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and Peace to every Man that worketh good, to she few first, and also to the Gentile. For there is no respect of Persons with God. Ver. 10, 11.
After all it muft be confessed, that we are wholly in the dark in this matter. And what I have said, is not so much to perfwade you that the Gentiles may be saved, (for that we have no certain warrant to determine) as to shew you, that no Objection to the Justice and Impartiality of God, can be deduced from his Conduct in relation to them. Which not only tendeth to vindicate his Honour, and to create in us a juft esteem of his infinite Perfections; not only restrains ús from passing uncharitable Censures upon our Fellow-Servants, or conceiving amiss of those immutable Rules, which God hath fixed to the exercise of his Mercy and Judg. ment; but also teaches us that Salvation depends, not so much upon any external Relation or Denomination, as upon the eternal Obligations of Righteousnels and Holiness.
This was the Second Head proposed to be treated of; namelý, the Conditions of the Divine Favour, expressed in the latter part of the Text. But in every Nation he that feareth him and worketh Righteousnefs is accepted with him. The Favour of God is not now, as it seemed to be under the Jewilli Dispensation, annexed to a Family or a Nation, to external Badges and ritual Observations; but to the more noble and univerfal Obligations of Fear and Righteousness;
offered and dispensed unto all Men upon the same Conditions ; Conditions from which none can plead exemption, even although no Revelation had enforced them. They had then been Duties even without à Reward, but are now Conditions of a Reward: Which manifefteth the infinite Mercy and Goodness of God, which is also enhanced by the universality of it; for that in every Nation he that worketh Righteousnefs, is accepted by him,
For after all, the Title to a Reward must be grounded upon the Divine acceptance, not on any merit of the Work.
But the time will not permit me to Dif. course farther of these things. I will only exhort you to make a just use of what
you have already Learned, That God is no reSpecter of Persons. This cannot but be a mighty encouragement to you to use your utmolt diligence to attain that Reward, which God hath rendered equally possible to you, with those who are now the greatest Saints in Heaven; that whatever your Condition or Circumstances may be here below, God respectetlı not that in distribution of his Favour, but only what is in your own power. On the other side, if you neglect these possible, these easie Conditions of fear, ing God, and working Righteousness; flatter not your selves with the thoughts of being exempted by any peculiar Favour from undergoing that universal Sentence of Con
demnation, which is indifferently pronounced against all Sinners. Which is also the con clusion drawn by St. Peter from this very consideration, 1 Pet. i. 17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of Persons judga eth according to every Mens work, pass the time of your Sojourning here in fear,
Preach'd on Easter-Day, 1689, at
Coloff. III. I.
seek those things which are as
HE Resurrection of our Blessed SaviTH
our from the Dead hath by the Church, in all Ages, been deservedly celebrated with a greater Solemnity, than any other Festival whatsoever; as being instituted in remembrance of the most lignal Act of our Lord here on Earth, and the final Completion of our Redemption by it. Other Aštions in. deed prepared the Minds of his Followers to expect Salvation from him; but this alone gave them infallible assurance of the performance of it.
Till then they retained Doubts and Scru. ples; were meanly instructed in the Nature
of his Office, and Design of his Coming; were confounded at his Ignominious Crucifixion; and began to suspect that they had been mistaken in the Person of the Messias. All their glorious hopes of a temporal King, dom to be founded by their Lord and Master, were laid aside; and in a little time they began to doubt whether it were he that should have redeemed Ifrael,
The Church then was not only dispersed but destroyed; and none left who would own their Belief in a Crucified Saviour. The Apostles were fled: The Women prepared Spices for his Body now lying in the Grave, as not expecting it should rile again; and the Jews triumphed over his afflicted Disciples, as having defeated their Hopes, and overthrown their Pretences.
At this time, in this State of things, our Lord rose from the Dead, and by his Resurrection demonstrated the Divinity of his Person, dispelled the Anxiety of his Disciples, and confounded his Enemies. By this he retrieved the loft Faith of his Followers, and put it beyond all possibility of being subject to any more Fluctuations. Hereby he not only gave the last and most infallible Confirmation to the truth of his Doctrine, by a Miracle unheard of in former Ages; but also established in Mankind, the glad assurance of a future Resurrection. He had before indeed promised it; but now gave an earnest of it in his own Person, and mani: