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Succession of Providences and Dispensations Sermon towards its blessed Completion.; L^vn;
;But was. this mysterious Union to be transacted only in the Person of the everadorable Redeemer? Not so: It was indeed begun in him; but through him it was to take place in every individual Soul of the human Race, in order to its Salvation 5 that, as in Adam all died, even so in Christ foould' Cor.xr. all be made alive. As much of the Divine Perfections as was lost to the Soul by the communicated Infection of Sin from the first Adam., must be derived into it from the second Adam, as from another Fountain of the human Race, that both he that san3i-Hxb.ti.tL fieth, and they who are sanctified, may be afl os one. Nothing that is extrinsick to the Nature of the Soul, or that passes withpjjt it, can redeem a fallen Soul j but it must be fashioned anew, and a Meetness for Glory fojCnied in the inmost Essence of it ; for Cor-1 Cor.xv. ruption . cannot inherit Incorrupt ion: And s°' therefore, make me a clean Heart, O God, psai. u, and renew a right Spirit within me, was10not only the. Prayer of David, but also of eyery.Qther enlightened Person under the !j$w* as well as since, from a full Convicfe&^f/jkis Truth. Our Blessed Lord
Sirmon Dears Testimony to the Necessity of this l/y\, great Change or Renovation, which must pass upon the Soul, to qualify it for Bliss, in that solemn Asseveration to Nicodemus: JohniU. Verily, verily, I fay unto thee, Except a Man be born again, he cannot fee the Kingdom of God. And did the Doctrine of Regeneration rest only upon this single Text, we must allow it sufficiently established 5 but this is so far from being the Cafe, that it is set forth under a great Variety of similar Expressions, on purpose that we might be lest in no Uncertainty as to the Truth and Meaning of it: As where the true ChrisRom. xiii. tjan jS faid to pUf on Christ; to have him
Eph. iii. dwelling in his Heart by Faith; to be re17'. newed in the Spirit of his Mind; and that
Jb. iv. 23. * J » »'
Rom. viii. as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they I4' are the Sons of God. In like manner — 2 Cor. r. the new Creature; the new Man; the SancEp'h. iv. tifcation of the Spirit: to be born of the 24- Spirit; and to be alive unto God through ". >3- Jesm Christ; do all imply a new Principle John m. 0f Life jn tne Soul, which it has not in its Rom. vi. natural State, and evince the Truth of this fundamental Article of our Faith to a Demonstration: Nor does it stand only in the Strength of a few picked Passages, but
makes a considerable Part of the Language^8R^ of the New Testament: Nay, it is both.v"Y>J the Bottom and Top of all Religion: AU that Christ has done and suffered,- was in order to bring about this great Work of Jh . Regeneration in us; and the Sacraments he ordained, are only the outward visible Signs and Means of it: In a. word, all that Man has to do in this World is to labour after, and obtain it; and all the Happiness he expects in the next, must be the Result of it.
Let us now, in one short View, see how all the chief Duties of the Christian Religion accord and harmonize with this Principle. Repentance, and Faith, confessedly stand at the Head of this Catalogue j and these are the Ground-work of this new Euilding, the two main Pillars of Gospel Salvation. John the Baptist came to prepare the Way, by preaching the-.former; and his great Master began his Ministry with Repents and believe Mark i. the Gospel. Secondly, The Evangelical Vir-'5tues of Humility, Meekness, Patience, Hope, Charity, &c. are all inward Habits and Graces relative to the spiritual Life; such as dispose the Soul for farther Communications of the Holy Spirit, and make it a fit
Sermon Mansion for his sacred Residence. 'Thirdly, is~Ysj The Doctrines of Self-denial and Mortification, laid down in the Gospel, are greatly subservient to this End, as the Practice of these Duties tends to purify the Soul from all the Dross and Disorder of irregular Paf. sions, and keeps it free from all undue- Attachments to theThings of thisW'orld,which, by irresistible Distractions, call off the Attention from Divine Truths, six it on sensible Objects, and render the Mind incapable of savouring the Things that be of God: It is therefore by this kind of holy Violence committed on ourselves, that we resist the Motions of corrupt Nature, break those Bands asunder which tie down the Affections toThings below, and so take the Kingdom of Heaven by Force. Lastly, This Principle of Divine Life and Love, wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, stands closely connected with the whole System os Christian * Morality; it is the only sure Foundation. on which it can rest, the true Source from which it derives both its Beauty and Virtue: This is the Altar which fanSlifieth the Gift in all our Offerings. Whilst we act in and Mattfc. from this Principle, a Cup of cold Water *. 42- shall intitle us to a Reward; and, without
of the Law and the Gospel. ,, ,131..:
It, though we give all our Goods to feed the 5ELM?3 Poor, and our Bodies to be burned for Relir <^v\> gion, it will profit us nothing. As therefore, 1 Cor.xiii. when we add unto our Faith Virtue; we give3' Evidence of its being a Gospel and living Faith j so when our Virtue proceeds from our Faith, as the genuine Effect and Fruit of it; and we can truly fay with the Apostle, 'The Life, which I now live in the Gal. ii. Flefoi I live by the Faith of the Son.of Godt who loved me, and gave himself for me ; our Works then, and only then, become good and acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
We have had much Disputing of late about Justification, whilst some have taken the Side of Faith, and others that of Works, thus dividing those Things which God hath closely joined together in the Christian Life; and therefore no Man ought to put them asunder. If indeed no more was meant by Faith than a mere historical Faith, a bare Assent of the Mind to the Credibility of Things (in the Language of the Schools,) as far forth as credible; a Belief of something extorted by Dint of Argument, rising no higher than moral Evidence can force it, and finking again under the Objections of every
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