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ries of eternal death; but that it pleased God to give his Son, and the Son freely to offer himself to be a surety or pledge for this debt, and to release us from those bonds; and because without shedding of blood there is no remission, he gave his life a sacrifice for sin, he laid it down as a ransom, as a satisfaction to the will and justice of God, by which he becomes reconciled to us, and, being so, took away the curse we had incurred. And, as an outward sign of his taking us again into favour, he ap pointed in the church of Christ the sacrament of baptism for the first remission, and the condition of repentance for the constant forgiveness of all succeeding trespasses, and without which none can be saved, according to the true spirit of his Son's Gospel; and, as we know not the day or hour when our Lord may call us to account, it therefore behoves us not to defer it an instant, but to repent and turn to God without delay, knowing there is no repentance in the grave, whither we all are hasting; and this the humble and sincere Christian confides in or believes, as the saving knowledge of the truth; to which, that all present may effectually be enabled to attain, and also that every sinner may be turned from the error of his ways, through the powerful influence of this irrevocable declaration, that unless you repent ye shall all likewise perish,
God of his infinite mercy grant, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who alone is the propitiation for our sins, and to whom, with the Father, who hath accepted the ransom, and the Holy Spirit, who qualifies for the reward, three Persons and one God, in mystical Trinity united, be ascribed all glory, praise, and power, for ever and ever.— Amen.
ÉLEVENTH ARTICLE OF THE BELIEF:
JOHN, XI. 25, 26.
Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?
So numerous and plain are the texts of Scripture which are at hand to prove the glorious hope that is held out to us in this eleventh article of our Creed or Belief, that it is difficult to say which of them contains the strongest expression of the fact. However, if any preference need be given, as the very words of our blessed Lord himself must afford the best assurance of any other, of the hope that is in us; I have made choice of them to illustrate and confirm the point of faith which this article presents to us.
In my former Lecture on the forgiveness of
sins, you were instructed to receive that comfortable doctrine through the efficacy of the merits and atonement of Christ Jesus the Lord, on the positive terms or conditions of repentance and sincere obedience. In establishing the truth and expectation of this peculiar and scriptural article of our Christian faith, this same divine Person affords a pledge or earnest of the security; first, by the positive declaration and sign which he gave the public in the miracle of raising his friend Lazarus from the grave, and also afterwards by his own resurrection; for now, saith the Apostle (1 Cor. xv. 20), is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. By the former gracious and miraculous act of the divine power, our Lord hath most tenderly left us a record with what power he was indued, even before his death, that he might supply an additional consolation to the believers of after-ages, concerning this blessed and extraordinary portion of their future prospect; for, to bring a dead man to life after putrefaction had taken place in the body, is as powerful a mark as could be given, that he is able to restore the several parts of the human frame to life, however they may be dispersed, or at whatever period of time from their dissolution. By him all things were made; and surely it will be as easy, by the word of his power, to recall the sleeping dust of our bodies
to life, and to reunite them into one, as it was at first, to make them what they are from the original dust of the earth. So sure, therefore, as in Adam all die (that is, as sure as sin, and the curse entailed upon it, hath brought death into the world), and thus death has passed upon all men; so certain is it, that in Christ shall all be made alive for his sake. Through his promise, and by his power, shall all men stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though, after our mortal death, worms destroy this body, yet in their flesh shall they see God.
A proper meditation on the truth of this ar ticle supplies us, my brethren, both with matter of serious admonition and extreme joy. If we paint to our minds the awful scene of the graves giving up their dead, the visible assembly of the departed, since the creation of the world, brought to life-the horrors of the wicked, put in contrast with the transports of the righteous; that is, the bodies of the humble, penitent, reformed, and forgiven sinner, as well as the more uniform and faithful Christian, rising together from the prison of death, to endless life and happiness, what a wonderfully solemn scene doth it afford us!-To behold millions of redeemed spirits caught up to meet their blessed Master in the air-to see, alas! much larger multitudes hiding their confused and despairing faces from the glory of the spotless Judge, crying