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And in Jesus Christ, &c.



EPH. i. 13.

In whom ye also (trusted), having heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation.

THAT our religion in gross is true and agreeable SERM.

to reason, is a ground upon which the truth of its
single doctrines and articles of faith doth lean; it is
therefore requisite that it first be well supported, or
that we be thoroughly assured thereof. Being there-
fore engaged at other times to discourse upon the
particular points of Christian doctrine, which sup-
pose this general one; I shall take occasion collate-
rally in these exercises to insist upon this subject;
supposing in those, what in these we shall endea-
vour to prove; so both avoiding there such grand
digressions, or the treating upon matters not directly
incident; and supplying here what seems necessary
or useful there to the confirmation of our faith.

Now in the words I did now read, St. Paul styles
the Christian doctrine (and in many other places of
scripture it is also so called) the word of truth, (that

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SERM. is, a most true doctrine,) and the gospel of our sal-


vation, (that is, a message brought from heaven by
our Saviour and his apostles; in which the ways
and means of attaining salvation, (that is, of that
best happiness which we are capable of,) the over-
tures thereof from God, and the conditions in order
thereto required from us, are declared.) And that
we have reason to entertain it as such, I shall im-
mediately address myself to shew.

It was anciently objected by Celsus and other ad-

Gov. Orig. i. versaries of our religion, that Christianity did exact

pag. 8,9 from men λkai äλoyo Tioτw, a bare groundless

faith; did impose vóμous avanπodeíkтovs, laws uncapable

canvas ti- of proof, (that is, as to the goodness and reasonable-

ness of them ;) did inculcate this rule, My érаše, àλλà

μóvov TíσTEVE, Do not examine or discuss, but only

believe; that it debarred inquiries and debates about

truth, slighted the use and improvement of reason,

rejected human learning and wisdom, enjoining men

to swallow its dictates, without chewing, or any pre-

vious examination concerning the reason and truth

of them.

The ground of this accusation was surely a great
mistake, arising from their not distinguishing that
belief, whereby we embrace Christianity itself in
gross, from that belief, whereby in consequence to the
former we assent to the particular doctrines thereof:
especially to such as concern matters supernatural, or
exceeding the reach of our natural understanding to
penetrate or comprehend. For as to the first kind,
that belief whereby we embrace Christianity itself, as
true in the gross; I say, it is nowise required upon
such terms; our religion doth not obtrude itself
upon men in the dark, it doth not bid men to put

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