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that more excellent way, which the fame blessed Apostle thew'd us *; that Bond of PerfeЕtion, which he has so earnestly exhorted us to put on above all things I; which he has taught us to esteem above all Faith, and Knowledge; and even the best miraculous Gifts.

But though the Face of Christianity be still miferably darken'd, and deform'd, (of which more below;) though some Nations seem to be in their Childhood yet, and cannot receive it; and others grow so vicious, as to be rather inclined to reject it: though in some Ages it seems to be quite hid in Darkness, and funk under Ignorance, and Şuperftition ; in others, born down with the Torrent of Lewdness, and Libertinism: though like the Sea, it have its Ebbs and Flows, and leave some Lands, to gain on others; nay, though sometimes it seem to be at a gencral stand ; and even retreating: yet, nevertheless, we have reason to conclude, that upon the whole, its motion is progressive; and that each very Lett tends, in the main, to accelerate this Progress, (as was observed in the beginning;) that its Power is still visibly, or invisibly, enlarging over the World; and that it will always go on to do so, till the Kingdom of Christ be fully come; till it be within us, and known by all, from the least to the greatest; till the Everlasting Gospel t go forth, and be so thoroughly understood and embraced, as to bring

• mand of their Master, have endeavoured presumptuously to • annex, by their own Authority, to his Doctrines, and to his • Laws.' Id. Serm. 80. p.525. Fol. Ed. Dibl.

# 1 Cor. 12. 31.
1 Coloff. 3.14. + Rru. 14.6.

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on the Fulness of the Gentiles; and by their means the Restoration of God's own People, the Jews ; as he has often foretold"; and so the whole Earth jhall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord, as the Waters cover the Sea., ...

From the whole we have reason to conclude, that the Objection mentioned in the beginning of these Discourses, is absolutely groundless; that there is nothing in the time and manner of the Christian Dispensation inconsistent with infinite Wisdom, and Goodness: that God is by no means parţial, or arbitrary in the distribution of his Bleff

but at all times takes care of all Mankind and that this great scheme of Revelation was contriv'd, and carried on, in the best manner, for the World in general: which ought chiefly to be regarded by us, as it is in the Eye of our common Father. When we come to particular Ages, and Nations, it is the same as with particular Persons, the same Benefits are not, cannot be conferr'd on all; and the Dispensations of Religion, are perfect-, ly analogous to those of Providence in the conftant course of both the natural, and the moral World; and these perhaps are capable of being shown to be the best upon the whole; as may in part appear from the former Discourseb. If Christ

a See the Texts above, p. 169. Many more to the same purpose are collected in a Note to Part 2. c. 11. p.187. Fol. of Kidder's Dem. To which may be added Whitby App. to Comm. on Rom. 1 1. and Treatise on the true Millen. C, 2. Burnet App. De Stat. Mort. Worthington's Essay, p. 295. Tayler on Rom. 11.26. p. 344. Lowth on Ifai. c. 11. Ville comp: Fortin Rem. on E. H. V. 3. p. 423, &c.

b See this more ac large in Bp. Butler's Analogy, Part 2, c. 6, &c.

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was to come once for all, he must appear in some particular Time, and Place; which could not be equally near to all the successive Generations of Mankind; nor could all have the same Privileges, of seeing and conversing with him in the Flesh: and as they are blessed who have not seen, and yet believed; so are they too, moft undoubtedly, (though perhaps in a lower degree) who having not so much as heard of Christ, are yet in a good meafure qualified to receive his Doctrine, were it delivered to them.

The great Scheme of our Redemption in Chrift, was laid before the World began*; and if we take the account which itself gives of its Design, we shall find the greatest of its Benefits extended to all Mankind; namely, the Covenant for restoring the whole Posterity of Adam, to that Immortality which he forfeited. The GIFT OF GOD is eternal Life, through Jefus Chrif our Lordt. Or, eternal Life is not in any respect a Property of our own Nature, as derived from Adam; but an additional Privilege conferr'd by God, as the purchase of our Saviour and Redeemer Cbrift. Death was abolishd, and Life and Incorruptibility, or a Life in Incorruption fix'd in the Divine Decrees from the Beginning, in view of Christ's

Eph. 1.4. Col. 1. 26. Tit. 1.2. 1 Pet. 1. 20. : t Rom. 6. 23. comp. 5.15. and Hallet's Observat. V. 1. p. 326, &c. or Layton's Tracts 2 V8.410.

b Aplapora, 2 Tim. 1. 10. i.e. of the Body raised, 1 Cor.15. 52. That the Chriftian Revelation lays the chief, if not the whole stress on the Resurrection, is plain from the Texts cited to that purpose by Dr. Benson on 1 Thel. 4:13. P.56. see more in the last Disc. 1 Cor. 15.42, 53, 54.

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future Ransom"; though not so fully brought to Light, or publish'd to the World in general, till the actual Accomplishment of it by him, in out own Natüre. As to any particular Privileges that éan be supposed to be annex'd to the bare Belief in him, or explicit Profeflion of it; we have Reafor to think, that no less were enjoy'd by those good Men of old, who by the dim Light of Prophecy, or Tradition, beheld his Day, and rejoiced in it; who saw thefe Promises a far off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them *. Faith in him to come was the same, in proportion to the Evidence, as in him.pait; and must be equally meritorious 2. Nor have we any reafon to doubt, but that the fame Benefits, in kind at least, whatever they be, might accrue from a pious Prefiguration of his Death, with a lively Faith, in Sacrifice; as now do from remembering it, in the same manner, in his Holy Supper. So far then it might be the fame whien ever he came.

And when we speak of the Christian Scheme being absolutely necesary to Salvation t, we una derstand Salvation in the Scripture Sense of that Word; as implying a particular State, and Degree of Happiness; or as the Christian's Heaven; o not as the sole Condition of enjoying everlasting

c Matt, 20. 28. Mark 10.45. Rev. 13.8. Acts 15.11, 18. Heb.9.15. Gal. 3. 17. Eph. 1.4. I Tim. 2. 5,6. 2 Tim. 1.9. I Pet. 1.20.

* Heb. 11. 13. Gal. 3.8.

* See Dr. Denne's serm. before the Soc. for Prop. G. p. 53, &c. or Williams, B. Lect. S. 8. p.232, 233. Fol.

+ P: 39

b See Rymer's Represent. of Rev. Rel. p. 104. or Whitby on Rom. 2.14. M 2

Life;

Life; or as necessary, in all Men, to the avoiding absolute Misery; or escaping the pains of Hell. He has told us, that in his Father's House are many Mansions; States suited to every Degree of Holiness, and Virtue; and as it often appears, that Men under very different Dispensations here, differ but almost insensibly from each other, in the abovemention'd Qualifications; can we conceive, that . their States of Retribution shall be so infinitely different hereafter, as those of Heaven, and Hell, are commonly believ'd to be? No doubt, there are great Advantages, and sure Promises, belonging to those who have been so happy as to be included in the Christian Covenant; and hold it in Faith, and Purity. But let not such exclude others from the Mercies of their common Lord; or murmur at the good Man of the house, if these also receive every man his Penny *. Whether they shall not sometime hereafter be call'd into the Vineyard, and at length become acquainted with that person who has done so great things for them, as well as uso; or what Amends may be made them for the Want of those singular Advantages which we here enjoy; is known only to that God of all Mercies, in whose Hands they are. What our Saviour faid of the Gentiles, in Contradistinction to the Jews, may be no less true perhaps between Christians, and the rest of the World, that never heard of Christ, but yet are prepared to enter, and in a good measure worthy to be admitted into his

* Matth. 20.

a See Stainoe's Enquiry into the State of those Men in another Life, who never heard of Christ in this, from Rev. 20.

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