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SERMON.

ROMANS IX. 4, 5.

Israelites, to 'whom pertaineth the adoption,

and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the Fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came.

In this passage St. Paul has endeavoured to engage the national feelings of the Jews in the service of Christianity; as will appear more clearly in the following paraphrase of his words:

" I have great reason," says the Apostle, “ to be highly concerned for them, who are “ Israelites;" that is, persons descended from one, whose faith and virtue were so eminent; " to whom pertaineth the adoption,” God having owned them as his sons and his firstborn, “ and the glory,” the glorious presence of the Schechinah, “ and the covenant" made with Abraham and with Moses, " and the giving of the law,” that law written with God's own finger on tables of stone; $ and the service of God," that divine worship, which he revealed to them, as his peculiar people ; " and the promises," not only of signal blessings in the land of Canaan to those who should observe his laws, but the promise of the Messiah, and of a new covenant established on better promises : “ whose are the fathers,” the Jews being the offspring of the Patriarchs, to whom the promises were first made: “ and of whom, as concerning the flesh, the promised Messiah came,” being born of one of their nation*

St. Paul then, in this passage, presses upon

, the Jews the belief of Christianity, as a religion, in the revelation of which, they were peculiarly interested. It shall be the object of the following Discourse to shew, that this our country has also been blessed with great and . peculiar privileges by Providence,

* Whitby's Paraplırase of the New Testament.

in the propagation of the Gospel, and with great and irresistible evidences of the truth of Christianity, arising out of our own national history; from which most favourable and honourable privilege I draw these interesting consequences; that it is peculiarly incumbent on us to be zealous in the diffusion and maintenance of the Gospel, and in the cultivation of every branch of knowledge most conducive to that end. I shall shew how the several objects of our St. David's Society fall in with these duties; what the Society has done for this purpose, and what it has still in view.

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am first to shew, that “ this our country has been blessed with great and peculiar privileges by Providence, in the propagation of the Gospel; and with irresistible evidences of the truth of Christianity arising out of our own national history.” And this I shall do by the selection of seven epochs of Christianity in Britain, from the first introduction of the Gospel to the beginning of the seventh century; namely, the preaching of the Gospel by St. Paul in the first century; the public protection of Christianity by Lucius, in the second century; the Diocletian persecution, in the third and fourth century; the establishment of Christianity through

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out the Roman empire, in the fourth ; the suppression of the Pelagian heresy, in the fifth ; the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi, in the sixth ; and the rejection of Popery by the British Bishops, in the seventh century. If I can substantiate these events, especially the foundation of the British Church by St. Paul; if I can shew, that we owe our knowledge of Christianity to St. Paul, not to Austin or the Pope; that Britain has never been without a Christian Church since the first introduction of the Gospel in the first century; and that our ancestors not only re. jected Popery, as early as in the beginning of the seventh century, but made a public and indignant protest against the authority of the Pope, as well as the corruptions of his Church, I think I shall have no difficulty in convincing you, that “ the Gospel has been committed unto us,” in a way that demands the gratitude and zeal of both laity and clergy, as good Christians and good Protestants.

1. That Christianity was introduced into Britain in the first century, during the time of the Apostles, would have been highly probable from the predicted diffusion of the Gospel throughout the world; and from what we know of the communication between Britain and Rome at that time, of the fre

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quent intercourse between the two countries, and of the easy access to Britain ; even if we had not express authority for the fact. But we have for our authority the decisive testimonies of Eusebius and Theodoret.

Nor are we left to conjecture by whom Christianity was introduced; for we are

. further informed by the same competent testimony, that some of the Apostles visited the British isles; and that the Britons were among the nations which were converted by the Apostles * Irenæus, a more ancient anthority than either, speaks of Churches established by the Apostles and their disciples among the Celtic nations, of which Britain was one t,

The testimony of these writers is valuable from their proximity to the time of the A postles, and from the means which they therefore possessed of knowing what they asserted of the progress of the Gospel. Irenæus lived in the age next after the Apostles. Eusebius lived early in the fourth century

* Euseb. L. iï. c. 7. p. 113. Theod. Tom. iv. Serm. 9. p. 611.

+ L. i. c. 2, 3.

# Eusebius was born soon after the death of Origen, whose preceptor was living before the death of Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John,

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