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Sermon subtle Disputant; is this be all that is meant t^-v^s-by Gospel Faith, it would indeed be Matter of Wonder, if such a Faith could justify: If this were a saving Faith, I should think the very Devils capable of Salvation. But surely #we do not mean, that this is the Faith of which St. Paul speaks so many great and glorious Things; that Faith by which the Heb. xi. Saints of old subdued Kingdoms, wrought 33' Righteousness, obtained the Promises, flopped
the Mouths of Lions, and did so many other marvellous Works: It cannot be said, that such is the Faith defined by the fame lb. xi. 1. Apostle to be the Sub/lance of 'Things hoped for, the Evidence of Things not seen; putting us into a kind of present Possession of the Promises, and setting Divine Truths bedsore the Mind in all the Light and Power of Demonstration: It cannot, I am sure, with any Truth or Propriety, be so said of it. The Faith then that we contend for, as truly Christian and justifying, does not arise . from historical Evidence only; much less does it consist in forced Speculations, or the uncertain Conclusions of human Reason ; but Eph.ii. 8. iS of higher Extraction, even the Gift of God: It is a Seed of the Divine Life in the Soul, growing up \n a gradual Approach 1 towards towards Perfection, and bringing forth the s""0!' Fruits of the Spirit; a Faith working by ^VVJ Love, producing Obedience to all God's Gal. v. 6. Commands, and abounding in good Works, according to that Measure of Abilities which God hath given us: It is a Power from on. high, at once enlightening and converting the Soul; it is that Victory whereby we overcome the World: And, to sum up all in ijoh.v.4. this emphatical Conclusion, it is hereby that Chrift becomes Immanuel, or GodtJiaxth.;. with us, and is made unto us Wisdom, an.d2^ Righteousness, and Sanclification, and Re- 30. demption.
Christianity thus considered as a spiritual Religion, and thus highly perfective of the Soul, comes represented in all the Beauty of Holiness, and worthy of the Son of God for its Author: In this View of it, Christ: crucified, though to the carnal Man a Stumbling-block, and to the self-conceited Philosopher Foolishness, is, to us who believe, the 1 Cor.;. Power of God, and the Wisdom of God. l8,2+' But how different a Picture of it has been drawn by several of the contending Parties of professing Christians, and how unlike the Divine Original! How has Zeal for Ceremonies, or Zeal against them, usurped
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Sskm°H the Place of substantial Piety! What Strife, \Jr^\j about Matters of Opinion (and oftentimes . the greatest Animosities where the least Dis*. J^m. Ui. ference,) instead of that Wisdom which is] jrom above, and is fit ft pure, then peaceable! And (O may it never be repeated 1) instead of Brotherly-kindness and Charity,. what Violence and Bloodshed, on account of Religion, have disfigured the Face of Christendom, as if the Wrath of Man were the only Ib. i. 20. effectual Way to work- the Right'ecu/ness''of God 1 Good God! That thy pure and holy Religion, which was designed to recover In us the Divine Nature and Image," should be made an Occasion and Pretence for committing such Outrages as are even a Reproach and Disgrace to Humanity! Blested JesusJ That those who are called by thy most holy Name, should turn the Go/pel of Peace into a two-edged Sword, to wound; and destroy \
Are we agreed in Essentials? Why theri do we quarrel about Circumstantials? Are we all Members of the fame Body? Why then do the Fellow-members war one against another? Are We all the Sons of one Father travelling towards the fame Country r Why then do Brethren thus fall out by the
Way? Men may profess what they please Jserm0* and boast 'of their outward Churches, all ./VNJ they please; but, whilst they want a Catholick Spirit of Love, they want one necessary Mark of their being of the holy Catholick Church of Christ. It was from just such a Narrow way of Thinking, the same Contractedness of Heart, occasioned by placing the Whole of Religion in outward Things, and little Things, that the Woman, in the Chapter from whence the Text is taken, said to our Lord ; How is it that thou, being a Jew, ajkefl Drink of me, who am a Woman of Samaria? And it is from the fame Principle, that the fame Spirit still prevails; and that under a Religion which teaches the most diffusive Benevolence and Charity, whilst so many in the several Churches of Christendom harden their Hearts against their Brethren as Hereticks and Reprobates, saying, Here is Christ, or, lo I there. Is then Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever, either here or there, in that confined Sense which these Men suppose? Is he, by a Majority of Voices, tied down to the Decrees of a Pope or Council? Limited to any particular human Establishment? Or shut up ^vithin the narrower Inclosure of any Sect K 4 dividing
S Irmom dividing from it? It ought not to be so said; iz-y.x, for his Kingdom is of wider Extent, even in the Hearts of all Christians, however outwardly distinguished or dispersed: And where there is true Repentance and Faith, Humility, Simplicity, and Purity of Heart; there is the Temple in which he delighteth to dwell: This is the true Communion of Saints; for they are influenced and guided by one and the fame Holy Spirit: This is that mystical Body, of which Christ is the supreme and sole Head j and here only the Father is worshiped in Spirit, and in Truth.
But must there not be an Outward and Visible, as well as an Inward and Spiritual Church? Yes, surely: The King's Daughter, as interpreted of the Church, is indeed Psal. xlv. all glorious within j glorious in the Orna'4. ment of a meek and quiet Spirit, and glorious in the Charms of unaffected Piety, and all Divine Graces: But then she is also comely and decent in her Apparel; her Government and Discipline, her Offices and Ceremonies, have their Beauty and Fitness, their Use and Excellency: Like the Scrip* T. ... ture, they are profitable for Doctrine, for 16. Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in