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the Holy Ghost, and with much assurance ! In ordet hereto, inay you seek the Lord, while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near! May the cúicked among you, forfake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and may you all turn unto the Lord that he may have mercy upon you, and unto our God that he may abundantly pardon! May you turn 10 him in true repentance and unfeigned faith, a faith of the operation of his Spirit! May you ask that this repentance and faith may be given you, and seek, in the use of appointed means, that you may find !
Thus may the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to every penitent, believing foul, be the powerful means of your salvation! Being juftified from all things through faith in the blood of Chrift, and fanctified through the operation of his Spirit, may your conversation be fuch as becometh the gospel on earth, till you receive your heavenly inheritance, that eternal life and happy immortality brought to light by the gospel! Amen!
THE DEVICES WHERE BY
THE GOD OF THIS WORLD
THE EFFICACY OF THE GOSPEL.
2 COR. IV.3, 4. * But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that
are loft, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, Jest the light of the glorious gospel of Chrift
should thine unto them." 1. Na former discourse on this important passage
Nature and Design of the gospel of Christ, and the dreadful Consequences which attend our rejecting it. And, undoubtedly, it is of fo excellent a nature, and proposes a design fo benevolent and glorious, that all, to whom it is offered, ought in reason and duty, to embrace it heartily and without delay; even supposing they might neglect so to do without fuffering any inconvenience. But when it is further considered, to what extreme and endless misery they certainly expose themselves who reject this gospel, one would suppose no child of man who reflects at all upon the subject, could hesitate one moment about it; one would imagine that motives of self
intereft, at least, would prevail, where duty and gratitude had no infiuence; and that a fear of punishment would compel those, whom redeeming Love did not constrain, nor promises of happiness allure.
2. And, bleffed be God, one or other of these confiderations do, through the influence of divine grace, fabfolutely needful in this weak and disordered ftate of human nature,) perfuade many to comply with the design of this glorious gospel. But alas ! this is by no means the case in general, (I speak not of Jews, Turks, and Heathens, but of professing Christians :) The generality even of these do, moit certainly, reject the gospel of Christ and neglect the great salvation offered by it. Into the reafon of this conduct it is worth our while to enquirc, especially as this may be a mean of preserving us from an imitation of it, which, I am sure, is no way desirable.
This I shall take occasion to do from the words of our text, where the apostle has given us a key to unlock this mystery;--" The god of this world (says he) hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, left the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them.”
3. The inspired penman (it seems) still alludes: to the case of Moses, who put a vail over his face, fo that the glory of it could not be discerned by the Ifraelites. Thus, as he has intimated in the preceding chapter, a vail of obfeuriry was cast over that difpenfation, through which the Jews (whose minds also were blinded) could not discover the end and design of it. Hence they were not savingly benefited by it ; it did not lead them to Christ, as was intended. Now altho' the gospel be not veiled, but fuffered to shine out in full luftre; yet the god of this world, industrious to prevent the salvation of mankind, by blinding the minds of them that believe not, hinders them from discerning the light of this glorious gospel, or from being enlightened by it.
Three particulars offer themselves to our confideration on this subject.
ist. Who is meant by the god of this world, and why he is so called ?
2dly. Whom we are to understand by those that believe not?
3dly. How the god of this world blinds their minds?
1. With regard to the first of these, “ Who is meant by the god of this world, and why he is so cal. led;" I should have thought it unnecessary to say any thing by way of explication, had I not occafionally met with some who interpret this of Jehovah, the God of Love, the Saviour of all men, whose tender mercies are over all his works ; as if he, inorder to prevent the falvation of his creatures, whom he hath redeemed with his Son's most precious blood, acted the part of the grand adversary of mankind and blinded their minds, by fin and unbelief, left they fould be enlightened by that very gospel which he has provided, in his infinite goodness, for their illumination. The bare mention of so wild a notion as this, is, with men of understanding and piety, sufficient to confute it. By the god of this world, the apostle undoubtedly means Satan, who is elsewhere called “the prince of this world,” and “ the ruler of the darkness of this world,” and “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of difobedience." This apoftate Spirit, this enemy of God and man (and not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrift), is doubtless concerned to hinder the success of the gospel, which is designed for the overthrow of his kingdom, and with this view exerts, to the utmost, all his power and policy from day to day, continually lying in wait to de ceive, like a subtle serpent, and like a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour.
“ He now is plotting how he may
feduce “ Us also from obedience, that with him,
Depriv'd of happiness, we may partake “ His punishment, eternal misery, • Which would be all his solace and revenge, “ As a despite done 'gainst the Most High.”
2. Some (wise, above what is written) would account for this expression, whereby Satan is called the god of this world, by supposing that this world was originally under the dominion of the fallen angels before their rebellion, and was the seat of their kingdom; and that, upon their fall, as a punishment for their crime, it was reduced into that chaotic state described, Gen. i. ver. 1; where we read, The earth was without form und void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Hence it was, they further suppose, that when the earth was put into its paradisaical state, and man was placed in it, (who they think was created to supply the place of the fallen angels,) God did not entirely banith them this world, but still permitted them to wander to and fro in it, and not only to tempt the human race, for their trial, but also to exercise fome authority over the elements and other creatures; though under certain restrictions, beyond which they cannot pass. But it is certain all this is mere conjecture, without any countenance from any part of Scripture. And it is plain, Satan may be called the god of this world, with sufficient propriety, without supposing any thing of this kind, even on the same principles on which he is termed “ the prince of this world,” and “ the ruler of the darkness of this world,” and “the prince of the power of the air," and that is, because of the influence he has over mankind in general, and the use he makes of the dazzling vanities and allure, ments of this world, to attain and preserve that influence.