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the luftre and brightness of those principles which God originally implanted in them, tho' now fullied and impaired by the corruptions of mankind; and to add fuch improvements as might draw human nature, to a true fenfe of it's own bad state and weakness, and instruct men in the method of obtaining pardon of their offended creator.

Thus the God of nature has at fundry times, and in divers manners, spoken in times paft, fays the apostle, unto the fathers by the prophets; but in thefe laft days lifhed. When pub he speaketh unto us by his Son Jefus Christ. Ín which revelation are contained articles of faith to be believed; precepts of life to be practifed; and motives and arguments to enforce obedience: from whence it is natural to collect, that the knowledge of the holy fcriptures is neceffary to our eternal falvation; because these are the great and standing revelation of God to mankind; wherein the nature of God, and his will concerning our duty, and the terms and conditions of our eternal happinefs in another world, are fully and plainly declared to us. Therefore,

Though there be some things which our reafon and underftanding cannot fathom; yet because we are fatiffied they are revealed by God, who cannot lye, whose knowledge is infallible, and whose word is true, we ought upon this higher and fuperior reason, to yield a firm affent to the truth of them. And though we meet therein with many precepts of life, which corrupt nature may be unwilling to put in practice; yet we must remember it is the Lord who commands them, and we must obey with the refignation becoming a child of God; Lord, not my will but thine be done; who by the mouth of his holy apoftle has commanded us to live foberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.

II. Whence we learn, that the foundation of a christian's duty is a due regard of God, our neighbour, and ourselves: of which duties I fhall treat in their proper order.

What it contains.

III. Our duty towards God is to believe in him, to fear him, to love him with all our heart, with

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Must be be

lieved.

The great

branches of our duty to God and

man.

Our duty to
God, what.

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all our mind, with all our foul, and with all our strength : to worship him; to give him thanks; to put our whole trust in him; to call upon him, to honour his holy name, and his word, and to ferve him truly all the days of our life.

In which short defcription of our duty towards God, as it is excellently drawn up for the use of young capacities by the compilers of our church catechifin, we are directed to believe and acknowledge the being and self-existence of a God; that he is from everlasting and world without end; that he is a spirit whom no man hath seen, nor can fee; that he is the great creator and preferver of all things, the father of lights in whom is no variableness neither fhadow of turning, cloathed with the infinite perfections of power, wisdom, and goodness, from which all the other divine attributes do flow; that in the godhead there are three distinct perfons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghoft; and that these divine perfections and offices bind the whole race of mankind to all poffible expreffions of duty and service. For, he that cometh to God, muft believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently feek him: wherefore our first approach unto God is by faith, without which it is impoffible to please God *. Now,

To believe that he is.

IV. Faith being a fincere perfwafion of the mind, concerning the certainty or credibility of aGod. ny truth or fact arifing from another's teftimony, the reafon of faith in the holy fcriptures is strong and forcible; because that is the teftimony of God, concerning those things in which are contained the means of eternal life: and therefore, though many of those things which we are commanded by the word of God to believe, are of a fpiritual nature, we must not be faithlefs but believing. Thus, God is a spirit; no man hath feen him at any time, with his bodily eyes; and yet Mofes is faid by faith to have feen him, who is invifible: and it is the concern of a good man to set the Lord always before him, that is, to confider him as a near and conftant fpectator of his actions, and therefore to live and act as always before his face. Again,

The

See this more largely treated of in the third chapter of this book,

The providence of God is out of fight, while outward events are seen: and most people have little regard for the one, while they have their heads and hearts full of the other: but we should attend to the invisible hand of providence in all cafes, whether in profperity or adverfity: the bleffings come not within the verge of fenfe; fuch as, an interest in the favour of God, the pardon of fin, the graces and comforts of the Holy Spirit. And our most formidable enemies are invisible too; original corruption, and the power and licy of evil fpirits: yet these are objects of faith, which excite our daily watchfulness. And in particular

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puted.

Let it be remarked concerning faith in Chrift; that the believing what is faid by him is called When imfaith in Christ, as his authority and credit is the ground and reafon of our belief. And the believing things faid of him, is called faith in Christ, as he himself is the object of them. And when this belief fuitably affecteth us, and we refolve and practise fo as may reasonably be expected from perfons under fuch perfwafions, then, and no otherwife, it is imputed to us for righteoufnefs. For thofe properties of faith must be real and unfeigned, contrary to the pretences of those that use it only as a difguife to be trufted; or as a mere outfide profeffion, without looking for any farther reason than to be in the fashion. It must be hearty and affectionate; not a mere object of our admiration, as of things wherein we are not much interested; but a moving and influencing perfwafion, wherewith all the powers of the foul are affected. It must be affured and confident; for a wavering and uncertain opinion will not accomplish it's work. Men will not run ventures and bear loffes on uncertain hopes, but only on firm and certain expectations. It must be honest, and accompanied with a good confcience, implying a man's honefty in discharge of the profeffion he makes, and honefty in performing his undertaking. It must be refolute and fully fixt, after all things are well confidered, fo that when any hardships arife, we may not be feen wavering in our minds. And, fince life and immortality are brought to light by Jefus,. To enable us to fulfil his will by faith, the Ho- How ly Spirit of God inwardly enlightens our minds, wrought,

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and inclines them to the obedience of faith, whereby we firmly believe those truths, which unto a natural or carnal man are foolishness. So that when the belief of the principles of religion is vigorous enough to govern our practice, and influence our lives; when the torments of the damned make us afraid to follow them in their fins, which have brought upon them all those miseries; when they put us upon ftriving against every temptation to avoid the danger; when the glories of the faints perfwade us to imitate their lives, which have raised them to fuch happiness; when the hope of feeing God purifieth us, as he is pure, by seeking all occafions of our improvement, and by making it our bufinefs to work out our falvation; then we know that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us, and guides us unto all truth, giving us wisdom, that Though feveral things which the fcriptures conIn his de- tain are above our understanding; not to be perclarations. ceived by fenfe, and not to be feen through with the closest application; things attended with many difficulties we cannot folve; as to the manner of their being, which is the cafe of many of the divine perfections; the doctrine of the refurrection of the body; and the distinction of the bleffed Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit, which plainly runs through the means of our falvation; yet we muft firmly believe them as revealed, and endeavour to improve the benefits, which we receive thereby. So in like manner

Though fome of the objects of faith are things paft and gone: Such are, the creation of the world, the difpenfations of providence in former ages; and, above all, the Son of God manifested in the flesh; his life, and death, and refurrection, and afcenfion into heaven; and the divine teftimonies borne to the gofpel of Chrift; though only a few in one age, and part of the world, had opportunity to fee these things; yet they are matters of faith to fuch as come after them. Other things are at a distance from us, beyond our world, too far for us to have any immediate perception of them. Of this kind is the present state of the invifible world; the happiness of holy angels, and of departed faints with Chrift in paradife; and the mifery and torments of those dead in fin. Many of them are future: They are now only to be difcerned by

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faith, but hereafter will be seen. Such are, the fecond coming of Chrift, the refurrection of the dead, the last judgment, and the rewards and punishments, which will enfue upon it. Every eye shall see the Redeemer, when he comes in the gloof his Father, even those who shall mourn because of him. And the great bufinefs, for which he comes, fhall be managed upon the publick stage in the view of all. But now we fee them only through a glafs darkly, and at a distance: And yet if we have faith, and trust in his promises, all these things become present unto us. For,

V. No temporal motives fhould fo prevail upon us, as to make us difregard his promises; and those particularly fuitable to our prefent cafe, ought to be In his procalled to mind from time to time: the promise of divine guidance, in the fenfe of the weakness of our underftanding and judgment: of strength, when we think of our inability for fervice or fuffering: of grace anfwerable to our work, when we are called out to hard fervices: of proper fupplies, when we are under outward burdens and wants; of acceptance and pardon upon our fincerity, when we are proceeding in our way, and yet cannot but be fenfible of our imperfections: and of grace to enable us to perfevere, while we are endeavouring it, and yet think of the oppofitions in our way. Hereby we shall make the proper use of God's promifes, according to God's intention in delivering them, and our own occafion for the relief they contain. The excellence of his promises should excite our care to have them fulfilled in us: and those of grace and glory, fhould have the main influence upon us. This is walking by his promises. Having therefore these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and fpirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,

In his

We are also to believe that God is just and powerful, that he will and is able to punish finners. The terrors of the Lord are recorded, for our admonition and threatnings. caution; to keep us awake, as well as to rouze finners out of their lethargy; and we should attend to them when we are apt to be remifs; to quicken us; to excite our care and caution, left after our hopes, we should at laft be caftaways;

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