Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

our Faith intitles us, fupposing us duly qualified by Repentance : But he that claims upon God's Promises, fices to his Grace, and must be understood as renouncing all Claim from his own Righteousness. This is being juftined (wpis ipsww) without Works, i. e. feparately from, or exclutive of Works, considered as the Ground or Cause of our Justification. For Jult fication is at Ad of od, by which we are accounted or ac. cepted as righteous ; and this is not at all founded in our Works (which confidered, we are nene of us sighteous) but in the free Grace of God, for the Sake of Jefus Cbrift.

But if this be so, it will naturally be asked, What was the Condition of those who lived and died before Chri! came in the Flesh? Was there no Salvation for them, or are there more Ways of Salvacion than one? To these Questions the Scripture will answer, That Salvation was to be had before the coming of Chrift, as well as after ; and that all who were ihen saved, were saved, as we are saved, by Faith in God's Promises through Christ the Redeemer ; with this Dif. ference only, that their Faith looked forward to the Redeemer as yet to come, whilst ours looks backward upon

che fame Redeemer as come already. Of Noah it is said, that he was Heir of the Righteousness which is by Faith, Heb. xi. 7:). And of Abraham, that he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for Righteousness, Gen. xv. 6. Rom. iv. 3. And this must needs have been the Case, if so be they were at all justified. The Righteousness which is of Works they could not plead, for their Works were not perfect be. fore God.

Furthermore, it is evident that the Faith of the Patriarchs, by which they were justified, had for its Obje&t the Redeemer to come. Your Father Abraham (says Christ to the Jews) rejoiced to fe my Day, and he saw it. and was glad, John viii. 56. Christ then was foreshewed to Abraham; and so fays, St. Paul, To Abraham and his Seed were the Promises mademand this Seed is Chrift, Gal. jii, 16. God's Method of

с

saving

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

saving Sinners, therefore, haih in all Ages been one and the same. Chrift set !orth as the Author of Salva. tion, and Faith in God's Promises through him (which always implies a luitable Obedience) as the Condition of our Acceptance to the Benefits purchased by him. The outward Appoinments in Religion were indeed different in different Ages. The earlieft of these was Sacrifices, which were coeval with the Fall, and are rightly understood to have been appointed of God, to Thadow out that great Sacrifice which was once to be offered up for the Sins of the World. When Abraham's Seed was to be separated from the rest of the World, Circumcision was appointed as a Mark of Distinction ; and in After-times, the Ritual Law came in, which was intended as a Hedge about that People, to keep them from all Intercourse and Communion with the Idolatrous Nations, that they might cleave stedfastly vnto the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the Land of Egypt, and by whose mighty Arm they were now to be put in Possession of the promised Land. But such Appointments, though they altered the Rule of Obedience for the Time that they were given, were properly no Parts of the Covenant of Sal. vation, which subsided in full Perfection before these Appointments were made, and would do so again, when, the Reasons for such Appointments cealing, the Appointments themselves should be at an End. This is the very Argument made use of by St. Paul, prove

that the Gentiles who believed in Chrift, were intitled to the Benefits of the Covenant, though they did not submit to be circumcised, and keep the Law of Mofes. The Foundation of his Reasoning (1 say) is this, That Circumcision and the Law of Moses were no Parts of the original Covenant, but added after. wards, for special Reasons, which concerned the Times in which they were appointed, and those only. Abraham believed in God, and it was counted to him for Righteousness. ---How was it reckoned? When be

? was in Circumcifion, or in Uncircumcision ? Not in Circumcifion, bui in Uncircumcifion. And be received

the

to

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the Sign of Circumcifion, a Seal of the Righteousness of the Faith which he had being yet uncircumcised, Rom. iv. 3-11. This is a State of the fact, as it is recorded in the Old Teitament. Now if Abraham's Faith was counted to him for Righteousness whilft he was uncircumcised, i.e. if he was within the Cove. nane before Circumcison, and Circumcision was added afterwards, only as a sign or Token of the Covenant; it is clear that Circuncifion could be no Part of the Covenant: And the Interence which the Apoille draws from hence, is, That Abraham was the Father of ail them that believe, though they be not circumcifid, that Righteousness may be imputed to them also. The Inference is just and neceffary; for if Abraham himself was jutlified by Faith without Circumcifion, why may not the Gentiles inherit the Blessing of Abraham by Faith, without Circumcision? The like must be faid of the Law of Moses; for, as she Apostle goes on to argue, The Promise that he should be ihe Heir of the World, was not to Abrabam, or to his Seed through the Law, but through the Righteousness of Faith-a-10 the end tbe Promise might be sure to all the Seed; not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the Faith of Abraham, who is the Father of us all, (ver. 13-16.) The same Point is again pure sued, Gal. iii. 16- -18. To Abraham and his Seed were the Promises made- And this I say, that the Covenant that was confirmed before of God in Chrift, the Law, which was four hundred and thirty Years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the Promise of none Effect. For if the Ir.beritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promise ; but God gave it 10 Abraham by Promise. That is; to suppose that the Inheritance depends upon the Law, is to shut out the Promise: And if you allow (what the Scripture Thews) that God gave the Inheritance to Abraham by Promise, it will follow, that the Law hath essentially no Relacjon to the Inheritance. For why? The Law was given above four hundred Years after the Promise was made ; and how then could the Blessing of Abraham so hang

C 2

upon

upon

the Law, that there should be no Salvation with. out it? If the Covenant originally did sublift without the Law, it might again suosilt without the Law, and naturally would do so, when chofe Reasons ceased for which the Law was given. And this the Apostle tells us was then the Cole. The Law (says he) was added because of Transgressions, till the Seed frould come to whom the Promise was made (ver. 19.) And again ; The Law was our Schoolmaster to bring us unto Chrift (ver. 24 ) The Consequence of which is, that Chrift the promised Seed, being come, the Law of Course expired, and Circumcision with it, which being intended as a Mark of Separation, could be of no fare iber Use, when by the calling in of all Nations to one and the same common Faith, the Jews ceased 10 bu diftinguithed from other People.

The Conclusion is, that ander ihe Law Men were saved not by the Law, but by a Covenant of Mercy, clearly diftinct from and aniccedent to it; which Co. venant is tha: very Gospel we now profess to be accomplished in Christ, and by which we hope to be saved. Well therefore night the Apoftle say, that

. the Gel was preached to Abraham; and our Saviour, that Abraham rejoiced to see his Day, and he saw it, and was glad. The Day he saw afar off, but the Blcling was present to him ; and so it was to all who walked in the steps of his Faith and Piety; the Efficacy of Ch'ist's Atonement anticipating the Time of his co.ning. This was true Religion from the Beginning; and this will be true Religion to the End ; not the Religion of Nature, but the Religion of Grace. Na. ture could thew a Law; bue Nature provided no Help for Sinners, who were to be purged no otherwise than by the blood of Christ once to be offered up to God as a Lamb without Blemish, and without Spot, i Peci. 19.

How much the Patriarchs underltood either of the Nature of that Solvarion which was to be brought aboat by the promised Seed, or of the particular Way and Manner by which it was to be effected, it is neither

easy

[ocr errors]

mens.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

easy to say, nor is it neceffary to the present Argu

For it is very consistent to suppose, that the Faithful in all Ages were saved by the promised Seed; though it be admitted that all Ages had not the same Degrees of Light and Knowledge communicated to them concerning the!e Matters, that we now have. But a Covenant of Reconciliation there must have been so far known and understood, as to afford Ground for a firm and certain Affuiance, that on Con. dition of new Obedience, and Trust in God's Pru. mises, Mankind should be accepted to Mercy and Favour in a better Life. Those who would see this clearly made out, and the great Charter of our Sal. vation traced down froin Adam to the Seed of David, may consult the learned Bishop Sherlock's Use and Intent of Prophecy, to which I refer them.

This Foundation laid, I now proceed to my principal Inten n, which is to explain the PRAYIR, several Parts of the Chriitian Worship, which sefts upon and refers itself to it. We find in the Arts of the Apoftles, Chap. ii. ver. 42. that as soon as ever the Gospel begun to be published, and a sufficient Number of Converts came in, a publick Worship was set up. For, speaking of the firft Believers, the Historian says, that they continued fledfafly in the Apoflles Doétrine, and Fellowship, and in breaking of Bread, and in Proyers. Which Words, perhaps would have beer be:tertranslate ed thus : And they continued seafaftly in the Apostles Doctrine, and in the Communion and breaking of Bread, and in Prayers. The Doctrine, no doubt, means the Gore pel Do&trine, the Forgiveness of Sins by the Redemption through Jesus Chrift; and the Worship here meno tioned is Prayer, and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper signified by the Communion and breaking of Bread. These two Appointmen's make up the wnole of what may in Strictness of Speech, be termed che Chriftian Worship ; and I hope to give such as Account of both, as will convinge all, who judge with. out Partiality, that God hath not commanded these Things merely for commanding fake, but to carry on

the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

C 3

« AnteriorContinua »