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terpretations seem to have fallen short of our SERM. Saviour's meaning, and left out that which VI. was immediately design'd, to take in what was only by consequence to be inferr’d. For whatever' may be at other times intended by the metaphor of gates; when taken separately, yet, if we consult the phrase either of scripture or of other writers, we shall never find it join'd with Hades' or bell, but to denote either death or the grave, or the separate state of departed souls. And therefore, when it is promised that the gates of hell mall not prevail against the church, this may be consider'd in a twofold view, with regard both to the present and the future life. As to the present life it, may be taken to assure us, that however the members of this visible church are by the condition of their mortal nature in perpetual change and variation, yet this Thall not extinguish or destroy it, but there thall be a continual. succession of such faithful members as shall suffice to preserve it to the end of the world, that it may never be said to fail or perish from the earth. (And what can be more clear for perpetuity than this?) And so again, as to the other life, it may be taken to afford matter of the juítest confolation, to assure us, that all they who believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in fincerity, however they may
SERM. submit to that common law of mortality VI. which is passed upon all men, yet shall not
death finally prevail or triumph over them, but their very mortality shall one day be swallow'd up of life, when their souls and bodies shall be again united, and death shall bave no more dominion over them. Such promises of resurrection to eternal glory were usual to be made by our blessed Saviour, in return for such confessions of his Divine mission and Messiahship as this before us. And reason good, since he is the Author of that great salvation, and it is by virtue of this faith in him, that we may hope to be entitled to such glorious privileges, for be that believeth in him shall not be finally condemned, but is passed from death unto life.
From hence indeed what was advanced by the other expositions, may be inferred by consequence. For if Christ has so overcome death as to secure his church against the terror of it, he must then have taken out the sting of death, which is hin, and destroyed bim that has the power of death, i. e. the devil. And if thus our spiritual enemies be difarm’d and baffled to our hands, why should we despair of success in our engagement with them, or suspect them to be still able to extinguish and destroy the church? Alass ! if that were so, they must be victors, and not Christ; he could not
then have answered the characters of the SERM. Mefliah, our faith in him would be confe- VI. quently vain, we hould be yet in our hins. From the contrary assurances that are given of his victory, we arm ourselves invulnerably with the shield of faith; we have the present satisfaction of knowing ourselves to be faithful members of his church, which, tho' not necessarily confined to any one quarter of the world, nor to any exact number of persons, much less to the particular church of Rome, and to the boasted successors of St. Peter (as the Papists fondly imagine, the vanity of whose boasting has already been exposed) is yet always to continue upon earth in a perpetual succession of fincere believers, and to be found of them that seek it faithfully; we have, lastly, the undoubted prospect of a happy resurrection, if we continue stedfast in the profession of this faith, and the promise which is here made by our Saviour, (that the gates of bell, or death, shall not prevail against his church, shall not finally domineer or triumph over it) has been abundantly confirmed by our Lord's own Resurrection, who is become the first-fruits of them that slept ; and as our Head is gone before to take poffeffion for us of our heavenly inheritance, to manage the affairs and sup. ply the exigencies of his church, and al
Serm. sure us that as he died and refe again, even
VI. so them also wbich sleep, in Jesus, will God w bring with him *.
To God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, be all honour and glory, now and henceforth for evermore. Amen.
* 1 Thess, iv. 14.
Manna in the Wilderness consi
dered and applied.
Deut. viii. 3.
thee to hunger, and fed thee with
T HESE words do very plainly refer SERM.
I to that stupendous method of Pro- VII. vidence, whereby God was pleased, form forty years together, to sustain his people in the Wilderness of Paran, not in the ordinary way of nature, by fruits produced out of the earth, when cultivated by the