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our [elves: But God's Gift. Eph. 2. 8. The Gift of God is Eternal Life , thro Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 6. last V. The Pharisaic sort, who are too High to Receive it as a Gratuity, are never like to get Up, by so Exalting themselves: But still the further from the Kingdom of Heaven; into which our Lord that gives it, tells us, None shall Enter, unless he Receive it at a little Child. Mar. ro. if. And after the best of all our Labours, bids us say, We are Unprofitable servants. Luk. 17.10. And when, 'Tis of his mere Mercy,. that we are not Confumed; Of what rich Grace then, that ever we are Saved? And what intolerable Pride, that any should ever Think, it's no more than they have Deserved? '. But it's no News, for some of the Worst, to put themselves on with the First r When God's Servants are taught to call themselves Unprofitable; and to say, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us; But to thy Name give Glory. And so , the very Blessed above are represented , Casting their Crowns before the Throne of the most High, and ascribing to him only all the '- Glory. Rev. 4. 10, 11. But they are : under another 7«^r,that Astume toThemselves; and clap the Crown upon their own Heads.
'That Round-about Wajr, which this Champion and his Fellow-Soldiers fetch, to prove the Merit of Good Works, Because of the Grace ofr God, thro' which they are wrought, and the Worthiness- of Christ', with whom the Workers areConjoin'd , and the Virtue of Love , which the Holy Ghost infuses into their Hearts; JTis but Darkening of a plain Matter, and ill Jumbling those things together, that are well and Needful, if dtftinguifh'J asunder: i. e. Our Working out our own Salvation: And God's Working in us, to Will and to Do of his good Pleasure. For to follow the Work of our Salvation, is doubtless our Duty. But God's Working in us, makes us much more Engaged to Him: and does not, cannot make us, at all to Deserve of Him. f Never could they go more unluckily to Establish their Doctrine of Merit,than from such a Parable as this, that utterly Ruins it. Where the Lord lets his grumbling Labourers know, That he will Distribute his Rewards after his own Pleasure :. Giving to them that had Wrought Longer and Harder , no more than to the other, that came in Later; whose Services were Lesser. I say, Gi~ liingy rather than Paying: Not what they had Earned, But what he had. Pro-' n.ijed. For he is not a Debcor to his
Servants', but only to his own Word. (Debet sibi, NonTibi.) Tis the Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge will Give, i Tim. 6. 8. Give it, ] because he is Merciful, and faithful to Fulfil what he has said. But still, 'tis Giving ; Not Paying: And so, shuts out all Deserving. Indeed , how is it possible, that poor Imperfett Works should ever Deserve the most Persect Eternal Bliss: Or that any one should Deserve to be Paid, for Rendring that which he Owes? Or that the Good Works which God Works in us , (those Works that are his own Gifts to us, ) (hould make him A Debtor, so excessively to Pay us?
'Such , and many more Absurdities in the Doctrine of Merit, which could hardly escape the Notice of an Author so Sagacious, have even extorted from him several ConceJJions and Assertions all over this Work , very Inconsistent with such a proud Tenent. But his Engagement with a Party, whose sorry Cause needs those ill Arts, put him upon the Necessity of so Contradicting himselfj as to Revoke in one Place what he had Ascrib'd and Given to God's Grace, in several others.
'In his Descant upon the Lord's going out to call Labourers into his VvJgvwtf*
at the Eleventh Hoar, I find his hard Censure of the holy Patriarchs and Profhtts; That they should all of 'em , for Hundreds, Yea Thousands of Years, be kept, I know not where, out of Heaven: And that,. not only the Apostles and Martyrs of the Primitive Age; but the Monastkks and Votaries of the Romish Church since them , should be so much aforehand with the old Saints , as to Deserve much better , for doing and Suffering much more , in this Gospeltime, which he calls the Eleventh Hour j I cannot tell, whence he should fetch this Divinity: When nothing like it appears to me in Mat. 20. or any where else, that I can find , in Old or New Testament.
'He will have those Fathers only to Admire, and not Repine, at the Lord of the Vineyard, for his Disproportionate Rewards. But if he be not quite out in his Notion, That the Patriarchs and Prophets were those Labourers that wrought till the Last Hour, i. e. from the Beginning of the World till these Gospel-days of our Lord's Coming, I think then, they have cause to Murmur at this Author, for so Post-poning them, who (according to his own Accounts must be the Men that here the Burden and Heat of the Day. And Yet he seems to make no Account of their
Labours; As if any Monks or Abby-Lub'. bers out-did 'em. 'But in what follows, I must readily
comply with him; That not all who are called in the Last hour shall receive the Reward, unless they apply themselves C for that Short time,) to Labour in the Lord's Vineyard. Because so many, from this very Consideration, ThaÆife is short, and all here will be gone with them so quickly, (thence) draw the Atheistical E
picure's Inference, JVifd. 2. 1, Our Life
is Short, and in the Death of a man there is :io Remedy. — We shall vanish away, and be as if we bad never been: therefore let us take our Time, to fly out into all Loose Liberty. Such is the Thought and the Way of them that Know not God , or in their Deeds Deny him. Whence we may take up the Conclusion of this Parable, Many are Called, but few Chosen.
But wo to us, If in the Narrow space of oar Last Hour, we do Squander away that littleTime in Sleeping, Dressing, Playing, or Rioting; when we should be full of Care, to catch every Minute, that it may not fly from us, till Improved by us. Seeing upon this Moment depends the infinite Eternity of Pleasure and Felicity , or of Pain and Misery. For how much greater to Christians is the Grace of the Gospel, So much greater will be the Condemnation