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Desire you, Sr, to quote the Gospel, Chapter, you mention.
G. The Parable is related both by St Mashew. C. 21.o.33. &c. and by St Luke. C. 20.8.9. &c.
L. Very well, Sr. And you produce this Parable as a full Erample, that all Promises made to the Chri: ftian Church are conditional.
G, I do, My Lord.
L. And truly, Sr, you must have a good Allutance to do it. For the Christian Church is not the least concern'd in that Parable, as the very Jewish Priests and Scribes , to whom it was spoken', will inform you. Luke 20. ¥.19.
The whole Drift of the Parable was to forewarn the h ws of their approaching Reprobation, and Ruine: Bur particularly the Priests and Scribes, who came to Christ in the Temple to question him concerning his Authority and Doctrine , saying to him , by whole Authority dost thou these Things? Or who is he, who gave thee this Authoriry? Math. 21. $.23. Luke 20. ¥. 2. Whereupon our Saviour proposed the foremention’d Parable, which contains a prediction of two Things. 1. That the lews should soon after treat him, as the Husbandmen in the Parable treated the Heir of the Vineyard. And 2. That they should be punish'd by God, as the Husbandmen were punish'd by the Lord of the Vineyard. And the Jewish Priests and Scri
. bes were so fully convinced, that they themselves were che Persons pointed at in the Parable, that (as Șt Lmke tells us o.19.) from that very Hour they fought
to lay Hands on Christ , for they perceived that he had fpoken that Parable' against them. And is not this now a wonderful Example to convince us, that all the Promises made to the Christian Church are condirional? You may as well quote it for a Prediction of the Fall of the Monument. For it has full aş much Connection with it.
There is indeed a Part added to the Application of the Parable made by Christ himself, which belongs to the Christian Church. But it implies the very Reverse of what you maintain, Christ's Words are these. Therefore I say unto you , the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a Nation bringing forib the Fruit thereof. Math. 21. 9.43. Which Words plainly insinuate this Difference between the Synagogue, and the Church of Christ ; that whereas the
Kingdom of God was to be taken from the former 2 which did not bring forth the Fruirs thereof, it should
not be taken from the latter, which would bring forth sbe Fruits thereof. Whence it follows, that the Church of Christ will never imitate the Apostacy and Fall of the Jewish Synagogue. And, by Consequence, the Promise of Infallibility made to her is absolute and Unconditional. Because no Condition of Obedience can be implied, when Obedience itself is a Part of the Pro. milc; as it must certainly be to verify our Saviour's Words saying, that the Nation or People , to which the Kingdom of God was to be given , should bring forth she Fruit thereof.
G. My Lord, As Treason forfeits an Estate or a Honours given by a Prince, tho in never so politive Terms, and without any Condition express’d, " but that of Allegiance to the Prince is always im- se plied; so the Church may forfeit her Charter, pag. «
L. I answer forft , thas if a Prince could as įnfal
libly foresee the unchangeable Allegiance of his Subjects, as Christ foresaw the unalterable Faith of his Church , when he promised, that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, the Gifts and Favours of such a Prince might be wholly Uncondicional.
I answer 2dly, that God's infinite Bounty is not to be measured by our short Line. And therefore allowing it to be true, that a Prince cannot bestow a Title or Honour, but that a Condition is implied, must this be a Law to the Almighty, and tie up
his Hands from bestowing an Absolute, and Unconditional Favour?
» G. God said to Eli the high Priest of the fewish
Church, I said indeed that thy House, and the House » of thy Father should walk before me for ever: But now » the Lord says, be it far from me. For them, that bo» nour me, I will honour, and them that despise me , » be lightly esteemid. 1. Sam. 2. Ý. 30. And he said, » Num. 14.Þ.34. Te shall know my Breach of Promiss, » or, as our Margin reads it, the Altering of my Pur» pose. And God has told us plainiy, that we are » thus to understand his Promises as well as Threat
nings. Jer. 18. V. 7. &c. At what instant I shall !
speak concerning a Nation (or Church) to pluck up, » and to destroy it. If that Nation, against whom I have > pronounced, turn from their Evil, I will repent of the w Evil I thought to do unto them. And at what Instant » I shall Speak concerning a Nation (or Church) 10 » build and plant it, if it do cvil in my Sight, that is » obey not my Voice , then will I repent of the Good, » wherewith I fuid I would benefit them.
» This was the Language of the Prophets to the » Jewish Church, but she understood it not, but » leant upon the Promises made to her as uncondi. » tional and indefeasible , let her be as wicked as she >> would. And this harden'd her against her Prophets,
whom she persecuted for this Reason as Enemies se to the Church; as we find, Jer. 18. ¥.18. Come , ce and let us devise Devices against Jeremiah, for the Law « shall not perish from the Priest. Here the Jewish Church cc ftuck; and here the Church of Rome sticks at this c Day. pag. 29.30.« 1. So, as to the Texts, you have quoted, I shall
know my Mind concerning them immediatly. But your Observations , particularly upon Jes remy, are somewhat extraordinary. For first you remark, that this was the Language of the Prophers to the Jewish Church. Tis true, the Prophet Jeremy spoke to the Jews: But their Church is not once mention'd in the whole Text : And what he threaten'd them with on the Part of God was the Ruine and Defola-, tion of their Country, but not the Fall or Apostacy of their Church; which subsisted no less in their Caprivity, than when they were in the most flourishing Condition. So that your joining the Word Church twice with the Text without having Jeremy's Leave for it, is making too bold with him.
ediy, you observe, that the Jews understood not the Proph.i's Language, but leant upon the Promises as unconditional and indefeasible. And you add , that this made them perfecute Jeremy as an Enemy to the Church. Now I cannot very well conceive how they could persecute Jeremy for a Language, which, as you tell me, they understood not. Tho in Reality the Text quored by you is so plain , that the meanest Capacity may understand it ; and I presume you think you understand it, for otherwise
would not have quoted it.
But I defire you to answer this Dilemma. Either the Jews understood the Prophet Jeremy's Language, or they understood it not. If not, they could not persecuce him for it. But if they understood it, as
undoubtedly they did, they could not lean upon God's Promises as unconditional and indefeasible ; Since feremy taught them so plainly the contrary. Nay the sad Experience of the many Calamities, that had befaln them both under their Fudges and Kings, had lufficiently taught them, that the Effect of the Promises; which' God had made to prosper and protect them, depended on their Obedience to his Commands : and that therefore they could not lean on them as unconditional and indefeasible.
G. But why then did they persecute Jeremy Saying Come let us devise Devices against Jeremy, for the Law shall not perish from the Priest?
L. They persecuted him, because he told them ungrateful' Truths, reproach'd them with their Cris mes, and threaten’d them with God's Judgments, if they did not mend their Lives. This made them conspire against him, and resolve upon his Death, Because ( said they ) tho he should perish, the Law will not perish from the Priest; and they hoped his Suco ceffor would be less troublesome to them.
G: However I perceive you grant , thar God's Promises to the Jews were Conditional
. , Sr, there are uncontestable Instances of Conditional Promises in holy Writ. So Allowing the Texts, you have quoted, I should be glad to know what Advantage you can make of them in Order to prove, that all God's Promises are Conditional, Is this a Good Consequence , fome Men are born blind, therefore all are born under that Misfortune ? No surely. Yer your Confequence is nothing better, when from a few Instances of Conditional Promises you conclude that all God's Promises are so. What do
you think of God's Promise to Noah , thar the World shall not perish by a second Deluge? Or the great Promise of the Meffias i I defy you with all