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If this gospel of Christ had been first preached to the gentiles, while it was kept silent and secret amongst the Jews, thera might have been reason to suspect that there was some fraud or falsehood at the bottom, and that this doctrine would not bear the light in the country where these things were done, and that it would not stand the test of examination in the land of Judea, and therefore the story was told first among strangers : And thus the gentiles might have found some difficulty to receive it, and been prejudiced against the belief of it. But now, when it is published through all the land of Israel, and the apostles arpeal to their own countrymen for the truth of these transactions ; when it has stood the test of public examination there, where the things were transacted, it goes forth to the rest of the nations with brighter evidence and glory.

IV. I might add in the last place, that it was fit it should be first published to the Jews, who seemed to have the first claim to it; that since they refused it, it might be offered to the poor gentile nations with greater justice and equity, even the Jews themselves being judges. Such are the frequent hints given by St. Paul ; Acts xiji

. 46. It was necessary that the word of God should have been first spoke to you ; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. Be it known iherefore unto you, that the salzation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it ; Acts xxviii. 28.

When we think of that poor unhappy nation, the Jews, scattered abroad among all the kingdoms of the earth, banished from their own promised land for their rejection of Christ, and yet hardened in their unbelief, methinks we should send out a groan of pity for them ; for they are the sons and daughters of Abraham, the first favourites of our God. Jesus our Saviour was their Messiah, their kinsman, and their rightful king. We should send up a kind wish to heaven upon their account, “How long, O Lord, how long shall Israel be cast off? How long wilt thou be angry with the children of Abraham, thy friend ? When shall the day come for the opening of their eyes, that they may look on Jesus whom they pierced, and believe and mourn? When shall the veil be taken off from their hearts, that they may read the books of Moses, and trust in Jesus of Nazareth, whom their fathers crucified ?"

When we see one and another of the Jewish nation in this great city, and think of their blindness and their zeal for the idle traditions of their teachers, and observe their ignorant rage against our blessed Saviour : when we behold the vain superstitions of their worship, the thick darkness that hangs upon them under the brighest beams of gospel-light, and their wide distance from salvation, we should let our eyes affect our hearts, and drop a tear of compassion upon their souls. “ These were they to whom the promises of salvation did first belong, and to whom the first news was brought, that Jesus the Saviour is born. These are they to whom the gospel was first preached. God himself dwelt in the midst of them, and the Son of God was their brother, their flesh and their blood. Though they are for a season cast off for their infidelity, yet God has told us, that he has a secret love for that nation still for their father Abraham's sake ; Rom. xi. 28. and this love shall break forth in its full glory one day. Make haste, O deliverer, who didst come out of Zion, make haste to fulfil thy promises, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Let the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in, and let all Israel be saved. "Bring them back from all the lands whither thine anger hath scattered them. Release thy ancient people from their long captivity to Satan, and their bands of thick darkness. Be thou, 0 Jesus, who art the light of the Gentiles, be thou also the glory of thy people Israel.

But I would endeavour to make a larger improvement of this general head of discourse.

Does the gospel bring salvation to every one that believes without exception: to all ranks and characters, and degrees, and orders of men then let this grace be spread far abroad : And let not the more polite and nicer hearers grow tired, or drowsy, or disdainful, while I amplify a little and diffuse my thoughts into various particulars, pointing out the variety of the subjects of this grace ; for I would, as it were, mention every sinner by name, that they may not be left only to unaffecting general notions, but being especially addressed they may all come and partake of this salvation by believing this gospel.

A glorious and extensive gospel indeed, and a wide-spreading salvation ? To every one who believes ! None excluded from this blessing !

1. It is not confined to one nation, or one family, not to one tribe or kindred of mankind, as the law of Moses was. Go preach the gospel, says our Lord, to every creature ; Mark xvi. 15, Preach repentance and remission of sins in my name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem ; Luke xxiv. 47. To the Jew first, but let not this grace be confined to them : Publish this blessed doctrine also to the sinners among the Greeks and Gentiles. You that are afar off from God, even in the ends of the earth, ye are called to look unto Christ : and be sured; Is. xlv. 22. It is no matter, O sinner! what thy father was, or what thy kindred are ! if thou art but a believer in Christ, thy soul is happy, thy sins are pardoned, the gospel is the power of God to thy sultatian.

2. It is not confined to one sex only, or to one age. The children are called as well as the fathers, and men and women are invited to partake of this blessing together in Christ. There is neither male nor female, neither young nor old, neither Greek nor Jew, that have any distinction put upon them, to exclude them from this grace; they are all one in Christ Jesus ; Gal. iii. 28. Children, have you seen the evil of your sins, and the danger of hell? Do you long for pardoning and saving grace, and are you willing that Christ should make your peace with God, that he should enable you to serve him upon earth, and prepare you for heaven? Come then, trust in this gospel, give up yourselves to Jesus Christ the Saviour in the manner I have spoken, and the salvation is yours. Nor let old sinners thrust away this mercy from them, under a pretence that they have long abused it. You are now under the joyful sound of the gospel; you sit now under the language of inviting love : Are you willing to be made new creatures before you die, and to accept of a deliverance from hell, though you are upon the very borders of it? Behold power enough in this gospel to deliver you : The blood of Christ can wash out stains of the longest continuance; The Spirit of Christ can change the skin of an old Ethiopian, and create an old inveterate transgresssor into holiness. This gospel could save the thief upon the cross, and ensure paradise to him. It can rescue a dying rebel from eternal death ; for it gives life and salvation to every one that believes.

3. It is not limited to one rank or condition of men in the civil life, but reaches to persons of every circumstance. The rich and the poor, the master and the servant, the prince and the peasant, must partake of salvation by the same faith in the Son of God, The barbarian and the Scythian, who seem to be born for slaves, and the Romans who are lords of the earth, the bond and the free, have all an equal call to receive this salvation ; Col. iii. 11. Ye are all rich enough to obtain it : There is no purchase of these blessings by any other price but that of the blood of Jesus. Silver and Gold, and the treasure of kings, are all contemptible offers in so sacred a concernment as this is. The benefit is too valuable to be bought at any meaner rate : Christ, who paid for it, will bestow it freely on all. If the rich will receive it, they must come without money, and without price, and accept of the free gift of God, as humble petitioners at his footstool ; and the poor that have no money, come ye and buy ; Is. lv. 1, 2. Let the vilest, meanest creature come to this treasury of grace,

and with thankfulness receive the salvation, for it is bought already. You are called only to trust in this gospel, to surrender yourselves to this Saviour, and the salvation shall be yours. Ye that are mean and low and base in this world, there are many of

your brethren already joined in the fellowship of this gospel : Come, enter yourselves into the blessed fraternity. To the poor the gospel is preached, and the poor receive it. But there are some noble, there are some great, there are some rich, that have felt the power of it too : There is Philemon the master, and his servant Onesimus, joined in the same faith, and partakers of the same salvation ; Philem. 16.

Again, 4. It is not confined to persons whose intellectual excellencies are superior to their neighbours, or who exceed others in understanding and the acquirements of the mind. St. Paul was debtor both to the wise and the unwise ; to the learned Greek, and to the ignorant and unpolished barbarian ; Rom. i. 14. He preached the gospel to all of them: For Christ had a chosen number amongst them all. If the witty, and the wise, and the learned will lay down their pride, and subunit to the doctrine of Christ crucified, and not call it foolishness : If they will humble their understandings to receive the sacred mysteries of our religion, God manifest in the fiesh, and put to death for the sins of men, and will place the concerns of their eternal welfare into the hands of him who hung bleeding upon the cross : If they are willing to be converted and become as little children, there is a door for them to enter into the kingdom of heaven. And as for you, whose understandings are weak and unpolished with human learning, this is a doctrine and a gospel exactly fitted for your character : It is no business of great sagacity, no ingenious matter to become a christian. Believe the truths that are plainly revealed concerning your own sin and misery, and the power of Jesus Christ to save you ; bewail your own wretchedness and guilt, and entrust yourselves in the arms of his grace, that ye may be made holy and happy, and ye also shall become possessors of the same kingdom. Father, I thank thee, Lord of heaven and earth, that though these things may be hidden from the wise and the prudent, yet thou hast revealed them to babes ; Mat. xi. 25, 26.

But I pursue the distributions of this grace yet farther :

5. No particular tempers or constitutions of men, no different qualities of soul or body, can exclude those that believe from the grace or blessings of this gospel. Let not the strong man glory in his strength, nor the comely figures of human nature boast themselves in their beauty. Let not the weak be overwhelmed with despair, nor the deformed or uncomnely stand afar off and abandon their hopes ; the same Savionr proposes the riches of his grace to all. Learn therefore to look upon all your natural advantages, and all your natural discouragements, with a negligent eye in the matter of your salvation. If you would be strong to win heaven, you must borrow all your strength from Christ and the gospel. If you would appear comely and honourable before the face of God, you must be clothed in the robe of righteousness, and the garments of salvation, which he has prepared ; Is. lxi. 10.

Nor can any difference in the natural qualities of the soul forbid any person who believes in Christ to hope for this salvation. Those who are by nature proud or peevish, sullen or passionate, angry or revengeful, have been made partakers of this grace, as well as those who by the complexion of their animal frame, and the original temper of their minds, have had more of the natural virtues belonging to them ; such as gentleness, ineekness of spirit, good-humour and kindness. Those who have something in their very frame that is sly and crafty, or covetous, wanton, and intemperate, have felt the power of this gospel, as well as those that have been generous and sincere, modest, chaste, and abstemious; for the grace of the gospel, which was typified by the ark of Noah, takes in all manner of animals, clean and unclean, and saves them from the deluge of divine wrath that shall come upon an ungodly world. But there is this blessed difference, that the brutes went out of the ark with the same nature they brought in: but those who come under the protection and power of this gospel by faith, they are in some measure changed, they are refined, they are sanctified. The wolf that came in, is turning into a lamb, and the raven by degrees becomes a dove, surely, the gospel has begun to make them so, for it has begun their salvation.

I will grant indeed, that the perverse temper of blood and spirits, and the very make of the man, as to his natural and vicious qualities, is seldom entirely altered by the grace of God here on earth. There will be some sallies of animal nature, some out-breakings of the irregular fire that is pent up in the constitution; and these will too often mix themselves with our conduct, and interline our acts of virtue and duty. But the holy soul, who believes in Christ, will be humble, will mourn, will accuse and chide itself before God in secret, and will be importunate and restless in prayer for the victory. The christian will not suffer himself to be carried away willingly by the stream of vicious inclinations ; for he that is born of God sinneth not; 1 John v. 18. and it is in vain to talk of the gospel and salvation of faith and grace, if we give up the reins to vicious nature, and bid a careless farewell to any one virtue.

But to proceed yet farther in reckoning up the various characters of men, whom the gospel makes christians by the grace of faith.

6. As no persons are excluded because of their natural con

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