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think the news of deliverance (hould make the hearts of captives leap for joy, the tidings of a Saviour should transport the heart of a lost iinner. A man would think a little rhetoric might persuade the naked foul of a sinner to put on the rich robes of Chiist's righteousness, which will cost him nothing, but acceptance; or the perishing, starving sinner to accept the bread of God which comethdown from heaven, and giveth lise unto the world. This is the great design I have managed in this whole discourse; the centre to which all these lines are drawn; many arguments have been used, and many ways attempted to prevail with men to apply and put on Chrili, and I am afraid, all too little. I have but laboured in" vain, and spent my strength f( nought; all these discourses are but the beating of the air, sew, if any, will be persuaded to come unto Christ, who is c! ly opened, and freely offered in the golpel to them. For al while I am reasoning, Satan is blinding their minds with false r sonings, and contrary per uafions; the god of this world turns way the ears, and draws away the hearts of almost the whol world from Christ; "The god of this world hath blinded tl "minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious "gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine nnti '* them." Satan is a great and jealous prince, and is well aWare, that so many of his subjects as shall be brought to see the misery of their condition, will never endure to abide any longer in, subjection to him: it is therefore his great policy to put out their eyes, that he may secure their fouls; to darken their understandings, that he may keep his interest firm and entire in their wills and afsections: and this makes the effectual application of Christ so great a difficulty, that, on the contrnry, it is just matter of admiration that any soul is persuaded and prevailed with to quit the service of Satan, and come to Christ. And therefore, in the last place, to discover the great difficulty of conversion, and shew you where it is that alL our endeavours are obstructed, so that we can move the design no further, with all our labouring anu striving, reasoning and persuading; as also, to mourn over, and bewail the misery of christless and unregenerate souls, with whom we must part, upon the saddest terras; I have chose this scripture, which is of a most awakening nature, if haply the Lord, at last, may persuade any soul to come over to Christ thereby.
These words come into the apostle's discourse, by way of fro/rpjis; he had been speaking, in the former chapter, of the transcendent excellency of the gospei above the law, and, among Other respects, he presers it to the law in point of clearness. was au obscure and cloudy dispensation. there was a veil upon the sace of Moses, and the hearts of the people, that they could not see to the end of that which is abolished; but under the gospel we all, with open sace, behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. Against this discourse, the apostle foresaw, and obviated this objection: if your gospel be so clear, what is the reason that many, who live under the ministration of it, (aud they none of the meanest, neither, for wisdom, and understanding) do yet see no glory, nor excellency in it? To this he returns, in the words I have read, "If our gospel be hid, it is "hid to them that are lost, whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded," &c q. d. It is true, multitudes there are, who see no glory in Ghrisl, or the gospel, but the sault is not in either; but in the minds of them that believe not. The fun shines forth in its glory, but the blind see no glory in it; the sault is not the fun, but in the eye. Ia the words themselves we have i parts to consider:
1. A dreadful, spiritual judgment inflicted.
2. The wicked instrument by whom it is inflicted.
3. The politic manner in which he doth it.
First, We have here a very dreadful, spiritnal judgment inmeted upon the souls of men, viz. the hiding of the gospel from them: if our gospel be hid. For these words, E, 3 ««* tn, t concession, that so it is; a very sad, but undeniable truth, there who see no beauty in Christ, nor necessity of mgh both are so plainly and evidently revealed in our 'if our gospel be hid:" It is called our gospel, not as if Paul, and the other preachers of it, were the authors, iind ators of it; but our gospel, because we are the preachers, dispensers of it. We are put in trust with the gospel, and we preach it, in the demonstration of the Spirit, and er, using all plainness of speech to make men understand ; yet it is hid from many, under our ministry: it is hid from eir understandings, they see no glory in it; and hid from their Isearts, thy see no power in it. Our gospel, notwithstanding all our endeavours, is a hidden gospel unto some; this is the forest, and most dreadful judgment.
Secondly, We have here an account of that wicked instrument by whom this judgment is inflicted, viz. Satan, called here (by a mimesis) the god of this world;' novfimply and properly, but because be challenges to himself the honour of a god, rules over a vast empire, and hath multitudes of fouls, eixn the reater part of the world, in subjection, and blind obedience to ernment.
Thirdly, Here, also, we have an account of the politic manner of this government, how he maintains his dominion among men, and keeps the world in quiet subjection to him; namely, by blinding the minds of all them that believe not; putting out the eyes of all his subjects, darkening that noble saculty, the mind, or understanding; the thinking, considering, and reasoning power of the soul, which the philosophers truly call re yiyifttiMO, the leading, and directing saculty: for it Is to the foul, what eyes are to the body, and it is therefore called " the' "eyes of the understanding," Eph. i. 18. The e eyes Satan blinds, si. e.) he darkens the mind, and understanding, with ignorance, and error; so that when men come to see, and consider spiritual things, "they see, indeed, but perceive not," Ila. vi. o, io. They have some general, confused notions, but no distinct, powerful, and efsectual apprehensions of those things: and this is the way, indeed, none like it, to bar men essectually from Jesus Christ, and hinder the application of the benefits of redemption to their fouls. It is true, the righteous God permits all this to be done by Satan, upon the souls of men; but wheresoever he finally prevails thus tp blind them, it is, as the text speaks, it Toii <tTrixxv(tmtu in them that are lost, or appointed of God unto perdition. The elect of God are all blinded for a time, but Christ applieth unto them his eye-salve; efsectually opens the eyes of their understandings, and recovers them thereby, out of Satan's power and dominion: but as for those who still continue thus blinded, the symptoms and characters of eternal death, appear upon their fouls; they are a company of lost men.
Doct. That the understandings of all unbelivers are blinded by Satan's policies, in order to their everlasting perdition.
Four things must be opened in the doctrinal part of this point.
First, What the blinding of the understanding, or hiding of the gospel from the understanding, is.
Secondly, I shall demonstrate, that the understandings of many are thus blinded, and the gospel hidden from them.
Thirdly, 11 shall shew what policies Satan uses to blind the minds of men.
Fourthly, That this blindness is the sorest judgment, and io order to mens everlasting perdition. Fifthly, And then apply the whole.
First, We (hall enquire what the blinding of the mind, or hiding the gospel from it, is. Two forts of men are thus blinded in the world.
1. Those that want the means of illumination.
2. Those that have the means, but are denied the bleiling and efficacy of them.
The former is the case of the Pagan world, who are in midnight darkness, for want of the gospel. The latter is the case of the Christian world. The greatest part of them that live within the found of the gospel, being blinded by the god of this world, Isa. vii. 9, 10 "And he said, Go, and tell this people; "hear ye, indeed, but understand not; and see ye, indeed, but perceive not: Make the heart of this people far, and make their ears heavy; and (hut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." Thus, when the Sua righteousness actually arose in the world, it is said, John i. 5. The light shined in darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not." So we may fay of all that light which is in the unrstanding of all unbelievers, what Job speaks of the grave, cbx. 22. " That the light there is as darkness." But more ticularly, to ©pen the nature of this spiritual blindness, I will lew you, ,,.''
1. What it is not opposed unto. 2. What it is opposed unto.
1. Let us examine what spiritual blindness, or the hiding 1 gospel from the minds of men, is not opposed unto: and we (hall find, ,' .
First, That it is not opposed unto natural wisdom; a maa y be of an acute and clear understanding -r eagle-eyed, to disrn the mysteries of nature, and yet the gospel may be hiddea m him Who were more sagacious, and quick-sighted, ia itural things, than the Heathen Philosophers, renowned for "dom in their generation? yet unto them the gospel was but, lifhness, 1 Cor, i. 20, 21. St. Augustine consesseth, that here his conversion, he was,filled with ofsenca, and contempt f the simplicity of the gospel. Dedignabar efi'e parvulus, faith le, I scorned to become a child again. And that great Bradwardine, the profound doctor, who was learned, usque adjiuporem, even to a wonder; prosessed, that when he first read Paul's epistles, he despised them, because he found not in them, metaphyjicum igenium, those metaphysical notions which he expected. Upon this account it was, that Christ brake forth into that pathetical gratulation of his Father's love to the elect, Mat. X?. 25. "At that time Jesus answered, and said, I thank thee, O "Father, Lord of heaven and earth; because thou hast hid these