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full Council, That God intended to receive the Gentiles into the Christian Covenant, without their Observation of the Mosaical Ceremonies *. Yet notwithstanding this authoritative Determination, the jewish Christians did, many of them, retain their Zeal for that Law, and pressed it as absolutely necessary along with the Gospel-Religion, in order to Men's Salvation. ANY one who reads the Apostolick Epiftles, (particularly those of St. Paul) with any Care and Attention, will find their constant Method to have been, first to explain the particular Point debated in the Church, or amongst the Persons they wrote to, and was the Occasion of their Writing ; and, in the next Place, to give them such Exhortations to every Christian Duty and Virtue as would be at all Times, and in every Church, of every Age, necessary and of absolute Importance; having a special Eye to the particular Virtues those Disputes might most probably tempt them to the Neglect of Now, the former Part of these Epistolary Writings cannot be rightly understood any other Way, than by attending carefully to the State of the Questions therein handled, and determined. And therefore the Errors and vain Disputes, that are to be seen in many Writings of these latter Ages of Christianity, concerning Faith and Works, justification and Sanétification, Elektion and Reprobation, and fuch like ; that have confounded, vexed, and distraćted the Minds of many Christians; have all arisen from this one grand Mistake, of applying certain particular Phrases, or Passages, in these Writings, to themselves, or to any other particular Persons, which plainly appear to have - referred referred to the then State and Condition, not of particular Persons but of whole Churches, of the jewish or Gentile Part. 'Tis this Mistake that has first troubled the Hearts, and so diverted the Minds of many otherwise good Men, from attending to the more excellent Parts of these Writings, the moral and weighty Exhortations given to Christians; and, by puzzling them about former Controverfies that do very little, if at all concern us now; have turn'd off their Thoughts from the great Matters of the Law, which are most easy to be understood, and of infinite Obligation to be put in praffice. TH Es E Questions therefore, viz. Whether the Gentiles were at all to be admitted into the Church and Kingdom of CHR 1st the Messiah? Or at least, Whether both they and the Jews, ought not to observe the Ceremonial Law along with the Christian? Whether the true Religion were so appropriated
* See Aff; xv.
* Ver. 1. Called. See A/7, ix. and xxii. and xxvi.
+ Ibid. 'Apafiauív'G-.-Separated to the Gospel—It being not absolutely certain, whether this Phrase relates to his Call to the Apoffleship in general, or to his special Separation to preach to the GENT Iles, Aët, Xiii. 2. I have expressed it with a just Latitude to both. It is remarkable in what a Variety this great Apoffle expresses his own Character in his several Epiffles to the Christian Churches; styling himself, in some, an Apostle of Chrift, specially called and soparated, &c. in others, the Servant of God, and of Jesus Christ; in others, the Prisoner of jesus Chris ; and in that to the Hebrew, without any Name. For the jusnes, and Propriety of this, see the Paraphrase on Philemon in Mr. Locke's Manner, Wer. 1.
* Matth. i. 1. At ii. 3o. 2 Tim. ii. 8. According to the
2 Tim. i. 8. 2 Cor. viii. 2.
t Ver, 5. Xafir 2 are:oxy, Grace and Apoloship, is,
plainly a Hebraism, and signifies, The Favour or Honour of the,