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brethren who were in his father's house, that he might testify unto them, that they might not come into this unhappy situation. But Abraham replies, "they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them;" and assures them that if they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one went unto them from the dead. These five brethren were that part of the house
of Israel which was represented by five foolish beer virgins in the 25th of Matthew, who not having
the oil of divine knowledge with the rites of the law, were left in darkness, when the glorious bridegroom entered, with his Gentile bride, into the gospel covenant and dispensation.
On the subject of this gulf, it may be proper to be somewhat particular. The use of it we have already seen; which is to prevent those who would go from Abraham's bosom to the rich man; and those who would go from the place of the rich man to Abraham's bosom. By these things we are instructed that the Gentile Christian would go to the unbelieving Jews with the gospel, if it were possible, and that the unbelieving Jews have at all times been desirous of entering into favour with Abraham their father. But why should such a gulf be fixed? And what are the purposes of divine wisdom in this thing? These queries are solved in the 11th chapter to the Romans, where St. Paul has treated the subject in a most luminous manner.He first argues the necessity of the Jews' unbelief, for the purpose of granting favour to the Gentiles. And on the other hand, he argues that through the mercy which the Gentiles obtain through the fall of the Jews, the Jews shall at last obtain mercy:See verses 30, 31, 32. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”
Will any inquire, how the Gentiles obtained mercy through the unbelief of the Jew? Then let them consider, that if Jews had not apostatized from the true religion, but had believed in the Saviour when he came, they never would have fulfilled the prophecies concerning him, by rejecting him, condemn-** ing him, and by putting him to death. And if these prophecies concerning the treatment which Christ should receive from his countrymen, had not been fulfilled, the Gentiles could never have been con- it verted to the gospel. But when the Gentiles heard the gospel preached by the apostles, witnessed by the the fulfilment of the prophecies, concerning Jesus, the door of faith was properly opened to them; In and they saw the light which God gave for sal. ide vation unto the ends of the earth."
That the wisdom of God, which is without partiality, might appear to have the whole direction of these vast affairs, those blinded Jews, through whose fall this great salvation came to the Gentiles, are to obtain mercy at last by the means of the Gentile church. Here we see the sense of our Saviour's words before noticed: “And behold there are last which shall be first, and there are first thing which shall be last.”. The apostle in the 11th of it Romans, seems desirous that his Gentile brethren should understand this mystery, and says, verses 25, 26, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
In this view of our subject, the pertinence of the words of Abraham appears, in which he suggested to the rich man, that equal favours were distri: buted between him and Lazarus. And indeed we see no reason why equal favours should not be granted to the two; for there is not a word in the hole parable, that intimates that one was inore
meritorious than the other. We are not informed n lettthat the rich man went to hell because he was rich, ed in or that the beggar went into Abraharn's bosom betorst cause he was poor, and covered with sores.
How beautiful, how glorious, how surpassing cottis wonder, are the ways of divine wisdom. With to God there is no respect of persons. He is equally El good to all. That gulf which divides between the mot de believing Gentile, and the unbelieving Jew, is debeen a signed for the ultimate good of both, and wisely Sileche constructed to aid the cause of God's universal et grace and love towards mankind. For this cause, nila the Redeemer of the world said, " I thank thee, O
LE Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou for " shast hid these things from the wise and prudent,
and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Fa-
God in one body by the cross, having slain the ense otocmity thereby. Eph. i. 16. And therefore it die would not have seemed good to the Father of our
Lord Jesus Chtist, to hide the things of the king
dom of the gospel from the Jews, if it were not rethe necessary for the eventual accomplishment of their
knal reconciliation. But the wisdom of this world,
which is foolishness with God, labours to prove, Benis that those Jews who stumble at the stumbling is he' stone laid in Sion, are cast off, to be received to failes devour no more. But St. Paul in the 11th of Romans,
to which reference has been made, argues in a very different manner, as in verses 11, 12. “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall, salvation
is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to, dist jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of
the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Such was the glory and beauty of this subject, in the view of this apostle, that when he coines to
close the subject, which he seems to wind up in the 32d ver. in the following words, “ For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all,” he seems to break out into an ecstacy, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearch able are his judgments, and his ways past finding
You have, kind hearers, most attentively listened to what has been offered on the subject under consideration; you have heard what is generally supposed to be the meaning of our text; you have heard arguments designed to disprove the common use of the passage, in which arguments it has been shown that the common sentiment which this passage is generally used to support, is repugnant to the scheme of the gospel. It has likewise been shown, that the connection in which this portion of scripture is found, gives no support to the com mon opinion; and you have heard arguments educed from the text itself, sufficient to refute the sen: timent generally supported by it. And lastly, you have heard what your humble servant believes, beyond all reasonable doubt, to be the true sense and meaning of these words of our Redeemer, accompanied with such evidence from the con text and other parts of the divine testimony, as seems to apply to the subject. Your duty remains. You will after
all preserve an independence of mind sufficient to judge for yourselves.
As you will not rest your faith on my testimoný, so you ought not to rest it on the force of mere tra. dition, You ought to find something very direct and positive in proof of the general opinion, before you adopt it. For the doctrine of endless punishment has never yet been explained in a way to justify our Creator in the infliction of such punishment; and until it is, we should avoid charging him with that which is derogatory to his beneficent character.
FALSE TEACHERS COMPARED TO FOXES.
DELIVERED IN BOSTOX ON THE THIRD SABBATH IN NOV. 1819.
EZEKIEL XIII. 4.
"O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the desert. The true prophets of God were few in Israel, while the false prophets were numerous; and
there seems to have been no small contest between The out them. As would naturally be expected, the many. nise false prophets endeavoured to study the disposithe tertion of a perverse and wicked people, and accom105,56 modate their testimony in a way to suit their prej. klieta udices, and improve their ignorance and supersti
tion in the best manner, for their own emolument lening and popularity ; while on the other hand, the few
prophets of God were under the necessity of bear
ing testimony against the many, contrary to the Mit corrupt traditions and dispositions of the peoAm ple, whereby they rendered themselves unpopular
The false prophets of Israel were to the people
in their day, what false teachers are now to the - diren Christian commonwealth. St. Peter has accom
modated us with a comparison which justifies this remark. He says. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their perni