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ideas and imperfect notions of divine goodnefs, we do make against them ?" But, pray, what are thefe plain and frequent, clear and copious revelations of divine goodnefs? and what the things that are not fo clearly revealed? why, we are told, that to apply these things to our fubject,
1. We know from fcripture, how dreadful for quality, how endless for duration, will be the punishment of every Chriftian, who fails of the falvation tendered; but we know fo little of the future ftate of heathens, that we are uncertain both as to the measure and duration of their punishment." Now, not to take notice, that falvation is not tendered, and that a Chriftian, or one that truly deferves that name, cannot fail of it, or be liable to endless punishment; it is ftrange, that the dreadful punishment of any, and the endless duration of it, fhould be mentioned among the plain and frequent, clear and copious revelations of divine goodnefs, when it belongs to the plain and fre quent, clear and copious revelations of divine juftice. Befides, tho' we know fo little of the future ftate of heathens from the fcripture, yet we are not altogether at an uncertainty about either the measure or duration of their punishment; for as to the former, we are told, that it shall be more
Mat. xi. 21, 22.
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, for the inha bitants of these places, who had not the advantage of Chrift's miniftry and miracles, at the day of judgment, than for the inhabi cants of Chorazin and Bethfaida, who were favoured with them; and it is reasonable to conclude, that this will hold good of all men, without a divine revelation; and as to the latter, it is certain, when our Lord fhall defcend from heaven, he will take vengeance on them that know not God, the Gentiles, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jefus Chrift, meaning fuch who have enjoyed, but have neglected and despised the means of grace; who, one as well as another, fhall be punished with everlasting deftruction from the prefence of the Lord, and the glory of bis power". Moreover, whereas it is fuggefted, that Providence may put the heathens into a better state before their final doom, fince God overlooked the times of their former ignorance", there being the like rea fon for his ftill overlooking them; it should be obferved, that God's overlooking the times of heathen ignorance, was not an inftance of his kindness and goodness, but of bis difregard unto them: the meaning is, that he looked over them, took no notice of them, made no revelation to them; but left them in their blindness and ignorance, with
w Acts xvii. 30.
u 2 Theff. i. 8, 9.
out giving them any helps, or fending them F any perfons, to inftruct and teach them. 2. It is faid, "We know that God hath made a tender of the covenant of grace, upon conditions of faith and repentance, to all that live under the gofpel-difpenfation; 1 and that these decrees of abfolute Reproba tion, and of denying the help neceffary to the performing thefe conditions, are inconfiftent with that tender: whereas we know of no fuch tender made to the heathen world; but rather, that they are ftill frangers to the covenant of promife, Eph. ii. 12." I anfwer, we know, indeed, from the fcriptures, that God has made a covenant of grace, which is a confiderable inftance of his divine philanthropy and goodness; but then, this covenant of grace is neither made with, nor tendered to all, that live under the gofpel-difpenfation; it's only made with God's Elect in Chrift, and that not upon conditions of faith and repentance; for thefe are bleffings of grace fecured for them in this covenant. Hence the decrees of abfolute Reprobation, and of denying the aid of grace to fome perfons, are not at all inconfiftent with this covenant, and the pro mulgation of it in the gofpel. We also know of no fuch covenant made with, nor of any tender of it, nor of any publication of it to
X Whitby, p. 519. Ed. 2. 497.
the heathen world; but rather, that all that are deftitute of revelation, are strangers to the covenant of promife, Eph. ii. 12. which paffage likewife acquaints us, that such as are without the knowledge of Chrift, and God in Chrift, are without hope; and that fuch who live and die fo, have no good ground of hope of eternal life and falvation; which plainly points out the state and cafe of the heathens, and leaves us at no great uncertainty about it: wherefore, we freely own, what is further alledged, that,
3." We know not any promises God hath made to them;" and we know as little of any promises, or tenders of promifes, God has made to the reprobate part of mankind, either with or without conditions, or upon poffible or impoffible ones: as alfo, that,
4. "We know from fcripture, that the Heathens, who never heard of Christ, and never had Chrift preached to them, are not bound to believe in him." This is readily granted, and to it may be added, that they will not be condemned and punished for their unbelief, but for their fins committed against the law and light of nature. And tho' "we know from the fame fcripture, that this is the command of God to all that have heard of Chrift, that they believe in the Son
Y Whitby, p. 419. Ed. 2. 497.
of God" yet we know that the faich ens joined and required is proportionate, to the revelation that is made of Chrift; for no man is bound to believe more than what is revealed. If evidence is given of Chrift's being the Son of God, the Meffiah and Saviour of the world, as was to the Jews, credit fhould be given thereunto; which the Jews fhould and could have given, tho' they could not believe unto falvation, without fuperior power and grace: if Chrift is represented to any perfons as a proper object of faith, truft and confidence; it becomes fuch perfons to believe in him, and rely upon him, and such are, by the grace of God, enabled foto do. If the spirit of God reveals to a man his particular interest in the death of Chrift, or that Chrift died for him in particular, he ought to believe it. All which perfectly accords with the doctrine of particular Redemption, and is no ways sinconfiftent with God's decrees of giving the neceffary aid of his grace to fome, to enable them to believe unto falvation, and of denying it to others.
1.5. It is added, "We know that God fent his prophets and messengers, apostles: and evangelifts, to move the Jews unto repentance, and thofe Gentiles to whom the gofpel was offered, to embrace it; and that