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SER M.for the confirmation of which they were wrought;
CCXXV.

Y and consequently a divine faith may be safely built

upon such an assurance of miracles, as we may have
from a credible history and relation. .

Fifthly, that we are not now-a-days destitute of a
fufficient ground of faith; because the doctrine of
the gospel hath still the same confirmation that it
had, viz. miracles : only we who live at this distance
from the time when, and the place where they were
wrought, have the knowledge of them conveyed to
us, and come to be assured of them in another way.
Those who lived in the age of CHRIST and his
apostles had assurance of miracles from their own
senses; and we are now assured of them by credible
history and relation. Now though these ways be
not equal, yet they are both sufficient to begee in us
an undoubted assurance, and such as no prudent man
hath any reason to doubt of. For a man may be as
truly and undoubtedly certain, that is, as well satis-
fied, that a thing was done, from the credit of histo-
ry, as from his own senses. I make no more doubt
whether there was such a person as Henry the VIII.
king of England, than I do whether I be in this
place.

Sixthly, that now-a-days those to whom the gofpel comes are under an obligation to believe; or that now-a-days there is such a sin as unbelief of the gospel. And I the rather note this, because there are some well-wishers to atheisın, who out of prudence and regard to their own safety, chuse rather secretly to undermine religion, than openly to deny it. I grant indeed, that in our Saviour's time; when such great miracles were wrought, those who saw those iniracles (which they think no body did) were under an obligation to believe, and guilty of a great lin in

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E not believing the gospel : but now-a-days, when we SERM.

see no such miracles wrought for the confirmation of
the gospel, there lies no obligation upon any man to
believe it; and that now there is no such sin as un. .
belief. Now any man may with half an eye see the
consequence of this affertion : for being once admit-
ted, it doth as certainly destroy christian religion, as
if men should deny that there was any such person as
Jesus Christ, or that he ever wrought any mira-
cles : for if to disbelieve the gospel be no fin, and
confequently brings a man into no danger ; but on
the other hand dangers and persecutions do attend
the belief and profession of it; it were the greatest

folly in the world for any man to believe ; unless this : possibly may be greater, for a man who does believe ; it, not to obey and live according to it. And if this

were true, it were the greatest imprudence that can
be, for any man to be a Christian. And if that were
once admitted, there is all the reason in the world that
christianity should be banished and extirpated, not only
as useless and impertinent, but as a thing dangerous

and pernicious to the welfare of mankind.
- I shall therefore briefly prove to you, that it is now

one of the greatest sins that men are capable of (ex

cept the sin against the holy Ghost) for those who i have the gospel sufficiently propounded to them,

to disbelieve it; I fay, except the sin against the ho-
ly Ghost, which our Saviour, tells us, was “ blaf-
“ phening the Spirit of God,” whereby he wrought
his miracles, and saying it was the spirit of the de-
vil; and this fin men in a lower degree and propor-
tion may now-a-days be guilty of: for as the Phari-
sees who saw the works that CHRIST did, and ac-
knowledged them to be miracles, did commit the fin
against the holy Ghost, in ascribing those miracles

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SER M.which were really wrought by the power of the holy CCXXV.

Ghost, to the devil; so men now-a-days, who own the history of Christ's miracles as true, may be guilty of the sin against the holy Ghost, in a lower proportion, by maliously imputing those miracles to the power of the devil.

But excepting the sin against the holy Ghost, the greatest sin that men are now capable of, is to disbelieve the gospel when it is sufficiently propounded to them. Now the gospel is then sufficiently propounded, when there are sufficient grounds offered to persuade men to the belief of it; and I have already proved, that we now have sufficient ground to believe the gospel ; and if so, then whosoever hath these grounds offered to him, is under an obligation to believe it : for every man is bound to believe that, for which he hath sufficient ground and reason; and every man sins who neglects his duty, that is, does not do that which he stands bound to. .

And not only whoever disbelieves the gospel, fins in so doing, but farther, he commits the greatest sin that now men are capable of. I say now capable of: for I doubt not but that it was a sin of a higher degree, for those who saw Christ's miracles to disbelieve, than it is for us who have only the relation of them. For by the same reason that “ he is more - blessed that believes, and hath not seen;" a greater curse belongs to him, " who hath seen, and yet doch “ not believe;" and consequently such a person is guilty of a greater sin. But because we cannot now see the miracles of CHRIST, the greatest sin that men in this age are capable of, is to disbelieve the gospel confirmed by miracles, whereof we are assured by credible relation. For the sin of disbelieving now hath thele two aggravations.

: 1. It is a sin against sufficient light and evidence :

and in this it is equal to the sins which are committed against natural light.

2. It is a sin against the greatest mercies and blessings that ever were offered to the world : and

in this it exceeds the fins against natural light. Who- ever disbelieves the gospel, he rejects the offer of : eternal life and happiness. And these two aggrava- tions the apostle puts together, Heb. ii. 3. “how :“ shall we escape, if we neglect so great falva.:" tion, which at the first began to be spoken by the -“ LORD, and was confirmed unto us by them that

“ heard him?" And if this be thus, it highly concerns us to enquire into the nature of this faith ; and this brings me to the

Seventh observation, that to s believe that Jesus " is the Christ, the Son of God,” is truly and properly christian faith. But the considerations of this I shall leave to the next opportunity.

SER M O N CCXXVI.
Of the christian faith, which fanctifies

justifies, and faves.

1

JOHN XX. 31.
But these are written, that ye might believe that JESUS

is the CHRIST, the Son of God, and that believing
ye might have life through his name.

SERM.

CCXXVI. I N my former discourse upon these words, I pro

9. The seposed eight observations from them, six of which cond fer. I have already dispatched, designing to discoute ofmon on

the this text.

CCXXVI.fore to the

SE R M. the remaining two more at large. I proceed there. 10

'ore to the

Seventh observation which I laid down, viz. that to 6. believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of “ God," is truly and properly christian faith. This is the description which is here given of christian faith.

In prosecution of this, I shaļl do these two things.

First, shew you what is included in believing "that “ Jesus is the CHRIST, the Son of GOD."

Secondly, prove that this is truly and properly christian faith.

First, what is included in beljeving “ that Jesus " is the CHRIST, the Son of God.” It signifies a firm and effectual persuasion, that JE&US, that is, the perfon the history of whose life and death is related in the gospel, “ is the CHRIST,” that is, the true Messias, promised and prophesied of in the old testament to be the Saviour of the world, and that he is “ the Son of God," that is, " the only begotten " of the Father,” who was sent by him into the world, and took our nature upon him, that he might purchase eternal happiness for us, and instruct us, and go before us in the way to it. So that faith is a firm and effectual persuasion of, or assent to the whole gospel. Faith signifies christian religion, which comprehends an assent to the doctrine of the gospel, and a suitable life and conversation,

I say, a firm persuasion of this; for in the phrase of the new testament, none are accounted true believers, or said to have a true faith in CHRIST, who 1 do not firmly continue in this persuasion; and the owning and profession of it, notwithstanding all the sufferings and persecutions' it might expose them to. And an effectual persuasion, for none are said truly

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