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take away all the detestable things thereof, and all the abomination thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them a heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
Zech. xij. 10, to the end. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they bave pierced,” &c.
So in the next chapter at the beginning, “I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall be no more remembered ;” and also, “I will cause the prophets, and also the upclean spirits to pass out of the land.”
Mal. iii. 3, 4. “ And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver ; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in the former years."
$ 55. We are told, Job xxviii. 28, that “the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding." The same is also abundantly declared in other places. But it is equally declared, that God is the author and giver of wisdom, and that he is the author wholly and only; which is denied of other things. It is also abundantly declared in this 28th chapter of Job, that it cannot be obtained of any creature by any means; and it is implied in the end of the chapter, that it is God that gives wisdom, as is asserted, Prov. ii. 6. “For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." It is the promise of God the Father, Psalm cx. 2. “Thy people sball be willing in the day of thy power.” Psalm cxix. 35. "Make me to go in the way of thy commandments.” Verse 36. “ Incline my heart unto thy testimonies.”
$ 56. We are directed earnestly to pray and cry unto God for wisdom, and the fear of the Lord; for this reason, that it is he that giveth wisdom. Prov. ii. at the beginning : Compare Job Ixviii
. with Prov. xxi. 1. “ The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Here it is represented that the will of God determines the wills of men, and that when God pleases to interpose, he even directs them according to his pleasure, without failure in any instance. This shows that God has not left men's hearts so in their own hands, as to be determined by themselves alone, independently on any antecedent determination.
Prov. xxviii. 26. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” A man is to be commended for making a wise improvement of his outward possessions, for his own comfort; yet this is the gift of
God. Eccles. ii. 24-26. “ There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw that it was from the hand of God."
John i. 12, 13. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God; which were born, not of the will of man, but of God.” Thus also we read, Luke iii. 8. “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” John iii. 3. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Verse 5. “Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Verse 8. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Jam. i. 18. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures."
What Christ meant by being born again, we may learn by the abundant use of the like phrase by the same disciple that wrote this gospel, in his first epistle, who doubtless learned his language from his Master; and particularly from those sayings of his concerning the new birth, which he took more special notice of, and which left the deepest impressions on his mind, which we may suppose are those he records, when he writes the history of his life. Matth. iv. 19. “I will make you fishers of men.” So Mark i. 16, 20, together with Luke v. “From henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Compared with the foregoing story of Christ's giving them so great a draught of fishes, which was wholly his doing, and ascribed to him. Matth. vi. 10. “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.” Matth. xi. 25-27. “ At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” So Luke x. 21, 22. Johu vi. 37. “ All that the Father giveth me, shall come unto me.” Verse 44. “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him.”
John X. 16. “Other sheep I have wbich are not of this fold ; them also I must bring; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” Verse 26—29. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you ; my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands. My Father which gave them me,” &c. Vol. VII.
Acts xv. 3, 4. “ Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” Verse 9. “ And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Therefore it is not probable, that the heart is first purified, to fit it for faith. John xiv. 12. “ Greater works than these shall he do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." The meaning of it is confirmed from John xii. 23, 24, 28–32, and John xvii. 1, 2. 3. Isa. xlix. 3. 5, and xxvi. 15, and Isa. xvi. 14. Isa. xvii. 3, 4, 5, and 16, 17, and 22. 24, (especially Isa. lv. 4, 5.) Jer. xxx. 19. Rom. ix. 16. “ It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” By such an expression in the apostle's phraseology, from time to time, is meant the use of endeavours, whereby they seek the benefit they would obtain. So what he here says, is agreeable to what he says in chap. xi. 4, 5, 6, 7, where he particularly shows, that it is God that preserves the remnant, and that it is of the election of his grace and free kindness, and not of their works; but in such a way of freedom, as is utterly inconsistent with its being of their works. And in verse 7, that it is not determined by their seeking, but by God's election. The apostle here, as Dr. Taylor says, has respect to bodies of men, to the posterity of Esau and Jacob, &c. Yet this he applies to a distinction made in those days of the gospel, and that distinction made between those that were in the Christian church, and those that were not, and particularly some of the Jews that were in the Christian church, and others of the same nation that were not; which is made by some believing and accepting Christ, and others rejecting him; by that faith which they professed to exercise with all their hearts; that faith which was a mercy and virtue, and the want of which was a fault; as appears by the objection the apostle supposes, verse 19. “Why doth he yet find fault?” The want of which faith argued hardness of heart, verse 18, exposed them to wrath and destruction, as a punishment of sin, verse 22, and exposes persons to be like the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, verse 29.
Rom. xi. 4, 5, 6, 7. “ But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so at this present time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace.
But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.” 2. Tim. ii. 9. Eph. ii. 9. Tit. iii. 5. “ What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for ; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." Rom. xi. 17, 18. “If some of the branches are broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in amongst them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches."
Rom. xi. 25, 26, 27. “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in ; and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Together with verses 35, 36. “Who hath first given unto him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever.'
$ 57. That expression, Rom. i. 7, and 1 Cor. i. 2, and elsewhere, called to be saints, implies that God makes the distinction. Compare this with what Christ says, John X. 27. “ My sheep hear my voice.” Verse 16. “Other sheep have I which are not of this fold; them also must I bring; and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” i Cor. i. 26, 27, 28, to the end ; "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the fleshi, not many mighty, not many noble, are called : But God hath chosen the foolish things of, &c. That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus," &c. Rom. xi. latter end. Heb. xii. 20, 21. 1 Cor. iii. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. “ Who then is Paul, or who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, and Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase-We are labourers together with God, ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building." According to the Arminian scheme, it ought to have been; I have planted, and Apollos watered, and God hath planted and watered more especially. For we have done it only as his servants. But you yourselves have given the increase ; the fruit has been left to your free will : Agreeably to what the Arminians from time to time insist on, in what they say upon the parable of the vineyard which God planted in a fruitful hill, &c., and looked that it should bring forth grapes, and says, what could I have done more unto my vineyard ?
1 Cor. iii. 3. “Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on the fleshy tables of the heart.” They were the epistle of Christ, as the effect of the Spirit of God in their hearts held forth the light of truth; of gospel truth with its evidence to the world; as the church is compared to a candlestick, and called the pillar and ground of the truth. This is agreeable to those scriptures in the Old Testament, that speak of writing God's law in their hearts, &c. Add to this, Chap. iv. 6. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, bath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”' 2 Cor. v. 14-18. “If one died for all, then were all dead; that
they wbich live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away: Behold, all things are become new; and all thivgs are of God."
2 Cor. viii. 16, 17. “ Thanks be to God who put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation. But being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you." So the next chapter speaks of the Corinthians' forwardness and readiness in their bounty to the poor saints, not as of necessity, but with freedom and cheerfulness, according to the purpose of their own hearts or wills; but yet speaks of their charity as just cause of much thanksgiving to God; and speaks expressly of thanksgiving to him for such a subjection of them to the gospel, and liberal distribution to them. Gal. i. 15, 16. “But when it pleased God, who separated me
mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles," compared with 2 Cor. iv. 6, 7, and the account which he gives bimself of his conversion, Acts xxvi. 16—18.
Gal. ii. 19, 20. “I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
Gal. v. 22, 23, &c. “ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
$58. The apostle, in Eph. i. 18—20, speaks of some exceeding great work of power, by which they that believe are distinguished. But a bodily resurrection is no such distinguishing work of power. See the words: “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ Jesus, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places.” The apostle repeats the same thing in substance again in chapter iii. 14, and following verses, and tells us what sort of knowledge he desired, and so earnestly prayed that they might receive, and what is the
power that he speaks of : “ That they may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” And tells by what means God would dwell in their hearts by faith, &c., verses 16, 17. And he tells us in verse 20, what is the power of God he speaks of. See Rom. xv. 13. 1 Pet. i. 3—5, and 2 Thess. i. 11, 12. See also what the apostle speaks of as an effect of God's glorious power, Col. i. 11.