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serious and stedfast Resolutions to serve him faithfully for the Time to come in Newness of Life. Then will God
accept us and pardon us, and give us such a Measure of Strength and Assistance, that we shall both walk acceptably before him in this World, and shall likewise be made Partakers of his eternal Glory in the other.
Several useful Observations from this
Text. The Conclusion against Infidelity.
[Delivered in Two Sermons.]
MARK xvi. 16.
saved: But he that believeth not, joall.
UR Saviour having, by his Life, and his Preaching, and his Miracles, and his Resurrection from the Dead, laid a
fufficient Ground and Founda. tion for the ready Belief and Entertainment of his Gospel among Mankind, comes upon his Ascension into Heaven, and as the last Ad he had to do upon Earth, to issue out his Royal Charter and Commission to his Apostles, to go and preach this Go
spel spel all the World over; and this he does in these Words, Go je (faith he) into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every Creature, St. Matthew hath set it down a little more largely, Go ye and disciple all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft; and teaching them to observe all Things whatever I have commanded you ; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the End of the World. This was the Apostles Commission this was the great Trust commitced to them, and in them to all succeeding Ministers of Christ to the World's End.
But now left it should be surmized that this Order might fignify very little, since here was no Inforcement of it, no Obligation laid upon the People to whom they were to preach to receive their Mellage, our Saviour takes care to remove that Pretence by adding these Words following, (which are the Words I am now to difcourse of) He that believeth, and is bapa tized, Mall be saved: And he that believeth not, shall be damned. Here is an Obligation with a Witness upon all Persons whatsoa ever, to whom the Gospel is preached, to receive and embrace it, since no less than their everlasting Salvation or Damnation depends upon it.
That which I design at present upon this Text is, to make some Observations and Reflections upon it, partly in order to the
clearing the Sense of it, and partly by way of Inference from it.
Our Saviour here orders his Apostles to go into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every Creature, declaring, that whosoever believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: And whosoever believeth not, shall be damned.
The First Thing I beg Leave to observe from hence is, That since Men, to the World's End, are to be saved by believing the Gospel, then there is a Necessity that there should be always an Order of Men in the World, whose Business it should be to preach this Gospel, For, as St. Paul truly argues, How thall Men believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how mall they hear without a Preacher ? and how shall they preach except they be sent? If Christ designed that the Belief of his Gospel should be the Way of Salvation as long as the World lasts, he must certainly have design'd that there should be Men set apart to preach and make known this Gospel as long as the World lasts likewise. Accordingly we find that he hath de facto done so: For the Commission he gave to his Apostles, he did really mean should extend to all those that should succeed them in that Ministry, as appears plainly in the last Clause of it, as I read it to you out of St. Matthew, Lo, I am with you alway, even to the End of the World. What is the Meaning of that?
Would he be with the Apostles to the End of the World ? Why, that could not be
i they were to go off the Stage in a few Years; and fo they did : But the World hath continu'd many Ages after their Death, and is yet like to continue. Christ's Meaning then could be no other than this, that he would not only by his Spirit assist the Apostles in the preaching of the Gospel during their Lives, but he would also continue that Alliftance to those that should succeed them in the Work of the Ministry, even as long as the World should endure ; and accordingly we see that he hath hitherto made this Promise good, having for above 1600 Years all along continued a Succession of Christ's Ministers to gain Souls to Christ, and all along likewise continu'd a Succefsion of Christ's People in all Parts of the World, who are gained to Christ by their Ministry; and as he hath hitherto made good his Promise, so we doubt not but he will continue to do it to the End of the World.
We beg therefore of all people, that they would not think it strange that at this Day they see a sort of Men (you may call them by what contemptible Names you please) that are so zealous for this Business of Christ Jesus and his Gospel, making it their set Work to be talking of it once a Week, nay, and now and then, being so you as to tell you that it is upon