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who have had little or no Knowledge of Him, who offered it. But in fuch Queftions we have no Concern. Our Business is to take Care that it may extend to us, by embracing, with an active as well as joyful Faith, the gracious Tenders of the Gospel Difpenfation.

Indeed, the firft Advantage, that we have from it, is before we are capable of knowing our Happiness, at the Time of our Baptifm. For Baptifm reftores the Infants of believing Parents, as will be proved hereafter in explaining it, to that Affurance of immortal Life, which our first Parents loft, and we by Confequence. But when administered to Perfons of riper Years, as it conveys a further Privilege, the Pardon of their former actual Sins, it alfo requires a fuitable Condition, the Exercife of an actual Faith, fuch as will produce future Obedience. And as Infants are baptized only on Prefumption of their coming to have this Faith in due Time: fo, if they live, and refufe to be inftructed in it, or defpife it, their Baptifm will avail them Nothing. For it is a Covenant: at first indeed made for us; but to be afterwards acknowledged and ratified by us, as it is in Confirmation. And in this Covenant we engage, on our Part, to keep ourselves, with an honeft Care, free from Sin: and God engages, on his, to confider us, (not because of our Care, though on Condition of it, but for the Sake of Chrift,) as free from Guilt; notwithstanding fuch Infirmities and Failings as may overtake well-meaning Perfons. He will not look on these as Breaches of his Covenant, but readily pass them over; provided we make a general Confeffion of them in our daily Prayers, and strive against them with a reafonable Diligence. For fuch Things we cannot expect to avoid entirely: but greater Offences we may. And therefore, if we fall into any habitual Wickedness, or any fingle Act of grofs and deliberate Sin; we forfeit the Happiness, to which our Baptifm entitles us: and. if we continue impenitent, the more Privileges we have enjoyed, the more feverely we fhall be punished.

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For to whomfoever much is given, of him shall much be required.

But if God allows us Time; and we make Use of it, not only to be forry for having lived ill, for this alone is not Gospel Penitence; but to be forry from a Principle of Confcience; and to fhew of what Sort our Sorrow is, by living well afterwards, in all those Respects, in which we have been faulty, we become entitled again to the divine Favour. For though the Scripture declares it impoffible to renew fome Sinners to Repentance: yet if this be taken ftrictly, it can mean only Blafphemers against the Holy Ghost Befides, impoffible, in all Languages, often fignifies no more than extremely difficult: and with God all Things are poffible'. Experience proves, that great Numbers are renewed to Repentance: and that they ihall not be forgiven, when they repent, is no where faid. It is true, there remains no more Sacrifice for Sin no other Method of Salvation, than that, to which they have loft their Claim. But ftill, if they humbly apply for a fresh Intereft in it; fince the Apoftle directs all Christians to reflore fuch to their Communion, as Brethren, in the Spirit of Meeknefs"; there can be no Doubt, but God will receive them, as a Father, with Pity and Mercy. Indeed the Words of St. John alone would be fufficient to banish all Despondency from the Breast of every Christian Penitent. My little Children, these Things I write unto you, that ye fin not. But if any Man fin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jefus Christ, the righteous; and he is the Propitiation for our Sins°.

You fee then the ineftimable Goodness of God, in providing Means, by which we not only fhall be pardoned, but have the Comfort of knowing beforehand, that we shall. But then you fee alfo the only Terms, on which we are to expect it. And these are, not that we live on in a Circle of finning and repenting; not that we abstain from fome Sins, and indulge others: but that we so repent of all our Sins, as not wilfully to

h Luke xii. 48. Matth. xix. 26.

¡ Heb. vi. 4, 6. / Hab. x. 26.

Gal. vi. I.


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* Matth. xii. 31. ? 1 John ii. 1, 2.


fin again. And till we are arrived at this, we must never think ourselves in a fafe Condition. For, as on the one Hand, if the wicked Man turn from his Wickedness, he shall live P; fo on the other, if the righteous Man turn from his Righteousness, he fhall die. Bleffed are they, whose Tranfgreffion is forgiven, and whofe Sin is covered. Blefjed are they, to whom the Lord imputeth not Iniquity, and in whofe Spirit there is no Guile.

9 Ibid. 24.

P Ezek. xviii. 21, 27.

Pfal. xxxii. 1, 2.



Articles XI, XII. Part I. The Refurrection of the Body, and the Life everlasting.


HE Refurrection of the Body and Life everlasting being the Confequences of the preceding Article, the Forgiveness of Sins, our Belief of that comfortable Truth leads us naturally to believe these alfo. And as they complete the Whole of what we are concerned to know; fo here the Profeffion of our Faith happily concludes, having brought us to the End of our Faith, the Salvation of our Souls".

But, though this Part of our Creed expreffes only two Things; yet it implies two more: and fo comprehends the four following Particulars:

I. That the Souls of all Men continue after Death. II. That their Bodies fhall at the laft Day be, raised up, and re-united to them.

. I Peter i. 9.

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III. That

III. That both Souls and Bodies of good Perfons shall enjoy everlasting Happiness.

IV. That thofe of the wicked fhall undergo everlafting Punishment.

I. That the Souls of all Men continue after Death, We are every one of us capable of perceiving and thinking, judging and refolving, loving and hating, hoping and fearing, rejoicing and grieving. That Part of us, which doth thefe Things, we call the Mind or Soul. Now plainly this is not the Body. Neither our Limbs, nor our Trunk, nor even our Head, is what underftands, and reafons, and wills, and likes or dislikes: but something, that hath its Abode within the Head, and is unfeen. A little Confideration will make any of you fenfible of this. Then further: our Bodies inreafe, from an unconceivable Smallnefs, to a very large Bulk, and wafte away again; and are changing, each Part of them, more or lefs, every Day. Our Souls, we know, continue all the while the fame. Our Limbs may be cut off one after another, and perifh: yet the Soul not be impaired by it in the leaft. All Feeling and Motion may be loft almost throughout the Body, as in the Cafe of an univerfal Palfy: yet the Soul have loft Nothing. And though fome Diseases do indeed diforder the Mind: there is no Appearance, that any have a Tendency to deftroy it. On the contrary, the greatest Disorders of the Understanding are often accompanied with firm Health and Strength of Body: and the most fatal Diftempers of the Body are attended, to the very Moment of Death, with all poffible Vigour and Livelinefs of Understanding. Since therefore thefe two are plainly different Things; though we knew no further, there would be no Reafon to conclude, that one of them dies, because the other doth. But fince we do know further, that it can furvive fo many Changes of the other; this alone affords a fair Probability, that it may

In quo igitur loco eft (mens)? Credo equidem in capite: & cur credam, adferre poffum. Cic. Tufc. Difp. 1. i. c. 29.


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farvive the great Change of Death. Indeed whatever is once in Being, we are to fuppofe continues in Being, till the contrary appears. Now the Body, we perceive, becomes at Death infenfible, and corrupts. But to imagine the fame Thing of the Soul, in which we perceive no Change at that Time, would be almoft as groundless, as if having frequently heard the Mufic of an Organ, but never feen the Perfon that played on it, we should fuppofe him dead, on finding the Inftrument incapable of playing any more. For the Body is an Inftrument adapted to the Soul. The latter is our proper Self: the former is but something joined to us for a Time. And though, during that Time, the Connection is very close; yet Nothing hinders, but we may be as well after the Separation of our Soul from our prefent Body, as we were before, if not better.

Then confider further: When the Body dies, only, the prefent Composition and Frame of it is diffolved, and falls in Pieces: not the leaft fingle Particle, of all that make it up, returns to Nothing; nor can do, unless God, who gave it Being, thinks fit to take that Being away. Now we have no Reason to imagine the Soul made up of Parts, though the Body is. On the contrary, fo far as the acuteft Reafoners are able to judge, what perceives and wills must be one uncompounded Subftance. And not being compounded, it cannot be diffolved, and therefore probably cannot die .

God indeed may put an End to it, when he pleafes... But fince he hath made it of a Nature to last for ever, we cannot well conceive, that he will deftroy it after fo fhort a Space,, as that of this Life: efpecially confider ing, that he hath planted in our Breafts, an earnest Defire of Immortality, and a Horror at the Thought of ceafing to be. It is true, we dread alfo the Death of our Bodies, and yet we own they muft die: but then we believe, that they were not at firft intended to die: and that they shall live again wonderfully, improved.

• See Cic. Tufc. Difp. i, 29,

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