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Should these few hints fall under the dissecting eyeof criticism, the Writer begs leave to notice, that they are not designed to impose a new hypothesis, or form a party; but rather an humble attempt, in compliance with the old commandment John ii, 7, to guide the lowly follower of Jesus; not to make breaches, but to heal those already made, under a conviction, that the lively Oracles, to which he : has uniformly adhered, are the only rule in matters of faith and practice.
May Christian Ministers and People be wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil; and the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. all. Amen.
Boddicot, June, 1816.
A FEW THOUGHTS
ON THE NATURE OF A
CHRISTIAN CHURCH. :
GOD's Covenant with his people is the foundation of any Church State. *
When our Lord Jesus Christ had accom. plished the work, which, pursuant to the coune sels of eternity, he took upon him to perform, as God Man, Mediator;ť after publishing the will of Deity personally, by preaching,-establishing his divine power and authority by unparalleled miracles, -displaying on various occasions the glorious attributes of omnipotence and omniscience, fulfilling the law and the prophets, relating to his offices; and after he had instituted ordinances congenial to the mild genius of that Gospel of which he is the substance; Jie abrogated the gloomy, ambiguous Jewish ritual ; and discharged his people from every imputation of guilt and obnoxiousness to punishment, according to the emphatical lan, guage of inspiration, « For by one Offering he hatli for ever perfected them that are sanctified." Heb. x. 14.
* Dr. Owen,
+ Psalm, xl. 6, 9. Jsaiah, lxi. 1, 3. Luke, iv, 18, 19, Hebrews, x, 5. Isaiah, xi. 2, 3, Isaiah, lii, 13, 15, Isaiab liii, 10, 12.
Dispelling the mists of Jewish prejudice, the Sun of Righteousness arose, to enlighten and quicken nations heretofore sitting in darkness; Immanuel, in whom dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily, by a plenary atonement removed every distinction of people and tongue, , so that Gentiles, as well as Jews, have access by one Spirit, unto the Father. Ephes. ii. 18.
Having drank the last dregs of the cup of righteous justice, in soul-rending agonies at Gethsemane, he finished the whole upon the cross; bowed his awful head, and submitted to death; thus, by the most unlikely means, according to human wisdom, the great Captain of our Salvation, by his own death, “Destroyed him that had the power of death, even the devil.” Heb. ii. 14.
Out Lord and Redeemer being the Head of all things to the Church, thereby exonerated his mystical body from the penalty due to sin, and the condemnation of the law; and by rising from the grave on the third day, according to prophetic assurance, the hidden' mystery of justification to eternal life was unfolded; and declared to be, by virtue of his mediatorial interposition; so that every regenerated soul, in the exercise of faith, may rejoice with the apostle; 6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places, in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world.” Ephes. i. 3, 4. 1. The frequent appearance of our dear Lord,
after his resurrectiort, removed from the distracted minds of his disciples, even á Thomas, every shadow of doubt respecting his Divinity; whilst by his cheering presence he confirmed them with the most animating and lively assurances of his love, power, and faithfulness; and delivering them from all error, as to their future.conduct, he commanded them to preach the Gospel to every creature; explicitly delineating the characters interested in the blessing. ... He that believeth and is baptized, shall be : saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned," Mark xvi. 16, at the same time, adding an assurance of his protection, “ Ló I am with you always, unto the end of the world," Matthew xxviii. 20. After which, we tead, the Lord was received up into Heaven, and sat down on the right hand of God, trium. phantly fulfilling that sublime prophecy, Psalm xxiv.
"Lift up your heads, 0, ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye werlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in."
Salvation, as to its procuring cause, having had its final accomplishment on Calvary, the attributes of Jehovah glorified, and the rectitude of God's moral Government solemnly exhibited, by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son; there is, to every sensible sinner, full demonstration of that soul-cheering truth, that “God is just, and yet the Justifier of the most ungodly, who believes in Jesus," and, that in the Person and offices of the Great Redeemer, "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have embraced each other.” Psalm Lxxxy. 10. .
The grand commission having been given, as A before observed, by our Lord Jesus Christ Wim
self, the Apostles carefully observed his injunctions; but not till the day of Pentecost was fully come; and agreeably to His promise who cannot lie, the Comforter had descended ; to inspire their souls with divine energy, and qualify them for the discharge of the arduous, yet honorable office assigned them; by solacing their dejected minds, refreshing their memories, and enduing them with powers, till that time unknown in the Church; namely, the gift of tongues, Acts ii. by which they were miraculously empowered, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to communicate the blessings of the covenant of peace, not among the Jews only, but to the dispersed, yet highly favoured subjects of the Redeemer's kingdom, among all nations.
Accordingly we find, that no circumstances prevented them, no privations retarded, no threatenings nor persecutions caused these heralds of sovereign love and mercy to desist; inspired and animated to obey God rather than man, they did not count even their lives too dear a sacrifice in promoting their Divine Saviour's Glory, and the spiritual edification of “the seed which the Lord hath blessed;" guided by the Spirit of truth, cities, towns, and villages, witnessed their indefatigable exertions,-raised above the puny stimulus of temporal aggrandizement, and relying wholly upon Divine veracity, they provided neither scrip nor purse, their hearts teeming with gratitude and constrained by love, having freely received, so they distri- , buted, the Holy Ghost by wonders and signs,