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These and many more of the like Nature are the plain Declarations of Scripture; and whoever retains these in his mind can be in no great danger of idolizing the Symbolical Representations of the Things, commemorated in fiich Or• dinances. And ca- Since these Ordinances however, when exciting "ghtly obscrv'd,are productive of 16 mamunyWr-ny Virtues and good Dispositions in us; tun and since^ in the Sacrament of Baptism % we fusions profels our sincere belief in the Truth of w us. that Doctrine, which God the Father reveal'd by his blessed Son, and confirmed by the miraculous Operation of the holy Ghost; in it declare our humble Acceptance of the Overtures of Mercy and Grace, purchased for us by our Saviour, and in this Sacrament exhibited to us; in it ackno-Jledge our Obligation to all Piety,Righteouihess, andSobriety, as loyal Subjects, faithful Servants, and dutiful Children to^od ; and, lastly, in it devote our selves to the Faith and Obedience of God the Father, our great and glorious Maker; of God the Son, our good and gracious Redeemer; and of God the holy Ghojl, our blessed Guide and Comforter: And, in like manner, since a devout Reception of the Supper of the Lord, Exercises and Excites in us an awful Sense of
* Barrow on the Sacramenl.
Mind, answerable to the Greatness and Holiness of him, whom at that time we approach; an hearty Contrition for our Sins, which expos'd our Saviour to flich Pains and Agonies, as are therein remember'd j and a firm Resolution of forsaking them entirely, as injurious and displeasing to him; a fervent Love and Gratitude to our dear Redeemer, for his wonderful goodness and love to us; a deep humility, upon the sense of our Unworthiness to receive such Testimonies of his Favour; a pious Joy, in Consideration of the excellent fruits accruing to us from his Performances; a comfortable hope of obtaining the benefits of his Passion by the assistance of his Grace; and lastly, an enlarg'd Good-will and Charity to all our Brethren, as being made heirs of the fame Hope, and not only washed in the same Baptism, but fed at the fame Table with ourselves: Since these, I fay, are the Graces and Benefits, which accrue to us by these holy Ordinances, we have too just a Sense of our Happiness in their Institution, to be so far disgusted against those, who have clog'd and abused them with superstitious Innovations, as to listen to the Insinuations of others, who would deprive us of their Comfort, by having all outward Worship abolish'd.
H h 3 « But,
"But, be the Sacraments of Christia"nity what they will, we matter notb; "the main of Religion lies chiefly in its fl moral Part $ and yet we can, by no "Means, conceive, that its Rules of this w kind give it any just pretence to the "Character of a Divine Revelation, or its f< Author, to that of a Prophet Jent from "God, since it has informed us of no "more, than what the Improvements "of natural Realon had concluded beu fore, and the Philosophy of Pagans "taught, in a more accurate Method "and Digestion.
C-hrmuc"h whether the Cn«stian Morality not ^onT^*- being digested under proper Heads may tensive, be any valid Objection against it, I canfven ln, not tell; 'trs certain, that, whether the part.rhan spirit of God might concern itself with any Dis- fucn Niceties or no, its being wrote by ©shaman several Persons, in distant Places, and at season, different Times, could not, in the course of Things, admit of such Methodicalnefi, without some violent Suspicions of a Forgery: but this we may adventure to fay, e that the# substance of all the wise Pre? cepts, which were ever deliver'd by any Philosopher of any Sect, is, not only more plainly laid down by our Saviour and bis Apostles, but enforced likewise with
► Vid. Christianity as old, fif?. Pfijfinh
greater Efficacy and Strength, founded upon nobler and more consistent Principles, urg'd with greater weight and authority, and pressed with more powerful and affecting Arguments, (besides a considerable number of nefr Commandments which never came, into the Catalogue of Heathen Virtues,) than all his Sagacity and Strength of reasoning cou'd ever invent. For, where do we find the true Use and Government of our Passions, and Desires, and Affections so justly stated; where the great Lessons of Humility, Patience, and Contentednels so fully taught; where a generous contempt of the World, and ardent Aspirations after Heaven, so powerfully recommended, as in the Christian Philosophy? Where is the heroick Rule of f overcoming evil with good, by h loving our Enemies, blessing those that curse;, and fraying for those that persecute us\ where the Precepts, necessary in this deprav'd State, of voluntary Restraints and Inflictions, such as the Scripture calls taking up the Cross, and of striving and running, and earnestly contending towards Perfection, once mention'd but in the Gospel? In short, our Saviour has done more towards the Reformation of the World, the Extinction of Sin, and the EstablifhH h 4 ment
s Rom. xii. 21. * Mat. V. 44.
ment of true Holiness; more to inspire Mens Minds with great and magnanimous Virtue; and to give them an absolute conquest over all their vicious"Appetites ; to enlarge their Understandings, and emancipate their Wills, and repair in them the decay'd Image of God, than the best Philosophers have own'd their Instructions were ever able to do. Add to this the Motives, whereby our Saviour enforces the Practice of his Laws, viz. the promise of divine and supernatural Affifiance, to help our Infirmities ; of pardon upon true Repentance, to cure our despondence; and of an everlasting recommence of Reward, to encourage our endeavours; all such, as the heathen World was but slenderly acquainted with, tho* highly becoming the Wisdom and Goodness of God, and the natural Exigences of Man: Add again, that the Considerations, upon which he requires our Obedience, and discourages our breach of his Commandments, are not the common stale Topicks of Convent' ency and Incorrveniency, but (what the Wit of Man never once thought of before) 'the Method of God's dealing with us, the great Example of our Lord and Master, the respect we owe to our holy Profession, the Relation, which,
while 'Bishop of London* zi Past. Letter.