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dence in the flesh.' Now how could this be, if nature could comply with that grand device.

Secondly, Corrupt nature is the very reverfe of the gospel contrivance. In the gofpel, God promifeth Jefus Chrift as the great means of re uniting man to himfelf: he has named him as the Mediator, one in whom he is well pleased, and will have none but him, Matth. xvii. 5. But nature will have none of him, Pfal. lxxxi. 11 Gad appointed the place of meeting for the reconciliation, namely, the flesh of Chrift: accordingly, God was in Christ (2 Cor. v. 29.) as the tabernacle of meeting, to make up the peace with finners, but natural men, though they should die for ever, will not come thither, John v. 40. And ye will not come to me, that se might have life. In the way of the gospel, the finner must fland before the Lord in an imputed righteousness: but corrupt nature is for an inherent righteoufnefs: and therefore, fo far as natural men follow after righteousness, they follow after the law of righteousness, Rom. ix. 21, 32. and not after the Lord our righteousness. Nature is always for building up itfelf, and to have fome grounds for boafting: but the great defign of the gofpel is to exalt grace, to deprefs nature, and exclude boafting, Rom, iii. 27. The fum of our natural religion is, to do good from and for ourfelves, John v. 44 The fum of the gospel religion is, to deny ourselves and to do good from and for Chrift, Phillip. i. 21.

Thirdly, Every thing in nature is against believing in Jefus Chrift. What beauty can the blind man difcern in a crucified Saviour, for which he is to be defired? How can the will, naturally impotent, yea and averfe to good, make choice of him? Well may the foul then fay to him in the day of the fpiritual fiege, as the Jebufites faid to David in another cafe, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither, 2 Sam. v. 6. The way of nature is to go into one's felt for all according to the fundamental maxim of unfanctified mortality, That a man should truft in himself; which according to the doctrine of faith, is mere foolishness; for fo it is determined, Prov. xviii. 26. He that trufieth in his own heart is a fool. Now faith is the foul's going out of itself for all: and this nature, on the other hand, determines to be foolishness, 1 Cor.i. 18. 23. Where. fore there is need of the working of nighty power, to caufe


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finners to believe, Eph. i. 19. Ifa. liii. 1. nifes of welcome to finners, in the gofpel covenant, are ample, large, and free, clogg'd with no conditions, Ifa. lv. 1. Rev. xxii. 17. If they cannot believe his bare word, he has given them his oath upon it, Ezek. xxxiii. 11. And for

their greater affurance, he has appended feals to his fworn covenant, namely, the holy facraments. So that no more could be demanded of the most faithless perfon in the world, to make us believe him, than the Lord hath condefcended to give us, to make us believe himself. This plainly speaks nature to be againft belieg, and thefe who fice to Chrift for refuge, to have need of ftrong confolation, (Heb. vi. 18.) to blame their ftrong doubts, and propenfity to unbelief. Farther, alfo it may be obferved, how, in the word fent to a fecure, graceless generation, their objections are answered aforehand; and words of grace are heaped one upon another, as ye may read, Ifa. Iv. 7. 8. 9. Joel ii. 13. Why? Because the Lord knows, that when these secure finners are throughly weakned, doubts, fears, and carnal reafonings againft believing, will be going within their breafts, as thick as duit in a house, raised by sweeping a dry floor.

Lafily, Corrupt nature is bent towards the way of the law, or covenant of works; and every natural man, so far as he fets himself to seek after falvation, is engaged in that way and will not quit it, till beat from it by divine power, Now the way of falvation by works, and that of free grace in Jefus Chrift, are inconfiftent, Rom. xi. 6. And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwife grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwife work is no more work. Gal iii. 13. And the law is not of FAITH; but the man that DOTH them fall live in them. Wherefore, if the will of man naturally incline to the way of falvation by the law; it lies cross to the gospel contrivance. And that fuch is the natural bent of our hearts, will appear, if thefe following things be confidered.

1. The law was Adam's covenant; and he knew no other, as he was the head and reprefentative of all mankind, that were brought into it with him, and left under it by him, tho' without ftrength to perform the condition thereof. Hence, this covenant is ingrained in our nature: and tho' we have lol! our father's ftrength, yet we still incline to the


way he was fet upon as our head and reprefentative in that Covenant; that is, by doing to live. This is our natural religion, and the principle which men naturally take for granted. Matth. xix. 15. What good things shall I Dɔ, that I may have eternal life?

2. Confider the oppofition that has always been made in the world against the doctrine of free grace in Jefus Chrift, by men fetting up for the way of works; thereby difcovering the natural tendency of the heart. It is manifeft, that the great defign of the gofpel contrivance is to exalt the free grace of God in Jefus Christ, Rom. iv. 10 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.' See Eph. i. 6. and chap. ii, 7. 9. All gospel truths center in Chrift: so that to learn the truth is to learn Chrift, Eph. iv 20. Ard to be truly taught is, to be taught as the truth is in Jefus, ver. 21. All difpenfations of grace and favour from heaven, whether to nations or particular perfons, have ftill had fomething about them proclaiming a freedom of grace; as in the very first feparation made by the divine favour, Cain the elder brother is rejected, and Abel the younger accepted. This fhines through the whole hiftory of the Bible: but as true as it is, this has been the point principally oppofed by corrupt nature. One may well fay, that of all errors in religion, fince Chrift the feed of the woman was preached, this of works, in oppofition to free grace in him, was the first that lived; and it is likely to be the laft that dies. There have been vast numbers of errors, which sprung up one after another, whereof, at length the world became afhamed and weary; fo that they died out. But this has continued, from Cain the first author of this herefy, unto this day; and never wanted fome that clave to it, even in the times of greatest light. I do not without ground, call Cain the author of it, when Abel brought the facrifice, of atonement, a bloody offering of the firftlings of his flock, (like the Publican miting on his breaft, and faying God be merci ful to me a finner) Cain advanced with his thank offering of the firft fruit of the ground, (Gen. iv. 3, 4.) like the proud Pharifee, with his God I thank thee. For what was the cause of Cain's wrath, and of his murdering of Ahel? Was it not that he was accepted of God for his work? Gen. iv. 4, 5. And wherefore flew he him? Becaufe his own works were

State II. evil, and his brother's righteous,' (1 John iii. 22.) that is, done in faith and accepted, when his were done without faith, and therefore rejected, as the Apofile teacheth, Heb. xi. 4: And fo he wrote his indignation against juftification and acceptance with God, through faith in oppofition to works, in the blood of his brother, to convey it down to pofterity. And fince that time, the unbloody facrifice has often fwimmed in the blood of thofe that rejected it. The promife made to Abraham of the feed in which all nations fhould be bleffed, was fo overclouded among his pofterity in Egypt, that the generality of them faw no need of that way of obtaining the bleffing, till God himself confuted their error, by a fiery law from mount Sinai, which was added because of tranfgreffions, till the feed fhould come, Gal. iii. 19. I need not infit to tell you, how Mofes and the prophets had ftill much ado, to lead the people off the conceit of their own righteoufaefs. The ix. chapter of Deuteronsmy is entirely spent on that purpofe. They were very grofs in that point in our Saviour's time; in the time of the Apoftles, when the doctrine of free grace was moft clearly preached, that error lifted up its head in face of clearest light; witness the epiftle to the Romans and Galatians. And fince that time it has not been wanting; Popery being the common fink of former herefies, and this the heart and life of that delufion. And finally, it may be obferved, that always as the church declined from her purity otherwife, the doctrine of free grace was obfcured proportionably.

3. Such is the natural propensity of man's heart to the way of the law, in oppofition to Chrift; that, as the tainted veffel turns the taste of the pureft liquor put into it, fo the natural man turns the very gofpel into law; and transforms the covenant of grace into a covenant of works. The ceremonial law was to the Jews a real gofpel; which held blood, death, and tranflation of guilt before their eyes continually, as the only way of falvation: yet their very table (i. e. their altar, with the feveral ordinances pertaining thereto, Mal. i. 12. was a fnare unto them, Rom i 9.) While they use it to make up the defects in their obedience to the moral law, and cleave to it fo, as to reject him, whom the altar and facrifices pointed them to, as the substance of all: even as Hagar, whofe it was only to ferve, was by their father brought


into her mirefs's bed; not without a mystery in the purpose of God, for these are the two covenants,' Gal. iv. Thus is the doctrine of the gofpel corrupted by Papifts, and other enemies to the doctrine of free grace. And indeed, however natural mens heads may be fet right in this point; as furely as they are out of Chrift, their faith, repentance and obedience, (fuch as they are) are placed by them in the room of Chrift and his righteoufnefs; and fo trufted to, as if by these they fulfilled a new law.

4. Great is the difficulty in Adam's fons their parting with the law, as a covenant of works. None part with it in that refpect, but thefe whom the power of the Spirit of grace feparates from it. The law is our first husband, and gets every one's virgin love. When Chrift comes to the foul, he finds it married to the law; fo as it neither can, nor will be married to another, till it be obliged to part with the first husband, as the apofile teacheth, Rom. vii. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now that ye may fee, what fort of a parting this is, confider,

(1) It is a death, Rom. vii. 4. Gal. iii, 19. Intreaties will not prevail with the foul here; it faith to the first hufband, as Ruth to Naomi, The Lord do fo to me, and more alfo, if ought but death part thee and me.' And here finners are true to their word; they die to the law, ere they be married to Chrift. Death is hard to every body: but what difficulty do ye imagine must a loving wife, on her death bed, find with parting in her husband, the husband of her youth, and with the dear children fhe has brought forth to him: the law is that husband; all the duties performed by the natural man, are these children. What a ftruggle as for life, will be in the heart ere they be got parted? I may have occafion to touch upon this afterwards In the mean time, take the Apofile's fhort, but pithy description of it. Rom. x, 3. For they being ignorant of God's righteoufnefs, and going about to eftablifh their own righteoufnefs, have not fubmitted themselves to the righteoufnels of God.' 'They go about to establish their own righteoufnefs, like an eager difputant in fchools, feeking to ellablish the point in quellion; or like a tormentor, extorting a confeflion from one upon the rack. They go about to establish it to make it ftand: their righteoufnels is like a houfe built upon the fand; it

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