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to part with every forbidden indulgence, to renounce the world and deny themselves, to take up their cross and follow Christ; and without this willingness they cannot be his disciples. This is the real, and the only, hindrance. Were they once willing they would ask, and God would give them, all the rest.
Do they not come because these blessings were not intended for them? No man out of hell can possibly know this respecting himself; and very few habitually think it. God's secret purposes and open declarations perfectly coincide; “ But secret things belong unto " the LORD our God, and the things which are reveal“ed, to us;” (a distinction not sufficiently attended to:) the former are not, and cannot be, the rule of our conduct, but the latter are; and these exclude none, but such as will not come to the feast. * Esau sold his birth-right for one morsel of meat. The Lord indeed, did not intend the birth-right for Esau, but for Jacob; yet this, not being the motive of Esau's conduct, formed no excuse for it. He is condemned in Scrip
There can be no difficulty in proving that this distinction is implied throughout the Bible, and has its foundation in the nature of things; and so far from being novel, it is impossible that any rational creature can be unacquainted with it. No man ever vet missed the distinction between the sick servant who could not work, and the lazy servant who had no heart to his work; that is, bet mviri natural and moral inability: and no man could govern even his domesticks in a proper manner, without continually adverting to it.
• Matthew xxii. 3. Luke xiv, 18.
ture as profane, a despiser of his birth-right, and an example of one who repented not till it was too late; and he is proposed as a warning to us, not to despise or abuse the mercy of God, lest our doom should be irreversibly determined.t Proud contempt of a free salvation, idolatrous love of earthly objects, and profane disregard for spiritual blessings, are the real motives of men's rejecting the gospel; and therefore no unknown purpose of God is allowed as an excuse. It is true, the Elect were of the same disposition, and had they been left to themselves, would have made the same choice: thus “boasting is excluded;" and God appears glorious in justice in condemning sinners, but more glorious in grace in saving believers.
“ No man can come to me,” saith our Lord, in the discourse from which our text is taken, “ except the “ Father which hath sent me draw him.”_" They “ shall be all taught of God; every man therefore, that “ hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh " to me.” We are here informed how this otherwise insurmountable hindrance is removed. Men are drawn by rational inducements, not forced by external vio. , lence: and this drawing is effected by the communication, not of new faculties, but of new dispositions and discoveries, which give a new direction to the judgment, desires, and affections. They are taught of God, and learn of the Father, who both opens the eyes of their understanding, takes the veil from their heart, and causes his light to shine upon them, and within
* Heb. xii. 17.
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1, and vileness of their own birth-right for . then every kind and degree did not inter m endment proves utterly insuffiyet this, nu eir disquieted consciences. While formed pr a kenings, take shelter in this refuge of - taught to exclaim, " We are all as an
ah hing, and all our righteousnesses are as fil. implie gs." Thus by despair of atoning for the past, ture fying themselves before a holy God, by such any qý services, they become cordially willing to acyet i of a free salvation.
They discover likewise, that personal holiness is absolutely necessary; and are taught that " the Lord " can have no pleasure in iniquity;" and that none can be meet for a lioly heaven and the enjoyment of a hols
God, without conformity to his holiness. Thus they.
taught of God their own utter inability to obtain this *- holiness, except from him; and they learn to prize
sanctification by the Spirit, as highly as redemption by the blood of Christ. When such important concerns engross their minds, worldly objects seem diminished, and they learn to count them as nothing in comparison of the salvation of their souls: thus they become willing to deny themselves, to forsake all, and to follow Christ, bearing their cross; whilst others perish in the vain attempt of serving God and Mammon,
and reconciling the interests of time and eternity. * In this manner the hindrances, arising from the pride
and corrupt passions of the heart, being efficaciously removed, men readily learn under such a Teacher, the grand lesson without which all others would be use. less, and to which all else are subordinate. We must mention one thing before another; but it is not necessary to determine in what order these lessons shall be taught, or whether more speedily, or more gradually. But in his own time and manner, the divine Spirit will teach every elect person, the nature, truth, and glory of the gospel of Christ; and shew him, that in the di. vine Saviour, in his righteousness, sacrifice, interces. sion, and grace, all he wants, or can desire, is contained; “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine,
them. Frequently after long patience with them, and preserving them during their ungodly course of life; in some cases, when they are grown more determined in wickedness than ever, and it might be supposed they were nigh unto destruction; by his Holy Spirit he shews them his glorious majesty and holiness, their relations and obligations to him, and the authority, extent, and reasonableness of his law. Thus he "con“ vinces them of sin, of righteousness, and of judg“ ment;” and lays open the eternal world to their view in all its tremendous importance: till alarmed at their danger, they tremble at his word, and take warning " to flee from the wrath to come.” Their terror is accompanied by humiliation and penitent remorse, when the Holy Spirit teaches them the odious nature and dreadful tendency of sin, and vileness of their own conduct and character: then every kind and degree of reformation and amendment proves utterly insuffi. cient to appease their disquieted consciences. While others, after awakenings, take shelter in this refuge of lies, they are taught to exclaim, " We are all as an “ unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as fil. " thy rags.” Thus by despair of atoning for the past, or justifying themselves before a holy God, by such unholy services, they become cordially willing to ac. cept of a free salvation.
They discover likewise, that personal holiness is absolutely necessary; and are taught that “the LORD “ can have no pleasure in iniquity;” and that none can be mcet for a holy heaven and the enjoyment of a hols