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the many unexpected comforts provided for their lives, that God hath not left himself without witness, even in the common course of nature ; must we not think, that, in the distribution of fupernatural favours, it well becomes divine grace to appear in a distinguished manner ? There it is meet, that the arm of the Lord would be revealed. Accordingly Jesus said to Nicodemus, The wind bloweth where it lifteth, and thou heareft the found thereof, but canft not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : fo is every one that is born of the Spirit. No man can account for his being privileged with the knowledge of the simple truth, while he observes many of quicker understanding than himself remaining in their opposition to it. But he can give a very good account of what comforts him : he has in readiness a folid and fober reason to give for his hope; even as he who has been providentially surprised with some valuable discovery in fame branch of art, cannot tell why he was the first discoverer, but he can give a good reason for his subsequent practice founded upon it, as having a clear nou tion of what has been discovered to him.
Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, towards the close of chapter X. informs us how faith comes. He tells us, It comes by hearing, and bearing by the word of God. He then leads us to observe what in fact took place among Jews and Gentiles, as to the belief of the Gospel, that many of the latter, who were living in the grofsest ignorance of God, readily came to the knowledge of it; while the bulk of the former, notwithstanding their many and great advantages, continued in their opposition. As many questions might arise in the minds of men about this surprising event, the Apostle prevents, and
filences them, by the only answer that could be given them. He examines, if any reason or excuse for the unbelief of the Jews, could be drawn from their labouring under any disadvantage or incapacity in comparison with others; and if, on the other hand, there was any favourable fymptom in the case of the Gentiles, that promised the Gospel any better reception among them. So he moves the following question, on the case of the Jews, who obeyed not, so did not believe the truth : But I say, have they not heard ? In answer to this he maintains, that the facred oracles, compared to the heavenly luminaries, had extended their influence to all parts of the earth where the Jews were dispersed : Yes, verily, their found went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world.
But, then, some men may reap no benefit from what they hear by reason of their being more unlearned or more dull of apprehension than others. Accordingly, the next question runs thus, But I say, did not Israel know? To this a two-fold answer is given, the one from Moses, and the other from Isaiah. In the first, the fpirit of prophecy intimates, that, in facred learning the Jews would far excel the Gentiles, who, in comparison with them, are described as having no wisdom, and as unworthy to be accounted a people; yet declares, that these fools woulů obtain the right hand of thein as to the true knowledge of God, and access to his favour, and fo provoke them to jealousy. In the second it is declared, that this knowledge, with its attendant blessings, would be bestowed on them that were no way in quest of it. The two anfwers run thus : First, Moses faith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a
faolish foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very "bold, and faith, I was found of them that fought me not ; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel be faith, all day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaping people. Though the Jews then eagerly studied the Scriptures, and had all the knowledge of them that the utmost of human zeal and fagacity could lead to; yet all their knowledge only prompted them the more to gainsay and disobey the great scope and end of the law and the prophets.
The design of the passage is plainly to fhew, that faith comes not by any human endeavours, or the use of any means, even under the greatest advantages that men can enjoy; but of that same sovereign good pleasure which provided the grand thing believed. Paul himself, while, with great heaviness of heart, he declares the rejection of his brethren who believed not, and confiders them as anathematised, or accursed from Christ, is far from glorying over any of them. For in the bosom of the sentence wherein he bewails them, he declares (Rom. ix. 3) that had he been left to his own former wish and choice, he had remained in that dreadful condition wherein he now perceives them to be. All his former zeal and knowledge served to attach him to what he saw his brethren now with regret persisting in.
As the Christian teachers, for the most part, differ from the Jewish only in stile ; so the directions given by both have the same effect on the mind of the hearer: for it is much the same whether he be prompted to exert acts of faith, or do the works of the law, in order to justification. The very nature of his exercise in either
care case must ferve greatly to disaffect his mind to the saving truth, which shews that all his endeavours can only serve to aggravate his guilt. Still it must be said, that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and this is the only mean God makes use of for making men wise unto salvation.
L I NES
WRITTEN BY THE LATE
MUTE on the willow hangs my tuneless harp,
Where Anna sleeps ; here too might fancy muse, And to herself pourtray time's changing scene, Beholding her, “ ere half life's glass had run," Breathless, dismantled of her youthful robe, Stretch'd in the gloomy chambers of the grave. But lo!-our tears are gone our wond'ring
It is known perhaps to most of our friends, tliat a Society was formed some time since in London for the purpose of diffusing religious