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late holiness and purity : from whence I infer, that holiness and true goodness is the greatest glory and honour to human nature. For this was the glory of the Son of God himself, when he assumed our nature, and dwelt among us; and there is nothing more glorious in Christ than his goodness; and notwithstanding those excellent doctrines that he preached, those stupendous miracles that he wrought, and that visible splendour in which he was enrobed, he had not deserved the name of a great and glorious man, if he had not been just and charitable, temperate and humble, and heavenly-minded, and eminent in all those divine and human virtues which are the proper glory and ornament of human nature. For that which makes a man more honourable than a mere animal, and advances us into the next degree of beings to angels, is our reason, by which alone we border upon the divinity, and do claim kindred with the angelical natures. That therefore which is truly our honour and glory consists in living according to that reason by which we are advanced above all sublunary natures; that is, in governing our passions and appetites, words and actions, according to those eternal rules of righteousness which right reason dictates to us; and if, instead of doing thus, we wholly resign up ourselves to the dominion of our brutish and unreasonable inclinations, we thereby render ourselves more despicable and infamous than the most beastly brutes in all the creation; and even those goats and wolves, and swine and tigers, whom we resemble in our beastly manners, could they see our shame, would doubtlessly hiss at us, and reproach us for greater beasts than themselves; for they all live up to the best of their natures, and regularly pursue the highest end for which they were created; whereas we, who are allied to the noblest of beings, and are created and designed for the most glorious ends, do by our base and unreasonable condescensions shamefully undervalue ourselves, in pursuing no ends but what are extremely unworthy of us : so that it had been much more for our honour and reputation to have assumed the shape and nature of brutes, when we assumed their manners and customs; for then our actions would have very well become us, and neither God nor men could have justly upbraided us for them. But to lead the lives of brutes, in the shape and nature of men, is monstrous ; it is to advance the beast above the man, to place our heels where nature hath placed our head, and become our own reverse and antipodes.



JOHN V. 39.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal

life. By the scriptures here must be meant the Old Testament; for as yet the greatest part of the New was unrevealed, and the whole of it unwritten. They were those very scriptures which the unbelieving Jews, to whom our Saviour was now preaching, owned and acknowledged to be the word of God; for in them, says our Saviour, ye think ye. have eternal life; which it is certain they did not think of any other scriptures, but only those of the Old Testament; and they are they, says he, which testify of me. And to be sure, there were no other scriptures which could testify of Christ to the unbelieving Jews, but only those of Moses and the prophets, these being the only scriptures whose testimony they credited.

But yet the reason which our Saviour urges, to move them to read the Old Testament, doth as much oblige us to read the New as well as the Old, as it did them to read the Old; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; that is, in them ye think ye have eternal life promised, and all the necessaries to be believed and done by you, in order to your obtaining it, proposed to you. And indeed as they thought, so it was; they had eternal life proposed to them in hieroglyphics; for that was

the mystery of their holy of holies, that was the interpretation of their land of Canaan, and the spiritual sense of all their general promises of good things to come: they had all the articles of faith, and all the instances of duty that were necessary to their attainment of eternal life, exhibited to them in the writings of their prophets, and the types and figures of their law. For it was by this rule alone that all the holy men of the Jewish nation did live and believe; and either this was sufficient to guide and direct them to eternal life, or they were left under a fatal necessity of falling short of it: it was the law of the Lord that did enlighten their eyes, and rejoice their hearts, and convert their souls; and it was in keeping it that they found great reward, Psalm xix. 7, 8, 11. And therefore either they fell short of the reward of eternal life, notwithstanding this their illumination and conversion, or they found it in keeping that law by which they were illuminated and converted; and if in keeping their law they found eternal life, then it is certain that in their law they had it. So that these words of our Saviour, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, do not imply that they were mistaken in thinking so; or at least they only imply that they were mistaken in thinking to obtain eternal life by adhering to the prime and literal sense of their law, without pursuing the mystery and spiritual meaning of it; which was indeed the error of the Pharisees, with whom our Saviour is here discoursing. For the internal sense and mystery of their law was the gospel, all whose articles of faith and precepts of duty were (though darkly and obscurely) expressed and represented in the types and figures of the Mosaic institution. And hence the apostle tells, that both the priests and their oblations did serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, Heb. viii. 5. So that the heavenly things contained in the gospel were the substantial ideas which those legal types and patterns contained and represented; and the same author calls that law a shadow of good things to come, Heb. x. 1. that is, it was an obscure scheme or prefiguration of the mercies of the gospel, of which eternal life is a principal part. Since therefore the law. was nothing else but only the gospel in dark and obscure ciphers, if in this we Christians have eternal life, in that the Jews had it also : and therefore the reason which our Saviour here urges to oblige the Jews to search the scriptures of the Old Testament, (for in them ye think ye have eternal life,) doth at least equally oblige us Christians to search the scriptures both of the Old and New. For if they had just reason to think they had eternal life in the Old Testament, and were thereupon obliged to search into it, we have rather more reason to think that we have eternal life in the New, since the New Testament is nothing else but only the Old deciphered and unriddled ; and therefore we must not only have eternal life in this, as they had in that, but we must also have it far more expressly than they. In the prosecution of this argument, therefore, I shall endeavour these two things :

I. To shew you that in the holy scriptures we have eternal life.

II. That this is a very forcible reason to oblige us to search them.

I. First, that in the holy scriptures we have eternal life; that is, that in them we have eternal life

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