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24.

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in the general Interpretation, but with this Difference, that they apply it to a Messiah already come, is as evident from the Part which it bears in the daily Worship of our Church, as well as in other Christian Liturgies.

Such a Foundation have we for the

pious Enterprize we are engaged in, Luke 13. that we know it to have been the Defire

of many righteous Men, as our blessed Matt. 13. Saviour tells us, of Kings and Prophets,

and of the faithful under both Covenants ; that it has been all along the Subject of good Mens Prayers, their point in View, and their most pleasing Expectation. And such is our Assurance of Success, that how unequal soever our natural Powers may be to the Undertaking, how great soever the Difficulties in our Way, how discouraging foever the flow Progress may be which we have yet been able to make in it, we have nevertheless an unshaken confidence, that the Favour of the Almighty, and the Decrees of Providence are on our side ; and that if any Regard be due to the inspired Writers of the old Law, or to the Evangelists and Apostles of the new, we have a clear

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Testimony, and a sure Word of Prophecy,

that the good work we are labouring f. at shall be at length accomplished, and

the Kingdom of the Messiah extend it self over the whole Globe; that the People, or Nations, mall every where praise and acknowledge him, yea all the People praise him.

In discoursing upon which Words thus explained, I shall take Occasion to observe from them these three Things, viz.

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I. The Excellency of the Messiah's Go

spel, and the Use and Importance of it to all Mankind.

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II. The just and reasonable Motives of

engaging in this Business of propagating his Religion throughout the World. And,

III. What are the best Expedients, and

the most likely Means of being successful in this Enterprise.

As for the Excellency of the Messiah's Gospel, and the Use and Importance of it, they may be clearly gathered from its

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valuable and mysterious Doctrines, which are undiscoverable by bare Reason ; from the great Purity and Holiness of its Precepts ; from that perfect and lively Pattern which the Author of it has set before us; and from those powerful and coercive Sanctions, whereby our Obedience to it is enforced.

It might indeed have been discovered by the Light of Nature, that Man was in a corrupt degenerate State, destitute of moral Virtue, and with a strong Inclination to every evil Way; but how to 'reconcile him to the Favour of God in such circumstances, to make Atonement for his Guilt, and to satisfie the great Governour of the World's offended Justice,' was a Secret unknown to the greatest Proficients in humane Learning ; nor could any of the Philosophers have unfolded the stupendious Work of Man's

Redemption, by the Son of God's beEphel. z: coming incarnate. That Mystery, as the . :

Apostle obferves, which in other Ages was not made known unto the Sons of Men, and which from the beginning of the World had been bid in God, was first proclaimed at the Messiah's Coming, and it was by his

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glorious Gospel that the Almighty declared himself reconcileable to the Gentile World, and that Life and Inmortality were brought to Light.

Nor is the Christian Institution less admirable for its refined and holy Precepts, in which the Duty of Man in all his relative Offices is compleatly and accurately set before him. He is there taught a rational Worship of God without Superstition or Insincerity; an affectionate Love to his Brother without Weakness, Self-interest, or Flattery; a regular and virtuous Government of himself, free from all Affectation, Pride, or Censoriousness. In this Evangelical System of Ethics, the Seeds and first Principles of Vice are extinguished; and every Tincture or Refemblance of an evil Action is guarded against and difallowed; the noble Virtue of Fortitude, and the amiable Grace of Charity, shine here with a double Lustre, feem raised to an Height above Nature, and stretched to a Degree beyond humane and yet that the Science taught is not merely speculative, nor a bare Theory of Morals, but such a Rule of Life as is

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reducibie to Practice, and may be copied after, is evidently proved, and was intended to be shewn by that compleat and lively Pattern, which the Author of this Gospel cloathed himself in our own Nature to set before us.

By Bollowing after other Models, how celebrated soever, tho' of Heroes, Philofophers, or Saints, we are sure of being defective, because the best of them have been so; and we expose our felves to the Hazard of being led into Tranfgrefsions by the Fame and Reputation of their Characters; for the greatest Genius's, the most eminent in some particular Accomplishments, have been commonly observed to be not without their Inperfections, and fometimes their Vices, to counterballance them: Whereas, in the Pattern of the blessed Jesus, we have an infallible Guide, and an unerring Rule to walk by ; his Ways and Precepts were entirely correspondent, and his Life and Manners a compleat Transcript of bis Doctrine.

Had the Religion of the Gospel indeed, even under the Advantage of such holy Laws, and so fafe an Example, been

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