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and to serve the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul?" And our Saviour, in answer to the question of the scribe, "which is the great commandment in the law?" says, Matt. xxii. 37-40, and Mark xii. 30. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

It is evident from these passages, that the whole law, in the highest perfection of it, is level to some kind of capacity which men still have in the present fallen state. We are not to suppose, indeed, it is their moral capacity; or that all the Lord our God requires of us, is only to love and fear and serve him, as much as we are disposed to do. This would be no law at all. It would be a dispensation from all law; a liberty for every one to walk in the way of his own heart, and treat the Deity just as his inclination leads him.We are not to suppose a perfect law can come down any lower, than to require a perfect heart, and a perfectly good improvement of all the talents and strength we have. And it is evident, neither Moses nor our Saviour understood the divine law as requiring more than this. To love and serve God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength, cannot mean more than to the utmost extent of our natural abilities, be they greater or less. Some men are not capable of so high a degree of love to God as others, though they are equally upright and well disposed; because their mental powers are not so great; or their advantages to get the knowledge of God have not been so good. In like manner some cannot do so much for God, for want of opportunity, &c. Now all proper allowances are made in the divine law for things of this nature. The more

any one has of intellectual or bodily strength, or outward advantages, the more is required of him; and the less any one has of these, the less is required. As to loving our neighbour as ourselves; this is undoubtedly equally in the power of the weak and of the strong, of him that is capable of higher and lower degrees of affection, provided he is equally upright, disinterested and impartial.

On the whole, I think it is exceedingly plain and evident, that God, in his holy and righteous law, requires no impossibilities of any of us,but what become so by reason of our present evil temper of mind, and unwillingness to exert the natural strength we have in the manner we ought. And now, if we have natural powers sufficient for understanding and doing our whole duty; and nothing hinders any of us from coming up to all that sin less perfection, which is required in God's perfect law, but only our own wicked hearts; I conclude few will think any thing else hinders sinners of ordinary capacity, who enjoy the outward means of grace, from repenting and complying with the gospel.

2d Arg. That sinners, who enjoy the external light of the gospel, are not under a natural impossibility of complying with, and obeying it, may be drawn from what the scriptures plainly teach, and what is generally believed, concerning the great difference that will be made betwixt such sinners, and those who never heard of a Saviour, as to their final condemnation and punishment.

Our Saviour let those cities, where he had chiefly preached and wrought his miracles, know that their final doom would be much the heavier for it; and that it would be more tolerable for even Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for them. But this, and what is commonly said about the great guilt of gos

pel sinners above others, surely supposes that there is some difference between them and the heathen, as to a possibility of their understanding the way of life, and obtaining salvation. It supposes the former have a real price in their hands which the latter have not. But if the gospel sinner is under a natural inability to repent and believe in Christ, an inability arising from any thing else besides his own heart, this could not surely be the case. Why should one who is, and always has been, so weak or disordered in his intellect, as to be incapable of understanding the gospel, be thought a greater sinner for living in a christian land? We do not think this is the case as to ideots, or quite delirious persons. We do not think they will have more to answer for than the heathen will. But if we believe a natural impossibility is required of men in this case, because their natural capacity was impaired or lost by the fall, then for the same reason we might expect, that the heathen who never heard of the gospel, and natural fools who can understand nothing about it, would be punished for not embracing it, as much as any. For they would not have been under those disadvantages had it not been for the apostacy.

3d Arg. It is expressly attributed in scripture, to the evil hearts of men, as the sole cause of impenitence and unbelief under the gospel.

And it ought to be particularly observed, that this is done with professed design to set aside the plea of ignorance which sinners are so exceedingly apt to harp upon; and to let them see that they are without excuse, "This is the condemnation," our Saviour says, "that light is come into the world; and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." In another place he says, " if fye were blind ye had not had sin; but now ye say we see, therefore your

sin remaineth." And again, "if I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. Now they have no cloke for their sin." That is, if they had not had those powers of mind, or those means of conviction that were necessary, it is true they would not have been to blame, it would have been no sin in them, not to have believed in and received me as their Messiah. But now their understandings are good enough; and when means, powerful and sufficient external means, have been used with them; their unbelief and rejection of me, can be owing to nothing but the desperate wickedness of their hearts. It is knowledge and not ignorance of my character, that is the spring of their hatred. Or if any of them are ignorant, it is their own fault. There is light enough, only they hate it, and will not come to it.

4th Arg. That it is not owing to weakness of the understanding, or any natural defect, that sinners in general under the gospel are not saved, is evident from the inferior abilities of many of those who actually obtain salvation.

It is not men of the strongest and brightest genius, and they only, that understand and embrace the gospel ; but they are persons of very ordinary powers of mind, as often, if not oftener than any. "Ye see your calling, brethren," says the apostle to the Corinthians, "how that not many wise men after the flesh-are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, and the weak things to confound the mighty," &c. And our Saviour says, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed

good in thy sight." Though God bestows the special influences of his grace, just where and when he pleases, or as seemeth good in his sight, yet he has doubtless always a sufficient reason for fixing upon the particular object of his sovereign mercy, exactly as he does. We are not to conceive of it as a blind partiality, but a wise sovereignty that is exercised in this matter. The reason why not many of the noble and honourable are called, but rather the base and such as are despised, is, we are told, that no flesh should glory in his presence. And the reason why it seemeth good in the sight of God, to hide these things from the wise and prudent, and to reveal them unto babes, may be, and undoubtedly one reason of it is, that hereby it may be made evident; it is not owing to the superior strength of man's natural powers, that they discover the strait and narrow way which leadeth unto life; nor to their weakness, in respect of natural abilities, that they do not. If babes are able to see the suitableness and glory of the gospel way of salvation, unquestionably wise men might, were it not for something besides weakness of understanding, or any deficiency in the intellect merely. It is evident from hence that natural weakness can be no insuperable bar in the way of men's obtaining salvation, unless they are weaker than babes.

5th Arg. At least this will be undeniably evident, if we consider what is done for a person when these things are revealed unto him; or when he is made to see "the things of the Spirit of God, as they are spiritually discerned."

God does not reveal any new truths, not contained in his written word; nor does he give any new faculties to persons, or enlarge their natural powers of body or of mind, when he enables them to obey and believe the gospel. But what he does for them is, to alter the

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