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SECT. nign influence to all the children of men, IV. The day-fpring from on high rises on the unjuft, as well as the juft. It at once invites finners to repentance and falvation, and diffuses a serene joy through the souls of the righteous. Nor is it defigned, like the ancient systems of philosophy, for the rich alone; the poor also have the Gospel preached unto them. Its expressive symbol, baptifm, aptly represents that spiritual regeneration, in which the blood of Chrift washes us from all our fins, and initiates us into newness of life. And in its other folemn sacrament, the Lord's fupper, we are all equally concerned, equally interefted. Chrift died for us all, yea rather is rifen again from the dead, and for ever maketh interceffion for us at the right hand of God. To all nations therefore does the memorial of his precious blood-fhedding equally belong.
3. Its ritual
3. The ordinances of the Jewish church left to the were particularly specified, and minutely
of each par-laid down. One temple and one form of
church. Worship was appointed, for one felected
people. But as the Christian church was defigned to comprehend the whole globe, each separate nation was left at liberty to efta
eftablish a church and a ritual, independent CHAP. upon any other; provided only, that all II. things were done decently and in order. The grand outlines of our religion are marked out with precifion and exactness by God himself; the intermediate spaces, the outward forms of prayer, and fuch ceremonies as are neceffary for decency, are left to be filled up at the discretion of pious men lawfully appointed.
rity, in op
the various washings of the Law.
4. As the Jews were ftrictly required to wash before meat, and to abftain from divers internal puforts of food; Chriftians are commanded to pofition to be earnest in their purfuit after true holinefs, and to refrain from the only real pollution, that of the heart and converfation. The kingdom of heaven in the soul of man does not confift of meats and drinks, and external purification; but of love, joy, peace, and every other fruit of the Spirit.
5. The Law, for the hardness of men's hearts, permitted divorces, on every trivial vorces, exoccafion; but the purity of the Gofpel of adultery. utterly forbids fuch an abuse, and allows a feparation only in cafes of adultery. The
cept in cafe
SECT. difciples of Chrift expreffed their surprise IV. at this restraint; but the answer was, "All
6. Forbids revenge.
"men cannot receive this faying, fave they "to whom it is given." Our Lord seems here to allude to the Christian church, when arrived at that degree of perfection, of which the Jewish was incapable. Accordingly, we now find this decifion adopted as ftatute law in every Chriftian country.
6. Under the Mofaical difpenfation a fpirit, which bore the femblance of revenge, was permitted; "an eye for an eye, "and a tooth for a tooth :" but the milder genius of the Gospel of Christ breathes nothing but love and forgiveness. This disposition our bleffed Lord places upon the best and the only folid foundation. "Be
ye merciful, as your Father alfo is merci"ful." In the prayer which he himself hath taught us, our forgiveness of others is made a term of God's forgiving us; and we daily fupplicate, that he would remit our trefpaffes, only as we remit those of our brethren. Upon the fame principle we are commanded to pardon an offender, not until feven times, but until seventy times feven; not a particular number
of tranfgreffions only, but an unlimited CHAP.
7. The parallel, which St. Paul draws between Mofes and our Saviour, is much parallel to the present purpose. "Wherefore, holy Mofes and "brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, confider the Apostle and High-Priest " of our profeffion, Chrift Jefus; who was "faithful to him that appointed him, as "alfo Mofes was faithful in all his house. "For this man was counted worthy of "more glory than Mofes, inasmuch as he "who builded the houfe hath more ho"nour than the house. For every house "is builded by fome man; but he that "built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a fervant, for a teftimony of those things, "which were to be spoken hereafter; but "Chrift as a Son over his own houfer; "whose house are we, if we hold faft the "confidence and the rejoicing of the hope, "firm unto the end."
8. In fine, the Chriftian religion may be pronounced perfect in three feveral points perfect in of view. Whether we confider, that a way veral re
b Heb. iii. I.
SECT. was prepared for it, by the fure word of IV. prophecy, both verbal and figurative, exactly fulfilled in this difpenfation and its divine Author; and therefore proving, that it was predetermined by, and that it originated with, an all-wife God. Whether we call to recollection the numerous and wonderful miracles, wrought in attestation of its truth, at the time of its first promulgation, both by Chrift and his Apostles; miracles, which we cannot, without a mixture of blafphemy and abfurdity, suppose that the Father of truth would have permitted to be wrought in confirmation of a falfehood; miracles, the real existence of which the bitterest enemies of Christianity, the Jewish priests, and the Pagan philofophers, never dared to deny, though they maliciously attributed them to demoniacal agency. Or laftly, whether we examine the holiness of its doctrines, and the fpirituality of its precepts, every way worthy of that God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.
Such is the mysterious plan of redemption, which was predetermined by the divine wisdom, ere the foundations of the earth were laid. The fimplicity of the