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Religion once more restored to its native Hope of Glory and Life for evermore. You will be no longer obliged to wander in the Mazes and Intricacies of human Reason, and to speculate upon the Attributes of divine Mercy and Justice; the Limits and Boundaries of which are not to be determined by the Wit of Man, and the Contemplation of which abounds with Terrors as well as Hopes : But you may see the clear and immutable Purpose of God to give Salvation to all who, with penitent Hearts, and a firm Reliance on his Word, endeavour after Righteousness.
One would imagine the Gospel should easily find Credit with Men, when all its Promises do so exactly tally and correspond with the Hopes of Nature. Has Nature any Reason to complain of this? Is it an Objection to the Gospel, that it has confirmed all
your Hopes and Expectations, that it has given you the Security of God's Promise to establish the very Wishes of
Heart? You trust, you say, that He who made you still retains fome Love for
you: To convince you that he does, be has sent his well-beloved Son into the World to save Sinners. Though you offend, yet you hope on Repentance to be forgiven: The Gospel confirms this
Hope' ; the Terms of it are more beneficial, and convey to true Penitents not only Hope, but a Claim to. Pardon. But Pardon only will not satisfy: There is still something farther that Nature craves, something which with unutterable Groans she pants after, even Life and Happiness for evermore. She sees all her Children go down to the Grave: All beyond the Grave is to her one wide Waste, a Land of Doubt and Uncertainty: When she looks into it, she has her Hopes, and she has her Fears; and, agitated by the Viciffitude of these Passions, she finds no Ground whereon to rest her Foot. How different is the Scene which the Gospel opens! There we see the heavenly Canaan, the new Jerusalem; in which City of the great God there are Mansions, many Manfions, for receiving them, who through Faith, and patient Continuance in Well-doing, seek for Glory and Immortality. Our blessed Master has abolished Death, and redeemed us into the glorious Liberty of the Sons of God, that we may dwell in his Presence as long as Time itself shall last.
If we were to form a System of Religion for ourselves that should answer to all our Wishes and Desires, what more could we ask for ourselves than what the Gospel has
offered? The Obedience required of us is the same to which we are antecedently bound in virtue of that Reason and Understanding which makes us to be Men. The Promises of the Gospel extend to more than Nature could ever claim; they take in all her Wishes, establish all her Hopes ; and they are offered by a Hand that is able to make them good.
The Conclusion of the whole is, That, since the Religion of a Sinner must necessarily be founded in the Hopes of Mercy; since these Hopes have at best but uncertain Foundation in Natural Religion, and are liable to be disturbed and shaken by frequent Doubts and Misgivings of Mind; we have great Reason to bless and adore the Goodness of God, who has openly displayed before our Eyes the Love that he has for the Children of Men, by sending his well-beloved Son into the World, that all who believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting Life.
- And bath brought Life and Immortality to
Light through the Gospel.
***HESÉ Words being spoken of
our blessed Saviour, and affirmT
ing that he through the Gospel brought Life and Immortality to
Light, are thought by fome to be exclusive of all Arguments for a future Immortality, drawn either from the Light of Reason and Nature, or from the Writings of Moses : For, if the Hopes of Immortality were so fupported before the Coming of Christ Jesus, it could not be truly asserted of him, that he brought Life and Immortality to Light through the Gospel. And so far at least they must be allowed to argue justly,
that, if the Text is to be understood in this exclusive Sense, it will affect the Proofs and Authorities of any former Revelation equally with those of Sense and Reason. But then, on the other side, 'tis certain, that, if this Argument does not impeach the Authority of Moses with regard to this fundamental Article of Faith, neither will it shut out the Proofs of Natural Religion ; since it must destroy the Evidence of both, or of neither. Now, that it does not set aside the Authority of Moses, is evident from our Saviour's Argument to the Sadducees : Now that the Dead are raised, even Mofes fewed at the Bush, wben be calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Luke xx. 37: From whence it appears, , that our Saviour thought the Law of Moses afforded good Proof of a future Life; which is inconsistent with the Supposition that there was no Evidence for Life and Immortality till the Publication of the Gospel.
But, supposing Mofes or the Law of Nature to afford Evidence for a future Life and Immortality, it remains to be considered, in what Sense the Words of the Text are to be understood, which do affirm that Life and Immortality were brought to Light through the Gospel. To bring any thing to Light