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4. Angels rolled away the stone, and terrified the soldiers.

5. Angels preached his return to them that gazed up at his ascension.

6. Angels opened the prison-doors, and set the imprisoned apostles free once, and Peter alone, afterwards.

7. Angels rejoice in heaven at the conversion of all that Christ brings home.

8. Angels disdain not to be the guardians of the least of Christ's disciples.

9. Angels are protecting officers over churches and kingdoms.

10. Angels have preached to apostles, and been the messengers of their revelations.

11. Angels have been the instruments of miracles, and of destroying the church's enemies.

12. Angels will ministerially convoy departed souls to Christ.

13. Angels will gloriously attend Christ at his return, and sever the wicked from the just.

14. Angels will be our companions in the heavenly choir for ever.

Therefore, 1. We should love angels. 2. And be thankful to God for them. 3. And think the more comfortably of heaven for their society. 4. And pray for the benefit of their ministry on earth, especially in all our dangers.

IV. The fourth article is “ Preached to the Gentiles." The Jews having the covenant of peculiarity, were proud of their privilege, even while they unworthily abused it; and despised the rest of the world, and would not so much as eat with them, as if they had been God's only people. And, indeed, the rest of the world was so corrupted, that we find no one nation that, as such, renounced idolatry, and was devoted in covenant to the true God alone, as the Jews were. Now that God should be manifested in flesh, to reconcile the heathen world to himself, and extend greater privileges, indefinitely to all nations, than ever the Jews had in their state of peculiarity, this was a mystery of godliness, which the Jews did hardly yield belief to.

And that which aggravateth this wonder is, 1. That the Gentile world was drowned in all idolatry and unnatural wickedness, such as Paul describeth. And that God should suddenly and freely send them the message of reconciliation, and be found of them that sought him not, is that wonder which obligeth us Gentiles, who once lived as without God in the world, to be thankful to him. (Rom. i. 2; Eph. i., and iii. 18, &c.)

V. The fifth article is “Believed on in the world.” The effect of the gospel on the souls of men in their effectual faith, is one of the evidences of the christian truth.

I told you before, that the fifth witness of the Spirit on the souls of all believers, I reserved to be here mentioned. Here, i. It is a part of the wonder, that Christ should be believed on in the world, even with a common faith. For, 1. To believe a mean man to be the Mediator between God and man, and the Savior of the world; yea, one that was crucified as a malefactor ; this must needs be a difficult thing.

2. The very Jewish nation was as contemptible to the Romans, being one of their poorest subdued provinces, as the Gentiles were to the Jews : and Christ was by birth a Jew.

3. The greatness of the Roman empire then, ruling over much of the world, was such that by preaching, and not by war, to bring them to be subjects to a crucified Jew, was a marvellous work; and so to bring the conquered nations to become Christ's voluntary subjects.

4. The Roman and Greek learning was then at the height of its perfection : and the Christians were despised by them as unlearned barbarians : and that learning, arts, and empire should all submit to such a King and Savior, was certainly a work of supernatural pow

Christ did not levy armies to overcome the nations, nor did victory move them; but the victors and lords of the world, and these no fools, but the masters of the greatest human wisdom, were conquered by the gospel, preached by a sort of inferior men.

5. And this gospel which conquered them was still opposed by them, and the Christians persecuted as a sort of hated men, till it overcame the persecutors.

It is true that heathenism hath the greatest part of the world, and Mahometans have as much as Christians : but one sort got it by the


sword, and the other by the doctrine and holy lives of a few unarmed, inferior men.

i. But I use this of the extent of faith, but as a probable, and not a cogent argument: but the main argument is from the sanctifying effect of faith.

I know it will be said that many, or most, Christians are as bad as

other men.


But it is one thing to be of a professed religion, because it is the religion of the king and country, and therefore maketh for men's worldly advantage, and they hear little said against it: this is the case of most in the world, Christians, Mahometans, and heathens : and it is another to be a serious believer, who, upon trial and consideration, chooseth Christianity.

And it is notorious that such serious Christians are all holy, sober, and just, and so greatly differing from the corrupted world, as fully proveth that God owneth that gospel which he maketh so effectual to so great a change.

Here consider, 1. What that change is. 2. How hard and great a work it is. 3. That it is certainly a work of God. 4. That the gospel is the means by which God doth it.

i. The nature of his holy work on all serious, sincere Christians, is, it sets all their hopes and hearts on the promised glory of the life to come, and turns the very nature of their wills into the predominant love of God and man, and of heaven and holiness. It mortifieth all fleshly lusts, and subjects sense to reason and faith, the body to the soul, and all to God. It sets a man's heart on the sincere study of doing all the good he can in the world, to friends, neighbors and enemies, especially the most public good. To live soberly, righteously, and godly, is his delight. Sin is his chief hatred, and nothing more grievous to him than he that cannot reach to greater perfection in faith, hope, obedience, patience, and in heavenly love and joy. It causeth a man to contemn wealth, honor, and fleshly pleasure, and life, in comparison of God's love and life everlasting. This change of God's Spirit worketh on all true believers.

Those that are ungodly have but the name of Christians; they never well understood what Christianity is, nor ever received it by a true belief. But all that understandingly and seriously believe in Jesus Christ, are sanctified by his spirit.

ii. And this is a greater work than miracles, in excellency and difficulty.

1. It is the very health of the souls. It is salvation itself; it maketh man in his measure like to God, and is his image. It is a heavenly nature, and is the earnest and preparation for heaven. It delivereth man from the greatest evil on earth, and giveth him the firmest peace and joy, in his peace with God, the pardon of his sins, and the hope of everlasting glory.

2. It is easy to discern how great a work this is, by the deep roots of all the contrary vices in the corrupted nature of man. Experience assureth us that man, by vitiated nature, is proud and ignorant, and savoreth little but the things of the flesh, and worldly interest, and is a slave to appetite and lust: his bodily prosperity is all that really hath his heart. Yea, if God restrain them not, all wicked men are bitter enemies to all that are truly wise and holy, even among heathens and infidels; if any be but better than the rest, the wicked are their deadly enemies. There is so visible an enmity between godliness and wickedness, the seed of Christ, and of the serpent in the world, as is a great confirmation of the Scripture which describeth it. And it is not the name of Christians that altereth men's nature. We here, that have peace from all the world, are under such implacable hatred of wicked men, that call themselves Christians, that so many bears or wolves would be less hurtful to us.

3. And the universal spreading of this wickedness over all the earth, in all ages and nations, doth tell us how great a work it is to cure it.

4. And so doth the frustration of all other means, till the Spirit of God do it by setting home the gospel upon the heart. Children will grow up in wickedness, against all the counsel, love, and correction of their parents. No words, no reason, will prevail with them, more than with drunken men or beasts.

5. We find it a very hard thing to cure a man of some one rooted sin, much more of all.

6. The common misery of the world proclaimed man's vice, and the difficulty of the cure. How else comes the world to live in selfseeking falsehood, fraud, malice, and in bloody wars, worse than wolves and serpents against each other.

7. Lastly, where God cureth this by true believing, it is done with the pangs of sharp repentance, and a great conflict, before God's Spirit overcometh.

ii. It is evident, then, that this sanctification of souls is an eminent work of God himself. 1. In that it is yet done on so many of his chosen ones in all ages and places.

2. In that, as hard as it is, he usually turneth the hearts of sinners to himself, in a very little time. Sometimes by one sermon.

3. It is a work that none can do but God, who hath the power of souls.

4. It is a work so good, that it beareth God's own image. It is but the writing of his law and gospel on men's hearts. None is so much for it as God. Satan apparently fighteth against it with all the power he can raise in the world. Mark it, and you will find that most of the stir that there is in the world, by false teachers, and tyrants, and private malice, is but Satan's wars against faith, and holiness, and love. Certainly it is not he that promoteth them.

iv. And it is evident in experience, that it is the gospel of Christ which God useth and blesseth, to do this great sanctifying work on souls. Among Christians none are converted by any other means. And God would not bless a word of falsehood and deceit to such great and excellent effects. All that are made holy and heavenly, and truly conscionable, among us, are made so by Christ's gospel. And all the wicked are enemies to the serious practice of it, or rebels that despise it. The effects daily prove that God himself owneth it as his word.

If you say, there are as good men among the heathens and Mahometans, as holy, heavenly, and just : 1 answer, it is none of my business to depreciate other men, but I can say, 1. That I have lived above seventy seven years, and I never knew one serious, holy person in England that was made such by the writings of heathens or Mahometans. 2. Many excellent things are in the writings of some

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