Imatges de pÓgina
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their own Consciences, with some confidence, altho' never so groundless, of their share in this Salvation. But then,

Secondly, As for those other evils which Christ came to save us from, viz. Our fins; men are not ordinarily so fully perswaded of their illness, nor think they have any great need to be saved from them. For their fins they dearly love and take delight in ; and therefore they do not look upon it as a Salvation, but as a spoil, to have them taken from them. And yet it is most certain, that this was the great Salvation which Christ designed us, and which he became man to procure for us ; he shall be called Jefus, faith the Angel, because he fhall save his people from their fins.

Our greatest Evils are our sins, and Christ's saving is his reforming, and reducing the hearts of the sinful and disobedient to the Obedience of the Just: He fáves when he makes the bold, irreligious man awful, and the proud man humble; when he possesseth the hearts of the peevish and contentious, of the envious and revengeful, with Meekness and Patience, Charity and Peace. He delivers the covetous man from his unsatiable love of riches, the carnal mind from its intem

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perate desire of sensual Pleasures. In one word he saves us from our own Self-will, and makes us to become entirely refigo'd to the will of God.

This reformation of our hearts and lives, by rescuing us from all sinful Lusts and wicked Practices was the great Deliverance which Christ was sent to effect for us, as might be evidenced from the blessing promised to Abraham; which as St. Peter expounds it, did principally intend it; Act. 3. 25, 26. from the Predi&ions of Prophets concerning the Messiah, which clearly foretold it, Ezek. 11. 19,20. Ifa.62. 25. Jer. 32. 39. from the Covenant promised to be made with the house of Israel in those days; whereof Jeremiah ipeaks, which in plain terms expresses it ; Jer. 31. 33. from the Declarations of Christ and his Apostles, who every where proclaim, that the end of his coming was to call Sinners to repentance, Mat.

9. 13. To turn men from dark. ness to light, Act.26.18. To redeem us from all iniquity, and purifie unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works, Tit.2.14. and that his Gospel appears bringing Salvation in teaching us, that denying all ungodliness and worldly Lusts, we should live Saberly, godly, and righteously in this pre

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Sent world, Tit. 2.11, 12. All these are so many direct Arguments, and clear Proofs of Christ's design to save men, by making them better, and that his Deliverance was to consist chiefly in their Reformation, and in rescuing them from the Bondage of their sins.

But in regard the Gospel of Christ is the

great means of working this Deliverance, and the power of God as St. Paul calls it, to Salvation, I shall rather chuse at present to insist more particularly upon such parts of it, as are peculiarly fitted for this design, which will be the best way of demonstrating this Doctrine. And those are chiefly Three; the Precepts, the Promises, the Threatnings, which are declared to us therein.

First, I shall consider the Precepts of the Gospel; and that the

great Salvation which these are designed to promote among us is this Deliverance from our fins, is plain from hence, because they do most fully, and indispensibly exact it. Never did any Laws of former Legislators, extend the compass of Vertue fo wide, and advance it to such a pitch, as the Laws of Christ do; they require a more full Obedience, and a

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more perfect reformation, than before that time the world had ever heard of ; they teach Vertue in the highest degrees, and require Obedience in all imaginable Instances ; representing plainly the Nature of several sins, and discovering clearly an irregularity, and Sinfulness in several Actions, which the Gentiles, nay even the Jews themselves never dreamed of.

1. They represent the Nature of several sins, and discover an irregularity in several Actions, which by the bare Light, and Law of Nature the Gentiles never saw: They discern'd no evil in worshipping of Images, and inferiour Deities, in idolatrous Rites, and superstitious Observances; they knew no sin in hating of an Enemy, in cursing and reproaching of him, in returning his Affronts, and revenging his Injuries; Uncleanness and Lasciviousness, Fornication and Whoredoms were held generally among them to be as lawful as their Meats and Drinks; in these Actions as in several others, they had no sense of sin, nor any fears of punishment; these things as the Psalmist says, God afterwards faew'd to Facob and declared to Israel, but as for the heathen Nations, they have not

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known them, Pfalm 147. 19, 20. but as for the Sinfulness of all these things, and the dreadful Sentence which shall be denounced upon all, who continue in these Practices, the Law of Christ is express and peremptory. He that looks upon a woman, faith our Saviour , te luft after ber, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart, Matt. 5.28. The works of the flesh, faith St. Paul, are manifeft, Adultery, Fornication, Uncleanness, Lafciviousness ; of the which I tell you, that they wha do such things, shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, Gal. 5. 19, 21. He who hates his Brother, faith St. John, by the Sentence of our Law, is a Murderer, 1 Joh. 3. 15. and he who is angry with him without a cause ; especially, if he suffer his anger to transport him into reproachful words, and contumelious Expresfions, such as Fool, and Racha, or empty Fellow, He is liable, says our Saviour, to Hell fire, Matt. 5. 22. Render to man evil for evil, says our Religion, but love your enemies ; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you ; and pray for them; that despitefully use you ; that so you may be perfect, and the true Children of your Father which is in Heaven, who is kind even to the unthankful,

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