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with the fame Acknowledgments of utter Unworthinefs. For, it is a certain Truth, and admits of no Exception; That to justify Sinners, is not the Privilege of human Obedience, but the fole Prerogative of the LORD our Righteoufnefs.
Ther. Is not the Practice of Hezekiah an Exception to your Rule? Thefe, if I recollect aright, are the Words of that holy King; I befeech Thee, O LORD, remember how I have walked before Thee in Truth, and with a perfect Heart, and have done that which is good in thy Sight*. You fee, He puts the Iffue of his Tryal before the everlasting GOD, upon his own Integrity and his own Obedience.
Afp. Thefe are his Words, but they are not ufed with this View. He humbly represents before the great SOVEREIGN of the World, how beneficial his former Life had been, and how ferviceable his prolonged Life might be, to the beft Interefts of the Jewish Nation. He recurs to his Obedience, not that He may eftablish his Hope of eternal Happiness in Heaven; but that He may obtain a Reprieve from the Grave, and a Lengthening of his Tranquillity on Earth.Neither is this Obedience gloried in, by way of Merit; but only pleaded, by way of Argument: As though He had faid; "Remember, gracious "GOD, how I have exerted my royal Au"thority,
2 Kings xx. 3.
thority, to fupprefs Idolatry, to extirpat Vice, and to promote thy true Religion. Confider, how greatly thy People stand in "need of such a vigilant and zealous Governor; and to what a miferable Condition "both Church and State may be reduced, if "Thou takest away thy Servant by this threat"ened but untimely Stroke. And, for the "Welfare of Judah, for the Honour of thy "Name, for the Support of thy own Worfhip, O fpare me a little !"
Afpafio paufed; expecting a Reply.—As Theron continued filent and mufing, Afpafio, with a Smile of Benevolence, proceeded.Come, my Theron; why fo deep in Thought? Have You any Objection to the Evidences I have produced?—They are fome of the most dignified Characters, and illuftrious Perfonages, that could be felected from all Ages: Kings, Princes, and Patriots; Priests, Saints, and Martyrs. Should these be deemed infufficient, I can exhibit a larger and nobler Cloud of Witneffes-larger, for they are a great Multitude, which no Man can number, of all Nations, and Kindreds, and People, and Tongues-nobler, for they ftand before the Throne, and before the LAMB, clothed with white Robes, and Palms in their Hands.Afk those shining Armies, Who they are, and Whence they came? Their Anfwer is comDd 2
prized in one of my favourite Portions of Scripture: one of those delightful Texts, from which I hope to derive Confolation even in my laft Moments. For which Reason, You will allow me to repeat it, though it may perhaps be mentioned in a former Conversation. We are they, who came out of great Tribulation; and have washed our Robes, and made them white in the Blocd of the LAMB: therefore are We before the Throne *.
Some of them laid down their Lives for the Sake of CHRIST; many of them were eminent for Works of Righteoufnefs; all of them were endued with real Holiness. Yet, none of these Qualifications conftituted their Paffport, into the Regions of endless Felicity. They had washed their Robes; had fled to the Atonement, and pleaded the Merits, of JESUS their SAVIOUR-Hereby they had made them white; this was the Cause of their Acquittance from Guilt, and their complete Juftification—And therefore, on this Account, their Perfons were accepted; they were prefented without Spot before the Throne; and admitted to that Fulness of Joy, which is at GOD's Right-hand for evermore.
Ther. I have no Objection to your Witneffes. But, methinks, your Doctrine is ftrangely debafing to human Nature.
* Rev. vii. 14, 15.
Afp. A Sign, Theron, that it is agreeable to the Genius of the Gospel. Which is calculated, as the eloquent Ifaiah foretold, to humble the Sinner, and exalt the SAVIOUR*; The Loftiness of Man fhall be bowed down, and the Haughtinefs of Men fhall be made low, and the LORD alone fhall be exalted in that Day † :
though naturally vain, fhall be made fenfi"ble of his numberlefs Offences; fhall see the "Defects that attend his highest Attainments; "shall confefs the Impoffibility of being jufti"fied by the Deeds of the Law; and place all "his Hope upon the propitiatory Death, and "meritorious Obedience, of the LORD JESUS CHRIST.”
*This correfponds with a very valuable Maxim, which an eminent Divine once recommended to his People, as a Touchstone to diftinguish evangelical Truth.-That Doctrine, he faid, which tends
To humble the Sinner;
That Doctrine, which tends to accomplish all these Defigns, You may embrace as found. That which is defective in its Influence on any one of them, You should reject as corrupt.
↑ Ifai. ii. 11.
The END of the FIRST VOLUME.