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SERM. But, if the times of ignorance God winked IV.
at, he now commands all men every where to repent ; having published his law of
grace and that remedy which his mercy
had found out for finners. The kingdom of heaven is come, that new gospel constitution wherein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; he has declared himself merciful to the unrighteousness of the penitent, and that their fins and transgresions be will remember
That law which is the unalterable rule of right is cleared from the obscurities in which the ignorance and prejudices of men had involved it; there is a full difcovery of that which is good and acceptable to the Deity, and he has ascertained a glorious reward to them wbo diligently seek him.
From this general character of the kingdom of heaven, or of christianity, you will see that it contains very strong motives to re
The first I mention, is taken from the hope of success. This is the greatest encouragement, and does most effectually determine men to any valuable design, endeavours, or pursuit. The end is obtaining the favour of God, which is of so great moment, that one would think men should ex
ert their utmost power, and use the greatest SERM,
be favourable to penitents, and make a dif-
Serm.of punishment in a future state on those IV. who finned in this life, even altho' they
have repented. But this anxiety is susperfeded, and strong consolation is provided for penitents, by a positive declaration from a person who has a plenary authority sufficiently attested, that God will receive them into favour as if they had never finned, and that there is reserved for them a compleat and eternal felicity hereafter.
The method in which this mercy is difpensed carries in it very strong arguments to enforce our duty, I mean, repentance and its genuine fruits. It is by the mediation of Christ; by the shedding of his blood, * they are made near to God, who were far off ; and he f was raised from the dead for their juftification, saving to the uttermost all that come to God by bim, because he ever lives to make intercession for them 1. Now, this lays us under the most endearing obligation of gratitude to our Saviour, who gave himself for us, to redeem us from all our || iniquities, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. The New Testament writers fo represent both the death and resurrection of
Christ, * Ephef. ii. 13." + Rom. iv. 25. Heb. vii. 25.
# Tit. ii. 14.
Christ, as it appears to be their great design SERM.
fleshhath ceased fromfin.
repentance because the kingdom of God, or christianity is come, is taken from the clear light of the gospel ;
SERM. and certainly a great weight is added to the IV. obligation of our duty by the full and plain
discovery of it ; in effect the revelation of our whole duty is in this view the enforcement of repentance, which is nothing else but the practice of whatsoever is good, and pure, and virtuous, in opposition to former lufts in ig
The former times God winked at, but now commands all men to repent. He had great compassion for them who lived in times of error, who were very ill taught, and received a corrupt conversation by tradition of their fathers, without any means of delivering themselves, but merely their own reafon, which indeed, if duely attended to, might have discovered the folly and wickedness of the idolatry and immorality which then prevailed, but in the generality of men was so weak and unimprov'd, thro' the unhappiness of their education, that it had very
little influence; and its feeble effects were easily overborn by the clamor of imposture, prejudices, and vicious customs. But, now, that God has sent his son into the world to reveal his will to mankind, and he has done it with such perspecuity that he who runs may read, and understand it, they must be inexcusable who continue impeni