; that is, as the fame Apostle *-^*sj expresses it in the foregoing chapter, God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. The Dignity of the Person, by whose interposition any Favour is procured, and by whom it is transmitted, shows both the Greatness and Importance of the Thing itself, and the Love and Condescension of the Original Author of it; And the neglecting it in this cafe, implies Jiot only Folly, Insolence, and Rebellion, but moreover, the greatest Obstinacy also, which no Authority can prevail over; and the basest Ingratitude, which no Kindness or Condescension can overcome: Which therefore whosoever" is guilty of, must be confessed most justly to deserve the severest of Punishments. This (the Ingratitude of rejecting a Mercy, offered with so much Love and Condescension, by the hands of a Person of so great Dignity,) is what Vol. V. S Our

Serm. Our Saviour compelled the jews to ac'^'r knowledge, and made them condemn

**^VT themselves for it with their own mouths, in the Parable of the Houfholder, St Matt. xxi. 33. who having planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen, first sent his servants to receive the fruits of it; and when the husbandmen had reststed and slain the servants, he ajterwards sent his own Son to them, faying, Surely they will, reverence my Son; But him also they resisted and stew: Whereupon when our Saviour appealed to the Pharisees themselves, to judge what it was fit for the Lord of the vineyard to do unto those husbandmen; They immediately replied, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which Jhall render him the fruits in their seasons: Unwarily passing a just sentence against Themselves j that for rejecting the Gospel preached by Christ himself, they deserved a severer condemnation, than their Fathers who had before rejected the preaching and admonitions of the Prophets. The fame Argument is used by the Apostle, in the words immediatelySerm, preceeding the Text; If the word, faith -^I. he, spoken by Angels was stedfast, ana"^^^ every transgrejpon and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how Jhall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation-, ,which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord? And ch. x. ver. 28. He that despised Moses's law, died without mercy: Of how much sorer punijhment, suppose ye, Jhall he be thought worthy, who hath troden under foot the Son of God? and ch. xii. 25. See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh: For if 'they escaped not, who refused him that spake on Earth, much more Jhall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven.

Ajhly and Lastly, The Strength and Clearness of the Evidence, and the Number and Greatness of the Proofs, made use of to assure us of the Truth and Certainty of the Gospel j is the highest Aggravation of the guilt of those, who neglect or disobey it; and that which of all other things renders them the most absolutely inexcusable. The Gospel was

Vol. V. S 2 at

Se Km.at Jirjl begun to be spoken by the Lord, ^.*- and was afterwards confirmed to us by them

{~r]J that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost; whereof that which we This day commemorate, was both the Foundation of all the rest; and in itself also of the greatest Efficacy and of the largest Extent.

The stronger the Evidence of any - Truth be, the more inexcusable is the making opposition to it. And the highest Aggravation of this crime, is, to continue to oppose a Truth, after the best; and greatest Evidence has been given of it, that the Nature of the Thing was capable of. Opposition in this cafe, against the greatest Evidence that is reasonably to be expected, can proceed from nothing but either incurable Obstinacy and Perverseness; or a Love of {ome things, and a resolution not to part with them, the keeping of which is inconsistent with the acknowledgment of the Truth. And this is plainly the Cafe of 2 those

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