Bates - HP BX5200 B3 1700

Chriftian Religion proved by Reafon. ~ ther's Commands, and nm be fervile, only perform'd to the abfolme will of a Mafier. Chap- 2. And can there be a more convincing proof of the truth of Chriflian Religion, of its Di- ~ vine defcent, than the Image of God's Holinefsfo clearly imprefl upon it? And further; thefe Precepts are deliver' cl with that plainncfs, and fo proportion'd to the capacity of all, and yet with that Sovereign Authority, that 'tis reafonable to believe that God him- .felf fpcaks, and it becomes Man to hear with reverence and fubmiflion. The Gofpel is without the Ornaments of Art, yet its fweet facility is temper'd with that Majefly, that ' tis a fenfible chual:tor that Divine Wifdom compos'd it. 3. The Ptomifes of the Gofpel are fo worthy of God, and fuitable to the wants and defires of Men, that 'tis perfeCtly reafonable to alfent to their truth and goodnefs. This will appear by a particular confideration of them. 1 . The Promi(e of Pardon to Penitent Believers. And in this we are to confider the conditions, and the ground of its acrurance to us. The Conditions are Repentance and Faith. 1. Repentance is a peculiar Command and Privilcdge of the Gofpel. The Law confider' cl in it [elf did not admit of it, nor give the leafi hope of pardon: For it fuppofes Man in the integrity of Nature, and accordmg\y direCts him how to pleafe God and preferve his Love, but propounds no means of reconciliation after an offence. There are no feeds of Grace to temper its rigour. ButtheGofpel is the Declaration of Mercy to the Guilty and Miferable, upon fuch terms as God may be capable to give Pardon and Man qualified to receive it. 'Trs not more true that God is the Judge of the World' and that all Men !hall appearbeforehisTribunal, than that Sin without Repentance fhail not efcape Puni!hment. To forgive the unreformed Sinner would !\ain his pure(\ PerfeCtions, the inviolable beauty of his Holinefs, the incorruptible reCtitude of his Ju!\ice, Such Lenity would .have a pernicious influence on the corrupt World, by encouraging Men to Sin without fear, and outragiouOy to break his Laws in confidence of Pardon. Therefore in the Evangelical Promi[e, Repentance and Remiflion of Sins are infeparably joyn'd. Repentance is a preparative in order to our receiving Divine Mercy, and a firong prefervative againrt Sin for time to come. The remc:mbrance of thofe farrows and fears, the anxieties and indignation againrt himfelf that Sin caus'd in a true Penitent, will make him jealous for the future of his Heart, and circumfpei.l: again(\ all Temptations that may betray him. As one that has narrowly efcaped confuming by Fire, retainsthe idea of his danger fo deeply imprefi on his mind, that upon any new occafion his ancient fears revive, and make him very watchful. Befides, the apprehenfion of Jufi and Eternal Vengeance, makes the Mercy of God fo admirable, the fence of histender cornpaflion fo fweet, that an humble believer cannot forget or negleCt it. The forgivenefs of Sin in this way is not only an engagement, but an infallible caufe of fearing to offend a God fo great and good. And Faith is a qualification as requifite for the obtaining Pardon; that is, a cordial entire receiving Jefus Chrifi as he is prefented to us in the Gofpel: To refign our minds to his Doltrines as our Prophet, to have reliance on his Sacrifice and Mediationas our Priefi ; to yield univerfal chearful and con(\ant Obedience to him as our King. And how congruous is it that all who receive fo unvaluable a benefit as forgivenefs of Sin, fhould thus honour him who procures it? And the Gofpel affords the fironge(\ alfurance that God is mo(\ willing to Pardon humble and contrite Sinners. This is necelfary for the relief and ea[e of true Penitents. For when the<nlightn'd Confcience refleCts upon the number and enormity of its Sins, the prefumption in committing them, 'tis ready to be [wallowed up with defp~ir of recovering the lo(\ favour of God. It cannot devife any means how to appeafe his incenfed Maje(ly, and fatisfie violatedJullice: How a Rebel fhould becomehisSon; how one condemn'dto Everla!\ingPuni!hmcnt, !hould be re!\ored to the unfading inheritance of Life. The cafe is mo!\ intricate and hopelefs. Now the Gofpcl . propounds means of Univerfal Sovereign efficacy to recile God to us; The mofi precious Blood of ~~:a~na~~e~Je~Jn~~~~~~2 e~hii~t::C:r~s foJl'i:,[a'~~~r~~ft~~a~~~for~~~ ~~la~en~~~ returning Sinners. a nd;oTc~~~~~i~~a~~~~ete~0~i'.t~t~~i~n°:hi?:r;~l r~~~~s~~~~~~:dJ~gml~e ~t t~~~; fpel, and mo(\ requifite to make us capable to ferve and enjoy him. A happy temper of • Nature, the Precepts of Philofophy, vertuous Examples, the feverity of humane Laws, are not powerful to regenerate a Man, and transform him into a new Creature. They may refirain the exorbitances of Carnal Appetites, but cannot throughly change the Mind and Affell:ions. Were there any vital fpark within, any feed of Holinefs in Man's cor-