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blessed for ever.' And sure I am, were it in my firm persuasion, that the second and third Persons in the Trinity are but creatures, no consideration in this world could ever induce me to communicate at the Lord's table with such as make it a fundamental article to believe them equal with the Father.
But, while we thus pronounce the anathema of Christ on such as disbelieve this, and the other fundamental articles. of religion, it must be remembered, that we presume not to condemn any man; for, as to this matter, we know no man. We know not the capacities of men; what judgment this or the other person hath to discern the evidence of truth; what passions or prejudices to cope with; what strength of resolution to combat them. These things are known only to the Judge of all men. He therefore alone hath a right to punish the crime of infidelity, inasmuch as he only knows when, and how far, it is a crime. All we mean by repeating his anathema, is to affirm what he affirms, in a matter of so great concernment; to inculcate on our own, and other men's minds, the great duty of candour and diligence in our inquiries about religion; and to say, in short, what is most true, that every one who hath sufficient means of faith in the fundamental articles of Christianity, and yet disbelieves them, is in a state of damnation.
It is now time to take notice of the other point, which the Scriptures must make fundamental; namely, how we must be saved.
'What must I do to be saved?' said the keeper of the prison to Paul and Silas, whom he held in confinement. They answered, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;' Acts xvi. 30, 31. Here faith in Christ, without an explanation, as yet added, is made the necessary and infallible means of salvation, purely because, from that, all the other doctrines taught personally by Christ himself, or, in his name, by the apostles, will follow as requisite to be believed. Accordingly, on the jailer's closing with this, they spake unto him the word of the Lord,' ver. 32, and then baptized him,' ver. 33. We can be in no doubt whether, by the word of the Lord,' we are to understand the Christian covenant, since it was preached immediately preparatory to baptism. In preaching the word,
therefore, they must have taught their new disciple the articles and sanctions of the covenant, and given him to understand likewise how that covenant of peace was procured by the death and intercession of Christ; or how otherwise could he know what was required of him, as a Christian, or what it was to be baptized into the death of Christ?' Rom. vi. 3. And, as the very foundation of all, they must have instructed him in the doctrine of the Trinity; because he was to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Now, the conditions of this covenant are repentance, faith, and charity; and its sanctions, the joys of heaven, and the torments of hell; and that which procured the covenant, was the satisfaction, or atonement, made to the justice of God, for the sins of all men, by the death of Christ. Of faith I have spoken already. Of repentance and charity I need say nothing; both because there is no controversy about them, and also because they relate not to my design in this Discourse, which is to shew, that the doctrines proved in the foregoing Discourses are necessary to be believed, in order to eternal salvation. It remains now, that I should, pursuant to that design, prove that a belief in the satisfaction made by Christ's death, and in the sanctions of the new covenant, is as necessary to salvation, as the doctrines are true in themselves.
Two things are necessary to save a soul; the first, that the justice of God be satisfied for its sins; and the second, that the soul itself, by a thorough reformation of its sinful dispositions, be rendered an object of God's mercy.
The first, I have already proved, in a former Discourse, is done by the death of Christ; and here it is my business to shew, as briefly as I can, that the benefits of his death are applied to us by faith; which, when shewn, will prove this article of faith to be fundamental.
The words of our Saviour, John iii. 14, 15, already cited, shew this sufficiently; As Moses,' says he, 'lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up,' that is, crucified, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' Here we see, that Christ must have been crucified, in order that through faith in him, not simply, but as thus crucified and
slain, we might be saved from eternal death, and crowned with everlasting life.
St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, having compared the sacrifices of the law with that of Christ, and shewn that the latter only was efficacious, draws this conclusion; 'Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus--let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith; Heb. x. 19. 22. Faith in what? No doubt, in that which gives us boldness, namely, 'the blood of Jesus.' This shews, as plainly as words can do it, that the benefit of Christ's blood, which is no less than remission of sins, is applied to the soul by faith. And, that we may see the necessity of this faith in a still stronger light, he proceeds to shew us what must follow, in case this faith should fail: He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy-Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God; and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing; and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?' ver. 28, 29. If faith in the blood of Christ is not a fundamental, why is the contrary here represented as so great a crime, and threatened with a sorer punishment than that death which was inflicted on the despisers of Moses' law? Or why is it said, 1 Cor. xi. 29, 'He that eateth and drinketh the supper of the Lord unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body?' In this sacrament the sacrifice of Christ is represented, and the benefits of his death conveyed to the worthy communicant, while damnation is denounced to the unworthy. Now, what can so effectually disqualify a man, on this occasion, as a want of that faith in the efficacy of the great sacrifice, which alone can teach him to discern or distinguish between the Lord's body, and the body of any other sacrifice, whereof the Jewish or Pagan worshipper might eat? Christ, by his blood, had made propitiation for the sins of all men; but they, to whom this is revealed, must believe it, or they cannot be entitled to the benefit of it. This St. Paul plainly shews us, Rom. iii. 25; Him God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past.' But I should be obliged to
take too great a compass, should I quote all the passages in which eternal life is promised to faith in Christ's blood, and eternal death threatened to the contrary. I shall therefore pass to the other thing requisite to save a soul; namely, a lively faith in that which the word of God makes necessary to reform the soul, and render it an object of God's mercy.
This now is the new covenant, the sanctions whereof are all that remain to be handled. That faith in the new covenant is necessary to salvation, and, consequently, that the covenant itself is a fundamental, will not be disputed. But it cannot be a fundamental, if faith in those sanctions, which God hath expressly annexed to it, and which, in respect to our part in it, give it all its practical efficacy, is not also a fundamental. They are indeed so essential to it, that if we take them away, or do not as firmly believe in them, and stand to them, as to the rest of the covenant, it ceases to be a covenant at all; for, in that case, God's part is annulled, and we are left without an inducement to observe ours. Now, the sanctions are everlasting life,' promised to the keepers, and eternal death,' threatened to the transgressors, of this covenant; which is the very rule or law, whereby we are to live here, and be judged hereafter, when the reward shall be conferred, or the punishment inflicted, according to that rule.
The necessity of this article may be considered in a twofold light; first, as it arises from the testimony of Scripture; and, secondly, as it may be deduced from the nature of the thing. As to the Scriptures, eternal life, or the joys of heaven; and eternal death, or the torments of hell, are so plainly, and so abundantly, set forth therein, that to deny them is to contradict God himself; and to prove them, after all that was formerly said, by quotations again repeated from Scripture, is to wrong the audience I am speaking to. The application of them also to the observance, or transgression, of the covenant, is no less plain and clear, and therefore, if faith in the covenant is, by Scripture, made necessary to salvation, so is also faith in the sanctions of that
Besides, as faith in the redemption wrought by the death of Christ is necessary, it must be equally necessary to be
lieve in eternal rewards and punishments; because otherwise we cannot have a right idea of that redemption, whereby we are so delivered from the one, and entitled to the other, that, unless we fall from the covenant, the promise of God, in regard to both, must have its accomplishment. Now, if the reward be really so glorious, and the punishment so grievous, as the Scripture represents them, we ought, of all things, most firmly to believe in them as such, that we may have a right sense of that gratitude, which is due for a mercy rendered doubly infinite, as well by the immensity of the benefit, as of his dignity and sufferings who procured it. That part of charity that hath God for its object, is the noble principle on which he chooses to finish the scriptural refinement of our nature, and on which the happiness of eternity must be founded. Let the work of reformation begin on what motives it will, it cannot be brought to perfection, till it ends in this: wherefore, nothing can concern either God's glory, or our happiness, more than a lively faith in the eternity of future retributions, which must excite in us a proportionable sense of God's goodness; this sense, an adequate love and this love cannot fail, on the one side, to make all our services acceptable, nor, on the other, to afford us an eternal inlet to that enjoyment of God, which, keeping pace with our love, constitutes the happiness of heaven, and determines the height to which it shall rise.
The necessity of faith in the sanctions of the Christian covenant may also be deduced from the nature of the thing; that is, from the effect, which such motives may be naturally expected to have on the heart of man, and from the apparent impossibility of working a thorough reformation in that heart by motives less efficacious. Some men there may be, of so happy a make, as to stand in need of no other helps to reformation, than the abstracted love of virtue; and there may be also such a bird as the phoenix, and such a beast as the chimera; but it will be equally hard to persuade me, that any of the three ever existed. In all the men I know, or ever heard of, who were really reformed, self-love began the work of reformation. The substance of things hoped for' gave birth to the resolutions of one; and the fear of God was the beginning of wisdom,' in another. Our Maker did not give us our affections and passions, only to be so many