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absolute Strangers to these Doctrines. The whole Scheme, and Me thod of the Doctrine, they preached to Gentile Chriftians, is compre. hended in that single sentence, Eph. v. 8. « Ye were fometimes in your heathen State) Darkness, but now in your Christian State are ye Light in the Lord; walk as Children of Light.” (185 the 4th Note.] To the Gentile Christians they explained, and inculcated the Glory of the Grace of God in Chrift, which had delivered them from the Power of Heathenish Darkness, and translated them into the Kingdom of the Son of his Love. To raise their esteem of the exceeding Riches of this Grace, they opened the Fountain from which it flowed, the pure and free Love of God, and the Counsel of his Will, in which it was formed and established before the World was. They also explained the grand and surprising Method, in which it was conveyed and administered, even by the Incarnation, holy Life, obedient Sufferings, and glorious Exaltation of the Son of God. They put their Disciples in Mind, how deplorable their Case was in their Heathen State, as they were then in a diimal State of Darkness and Ignorance; under the Power of Sin and Satan, obnoxious to Condemnation and Wrath. On the other Hand; they represented the Glory and Honour, to which they were now raised, in their Christian State, by their Election, Calling and Adoption. They demonstrated that they were in a State of Justification and Salvation ; that they were regenerated or born again, born of God, wathed and sanctified, and made to live together with Chrift; that they were the House and Temple of God, his peculiar People, invested in all the Benefits of the Gospel-Covenant, particularly the Remission of Sins, and the Donation of eternal Life. And then they warmly urged and be. feeched them, not to receive this Grace in vain, but to improve it, to the forming all the solid Principles of Holiness in their Hearts, and the bringing forth all the Fruits of Righteousness in their Lives. They reprelented, how disagreeable their former Heathenish Conversion was to their present honourable State, and Relations to God; they earnekly exhorted them, to put off all former Works of Darkness, and to put on the whole Armour of Light; to be patient and persevering in Duty, under all Trials and Afflictions; to be fincere in their Love one to another; humble, peaceable, and kind towards all Men; to pray unto God, continually for a Supply of all their Necessities. To animate their Obedience and Patience, they frequently pointed at the Coming of our Lord, and the Crown of Righteousnels, he will give to the Faithful and Upright. And on the other Hand, to awaken the Care. less and Impenitent, they displayed the Terrors of the future Judg. ment, and that dreadful Wrath, which would consume all the Vorkers of Iniquity, without anv Respect of Perfons, whatever their Proicitions or Privileges in this World have been*. If the Apo
elie Doctrine of Original Sin, when it first crept into the Church, always de clared themselves true. Catholics, and stigmatized Augustin, and his Followers, as Manichees. See Hilt. of the Popes. Vol. I. p. 349.
* I cannot here omit quoting an ancient Piece, which bears the Title of Clement's Second Epistle to the Corinthians (though it seems to me Part of a Sermon,) and gives a remarkable Specimen of the Apostolick Way of Preach
fles knew how to preach the Gospel, this is preaching Christ and
Gentile Coraz the Gospel. 6. 8. " Peres
The Gospel-Constitution not prejudicial to the rest of Mankind. Virtuous
Heathens shall be eternally saved.
THE ten foregoing particulars, I think, are all clear from the
I Proof I have given, that the Gospel is a Scheme, calculated to restore true Religion, and to promote Virtue and Happiness. I now
289. This ing. Take the Sense as follows. “ Brethren, we should not have low
"Sentiments of our Salvation : For if we account the Things we hear u " preached little and inconsiderable, we fin, not considering, out of what
"Condition we were called, [97.] nor by whom, nor to what Place, nor
6 what great Things Jesus Christ patiently submitted to suffer for us. What ?' “ Return then shall we make him?- All Praise, and pious Regards are his .." Due. For he has graciously given us the Light, [Ephes. v. 8.] has ad:“ dressed himself to us as a Father to his Sons, and saved [93.] us when pe
“rithing.–Being blind in our Understanding, worshipping Stones and Stocks, “and Gold and Silver, and Brass, the Works of Men, and our whole “Life was nothing but Death . In the Midst of so great Darkness " (Ephes. v. 8.] through his Igood Pleasure, we recovered our Sight, being ** disengaged from the Cloud which incompassed us. For he had Mercy - [130, 143.) upon us, and in his Compassion saved us, beholding us in so
great Error and Destruction, and having no Hope of Salvation but from him alone. He called us, who were not, [20.] and was pleased that of nothing we should be (or have an Existence : 102.] Seeing then he has vouchsafed us so great Mercy, chiefly, in that we, who are alive [or (wyles] sacrifice not to dead Gods, nor worship them, but by im know the Father of Truth, what Acknowledgment shall we make im. but to confess him before men ? And how shall we confess him? y doing what he has taught, and not despising his Commandments. hen let us not only call him Lord; for that will not save us (finally : 275.] -But let us confess him in our Works [ 280.] by loving one another,
committing Adultery, not Slandering, but being chaste, merciful, d, sympathizing with each other, not loving Money. If we do erwise, the Lord has said, Though ye were gathered into my Bofom, do not my Commandments, I would cast you away, and say unto
Depart from me, I know you not whence you are, ye Workers of Iniquity. erefore, Brethren, ceasing to live after the Manner of this World, is do the Will of him that has called us. For the Sojourning of *leth in this world is low, and of short Duration ; but the Promile of t is grand and wonderful, and the Reft [109.) of the future Kingand of Life eternal. And how Thall we attain those Things, but by
holily, and justly, and by accounting worldly Things foreign to Happiness; for if we covet them, we fall from the righteous Way, nd nothing can deliver us from eternal Punishment.” -ve: how clearly he distinguishes between the first and final Salvation
289. This noble Scheme was not intended to exclude any part of the World, to whom it should not be revealed, from the present Favour of God, or future Salvation; or any Ways to prejudice them . The moral and religious State of the Heathen was very deplorable; being generally funk into great Ignorance, gross Idolatry, and abominable Vices. But there might be some virtuous Persons among them. Now the Gospel was not intended to sink the honest, virtuous Heathen, or to leave him destitute of the Blessing of God; but to exalt the upright Christian, and give him greater Advantages for improving his rational Powers ; not to make the Heathen worse, but to mas2 the Christian better. Nay, further; Though the Nations, who protess the Gospel, are, at present, greatly favoured in external Privi. leges, beyond those who are ignorant of it, yet, in the Day of Judge ment, God will, without respect of Persons, render to every Man aca cording to his Works, and according to the honest Use he has made of the greater or lesser Advantages he has enjoyed : And in that solemn Day, the virtuous Heathen will not be rejected, because he did not belong to the visible Kingdom of God in this World, but will then be readily accepted, and received into the Kingdom of Glory. Nor, on the other Hand, will a wicked Professor of Christianity be partially favoured, because, in this present Time, he was a Member of Christ's visible Church, and numbered among the Elect; but will certainly then be disowned, and condemned with all the Workers of Iniquity. This is very evident in Scripture. Our Saviour, speaking of the Centurion, who was a Heathen, faith (Mat. viii. 11, 12.) « Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great Faith (as this Heathen has professed] no, not in Israel,” [who are the peculiar People and Kingdom of Godi. “ And I say unto you, many (Heathen, who are not the Children of the Kingdom in this World, Thall [in the last Day] come from the East and West (from all Parts of the Globe, and thall sit down with Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven : But the Children of the Kingdoin shall be cast out into outer Darkness; there shall be Weeping and Gnathing of Teeth.” This relates to the present Kingdom of God in general, as well under the Christian, as the Jewish Dispensation: For our Lord is speaking of the final Issue of Things at the last Day, as I have shewn , when all the various Dispensations of the Kingdom of God shall be finished, and therefore, what he faith most naturally refers to the Kingdom of God under any Dispensation. Besides, if the many, who shall “ come from the East and the West, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven,” be understood of those Heathen, who should hereafter embrace the Faith of the Gospel, and be taken into the peculiar Kingdom of God in this World, then our Saviour's Affertion surely is not to the Point, with regard to the Centu• rion's Cafe, who was a Heathen. For then, his Affertion would run thus, « I say unto you, many who” shall hereafter be the Children of the Kinge dom, shall come from the East and West, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, while the Children of the Kingdom (that is, the present Jews) shall be cast out." Thus the Opposition would be between the future • Children of the Kingdom,' or Christians, and the presents Children of the Kingdom," or Jews :
Whereas the Centurion's Cafe required, that the Opposition should be between Heathens, and the Children of the Kingdom. Consequently this Text proves, that many Heathens shall be saved, while some of the Children of the Kingdom, whether Jews or Christians, shall perish.
290. And that a Heathen inay possibly so believe as to come unto God, is evident from Heb. xi. 6, “ He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The Objects of true saving Faith are more or less extensive, according to the less or greater Light any Man enjoys. The Objects of Faith, before our Lord's Coming, were not so extensive as ours, who have before us the whole Scheme of Revelation. And he who has no other Guide than the Light of Nature, and in that Light sees " that God is, and that he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him," and accordingly comes to God by an obedient Life, so far as he knows his Duty, is a true Believer, according to the Apostle's general Account of Faith, even though he doth not see any Part of the Objects of Faith, which are peculiar to the Christian Revelation. Consequently, a Heathen, in any Part of the World, may possibly exercise true Faith, and be an accepted Believer in the Sight of God; for he may believe, that 6 God is, and that he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
291. Our Lord (Mat. xxv. 14, &c.) inews us, how he will in the last Day judge “his own Servants, to whom he has delivered his Goods;" that is, the Members of his Church, whom he has favoured with fingular Privileges. But in the next Parable (Ver. 31, &c.) he thews, that all Nations,' both within and without the Pale of the Church, shall be gathered before him ; and that he will receive all the Righteous that are found among them into eternal Life, and condemn all the Wicked to everlasting Punishment . This is agreeable to what the Apostle fit, Rom. ii. 9, 10, 11, “ Tribulation and Anguish shall be upon every Soul of Man that doth Evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. But Glory, Honour and Peace shall be rendered to every Man that worketh Good, to the Jew first, and also the Gentile ; for there is no Respect of Persons with God.”
292. And indeed, through the Whole of that second Chapter to the Romans, the Apostle supposes true Religion is of an universal Nature and Extent, and may poslibly be found every where, among all Nations upon the Globe. Wherever rational Nature is, there true Religion may in Fact be. This is manifestly his Sense, Ver. 27, “ And shall not the Uncircumcision, which is by Nature, if it fulfil the Law, judge thee, who by the Letter and Circumcision doft transgress the Law;" That is, “ Shall not the mere Heathen, who is deftitute of the Benefit “ of Revelation, and is by Nature, or hath no other Guide but his
own Natural Reason and Understanding, shall not such a one, if he "fulfil the Law by a sober and upright Conversation, condemn thee, « who enjoyest the Privileges of Revelation, and pervertest them "to the Purposes of Wickedness ?” The Apostle's Argument has no Force, if it be not true, that the mere Heathen, who is by Nature alone; who has no other Guide besides that Reason and Understanding, which is the Gift of God to all Men, and the Inspiration of the Almighty, may fulfil the Law, the Law, at least, that he is under;
of Revelation, not the mer and CircumyNatureite: Ver. 27, te true
which is the Gift her Guide besides that cathen, who is bent has
e Law,maand the Tamil under Nature
that is, may be a sincerely virtuous, honest, sober, kind, good and be. nevolent Man. This is the Foundation of the Apostle's Reasoning with the Jew; and will equally hold with Regard to the Christian too. We may truly turn his Words to ourselves, and say; « Shall not the Heathen, who is by Nature, if he fulfil the Law of God, condemn thee, O Christian, who by mistaking and perverting Revelation, and its Privileges, dost transgress the Divine Law.”
293. The first Sermon that was ever preached to a Gentile-Christian Audience begins with those remarkable Words, (Acts x. 34, 35.) « Of a Truth, I perceive that God is no Respecter of Persons; but in every Nation he that fears him, and works Righteousness, is accepted of him.” For (1 Tim. iv. 10.) « The living God is the Saviour of all Men, specially of those that believe.”
294. This may suffice to Thew, That as the Gospel, preached to some Nations of the World, could not make the Condition of others worse, fo, in Fact, it did not deprive any virtuous Persons among them of the least Degree of God's Favour, or leave them destitute of the Regards of his Goodness. 'Tis a great Blessing to us, and no Injury to them.
CH A P. XIV.
The Gospel was not designed, in itself, to unchr:rch the Jews : Yet they
warmly opposed it, 1. Some Totally; 2. Others.only in Part. 295. A ND as the Gospel was not intended to prejudice the
A Heathen, to whom it should not be discovered, so neither was it, in itself, designed to unchurch the Jews. This appears from what has already been said to prove, that the believing Gentiles are taken into the fame Body, Church and Covenant, in which the Jews were before the Gospel-Dispensation was erected 179, &c.} Only, whereas till the Coming of our Lord they had profeffed Siibo jection to God alone, as their King and Governour, when the GospelDispensation was set up, they were further required to profefs Subjec. tion to Jesus Christ, as constituted King and Lord of the Church. Be. fore, they believed in God; under the Gospel, they were required to believe also in the Son of God, as his Christ or Meftah, whom he had let King upon his holy Hill of Sion. John xiv. I. And believing in the Messiah, they remained still the People, though not the only people, of God.
296. Nor doth it appear, that they were obliged to difuse any Part of their former Law or Constitution. Indeed, they were to consider themselves, and all the Jews that had been under the Sinai Covenant, from first to latt, as delivered from the Curie of the Law, which sube jected them for every Transgression to eternal Death. And further; tley were not to Regard any of the Peculiars of the Law of Moses as
eved in .conftituendo furthe overnout, dhe profetics &c.
Son of Goi under king and equired when the cost