Mather - Houston-Packer Collection BS478 .M3 1705

3 2 The Gofpel Preached under the Old Righteoufnefs of Faith. The duration of this Difpenfation, under which .Abraham, Ifaac and yacob, and the twelve Patriarchs and their Pofterity continued and enjoyed God, till the Lord provided further Mercies for them by the hand of Mofes (of which afterwards) I fay, this Period and State of the Church continued about four hundred and thirty years, Gen. i5. i3 We have now gone through the three firft pieces, the three firft Iteps and degrees of the Lord's gradual Patefaaions and Manifeftations of his Mind before the giving of the Law. Thofe other pieces of Difcovery under the Law, weshall fpeak to (the Lord of Ring) afterwards. Mean while let us reflex a little upon this that hath been Paid, in order to fome praaical Improvement of it, in fome praaical Inferences and Inftru&ions from it. Ofe. t. See the Infant Rate of the Church and true Religion, how low and weak the firs beginnings of it were. Chrift compares it to a Grain of Muftard Seed, Matth. 13. 3 32. in the firft beginnings under the New Teftament : It is true alto of the old times. 2. We may here fee bow prone Mankind is to degenerate, andfallfrom God : God no fooner fets themup again, but they fall again. TheChurch of God had flood but a matter of a hundred and thirty years in Adams Family, which includedall Mankind ; whenCain falls intoopen Murther. Well, he is turned out, and a matter of a hundred years after things are fo corrupted, that Setb calls his Son Enos, miferable man. Well, about three hundred years after, (as fome_eonjeaure, for the particular time is not fet down in the facred Hiftory, but it may be fuppofed to be thereabouts from Cain's Defeaion and Ejeaion,) there is a newRefor- mation in the time of Enofb. How long this reformed fiate continued is not certain ; but fure it is, that when the World was but fixteen hundred fifty fix years old, there was fuch a general and univerfal Cor- ruption of things, that the Lord thought it necefrary to cut them down with a Flood : So it appears, that (as fome have exprefl'ed it) all mankind is Fick oftheFalling ficknefs : Or, as the Lord himfelf complains, Hof. r. 7. My people are bent to backflidingfrom me, tho' they called them to the moft High; yet none at all would exalt him Tho' the Prophets called them to repent and turn to the Lord ; yet there was none found, that would exalt and fet up God in his heart and life. There is a backsliding' bent upon the Heart, like the Byafs upon the Bowl, that turns it afide, ade- parting Difpofition of Spirit. 3. Behold and fee the free Grace of God in fo many recovering Difpenfations, and renewed Difcoveries and manifeftations of himfelf. Oh the Love of God to worthlefs Man ! Hewas loth to give up fuch a