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able, nor prosperous, nor healthy, nor powerful, nor happy, exactly as themselves? Do they ever reproach him for the poverty, or comparative misery and defect of others ? and are they really dissatisfied, that all men are not perfectly equal, in all respects,
, with them? If this be so; let them elistribute largely of their own stock to their indigent neighbours, and raise up, as far as it will go, their wretched inferiors to a perfect equality of circumstances, and bring themselves down to the lowest level they can find. Let them never contemn any man for the weakness of his understanding ; nor congratulate themselves in the superior advantages of rank, or beauty, or strength ; nor triumph, with imperious insolence, over the inferiority of the poor and the helpless; nor, till they have done all this, and much more which might be added, fairly and entirely to the utmost of their
power, let them dare to complain of the unequal dispensations of God's Providence in the world. And if they may not dare to complain of these, which are of a lower order than those which relate to the kingdom of glory; how can they presume to call the Most High to an account, because he was not pleased to make men or angels originally impeccable, and because, when men are sunk into a fallen state, and perversely seek nothing beyond it, he hath been pleased to exercise his sovereign mercy in saving a part of these criminals from a just execution, and to leave the rest, under the ban of his law, to all the consequences of the chosen error of their ways -The Judge of the whole earth will do, and can do, nothing but what is right: and the wisest of men, under their own management, will in spiritual things, say and do nothing but what is radically wrong.
A crowd of examples also might be brought forward from the Scriptures, which were evidently intended to prove, that man's selection by God is not according to nature or natural right and expectation, but entirely of grace. This, however, would almost require a treatise by itself. Whoever considers the history of Abel, Noal, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Derrid, the Apostles, and others, can be at no loss to discern, that, above mere nature, and sometimes contrary to it, they were the called, the chosen, and the faithful.
§ 18. But it may also be observed, that God, in the appointment of the ministers of his word, hath given them à general commission to preach to all men,' wherever his Providence shall prepare the opportunities; because, for wise and obvious reasons, as well as from the nature of things in the world's fallen state, it would be im
proper, and therefore made impractie cable, that any set of men should know à priori who were or who were not the special and particular persons, , whoin God hath chosen for himself. It is not given to the most gracious of men to foreknow and to point out the events or the parties under the divine determination, or, in better words, to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power. It is enough for them particularly to be assured of their own interest in the covenant of salvation. They are to go forth, in a faithful reliance upon the protection and blessing of Him who commissions them, and to preach repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus to all persons, at all times, and in all places, to which they are providentially directed or enabled. Their duty it is to preach, to testify, to exhort, with all long-suffering and patience,
with the utmost diligence and faithful
but it rests with the Divine Mind to second the word preached with the effectual working of his power, and to confer the essential blessing. * And we may be persuaded, that wherever, in his Providence, le sends forth his messengers, he has an errand of peace to convey to some of his people. Never does lie appoint a faithful shepherd, but to be the means in his hand to gather in the appointed sheep into his flock or his fold.
8-19. He is pleased also to do this great work by the instrumentality of men, and sometimes of men not disa
Sonus verborum nostrorum aures percutit : Dlagister intus est.
Admonere possumus per strepitum vocis nostræ : si non sit intus qui doceat, inanis fit strepitus noster:-INTERIOR MAGIS-, TER qui docet, CHRISTUS docet, INSPIRATIO, ipsius docet. Ubi illius INSPIRATIO, et illius UNCTIO, non est, forinsccus inaniter perstrepunt Terba. - AUG. Conf. lib. i. c. 13.