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saving Benesits ?—Can they claim the Benesits of the Covenant of Grace, who are themselves under the Covenant of Works, which curses them for their not continuing in all Things written in the Bock of the Laiv to do them ?—I entreat you, Sir, to consider this Case; it is of vail Importance to you.—If you have not good Evidence of an Interest in Christ, how can you pretend to the Privileges purchased with his precious Blood? How can you pretend to Access to God through him, and a Claim to the blessed Influences of his holy Spirit ?—How can Unbelievers have a Claim to the Favour of God By Christ, when he himself assures us, that the Wrath of God abideth on them?
But, " Will not God have Compassion on his "Creatures, when they do what they can to serve "him I"—What Answer would a Prince make to> a condemned Rebel in his Shackles and Dungeon, that should make this Plea for Pardon? Would the Criminal's doing what he can to serve his Prince (which, in his present State, is nothing at all to any good Purpofe) atone for his past Rebellion? Or would this qualify him for his Prince's Favour, while he yet retains the same Enmity in his Heart against him, and will not so much as submit to his sovereign good Pleasure and meer Mercy? The Application is easy; and it belongs to you, Sir, to consider seriously, whether a Sinner, who is dead in Trespasses and Sins, who is in a State of Rebellion against God, and therefore under thi' condemning Sentence of the Law, can any more atone for his Sins, or make a reasonable Plea for Grace
and Pardon, than the Traitor asoresaid? But
were your Reasoning ever so ji st, it would afford you no Grounds of Comfort; for there never was, nor ever shall be, any Man, that can sairly make this Plea in his own Favour, and truly say, he has I 3 done done all he can in the mortifying his Lasts, ant in his Endeavours to serve God. There will, as ter all his Attempts, remain enough neglected', ever of the external Part of his Duty, tint was most in his own Power, to condemn both his Person and his Services.
You complain, that " the Arguments in the ,e Book I sent you do not give you Satissaction.*" —Well, I have here added some surther Evidence to what was there offered; and would now call upon you to consider, whether all these Things put together do not make it evident, that you lie at JMercy, and convince you of thosegcripture-Truths, that it is not in him that iuilleth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that shcweth Mercy; and that God giveth his saving Grace only because it hath
so seemed good in his Sight. Consider, whether
you can atone for past Sins by present Duties, by Duties which are so polluted by the Principle from which they flow, and which have so much Carnality, Selfishness, Hypocrify, and sinsul Desects cleaving to them, that if the Iniquity of four mifl holy Things be imputed, it must greatly increase the moral Distance between God and you.—Consider, whether, while you are under the Law, or Covenant of Works, you are capable not only to sulfil all its preceptive Demands, and so not surther expofe yourself to its Curses, but also to do fomething towards making Satissaction to God's Justice sot what you have already done amiss, and to merit his Favour.—Or consider, whether you have any Claim to God's Acceptance of your Perfon upon Christ's \ccount, without an Interest in him, and whilst condemned already by his own Mouth, and Under the Wrath of God for your Unbelief.
* Tbr true ScriptureDnSrine, &c.
Consider, whether you can have any Promise of Acceptance to plead, while you remain under the Curie, both of the Law and Gofpel.—Consider, whi ther an omniscient and holy God can be either deluded or gratisied with mere external Shews of Religion, when he knows you have an Heart in you that is lar from him.—Consider, whether you can ever make the Case better, by all your Endeavours to change your own Heart, and to create yourself anew in Christ Jesus, any more than you can produce a new World.——Consider, whether you dare venture your Eternity upon this Issue, that you sincerely do what you can to serve God; and whether there be not such sinsul Desects cleaving to your best Performances, as may justly condemn both you and them.—Consider again, whether, if you should do all you can in the Srrvice of God, you would do any Thing that would either sully come up to the Terms of the Covenant of Grace, or bear the least Proportion to that Salvation which the Gospel requires.—Consider once more, whether the glorious God has not an absolute Right to dispofe of his own Favours, just how, when, and where he pleases; and whether he has not assured us, that he will bestow his everlasting Mercy upon none but thofe who are really consormable to the Terms of the Covenant of Grace.
Now, Sir, if you, while unregenerate, can neither make Atonement for your past Sin and Guilt, nor come up to the Demands of the Law of Nature; if you can neither please God by your sinful Performances, nor impofe upon him by your hypocritical Shews; if you run further in Debt by the Sin in vour very Duties, instead of paying any Thing of the old Score; if you have no Claim to Acceptance on Christ's Account, without a special Interest in him, nor any Claim to the Benesits nesits of the Covenant of Grace, till you actually comply .with the Terms of it; if both Law and Gofpel condemn you in your present State, and nothing but Omnipotence can change your Heart and make your State better; if God be a sovereign Donor of his own Favours; and you can have no Promise to plead, while you remain under the Curse and Wrath of God, and a Stranger to the Covenants of Promise; if even you yourself must allow all these Things to be undoubted Truths, it must then be true, even to Demonstration, that (while in such a State) you are capable of no Qualifying Condition of the divine Favour; and had need therefore to seel that you lie at Mercy.
To conclude this Head; if God himself may be believed in the Case, He will have Mercy upon whom he will have Mercy; and whom he will he
hardeneth. Rom. ix. 18. 'Tis not for our Sales,
that he bestows Grace upon us, hut for his holy Name's Sake, Ezek. xxxvi. 22, 51. He predefinates us unto the Adoption ofChildren by Jefus Christ to himfelf, according to the good Pleasure of his Will, to the Praife of the Glory of his Grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. Eph. i. 5, 6.—He acts, in this Case, according to his own sovereign Pleasure, as a Potter that hath Power ever his Clay, to make one VejfH to Honour, and another to Dishonour; and we have no Liberty to reply against G;d: It is insufferable Arrogance for the Thing formed to fay to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Rom. ix. 20, a I.—Sir, as you yourself claim a Sovereignty in the Dispensation of your Favours, surely you will not dare to deny a like Sovereignty in the eternal God.—— Believe it, the glorious God is a sovereign Benesactor; factor; and he will be acknowledged as such, by ill that ever partake of his saving Mercy.
And now I am prepared to shew you, that the Consequence which you draw from this Doctrine is unjuj}, and even directly contrary to the Improvment you ought to make of it.
And the Reason I ofser for this is, that a realizing Belief of the Truth before us directly tends to bring most Glory to God, and most Sasety, Comfort, and Happiness to yourself.—It is eafy to conceive bow it conduceth most to God's Glory, for us to consider him as the Fountain and Foundation of all Grace and Mercy; and to consider all the Favours we enjoy, or hope for, as flowing from the mere Goodness of his Nature, and not from any Motive or Inducement which we can possibly
lay before him In this View of the Case, we
do that Honour to an insinite and eternal Being, as to suppofe him a self-existent, independent, and immutable Sovereign; while, on the contrary, to imagine ourselves capable, by any Thing we can do, to change his Purposes,-engage his Afsections, or excite and move his Compassions towards us, is to conceive him to be altogether such an one as turselves, liable to new Impressions from our Complaints or Persuasion,!, mutable in his Afsections, dependent upon our Duties for the Kxercise of his
Grace And I leave it to you to judge, which of
these Apprehensions are most worthy of that God, who is infinitely exalted above us, and is without any Variation or Shadow of turning: 1 leave it likewise to you to judge, which Principle is most likely to subserve our best Interests, that which Joes the most Honour, or that which does the most Dishonour to God.
If we apply this to the present Cafe, I ask, In which Way can we find most Encouragement to