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Nature, and the Manner of its Existence? or our finite Understandings grafp Infinity? But to cure this Itch of Curiofity, or rather Scab of Infidelity, let us consider,

Ift, The Shortness of our Sight, even in natural things that lie more level to it: there are Myfteries in Nature, Art and Providence, that baffle and confound our Reason; and many things which we daily behold and believe too, are above the reach of our Understanding. How fhallow and imperfect is our Infight into many common and ordinary Matters? Are not the wifelt Philofophers puzzled about the Nature of Sounds and Colours, which are the daily and ordinary Objects of our Senfes? Who can folve the Riddles of Sympathy and Antipathy? or fhew why the Loadstone draws Iron, when its Influence reaches not things of a more likely and eafy Attraction? Is not Reason at a lofs about the ebbing and flowing of the Sea? And can it tell why the Needle of the Compafs fhould fo faithfully and conftantly obferve the North Pole? Does not every little Fly or Worm puzzle us to find out the fecret Springs of their Life and Motion? Who can tell what kind of Knot it is that ties our Soul and Body together? or explain that Sacred Band that unites Time to Eternity? And is it reasonable to doubt or deny either, because we cannot know how they fubfift and are united together? But if our Reafon be thus fhort fighted in natural and common things, that daily occur to our Senfes, then confider,


2dly, How weak it muit needs be in Divine and Spiritual Matters, which are fo much above them; here certainly our Candle muft burn very dim, and stand in need of fome brighter Light to illuminate and direct it: The natural Man difcerns not the things of God (faith the Apoftle) neither indeed can be, because they are fpiritually difcern'd; 1 Cor. 2. 14. And therefore it must be great Folly and Presumption in any to reject the Myfteries of the Gospel, because their weak Reason cannot difcover how these things fhould be. Does not the Splendor of fome Objects dazzle and confound the Sight? Can our weak Eyes ftedfaftly behold the Sun? And if our fhallow Underftandings cannot comprehend natural and earthly Matters, why fhould we think them able to fathom fupernatural and heavenly Truths? So our Saviour here argues with Nicodemus; If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? Ver. 12. Moreover confider,

3dly, That these things are reveal'd from Heaven by him that is Truth it felf, and therefore there can be no reafon to doubt or disbelieve them. We are exprefly told, that there are three that bear Record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one: 1 John' 5.7. Where a Trinity of Perfons is afferted in the Unity of the Godhead; and we may fafely build upon the Word of him, that can neither deceive or be deceiv'd. There are fome Truths in Religion that were never propounded to our Reafon, being above the Ken and Discovery of it: fuch is this Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which we are to take upon God's Word, and to believe without fcanning. For to oppose our Reafon to Revelation, is to fet a Candle above the Sun; yea, 'tis to chufe Darkness rather than Light, and to follow a blind Guide before an infallible Director. Reafon indeed is a good Guide, as far as it can reach; but as the Eye is limited in its Profpect, and cannot fee beyond its Sphere, fo hath God fet Bounds to our Reafon, faying, Hither fhall it come, and no farther: it may fee a great way in vifible and corporeal Objects, but 'tis blind in Mysteries, and cannot look within the Veil; here it muft yield to Faith, and refign to Revelation. We know but in part here; and therefore in thefe fublime and myfterious Truths we must be content to be ignorant, and fubmit our Reason to Faith, without prying too far into the manner of them, or faying with Nicodemus, How can these things be?

But to go on with the Conference; our Saviour having acquainted Nicodemus with the great Myfteries of the Baptifmal Regeneration, and the Holy Trinity, he proceeds to the Teftimony given for the Proof of them, viz. the Tef timony of Miracles and Eye-witneffes, the beft Evidence that can be given of any Truth; call'd therefore in Scriptare, The Demonftration of the Spirit and Power. Now this Evidence we have in the next Verfe; Verily, verily I fay unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have feen, and ye receive not our Witness: that is, I and my Difciples teach you Doctrines that we know by Divine Revelation, and have been confirm'd to us by Miracles before our eyes. So St. John, That which we have feen with our Eyes, and our Hands have handled of the Word of Life, declare we unto you, that ye may have Fellowship with us, and truly our Fellowship is with the Father, and with the Son, and with the Holy Ghoft 1 John 1. 1. Yea, Chrift here adds concerning himself, that no Man hath afcended up to Heaven, to gain


the Knowledg of these things, but he that came down from Heaven, to reveal his Father's Will, even the Son of Man who is in Heaven, by his Divine Nature; even whilft in his Human Nature he converfes with, and teaches us here upon Earth: And yet (faith he to Nicodemus and the rest of the Jews) ye receive not our Witness in these heavenly things, tho they ftand fo well confirm'd by Divine and Human Tef timony, which must render your Unbelief the more unreafonable and inexcufable.

But yet for all this, As Mofes lifted up the Serpent in the Wilderness on a Pole, fo must the Son of Man be lifted up on a Crofs; to the end, that whofoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting Life: that is, as all that look'd up to the brazen Serpent were heal'd of all manner of Dif eafes, fo all that by an Eye of Faith look up to Jefus fhall be freed from all the Maladies of the Soul, and made Partakers of eternal Life.

This is briefly the Substance of this Day's Gospel; which may serve,

ift, To convince us of the great and indifpenfable Neceffity of Baptifm: for tho Nicodemus here made a good Confeffion, by owning Chrift to be a Teacher come from God, and believing his Miracles to be fuch, as none could do except God were with him; yet this was not fufficient without Baptifm, for Chrift tells him, that except a Man be born again of Water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Where, being born again of Water can be meant only of Baptifm, there being no New-Birth by that Element, but by that Sacrament. And this is here made fo neceffary, that there is no Admiffion into the Church here, or into Heaven hereafter without it. And therefore Christ gave a Commiffion to his Apoftles, To go and baptize all Nations, in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghoft; Mat. 28. fignifying, that Difciples are to be receiv'd into the Church by the Waters of Baptifm. Accordingly we read, that all the Profelytes and Converts to Chriftianity, mention'd in the Acts of the Apostles, were admitted into it by this Ceremony; Repent and be baptized (faith St. Peter to the three thoufand Converts) Acts 2. 38. Arife, why tarrieft thou? and be baptized (faith Ananias to Saul upon his Converfion to Chriftianity) Acts 22. 16. Lydia and her Houfe were admitted into the Church this


way; and fo was the Jailor and his Family; and fo have all Chriftians been ever fince. All which fhew us what regard we are to have for this Sacrament, and what care Parents are to take to bring their Children to it; efpecially confidering, firft, the great Benefits they receive by this Sacred Ordinance. This is the Door of Entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, and therefore our Saviour would have Children brought to it, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven; Mark 10. 14. 'Tis the ordinary Means of Salvation; for he that believeth and is baptized, shall be faved; Mark 16. 16. The Spirit of God accompanying this Ordinance, gives the Remiffion of Sins, and feals to us the Promife of eternal Life. To this we may add, fecondly, the Confideration of the extreme Danger of denying or delaying of Baptifm; for he that believeth not, and is unbaptiz'd, fhall be damned. By omitting of this Sacrament, we do as it were fhut the Gate of Heaven against Infants, and deprive them of the ordinary Way and Means of their Salvation; which fhould make all Parents afraid or afham'd of this Neglect.

2dly, From Nicodemus's denying the Baptifmal Regeneration, and others denying the Doctrine of the Trinity, because their weak Reafon cannot comprehend how thefe things fhould be; we may learn not to depend too much upon our own Reafon, but to rely chiefly on Divine Revelation in fuch Mysteries: For the former, we fee, is a crooked, erring and uncertain Rule; the latter is a fure, fafe and infallible Guide. We know how the Gentiles loft their way, when they had no better Conduct than their own Reafon; and how the Heathens were bewilder'd, when they follow'd only the blind and uncertain Guidance of natural Light; both which led them into many vain Superftitions and grofs Idolatrys: but thanks be to God, we are not left to grope in the dark as they were, but are happily affifted by brighter Revelations. Let us not then prefer a Candle before the Sun, or fet up our dim Reafon above the Light of Divine Revelations; that is, let us not fcan Mysteries by our weak and fhallow Apprehenfions, but rather make them the Objects of our Admiration than Curiofity. Particularly in this of the Trinity, let us thankfully acquiefce in what God hath reveal'd to us of himfelf, evermore praifing him, and faying, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabbaoth.


Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghoft, three Perfons and one God, be afcrib'd as is most due, all Glory, Honour, Praife, Might, Majesty and Dominion, both now and evermore. Amen.


The EPISTLE for the First Sunday after Trinity. 1 St. John iv. 7, to the end.

Beloved, let us love one another; for Love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God: he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is Love, &c.


HE Collect for this Day teaches us to beg of God the Acceptance of our Prayers, and the Affiftance of our Infirmities, that fo in keeping his Commandments we may please him both in Will and Deed.

The Epiftle mentions and infifts upon the great Commandment of Love, which is indeed the Sum of all the Commandments; and the keeping of it is therefore ftil'd, the fulfilling of the Law.

It begins with an Exhortation to this excellent Grace, which it backs with many preffing Motives and Encouragements, and concludes with fome Marks and Trials of the Truth of it, as we fhall find in the following Discourse.

I begin, as the Epiftle doth, with the Exhortation to this Grace of Love, in these words, Beloved, let us love one another; where 'tis ufher'd in with the kind Compellation of Beloved, the better to infinuate and inftil this Leffon into us. St. John is in Scripture ftil'd, The Beloved Difciple, or The Difciple whom Jefus loved; for he lean'd on his Breast, and fo was nearest his Heart, and knew more of his Mind than any other: by which means his Breaft being inflam'd with the Love of God, breath'd out nothing but Love to the Brethren; Beloved faith he) let us love one a nother.


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