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father; for in Christ Jesus he had begotten them, through the gospel.” (1 Cor. iv, 14, 15.)
KNOWLITTLE.—The Apostle saith, “I have planted and Apollos watered: but God gave the increase.” (1 Cor. iii, 6.)
TAKE-o'-trust.–So the Apostle saith, “God giveth to every seed his own body, as it hath pleased him ;” (1 Cor. xv, 38.) But still it is in the ordinary way of husbandry; and therefore the sower goes out to sow his seed, and so “the king himself is served by the field.” (Eccles. v, 9.) But “the sluggard, who will not plow by reason of the cold, shall beg in harvest and have nothing." (Prov. xx, 4.) In these natural things, we see, God doth not bring forth fruit by any peculiar divine action distinct from that of planting and watering; but, by preserving that force and vigour once put into the earth and water, (wherein and whereby such plantation and watering is made,) he concurs to make the labour of the husbandman successful, and so gives the increase. " Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn when thou hast so provided for it: Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers, thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness.” (Psalm lxv. 9–12.) So it is here, in a spiritual sense : “Ye are God's husbandry, or God's tillage;" (1 Cor. iii, 9.) and he hath instituted a ministry, to bring you unto fruitfulness. “I have planted,”—laying the foundation, or first principles, of Christian faith among you, (of heathens making you believers ;) “Apollos watered,”—he baptised you, and promoted that faith to some further growth in you: But yet there is no great matter imputable to him or me, that
should make a schism upon this account, as if either of us were the author of your faith; but it is God alone who gave us our ability, put all the force and efficacy into those sacred ordinances which we administer, and so gave the increase. Thus, I say, God gives the increase, not by any peculiar special action distinct from that plantation and watering of Paul and Apollos; but by continuing to prosper that vigour and efficacy which he was pleased to put into that ministry. Hence the Apostle saith, “We are
* See 2 Cor. iv, 6; 1 Cor. iv, 7; 2 Cor. iii, 4, 5, 6.
eyes, and to
labourers together with God," (verse 9,) and “ministers by whom ye believed." (verse 5.) To this purpose, the Apostle is
a chosen vessel to bear the gospel to the Gentiles :” (Acts ix, 15.) And his commission is, open
their turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” (Acts xxvi, 18.) And he doth so well manage and execute this commission, that he is confident to say, “I have whereof I may glory, through Jesus Christ, in those things which pertain to God.” (Rom. xv, 17.)
KNOWLITTLE. There is a promise: “ Thine ears shall bear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in il,” &c. (Isai. xxx, 21.)
Take-o'-trust.-(1) That promise is made to such as are already converted, * and signifies no more than what is more clearly expressed in Isaiah lix, 21. +-(2) If the word, there promised, be a thing distinct from the word of the ministry, then I ask, Whether it be an inteiligible word or not. then it is no fit mean to work upon a reasonable soul, and to bring it to perform to God a reasonable service, as ours ought to be. $ If it be an intelligible word, then either it hath the same sense with the word written and preached, or a different sense from it. If it be of the same sense with the word written and preached, then it is to no purpose : Frustra sit per plura, quod fieri potest per pauciora, et entia non sunt multiplicando sine necessitate, “it is frivolous to multiply means without cause.” If this word be of a different sense from the word written or preached, then this (to the dishonour of the word!) will argue the insufficiency of it “to make us wise unto salvation, and the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work;" and this will lay an imputation, not only upon the veracity and truth of God, but also upon his wisdom and goodness, for commending and enjoining the use of his written word to us, for an end and purpose to which it is insufficient.
. It is observed, that the Holy Spirit (not in his miraculous gifts only) is most frequently said to be given to men after their conversion. (Luke xi, 13; Acts v, 32 ; xix, 2.)
+ “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord : My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I bave put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from benceforth aud for ever."
Rom, xii, 2.
But, that we may understand the Prophet's meaning, consider, that we are commanded to “ walk before God;" (Gen. xvii, 1.) according to which expression, we are to think God always at our heels, (as we say,) observing our steps; and consonantly to that metaphorical expression, if we step aside, what means soever his providence useth to set us right and direct our goings in his paths, it is as if we heard “ a voice behind us.” Not that God wonld exempt us from following the direction of the ministry: No,-for the promise is thus expressed in the former verse, “ Thine eyes shall see thy teachers :”* And that we may not think it lawful to run on in error, till the enthusiastical charm recals us, remember, it is our duty to seek the law, at the priest's mouth. (Mal. ii, 7.) Hence, we have these caveats, not only, take heed how you hear, and what you hear, but also, whom you hear; “ for many false prophets are gone out into the world; and therefore try the spirits whether they are of God.” (1 John iv, 1.) What need of all these caveats, and so much ado, if the ministry Cofy the word hath no influence or energy in our faith and regeneration, and the work of grace in us? · KNOWLittle.—But, we see, the Scripture every where ascribes the work of faith, conversion, and regeneration in us, to the
power and gift of God, to Christ, and to the Holy Ghost.
Take-o'-trust.— The Scriptures do attribute to Almighty God that which he doth mediately by any of his creatures or Ministers. In John iv, 1, Jesus is said to have baptized more disciples than John; yet, in the next verse it is said, that “ Jesus baptized not, but his disciples." + Though the ministry of the word be instrumental in the work of grace in us, yet must we acknowledge the Blessed Trinity the chief cause and author thereof, and are bound always to render them the honour of that efficacy that is wrought by this instrument; because all the light, force, and efficacy, which appear therein, flow from God alone,-and had not been in it at all, if he had not (as it were) implanted it therein. “ We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” as the Apostle, in a like case. (2 Cor. iv, 6, 7.) # Certainly there we have it, and God associates what other divine internal aids he pleaseth with it: * To Him therefore we must ascribe the glory, who hath annexed such an excellency of power to such (otherwise) weak and feeble instruments. (2 Cor. x, 4.)
• See Deut. xvii, 9, 11. + See John vi, 45, 46.-With Luke x,
16; 2 Cor.v, 19; 1 Thess. iv, 8; Heb. xii, 25; Acts v, 39-vii, 51. * 2 Cor. iii, 3, 4, 5.
DR. ABSOLUTE.—Leave your wrangling, Gentlemen, that we may despatch Mr. Tilenus one way or other. Have any of you any more objections against him?
IndEFECTIBLE.--He holds the possibility of the Saints' Apostacy, notwithstanding the decrees and promises of God to the contrary; and concludes David's adultery and murder to be wilful, wasting, deadly sins, and inconsistent with the state of regeneration. So that should a godly man through the frailty of the flesh suffer the like infirmity, he would be ready to discourage and grieve his spirit, telling him "he had forfeited his interest in God's favour, and lay under a damnable guilt, liable to the wrath of God and the torments of hell;" and so in danger to bring him to desperation, if he does not forsake his sin and mortity his lust, and bring forth fruits meet for
repentance upon his admonition. NARROWGRACE.—What was worse than that, to my mind ;he flouted the Divines of the Synod, saying, " If their doctrine were well improved, it would prove an antidote against the power
of death, and teach a man how to become immortal, even in this life.” IMPERTINENT.-That slipt my observation. I pray,
what was it he said ? NARROWGRACE.-It was to this purpose:
« If the elect cannot be cut off in a state of impenitency, notwithstanding they fall into most grievous sins; then,” saith he, “ let them abandon themselves to some horrid lust or course of impiety, and they shall be sure to be immortal.”
INDEFECTIBLE.—But we know the elect cannot do so. They have a principle within them, and a guard without them, to defend and secure them from such courses. “ They are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” (1 Pet. i, 5.) There is their guard: And their inward principle that inclines and moves them, you have in 1 John iii, 9. “ Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin : for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
Mark xvi, 15, 20; Rom. xv, 16, 19.
Dr. DUBIUS.-Under correction, Sir, I conceive man is never immutably good till he arrives in heaven. As long as he converseth here below he is like other sublunary things, subject to change. * The reason is, beside temptations from without to allure and draw him, he hath a two-fold principle, a new and an old man within him,—the flesh and the spirit in contestation : “ The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” (Gal. v, 17.) This conflict is in the regenerate: And that he hath liberty to side with either of these parties, and so to change, I think cannot be denied. He hath a liberty through God's grace to side with the Spirit against the flesh; and hereupon he is exhorted to “ abstain from fleshly lusts, to mortify his earthly members, and to walk in the Spirit.” His liberty to side with the flesh, is but too evident. And therefore the words
CANNOT sın" must be taken, not physicè but ethicè, " Not for a natural impotency but a moral one."—He cannot do it legally ; + or for an averseness of mind, which, notwithstanding, is capable of being altered. It is said of Christ sometimes, that “ He could do no mighty work.” (Mark vi, 5.) And so it is said, that the brethren of Joseph “ could not answer him.” (Gen. xlv, 3.) And the angel “could do nothing against Sodom," till Lot were escaped into Zoar. (Gen. xix, 22.) And it is usual in our common speech to say, “We cannot do a thing," when the thing is not impossible to be done, but only it is unlawful or inconvenient for us to do it: If we set aside the inconvenience and step over the hedge of the law, (as many times we dn,) we can find power enough to do it. And so it is here. Therefore to that of our Saviour, (Matt. vii, 18.) “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,” St. Jerome addeth, Quamdiù in bonitatis studio perseverat,
as long as it perseveres in the study and love of goodness." Thus “ he that is born of God,” while he acteth according to the nature of the principles of his new birth, and studies to follow and resemble his Heavenly Father, -cannot deliberutely yield to any kind of sin. Hæc non admittet omnino qui natus è Deo fuerit; non futurus Dei filius si admiserit,
* Quod Angelis casus hominibus mors. “ That which is a fall to Angels, IS DEATH to men." + 1 possumus, quod jure possumus. “We can do that which may lawfully be done."
* See Jos. xxiv, 19, 21.