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in whom they live, move, and have their being; and who hath not left himself without witness among them, but furnishes them with daily proofs of his goodness, “giving them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling their mouths with food and their hearts with gladness;" and surely he cannot be unwilling to save the persons whom he daily preserves, and on whom he showers his daily and hourly benefits. Nay, he is the Redeemer of all, who hath “ so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;" yea, whose Son died for all, when all were dead; gave himself a ransom for all, and by divine grace, or favour, tasted death for
And is it possible he should shut the door of salvation against any that he hath purchased with his Son's blood ? Hence it is that he is expressly termed the “ Saviour of all men, although especially of those that believe, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance," should “ be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
5. And as none are excluded by any decree of God, so none are shut out by any natural or moral incapacity. None that are not idiots, (in which case they are not accountable for their actions, nor the proper subjects of rewards and punishments) are so ignorant as to be incapable of understanding the Truths of the Gospel, if enlightened by the Spirit of God, which is free for all, and promised to all that sincerely and earnestly ask it. None are fo guilty, as to be debarred the Privileges of the Gospel, purchased for all, that will accept them, by the death of Christ, and offered to all by the free mercy of God. None are so weak and depraved, as to be unable to obey the Precepts of the Gospel, if assisted by the grace of God in Christ Jesus, which bringing salvation, hath appeared unto all men, as
the Apostle testifies *, and may be received by all. Hence it is, (and this leads me to the last particular), that
Fourthly, Faith is justly required of all, the peril of everlasting damnation. " He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, and he that believeth not, shall be damned."
1. From what has been said, it will easily appear, both what Faith is, and how justly it is required in order to everlasting falvation. It respects the Gospel in all the three grand branches of it above mentioned. First, As the Gospel is a revelation of Truths, it implies that, in consequence of an attentive consideration and thorough knowledge of them, we be persuaded of the certainty and importance of these Truths, and that in such a lively and operative manner, that our hearts are truly affected, and our lives duly influenced by them from day to day. These truths, coming to us not in word only, but also in power, and in the lioly Ghost, and in much assurance, are the power of God unto our salvation. For as soon, and in proportion as we thus believe, " we are translated out of darkness into marvellous light:" in other words, we are saved from ignorance and error, into the light of knowledge and truth. Secondly, As the Gospel is an offer of Privileges, faith in it implies,' that we accept that offer in the
way God hath appointed, viz. The way of “
The way of “ Repentance towards God, and Confidence in our Lord Jesus Chrift," the High Priest of our profession, who by his death hath obtained these Privileges for us, and in his Gospel, makes them over to all that repent and believe in him. By faith in this sense,
we are justified from all things:" we are saved from the guilt of fin, into the divine favour,
are adopted into God's family, regenerated through his grace, and restored in a degree, at least, to his likeness. Thirdly, As the Gospel is a promulgation of Laws, faith in it implies, that we acknowledge the authority of the Law-giver, and yield ourselves up to obey his Laws, looking to him, and depending on him, as a Saviour, for power to enable us so to do, and trusting in the mercy of God, through his merits, for the pardon of our daily infirmities and defects. By faith, in this respect, we are saved into universal holiness of heart and life, and obtain " a conscience void of offence towards God, and towards man,' with great boldness in the profession of the Gospel.
2. It appears by this, that our Lord's promise is, and must be always strictly fulfilled, “ He that believeth shall be saved." By believing in, and receiving Christ, and his Gospel, with regard to the Truths it reveals, the Privileges it offers, and the Laws it enjoins, we are saved even here, from ignorance and error, fin and misery; we are enlightened, justified, sanctified, and comforted. And persevering to believe, we continue to be saved, and that in proportion to the degree of our faith. The greater number of divine truths we receive by faith, and the more fully and clearly we are persuaded of them and impressed by them, the more must our minds be enlightened with true and saving knowledge. The more constantly we apply to, and the more firmly we trust in Chrift for the Privileges of the Gospel, the more muft we be encouraged and comforted, purified and strengthened. And the more we submit, by faith, to the authority, and comply with the injunctions of the Laws of the Gospel, looking to the Law-giver, who is also the Saviour, for grace and strength, the more shall we be saved from the appearance of evil; and the more holy shall we become “ in all manner of coñversation and godliness.” Thus, the Just continues to live by faith, and to live more abundantly. The full asurance of faith, always attended with the full assurance of hope, never fails to be productive of perfeet love, even the love that cafteth out fear : and that love is followed by an equal degree of every inward grace and outward virtue. And the believer “ enduring to the end," and being " faithful unto death," receives the crown of life, and is saved eternally.
3. Now, when the Gospel is preached to those, who have not already been admitted members of the visible Church, and when such are brought cordially to receive it, it is necessary, whatever danger of persecution may be incurred thereby, that they should publicly profess their Repentance and Faith, by submitting to the ordinance of Baptism. Therefore, our Lord says, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” And St. Paul declares, in words of nearly a similar import, “ If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be faved." This was undoubtedly the practice of the primitive Church, with regard to those adult Heathens or Jews, who were converted to Christianity. They were not admitted to baptifm till they profeffed repentance for fin, and faith in the Gospel, Then, and not before, they were sprinkled, or washed with water, as a token that they were “ sprinkled from an evil conscience, and washed in the laver of regeneration." But we cannot infer from this, that the children of Christian Parents were debarred from baptism, till they were capable of believing personally: on the contrary, we have reason to fuppose, from the very nature of the New Covenant, as well as from many passages of Scripture, and the authentic records of the primitive Church, that they
were generally baptized in their infancy or childhood. But as this is not a proper time to discuss such a doctrine, referring any, that may wish for information upon this head, to the Books and Tracts written professedly on the subject, I go on to observe, that if our Lord should be considered by any as intimating, here, the necessity of being baptized in order to Salvation, in case there be an opportunity for it; yet he cannot be understood, as making it necessary for any converts to receive baptism from the very fame persons that were instrumental in bringing them to repentance. If they be but baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, it seems a matter of little moment, by whom the ceremony is performed. St. Paul, it is certain, was an inftrument in the hands of God, of bringing hundreds to repentance in the city of Corinth, but according to the account he gives us, he only baptized two persons there, and the household of a third. From this, it appears, both that he considered it as a matter of much greater importance to preach the Gospel, than to baptize; and also, that he judged many persons to be sufficiently qualified to perform the latter office, who were not called to be extensively useful in the execution of the former. And no wonder, for, by preaching the Gospel, the feed of Faith is sown, which as, in adults, it must precede baptism, so it is of much greater necessity and importance. 4. This is implied in the next clause,
« He that believeth not, shall be damned." Our Lord does not say, He that believeth not, and is not baptized, but fimply, “ He that believeth not, shall be damned.” If a person believe the Gospel, with such a faith as is above described, he shall be saved, even if, through want of opportunity, or his own involuntary prejudices, he should be prevented from receiving the washing of baptifinal water.