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SER M. which were really wrought by the power of the holy CCXXV. Ghoft, to the devil; fo men now-a-days, who own

the history of CHRIST's miracles as true, may be guilty of the fin against the holy Ghoft, in a lower proportion, by maliously imputing thofe miracles to the power of the devil.

But excepting the fin against the holy Ghoft, the greatest fin that men are now capable of, is to difbelieve the gospel when it is fufficiently propounded to them. Now the gospel is then fufficiently propounded, when there are fufficient grounds offered to perfuade men to the belief of it; and I have already proved, that we now have fufficient ground to believe the gospel; and if fo, then whofoever hath these grounds offered to him, is under an obligation to believe it for every man is bound to believe that, for which he hath fufficient ground and reafon; and every man fins who neglects his duty, that is, does not do that which he stands bound to.

And not only whoever difbelieves the gospel, fins in so doing, but farther, he commits the greatest fin that now men are capable of. I fay now capable of: for I doubt not but that it was a fin of a higher degree, for those who faw CHRIST's miracles to difbelieve, than it is for us who have only the relation of them. For by the fame reason that "he is more "bleffed that believes, and hath not feen;" a greater curfe belongs to him, "who hath feen, and yet doth "not believe," and confequently fuch a perfon is guilty of a greater fin. But because we cannot now fee the miracles of CHRIST, the greateft fin that men in this age are capable of, is to difbelieve the gofpel confirmed by miracles, whereof we are affured by credible relation. For the fin of difbelieving now hath thefe two aggravations.

1. It is a fin against fufficient light and evidence: and in this it is equal to the fins which are committed against natural light.

2. It is a fin against the greatest mercies and bleffings that ever were offered to the world: and in this it exceeds the fins against natural light. Whoever disbelieves the gospel, he rejects the offer of eternal life and happiness. And these two aggravations the apostle puts together, Heb. ii. 3. "how "fhall we escape, if we neglect so great falvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the

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LORD, and was confirmed unto us by them that "heard him?" And if this be thus, it highly con>cerns us to enquire into the nature of this faith; and this brings me to the

Seventh obfervation, that to "believe that JESUS "is the CHRIST, the Son of GOD," is truly and properly chriftian faith. But the confiderations of this I fhall leave to the next opportunity.

SERMON CCXXVI. Of the chriftian faith, which fanctifies juftifies, and faves.

JOHN xx. 31.

But thefe are written, that ye might believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, the Son of GOD, and that believing ye might have life through his name.



N my former difcourfe upon these words, I pro- The fepofed eight obfervations from them, fix of which cond ferI have already dispatched, defigning to difcoufe ofmon on


this text.

SER M. the remaining two more at large. I proceed thereCCXXVI. fore to the

Seventh obfervation which I laid down, viz. that to "believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, the Son of "GOD," is truly and properly christian faith. This is the description which is here given of christian faith.

In prosecution of this, I shall do these two things. First, fhew you what is included in believing "that t JESUS is the CHRIST, the Son of Gon."

Secondly, prove that this is truly and properly chriftian faith.

First, what is included in beljeving "that JESUS "is the CHRIST, the Son of GOD." It fignifies a firm and effectual perfuafion, that JESUS, that is, the perfon the hiftory of whofe life and death is related in the gofpel, is the CHRIST," that is, the true Meffias, promised and prophefied of in the old testament to be the SAVIOUR of the world; and that he is "the Son of God," that is, "the only begotten " of the Father," who was fent by him into the world, and took our nature upon him, that he might purchafe eternal happinefs for us, and inftruct us, and go before us in the way to it. So that faith is a firm and effectual perfuafion of, or affent to the whole gofpel. Faith fignifies chriftian religion, which comprehends an affent to the doctrine of the gofpel, and a fuitable life and converfation.

I fay, a firm perfuafion of this; for in the phrafe of the new teftament, none are accounted true believers, or faid to have a true faith in CHRIST, who do not firmly continue in this perfuafion; and the owning and profeffion of it, notwithstanding all the fufferings and perfecutions it might expofe them to. And an effectual perfuafion, for none are faid truly


to believe in CHRIST, who did not fhew forth the proper and genuine effects of this faith, who do not live as they believe, and conform their lives to that doctrine, to the truth whereof they profess an affent.

And hence it is that true Chriftians, that is, thofe who did fashion their lives according to the gospel, are called believers, and the fum of all chriftianity is ufually contained in this word believing, which is the great principle of a chriftian life; as in the old teftament all religion is expreffed by the "faith of GOD," fo in the new, by "the faith in CHRIST."


Now whofoever doth firmly and effectually entertain this truth, that that JESUS, whom the gospel declares to us, is the true Meffias, and SAVIOUR of the world, and the very Son of GOD, fent by him into the world for this purpose, that he might by his doctrine inftruct, and by the example of his life go before us in the way to eternal happiness, and by the merit and fatisfaction of his death and fufferings appeafe and reconcile GOD to men, and purchase for them the pardon of their fins and eternal life, upon the conditions of faith, and repentance, and fincere 5 obedience; I fay, whofoever doth firmly and effec#tually entertain thefe truths will confequently endeavour to obey the precepts of his doctrine, and to imitate the example of his life; and will expect falvation, that is, the pardon of his fins, and etertal life from no other; because he is verily perfuaded he is a teacher, and a SAVIOUR fent from GOD, that his doctrine is true, and his fatisfaction available, and that the rewards which he hath promised to those who believe and obey him, and the punishments which he hath threatned to the unbelievers and difobedient, shall all certainly be fulfilled and accomplished. All this is included in believing "that JESUS is the "CHRIST,

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SERM." CHRIST, the Son of GOD." So christian faith, CCXXVI. or the faith of the gospel, contains plainly in it thefe particulars.

1. An affent of the understanding to this truth, that JESUS CHRIST, the Son of GOD, was a perfon commiffioned from heaven, and employed by GoD to bring men to eternal happiness. And this fundamental is neceffary to all the fubfequent acts of faith, and that upon which they depend.

2. An affent of the understanding to the truth of all those things which this perfon delivered to the world. So that if he tells us, that his death hath made expiation for the fins of men, upon the conditions of faith, and repentance, and obedience; and that God by him doth command the world to do fuch and fuch things, and in cafe of obedience wil! confer fuch and fuch rewards upon men, but in cafe of difobedience will inflict fuch punishments upon them; we are to believe all this to be true; becaufe the person who acquainted us with these things was fent by GoD, and employed from heaven upon this meffage.

3. And confequently, a relying and depending upon him, and no other, for the conferring of these benefits, and making good thefe promises to us.

4. Obedience to all his laws and commands; be caufe believing them to be from GoD, we cannot but affent to them as good, and as laying an obligation upon us to yield obedience to them and if we do not obey them, we are prefumed to difbelieve them; for if we did truly and heartily believe them to be the commands of GOD, we would obey them.

Now that obedience of heart and life to the precepts and commands of the gospel, as well as an af fent of the understanding to the truth of the gospel


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