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of the Divine Wisdom and Will. Hear what Mofes says to God's own chosen People Ifrael, The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things that are reveal d belong unto us and to our Children for ever, that we may do all the Words of this Law, Deut. 29. 29. It is fufficient for us to know, that God has ordain'd none to the End, but those to whom he hath ordain'd the Means; that none are Jav'd thró Faith, but those who are created in Cbrist Fesus to Good Works. Let us remember always, that we are call'd to be Saints as well as Believers, and consider that it is as possible to be Believers without Faith, as Saints without Holiness. And withal that to be the One is as absolutely Necessary as the Other; since by the same infallible Word, by which we are taught, that be that Believeth sball be saved, by the same also we are assurd, that without Holiness no Man fall see the Lord.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God even our Father, which has lov'd us and given us Everlasting Consolation and good Hope thro' Grace, comfort our Hearts, and encrease our Faith, and stablish us in every good Word and Work. To Him be Glory for Ever and Ever, Amen.
Rom. X. 5. How fall They Preach except
They be Sent?
F at any Time since the First Preaching of the Gospel, it were allowable for a Minifter of Christ to assert the
the High Dignity of His Calling, and with the Holy Apostle St Paul to magnify His Office; Surely it is so, and more than so at this Day. If in any Age it was Seasonable, in this it is Necessary. An Age wherein we have seen, between an Atheistical Company of formal Pretenders to Philosophy and Reason on one Hand, and a giddy, senseless Crew, who are call'd Wits, by the same Propriety of Speech that the former are called Deifts on the Other, the whole Dilpensation of the Gospel of Chrift, the Wif
dom and Power of God to Salvation ridi, çuld and despis’d as an Absurd and Irrational Imposition upon their Understandings, or a Trick or Cheat to enslave their Wills, an affront to their Reason, or a Design upon their Liberty. Between the Grave Arguers againft Mystery and the lewd Drollers upon Priest Craft, the great Masters of Reason and the little slaves of Sense, all Esteem and Reverence due to Persons or Things never fo Sacred or Divine, is almost exploded and laugh'd out of the World. Which tho'none, that have any regard to the common Faith, can chuse but seriously lament, yet we can't but have some Satisfaction to perceive that all the while that they mean so much despight to Our Religion, they do but the more confirm Our Faith, in so plainly verifying the predictions of Those, who first preach'd that Gospel which they Thus despise. For that the latter Days shall be times of Infidelity and departure from the Faith, that there shall be Scoffers at the Gospel, and Mockers walking after their Own Ungodly Lufts, we have the assurance of the Apostles, St Paul, St Peter, and St Fude. Since therefore these things have been foretold by the unerring Spirit of God, we know that Offences mult come, but Wo unto Them by whom they come! Yea wo unto Them who do not use Their
utmost utmoft Endeavour to put a stop to their farther Encrease and Progress when they do come! Which being a Duty incumbent upon Us especially, who have the Honour to be thus defpis'd for Our Masters fake; I shall, by God's Grace, endeavour somewhat towards it, by shewing how Sacred our Authority is, For He, The Priest, is the Messenger of the Lord of Hofts.
And as the Priest under the Law, was in the Prophet's Language The Messenger of the Lord of Holts, so in that of the Apoftles, every Lawful Preacher of the Gospel is an Ambasador of Jesus Christ. This was then and is now, that which only can make Authentic and Valid every Ministerial Act, both of the One and the Other, which otherwise is both Injurious to God and Useless to the People. Of the first we hear God complaining by his Prophet (Jer. 23. 21.) I have not fent and yet they ran, I have not spoken to Them and yet they Prophesyid. And of the second the Apostle demanding, How can they Preach unles they are Sent? Our Church therefore in her 23d Article declares, that It is not lawful for any Man to take upon him the Office of publick Preaching or Ministring the Sao craments in the Congregation, before be be lawofully Calld and Sent to Execute the same; A thing so plainly contain’d and so often inculcated in Holy Scripture, and withal fo
agreeable agreeable to found Reason and good Sense, that tho' it may not seem very strange that, the frantick Enthufiaft, the Man of new Light or wild Inspiration should despise it, yet that the sober Socinian the great pretender to Right Reason and True Judgment should peremptorily and Dogmatically deny any need at all of it, were enough to raise any Ones wonder, that is not well enough acquainted with that sort of Men to have learnt that as there is nothing so plain in Scripture that they have not the Art of preverting, or the boldness of out facing, To when Reason too is as much against Them, according to the Observation of Mr Hobbes, (as good a Christian) they can be as much against Reason. I shall therefore
1. Shew the Necessity from Scripture and the Expediency from Reason of Such a Milfion, in General, and consider Briefly the Socinian Arguments againft it.
II. Affert our own Mission in Particular, and Juftify the Sacred Authority by which our Holy Mother the Church of England has sent us forth into Christ's Vineyard.
I begin with the first. The necessity in general for a Call and Commission from God in order to exercise the Ministerial Office as it is evidently set forth in Scripture.