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XIV.

SERM. Impostor to the Holy Jesus, denying that God

has any Son, and so though not Atbeifts, yet still Unbelievers. And of the poor remaining five Parts only of the World that are Christie ans, it is melancholy to say it, three at least are overwhelmed by Popery, Superstition and Idolatry. So that the Number is inconsiderable, comparatively speaking, that enjoy the Gospel in the Purity we do, and have done, God be thanked, since the happy Reformation, Nay we may say it without Vanity or Pride: For indeed we are sorry to say it, we wilh it were otherwise. But say it we must, that except in England and Ireland there is no Church in the World, where the pure Faith and Doctrines of Christianity, together with the primitive apoftolical Government of the Church by Bishops, are at this Day preserv. ed entire. For the Reformed abroad, and in our Neighbourhood of Scotland, and all Sects of Diffenters amongst ourselves, though they have thrown off the Errors and Corruptions of Popery; yet were they fo unhappy as at the same Time to throw off or lose the Episcopal Ordination and Government with it. A Government and Ordination fo very necessary to the Well-being of a Church, that those who lived nearest the Time of it's Institution, the

Fathers

XIV.

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Fathers and Doctors of the Apostolick Agé,"S ERM.
affirmed there could be no Ministry or Church
without it. How happy then, not only as
bove Jews, above Heathens, above Mahome-
tans, above Papists, but above even all Chri.
fians in the World besides, are the Members
of this pure and apostolical Church, fo found
in her. Do&trine; fo pune in her Worship, so
primitive in her Government, and oh were
her Discipline butionce restor'd! so perfect
in all Things ! And consequently what Obli-
gations must lye upon us, to outdo all others
in the Purity and Primitiveness of our Con-
versations and Lives! If we are now in so espe-
cial a manner the chosen and peculiar People
of God; let us not behave as his ancient pe-
cúliar People did, who were therefore cast off
and rejected by him; but let us consider that
the Faith, the Religion, the Obligations and
the Duty of the whole World is laid upon us;
and that God expects of us that we should
make

up

to him for all the Ignorances, Errors, Sins, Schisms, Heresies, and Irreligion with which the rest of the World abound.

And if thus we behave, we shall be as well accepted and as highly favoured of God, as if the Gospel had been preached unto us by the Mouth of the Blessed Jesus himself :

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XIV.

1

SERM. The Centurion's Servant, we find, was healed

as well by the Deputation of a Word, by the
Ministry of an Angel, as if our Lord had gone
and laid his own Hands on him. And Core
nelius and the rest of the Gentile World that
were converted to the Faith by the Preachi-
ing of the Apostles, believed as firmly, and
were saved as effectually, as if with St. Paul
they had been called from Heaven. The
Ministers he has affigned in a perpetual Suce
cession to the End of the World, he has apa
pointed to act by his Authority and in his
Name: And by those he comes and is pre-
sent with you, as much as he was with the
Servant in my Text. Have therefore but a
firm Hope, and a stedfast Faith, and

you
need not doubt but you will be well received.
But

you

must be sure to keep from wavering : For otherwise you will be rejected as were formerly the Jews, purely for Want of a necessary Belief. The Branches, (faith St. Paul, in the Person of a Gentile) The Branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well ; because of Unbelief they were broken off, and thou fandeft by Faith. Be not bigh-minded, but fear, Rom, xi. 19, 20.

your Faith

XIV.

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It was the Faith of the Centurion that SER M. obtained for his Servant the Blessing of my u Text. The Jews indeed (whom he desired to intercede for him with our Lord, as presuming himself not worthy enough to approach him in Person) talked long to him, in their usuał Strain, of his Works. They set forth his Merits, and magnified his Deeds ; and reprefented him in a Character that they thought must certainly prevail) as a Benefactor to their Nation. When they came to Fesus they besought bim instantly, saying, that be was worthy for whom he mould do this : For he loveth our Nation, and bath built us a Synagogue, Luke vij, 4, 5. But the Centurion had more humble Thoughts of himself: He pleaded no Works or Merits of his own ; but placed all his Confidence in the Goodness and Power of the merciful Jesus. For when Jesus was now not far from his House, the Centurion sent Friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself : For I am not worthy that thou should

t enter under my Roof: IVherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee : But speak to a Word only, and my Servant fall be bealed, ver, 6, 7 It was this Faith, it

apVOL. II,

Y

pears

1

XIV.

Merits or

SE R M.

pears (a Faith, though so humble, yet at the same Time fo great, that our Lord himfelf witnesses all Israel could not equal it) which prevailed with Jesus. For as he believed, so was it done unto him.

In like Manner, if we expect any Healing to our Sou's, any Share in the Blessings of Christ;

it must be through Faith, through a Reliance on his Merits, Favour and Grace, who regards Mankind, not for any Works of their own, but as they confide and trust in his. And it is such Faith that makes us properly the Children of Abraham, whose Children if we are, we have then an equal Right with the Jews to the Blessings of Jesus. Nay the Jews themselves have no Right in Abraham, except they have also the Faith of Abraham. It is not their being circumcised, as he was, that makes them his Sons; but it is the having such Trust and Confidence in the Promises of God, as he had before he was circumcised: So St. Paul, I am sure, argues at large-We say that Faith was reckoned to Abraham for Righteousness. How was it then reckoned ? When he was in Circumcision or in Uncircumcision ? Not in Circumcifon, but in Uncircumcision. And be received the Sign of

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