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to inherit the promises; whence his faith concluded, they would be secured by his son's resurrection. Joseph, when he was dying, commanded that his bones should be carried into Canaan; in faith that the whole nation would follow them; and that the promises would be fulfilled to him after his death. Moses gave up his project of preferment at court; knowing that the ministry of God and the reproach of Christ would be attended with a better recompence. The fear of God, whom he did not see, had more weight with him than the wrath of Pharaoh who was present to him.
By these and many other like examples, it is proved, that nothing great or acceptable to God was ever done, but only from a sight of things invisible, and the expectation of what is to come after death. It was this faith which subdued and cast out the kingdoms of Canaan, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
There are no motives to the observation of a Christian life more striking than those which are drawn from the facts of the law. These the Apostle hath set before us abundantly in
the Epistle to the Hebrews, as I may shew
you hereafter. In the mean while the moral’ of the whole doctrine hitherto delivered, is to
look, as they did who went before us, unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith; that see
ing him to be the beginning of our strength,
and the end of our hope, we may follow him
through the dangers of life and the terrors of
death to that rest which remaineth for the peo
ple of God.
ON THE CHURCH, AS A SPIRITUAL SOCIETY, WHICH IS THE SAME THING AT ALL TIMES'.
rUR enquiry into the faith of the ancient fathers shewed us, that there never was more than one true religion in the world: we shall now discover, that there never has been more than one true religious society, called the Church: and this I shall endeavour to prove,
First, by considering the nature of the Church, as a society.
Secondly, by considering the form of it.
The Church, in its nature, always was what it now is, a society comprehending the souls zs well as the bodiesofmen; and therefore, consisting of two parts, the one spiritual, answcring to the soul, the other outward, answering to the body. Hence some have written much upon a visible Church and an invisible, as if they were two things; but they are more properly one, as the soul and body make a single person.
In the 12th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle gives such a description of that society, into which Christians are admitted, as will shew us the nature of it. <c Ye are come, says he, unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the first born which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel" *. The terms here used give us a true prospect of the Church: let us take them in their order. By Mount Sion, we are not to understand the place, but the thing signified, the heavenly society of God and his saints; the same which David in spirit calls the Hill of the Lordf, whereto the King of Glory was to ascend; and the Holy Hill of
Sion, * Chap. xii. zz. &c. f Psalm xxiv
Sion, spoken of In the 2d Psalm, on which the Son was to be placed, after the vain opposition he should meet with from the Kings and Rulers of the earth. This is that Zion of the Holy one of Israel, to which the forces of the Gentiles were to flow from all parts of the world, as the prophet Isaiah describes it*; which prophecy was not fulfilled in the literal Sion where the Jews lived.
This society is also called the City of the living God, distinguished from the cities of the world, as Jerusalem was from the cities of the heathens: who dedicated their cities not to the living God, but to the names of their dead idols; such as were Beth Shemesh, Beth Peor, and others of that sort. This being then the city of the living God, must be an immortal society; for the living God does not preside over dead citizens; he is not the God of the dead but the God of the living, and all the members of this society live unto him. This is the city, said to have foundations, whose builder and maker is God: to this the holy Patriarchs looked as the object of their hope, knowing, that they were even then of it, and should never be out of it, because the citizens of God never die. It is therefore called the
heavenly * Chap, lx