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directions which we hear concerning it, are so very apt to slip out of our memories; whereas written discourses are always with us; and we may have recourse to them whenever we please, to recover what we have forgotten; to examine and satisfy ourselves in any thing we doubt of; and by leisurely searches and inquiries we may, by their assistance, attain to the knowledge of those sublime truths, which would otherwise be too hard for us.
And therefore I cannot but infer, that it is a great, though common mistake with some readers, to think, that written discourses cannot have their due praise, but there must be a design of degrading and undervaluing preaching: but I trust I cannot be suspected of so invidious an insinuation, when I declare the following discourses are by no means intended to hinder any one's attendance on divine service, but are accommodated to the occasions of such as cannot be always present at the public worship; and to the use of families and private persons who religiously keep the sabbath, and endeavour to spend their leisure hours in the improvement of their christian knowledge. And those, who shall think fit to make use of them for such purposes, I hope, by GoD's blessing, will greatly benefit at least their children and servants; and I trust they may be so far useful to themselves, as to bring to their remembrance the most necessary directions for their christian conduct in this life.
To conclude: I am but little concerned for those censures the men I have been speaking of may pass upon this performance; because the design of it, with well-disposed minds, will excuse for many imperfections; and if I can but in any degree promote a sense of religion, or a or a due respect for its ministers, where they are wanting, or contribute to the improvement of them, where they are already entertained, I shall be much better pleased than to be an author of some account in the opinion of the greatest critic.
From Scripture, the Liturgy, Articles, Homilies, and Writings of several Learned and Pious BISHOPS, &c. of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND;
That the OLD Whole Duty of Man was very improperly so called, and has been dangerously received under that Title; because the ARTICLES of the Christian Faith are entirely omitted in that Book; and, without Faith in these Articles, the most diligent Practice of the Duties, there treated of by that Author, is not sufficient to secure a Christian his eternal Salvation.
1 Tim. ii, 5, John xiv, 6. 1 John iv, 14. Luke xix, 10. 1 John iv, 9. John iii, 17. John xx, 31. John iii, 15. 1 John v, 11. Heb. ii, 10. Acts iv, 12.
THERE is one mediator between God and men, even the man Christ Jesus. No man cometh unto the Father but by him.—The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the World.-To seek and to save that which was lost.-That we might live through him.—That the world through him might be saved.—That believing we might have life through his name.-That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.—Eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.-Who is the captain of our salvation. -Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.— The just shall live by FAITH, Rom. i, 17; Gal. iii, 11; Heb. x, 38.
From the LITURGY (Office for the Sick.)
TIIERE is none other name under heaven given to man in whom and through whom thou mayest receive health and salvation, but only in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
From the ARTICLES of RELIGION,
ART. XI. Of the Justification of Man.
WE are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by FAITH, and not for our own WORKS or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by FAITH only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
ART. XII. Of Good Works.
ALBEIT that good Works, which are the fruits of FAITH, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgments; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in CHRIST, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively FAITH; insomuch that by them a lively FAITH may be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by the fruit.
ART. XIII. Of Works before Justification.
WORKS done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God; forasmuch as they spring not of FAITH in Jesus Christ
ART. XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the name of Christ.
THEY also are to be had accursed, that presume to say, that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law, and the light of nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the name of JESUS CHRIST, whereby we must be saved.
From the HOMILY entitled,
FAITH absolutely necessary to salvation, and to find acceptance of our works before God. WITHOUT FAITH there can be no good Work done accepted and pleasing to God.— Therefore saith St. Paul, without faith it is not only not possible to please God; but whatsoever work is done without Faith, it is sin, and dead before God. Let no man there
fore reckon upon his good works before his FAITH, because where there is no FAITH. there can be no good works.—If a heathen clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and do such other like works; yet because he doth them not in FAITH, for the honour aud love of God, they are but dead, vain and fruitless works to him; because it must be FAITH alone that commendeth the work to God; and therefore, where the FAITH of CHRIST is not the foundation, there is no good work, what building soever we make. So the virtues of strength, wisdom, temperance, and justice, are all referred unto this same FAITH; for without this FAITH we have not them, but only the numes and shadows of them. Thus you will find many, which have not the true FAITH, that are not of the flock of Christ; and yet, in appearance, they flourish in good works of mercy; you shall find thern full of pity, compassion, and given to justice, and yet for all that they have no fruit of their works; because the chief work is wanting, which chief work is FAITH, according to that declaration of CHRIST to the Jews, who asking him what they shall do to work good works, he answered, This is the work of God, to BELIEVE in him whom he hath sent. They who glister and shine in good works without FAITH in God, are like dead men, which have goodly and precious tombs, and yet it availeth them nothing.-A man must needs be nourished by good works; but first he must have FAITH. He that doeth good deeds, yet without FAITH, he hath no life: I can show a man, that by FAITH without works lived, and came to heaven; but without FAITH never man had life. The thief that was crucified, when CHRIST suffered, did BELIEVE only, and the most merciful God justified him. It is true, if he had lived and not regarded FAITH, and the works thereof, he should have lost his salvation again. But this is the effect that I say, that FAITH by itself saved him, but WORKS by themselves never justified any man.-Whereby you may perceive, that neither FAITH without works (having opportunity thereto) nor works without FAITH, can avail to everlasting life.
From Bishop WILKINS.
NOTWITHSTANDING all that can be said of natural religion (i. e. of principles and duties merely moral) it cannot be denied, but that in this dark and degenerate state into which mankind is sunk, there is a great want of a clearer light to discover our duty to us with greater certainty, and to put it beyond all doubt and dispute what is the good and acceptable will of God, and of a more powerful encou ragement to the practice of our duty, by the promise of a supernatural assistance; and by the assurance of a great and eternal reward. And all these defects are fully supplied by that clear and perfect revelation, which God hath made to the world by our blessed Saviour.-And as we are Christians, whatever we do in word or deed, we must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus; and by him alone expect to find acceptance with God. Nat. Religion, Book 2, Chap. 9.
From Archbishop TILLOTSON.
MEN are to place all their hope and confidence of salvation in Jesus Christ the Son of God; that is, to believe that, througir the alone merit of his death and sufferings, God is reconciled to us; and that, only upon the account of the satisfaction which he hath made to divine justice, we are restored to the favour of God, and our sins are pardoned to us, and we have a title to eternal life. Sermons, Vol. 3, page 466, Fol. Edit.
From Dr. SCOTT.
THE Doctor, after having very clearly described the excellencies of the moral duties, assures us-The positive parts of religion are our duty as well as those, and God by his sovereign authority, exacts them at our hands; and unless, when Jesus Christ hath been sufficiently proposed to us, we do sincerely believe in him-unless we strike covenaut with hin by baptism, and frequently renew that covenant with the Lord's Supper-unless we diligently attend on the public assemblies of his worshipthere is no pretence of morality will bear us out, when we appear before his dread tribunal. Christian Life, Vol 2. page 86, 800. Edu.
From Dr. EDWARDS.
THE Author of the [Old] Whole Duty of Man has omitted that GREAT Part of Man's duty, which contains the knowledge of the Principles of Religion. H. Knowledge, p. 6.
I ask this question, Does not the New Testament contain in it the doctrines and principles of Christianity, as well as the practical duties of it? and are we not obliged then to instruct people in both these ?-And I further ask, Does not a man's whole duty consist of these two things, namely, that which he ought to know, and that which he
ought to practise? No man that understands the nature of the christian religion will deny this, and consequently that book is very lame and imperfect, because it spends itself altogether in one of those parts of christianity only, and is not concerned for the other. It must be acknowledged then, that this book [the Old Whole Duty of Man] answers not its Title, but plainly contradicts it: for, whereas it pretends to treat of the WHOLE Duty of Man, it puts us off with HALF of it.-It is verily a fault in too many, that their sermons are moral harangues generally; as if they were preaching at old Rome or Athens, and their auditors were all infidels. We see the bad effects of this on more accounts than one; the constant insisting on nothing but morality hath lately inspired men's heads with this notion, that revealed religion is of little consideration and worth; and this hath been one great occasion of DEISM.-Since so many preachers have confined their discourses, as to the main, to morality, there has been less success in preaching than ever. There is plenty enough of excellent discourses, wherein the nature of all moral Duties is set forth; but notwithstanding all this, there never was less morality in men's lives and actions; which shows that there is something of a higher nature wanting, and that the bare inculcating of moral duties and virtuous living is not sufficient to men's lives and practices. The Preacher, Vol. 1. pages 49. 78. 81. From Dr. GIBSON, Bishop of London.
THOUGH it is true, that one end of Christ's coming was to correct the false glosses and interpretations of the moral law, and, in consequence thereof, one end of his instituting a ministry must be, to prevent the return of those abuses; by keeping up in the minds of men a true notion of natural religion, and a just sense of their obligations to the performance of moral duties; yet it is also true, that the main end of his coming was to establish a new covenant with mankind, founded upon new terms, and new promises, to show us a new way of obtaining forgiveness of sin, and reconciliation to God, and eternal happiness; and to prescribe rules of greater purity and holiness, by way of preparation for greater degrees of happiness and glory. These are, without doubt, the main ingredients of the gospel state, those, by which christianity stands distinguished from all other religions, and Christians are raised to far higher hopes and far greater degrees of purity and perfection. In which views, it would seem strange, if a christian preacher (or writer) were to dwell only upon such duties as are common to Jews, Heathens, and Christians; and were not more especially obliged to dwell on and inculcate those principles and doctrines, which are the distinguishing excellencies of the christian religion, and by the knowledge and practice of which, more especially, every Christian is entitled to the blessings and privileges of the gospel covenant. First Charge to the Clergy, page 19.
But if, after God has made so full and clear a revelation in what way and upon what terms he will save us (I say, if after this) men will resolve to be their own guides, and refuse to be saved in the way that he has appointed; this is at their own peril. If some will believe, that trusting in Christ is their whole duty, and so excuse themselves from the observance of the moral law; and others will affirm that the observance of the moral law is sufficient, and so will forego the benefit of Christ's redemption; if some will contend that Christ has done all, and others that he has done nothing; to both these it is sufficient to say, that they are very vain and presumptuous in setting up the opinion and imagination of weak and fallible men, against the infallible testimony of persons sent and inspired by God. The gospel account is as full and express as words can make it; on one hand, that faith in Christ is the foundation of a Christian's title to heaven, and on the other hand, that repentance and good works are necessary conditions of obtaining it. Second Pastoral Letter, p. 63, 8vo. Edit.
From Dr. WILSON, Bishop of Sodor and Man.
ONE cannot but wonder at those who do hope to persuade people to forsake their sins and lead a religious life, by arguments purely moral, or on account of worldly inconveniencies. "You'll ruin your reputation, your health, your estate; you'll disoblige your friends." On the other hand," Virtue is its own reward; how honorable is it to be just to one's word, and true in one's dealings! How unworthy a rational man to live like a beast!"
One may very well question whether any man, ever since the fall of Adam, was converted by arguments of this nature. Alas! our corrupt hearts will easily get over every thing that can be said, which only regards this world. But who can be so hardy as to slight eternal ruin; or to despise his power, and his displeasure, who can destroy both body and soul in hell? The true Christian Method of Educating Children, page 26.
THE NECESSITY OF CARING FOR THE SOUL.
I. Man is composed of an immortal soul; and, II. Of a mortal body. III. Of the future state of the soul, and how it is determined. IV. Persuasives to the care of the soul from the nature of the first and second COVENANTS; showing, V. That it is in every man's power to take that care of his soul, which the gospel requires.
I. THE intention of the ensuing Treatise being to instruct all ranks and conditions of men, and to descend to the understandings of the very weakest capacities, in a short and plain explication of those DUTIES, which every one must believe and practise in this world, if they hope to be happy for ever in the world to come, I shall introduce the whole by endeavouring to draw them to the consideration and care of their own souls, which being their first and general duty, ought to be preparatory to all the rest; because whoso is not firmly persuaded of the necessity of this will never give attention to the doctrines and exhortations of the other duties. What must I do to be saved? is an inquiry that deserves our utmost diligence and attention: for, if we are ignorant of the will of God, or knowing it, will not follow or be led by that unerring light, but suffer ourselves to be hurried away by our unruly passions in the pursuit of the things of this life, we are wretched and miserable, blind and naked, notwithstanding all our attainments; and we shall one day be convinced to our sorrow, that there is no folly like that of preferring things temporal to things eternal.
Man consists of soul and body; a soul that never dies, and which according to the care we take of it in this life, is designed to return unto God, who made it, when the body shall return unto the earth, whence it was taken. And therefore, he that is truly wise, will consider, that