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dreadful consequences of sin, &c. &c. And in general, that they do not come as punishments, but purely as means to keep men from vice and to make them better.-If it be so, surely they are great means. Here is a mighty alteration: mankind, once so easy and happy, healthful, vigorous, and beautiful, rich in all the pleasant and abundant blessings of paradise, now turned out, destitute, weak, and decaying, into a wide barren world, yielding briars and thorns, instead of the delightful growth and sweet fruit of the garden of Eden, to wear out life in sorrow and toil, on the ground cursed for his sake; and at last, either through long and lingering decay, or severe pain and acute disease, to expire and turn to putrefaction and dust. If these are only used as medicines, to prevent and to cure the diseases of the mind, they are sharp medicines indeed; especially death; which, to use Hezekiah's representation, is as it were breaking all his bones. And one would think, should be very effectual, if the subject had no depravity--no evil and contrary bias to resist and hinder a proper effect-especially in the old world, when the first occasion of this terrible alteration, this severity of means, was fresh in memory. Adam continued alive near two thirds of the time before the flood; so that a very great part of those who were alive till the flood might have opportunity of seeing and conversing with him, and hearing from his mouth not only an account of his fall, and the introduction of the awful consequences of it, but also of his first finding himself in existence in the new-created world, of the creation of Eve, and what passed between him and his Creator in paradise.
But what was the success of these great means, to restrain men from sin and to induce them to virtue? Did they prove sufficient?—instead of this the world soon grew exceeding corrupt; till, to use our author's own words, mankind were universally debauched into lust, sensuality, rapine, and injustice.
Then God used further means: He sent Noah, a preacher of righteousness to warn the world of the universal destruction which would come upon them by a flood of waters, if they went on in sin. This warning he delivered with circumstances tending to strike their minds and command their attention. He immediately went about building that vast structure, the ark, in which he must employ a great number of hands, and probably spent all he had in the world to save himself and his family. And under these uncommon means God waited upon them one hundred and twenty years.-But all to no effect. The whole world, for ought appears, continued obstinate, and abely incorrigible: So that nothing remained to be done with them, but utterly to destroy the inhabitants of the earth; and to begin a new world from that single family who had distinguished themselves by their virtue, that from them might be
propagated a new and purer race. Accordingly, this was done: And the inhabitants of this new world, Noah's posterity, had these new and extraordinary means to restrain sin and excite to virtue, in addition to the toil, sorrow, and common mortality, which the world had been subjected to before, in consequence of Adam's sin: viz. that God had newly testified his dreadful displeasure for sin, in destroying the many millions of mankind, all at one blow, old and young, men, women, and children, without pity on any for all the dismal shrieks and cries with which the world was filled. They themselves, the remaining family, were wonderfully distinguished by God's preserving goodness, that they might be a holy seed, being delivered from the corrupting examples of the old world; and being all the offspring of a living parent, whose pious instructions and counsels they had, to enforce these things upon them, to prevent sin, and engage them to their duty. These inhabi tants of the new earth must, for a long time, have before their eyes many evident and striking effects of that universal destruction, to be a continual affecting admonition to them. And besides all this, God now shortened the life of man to about one half of what it used to be. The shortening man's life, Dr. T. says, (p. 68.) "Was that the wild range of ambition and lust might be brought into narrower bounds, and have less opportunity of doing mischief; and that death, being still nearer to our view, might be a more powerful motive to regard less the things of a transitory world, and to attend more to the rules of truth and wisdom."
And now let us observe the consequence.-These new and extraordinary means, in addition to the former, were so far from proving sufficient, that the new world degenerated and became corrupt by such swift degrees, that as Dr. T. observes, mankind in general were sunk into idolatry, in about four hundred years after the flood, and so in about fifty years after Noah's death they became so wicked and brutish, as to forsake the true God, and turn to the worship of inanimate
When things were come to this dreadful pass, God was pleased, for a remedy, to introduce a new and wonderful dispensation-separating a particular family and people from all the rest of the world by a series of the most astonishing miracles, done in the open view of the world; and fixing their dwelling as it were in the midst of the earth, between Asia, Europe and Africa, and in the midst of those nations which were most considerable for power, knowledge, and arts-that might, in an extraordinary manner, dwell among that people, in visible tokens of his presence. There he manifested himself, and thence to the world, by a course of miraculous operations and effects, for many ages; that the people might be holy to God
as a kingdom of priests, and might stand as a city on a hill, to be a light to the world. He also gradually shortened man's life, till it was brought to about one-twelfth part of what it used to be before the flood; and so, according to Dr. T. greatly diminishing his temptations to sin, and increasing his excitements to holiness.-And now let us consider what the success of these means was, both as to the Gentile world, and the nation of Israel.
Dr. T. justly observes, (Key, p. 24. § 75.) "The Jewish dispensation had respect to the nations of the world, to spread the knowledge and obedience of God in the earth; and was established for the benefit of all mankind."-But how unsuccessful were these means, and all other means used with the Heathen nations, so long as this dispensation lasted? Abraham was a person noted in all the principal nations then in the world; as in Egypt, and the eastern monarchies. God made his name famous by his wonderful, distinguishing dispensations towards him, particularly by so miraculously subduing, before him and his trained servants, those armies of the four eastern kings. This great work of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, was greatly noticed by Melchizedeck; and one would think should have been sufficient to awaken the attention of all the nations in that part of the world, and to lead them to the knowledge and worship of the only true God; especially if considered in conjunction with that miraculous and most terrible destruction of Sodom and all the cities of the plain for their wickedness, with Lot's miraculous deliverance: facts which doubtless in their day were much famed abroad in the world. But there is not the least appearance, in any accounts we have, of any considerable good effect. On the contrary, those nations which were most in the way of observing and being affected with these things, even the nations of Canaan, grew worse and worse, till their iniquity came to the full, in Joshua's time. And the posterity of Lot, that saint so wonderfully distinguished, soon became some of the most gross idolaters; as they appear to have been in Moses's time. (See Num. xxv.) Yea, and the far greater part even of Abraham's posterity, the children of Ishmael, Ziman, Joksham, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah, and Esau, soon forgot the true God, and fell off to heathenism.
Great things were done in the sight of the nations, tending to awaken them and lead them to the knowledge and obedience of the true God, in Jacob's and Joseph's time; in that God did miracuously, by the hand of Joseph, preserve from perishing by famine as it were the whole world; as appears by Gen. xli. 56, 57. Agreeably to which, the name that Pharaoh gave to Joseph, Zaphnath-Paaneah, as is said, in the Egyptian language signifies saviour of the world. But there does not
appear to have been any good abiding effect of this; no, not so much as among the Egyptians, the chief of all the heathen nations at that day, who had these great works of Jehovah in their most immediate view. On the contrary, they grew worse and worse, and seemed to be far more gross in their idolatries and ignorance of the true God, and every way more wicked and ripe for ruin, when Moses was sent to Pharaoh, than they were in Joseph's time.
After this, in Moses and Joshua's time, the great God was pleased to manifest himself in a series of the most astonishing miracles for about fifty years together, wrought in the most public manner in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in Canaan, in the view as it were of the whole world; miracles by which the world was shaken, the whole frame of the visible creation, earth, seas, and rivers, the atmosphere, the clouds, sun, moon, and stars were affected; miracles greatly tending to convince the nations of the world of the vanity of their false gods, shewing JEHOVAH to be infinitely above them in the thing wherein they dealt most proudly, and exhibiting God's awful displeasure at the wickedness of the heathen world. And these things are expressly spoken of as one end of these great miracles. (Exod. ix. 14. Numb. xiv. 21. Josh. iv. 23, 24.) However, no reformation followed, but by the scripture-account, the nations which had them most in view, were dreadfully hardened, stupidly refusing all conviction and reformation, and obstinately went on in opposition to the living God, to their own destruction.
After this, God from time to time very publicly manifested himself to the nations of the world, by wonderful works wrought in the time of the Judges, of a like tendency with those already mentioned. Particularly in so miraculously destroying, by the hand of Gideon, almost the whole of that vast army of the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the children of t the east, consisting of about 135,000 men. (Judg. vii. 12. and viii. 10.) But no reformation followed this, or the other great works of God, wrought in the times of Deborah and Barak, Jeptha and Sampson.
After these things God used new, and in some respects much greater means with the heathen world, to bring them to the knowledge and service of the true God, in the days of David and Solomon. He raised up David, a man after his own heart, a most fervent worshipper of the true God and zealous hater of idols, and subdued before him almost all the nations between Egypt and Euphrates; often miraculously assisting him in his battles with his enemies. And he confirmed Solomon his son in the full and quiet possession of that great empire for about forty years: and made him the wisest, richest, most magnificent, and every way the greatest
monarch that ever had been in the world; and by far the most famous and of greatest name among the nations; especially for his wisdom, and things concerning the name of his God; particularly the temple he built, which was exceeding magnificent, that it might be of fame and glory throughout all lands; 1 Chron. xxii. 5. And we are told that there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth. (1 Kings iv. 34. and x. 24.) And the scripture informs us that these great things were done, that the nations in far countries might hear of God's great name, and of his out-stretched arm; that all the people of the earth might fear him, as well as his people Israel: And that all the people of the earth might know that the Lord was God, and that there was none else. (1 Kings viii. 41-43, 60.) But still there is no appearance of any considerable abiding effect, with regard to any one heathen nation.
After this, before the captivity in Babylon, many great things were done in the sight of the Gentile nations, very much tending to enlighten, affect and persuade them. As God destroying the army of the Ethiopians of a thousand thousand, before Asa; Elijah's and Elisha's miracles; especially Elijah miraculously confounding Baal's prophets and worshippers; Elisha healing Naaman, the king of Syria's prime minister and the miraculous victories obtained, through Elisha's prayers, over the Syrians, Moabites, and Edomites; the miraculous destruction of the vast united army of the children of Moab, Ammon, and Edom, at Jehoshaphat's prayer. (2 Chron. xx.) Jonah's preaching at Nineveh, together with the miracle of his deliverance from the whale's belly; which was published, and well attested, as a sign to confirm his preaching: But more especially that great work of God, in destroying Sennacherib's army by an angel, for his contempt of the God of Israel, as if he had been no more than the gods of the heathen.
When all these things proved ineffectual, God took a new method with the heathen world, and used, in some respects, much greater means to convince and reclaim them, than ever before. In the first place, his people, the Jews, were removed to Babylon, the head and heart of the heathen world (Chaldea having been very much the fountain of idolatry) to carry thither the revelations which God had made of himself, contained in the sacred writings; and there to bear their testimony against idolatry; as some of them, particularly Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abed-nego, did in a very open manner before the king and the greatest men of the empire, with such circumstances as made their testimony very famous in the world. And God confirmed it with great miracles; which were published through the empire by order of its monarch, as the mighty works of the God of Israel, shewing him to be above all gods: Daniel, that