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Or (which is the fame) with Pharaoh : Who is the s ERM.
Exod. v. 2.
That God doth commonly observe this method (plainly suitable to divine justice, wisdom, and goodness) to dispense the revelation of his truth according to men's disposition to receive it, and aptness to make a fruitful and worthy use of it, to bring forth fruits Matt. ii. 8. worthy of repentance, as St. John Baptist spake ; and. Cor. xll. to withhold it from those who are indisposed to admit it, or unfit to profit by it ; we may from divers express passages and notable instances (besides many probable intimations) of Scripture learn. We may on the one hand observe, that those whom our Saviour did choose to call, were persons disposed easily upon his call to comply; to forsake their fathers, Matt.iv.18. and their nets ; to leave their receipts of custom ; to John i. 24, relinquish all, relations, occupations, estates, and to Matt. xix..
SER M. follow him ; faithful Ifraelites, without guile, like Na.
v. thaniel, (that is, as is probably conjectured, St. BarthoLuke xix. lomew,) men honestly devout, and charitable, like
Zaccheus; that he chose to converse with publicans Matt. 28. and finners, men apt to be convinced of their errors,
and touched with the sense of their fins ; apt to see 'their need of mercy and grace, and therefore ready to entertain the overtures of them ; that he blesses God for revealing his mysteries to babes, (to innocent and well meaning, imprejudicate and uncorrupted per
sons,) such as if men were not, they could in no wife Matt. xviii. enter into the kingdom of heaven, or become Chris3. *1*. 14. tians; those poor in spirit, of whom is the kingdom of i Cor. i. 27. heaven; those foolish things which God chooses as
most fit objects of his mercy and grace ; that he enjoined his disciples, in their travels for the promulgation and propagation of the Gospel, to inquire concerning the worthiness or fitness of persons, and ac
cordingly to make more close applications to them : Matt. x. 11. Into what city or village ye enter, inquire who therein is
worthy; and entering in abide there. Of this proceeding we have a notable instance in Cornelius, who for his honest piety (correspondent to the proportion of knowledge vouchsafed him) was so acceptable to God, that in regard thereto he obtained from him the revelation of truth in a peculiar and extraordinary manner. And St. Paul was another most remarkable example thereof; who for the like reason
was so wonderfully called, as himself intimates, deAas xxii. scribing himself to have been Snawth's Ofő, zealously 3. xxiii. 1. 24. Πεπολίτευ
: affected toward God, according to the righteousness in the puces. law, blameless; one that had continually behaved himActs xxvi.
the persecution of God's truth did proceed with an 1. 14. honest meaning, and according to his conscience, for
which cause he faith, that God had mercy on him ; foreseeing how willingly he would embrace the truth,
and how earnestly promote it: we may also observe, Aas xxvi. how in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit com
washing himself to according to the nally behar
monly directed the Apostles to such places, where a s ER M. competent number of people were well disposed to v. receive the truth; who were su DeTot is this Baconcían, Ti TOū sē, well disposed to the kingdom of heaven, and con- Luke ix. 62. sequently by God's foresight (Tereymérou sis Swri's aiú- A
in AW-48.xvii. 11. vor) ordained to have the word of eternal life (the cò xxviii. 28. Gwrapícy Oző, as it is in a parallel place called) discovered to them ; such people as the Berceans, men ingenuous and tractable ; who consequently entertained the word, μετα πάσης προθυμίας, with all promptitude and alacrity. To such persons God sometimes by extraordinary revelation directed the Apostles to Aas xviii. preach ; as to the Corinthians, in respect to whomo. the Lord spake to St. Paul in a vision, saying, Fear not, but speak, and be not filent; for I am with thee, because morús ési pon daos, there is for me much people in this city; much people whom I see disposed to comply with my truth. So in behalf of the Macedonians, amo tis Maxedwv, a certain man of Macedonia, was in a Aets xvi. vision feen to St. Paul, exhorting him and saying, Pall-9. ing into Macedonia, help us. Thus on that hand doth God take special care that his truth be manifested to such as are fitly qualified to embrace it and use it well : thus is God ready to make good that answer of Pothinus (Bishop of Lions, and immediate succesfor to St. Irenæus) to the Præfect, who asking him Euseb. v. 1. who was the Christians' God, was answered, 'Eż ns Euos gréon, If thou be worthy, thou shalt know; thus, as the Sap. vi. 16. wise man divinely saith, the divine Wisdom, Eiss autñs περιέρχεται ζητεσα, goeth about feeking /tuch as are τωorthy of her; Jeweth herself favourable unto them in their ways, and meeteth them in every thought. .
And on the other hand, that God withholds the special discoveries of his truth, upon account of men's indispositions and demerits, may likewise very plainly appear. We may suppose our Lord to have observed himself, what he ordered to his Disciples; Not to give Matt. vii. 6. that which is holy to dogs, nor to cast their pearls before swine, (not to expose the holy and precious truth
SER M. to very lewd and fierce people, who would snarl at it v. and trample upon it :) we may allow God in the dif
pensation of his truth and grace to do what he bids
the Apostles to do : before he enters into any house, ’Eğerácers. or applies himself to any person, to examine whe
ther the house or person be worthy, that is, willing Matt. xiii. to receive him, and apt to treat him well ; if not, 57, 58.
to decline them. Our Lord, we see, did leave even his own country, seeing men there were not disposed to use him with due honour and regard ; seeing they were poffessed with vain prejudices, apt to obstruct the efficacy of his divine instructions and miraculous performances ; so that he was not likely (according to the ordinary way of divine providence) to produce any considerable effect towards their conversion. He could not, it is said, do many miracles there, because of their unbelief ; he could not, that is, according to the most just and wise rules he did observe, he would not do them; because he perceived the doing them would not conduce to any good purpose ; that they were not apt to look upon those works as the effects of divine power and goodness, performed for their benefit, (for inducing them to faith and repentance,) but rather that the doing them would expose God's mercy to contempt or reproach, at least to neglect
or disregard. Hence our Saviour declined converfing 1 Cor. ii. with persons indisposed to (those fuxixol, who cannot
déxer Jan Ta ToŨ TvEÚMatos) receive benefit by his in
struction and example ; to grow wiser or better by Matt. xxi. his conversation ; as the Pharisees and Scribes; men 31.
prepossessed with corrupt and vicious affections, obstructive to the belief of his doctrine, and observance of his laws; and worldly persons; proud and selfconceited, crafty and deceitful, covetous, ambitious,
and worldly men, incorrigibly tinctured with that Rom. viii. ogóvnpa tñs rapsos, carnal wisdom and affection; which
ris is enmity to God; so that it is not subject to the law of 1 John ii.*God, nor can be ; inextricably engaged in the friend15. ship of the world, which is enmity to God: to such
men the Gospel would certainly be a scandal or as ERM. folly: they would never be able to relish or digest v. the doctrine of purity, self-denial, patience, and the like doctrines opposite to carnal sense and conceit which it teacheth. From such wise and prudent men Matt. xi. (conceited of their little wisdoms, and doting uponcorso their own fancies) God did conceal those heavenly mysteries, which they would have despised and derided : those many wise according to the flesh, many James ii. s. powerful, many noble, God did not choose to call into his church. Accordingly we may observe in the history of the Apostles, that God's spirit did prohibit the Apostles passing through some places, it discerning how unsuccessful (at those seasons, in those circumstances, according to those dispositions of men) their preaching would be: Passing through Phrygia Aas xvi. 6, and Galatia, being hindered by the Spirit to speak the? word in Afa; coming to Mysa, they asayed to go into Bithynia, but the spirit suffered them not. Moreover there is plainly the like reason, why God should withhold his saving truth from some people, as why he should withdraw it from others; when it is abused or proves fruitless : but of such withdrawing we have many plain instances, attended with the declaration of the reasons of them : our Lord prophesied thus concerning the Jews ; I say unto you, that the king- Matt. xxi. dom of God Mall be taken from you, and shall be given 43. to a nation doing the fruits thereof; they, when our Saviour would have gathered them under his wings, wilfully refusing. Our Lord charged his Disciples, Matt. I. 14. when by any they were repulsed or neglected in their preaching, to leave those persons and places, Making Luke ix. 5. off the duft from their feet, in token of an utter (eis A Mactúerov Št' aura's) detestation and desertion of them : Ads xviii. and accordingly we see them practising in their Acts; 6. when they perceived men perversely contradictious, or desperately senseless and stupid, so that they clamoured against the Gospel, and thrust it from them, they abstained from farther dealing with them, turn
ion doing the gathered thharged his