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does not overlook any on these accounts. He is no respecter of persons. In the blessings of his common providence, those which are more immediately from his own hand, such as air and light, health and strength, the faculties of sight and hearing, &c. he bestows as freely, and in as great perfection, to the poor as to the rich, to the ignorant as to the learned. And thus it is with respect to his grace. Our incapacity is founded in our nature, and is common to all, and not in any particular circumstances. He is as ready to save the mean as the noble. Many of the great and wise are offended at this. As they engross the earth, they would willingly engross heaven also to themselves. But the Lord has appointed otherwise; and it has been one reproach constantly attending the Gospel, that few but the common people have thought it worth their notice*.

2. They are babes in their own esteem. Not that some are more humble than others by nature, and therefore the Lord gives them a preference on that account; by nature we are all alike, equally destitute of the smallest good: but the expression teaches us, that those to whom the Lord is pleased to reveal these things, he first empties and humbles, strips them of all ground of boasting, and brings them to a dependence on himself. The true believer is frequently compared to a little child; and it is easy to trace an instructive resemblance.

1st, A child, or babe, has little knowledge, and its capacity and powers are as yet very feeble. All whose understandings have been spiritually enlightened, will acknowledge themselves children in this respect. The little they know convinces them of their ignorance.

* Mark, xii. 37.; John, vii. 48, 49.

They are convinced that their views of things are faint, partial, confused; that their judgements are weak; that, if the Lord prevents it not, they are very liable to be imposed on by the subtilty of Satan, and the treachery of their own hearts. They feel that they have not in themselves sufficiency to think a good thought.

2dly, A child is teachable. Conscious of their own ignorance, they listen to all about them, and think every one is qualified to teach them something. Among men none are truly teachable, but those who know they need to be taught. The natural man, if possessed of any advantages, thinks every one needs his help. The humble Christian gives this proof that the confession he is ready to make of his ignorance is genuine, and from his heart, that he is desirous to learn from all. He is swift to hear, slow to speak, and open to conviction. Though he will not assent to every thing he hears without proof or examination, yet he is disposed to receive instruction, and thankful to those by whom he is profited. He is fearful of being mistaken, of giving way to prejudices, and therefore gladly improves every means of information.

3dly, A child is simple and dependent. He does not reason, but implicitly receives what he is told by his parents, or those whom he thinks wiser than himself. Such a resignation, indeed, the believer dares not make of his understanding to any men, however highly he may esteem them in the main: for he has learned from the word of God, not to put his trust in man; but this is the desire of the renewed heart, with respect to the teaching of God's word and Spirit. He allows no reasoning or questioning here; nor will he say with Nicodemus, "How can these things be?" It is

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enough for him that God has said it, and is able to make it good. This is a happy temper. In this innumerable difficulties that arise from appearances and sophisms are avoided; and the mind, by faith, steers in safety across the immense ocean of conjectures and opinions, which disputants and reasoners essaying to do, áre sunk and overpowered. It is true, there are various degrees of this simplicity; and in those who possess it in a larger measure, there is a remaining principle of pride and unbelief, which costs them much prayer and many conflicts to subdue. But this, in some degree, is essential to the character of those who are taught of God; they desire and endeavour to submit wholly to his guidance and will in all things.

Here then is a proper topic for self-examination. Let each one ask his heart, Have I this simple childlike disposition?

If you have, if it is the desire of your soul to be taught of God, if his word is your rule, if you depend on his Spirit to teach you all things, and to lead you as it were by the hand, sensible that, unless you are thus led and guided, you shall certainly go astray; be thankful for this, accept it as a token for good. You were not always so: there was a time when you were wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own sight. You have good warrant to hope, that the Lord, who has already taught you to depend on himself, will show you all that is necessary for you to know.

But if this is not the case, if you lean to your own understanding, what wonder is it that you are still walking in darkness and uncertainty? Will you say, I have read the Bible diligently; I have taken no small pains to examine things, to see which of the many divisions

that obtain among Christians is possessed of the truth; but I am still at a loss: surely, if the tenets some plead for had been in the Scripture, I should have found them there! I answer, without detracting from your sagacity or your sincerity, your case is easily accounted for from the verse we are upon, if your inquiries are not conducted in a humble dependence upon the Spirit of God. Too many instances we could produce of men, who having laboured for years in what seems one of the most laudable undertakings, the explaining the Scriptures for the use of others, have at last been in a remarkable degree unsettled themselves; and the only visible fruits their reading and industry has afforded, have been error, invective, and dissatisfaction: so that their labours have been an exemplification of the former part of our text, a proof in point, how entirely the things of God are often hid from the wise and prudent.

You that are seeking the Lord, and are little in your own eyes, rejoice that the dispensation of grace is in his hands. If men had the disposal of it, you might perhaps have been overlooked. We should have been ready to have accepted the fair-spoken young man, who accosted our Lord with so much outward respect, and had so much to say in his own behalf*: and probably we should have left the thief upon the cross to perish. like a wretch, as he deserved. "But the Lord seeth "not as man seeth t." "His ways are higher than

our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts ‡." Therefore there is encouragement for the meanest and the vilest. He has excluded none but those who exclude themselves. "Behold now is the accepted time,

* Mark, x. 20.

+1 Sam. xvi. 7.

Isa. lv. 7-9.

"behold now is the day of salvation. Let the wicked "forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his "thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, for he "will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he "will abundantly pardon."



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MATTH. xi. 26.

Even so, Father, för so it seemed good in thy sight.

THAT the doctrine in the preceding verse is true in fact, is sufficiently evident from common observation. The greatest part of those whom the world esteems wise and prudent, and all to a man who think themselves so, pay but small regard to the truths of the Gospel. They are hid from their eyes, and revealed to babes, to those whom they despise on account of their ignorance and insignificance. And if a few who are favoured with considerable advantages in point of genius, education, or rank, do receive the truth in the love of it, they have been at least taught that they are no better than babes, and are glad to count all outward things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord.

If we could give no other reason for this dispensation of grace, than that which is assigned in our text, it ought to be satisfactory; and would be so, if it was not for the pride of our hearts. Surely that which

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