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cularly, because the same way of reasoning is applicable in these cases, mutatis mutandis ; and therefore I shall leave them to your own reflection.

On the whole, the only true and fair way of judging of the gospel is, to consider what is the true state of mankind in the world. If men are in a state of purity and innocence, no redemption is wanting, and the methods prescribed in the gospel bear no relation to their circumstances : but if men have every where sinned, and come short of the glory of God, the law of nature cannot help them to those blessings which by the law of nature are forfeited; and there is manifestly a necessity to have recourse to other means to obtain salvation.

It may be said, for it often is said, that, whatever degree of light men have, it will make little difference in the case; since an equitable judge will consider men and their merits in proportion to their abilities. Allowing this maxim to be true, yet it plainly goes' no farther than this, that God will not punish men for not doing the things which their natural powers enabled them not to do. The argument cannot go farther : you cannot argue from the weakness or stupidity of men, that they shall be rewarded. It may be a good reason not to beat a man when he does amiss, because he is a fool, and knows not what he does; but it is no reason to honor or to advance him. And therefore a religion founded in this favorite principle cannot be said to have the words of eternal life ;' for no plea, no claim for eternal life can possibly be raised out of it.

Considering, therefore, religion under the character given in the text, that it has the words of eternal life,' we shall have reason to conclude with St. Peter, that our only hope is in God, and in him whom he hath sent, our blessed Lord and Redeemer; and with him to say, ' Lord, whither shall we go? thou, thou only hast the words of eternal life. And we believe, and are sure, that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.'

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When we consider the wonderful work of our redemption, we cannot imagine it to be the effect of mere will and arbitrary appointment, not founded in the reason and propriety of things : from our natural notions of God and his attributes, it is absurd to suppose that he could do any thing by chance, or from mere will and humor: this as true in works of grâce as in those of nature : it is one thing, not to be able to discern the reasons of Providence, and another to suppose them void of reason : no religion can subsist with an opinion of this latter kind. The gospel has made an alteration in the scheme of religion by revealing the Son of God: the knowlege of his power in the creating and upholding all things became necessary for the foundation of our faith in him as the Redeemer; for that character would be ill supported by one who had not power equal to the undertaking : the doctrines therefore of the New Testament relate to that character, of which there was no explicit declaration, either before or under the Law of Moses. Natural religion leads us to acknowlege one supreme intelligent Creator of all things; and therefore all the religious duties of man in that state relate to this Being alone : but suppose it could discover that this Being had an eternal Son, by whom he made the worlds ; would there not on that supposition necessarily arise an alteration in natural religion? It cannot be supposed that we were created by the Son, are under his government,

and shall be under his judgment, and at the same time be maintained that no service is due to him from his creatures and

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subjects: the conclusion therefore is, that the religion of a Christian is a natural and reasonable service. When we consider what expectations we have from our Redeemer, and what are his promises to us, it is but reasonable to ask, by what authority he does these things ? The foundation of our expectations is shown to be reasonable from Scriptural authorities; and we have thence reason to conclude that he is now as able to restore life, as he was at first to give it. The relation of Christ to mankind as Creator and Governor considered: the work of redemption could not properly have been undertaken by any other hand : this shown to be the case both from reason and from Scripture. Though the redemption of mankind be a work which seems to concern men only, yet considered as a vindication of God's justice and goodness, it is exposed to the consideration of every intelligent being in the universe: hence, though it relates immediately to men, it must be agreeable to all the reason and relation of things discoverable by the highest intellectual beings; and there are many such not discoverable by us. The existence of orders superior to man agrees both with reason and with Scripture; and since God's justice and equity in redemption are things which angels desire and are concerned to look into, his reasons in that great affair may be discoverable by the highest, though not by the lowest order of beings: this shown to be probable: it is next explained how well these principles and doctrines of the gospel agree together; from whence we may discern how reasonable and natural the religion of the gospel is. The belief that the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and arise to life, is the fundamental article of a Christian's faith. The hopes which nature imparts with respect to our prospects beyond the grave considered : also how these hopes are supported, confirmed, and enlarged by the gospel. Conclusion : the question put, who is this who was subject to death, and yet had power over death ? How could so much power and weakness meet together? An


swered; he was a man, and therefore he died; he was the Son of God, and therefore he rose from the dead, and will give life to all his true disciples. Had the gospel required us to expect from Christ the redemption of our souls and bodies, without giving us any reason to think he was endued with power equal to the task, Christians might have been justly reproached with believing they know not what. That the world was made by the Son of God, is not contrary to reason; and that he who made the world should be able to renew it, is highly consonant to reason: all the mystery lies in this—that so high a person should condescend so far for the sake of man; but it becomes not us to complain of his mysterious love.


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Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come

unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

WHEN we consider the great and wonderful work of our redemption, though we cannot account for every step of it to our own reason and understanding, yet neither can we imagine it to be the effect of mere will and arbitrary appointment, and void of all foundation in the reason and propriety of things. All the works of God are works of wisdom ; and as far as our capacities give us leave to judge, we discern evident marks of wisdom in them all, and discover a fitness and propriety in every thing with respect to the end which it is intended to serve or promote. If this be so in every instance in which we are able to make any judgment, it is a great presumption that it is and must be so in all other instances, which are too high and great to be viewed and measured by human understanding: and we have one positive argument that it is so, arising from the natural notion we have of God, and of his attributes of wisdom and justice. It is impossible to suppose such a being to do any thing by chance, or in compliance to mere will and humor. No: every act of God is the act of infinite wisdom, and is founded in the necessary reason and propriety of things : and it is as true of the works of grace as it is of the works of nature, that ' in wisdom he has ordained them all.'

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