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Part II. perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. In a word, this transporting Vifion and Injoyment of God will transform them into the fame Image from Glory to Glory: for fo the Apostle affures us, When he appears, we shall be like him, for we fall fee him as he is; 1 John 3. 2.

This is in brief the Life which the Righteous fhall enter into; which is not barely a natural Life, confifting in the Union of the Soul to the Body, for that will happen to the Reprobate likewife; but fpiritual, confifting in the Union of the Soul unto God: in which fenfe our Saviour fpeaks, He that hath the Son, hath Life; and this is in a more fpecial manner call'd Life, becaufe of the Comfort and Happiness that attends it; for non tam vivere, quam valere, vita eft.

2dly, But that which crowns and completes the Happinets of this Life, is the Duration of it, that 'tis no fading tranfitory thing, limited to a Term of Years or Ages; but 'tis an Eternal Life.

This is plainly held forth to us in Holy Scripture, where 'tis exprefs'd fometimes by Eternal Glory, Eternal Salvation, an Eternal Inheritance, that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away: Sometimes 'tis defcrib'd by a continuing City, everlasting Habitations, and a House Eternal in the Heavens; and at other times 'tis call'd a Kingdom that cannot be moved, an Everlasting Kingdom, an Incorruptible Crown, an exceeding and eternal Weight of Glory. All which Expreffions fignify to us, that this future Life will know no end or decay, but is coeval with God himself, and will last to all Eternity. 'Tis the difgrace of all earthly Felicity, that 'tis fhort-liv'd and perifhing, like a Vapour appearing for a while, and then vanishing away; whereas the Happinefs of this future State is permanent and everlafting, an Eternal Life of Blifs and Glory.

And thus we fee both the Senfe and the Truth of this laft Article. But what Influence ought it to have upon our Minds and Converfations? Why,

1. The Belief of an Everlasting Life fhould deter Mén from the Love and Practice of Sin, which lead to an Eternity of Woe and Torment; The Wages of Sin is Death. "Twas this brought Death upon Mankind, and first caus'd a Separation between Soul and Body; and this, if not repented of, will bring on a fecond and a worfe Death, to wit, an Eternal Separation of Soul and Body from God: and as in his Prefence is Fulness of Joy, fo the being banish'd

from

from it is the very height of Mifery and Damnation. Nothing but Sin can bring us to this forlorn Condition, and thither Sin will affuredly bring us, if not timely forfaken and prevented: If we cherish this Viper in our Bofom, 'twill breed there a Worm of Confcience that never dies; and the impure Flames of Luft will kindle that Fire that will never be quenched. And who among us can dwell with the devouring Fire? who can dwell with everlasting Burnings? And who that believes the intolerable and irremediable Mifery of that State, would not take any pains to pre

vent it?

2. The Belief of future Eternal Torments may fatisfy us of the infinite and impartial Juftice of God against Sin and Sinners, and likewife teach us to live in a continual awe and dread of it. "Tis the vain Prefumption of fome Men, that God is a Being made up wholly of Mercy and Goodness, that his Bowels of Compaffion will not fuffer him to damn and deftroy his own Creatures, and much lefs to punish the fhort temporary Acts of Sin with endlefs and infupportable Torments; this makes fome Men fecure, and to caft off the Fear of God from before their Eyes: but be not deceiv'd, God will not be mocked. When he proclaim'd his Name to the World, he made ample mention indeed of his Mercy and Goodness, styling himself a God gracious and merciful, long-fuffering, abundant in Goodness and Truth, pardoning Iniquity, Tranfgreffion and Sin: but yet he did not forget to mention his Juftice; for 'tis added, that he will by no means clear the Guilty, but will visit the Iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children to the third and fourth Generation; Exod. 34. 6, 7. Hence we find him ftyling himself a jealous God, and a confuming Fire, to teach us to ftand in awe of him, and to tremble at his Word. To banish all Security, we are often told of the fierceness of his Wrath: And our Saviour hath warn'd us to fear him, who is able to caft both Soul and Body into Hell; Mat. 10. 28.

3. The Belief of an Everlasting Life of Blifs and Glory, fhould quicken us in our Duty, and make us defpife all Difficulties in the way to it. The Hope of a Reward is a mighty fpur and incitement to any Undertaking; and if the fhort perifhing things of this Life are wont to draw fo ftrongly, how much more powerfully fhould the Hopes of an Eternal Reward in Heaven move us forward in the ways of Virtue and Holinefs? How lightly fhould we regard the Pleasures of Sin here, which are but for a season, VOL. I.

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Part II. in comparison of thofe Rivers of Pleasure that are at God's Right Hand for evermore? Yea, this fhould teach us to defpife all the Sufferings of this present Life; and, with the Apostle, reckon them not worthy to be nam'd with the Glory that shall be reveal'd in us.

Laftly, We may learn hence how to eftimate the Price of our Redemption, and what a value we ought to fet upon the Blood of Chrift that purchas'd it; for hereby we are ranfom'd from a wretched Thraldom to Sin and Satan, and tranflated into the glorious Liberty of the Sons of God: yea, we are freed by it from all the endless Miseries of Death and Hell, and inftated in all the Happinefs and Bleffings of Eternal Life; which fhould fet us ftill a longing and preparing for it, that having our Fruit unto Holiness, we may in the end receive Everlasting Life.

F

8

DISCOURSE XXVIII.

HEB. i. 2. latter part.

By whom alfo be made the Worlds.

ROM the Explication of the Creed, I proceed to the next Queftion of the Catechifm, which contains a brief Recapitulation of the whole, in these words: Quest. What doft thou chiefly learn by thefe Articles of thy Belief?

Anfw. 1. I learn to believe in God the Father, who made me and all the World.

2. In God the Son, who redeem'd me and all Mankind. 3. In God the Holy Ghost, who fanctifieth me and all the Elect People of God.

In which Queftion and Answer we may observe,

First, A publick Profeffion of Faith in the Holy Trinity: I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

Secondly, The peculiar Acts or Offices afcrib'd to each Perfon in relation to Mankind. And they are,

Creation

Creation to the Father, who made me and all the World. Redemption to the Son, who redeem'd me and all Mankind.

Sanctification to the Holy Ghoft, who fanctify'd me, and all the Elect People of God.

All which being great and important Truths, neceffary to be known and believ'd by all Chriftians, must be distinctly and particularly handled. And,

First, For the publick Profeffion of Faith in the Holy Trinity: The Catechumen is here taught to declare his Belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghoft; where in the fame Divine Nature he acknowledges three diftinct Perfons, among whom there is a Difference of Order in an Equality of Power: For the Father is ever reckon'd in the firft place, and fo ftyl'd with relation to the Son, who is faid to be begotten of him: The Son is reckon'd in the fecond place, and fo ftyl'd in relation to the Father, who is faid to beget him: The Holy Ghoft in the third place, because he proceeds from both.

This is the great adorable Mystery of the Chriftian Religion; which being above the Comprehenfion of Reason, is wholly made the Object of Faith, and to be receiv'd upon the Credit of Divine Revelation. "Twas but obfcurely reveal'd under the Old Teftament, but more plainly in the New, where each of the Perfons are frequently ftyl'd God, and have all the incommunicable Attributes and Properties of the Godhead afcrib'd to them: from whence this Doctrine of the Bleffed Trinity hath been receiv'd in all Christian Churches. We all profefs our Faith in it at our entrance upon Chriftianity, being all baptiz'd in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft. As we grow up, we are catechis'd and built up in this moft Holy Faith, and promise never to depart from it to our lives end. The Apoftolical Benediction with which we ftill conclude our Holy Offices, is in the Name of these three Divine Perfons; faying, The Grace of our Lord Jesus Chrift, the Love of God the Father, and the Fellowship of the Holy Ghoft, be with us all evermore. The Hymns and Doxologies of the Church run in the like ftyle; Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and the Holy Ghoft: where all the three Perfons in the Sacred Trinity are equally worfhip'd and glorify'd ; for fo the Father himself commanded,

Z 2

That

That all Men fhould honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; for he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that fent him: John 5. 23. And in the Epiftle to the Hebrews he faith, And let all the Angels of God worShip him, Chap. 1. 6. And again, To the Son he faith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a Scepter of RighBut teousness is the Scepter of thy Kingdom; ver. 8. St. John hath yet more clearly reveal'd this Mystery to us, faying, There are Three that bear Record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and thefe Three are One; 1 John 5. 7. Where a Trinity of Perfons is exprefly afferted in the Unity of the Godhead: a place fo pregnant for the proof of this fublime Myftery, that St. Jerome conceives the Arians, who deny'd the Divinity of Chrift, expung'd these words out of the Bible, becaufe they made fo fore against them; which is the reafon that those words are not to be found in fome Copies. But thanks be to the Providence of God, which has preferv'd and deriv'd down to us the Knowledge of the Eternal Trinity; and likewife given us Grace, in the Power of the Divine Majefty, to worship the Unity. So that tho Reafon be at a lofs, and our weak Understandings cannot comprehend this ineffable Myftery, yet have we a firm Foundation for our Faith in it; being built upon the Bafis of Divine Revelation, and the Discoveries that God hath been pleas'd to make to us of himself.

From whence we may learn to banifh all Doubts, and firmly to believe and affent to this divine Truth; ftill worfhipping the Trinity in Unity, and the Unity in Trinity; and praying, as our Church hath taught us, to be kept ftedfaft in this Faith, and not to be fhaken from it by any Adverfities. Let us not fay with Nicodemus, How can these things be? but rather let us humbly admire and adore what we cannot fully understand. There are many things in Nature and Art that non-plus our Reafon; and can we hope to comprehend all the Myfteries in Religion, or to know God himself to perfection? Is it not highly reasonable to believe what God hath told us of himfelf, and not to fuffer our Curiofity to run beyond what he hath reveal'd? Let us therefore fubmit our Reason to Faith, and bound our Inquiries by the Divine Revelation; having already a glimpfe of this fublime Truth, let us be content to ftay for a fuller Apprehenfion of it, till we come to behold the Glories, and partake of the Joys of this Trin-une Deity.

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