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out of his hand.” The original word rendered horns signifies also beams of light coming out of his hand ; “and there was the hiding of his power.” A great deal is manifested, and infinitely more hid. The Psalmist expresses it thus : “ Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne; yet clouds and darkness are round about him.” This is the first thing that we ought to consider, that if God's works of grace are mysterious, all his other works are so.

(2.) We ought to consider, that though the works of God's hand on the souls of sinners be mysterious, yet they are not unintelligible. That power, though exceeding great, yet Paul prays for the Ephesians, that they might know the exceeding greatness of it; and he endeavoured to know more and more of the power of Christ's resurrection. It is enough for us to know the cause and the effect : that is, to know what it is to believe, what it is to turn to God, and to know that God is almighty, that he can work these works in us.

3. There is another prejudice that is more ordinary; and it is this : Many are ready to say, If it be the power of God that makes his word effectual, then it is not our fault; we cannot be justly condemned, when it is not effectual. This is turning the grace of God into licentiousness. We ought not to sin because we are under grace.

For refuting this, it is useful to consider, 1st, What it is that the gospel calls for at our hands; 2dly, What that weakness is that we are under, and how it is our fault that we want God's

grace

and

power to excite and enable us.

(1.) Let us consider what it is that the gospel calls for at our hands, and then we shall see, that whether the power of God be joined with his word or not, we are under the strongest obligations to obey that law, and that it is an inexcusable fault to refuse such obedience. If the Lord required any thing which was not just and righteous, it were another case ; but that is blasphemy to imagine; all his commandments

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are just. “ What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ?" All that God requireth of us may be comprehended under that of doing justice. Every breach of his law, every contempt of his gospel, is an act of the highest injustice. We are obliged to obey his law as we are his creatures; and when we have made ourselves sinful rebellious creatures, we are under the strongest obligations to turn to him from the evil of our ways. But can the wisdom of man invent any excuse for not loving God, the fountain of all good, more than the creature; for not obeying him who is infinitely holy and just ; for not preferring him to all other things, which are but nothing in comparison of him ? Can there be any excuse for continuing at a distance from him, the only fountain of living waters ?

(2.) Let us consider what that weakness is we are under. The Scripture makes a great difference between this and any other sort of weakness, and represents it as a wilful weakness. “ Ye will not come to me,” saith our Saviour, " that ye might have life.” They desire not the knowledge of his way, they will not have him to reign over them: yea, they hate the light, they rebel against the light, stop their ears as the deaf adder, and pull away their shoulder, make their hearts like an adamant, that they may not hear the law. The nature of God's law, and of our transgression, confirms this. God requires holy and just inclinations. Love is the fulfilling of the law, and faith of the gospel. To love God, is to have just and pure inclinations; and they that want them, want them wilfully. Our weakness to do good, flows from our strong aversion to it, and our strong inclination to evil. In other cases, we never think it an excuse to any man's wickedness, that he is strongly inclined to it, and to admit this excuse here, is supposing, that the Lawgiver of the world had no right to command any to duties they were not inclined to, or to forbid wickedness to any that were averse from for

bearing it. There is a great difference betwixt that weakness which is wilful, and that which is not. As the power of all creatures is bounded, there are innumerable good things which no creature can do, and which therefore no creature can be blamed for omit. ting. For instance, a man is not blamed because he is not able to work miracles, to remove mountains, to raise the dead, to heal diseases by a word of his mouth. That inability is no crime; there is no obligation upon men to such acts from the relation beiween God and them; and though a man were never so strongly inclined to such miraculous things as these, his inclination would have no effect. But it would be in vain for any man to say, though he were never so strongly inclined to holiness, he could not be holy; for to have strong inclinations to holiness, as we ought to have, is holiness itself. What can be more different than necessity and choice? Now all that continue in sin, are said in Scripture to chuse to do so, Isa. Ixvi. 3. “ They chuse their own way, and delight in their abomination ;" they are said to chuse what the Lord hates and abhors. Though these things he natural, and cannot fall out otherwise without divine grace, yet it is plain from Scripture, and the doctrine of the church of God in all ages, that all who are in a state of wickedness, do really chuse to continue so, and are not willing to be otherwise : and this makes them inexcusable. We think it no excuse, when a man commits theft, murder, or any other act of malice and cruelty, to say that he cannot forbear it, he is so strongly inclined to it in his nature. This makes us rather hate and detest him the more. This ought therefore to make our weakness a ground of humiliation. The stronger our inclination is to do evil, the more weakness there will be to do good.

Besides want of will, there are other things in the corruption of man ; there is blindness and darkness.

That blindness is likewise wilful, as well as our weakness. Men hate the light, rebel against the light, and will not come to the light, because their deeds are evil.

Consider further, that let men think what they please, whoever wants the grace of God, is truly in his heart willing to want it, and is rather averse from having it. Some will be ready to say, that though they want grace, they wish to have it, but there is abundant evidence, that whoever wants it, is truly unwilling to have it. 'They who are under the dominion of sin, are unwilling to be holy, are averse from it; and if they be averse from holiness, which is the effect of grace, they must be averse to that power of God which is the cause of holiness.

It is easy for men to say in general, that they desire grace; byt certainly the profane, the hypocrite, the negligent in duty, are averse from that manner of life, and from that temper of mind, of being broken in heart; and if they have an aversion from sorrowing for sin, in God, a life of spiritual meditation and prayer, strict justice, mercy, humility, they have an aversion from that operation of God's power that produces them. Again, that men chuse to want the grace of God is evident, because they do not use the means of obtaining it with that care that they use means for other things that they desire. If a man desired the grace of God sincerely, he would be at the greatest pains, and grudge no toil in the use of means, in the same manner that a man who desires earthly riches, grudges no toil to acquire them. And if men had sincere desires after grace, they would avoid the hinderances of it, things that are contrary to it. You would think asick mandissembled, if he pretended to desire health, and yet continue to swallow what he knew to be poison : so many pretend to desire grace that do not truly desire it; which is evident from their running son in those courses that are directly contrary to the effects of grace.

4. I proceed to consider another prejudice. Some are ready to think, and say, that if it be the power of God that makes his word effectual, then he deals

with us as stocks and stones ; there is violence offers ed to our free-will; we do not act as rational and free creatures. In answer to this, let us consider, 1. There is no force offered to the will when God turns it to himself; because force is to make a man do a thing against his will, but God's power makes us willing; we are made willing in a day of his power. God doth not make men holy against their will; for it is impossible to be holy, and yet to be unwilling to be so at the same time. Indeed they that were una willing are made willing. If that be violence, it is violence that all of us should long for more and more. 2. It is God that implants those good natural affec-. tions that are in themselves useful, and that are common to all mankind; affections towards relations, hunger and thirst after the means of natural life, love to life, and aversion to death. It is great weakness to think that any inclination must be irrational because it is implanted by God, since all good inclinations flow from him. - Do not err, my beloved,” says James, “ every good gift cometh from above." It is God that gives us the exercise of our reason, and natural light and strength; yet we do not say, therefore, he deals with us as stocks and stones : why should we argue otherwise about his giving us spiritual light, strength, and the exercise of grace, to make us act reasonably, to give him that reasonable service that is due to him ? 3. Nothing can be more reasonable than those inclinations that God implants in the hearts of sinners when he turns them to himself. They are the most just, the only just and righteous inclinations: for what more reasonable, than to believe the truth; to love what is worthy of all love, glory, and praise ; to bate what is abominable and detestable; to love holiness, and to hate sin ; to be thankful for infinite mercy, and undeserved kindness; to have a continu: al impression of that infinite mystery of godliness, that compend, that complication of wonders of grace, mercy, and wisdom? When this affection is implanted in the heart, it is not by treating us as stocks and

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