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were sully accomplished in "Jesus Christ, and in him alone j together with many remarkable and exact Predictions of future Events, which he himself delivered, and which could not have been foreseen by any human Sagacity; I say, all this together forms a Proof of his Authority, equal to the Greatness of his Claims, and vastly superior to all others that ever appeared, as Teachers of Mankind; and should therefore have, proportionably, a mighty Influence upon us to engage us to yield an intire Belief to the Revelations he hath brought from Heaven, and a ready Obedience to the Laws which he hath injoined.
Having thus considered the Divine Authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Proofs of that Authority, I would conclude with this important Reflection, which naturally ariseth from what hath been offered upon this Subject, viz. What a mighty Advantage must it be to us to have Instructions of the greatest Concernment to our Duty and Happiness brought us by so wonderful, so Divine a Person! No Man bath seen God at any Time; the only begotten Son, •which is in the Bosom os the Father, he hath declared him. John i. 18. Though right Reason might teach us many Things relating to the Nature, to the Attributes,
and Providence of God, yet certainly if must be a signal Benefit to have these Things clearly discovered to us by one that hath given such convincing Proofs of his being sent from Heaven to instruct Mankind. We might be apt, if left to ourselves, to suspect, as many have done, that God would scarce concern himself about us, .or our petty Affairs, which appear to be so much beneath the Notice of his Divine Majesty; with what a peculiar Satisfaction then should we receive the strong and express Assurances which are brought us by so glorious a Person, that the Care of Divine Providence extendeth even to the meanest of his Creatures, and governeth all the -Events that befall us?
In like Manner with Regard to the Laws of God, relating to the various Duties required of us, what an inestimable Advantage must it be to have them declared to us, in the Name of God himself, by one so near and dear to him, and whom he himself hath appointed our Lawgiver and our Judge! Must not this give them a quite different Power upon the Mind and Conscience, than they could have, as represented in the Writings of Philosophers and Moralists? With what a superior Force doth his Sermon on the Mount, which containeth such a pure and sublime
Morality, Morality, come, when delivered by a Person of so Divine a Character, the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth, who was perfectly acquainted with the Divine Will, than if the fame Things had been taught by a Socrates, a Plato, an Aristotle, or Zeno f For upon what Foundation could their Sentiments have been urged, as Laws upon Mankind? Or what Obligations would Men have thought themselves under to reverence and submit to their Decisions, as of Divine Authority ? They would only have been looked. upon at the best as the probable Opinions of this or that Philosopher or Moralist, who might be mistaken, and were often contradicted by others that pretended to be no less learned and knowing than they.
And, as it is of great Importance to us to know the Laws of God concerning our Duty, so it no less concerneth us to be made acquainted with the most effectual Motives to engage our Obedience to those Laws; to which there is often a strange Aversion in our Hearts, through the Power of Temptation, and the Influence of corrupt Appetites and Passions, and carnal worldly Interests. The strongest Motives, and the most proper to make an Impression on the Generality of Mankind, are those that are drawn from the Rewards and.
Punishments Punishments that (hall be dispensed by God, according to Mens' Obedience or Disobedience to those Laws; concerning which, and their Nature, Kinds, and Duration, the most learned Persons, if left merely to their own unassisted Reason* could scarce advance any Thing that may be certainly depended upon, and that is capable of satisfying the Mind. But who so fit to reveal these Things to us as the Son of God, whom he hath appointed to be our Judge, the immediate Dispenser of those Rewards and Punishments? To be assured, by so glorious a Person, of the Resurrection of the Dead, of a future general Judgment, and the important Retributions of an unseen, eternal World, must needs have an amazing Force and Influence to engage us to a Life of holy Obedience.
Again, it is of great Importance to usto know upon what Terms God will receive his offending Creatures. Whether and how far he will accept of their Repentance, or what farther Reparation he may think fit to insist upon for vindicating the Authority of his Laws, and answering the great Ends of his Government. Whether he will pardon all their Sins, however numerous or aggravated, if sincerely repented of, or only those of a less
heinous heinous Nature, and which had not been long and obstinately persisted in. Whether^ if he shall extend his Mercy to the greatest Sinners upon their Repentance, this is only to be understood of their being freed from the dreadful Penalties they had incurred, or at least having those Punishments greatly mitigated, or also of their being fully restored to his Love and Favour; and, finally, how far he will think fit to reward the sincere, though imperfect, Obedience, they may render to him in the following Part of their Lives. There are many Things here which the wisest Men, if left to themselves, cannot pretend to decide with Certainty, and concerning which many Doubts will be apt to arise to the anxious Mind, when awakened to a Sense of it's own Guilt. But how comforting is it to be assured, that God hath sent his own Son into the World, a Person of such infinite Dignity, and so perfectly acquainted with his Will and Counsels, to open to. us the glorious Designs of his Wisdom and Grace for the Salvation of sinful Men, and to declare the Terms upon which he is willing to restore them to his Favour! That by him he hath been graciously pleased to give the most express Assurances that he will grant a plenary Remission of all their Sins to all that rer. Vol. IV. D turn