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no more.

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

pentance.

ert

ert their utmost power, and use the greatest SERM,
diligence for it, considering themselves as IV.
guilty, and under a forfeiture. The impres-
fion of this has been so strong on the minds
of men, that all nations, sensible of having
offended the Deity, have laboured to appease
him, tho’ for the most part by methods
very disagreable to reason, and to our most
natural notions of the supreme Being. Re-
pentance, indeed, is what the light of nature
dictates, and all men who consider it, are
convinced it is absolutely necessary to a re-
conciliation; but an express assurance from
God, that it will be accepted, must be ac-
knowledged an invaluable advantage ; and
this we have by the christian revelation.
For however the divine goodness manifested
by its liberal effects, and extending to all
kinds of beings who are capable objects of
it; might induce us to hope that God will

be favourable to penitents, and make a dif-
rference between the obstinately wicked and
-imperfectly good, who in the general tenor
of their actions sincerely do what is lawful
-and right, tho' not without a mixture of in-
firmities; yet, still there might remain a
fufpicion that the wise governor of the
world might see it fit to inflict some degrees

of

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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.

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Christ, as it appears to be their great design SERM.

.
to bring finners to repentance, or to amend-

IV.
ment and newness of life. We are buried
with him in baptism unto death, (faith St.
Paul, Rom. vi. 4.) that as Christ was raised up
from the dead by the glory of the father, so
we pould walk in newness of life. And
thus he reafons, 2d of Cor. v. 14, 15. the
love of Christ constraineth us because we thus
judge, that if one died for all, then were all
once dead, that they that live should no more
live to themselves, but to him that died for
them and rose again. In his other epistles
he speaks often in the same strain, and to
the fame effect, describing our repentance
as the very image and resemblance of Christ's
crucifixion and rising to glory, for he calls
it being crucified and rising with bim, putting
off the body of the fins of the flesh thro' the
faith of the operation of God, and putting on
-the new man, and being renewed in the spi-
Fit of our minds. The same doctrine is
taught by St. Peter, ist ep. iv. 1. Forasmuch
as Christ bath suffered for us in the flesh, arm
yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he
that hath sufferedinthe

fleshhath ceased fromfin.
Another
argument

for

repentance because the kingdom of God, or christianity is come, is taken from the clear light of the gospel ;

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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

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