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session was of that repentance for the remission of sins, and that faith in Christ, which the apostles had directed them to, in answer to their inquiry, what they should do to be saved : I can see no ground to suppose they thought of any lower or other kind. And it is evident by what follows, that these converts now looked upon it that they had complied with these directions, and so were at peace with God: Their business now is to rejoice and praise God from day to day : They continued stedfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship.....con. tinuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God. The account of them now is not as of persons under awakenings, weary and heavy laden sinners, under an awful sense of guilt and wrath, pricked in their hearts, as before ; but of persons whose sorrow was turned into joy, looking on themselves as now in a good estate. And in the last verse it is said, “ The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved ;" in the original it is τουε σωζομενές, the saved, οι σωζομενος was a common appellation given to all visible Christians, or to all members of the visible Christian church. It is as much as to say, the converted, or the regenerate. Being converted is in Scripture called a being saved, because it is so in effect ; they were « passed from death to life," John v. 24. Tit. i. 4. “ According to his mercy he SAVED us, by the washing of REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” 2 Tim. i. 9. “ Who hath SAVED us, and called us with an holy calling." Not that all who were added to the visible church were indeed regenerated, but they were so in profession and repute, and therefore were so in name. Cor. i. 18. “ The preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us [i. e. us Christians] which are saved [2010 ou louerous] it is the power of God.” So those that from time to time were added to the primitive church, were all called os on oueros, the saved. Before, while under awakenings, they used to inquire of their teachers what they should do to be saved ; and the directions that used to be given them, were to repent and believe in Christ ; and before they were admitted into the church, they profess
ed that they did so ; and thenceforward, having visibly complied with the terms proposed, they were called THE SAVED ; it being supposed, that they now had obtained what they inquired after when they asked what they should do to be saved. Accordingly we find that after that, from time to time, Christ's ministers treated them no more as miserable perishing sinners, but as true converts ; not setting before them their sin and misery to awaken them, and to convinco them of the necessity of a Saviour, exhorting them to fly from the wrath to come, and seek conversion to God; but exhorting them to hold fast the profession of their faith, to continue in the grace of God, and persevere in holiness ; endeavor. ing by all means to confirm and strengthen them in grace. Thus when a great number believed and turned to the Lord at Antioch, Barnabas was sent to them ; “ who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they should cleave to the Lord.” Acts xi. 23. See also Acts xiii. 43. And xiy. 22, and xv. 32, 41, and xx. 32. And when the apostles heard of the conversion of the Gentiles to the Christian faith, visible by their profession when they joined themselves to the Christian church, they in charity supposed andbelieved that God had given them saving repentance, and an heart purifying faith. Acts xi. 18. “When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God saying, Then hath God also granted unto the Gentiles repentance unto life." Chap. xv. 9. “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”
If any should here object that when such multitudes were converted from Judaism and Heathenism, and received into the Christian church in so short a season, it was impossible there should be lime for each one to say so much in his public profession, as to be any credible exhibition of true godliness to the church : I answer, This objection will soon vanish, if we particularly consider how the case was with those primitive converts, and how they were dealt with by their teachers. It was apparently the 'manner of the first preachers of the gospel, when their hearers were awakened and brought in good earnest to inquire what they should do to be saved, then particularly to instruct them in the way of salva tion, and explain to them what qualifications must be in them, or what they must do in order to their being saved, agreea. ble to Christ's direction, Mark xvi. 15, 16, This we find was the method they took with the three thousand, in the seco ond chapter of Acts, verse 37....40. And i: seems they were particular and full in it: They said much more to them than the words recorded. It is said, verse 40. “With many other words did Peter testify and exhort.” And this we find to be the course Paul and Silas took with the gaoler, chap, xvi. Who also gave more large and full instructions than are re, hearsed in the history. And when they had thus instructed them, they doubtless saw to it, either by themselves or some others who assisted them, that their instructions were understood by them, before they proceeded to baptize them (for I suppose none with whom I have to do in this controversy, will maintain, from the apostles' example, that we ought not to insist on a good degree of doctrinal knowledge in the way and terms of salvation, as requisite to the admission of members into the church.) And after they were satisfied that they well understood these things, it took up po great time to make a profession of them, or to declare that they did, or found in themselves, those things they had been told of as necessary to their salvation. To be sure, after they had been well informed what saving faith and repentance were, it took up no more time to profess that faith and repentance, than any other. In this case, not only the converts words, but the words of the preacher, which they consented to, and in effect made their own, are to be taken into their profession. For persons that are known to be of an honest character, and manifestly qualified with good doctrinal knowledge of the nature of true godliness, in the more essential things which belong to it, solemnly to profess they have or do those things, is to make as credible a profession of godliness as I insist upon. And we may also well suppose, that more words were uttered by the professors, and with other circumstances to render them credible, than are recorded in that very brief summary history, which we have of the primitive church
in the Acts of the apostles ; and also we may yet suppose one thing further, viz. that in that extraordinary state of things so particular a profession was not requisite in order to the church's satisfaction, either of doctrines assented to, or of the consent and disposition of the heart, as may be expedient in a more ordinary state of things ; for various reasons that might be given, would it not too much lengthen out this discourse.
One thing which makes it very evident, that the inspired ministers of the primitive Christian church looked upon saving faith as the proper matter of the profession requisite in order to admission into the church, is the story of Philip and the eunuch, in Acts viïi. For when the eunuch desires to be baptized, Philip makes answer, verse 37. “ If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” Which words certainly imply, that believing with all his heart was requisite in order to his coming to this ordinance properly and in a due manner. I cannot conceive what should move Philip to atter these words, or what he should aim at in them, if he at the same time supposed, that the eunuch had no manner of need to look at any such qualification in himself, or at all to inquire whether he had such a faith or no, in order to determine whether he might present himself as the subject of baptism ; many that are without it, being as properly qualified for this, as they that have it.
It is said by some, that Philip intended nothing more by believing with all his heart, than that he believed that doctrine, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, with a moral sincerity of persuasion. But here again I desire the scripture may be allowed to be its own interpreter. The Scripture very much abounds with such phrases as this, with all the heart, or with the whole heart, in speaking of religious matters. And the manifest intent of them is to signify a gracious simplicity and godly sincerity. Thus, I Sam. xi. 20. “ Turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.” So verse 24. « Only fear the Lord and serve him in truth, with all your heart.” 1 Kings viii. 23. « Who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants, that walk before thee with all their heart." Chap. xiv. 8. “ My servant
David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart.” 2 Kings x. 31. “ But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his. heart.” 2 Chron. xxii. 9. « Jehoshaphat sought the Lord with all his heart.” Chap. xxxi. 20, 21. “ Hezekiah wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God; and in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart.” Psal. ix. 1, " I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart.” Psal. Ixxxvi. 12. “ I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify thy name.” Psal. cxi. 1. “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright.” And cxix. 2. “ Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” Verse 10. “ With my whole heart have I sought thee." Verse 34. “ Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law, yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Verse 69. “ The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.” Jer. xxiv. 7. “ And I will give them an heart to know me.....for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Joel ii. 12, 13. “ Turn ye even unto me with all your heart....and rent your heart, and not your garments.” And we have the like phrases in innumerable other places. And I suppose that not so much as one place can be produced, wherein there is the least evidence or appearance of their being used to signify any thing but a gracious sincerity. And indeed it must be a very improper use of language, to speak of those as performing acts of religion with all their hearts, whose heart the Scriptures do abundantly represent as under the reigning power of sin and unbelief, and as those that do not give God their hearts, but give them to other things; as those who go about to serve two masters, and as those who indeed draw near to God with their lips, but have at the same time their hearts far from him, and running more after other things ; and who have not a single eye, nor single heart. The word believe, in the New Testament, answers to the word trust in the Old ; and therefore