Imatges de pÓgina

Thirdly, Those Threatnings which are contain'd therein, the Salvation which they aim at, is evidently this Deliverance from our Sins, which are those very things they are all denounced to. The Gospel tho' it breath out nothing but Grace and Mercy to the Penitent, is yet the feverest Dispensation that ever was to all incorrigible Men. For therein God declares himself an utter Enemy to all that will not be reformed, and that he will inflict a most terrible Punishment , and exemplary Vengeance on them; the Author of Grace and Mercy, Christ him. self hath spoken it, That except we repent we shall all perish, Luk. 13. 3. And St. Paul tells us plainly, That at the last Day, God will render to all that obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, and that upon every foul of man, whether he be few or Gentile, Rom. 2. 6,8,9, 10. Our lins then are plainly those Evils, which the Threatnings of the Gospel would fright us from, and our Deliverance from them is that Salvation which they would enforce upon us. Their end is evidently to make us leave all evil ways, for fear least they should be inflicted on us for our perseverance in them.


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As for that Salvation then, which Christ came to purchase for us, from what I have deliver'd it appears, I suppose, most evidently what it is. The Declarations of the Prophets, of Christ and his Apostles, the prime end of the Precepts, the Promises, and the Threatnings of the Gospel, the Nature of God, of Heaven and Happiness; in a word, the Design of our whole Religion, and Christianity, make it clear to us, that it is our Reformation; or, as the Angel expressed it, our Deliverance from our sins. He shall be called Jefus, because he shall save his people from their fins.

And thus having represented what that Salvation is, which Christ came to purchase for us,and shewn, I think clearly, that the great Deliverance design'd us by him, and promoted by his Gospel, is our Reformation, and a Freedom from our Sins. I proceed now,

Secondly, To note some Uses, and

particular Improvements of this Discourse.

1. Then from'what has been discoursed upon the Nature of the Christian Salvation we may plainly understand, what Faith, what Repentance, what Grace,


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what Preacbing, what Ordinances are saving. For if Salvation '

mainly consists in our Deliverance from our Sins, as we have evidently seen it doth; then that is a saving Faith which makes us obedient; and that a saving Repentance which works our Amendment;and that is saving Grace, which enables us to a pious PraCtice ; and that is saving Preaching, which is fitted, not to fill us with vain Delights, or learned Niceries, or abstract Speculations, or mysterious Notions, but to awaken our Consciences, and reform our Lives ; and those are saving Ordinances, which are powerful and proper means of our Conversion, and vertuous Performances. This is to be the end of all the helps of Religion, and this the Excellency of all the means of Grace, that they tend strongly to make us leave our fins, and rescue us from Disobedience. Our Salvation is a Deliverance from our sins, and then any thing is saving when it delivers and frees us from them.

2. A fecond Use which I shall note of this Discourse, is for the Tryal of our State; to know whether we are indeed of the number of the saved or no; for if Salvation consists in our Deliverance from our sins, then they are not saved


but lost men, who still live in them, and are enslaved to them. Is any man then a contemner, or prophaner of God, of his dreadful Name, or of his holy word? Doth he spend his time in Luxury and Wantonness , Pride and Covetousness? are his hands full of violence? or is he a stranger to the ways of Peace ? In fine, if he doth not make it his business and care, to fear God and keep his Commandments, to be humble, chaste and temperate; to do all men Justice, and to speak the Truth, and love all, even his Enemies, and employ himself in all the instances of Duty, which must at the last and great Day be the matter of his ACcount, he has either no share at all, or not enough, in Christ's Salvation. The chiefest Grace which they enjoy, is the Grace of forbearance. God doth not snatch some of them away in their de. plorable, nor others in their insecure Condition, but allows them time and opportunities of Reformation, and the only advice which I can give them, is to renounce their evil Courses, and to live as new men; and then they may comfortably conclude; that they are in a fafe state, and are not without their part in that Salvation which Christ came to procure for them.

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3. A third Use and Improvement, which I shall make of this Discourse is for the directing of our Charity ; in showing what things we ought most chiefly to desire and endeavour after for our Brethren. For if our greatest Happiness; and the great Salvation which Chrift came to procure for us, consist in our Deliverance from our sins, and we are to love our Brethren, as Christ loved us ; then 'tis plain, that the great benefit which we are to seek for them, is their vertuous Life and Reformation. Holiness is the greatest Kindness which they can receive, or we can endeavour tơ promote in them: And therefore, a. mong all those endeavours, which are very commendably used for our Brethrens good, whether in their Bodies, good Names, or Fortunes, let us still be sure to have an Eye to their highest good of all, their increase in good Living, and their-Deliverance from their sins; let our greatest care be to make them better, rather than richer, and more honourable than they were.

For this is true Kindness and Love indeed to show our selves most concern’d for that whereby they will be infinitely most advantag'd.


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