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again into rebellion, he so loseth the benefit of that pardon, that his offence is aggravated thereby : so if we do persevere firm in faith and obedience, we shall (according to the purport of the evangelical covenant) continue in a state of grace and favor with God, and in effect remain justified; otherwise the virtue of our justification ceaseth, and we in regard thereto are more deeply involved in guilt.
3. Although justification chiefly signifieth the first act of grace toward a Christian at his baptism, yet (according to analogy of reason, and affinity in the nature of things) every dispensation of pardon granted on repentance may be styled justification; for as particular acts of repentance, on the commission of any particular sins, do not so much differ in nature, as in measure or degree, from that general conversion practised in embracing the gospel; so the grace vouchsafed on these penitential acts, is only in largeness of extent, and solemnity of administration, diversified from that; especially considering that repentance after baptism is but a reviving of that first great resolution and engagement we made in baptism; that remission of sin on it is only the renovation of the grace then exhibited ; that the whole transaction in this case is but a reinstating the covenant then made (and afterward by transgression infringed) on the same terms, which were then agreed on; that consequently, by congruous analogy, this remission of sins, and restoring to favor, granted to a penitent, are only the former justification reinforced ; whence they may bear its name : but whether St. Paul ever meaneth the word to signify thus, I cannot affirm.
Now according to each of these notions all good Christians may be said to have been justified; they have been justified by a general abolition of their sins, and reception into God's favor in baptism; they so far have enjoyed the virtue of that gracious dispensation, and continued in a justified state, as they have persisted in faith and obedience; they have, on falling into sin, and rising thence by repentance, been justified by particular remissions. So that having been justified by faith, they have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
SUMMARY OF SERMON VI.
JEREMIAH, CHAP. LI-VERSE 15.
An attentive observation of this world, or visible frame, is not only a worthy employment of our thoughts, but even a considerable duty : for it is what affords most cogent and satisfactory arguments for that foundation of all religion, the being of one God, incomprehensibly excellent in all perfections : it also serves to beget in our minds suitable affections towards
im, &c. General view of those footsteps or signs which discover the work of one wise, powerful, and good Being.
I. Things viewed singly, which are most familiar and obvious to our senses: first, for example, those plants which we every day see, smell, and taste; the construction and propagation, &c. of these specified. Inquiry whence all this fitness of things can arise: whether from chance or casual motions of matter ? Answered: that it is repugnant to the name and nature of chance, that any thing regular or constant should arise from it: this enlarged on. Whether from necessity ? In this case the phrase only is altered; for necessary causality, taken without relation to some wisdom or counsel that established it, is but another name for chance : this topic dilated on. These effects therefore must proceed from wisdom, such as surpasses our comprehension, joined to power equally great, &c.
And if we have reason to acknowlege so much wisdom and power discovered in one plant, and multiplied in so many thousands of different kinds, how much more may we discern them in any one animal; in all of them ? The animal structure, &c. enlarged on. And can this proceed from mere chance or blind necessity ? Could ever senseless matter jumble itself into such wonderful postures, so that of innumerable myriads of atoms none should in roving miss their way? none fail to seat themselves in the order of exactest art ? This subject dilated on.
II. But if, passing from particulars, we observe the relation of several kinds of things each to other, we shall find more reason to be convinced concerning the same excellent perfections farther extending themselves. Is there not, for example, a palpable relation between the frame, the temper, the natural inclinations, or instincts of each animal, and its element or natural place of abode, wherein it only can live, finding therein its food, its harbour, its refuge? Is not to each faculty within an object without prepared, exactly correspondent thereto? which were it wanting, the faculty would become vain and useless, yea, sometimes hurtful, &c. This topic dilated on, with the various products of nature, formed for the purpose of ministering to our preservation, ease, and delight, &c. And must we bless fortune for all this? did she so especially love us, and tender our good ? does she so crown us with lovingkindness, and daily load us with benefits? Shall we, in her favor, disclaim so noble a parent, as omnipotence in wisdom and in goodness? This topic enlarged on.
III. The last consideration intimated was, that all these things join together in one universal consort, with one harmonious voice, to proclaim one and the same Wisdom, as having designed; one and the same Power, as having produced ; one and the same Goodness, as having set both wisdom and power to work in designing and producing their being, in preserving and governing it. For this whole syst of things, what is it but one goodly body, as it were, com of several membe and organs, so aptly, that each conf tion to the ornament and stabilits of the world, said a philosopher could not be either better for
ing and is
This topic dilated on. If then, as Plutarch observes, no fair thing is ever produced by hazard, but with art framing it ; how could this most fair comprehension of all fair things be, not the lawful issue of art, but a by-blow of fortune; of fortune, the mother only of broods monstrous and misshapen ? If the nature of any cause be discoverable by its effects; if from any work we may infer the workman's ability; if in any case the results of wisdom are distinguishable from the consequences of chance; we have reason to believe that the Architect of this magnificent frame was one incomprehensibly wise, powerful, and good Being. Conclusion.
THE BEING OF GOD PROVED FROM THE
FRAME OF THE WORLD.
JEREMIAH, CHAP. LI.--VERSE 15.
He hath made the earth by his power, he bath established the
world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
The attentive observation of this world, or visible frame, is not only in itself a most worthy employment of our thoughts, (much more noble than any of those petty cares, which commonly possess or distract our minds,) but, if either the example of the best men, or the great usefulness thereof, to the best purposes, can oblige us, even a considerable duty not to be neglected by us. For it is that which affords most cogent and satisfactory arguments to convince us of, and to confirm us in, the belief of that truth which is the foundation of all religion and piety, the being of one God, incomprehensibly excellent in all perfections, the maker and upholder of all things; it instructs us not only that God is, but more distinctly shows what he is ; declaring his chief and peculiar attributes of wisdom, goodness, and power superlative; it also serves to beget in our minds affections toward God, suitable to those notions; a reverent adoration of his unsearchable wisdom; an awful dread of his powerful majesty; a grateful love of his gracious benignity and goodness : to these uses we find it applied by the best men, not