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fo here, to aggravate the impenitence of the Jews, our Saviour says, that they refifted those means of repentance, which one would think should almost have prevailed upon the greatest and most obdurare finners that ever were ; but not intending to affirm


such thing. But there is no colour for this, if we consider, that our Saviour reafons from the supposition of such a thing, that therefore the case of Tyre and Sidon would really be more tolerable at the day of judgment than theirs, becaufe they would have repented, but the Jews did not.

Others, perhaps, understand the words too strictly, as if our Saviour had spoken according to what he certainly foreknew would have happened to the people of Tyre and Sidon, if such miracles had been wrought among them, And no doubt but, in that case, God did certainly know what they would have done ; but yet I should rather chuse to understand the words as spoken popularly, according to what, in all human appearance and probability, would have happened, if such external means of repentance, accompanied with an ordinary grace of God, had been afforded to them of Tyre and Sidon. And thus the old Latin interpreter seems to have understood the, next words, If the mighty works which have been done in thee, had beeu done in Sodom, čusver av, forte manfiffent, it wonld perhaps have remained to this day, in all likelihood it had continued till now. Much the same with that passage of the Prophet, Ezek. iii. 5, 6. Thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech, and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel : Surely, bad I sent thee to them, they would have hearkned unto thee : that is, in all probability they would ; there is little doubt to be made of the contrary. And this is sufficient foundation for our Saviour's reasoning afterwards, that it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for them. And if we may judge what they would have done before, by what they did afterward, there is more than probability for it: for we read in the 21st chapter of the Aes, ver. 3. and ver. 27. that the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon received the gospel, and kindly entertained St Paul, when the Jews rejected them both. The

III. Thing


III. Thing to be cleared is, What is meant by long ago : they would have repented long ago.

Some underftand this, as if our Saviour had said, they would not have stood out so long against so much preaching, and so many miracles ; but would, at firít, have repented, long before our Saviour gave over Chorazin and Bethfaida for obftinate and incorrigible finders; they would not only have repented at laft, but much sooner, and without so much ado.

But this does not seem to be the meaning of the words ; but our Saviour feems to refer to those ancient times long ago ; when the Prophets denounced judgments against Tyre and Sidon, particularly the Prophet Ezekiel ; and to say, that if, in thiofe days, the preaching of that Prophet had been accompanied with such miracles as our Saviour wrought in the cities of Galilee, Tyre and Sidon would in those days have repented.

The last and greatest difficulty of all is, how this affertion of our Saviour, that miracles would have converted Tyre and Sidon, is reconcileable with that discourse of our Saviour's, Luke xvi. in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, that thofe who would not believe Mofes and the Prophets, would not have been persuaded though one had rose from the dead.

The true answer to which difficulty, in short, is this ; that .when our Saviour says, if they believe not Mofes and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead; he does not hereby weaken the force of miracles, or their aptness to convince men, and bring them to repentance, but rather confirm it, because Moses and the Prophets had the attestation of many and great miracles; and therefore there was no reafon to think, that they who would not believe the writings and doctrines of Moses and the Prophets, which had the confirmation of so many, miracles, and was owned by themfelves to have so, should be wrought upon by one particular miracle, the coming of one from the dead, and Speaking unto then; or, however this might move and aftonish them for the present, yet it was not likely that the grace of God should concur with such an extraordinary means, to render it effectual to their conversion and


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repentance, who had wilfully despised, and obstinately rejected that which had a much greater confirmation than the discourse of a man risen from the dead, and was appointed by God for the ordinary and standing means of bringing men to repentance. So that our Saviour might, with reason enough, pronounce that Tyre and Sidon, who never had a standing revelation of God to bring them to repentance, nor had rejected it, would, upon miracles extraordinarily wrought among them, have repented, and yet deny it elsewhere to be likely, that they who rejected à standing revelation of God, confirmed by miracles, which called them to repentance, would probably be brought to repentance by a particular miracle, or that God should afford his grace to make it effectual for their repentance and salvation.

The words being thus cleared,' I come now to raise such observations from them, as may be instructive and useful to us.

I. I obferve, from this discourse of our Saviour, that miracles are of great force and efficacy to bring men to repentance.

This our Saviour's discourse here supposeth; otherwise their impenitence had not been so criminal and inexcusable upon that account, that such mighty works had been done among them, as would probably

have prevailed upon some of the worst people that had been in the world : for such were the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, guilty of great covetousness and fraud, pride and luxury, the usual fins of places of great traffick and commerce: ad such, to be sure, was Sodom ; and yet, our Saviour tells us, that the miracles which he had wrought in the cities of Israel, would, in all probability, have brought those great finners

bi to repentance, namely, by bringing them to faith, and convincing thero of the truth and divinity of that doctrine which he preached unto them, and which contains such powerful arguments to repentance and amendment of life.

II. I observe likewise from our Saviour's discourse, that God is not always obliged to work miracles for the conversion of finners. It is great goodness in him to afford sufficient means of repentance to men, as he did

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to Tyre and Sidon, in calling them to repentance by his Prophet, though such miracles were not wrought among them, as God thought fit to accompany our Saviour's preaching withal.

This I observe, to prevent a kind of bold and saucy objection, which some would perhaps be apt to make : If Tyre and Sidon would have repented, had such miracles been wrought among them, as our Saviour wrought in Chorazin and Bethsaida, why were they not wrought, that they might have repented ? To which it is sufficient answer to say, that God is not obliged to do all that is possible to be done, to reclaim men from their sins; he is not obliged to overpower their wills, and to work irrelistibly upon their minds, which he can easily do ; he is not obliged to work miracles for every particular man's conviction ; nor where he vouchsafeth to do this, is he obliged always to work the greatest and most convincing miracles; his goodness will not suffer him to omit what is necessary and sufficient to bring men to repentance and happiness; nay, beyond this he many times does more; but it is sufficient to vindicate the justice and goodness of God, that he is not wanting to us, in affording the means necessary to reclaim us from our fins, and to bring us to goodness. That which is properly our part, is to make use of those means which God affords us to become better, and not to prescribe to him how much he should do for us; to be thankful that he hath done so much, and not to find fault with him him for having done no more.

III. I observe farther from our Saviour's discourse, that the external means of repentance which God affords to nien, do suppose an inward grace of God accompanying them, fufficiently enabling men to repent, if it be not their own fault ; I say, a sufficient grace of God accompanying the outward means of repentance, till, by our wilful and obftinate neglect and resistance, and opposition of this grace, we provoke God to withdraw it from the means, or else to withdraw both the grace, and the means from us ; otherwise impenitence, after such external means afforded, would be no new and special fault. For if the concurrence of God's grace, with the outward means, be necessary to work repentance, then the impenitence of those to whom this grace is not afforded, which yet is necessary to repentance, is neither any new fin, nor any new aggravation of their former impenitence. For no man can imagine that the just God will charge men with new guilt, and increase their condemnation, for remaining impenitent in such circumstances in which it is impossible for them to repent.


IV. I observe, from this discourse of our Saviour's, that an iri elistible degree of grace is not necessary to repentance, nor commonly afforded to those who do repent. God may, where he pleaseth, without injury to any man, overpower his will, and stop him in his course, and hinder him from niaking himfelf miserable, and by an irrefistible right convince him of his error and the evil of his ways, and bring him to a better mind : but this God feldom does; and when he does it, it is very probable it is not so much for their own sakes, as to make them inftruments of good to others. Thus, by a secret but overpowering influence, he over-ruled the disciples to follow our Saviour, and to leave their callings and relations, and all their temporal concernments to do it. But one of the most remarkable examples of this extraordinary grace of God, is St Paul, who was violently stopped in his course of persecuting the Chriftians, and convinced of his fin, and brought over to Christianity, in a very extraordinary and forcible manner. And of this miraculous and extraordinary converfion, God himself gives this account, that he was a chosen vessel unto him, to bear bis name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel, Acts ix. 15. and St Paul tells us, Gal. i. 15, 16, that, for this end, God had separated him from his mother's womb, and called him by his grace, and revealed his Son to bim, is that extraordinary manner, that he might preach him among the Heathen.

But, generally, God does not bring men thus to repentance : Nor is it necessary he should. For if an irresistible degree of grace were always necessary to bring men to repentance, there could be no difference between the impenitence of Chorazin and Bethfaida, and of Tyre and Sidon. For, according to this doctrine of the necesQty of irresistible grace to the converGon of every man, it

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