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.. Ver. 26.
ing the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Serm.
XII. Christ; they were baptized, both men and wo
Not long after this, Philip by divine direction meets the Chamberlain and Treasurer of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, a proselyte of the Jewish religion, who had been
up at Jerusalem to worship. And Philip preached Jesus unto him. After a short conversation, traveling in the chariot, he is convinced, and proposes to be baptized. Philip said : If thou believes with all thy beart, thou mayest
. He answered, and said : I believe, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Then Philip baptized him.
It seems therefore, that the Christian religion, may be so set before men, as that they shall in a short time attain to a competent knowledge of it, and believe upon good grounds. And it must be agreeable, to think, that the knowledge of the doctrine of salvation, in which all men are concerned, is not very
abstruse and difficult science, but eafie, and upon the level with ordinarie capacities.
Indeed, where there are strong prejudices, and worldly paffions, prevailing greatly, as in most of the Jews in our Saviour's time, the best instructions will have little effect. But
Serm, where men are well disposed, the Christian reXII. ligion and it's evidences may be foon perceived
and understood, if rightly proposed. This is manifest from the instances in the Aas, just mentioned : and from many fincere conver. fions, and numerous churches, formed by the Apostles in divers places, in a short space of time.
However, in fạch a world as ours, where there are temptations of no small force, and
numerous amusements and ayocations, it is Hebr. ii. requisite, that we carefully attend to the things
which we have beard, and often meditate up X. 24. 25. on them. Nor Thould we forsake the assem.
blies of Christians, bụt ftir up one another to love and good works.
Moreover fome will teach things, which they ought not, for the sake of private interest. And there is danger, if we are not upon our guard, leaft some articles should be mixed with the
and uncorrupted doctrine of the gospel, that tend to enervate it's purifying and sanctifying influences.
And we should go on to perfection, and emprove in religious knowledge, and useful gifts, that we may be able to instruct and admonith others.
St. Paul, as we all know, cultivated the Serm. good principles, which he had planted in the XII. minds of men.
He was greatly solicitous for their welfare, and apprehensive, leaft by fome means they should be seduced and perverted from the fimplicity that is in Christ. He therefore sent to them some of his fellow-la-2. Cor. borers, in whom he could confide, to strengthen and comfort them: or by personal visits, or by Epistles, reminded them of the truths he had taught : exhorting them to be stedfast in the faith, and to adorn it by a holy con
i Theft. versation : beseeching, and exhorting them by iv. n. the Lord Jesus, that as they had received of bim, how they ought to walk, and to please God, so they would abound more and more.
7. We are hence enabled to form a just estimate of the conduct of those who receive, and of those who reject, the gospel.
For the doctrine of the gospel is a kind proposal and gracious message from God to mankind, by Jesus Christ, and his Apostles, and others after them, instructing men in the way of falvation, teaching them how they may obtain eternal life, and furmount and overcome every obstacle in the way to it.
Serm. They therefore who receive and obey it act XII, wisely. They consult their present peace,
and secure to themselves the happinesse of a better life.
What then do they, who reject it? As Luke vii. St. Luke says of some : they reject the counsel
of God against, or toward themselves. It becomes us to be cautious, how wę censure
particular persons; remembring St. Paul's 1 Cor. iv. advice : Judge nothing before the time. God 5.
only knows the hearts of men, and all their peculiar circumstances. But where the gospel is proposed in truth and fimplicity, men had need to take heed, how they reject it : and should at left afford it a serious attention, and impartial examination.
8. It follows from what has been said, that we, to whom the doctrine of the gospel has been preached, and who have received it as the word of God, know the way
of salyation, and may obtain eternal life, if we use due care and diligence.
And, certainly, we ought so to do. And not neglect any of the rules and
that have been delivered to us. The profession of Christianity will not save us. Christians, so called, if they are wicked, are not in the way
of salvation. For they do not the things, SERM. which their religion teaches they ought to
XII. do, in order to be saved. They are condemned, and excluded from happinesse by the very rules and laws of that religion, which they profess to receive as divine. Such therefore are still in the gall of bitternese, Acts ix. and bond of iniquity. They have no part or lot in this matter. Their heart is not right in the fight of God. And they cannot but know, that they should immediatly repent, and seek forgiveneffe of God: or they perish for ever, and their ruin will be great and terrible.
9. We have here a good argument to be sted fast in the truth as it is in Jesus, and to let his word abide in us.
For it is the word of life. It is the doctrine of salvation. Does it want any thing, to compleat that character? Is there
any other word equal to it? Is it not strict to a great degree? Așe not it's rule and precepts realonable and excellent? And does it not afford the best arguments that can be devised, to promote and secure that universal holinesse, which it requires.
Indeed, it is supposed in the epistle to the Hebrews, that some may fall away, who were Hebr. vi.