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pardon or salvation for any, who have not performed these conditions; nor can they lay any just claim unto them by virtue of Christ's dying for them: and yet upon this gross mistake are founded many arguments produced by the Synod of Dort, against this general extent of our Lord's death.
Lastly, They who say, Christ, by offering up himself to the death, procured to the Elect, not only Remission, but also Faith and Repentance, seem to talk as men ignorant of the nature of Chrift; of a Covenant; of the proper effect of Sacrifices; and also of the nature of Faith and Repentance.
1. As men ignorant of the nature of Christ. For what need had Chrilt to purchase the Faith and Repentance of his Elect of his Father, seeing he could not want power sufficient over the hearts of men to work Faith and Repentance in them; nor could he, who had the greatest love to them, want will to do it.
2. Of the nature of a Covenant, which is a mutual ftipulation, requiring something to be done by one party, that he may receive something from another; and therefore to make Christ procure both the promise and the condition, by the same act and passion, is to turn the conditional Covenant into one that is absolute.
3. As persons ignorant of the nature of a Sacrifice of Atonement, whose proper effect is to remove punishment, by procuring forgiveness of the sin committed. It therefore ought to be observed, that no Sacrifice for Sin, as such, no not that of our Lord Jesus Christ, can sanctify a soul, or endow it with that divine nature, that inward purity, and all those other christian virtues which alone make us capable of the enjoyment of a holy God. A pardon will make a man free from condemnation; but it cannot make him of a clean heart: it will justify him from past fins, but cannot make him holy, and there. fore cannot make him happy: and hence Sanctification is only to be ascribed to the blood of Clirist by way of motive; but 10 the Spirit of Christ as the efficient cause: and all those Christian Virtues which are comprised in it are filed, The fruit of the Spirit,
Lastly, This notion seems repugnant to the nature of Faitli, which is an assent to a divine testimony; and of Repentance, which is a conversion of the will from fin to God. Now if Chrilt hath absolutely procured this Faith and Repentance for the Ele&t, they cannot be conditions to be performed on their part. And so again, the New Covenant, in respect of them, is not conditional, but absolute. Moreover, if God gives this supposed Faith and Repentance to the Ele&t, by an irresistible assistance, then others are not to be charged with guilt for not repenting and believing; because it is impossible that they should do so without that irresistible assistance which God will not vouchsafe them; and so they do not believe and repent, not because they will not do what they could do, but because they cannot do it were they never so willing. Since then upon this suppofition it is impossible they should believe and repent, for whom Christ never purchased Faith and Repentance, it cannot be their crime that they did not what it was impossible for them to do.
[To be continued.] 中冷冷冷冷冷冷冷冷冷冷冷的空空空空空空 . SE R M o N XXXI.
On EPHESIANS iv. I ,
I befeech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith
ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longJuffering, forbearing one anoiher in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in
. D OW much do we almost continually hear about The
11 Church? With many it is matter of daily converfation. And yet how few understand what they talk of? How
few know what the term means? A more ambiguous word than this, the Church, is scarce to be found in the English language. It is sometimes taken for a Building set apart for public worship: sometimes for a Congregation, or body of people, united together in the service of God. It is only in the latter sense that it is taken in the ensuing Discourse.
2. It may be taken indifferently for any number of people, how small er great fo erer. As where two or three are met togrther in his name, there is Chrift; fo (to speak with.Si.Cyprian) " (l'here two or three believers are met together, there is a Church.” Thus it is that St. Paul writing to Philemon mentions the church which is in leis house: plainly signifying, that even a Christian Family may be termed a Church.
3. Several of those whom God had called out of the world, (so the original word properly signifies) uniting together in one: Congregation, formed a larger Church: as the Church at Jerusalem; that is, all those in Jerusalem whom God had so called. But considering how swiftly these were multiplied, after the day of Pentecost, it cannot be supposed that they could continue to allemble in one place: especially as they had not then any large place, neither would they have been permitted to build one. In consequence they must have divided themselves even at Jerusalem, into several diftinct Congregations. In like 'manner when St. Paul, several years after, wrote to the Church in Rome (directing his letter To all that are in Rome, called to be saints) it cannot be supposed that they had any one building capable of containing them all; but they were divided into several Congregations, assembling in several parts of the city.
4. The first time that the Apoftle uses the word Church, is in his preface to the former Epistle to the Corinthians : Paul called to be an Apostle of Jesus Chrif, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth: the meaning of which expression is fixt by the following words, To them that are fanctified in Chrift Jus: with all that are in every place (not Corinth only; so Vol. IX.
it was a kind of Circular Letter) call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both yours and ours. In the inscription of his second letter to the Corinthians, he speaks ftill more explicitly: Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the faints that are in all Achaia. Here he plainly includes all the Churches, or Christian Congregations, which were in the whole Province.
5. He frequently uses the word in the plural number. So Gal. i. 2, Paul an Apostle unto the Churches of Galatia, that is, the Christian Congregations dispersed throughout that country. In all these places (and abundantly more might be cited) the word Church or Churches means, not the Buildings where the Christians assembled (as it frequently does in the English tongue) but the people that used to assemble there, one or more Christian Congregations. But sometimes the word Church is taken in Scripture in a still more extensive meaning, as including all the Chridian Congregations that are upon the face of the earth. And in this sense we understand it in our Liturgy when we say, “Let us pray for the whole fate of Christ's Church militant here on earth.” In this sense it is unquestionably taken by St. Paul, in his exhortation to the Elders of Ephesus, (A&s xx. 28.) Take heed to the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. The Church here undoubtedly means the Catholic or Universal Church, that is, all the Christians under heaven.
6. Who those are that are properly the Church of God, the Apostle shews at large, and that in the clearest and most decisive manner, in the passage above cited: wherein he likewise instructs all the members of the Church, how to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called.
7. Let us confider first, Who are properly the Church of God? What is the true meaning of that term ? The Church at Ephesus, as the Apostle himself explains it, means, The faints, the holy persons that are in Ephesus, and there assemble themselves together to worship God the Father and his Son,
Jesus Jesus Chrift: whether they did this in one, or (as we may pro. bably suppose) in several places. But it is the Church in general, the Catholic or Universal Church, which the Apostle here considers as one body: comprehending not only the Christians in the house of Philemon, or any one fainily; not only the Christians of one Congregation, of one city, of one province or nation; but all the persons upon the face of the earth, who answer the character here given: the several particulars cona tained therein, we may now more difinály consider.
8. There is one Spirit who animates all these, all the living members of the Church of God. Some understand hereby the Holy Spirit himself, the Fountain of all spiritual Life. And it is certain, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Others understand it of those spiritual gifts and holy dispositions which are afterward mentioned.
9. There is, in all those that have received this Spirit, one hope, a hope full of immortality. They know, to die is not to be loft: their prospect extends beyond the grave. They can cheerfully say, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrijl, who according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
10. There is one Lord, who has now dominion over them, who has set up his kingdom in their hearts, and reigns over all those that are partakers of this hope. To obey him, to run the way of his commandments, is their glory and joy. And while they are doing this with a willing mind, they, as it were, fit in heavenly places with Christ Jefus.
11. There is one Faith, which is the free gift of God, and is the ground of their hope. This is not barely the faith of a Heathen: namely a belief that there is a God, and that he is gracious and just, and consequently a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Neither is it barely the faith of a Devil: though this goes much farther than the former. For the Devil B 2