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in them, as is necessary in order to a compliance with the gospel; because proving the preceding and subsequent proposition, will infer the truth of this. If there is certainly an incapacity either of the natural or moral kind, as has now been shown; and if there is certainly no natural incapacity, as I am to make appear under the next head; then certainly there must be a moral one. Besides, I have time to treat this head but very concisely, considering the importance of it.

It may be proper to be observed here, that the disinclination of sinners, as to some things which are prerequisite to a compliance with the gospel, is different in different persons. Though even this difference, I suppose, is owing to divine grace, or to God's doing more for one than for another. In the openly vicious and immoral sinner, there is a prevailing inclination to persist in his dissolute and immoral practices. And there is reason to conclude, that none of this character would ever reform, and that all would be of this character, if left to their own heart's lusts, without any divine restraints.

In secure and unawakened sinners, there is no dispo sition to attend to the concerns of their souls, and seriously consider the state they are in, or to make any solicitous enquiry about the way of salvation. They "make light of these things, and go their way, one to his farm and another to his merchandize." And such

is their attachment to the vanities of time, and their aversion to attend to the things of another world, that there is no reason to think, any one of this character, would ever become serious, thoughtful, and engaged about his eternal well-being, if left entirely to himself.

In the awakened sinner, though earnest in his enquiries, there is still an utter want of an honest openness of mind, to admit a conviction of the truth. "He

that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh he to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." He whose "inward parts are very wickedness," will always hate to see, and, if he can possibly help it, never will believe what he really is. Hence awakened sinners very often, never do, and if left to themselves none of them ever would, "know the plague of their own hearts." While they think they are doing all in their power to increase their convictions, they are all the while inwardly striving with all their might, against conviction, and trying to find some plausible ground to think well of themselves, and to establish a righteousness of their own. Nor will they ever be sensible how "deceitful and desperately wicked" their hearts are, and how hopeless their case is, in themselves, till a conviction of it is forced upon them by the most overbearing and irresistible evidence.

And even in the convinced sinner, whose mouth is most effectually stopped, who is forced to see that sin is alive and has full dominion over him, and that he is indeed dead; in him who has the fullest conviction of every necessary truth, that ever any unrenewed sinner had; there is still, if nothing farther is done for him, no disposition heartily to approve of the law, or comply with the gospel; no disposition to repent truly of any of his transgressions, or to receive and be dependent on Christ alone for pardon and salvation; no genuine desire to be saved from sin, or to be saved from wrath in that way, in which God's justice can be vindicated, or his grace exalted. But after all his convictions, there remains still in his heart, a most fixed, inveterate, and unconquerable opposition to all these things. Nor will he ever be cordially reconciled to God, by the mere force of truth in his conscience, any

more than the wicked will be at the day of judgment, or the damned in hell.

That no light, or conviction of the understanding, which the natural man is capable of receiving, can be sufficient to draw, or drive him into a true compliance with the gospel, is very evident from what is said concerning the necessity of regeneration. When Nicodemus came to Christ, wanting information about the way of life, our Saviour soon let him know that mere instruction, even by a teacher come from God, was not all that was wanted. Yea, that a man could receive no instruction about the kingdom of heaven, to any saving purpose, unless something else was done for him first. See John iii. 3. "Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." And again, to explain the matter farther, ver. 5. "Except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The necessity of such a change as is meant by being born again, or born of the Spirit, turns upon the truth of man's being by nature, under a total moral depravity. Accordingly, our Saviour immediately adds, "That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” That is, a man has nothing truly spiritual or holy in him by the first birth; but every thing of this kind comes by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Agreeably to this, the spostle Paul says, Rom. vii, 18. "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh ; in my nature as far as it is unrenewed, and as it was by the first birth) there dwelleth no good thing." And in Romans viii. he says, "The carnal mind," the mind we have as born of the flesh, "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." He adds, "So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”


This is the reason we must be born again. If there was any thing spiritual in us, as born of the flesh, there would be no necessity for this second birth. If we were not by nature dead in trespasses and sins, there would be no occasion for our being quickened, by divine power and grace. If sinners were at all inclined to that which is good, they would not need to be created unto good works. If a man had not wholly lost the divine likeness, there would be no need of being created again" after God, in righteousness and true holiness." If the "heart of the sons of men" was not altogether depraved, to the very bottom of it, there would be no necessity of "the old heart's being taken away, and a new one given." If men's alienation of affection from God, did not arise from unlikeness to him, but only from ignorance and misapprehension about him, no change of nature would be at all necessary. Mere light in the head, mere conviction of the understanding, would then produce a cordial reconciliation. Yea, if a man has any degree of righteousness and true holiness, nothing but convictions can be wanting in order to his complying with the covenant of grace, and entering into the kingdom of God. He would no sooner be convinced of the holiness and righteousness of God, but he would feel his heart drawn forth in love to him. He would no sooner be convinced that the law was holy, just, and good, but he would be pleased with it, and loathe himself for all his transgressions of it. He would no sooner be convinced of the unparalleled zeal which Chirst hath shewn in the cause of righte ousness, and how he has magnified the law and made it honourable, but he would be charmed with him, and see him to be "the chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely." He would no sooner be convinced of the holy tendency of all his doctrines and all his

laws, but he would cordially embrace and cheerfully obey them. He would no sooner understand that his design was to save his people from their sins, but he would receive him, with all joy and thankfulness, as his Saviour and Lord.

But, if the hearts of men are totally depraved, entirely destitute of righteousness and true holiness, the case will be quite otherwise. A holy God, a holy law, a holy Saviour, a holy gospel, will not surely, then appear lovely in their eyes, but the contrary. Nor will a clearer understanding and conviction of what they really are, excite complacency and satisfaction in them, but the greater aversion and dread. They cannot, in that case, be cordially united to Christ, until his character or theirs is essentially changed. They cannot be drawn to him, unless by force, and against their wills, till either he ceases to be what he is, or they are made new creatures. For "an unjust man is an abomination to the just; and he that is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked." And, "what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with belial?"

Can a man whose heart is wholly corrupt, and unholy, choose the holy Jesus for his Lord and Saviour, and cordially embrace the pure and holy doctrines and precepts of the gospel? Can one who is really and at heart, wholly in love with the service of satan, enlist, with any sincerity, into the service of Christ, all whose work and business is, "to destroy the works of the devil?" Can one who is all the while " an enemy in his mind to God," yea, whose "mind is enmity itself against God," be delighted with the character and ways of his well-beloved Son, who is the "brightness of the Father's glory, and the very image of his per

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