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our Faith intitles us, fuppofing us duly qualified by Repentance: But he that claims upon God's Promifes, flees to his Grace, and must be underflood as renouncing all Claim from his own Righteoufnefs. This is being juftified (wpis glwr) without Works, i. e. feparately from, or exclusive of Works, confidered as the Ground or Caufe of our Jultification. For Juft fication is that A&t of God, by which we are accounted or accepted as righteous; and this is not at all founded in our Works (which confidered, we are none of us righteous) but in the free Grace of God, for the Sake of Jefus Chrift.
But if this be fo, it will naturally be asked, What was the Condition of those who lived and died before Chrift came in the Flesh? Was there no Salvation for them, or are there more Ways of Salvation than one? To these Questions the Scripture will anfwer, That Salvation was to be had before the coming of Chrift, as well as after; and that all who were then faved, were faved, as we are laved, by Faith in God's Promifes through Chrift the Redeemer; with this Difference only, that their Faith looked forward to the Redeemer as yet to come, whilft ours looks backward upon the fame Redeemer as come already. Of Noah it is faid, that he was Heir of the Righteoufnefs which is by Faith, Heb. xi. 7. And of Abraham, that he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for Righ teousness, Gen. xv. 6. Rom. iv. 3. And this must needs have been the Cafe, if fo be they were at all juftified. The Righteousness which is of Works they could not plead, for their Works were not perfect before God.
Furthermore, it is evident that the Faith of the Patriarchs, by which they were juftified, had for its Obje&t the Redeemer to come. Your Father Abraham (fays Chrift to the Jews) rejoiced to fe my Day, and he faw it, and was glad, John viii. 56. Chrift then was forethewed to Abraham; and fo fays St. Paul, To Abraham and his Seed were the Promifes made and this Seed is Christ, Gal. iii. 16. God's Method of
faving Sinners, therefore, hath in all Ages been one and the fame. Chrift fet forth as the Author of Salvation, and Faith in God's Promises through him (which always implies a fuitable Obedience) as the Condition of our Acceptance to the Benefits purchased by him. The outward Appointments in Religion were indeed different in different Ages. The earlieft of thefe was Sacrifices, which were coeval with the Fall, and are rightly understood to have been appointed of God, to shadow 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, Circumcifion 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 Intercourfe and Communion with the Idolatrous Nations, that they might cleave ftedfastly unto the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the Land of Egypt, and by whofe mighty Arm they were now to be put in Poffeffion of the promifed 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 Salvation, which fubfifted in full Perfection before thefe Appointments were made, and would do fo again, when, the Reafons for fuch Appointments ceafing, the Appointments themselves fhould be at an End. This is the very Argument made ufe 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 (1 fay) is this, That Circumcifion and the Law of Mofes were no Parts of the original Covenant, but added afterwards, for fpecial 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 be 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 uncircumcised, Rom. iv. 3--11. This is a State of the Fact, as it is recorded in the Old Teftament. Now if Abraham's Faith was counted to him for Righteousness whilft he was uncircumcifed, i. e. if he was within the Covenant before Circumcifion, and Circumcifion was added afterwards, only as a Sign or Token of the Covenant; it is clear that Circumcifion could be no Part of the Covenant: And the Inference which the Apottle draws from hence, is, That Abraham was the Father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcifid, that Righteoufnels may be imputed to them alfo. The Inference is just and neceffary; for if Abraham himfelf was juflified by Faith without Circumcifion, why may not the Gentiles inherit the Bleffing of Abraham by Faith, without Circumcifion? The like must be faid of the Law of Mofes; for, as the Apoftle goes on to argue, The Promife 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 Promife might be fure 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 fame Point is again purfued, Gal. iii. 16———18. To Abraham and his Seed
were the Promifes made- -And this I fay, that the Covenant that was confirmed before of God in Chrift, the Law, which was four hundred and thirty Years after, cannot difannul, that it should make the Promife of none Effect. For if the Inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promife; but God gave it to Abraham by Promife. That is; to fuppofe that the Inheritance depends upon the Law, is to shut out the Promife: And if you allow (what the Scripture fhews) that God gave the Inheritance to Abraham by Promise, it will follow, that the Law hath effentially no Relation to the Inheritance. For why? The Law was given above four hundred Years after the Promife was made; and how then could the Bieffing of Abraham so hang
upon the Law, that there fhould be no Salvation without it? If the Covenant originally did fubfift without the Law, it might again fuafit without the Law, and naturally would do fo, when thofe Reasons ceased for which the Law was given. And this the Apostle tells us was then the Cafe. The Law (fays he) was added because of Tranfgreffions, till the Seed fhould come to whom the Promife was made (ver. 19.) And again; The Law was our Schoolmaster to bring us unto Chrift (ver. 24) The Confequence of which is, that Chrift the promised Seed, being come, the Law of Course expired, and Circumcifion with it, which being intended as a Mark of Separation, could be of no farther Ufe, when by the calling in of all Nations to one and the fame common Faith, the Jews ceased to be diftinguished from other People.
The Conclufion is, that under the Law Men were faved not by the Law, but by a Covenant of Mercy, clearly diftin&t from and antecedent to it; which Covenant is that very Gofpel we now profefs to be accomplished in Christ, and by which we hope to be faved. Well therefore might the Apoftle say, that the Gospel was preached to Abraham; and our Saviour, that Abraham rejoiced to see his Day, and he faw it, and was glad. The Day he faw afar off, but the Bling was prefent to him; and fo it was to all who walked in the Steps of his Faith and Piety; the Efficacy of Chift'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. Natore could fhew 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 Blemish, and without Spot, 1 Pet i. 19.
How much the Patriarchs understood either of the Nature of that Salvation which was to be brought about by the promised Seed, or of the particular Way and Manner by which it was to be effected, it is neither
easy to fay, nor is it neceffary to the prefent Argument. For it is very confiftent to fuppofe, that the Faithful in all Ages were faved by the promised Seed; though it be admitted that all Ages had not the fame Degrees of Light and Knowledge communicated to them concerning thefe Matters, that we now have. But a Covenant of Reconciliation there must have been fo far known and understood, as to afford Ground for a firm and certain Affurance, that on Condition of new Obedience, and Trust in God's Promifes, Mankind should be accepted to Mercy and Favour in a better Life. Those who would fee this clearly made out, and the great Charter of our Salvation traced down from Adam to the Seed of David, may confult the learned Bishop Sherlock's Ufe and Intent of Prophecy, to which I refer them.
This Foundation laid, I now proceed to my principal Intention, which is to explain the PRAYER. feveral Parts of the Christian Worship, which refts upon and refers itself to it. We find in the Acts of the Apofiles, Chap. ii. ver. 42. that as foon as ever the Gofpel begun to be published, and a fufficient Number of Converts came in, a publick Worship was fet up. For, fpeaking of the firft Believers, the Hiftorian fays, that they continued fledfaftly in the Apofiles Doctrine, and Fellowship, and in breaking of Bread, and in Prayers. Which Words, perhaps would have beer better tranflated thus: And they continued fledfafly in the Apostles Doctrine, and in the Communion and breaking of Bread, and in Prayers. The Doctrine, no doubt, means the Gofpel Doctrine, the Forgiveness of Sins by the Redemption through Jefus Chrift; and the Worship here mentioned is Prayer, and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper fignified by the Communion and breaking of Bread. Thefe two Appointmen's make up the whole of what may in Strictnefs of Speech, be termed the Chriftian Worship; and I hope to give fuch as Account of both, as will convince all, who judge without Partiality, that God hath not commanded these Things merely for commanding fake, but to carry on