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NUMB. XIII. Isa. v. 3, 4.

And now, O inhabitants of Jerufalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

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O one place of fcripture is more frequent in the mouths and writings of the patrons of free-will, and adversaries of the grace of God than this; which is used by them, to prove that God gives fufficient grace for the converfion of fuch who are not converted; and that he does not effect that work by an irrefiftible power, or by an unfruftrable operation; which operation, 'tis faid, "if neceffary to produce the expected fruits, and not vouchfafed, it must follow, that this vineyard had not grace fufficient to answer her Lord's expectations; and if fo, he muft unreasonably complain, that fhe brought forth wild grapes, and more unreasonably expect good grapes, and most unreasonably punish her for not doing what

Remonftr. in Coll. Hag. Art, iii, iv. p. 216, 219. A&. Synod. p 89, &c. Curcell. Chrift. Inftitut. 1 6. c. 13. § 3. p. 4c0. Limborch. 1. 4. c. 13. §. 2, 3, 4. P. 369.


he would not give her grace fufficient to perform". To which I reply;

I. There words are part of a parabie, zprefenting the state and condition of the people of the Jews. Now parabolical di vinity is not argumentative; nor ought parables de retched beyond their scope and design: The intent of this is to fhew the ingracitude of the Jews in the midft of many favours betowed on them, and the patience and long-suffering of God. towards them, and to vindicate his juttice in their ruin as a nation.

I Seeing there is a particular applica tion of this parable to the people of irael and Jaiah, ver. 4. The vineyard of the Lord of bats is the bouje of Ifrael, and the men of Judah bis pleajant plants, who were favour'd with peculiar bleifings above all people on the face of the earth; it can be no proof of any biening or grace common to all mankind; or in other words, it ca be no proof that God gives to all men in ficient grace for convertion, tooug.. at fectualy through their pervarin

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dab, grace fufficient for conversion; which is not a national, but a perfonal bleffing; and it is evident, that fome among them had not reftraining grace, no fenfe of fin in them, or fear of God before their eyes; they drew iniquity with cords of vanity and fin, as it were with a cart rope; they faid, Let him make speed and haften his work, that we may fee it; and let the counfel of the holy one of Ifrael, draw nigh and come, that we may know it: They called evil good and good evil, put darkness for light and light for darkness, ver. 18, 19, 20. Nor was every man in Ifrael and Judah capable of judging whether God had given fufficient grace or no, to any, or all among them.

IV. These words, What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? cannot be understood of God's having done all that was fufficient and neceffary to the faving converfion of those who are defigned by the vineyard; for a reply to the question, taken in this fenfe, might eafily be made after this manner; that God could have made of this bad vine a good one; which was abfolutely neceffary to its bringing forth good grapes; he could by internal grace have effected the faving work of converfion; to which external means, without it, were infufficient; he could have removed the vail from their understandings,


and have taken away the ftony heart, an given an heart of fieth, all which are requi fite to the real work of converfion.

V. The fimilitudes in the parable, only regard the external culture of the vineyard, and can only, at mcft, defign the outward means of reformation, which these people enjoy'd; fuch as the miffion of the Lord's prophets to them, the miniftry of the word, admonitions, exhortations, reproofs, &c. when it might be expected, that a people enjoying fuch privileges, would behave well in their moral converfation; and instead of being guilty of rapine, oppreffion, luxury, drunkenness, pride and contempt of God himself, fins which they are in this chapter charged with; they would have done cousmon juftice between man and man, would have fought judgment, relev'd the onurelfed, judged the fatherless, and pleased fur the widow; all which they migos have done, whhout ipppoñog them to inve graze fufficient to feving convertor, and tuongthis might be wits-beld from them a chc therefore it was not unrealombi d Lord to expect good grapes of $1.4 from them not to coraplart 93 grapes, nor i pustk them for turn

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