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3. The Son of God, who in the Language of Scripture is one with the Father, came down from Heaven to take Flesh, and therein to fulfil the Duties of the Law, and give an Example of perfect Holiness: And then he was appointed to suffer Death as a Sacrifice and Atonement for the Sins of Men, that Mankind might thereby obtain Pardon and the Favour of God.
4. There is a Necessity also that Sinners should heartily repent of their Sins, return to God, and be renew'd to the Principles and Temper of Holiness, in order to their complete Recovery to Eternal Life and Happiness.
5. Besides this Repentance and Returning to God, it is also required that they believe in the Name of Jesus Christ their Saviour, or trust in him with a humble Expectation of the Favour of God through him: And 'tis through this Faith they are to be justified and accepted of God.
6. They are also obliged to obey the Law of God, as far as this feeble and imperfect State admits of, during their whole Life, and still to grow up towards Perfection therein.
7. When such. Persons die, their Souls are convey'd to a State of Peace and Rest in the Presence of God, till the great Day of the Resurrection, when their Bodies Thall rise again from the Dead, and the whole Person, Body and Soul, be made happy for ever in the Favour and Presence of God their Maker.
These Doctrines were generally profess’d at the time of the Reformation, by Protestants abroad and at home, and these are the Sett of Principles which have been usually called Orthodoxy or right Sentiments.
Now it has unhappily. fallen out, that many
of those who have received and profess’d these important Doctrines, have differ'd also in
lef fer Points, such as the Logical Relations of some of these Doctrines to
one another, that is, Whether Faith or Works be Conditions or Consequents of their Justification and Acceptance; what is the essential Difference between the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace, or the Law and the Gospel, &c. as well as in several particular Practices of divine Worlhip, such as Ceremonies, Vestures, imposed Forms of Prayer, &c. and they have so far quarrelled about these Things as too much to neglect and abandon that Christian Love and Charity they ought to have maintained, according to their general Acknowledgement of the great and neceffary Truths and Rules of Christianity, and hereby they have in many Instances lost that Duty and Character of good Christians, (viz.) to Love one another.
Now since these unhappy and uncharitable Practices, even amongst some good Men, have prevail'd even to this Day, it is the Design of these El ays to endeavour the Recovery of
these Persons, who unite in these Principles, to charitable Sentiments and Practices towards one another.
Here it will be very natural to enquire, Where is there found amongst all these Ellays, any Attempt to reconcile those to the Christian Love and Charity of others, who while they profess the Christian Religion, yet oppose, renounce or deny the great Doctrines of the atoning Sacrifice of Christ, or his Propitiation for Sin by his Death?
All the Answer that can be given is this: The Author would gladly have done it; that the whole Book might be of a Piece, and every Page might overflow with Love, if he could, after the turning over his New Testament, have met with any evident Instances, or Examples, any plain Rules or Requirements of such Christian Charity expressed towards Persons of this Character in all the sacred Writings.
But the Language of Scripture gives no Encouragement to such a Charity; for this Doctrine is not any where number'd among the doubtful Difputables of our Religion, the lefser Things of Christianity, such as Meats and Drinks, and Observation of Days, and outward Forms of WorThip; but it is spoken of as a matter of far higher Importance, and I think seems to be necessary to constitute Christianity itself.
This Doctrine contains in it the highest and the kindest Design toward Men, for which our blessed Saviour came down from Heaven; 'twas for this very Reason he came into this World," (viz.) to give his Life
Ransom for Sinners, Matth. xx. 28. and 'tis repeated in Mark x. 45. So that those who depart from and renounce this Article, renounce the kindeft Design of the Coming and the Death of Christ, and they seem, by the Words of the holy Writings, to be exposed to another sort of Sentence,