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of the First Christians were qualified to cast out Devils, * and to work Miracles. And, notwithstanding that All Christians are not obliged to This kind of Faith, yet it was a Duty strictly Incumbent upon all those persons, to whom a Promise of Extraordinary power was given: And if they did not firmly depend upon such Extraordinary Abilities, fo Ascertain’d unto them, Diffidence was as much Unbelief in Them, as an Assurance of working Miracles, would be presumption in Others. To this purpose we read, that when our Blessed Saviour had caft out a Devil, and the Disciples came unto him and said, why could not we cast him out? Jefus faid unto them, because of your Unbelief. * For he had given them power and authority over all Devils, and to cure diseases. And though in This instance they failed of success, through their Unbelief, yet in many Other instances we find their Miraculous Faith crowned with Effectual demonstrations
* Mat. xvii. 20. and Mark xvi. 17, 18. Matt. xvii. 20. Matt. X. 1. and Luke ix. 1.
of their Miraculous Power. Nor were the Supernatural effects of this Extraordinary Faith Peculiar to the Apostles, or to the Apostolick Age, but were extended into Succeeding * Times, whilst the Circumstances of Things required That Power, for the Support and Propagation of the Gospel.
'Tis scarce to be doubted, but that those Other persons, who did not receive an Immediate Promise from our Saviour, as the Apostles did, of a Power to cast out Devils and to work Miracles, and yet had such a Power Communicated to them, for ends and purposes agreeable to the Infinite Wisdom of God, were by the Spirit Blessed with an Extraordinary Faith, a Fiducial Dependence upon God, for such Supernatural abilities, as a Previous Difposition to the Exercise of them. But still, IV. if they had not been so Influenc'd, the Want of such a Faith had been no more Culpable in them, than the Want of such a Power: For the One is a Miraculous gift of the Spirit, as well as the Other. 'Tis no more the Duty of a Christian, as such, to Believe that he can remove Mountains, than ’tis within the compass of his Strength to Remove them.
* Vide Just. Mart. in Dial. cum Tryph. p. 247. Edit. Paris. - Irenæ. adv. Hæref. lib. ii. cap. 56, 57. & lib. v. cap. 6. collat. cum Euseb. Hiftor. Ecclef. lib. v. cap. 7. Theoph. Antioch. ad Autol. lib. ii.--- Tertullian. ad Scap. & in Apologet. Origen. Comm. ab Huet. Edit. Vol. ii. p. 328. & contra Celf. 1. i. & iii. Cyprian. ad Demetr. & de Vanit. Idol. “ Lactant. Divin. Inftit. lib. iv. c. 27.- Euseb. Præpar. Evangel. lib. y. C, 1.- S. Chryfoft. in Pf. cx.
Extraordinary, or Miraculous Faith was, in some particular Circumstances, the Duty and the Ornament of some Particular Persons; but the Common Faith is the Necessary condition of the Common Salvation: If we do not stedfastly Believe the Truths revealed by the Gospel, we have no Right to the Blessings promised in it. For when our Blessed Saviour had given commission to his Apostles, to preach the Gospel, he presently Inculcated the indifpensable Obligations of Faith, upon Those, to whom it should be Preached, * denouncing unavoidable Condemnation against Unbelievers. And St. Paul speaks plainly of those who believe not,
* Mark. xvi. 16.
* as doomed to certain Perdition. And thus the fame Apostle testified, that faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as repentance towards God, is requisite to the attainment of Eternal Life, Acts xx. 21. And Parallel to this Text is the Character given of the Saints, Revel. xiv. 12. They that keep the Commandments of God, and the Faith of Jesus. Those therefore who Imagine, that they are not Obliged to Believe the Mysteries revealed in the Gospel, do break through a Principal obligation: And whilst they are Deficient in the Duty of Faith, they labour under a Defect, which prevents the Perfection and Acceptance of every Other Duty.
Faith is the very Foundation of of Virtue in a Christian; and if This be wanting, his Best performances are as an house built upon the Sand. For 'tis unto Faith that Virtue must be Added, I if it recommends us to the favour of God; and all Those who call themselves Christians,
* 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. a'r! 2 Thcfii. 12. '
Theophylac. in Ep. ad Heb. vi. 1. & S. Chryfoft. · Homil. ii. in Ep. ad Rom. # 2 Pet. i. 5. L 3
and yet content themselves with Moral virtues * alone, and those derived perhaps from no Higher principle, than what the Heathens acted by, must fall under the character given of the Heathens by the Apostle, that professing themfelves to be wise, they become fools. When God hath Required our Belief, as the Ground of all our Duty, is it not extremely Absurd to conceive, either that we are Obedient unto Him, whilst we Disbelieve, or that He will be Gracious to us, whilst we Disobey him? 'Tis a strange Unhappiness of Judgment, to Appropriate the notion of Duty unto Vir
tuous Actions, and to think that No: thing is Criminal but Immorality. The Rules of Moral Virtue must be Highly esteem'd, and Inviolably observed in their utmost Perfection, even in That perfection, which the Gospel hath given them: But let not the Rule of Virtue derogate from the Rule of Faith; nor the Neceffity of the One be presumed to supersede the Other. Immorality renders us Ob* Clemen. Alexandr. Strom. lib. i. p. 338. Edit. Oxon.