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to conclude, that the evidence of his goodness must be clear and irresistible, when he offers it to trial before the most partial tris bunal, and submits his vindication to those very persons who cannot justify him with out condemning themselves ? · But as finners are naturally disposed to fhun the light, and to turn away their eyes from every thing that hath a tendency to humble and abase them ; it may be of use to bring this cause to a fair and open trial : Which, through divine' assistance, I propose to do,
ift, By giving you a direct proof of the goodness of God, and of his tender concern for the welfare of his creatures. ,
2dly, By examining some of the most plausible objections which are urged against the mildness and equity of the divine administration.
I will then conclude with a practical ima provement of the subject.
I BEGIN with giving you a direct proof of the goodness of God, and of his tender,
concern for the welfare of his creatures. This appears, in the
if plące, From the unwearied patience which he exerciseth towards transgressors. How easily could he arrest 'them in the midst of their mad career, and hurry them to judgement with all their provocations on their heads ? Might not God have seized thee, O sinner, in the very ad of fin, with a curse or a lie in thy mouth, and have stopped that breath with which thou wast insulting his name and his laws ? How often might he have fummoned thee to his dread tribunal in a fit of drunkenness; and made thee sober in that place of torment where there is not a drop of water to cool the thirsty tongue? Ah, how eafy a matter is it for the Almighty to bring down the proudeft of his foes ? to silence the profane injurious railer ? to bind the hands of the oppressors, and to make them know that they are but worms? We read of one angel destroying in one night, an hundred and fourscore and five thousand Allyrians: and myriads of angels stand continually before his throne ready to execute whatVol. III.
ever he commands. He is the Lord of Hofts, “ who doth according to his will in “ the army of heaven, and among the in“ habitants of the earth.”—How easily can he throw thee into a bed of languishing? and waste thy strength under such a pining fickness, or råcking pain, as to make thee cry for mercy to him whom thou blafphemeft, and even beg the prayers of those whom' thou wast wont to scorn - But God hath as yet done none of these things. By his merciful visitation, he preserves thee in the land of the living, and in the land of hope. He supplies all thy wants, and loads thee with unceasing benefits. He gave thee that breath which thou hast breathed out against him, and every moment of that time which thou hast squandered away in idlenets, sensuality, and the works of the fletn. 'Why doth he yet wait to be gracious, if he were not tenderly solicitous for thy welfare? Surely his 1paring mercy must be intended to bring thee back to himself: He refirains his wrath, that his goodness, like coals of fire, may melt down thine impenitence, and thy hardness of heart : “ The
5 Lord is not flack concerning his promise, “ (as some men count slackness,) but is “ long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that “ any should perish, but that all should come “ to repentance.” But,
2dly, The goodness of God, and his tender concern for the welfare of his creatures, is still more illustriously displayed in the fufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom God sent into the world for this very end,“ that whosoever believeth on him, “ might not perish, but have everlasting life.” There we see a proof, the most strong and convincing that God himself could give, of his having “ no pleasure in the death of “ the wicked, but rather that he should re“ turn from his way, and live.” . Would he have ransomed sinners at fo costly a price as the blood of his only begotten Son ? would he have astonished angels with so wonderful' an act of condescension, as to send Him who was the “ brightness of his “ glory, and the express image of his per“ son,” to assume the likeness of sinful flesh, to submit to the infirmities of our low nature, nay, to the ignominy and pain of the
E 2 : cross ?
ever he commands. He Hofts, “ who doth accor
fare b “ the army of heaven: “ habitants of the e he throw thee int.. and waste thy str fickness, or rê
je in cry for mer
aning the phemest, a
who attended his whom t
in his agony, and in God h
a d the powers of darkness ; By h on the cross praying for his enein and then fuppofe, if you are able, 1 set your ruin can be pleasing to him who
Esth done so much to prevent it. But, in
3d place, The various means which God employs for reclaiming men from their ways of folly and vice, afford another proof of his goodness, and of his tender concern for their welfare. He is not only the Author of the gracious plan of our redemption, but he hath likewise set before us the most powerful motives to persuade us to embrace his offered favour, and to comply with his designs of mercy. Every confideration, which can be supposed to work, ei