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SERM.'Tis true, men's consciousness of their own
V. fincerity naturally inspires them with courage;

the righteous is bold as a lion : but that is
principally with respect to events, not in
their own power ; and the foundation of it
is the supremacy, the wisdom, the equity
and goodness of divine providence, con-
trouling the power of all creatures ; with
respect to their establishment in virtue, and
Support against temptations, it becomes
christians, well instructed concerning their
own weakness, and the fufficiency of divine
grace, always to be jealous of themselves,
and to trust in the Lord with all their
might. And,

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Lastly, Consider the exhortation of the apostle, Gal. vi. 1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye that are spiritual restore such a one to the spirit of meekness, conßdering thyself left thou also be tempted. You see the best men are not out of danger ; and though indignation against evil is a virtuous instinct planted in our nature, charity which suffereth long, and is kind, is as truly a virtuous principle, and the exercise of the latter is as much our duty, as the former ;

indeed

indeed a continuanee in any sinful course pre-SERM,
cludes the judgment of charity itself, in fa- V.
vour of the finner's present state ; but if he
repent, we should confirm our love to him,
as if he had not offended. The best and
most upright minds are the most compassi-
onate towards others.

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SERMON VI.

Of JUSTIFICATION by FAITH.

Rom. iv. 16.

Therefore it is of Faith, that it might be by

grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the feed ; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

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SERM. VERY one knows, that among proVI.

fefs'd christians there has been, and

continues to be, a great diversity of opinions in some points of christianity, which the several abettors of them judge to be of considerable importance. This must be acknowledged a pretty strange appearance, considering that God gave his word to his people for a rule, not only of what every one should believe for himself, but of their union and joint profession. Not to enter

into

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into a large discussion of this subject, which SERM.

VI. my present design would not admit, one reason why christians have run into such a difference of sentiments, and many of them into mistakes, is, that they form their judgments, not by considering the general intention and the principal aim of the scriptures, but upon particular passages in some of the sacred books, without attending to the connexion, and the occasion, and design upon which they were written; which certainly is an unfair way of treating any writings whatsoever. And the errors arising from it in this case, are not to be charged on the want of perspicuity in the scriptures, but the want of candor, or mature consideration in those who read them.

There is no one article about which there have been greater divisions and contradictory opinions, than that of justification, or the way and the terms of finners obtaining the forgiveness of sins and acceptance with God; which, being the profess'd design of the gospel, one would think, should be above all things clearly taught in it; and indeed so it is. But here may be directly applied, what I hinted before as the cause that some have fallen into mistakes. There arose vice VOL. I.

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SERM. lent controversies between the Jews and the
VI. Gentiles, who embrac'd the christian reli-

gion, about the necessity of observing the
Mosaical law and institutions, which the
former zealously contended for. . To decide
this debate, and to show the abfurdity of the
Judaizing scheme, St. Paul wrote his epistles
to the Romans and Galatians, containing se-
veral passages concerning justification by
grace and faith, as in opposition to the law,
and to works which fome entirely found
their opinions upon, without considering
the occasion and the scope which are the
true key of them.

Now, if we carefully attend to the
doctrines of our Saviour delivered in the four
gospels, which, as it is reafonable to believe
it should be, being given for a standard to
christians in every age, is exceeding plain ;
if, I say, we carefully attend to it, there will
be no difficulty in forming an idea of the
conditions of obtaining the pardon of fin
and acceptance with God, which it contains.
Our blessed lord bringing a new revelation
from heaven into a degenerate, ignorant,
and corrupt world, it was necessary first of
all, that his character should be establish’d,
as a divine messenger, or the Messias ; who,
upon the credit of ancient prophecies, was

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expected

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