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refers, the human race are considered, not as yet to be created, but as created and fallen, and all on a level, ---one corrupted mass out of which the Deity might either form“ vessels of mercy” or not as he pleased. Rom. ix. xi. Now, this is the very ground on which partiality, or respect to any thing as pre-occupying the divine mind in favour of some to the prejudice of others, is denied. All were on a level, but it was in the total destitution of any claim on divine favour whatever. Even that to which God might righteously have had respect did not exist. No nation, no individual, presented any distinction which God could acknowledge as worthy of attracting his regard, or determining his choice. The Jews were manifestly chosen, prior to their existence, and thus prior to all the privileges, they afterwards possessed ; these were the results of the choice. It is upon this principle, accordingly, that the folly of their boasting is exposed. They conceived that God must respect them because of the high prerogatives by which they were distinguished. How could God, (to adopt their own absurd idea,) be prejudiced in their favour by privileges which did not exist with them previous to his own sovereign appointment, which, as facts had also proved, were not conferred because they were better than other nations, and which, or even superior privileges, he was equally free to bestow upon others ? The proper question was, how had they profited by these privileges ? for moral or spiritual excellence is the only thing that God can respect without violating the essential equity of his nature, and it is because he will look to this as the subject of complacential regard, and to nothing else, that in the sacred discussion of this very point, he is expressly pronounced “to be no respecter of persons.” See Rom. ii. 5–11. But according to the doctrine of the sacred writers, even this species of excellence, which God may regard in giving proofs of complacency, and which alone he will regard in deciding on character, could no more than the external privileges intended to produce it, be considered in the order of nature as previously existing to determine his original selection. Rom. ix. 11-13. Eph. i. 4, 5, 6. 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14.

There are many indications that God, in selecting the Jews to be his peculiar people, had solely a respect to his own plan of glorifying himself by that triumph over moral evil, which, we have seen, involves also a vast augmentation of the sum of general happiness. Having appointed a Saviour, it was requisite that the true religion should be preserved in some quarter of the world or another till he came ; for, otherwise, his coming might have been prevented by an imperious call for another mode of proceeding with mankind. The antediluvian method of preserving and transmitting the true religion had proved so ineffectual, that almost total apostasy preceded the flood; and since the same method transferred to the new world, and even seconded by all the terrors of the flood, soon began to give way before the rapid advance of superstition and idolatry, to prevent another deluge, or a still more awful catastrophe inconsistent with the grand purpose of the Deity, it was necessary that some new measure should be resorted to,-a measure congenial to the object in view, and otherwise properly adjusted to the plan. This we find was the separation of a people to be the depositaries of revealed truth and of sacred privilege, till the requisite preparations should be made for introducing the effective scheme of recovery in the reign of Messiah. Rom. iii. 1–3. Eph. i. 9, 10. Was there respect of persons here? Or was not the general good consulted as a part of the god-like purpose ? That this purpose was in view, and not any previous regard to Abraham, appears from God's choosing that patriarch to be the father of the segregated nation, rather than Melchizedek his contemporary, who seems to have been equal in excellence, if not originally preferable,--Abraham being connected with idolaters, while Melchizedek was “ priest of the most high God.” Josh. xxiv. 2. 15. Deut. xxvi. 5. Gen. xiv. 18, 19. Upon the very same principle that directed the choice of Abraham, the latter was not chosen,—that in his own place he might subserve the great purpose by pre-indicating the vast superiority of the promised Messiah to all the priests who should descend from Abraham ; thus notifying at the very time when the segregation was made, that only a preparatory scheme was intended by it. Heb. vii. 1, 4, 7.

If the Jews were “ beloved for the fathers' sakes," it was neither from respect to the persons of the patriarchs, which always lands in the presumption of previous good works influencing the divine choice, nor from respect to their own persons as descended of the patriarchs, which was evidently the import of their foolish boast, “ we have Abraham to our father.” Both opinions prevailed among the Jews, and are accordingly combated in the apostolical writings. The true idea was, God's respect to his own promise made to the fathers, and to the development of his great purposes agreeably to its import. The Jews are still “ beloved for the fathers' sakes," as interested in the covenant of promise, which ensures their conversion under the reign of Messiah. But that God is no respecter of persons because of their descent from the patriarchs, appears not only from the rejection first of the family of Ishmael, and next of the family of Esau, but from his casting off the Jews themselves, when their existence, as a favoured people, interfered with the very design of committing the promise to their fathers, -the blessing of all families of the earth in Christ.

If we be now asked, why the Effective Administration was so long delayed, to the great disadvantage of the Gentiles ; and why its efficiency has been so little felt, or restricted to such narrow limits, since the time of its commencement ? we can only say, that these wonders, so stumbling to human beings, who are ever apt to be partial to their own interests, doubtless appeared to the Deity the best calculated to promote his own great Design, and to render the progressive and final triumph over evil more illustrious than it would otherwise have been. But “ the depth both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his ways, and his judgments past finding out!”—It might be proper to aggrandize the coming and reign of Messiah by a vast system of preparations. It might be proper to have the whole earth replenished with inhabitants, and to suffer moral evil to exhibit its various malignant aspects in every country,—to shew itself among every kindred and people as the indelible character of our race, unaffected by national peculiarities, and neither effaced by civilization, nor rendered illegible by the rudeness of a savage condition. This universality of evil so completely evinced, while it would constitute the reign of the Old Serpent, the spirit to be vanquished, might also be connected with the vindication of Deity, by establishing the truth of the primitive transaction with man, and thus suggesting the true rationale of human depravity.-At the same time it might be proper to pre-establish an extensive demonstration of the total inefficiency of political skill, philosophical speculations, and all human institutions for releasing mankind from the domination of sin, or even ensuring their temporal happiness.-Equally proper might it be to bring forward a long protracted proof of the inefficacy of all human forms of expiation, for removing that judicial sentence, on the repeal of which our moral restoration depends. Connected with this, the repeated revolts of the Jews themselves during the period of delay, and their ultimate great degeneracy, might serve to disprove the efficacy of even divinely appointed forms of expiation, such as belonged to the preparatory system, when these are detached from their proper relation to the Great Atonement, the true basis of renovating influence, and the only thing that

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could ever render them worthy of divine institution. The facts in the history of the Jews and of the world tally with this induction of propriety, and the Holy Scriptures confirm the view which it gives. The nature of the Jewish economy, as a grand preparatory system, is fully ascertained. The previous process furnished the proper proof that God alone can effect a triumph over moral evil, that it must be effected by special interposition, and in a manner worthy of divine holiness and justice. The insufficiency of animal sacrifice and multiplied offerings for sin had been felt. The necessity of the true atonement and of the reign of spiritual influence had been evinced. Among the nations, philosophy had failed to regenerate mankind; “ the world by wisdom knew not God.” Political systems of restraint had also failed to answer their ends. Corruption and oppression had debased the very tribunals of justice ; - all the foundations of the earth were gone out of course.” It was " the fulness of the time." It was the crisis of the world. Either universal judgment must speedily ensue, or God must arise and subject all nations to a more effective scheme of government. This he had intended. With a view to it he had “ winked at the times of ignorance” among the Gentiles, who were not so highly favoured as the Jews. And the whole previous state of affairs was deemed requisite to evince the necessity of the Mediatorial administration, attest its divinity, and aggrandize its effects. Epistle to the Hebrews. Isaiah Tíži. 1 Cor. i. Psalm lxxxii. John xii. 31, 32; xvi. 11.

If the effects of the gospel and the Reign of Heaven have not yet been universally felt, this may be greatly owing to the culpable negligence of those who enjoy the privileges of the kingdom, in not more eagerly endeavouring to diffuse them ; but it may also, in some degree, be owing to the nature of the system, which cannot be imposed, but must just make its way in the world by gradual encroachments on the deeply-rooted and long-established opposing interests. To undo the charge of partiality, it is enough to remark, that the true religion was twice universal,—in the days of Adam, and in the days of Noah; and that now its Christian form is again accommodated to every kindred and people. It bears no marks of specialty. • Is he the God of the Jews, and not of the Gentiles also ?" But to pass other considerations ; if it was a part of the divine plan that moral evil, in order to develop all its malignity, should be allowed to prevail to a great extent and for a long season against the purity of the Christian religion, subjecting the faithful to grievous persecutions, and involving others in

the aggravated guilt of apostacy,--and if it also belonged to the plan, that this grand apostacy should be visited by a series of judgments comprehending “the last plagues, in which the wrath of God is filled up,"—then it must appear to have been comparatively better that till all these things were accomplished, the majority of the nations should remain unenlightened. The gospel, in this case, or the spiritual reign of Messiah intended for the renovation of the world, would not be disparaged, by seeming to have failed even after attaining the universality requisite for accomplishing its object. Multitudes, also, by being allowed to remain in the state of heathenism, would not be involved in the aggravated guilt of the Grand A postacy, emphatically styled “the mystery of iniquity.” And the sphere of that accumulated wrath with which the corruption of Christianity must be visited, in order to a demonstration of the divine triumph over evil in its worst forms, would be greatly abridged. The meliority which, on these suppositions, must at once be admitted, is confirmed by the testiinony of Scripture. All that we have supposed did really belong to the divine plan. And we are informed, that after the judgment of “ the last plagues” in which “ the wrath of God," to be executed during the present constitution of things, “ is filled up," Satan shall be bound, all nations shall be reclaimed, and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, for a period sufficient to shew how truly, and how extensively, he can make “ the cause of truth, meekness, and righteousness," to triumph in the very region of sin, and prior to the total separation of the one system from the other. Rev. xvi.—XX.

IV.—THE SUFFERINGS OF THE GOOD.

Even the atheist must admit, that there are persons in the world whose habits, manners, and general deportment, are less noxious to themselves and society, than those of others. The Christian recognises virtue of a higher order. He knows that although “ there is not a just man on the earth who sinneth not,” there are many whose hearts have been “ directed into the love of God,"—many whom the Scriptures designate men of uprightness,“ good, holy, righteous, godly.” These, we might expect, would be visibly favoured by Heaven. Observation and experience, however, evince the contrary; and the Scriptures themselves, which have drawn the character, and determined its moral worth, allow that " the afflictions of the

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