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our Faith intitles us, supposing us duly qualified by Repentance: But he chat claims upon God's Promises, flies to his Grace, and must be understood as renoun. cing all Claim from his own Righteousness. This is teing juftifed (xwfis felwo) without Works, i. e. feparately from, or exclusive of Works, considered as the Ground or Cause of our Jultification. For Juit fication is that Ad of God, by which we are accounted or ac. cepted as righteous ; and this is not at all founded in our Works (which considered, we are nene of us righteous) but in the free Grace of God, for the Sake of Hefus Chrift.
But if this be fo, it will naturally be asked, What was the Condition of those who lived and died before Chri) came in the Flesh? Was there no Salvation for them, or are there more Ways of Salvation than one? To these Queftions the Scripture will answer, That Salvation was to be had before the coming of Chrift, as well as after ; and that all who were ihen saved, were saved, as we are saved, by Faith in God's Promises through Christ the Redeemer; with this Dif. ference only, that their Faith looked forward to the Redeemer as yet to come, whilft ours looks backward upon the same Redeemer as come already. Of Noah it is said, that he was Heir of the Righteousness which is by Faith, Heb. xi. 7:' And of Abraham, that he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for Righteousness, Gen. xv. 6. Rom. iv. 3. And this must needs have been the Case, if so be they were at all juftified. The Righteousness which is of Woiks they 'could nd plead, for their Works were not perfect be. fore God.
Furthermore, it is evident that the Faith of the Patriarchs, by which they were justified, had for its Object the Redeemer to come. Your Father Abraham (says Christ to the Jews) rejoiced to fie my Day, and be faw it. and was glad, John viji. 56. Chris then was foreshewed to Abraham; and so fays St. Paul, To Abraham and his Seed were the Promises made and this Seed is Christ, Gal. jii. 16. God's Method of
saving Sinners, therefore, haih in all Ages been one and the same. Chrift set !orth as the Author of Salva. tion, and Faith in God's Promises through him (which always implies a suitable Obedience) as the Condition of our Acceptance to the Benefits purchased by him. The outward Appoinıments in Religion were indeed different in different Ages. The earliest of these was Sacrifices, which were coeval with the Fall, and are rightly understood to have been appointed of God, to Thadow out that great Sacrifice which was once to be offered up for the Sins of the World. When Abraham's Seed was to be separated from the rest of the World, Circumcision was appointed as a Mark of Diftinction; and in After-times, the Ritual Law came in, which was intended as a Hedge about that People, to keep them from all Intercourse and Communion with the Idolatrous Nations, that they might cleave stedfastly vnto the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the Land of Egypt, and by whose mighty Arm they were now to be put in Possession of the promised Land. But fuch Appointments, though they altered the Rule of Obedience for the Time that they were given, were properly no Parts of the Covenant of Sal. vation, which subsided in full Perfection before there Appointments were made, and would do so again, when, the Reasons for such Appointments ceasing, the Appointments themselves should be at an End. This is the very Argument made use of by St. Paul, to prove that the Gentiles who believed in Chrift, were intitled to the Benefits of the Covenant, though they did not submit to be circumcised, and keep the Law of Mofes. The Foundation of his Reasoning (I say) is this, That Circumcision and the Law of Moses were no Parts of the original Covenant, but added after. wards, for special Reasons, which concerned the Times in which they were appointed, and those only. Abraham believed in God, and it was counted to him for Righteousness. -How was it reckoned? When he was in Circumcifion, or in Uncircumcifion? Not in Circumcifion, but in Uncircumcifion. And be received
the Sign of Circumcifion, a Seal of the Righteousness of the Faith which he had being yet uncircumcijed, Rom. iv. 3-11. This is a State of the fact, as it is recorded in the Old Testament. Now if Abraham's Faith was counted to him for Righteousness whilft he was uncircumcised, i. e. if he was within the Cove. Dane before Circumcifion, and Circumcision was added afterwards, only as a Sign or Token of the Covenant ; it is clear that Circuncifion could be no Parc of the Covenant: And the Interence which the Apoille draws from hence, is, That Abraham was the Father of ail them that believe, though they be not circumcifid, that Righteousness may be imputed to them also. The Inference is just and neceffary; for if Abraham himfelf was jutlified by Faith without Circumcision, why may not the Gentiles inherit the Blessing of Abraham by Faith, without Circumcision? The lıke must be said of the Law of Moses; for, as she Apostle goes on to argue, The Promise that he should be the Heir of the World, was not to Abraham, or to his Seed through the Law, but through the Righteousness of Faith--10 the end the Promise might be sure to all the Seed; not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the Faith of Abraham, who is the Father of us all, (ver. 13-16.) The same Point is again pure sued, Gal. iii. 16 - 18. To Abraham and his Seed were the Promises made - And this I say, that the Covenant that was confirmed before of God in Chrift, the Law, which was four hundred and thirty Years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the Promise of none Effect. For if the Ir.beritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promise ; but God gave it 10 Abraham by Promise. That is; to suppose that the Inheritance depends upon the Law, is to shut out the Promise: And if you allow (what the Scrip:ure thews) that God gave the Inheritance to Abraham by Promise, it will follow, that the Law hath essentially no Relation to the Inheritance. For why? The Law was given above four hundred Years after the Promise was made ; and how then could the Blessing of Abraham so hang
upon the Law, that there should be no Salvation with. out it? If the Covenant originally did sublift without the Law, it might again suosilt without the Law, and nacurally would do so, when those Reasons ceased for which the Law was given. And this the Apostle tells us was then the Cile. The Law (says he) was added because of Transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the Promise was made (ver. 19.) And again; The Law was our Schoolmaster to bring us unto Chriit (ver. 24 ) The Consequence of which is, that Chrift the promised Seed, being come, the Law of Course expired, and Circumcision with it, which being intended as a Mark of Separation, could be of no far. ther Use, when by the calling in of all Nations to one and the same common Faith, the Jews ceased to bu d stinguished from other People.
The Conclusion is, that ander ihe Law Men were saved not by the Law, but by a Covenant of Mercy, clearly diftin&t from and aniccedent to it; which Co. venant is that very Gospel we now profess to be accomplished in Christ, and by which we hope to be saved. Well therefore right the Apostle say, that the Spel was preached to Abraham ; and our Saviour, thas Abraham rejoiced to see his Day, and he saw it, and was glad. The Day he saw afar off, but the Blefing was present to him ; and so it was to all who aalked in the Sleps of his Faith and Piety; the Efficacy of Cbift's Atonement anticipating the Time of his coning. This was true Religion from the Beginning; and this will be true Religion to the End ; not the Religion of Nature, but the Religion of Grace. Na. ture could thew a Law; but Nature provided no : Help for Sinners, who were to be purged no otherwife than by the blood of Christ once to be offered up to God as a Lamb without Blemijh, and without Spot,
i Peci. 19.
How much the Patriarchs understood either of the Nature of what Salvation which was to be brought aboat by the promised Seed, or of the particular Way and Manner by which it was to be effected, it is neither
easy to say, nor is it necessary to the present Argu
For it is very consistent to suppose, that the Faithful in all Ages were saved by the promised Seed; though it be admitted that all Ages had not the same Degrees of Light and Knowledge communicated to them concerning there Matters, that we now have. But a Covenant of Reconciliation there must have been so far known and understood, as to afford Ground for a firm and certain Alluiance, that on Condition of new Obedience, and Trult in God's Pru. mises, Mankind should be accepted to Mercy and Fa. vour in a better Life. Those who would see this clearly made out, and the great Charter of our Sal. vation traced down froin Adam to the Seed of David, may consult the learned Bishop Sherlock's Use and Iro sent of Prophecy, to which I refer them.
This Foundation laid, I now proceed to my principal Intention, which is to explain the Prayin, several Parts of the Christian Worship, which rests upon and refers itself to it. We find in the Aets of the Apostles, Chap. ii. ver. 42. that as soon as ever the Gospel begun to be published, and a sufficient Number of Converts came in, a publick Worthip was set up. For, speaking of the first Believers, the Historian says, that they continued fledfaflly in the Apostles Doctrine, and Fellowship, and in breaking of Bread, and in Proyers. Which Words, perhaps would have beer be:tertranslate ed thus : And they continued sledfastly in the Apostles Doce trine, and in the Communion and breaking of Bread, and in Prayers. The Doctrine, no doubt, means the Gore pel Do&trine, the Forgiveness of Sins by the Redemption through Jesus Chrift; and the Worship here men. tioned is Prayer, and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper fignified by the Communion and breaking of Bread. These two Appointmen's make up the wnole of what may in Strictness of Speech, be termed che Chriftian Worship ; and I hope to give such at Account of both, as will convinge all, who judge with. out Partiality, that God hath not commanded chese, Things merely for commanding fake, but to carry on