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That Salvation which is wrought for us by Chrift, gives us the most fure and certain Hopes of a blessed Immortality.
That we must be fav'd by a Saviour, and what kind of Saviour Sinners want.
HAT I have hitherto difcours'd, con'cerning the Gospel Evidence of Immortal Life, relates only to thofe exprefs Promifes of Immortality contain'd in the Gospel, and that great Confirmation of them by the Refurrection of Chrift from the Dead. But this reaches no farther than the Authority of a Prophet: Whereas the Certainty of our Salvation, which is compleated in Immortal Life, depends wholly upon the Power, Merits, and Authority of a Saviour, as the Scripture every where affures us. The Gospel contains a great many Promises of the Forgiveness of Sins, and Juftification, and Eternal Life; but all these Promifes are made to us in a Saviour.
The first Promife God made to Adam, and in him to all Mankind, after the Fall, was the Pro
mife of a Saviour, that Seed of the Woman which fhould break the Serpents head. This was the firft Publication of the Gofpel, to fend a Saviour and Deliverer, who fhould deftroy the Kingdom and Power of Darkness, and redeem Mankind from Death. It was this Promise which delivered our firft Parents from prefent Death, and admitted them to a State of Repentance; and tho' they were caft out of Paradise, gave them a new Right to that Earth, whereon they liv'd, and new Hopes of Immortal Life. There never was any fuch Thing fince the Fall of Man, as what fome call the Religion of Nature, that is, a Religion without a Saviour. All that Mercy and Goodness, which God hath ever since the Fall fhewn to Sinners, in forgiving true Penitents, and rewarding pious and virtuous Men, is owing to this Promife, and to the Accomplishment of it: There was no Promife made before this, nor any fince but upon this Foundation. So that whatever Opinion we have of the Divine Goodness, and how much it becomes a good God to forgive true Penitents, and to reward virtuous Men, it is evident, that ever fince the Fall, God has confin'd the Exercife of all his Grace and Goodness to a Saviour.
Thus we know the fundamental Article of God's Covenant with Abraham was the promised Seed, that in his Seed all the Nations of the Earth fhould be blefled; which, as I have largely fhewn you, fignifies all fpiritual Bleffings, the Forgiveness of our Sins, and immortal Life, which Jefus Chrift, this promised Seed, should bestow upon Mankind. All the Types and Figures of the Law of Mofes; their Tabernacle, and Temple, and High-Prieft, and Sacrifices; were Types and Figures of Chrift, and of the fpiri
tual Bleffings of his Kingdom. God renew'd this Promife of the Meffias to David, under the Notion of a King that should defcend from his Loins, and inherit his Throne for ever: Once have I fworn by my Holiness, that I will not lie unto David: His Seed fhall endure for ever, and bis Throne, as the Sun before me: It shall be eftablished for ever as the Moon, and as a faithful Witness in Heaven, Pfalm lxxxix. 35, 36, 37. And we know the Kingdom of the Meffias was fo gloriously defcribed by the fucceeding Prophets, that the Jews expected a great Temporal Prince, who fhould fubdue all their Enemies, and put the Government of the World into their Hands. But tho' they miftook this World for the next, a Temporal for a Spiritual Prince; yet they were fo far in the right, that they expected all they hoped for from the Kingdom and Government of their Meffias.
This Promife was accomplish'd in the Birth of Chrift, that Seed of the Woman, who should break the Serpent's Head; that Seed of Abraham, in whom all the Nations of the Earth fhould be blessed; that Son of David, who fhould inherit his Throne for ever; whom the Angel named Jefus, a Saviour, for He should fave his People from their Sins; and he is therefore by Zacharias, in his Prophetick Hymn, called the Horn of Salvation, and by Simeon, the Salvation of God. And I need not tell you, that all the Promifes of the Gospel are made to us only in his Name, and thro' Faith in his Blood; that in him all the Promifes of God are yea, and in him Amen; for there is no Salvation in any other, neither is there any other Name under Heaven given among_Men, whereby we must be faved, Acts iv. 12. But to make us all fenfible, what Security this, and this alone,
alone, can give us of our Salvation; and how Chrift answers his Name, and has accomplish'd the Work of our Redemption; let us firft confider what it is to have a Saviour; and what need we have of a Saviour: Which were it well underftood, would put an end to many Difputes in Religion, and tranfport us with the Love and Admiration of that good God, who hath given us his own Son to be our Saviour.
The Deifts think, there is no need at all of a Saviour, and therefore reject all revealed Religion, and all instituted Worship; for the Light of Nature teaches them to repent of their Sins, and that God will forgive all Penitents; and this is all the Religion they need. But could you convince them, that they need a Saviour, this would bring them back to revealed Religion, and reconcile them to Christianity, which is the only Religion that preaches a Saviour to us.
The Socinian goes a little farther than the Deifts, though as to the true Notion and Defign of a Saviour, he believes little of it. He owns the Divine Authority of the Old and New Teftament, and believes in Chrift as the most excellent Prophet, whom God fent into the World to make the last and most perfect Revelation of his Will for the Salvation of Sinners; that he gave the most holy Laws, and was himself the most perfect Example of them; that he promised Forgiveness of Sins, and Eternal Life, to all who believe and obey the Gofpel; that he died upon the Crofs to be a Pattern of Obedience to God, and of all fuffering Graces and Virtues; and that by rifing again from the Dead he might give a vifible Proof of another Life. All this is very true, but falls vaftly fhort of the true Notion of a Saviour, which does not fignify a mere ProR 3 phet,
phet, (and all this makes Chrift no more, tho the most excellent Prophet) but carries Autho rity, Power, and Victory in its Name.
Let us confider the State of fallen Man, which will convince us how much we want a Saviour, and what kind of Saviour we want.
As firft, By Sin Man has forfeited the Love of his Maker, and Immortal Life, and is become fubject to the Wrath of God, and to the Curfe of the Law. This is the firft, tho' not the only thing to be confidered in the Cafe of fallen Man, as fome feem to think, who know no other ufe of a Saviour, but to deliver us from the Wrath of God, by making a full and perfect Satisfaction to a natural vindictive Juftice: And this makes thofe Men, who believe that God is fo good, that he both can and will forgive Sin, without requiring any other Satisfaction but the Repentance of a Sinner, to think that there is no need of a Saviour at all. This is all that the Deift has to fay against the need of a Saviour, or the Socinian against the Neceffity of Satisfaction; that God is fo good, that he will be reconciled to penitent Sinners, without a Saviour, or without Satisfaction; that there is no need of reconciling God to Sinners, but only of reconciling Sinners to God. This has a fair Appearance, because it feems to make a lovely Representation of the Divine Goodness, which is the darling Attribute of Mankind: But it were eafy to fhew you, how uncertain our Reasonings are from the Divine Nature, without a Revelation. The Notion of a natural vindictive Juftice, which others think as effential a Perfection of the Divine Nature, as thefe Men do Goodnefs, is thought to prove the direct contrary to what they pretend to prove from the Goodnefs of God, viz. that God cannot