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• — also, who, tho' they are not themselves
bERM. engag»(j jn t}jat honourable and bene
_ "_ ficial Employment, are by their Bounty assisting to others in Qualifying themselves for it.
May the Success of this, and -all other Designs of a like nature, be the abounding of Christian Knowledge; and may Christian Knowledge abound to the Extinguishing all our unhappy Divisions, and producing among us that mutual Amity and Agreement, which in the Verses immediately preceding my Text the Prophet foretells it should produce among its Professors, and which we are sure it actually did produce among the first Christians; that so not only Truth may flourish in our Land, but Peace may be extended to her as a River, and Glory as a flowing Stream, and her Righteousness may be as the Waves of the Sea. •
Which God of his infinite Mercy in his due Time grant unto us, for the Sake of our only Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ, so whom, &c.
i COR. I. 21. latter Part.
It pleased God by the Foolifiness of Preaching to save them that believe.
The whole Verse runs thus.
For after that, in the Wisdom of God,
THE Apostle's Meaning in these
———Learning and Philosophy did not attain se*m- to a true Knowledge of God, he was - '_ graciously pleas'd to rescue all who were < willing, to entertain the Truth, from a
State of Ignorance and Error, of Sin and everlasting Misery, by the Publication of the Doctrine of the Gospel; which the Pretenders to Wisdom esteem'd absurd and incredible, and derided as Foolishness. .- ,. i /..-."J •
The Text thus paraphras'd affords this Proposition for the Subject of my following Discourse, viz. That the Gospel is a proper and efficacious Means of Salvation to all who are sincerely dispps'd to embrace it.
In order to the Gospel's being a proper and efficacious Means of Salvation, nothing more can be necessary than these four Things:
First, That the Matter or Doctrine of it be such as hath a direct Tendency to recover Men out of a State of Ignorance and Error, of Sin and Misery, and to advance them p a State of Happiness and Perfection. ;.. . «
Secondly, That there be unexceptionable Evidence of the Truth and Divinity of it.
Thirdly, That there be sufficient Provision for the Publication of it. And,
Fourthly, That it be duly heard and received by those to whom it is published.
First then, The Matter or Doctrine of the Gospel is manifestly such as hath a direct Tendency to recover Men from Ignorance and Error, from Sin and Misery j and to advance them to a State of Perfection and Happiness.
Fo R, to make us sensible of our Danger , it informs us of our Degeneracy from that original Uprightness and Perfection in which Man was at first created and that we are dead in Trespasses and Sins; whereby we have render'd ourselves liable to all the Evils which are naturally consequent thereupon, and obnoxious to the Wrath "of an Almighty God, and to those Penalties which he may justly inflict upon those who have violated his taws.
To r T o reclaim us from those evil Courses
sejM. by which we were reduc'd to this
. wretched Condition, it represents to us
the indispensable Necessity of Repentance and Amendment for the future, in order to the Pardon of our past Miscarriages, and to our Reconciliation with God, and the regaining his Favour. It does likewise in the fullest and most authentic * manner assure us of the Success and avatt
ableness of Repentance to these Purposes -, of which (since Remission of Guilt is an Act of meer Grace, to which the Deity is not in strict Justice oblig'd) the Light of Reason cannot give us certain and satisfactory Assurance^
For the Right Information of our Understandings and Regulation of our Conduct, it hath clearly difcover'd to us the Nature and Attributes of God, in what Way he desires to be worshipp'd, what Offices and Services are acceptable to him, and what kind of Behaviour not only to himself, but to our Neighbour and with regard to our own Persons, he requires. It hath impos'd upon us Laws