The harmony of the divine attributes in the contrivance and accomplishment of man's redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, or, Discourses wherein is shewed how the wisdom, mercy, justice, holiness, power, and truth of God are glorified in that great and blessed work
Bates, William, 1625-1699.
Page  127

CHAP. VII.

The simple Speculation of the Gospel not sufficient with∣out a real Belief, and Cordial Acceptance. The Reasons why the Jews and Gentiles conspir'd in the contempt of it. How just it is to resign up the Un∣derstanding to Revelation. God knows his own Nature and Will, and cannot deceive us. We must believe the things that are clearly revealed, though we do not understand the manner of their existence: Although they are attended with seeming contra∣dictions. No Article of Faith is really repugnant to Reason. We must distinguish between things incomprehensible, and inconceivable. Between corrupt and right Reason. How Reason is subser∣vient to Faith. Humility and Holiness qualifie for the belief of the Gospel-mysteries. A naked belief of Supernatural Truths is unprofitable for Salvation. An effectual Assent that prevails upon the Will, and renders the whole Man obsequious, is due to the quality of the Gospel-Revelation.

THe simple Speculation of this glorious Mystery will be of no profit without a real belief of it, and a cordial acceptance of Salvation, upon the terms which the Divine Wisdom prescribes. The Gospel requires the Obedience of the Understanding, and of the Will; unless it obtains a full possession of the Soul, there is no saving efficacy derived from it. And such is the sublimity and purity of the Object, that till Reason is sanctified, and subdued, it cannot sincerely entertain it. I will therefore Page  128 distinctly consider the opposition which carnal Rea∣son hath made against it, and shew how just it is, that the Humane Understanding should with reve∣rence yield up it self to the Word of God, that re∣veals this great Mystery to us.

The Apostle tells us, that Jews and Gentiles con∣spired in the contempt of the Gospel.* Reason cannot hear without great astonishment, for the ap∣pearing contradiction between the terms, that God should be made Man, and the Eternal die. The Jews esteem'd it an intolerable Blasphemy, and without any Process of Law were ready to stone the Lord Jesus,*That being a man, he should make himself equal with God. And they upbraided him in his Sufferings that he could not save himself. If he be the King of Israel,*let him come down from the Cross, and we will believe on him. The Gentiles despised the Gospel as an absurd ill-contrived Fable.* For what in appearance is more unbecoming God,* and injurious to his Perfections, than to take the frail garment of Flesh, to be torn and trampled on. Their natural Knowledg of the Deity enclin'd them to think the Incarnation impossible. There is no resemblance of it in the whole compass of Nature. For natural Union supposes the parts incompleat, and capable of Perfection by their joyning together: But that a Being infinitly perfect should assume by personal Union a nature inferiour to it self, the Heathens lookt on it as a Fable forg'd according to the model of the fictions concerning Danae, and Antiope.* And the Doctrine of our Saviours Death on the Cross they rejected as an impiety contume∣lious to God. They judged it inconsistent with the Majesty and Happiness of the Deity, to ascribe to Page  129 Him that, which is the punishment of the most guilty and miserable. In the account of carnal Reason they thought more worthily of God by de∣nying that of Him, which is only due to the worst of men. Celsus, who with as much Subtilty as Ma∣lice,* urges all that with any appearance could be objected against our Saviour, principally insists on his Poverty and Sufferings, the Meanness and Mi∣sery of his condition in the world. 'Twas fit, saith he, that the Son of God should appear as the Sun,* which renders it self conspicuous by its own light: But the Gospel having declared the Word to be the Son of God, relates that he was a man of Sorrows, that had no power to defend himself, and was deserted by his Father and Followers, scourged with Rods, and shamefully executed. He could not reconcile so many things that seem'd utterly incompatible, as Sovereignty and Servitude, Innocence and Punish∣ment, the lowest of humane Miseries, Death, with the highest of divine Honours, Adoration. Briefly, Nothing was more contrary to Flesh and Blood, than to believe that person to be the Redeemer of the World, who did not rescue himself from his Ene∣mies, and to expect Immortality from him that was overcome by Death. Now the Causes of this Infidelity are,

1. The Darkness of the Mind, which is so cor∣rupted by Original Pravity, that it cannot behold Heavenly Mysteries in their proper light, so as to acquiesce in the truth of them.*The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him▪ and he cannot know them; be∣cause they are spiritually discerned. There is no pro∣portion between the Natural Understanding and Page  130 Supernatural Truths. For although the rational Soul is a Spirit, as 'tis distinguisht from corporeal Beings, yet till 'tis purged from Errour, and vitious Affections, it can never discover the Divinity of things Spiritual, so as to embrace them with cer∣tainty and delight. As there must be a Spirit of Revelation to unvail the object,* so of Wisdom to enlighten the eye, that it may be prepar'd for the reception of it. As Heaven is only seen by its own Light, So Christ is by his own Spirit. Divine Ob∣jects, and Faith that discerns them are, of the same original, and of the same quality. The natural Understanding, as the effects declare, is like the Funeral Lamps which by the Antients were put into Sepulchers, to guard the ashes of their dead Friends, which shine so long as they are kept close, a thick moist vapour feeding them, and repairing what was consum'd: but in opening the Sepulchres, and exposing them to the free air, they presently faint and expire. Thus natural Reason whilst con∣versant in things below, and watching with the dead, that is in the Phrase of the Antients, studying the Books of Men who have left the world, it discovers something, although 'tis rather a Twilight than clear; But when 'tis brought from the narrow sphere of things sensible, to contemplate the immensity of things Spiritual and Supernatural, its light declines, and is turn'd into darkness.

2. The Pride of the Humane Understanding, which disdains to stoop to the height of these myste∣ries. 'Tis observable, that those who most excell'd in Natural Wisdom, were the greatest despisers of Evangelical Truths.* The proud Wits of the World chose rather to be Masters of their own, than Scholars Page  131 to another.* They made Reason their Supreme Rule, and Philosophy their highest Principle, and would not believe what they could not comprehend. They derided Christians as captives of a blind Belief, and their Faith as the effect of Folly; and rejected Revelation, the only means to conveigh the know∣ledg of Divine Mysteries to them. Therefore the Apostle, by way of upbraiding, enquires, Where is the wise man? Where is the Scribe? Where is the Disputer of this world? God hath made the wisdome of the world foolishness. As those who are really poor, and would appear rich in the Pomp of their Habits and Atten∣dants, are made poorer by that expence; so those who were destitute of true Wisdom and would ap∣pear wise in making Reason the Judg of Divine Revelation, and the last resolution of all things, by that false affectation of Wisdom, they became more foolish: By all their Disputes against the ap∣pearing absurdities of the Christian Religion, they were brought into a more learned Darkness.

3. The prejudices which arose from Sensual Lusts hindered the Belief of the Gospel. As the carnal Understanding rebels against the sublimity of its Doctrine, so the carnal Appetite against the purity of its Precepts. And according to the Dispositions of Men from whence they act, such light they desire to direct them in acting. The Gospel is a Mystery of Godliness, and those who are under the love of Sin, cherish an affected Ignorance, lest the Light should enflame Conscience, by representing to them the deadly guilt that cleaves to Sin, and thereby make it uneasie. This account our Saviour gives of the Infidelity of the world,*That men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. And Page  132 that this was the real cause, what ever was pre∣tended, is clear, in that the Gentiles who opposed Christ, adored those impure Deities, whose infa∣mous Lusts were acknowledged by them. And with what colour then could they reject our Redeemer because crucified? As if Vice were not more in∣compatible with the Deity, than Sufferings.

Now though Reason enslav'd by prejudice, and corrupted by Passion, despises the Gospel, yet when 'tis enlightned by Faith, it discovers such a wise oeconomy in it, that were it not true, it would tran∣scend the most noble created Mind to invent it: 'Tis so much above our most excellent Thoughts, that no Humane Understanding would ever attempt to feign it, with confidence of persuading the world into a Belief of it. How is it possible that it should be contriv'd by natural Reason, since no man can believe it sincerely when 'tis reveal'd, without a supernatural Faith. To confirm our Belief of these great and saving Mysteries, I will shew how just it is, that the Understanding should resign itself to Di∣vine Revelation which hath made them known. In order to this, we must consider,

1. There are some Doctrines in the Gospel, the Understanding could not discover, but when they are reveal'd, it hath a clear apprehension of them upon a rational account, and sees the characters of Truth visibly stampt on their Forehead. As the Doctrine of Satisfaction to Divine Justice, that Pardon might be dispens'd to repenting Sinners. For our natural conception of God includes his infinite Purity and Justice; And when the design of the Gospel is made known, whereby he hath provided abundantly for the honour of those Attributes, so Page  133 that He doth the greatest Good without encouraging the least Evil, Reason acquiesces and acknowledges, this I sought, but could not find. Now although the primary Obligation to believe such Doctrines ari∣seth from Revelation, yet being ratified by Reason, they are embraced with more Clearness by the Mind.

2. There are some Doctrines, which as Reason by its light could not discover, so when they are made known, it cannot comprehend; but they are by a clear and necessary connexion joyn'd with the other that Reason approves. As the Mystery of the Trinity, and the Incarnation of the Son of God, which are the Foundations of the whole work of our Redemption. The Nature of God is repugnant to Plurality, there can be but one Essence, and the na∣ture of Satisfaction requires a distinction of Persons: for he that suffers as guilty, must be distinguish'd from the person of the Judg that exacts Satisfaction; and no meer Creature is able by his obedient suffe∣rings to repair the Honour of God, so that a Divine Person assuming the Nature of Man was alone ca∣pable to make that satisfaction, which the Gospel propounds and Reason consents to. Besides, 'tis clear that the Doctrine of the Trinity, that is, of three glorious Relations in the Godhead, and of the Incarnation, are most firmly connected with all the parts of the Christian Religion, left in the Writings of the Apostles, which as they were confirmed by Miracles, the Divine Signatures of their certainty, so they contain such authentick marks of their Di∣vinity, that right Reason cannot reject them.

3. Whereas there are three Principles by which we apprehend things, Sense, Reason and Faith,Page  134 these lights have their different objects that must not be confounded. Sense is confin'd to things materi∣al, Reason considers things abstracted from matter, Faith regards the Mysteries revealed from Heaven: and these must not transgress their order. Sense is an incompetent judg of things about which Reason is only conversant. It can only make a report of those objects, which by their natural characters are exposed to it. And Reason can only discourse of things within its sphere; Supernatural things which derive from Revelation, and are purely the objects of Faith, are not within its territories and juris∣diction. Those Superlative Mysteries exceed all our intellectual Abilities.

'Tis true, the Understanding is a rational Faculty, and every act of it is really or in appearance groun∣ded on Reason. But there is a wide difference be∣tween the proving a Doctrine by Reason, and the giving a reason why we believe the truth of it. For instance, we cannot prove the Trinity by natural Reason; and the subtilty of the Schoolmen, who affect to give some reason of all things, is here more prejudicial than advantageous to the Truth: For he that pretends to maintain a point by Reason, and is unsuccessful, doth weaken the credit which the Au∣thority of Revelation gives. And 'tis considerable, that the Scripture in delivering supernatural truths, produce God's Authority as their only proof, without using any other way of arguing: But al∣though we cannot demonstrate these Mysteries by Reason, yet we may give a rational account why we believe them.

Is it not the highest Reason to believe the disco∣very that God hath made of Himself, and his De∣crees? Page  135 For he perfectly knows his own Nature and Will; and 'tis impossible He should deceive us: This Natural Principle is the Foundation of Faith. When God speaks, it becomes Man to hear with Silence and Submission. His naked Word is as cer∣tain as a Demonstration.

And is it not most reasonable to believe, that the Deity cannot be fully understood by us? The Sun may more easily be included in a spark of Fire, than the infinite Perfections of God be comprehended by a finite Mind. The Angels who dwell so near the Fountain of Light,*cover their faces in a holy Confusion, not being able to comprehend Him. How much less can Man in this earthly state, distant from God, and opprest with a burthen of Flesh. Now from hence it follows;

1. That Ignorance of the manner how Divine Mysteries exist, is no sufficient Plea for Infidelity, when the Scripture reveals that they are. For Reason that is limited and restrain'd, cannot frame a Conception that is commensurate to the Essence and Power of God. This will appear more clearly by considering the Mysterious Excellencies of the Divine Nature, the certainty of which we believe, but the manner we cannot understand:* As that his Essence and Attributes are the same, without the least shadow of composition, yet his Wisdom and Power are to our apprehensions distinct, and his Mercy and Ju∣stice in some manner opposite. That his Essence is intire in all places, yet not terminated in any. That He is above the Heavens, and beneath the Earth, yet hath no relation of high or low, distant or near. That He penetrates all substances, but is mixed with none. That he understands, yet re∣ceives Page  136 no Idea's within Himself; that He wills, yet hath no motion that carries Him out of Himself; That in Him Time hath no Succession, that which is past is not gone, and that which is future, is not to come. That He loves without Passion, is angry without Disturbance, repents without Change. These Perfections are above the capacity of Reason fully to understand, yet essential to the Deity. Here we must exalt Faith, and abase Reason. Thus in the Mystery of the Incarnation,* that two such distant Natures should compose one Person, without the confusion of Properties, Reason cannot reach unto, but 'tis clearly reveal'd in the Word: Here there∣fore we must obey,* not enquire.

The Obedience of Faith is, to embrace an obscure Truth with a firm assent, upon the account of a Di∣vine testimony. If Reason will not assent to Reve∣lation, till it understands the manner of how Divine things are, it doth not obey it at all. The Under∣standing then sincerely submits, when 'tis enclin'd by those motives, which demonstrate that such a Be∣lief is due to the Authority of the Revealer, and to the quality of the Object. To believe only in pro∣portion to our narrow conceptions, is to disparage the Divine Truth, and debase the Divine Power. We can't know what God can do, He is Omnipotent, though we are not omniscient: 'Tis just we should humble our Ignorance to his Wisdome, And that every lofty imagination, and high thing that exalts it∣self against the knowledg of God should be cast down,*and every thought captivated into the obedience of Christ. 'Tis our wisdom to receive the great My∣steries of the Gospel in their simplicity: for in at∣tempting to give an exact and curious explication of Page  137 them, the Understanding as in an Hedg of Thorns, the more it strives, the more 'tis wounded and in∣tangled. Gods Ways are as far above ours, and his Thoughts above ours, as Heaven is above the Earth. To reject what we can't comprehend, is not only to sin against Faith, but against Reason, which acknow∣ledges it self finite,* and unable to search out the Al∣mighty to perfection.

2. We are obliged to believe those Mysteries that are plainly delivered in Scripture, notwithstanding those seeming Contradictions wherewith they may be charged. In the objects of Sense, the contra∣riety of appearances doth not lessen the certainty of things. The Stars to our sight seem but glittering Sparks, yet they are immense Bodies. And 'tis one thing to be assured of a Truth, another to an∣swer all the difficulties that encounter it: A mean Understanding is capable of the first, the second is so difficult, that in clear things the profoundest Phi∣losophers may not be able to untie all the intricate and knotty Objections which may be urged against them. 'Tis sufficient the Belief of Supernatural Mysteries is built on the Veracity and Power of God, this makes them prudently credible. This resolves all doubts, and produces such a stability of spirit as nothing can shake. A sincere Believer is assured, That all opposition against Revealed Truths is fallacious, though he cannot discover the Fallacy. Now the transcendent Mysteries of the Christian Religion, the Trinity of Persons in the Divine Nature, the Incarnation of the Son of God, are clearly and expresly set down in the Word, and although subtile and obstinate Opponents have used many guilty Arts to dispirit and enervatePage  138 those Texts of Scripture, in putting an inferiour sense upon them, and have rackt them with violence to make them speak according to their prejudices, yet all is in vain, the Evidence of Truth is victori∣ous. A Heathen who considers not the Gospel as a Divine Revelation, but meerly as a Doctrine deli∣vered in Writing, and judges of its sense by natural Light, will acknowledg that those things are deli∣vered in it. And notwithstanding those who usurp a Sovereign Authority to themselves, to judg of Divine Mysteries according to their own apprehen∣sions, deny them as meer Contradictions, yet they can never conclude them impossible: For no certain Argument can be alledged against the being of a thing, without a clear knowledg of its nature: Now although we may understand the nature of Man, we do not the Nature of God, the Oeconomy of the Persons, and his Power to unite himself to a Nature below Him.

'Tis true no Article of Faith is really repugnant to Reason, for God is the Author of Natural, as well as of Supernatural Light, and He cannot con∣tradict Himself: they are emanations from Him, and though different, yet not destructive of each other. But we must distinguish between those things that are above Reason and incomprehensible, and those things that are against Reason and utterly inconceivable: Some things are above Reason in regard of their transcendent excellency, or distance from us; the Divine Essence, the Eternal Decrees, the Hypostatical Union are such high and glorious objects, that it is an impossible enterprise to com∣prehend them: the intellectual Eye is dazled with their overpowring Light. We can have but an im∣perfect Page  139 knowledg of them: And there is no just cause of wonder that Supernatural Revelation should speak incomprehensible things of God. For He is a singular and admirable Being, infinitly above the ordinary course of Nature. The Maxims of Philosophy are not to be extended to Him. We must adore what we cannot fully understand: But those things are against Reason, and utterly inconceiva∣ble, that involve a contradiction, and have a natural repugnancy to our Understandings, which cannot conceive any thing that is formally impossible: And there is no such Doctrine in the Christian Reli∣gion.

2. We must distinguish between Reason corrup∣ted, and right Reason. Since the Fall, the clear∣ness of the Humane Understanding is lost, and the light that remains is eclipsed by the interposi∣tion of sensual lusts. The carnal Mind cannot out of Ignorance, and will not from Pride and other malig∣nant habits receive things spiritual. And from hence ariseth many suspicions and doubts, (concerning supernatural Verities) the shadows of darkned Reason, and of dying Faith. If any Divine Mystery seems in∣credible, 'tis from the corruption of our Reason, not from Reason it self, from its darkness, not its light. And as Reason is obliged to correct the Errors of Sense, when 'tis deceived either by some vicious quality in the organ, or by the distance of the object, or by the falsness of the medium, that corrupts the image in conveying of it: So 'tis the office of Faith to reform the judgment of Reason, when ei∣ther from its own weakness, or the height of things Spiritual, 'tis mistaken about them. For this end supernatural Revelation was given, not to extinguish Page  140 Reason, but to redress it, and enrich it with the discovery of Heavenly things. Faith is called Wis∣dom and Knowledg: it doth not quench the vigour of the Faculty wherein 'tis seated, but elevates it, and gives it a spiritual preception of those things that are most distant from its commerce. It doth not lead us through a mist to the inheritance of the Saints in light. Faith is a rational Light: For

1. It arises from the consideration of those Argu∣ments which convince the Mind, that the Scripture is a Divine Revelation: I know, saith the Apostle, whom I have believed.* And we are commanded Alwaies to be ready to give an account of the hope that is in us.* Those that owe their Christianity meerly to the Felicity of their Birth, without a sight of that transcendent excellency in our Religion, which evidences that it came from Heaven, do not believe aright. As the Eye that is clouded with a Suffusion, so that all things appear yellow to it, when it judges things to be yellow that are so, its judgment is vitious: Because it proceeds not from the quality of the object, but from its own indisposition. So those that be∣lieve the Gospel upon a false Principle, because 'tis the Religion of their Country, though in its self the word of Truth, yet they are not right Believers. 'Tis not Judgment but Chance that enclines them to embrace it. The Turks upon the same reason are zealous votaries of Mahomet, as they are Disci∣ples of Christ.

2. Faith makes use of Reason to consider what Doctrines are revealed in the Scripture, and to de∣duce those Consequences which have a clear connexi∣on with supernatural Principles. Thus Reason is an excellent instrument to distinguish those things Page  141 which are of a Divine Original, from what is spuri∣ous and counterfeit. For sometimes that is pretended to be a Mystery of Religion, which is only the fruit of Fancy, and that is defended by the sacred respect of Faith, that Reason ought not to violate, which is but a groundless imagination; so that we remain in an Error, by the sole apprehensions of falling into one, as those that die for fear of Death. The Bereans are commended for their searching the Scriptures,*whether the Doctrines they heard were consentaneous to them. But 'tis a necessary Duty that Reason, how stiff soever, should fully comply with God, where it appears reasonable that He hath spoken.

Briefly, The richest Ornament of the Creature is Humility, and the most excellent effect of it is, the sense of the weakness of our Understanding. This is the temper of Soul that prepares it for Faith: partly as it puts us on a serious consideration of those things which are reveal'd to us in the Word: Infi∣delity proceeds from the want of consideration, and nothing hinders that so much as Pride: Partly, as it stops all curious enquiries into those things which are unsearchable: and principally as it entitles to the Promise, God will instruct and give Grace to the humble. The knowledg of Heaven, as well as the Kingdom of Heaven is the inheritance of the poor in spirit. A greater progress is made in the knowledg and belief of these Mysteries by humble Prayer, than by the most anxious study. As at Court, an hour of Favour is worth a years atten∣dance. Man cannot acquire so much as God can give.

And as Humility, so Holiness prepares the Soul for the receiving of Supernatural Truths. The Un∣derstanding Page  142 is clarified by the purification of the Heart. 'Tis not the difficulty and obscurity of things reveal'd, that is the real cause of Infidelity, since men believe other things upon far less Evi∣dence; but 'tis the prejudice of the lower Faculties that hinders them. When all Affections to sin are mortified, the Soul is in the best disposition to re∣ceive Divine Revelation. He that doth the will of God,*shall know whether the Doctrine of the Gospel came from Heaven.

The Spirit of God is the alone Instructer of the Spirit of Man in these Mysteries, so as to produce a Saving Belief of them. That Knowledg is more clear and satisfying, that we have by his Teaching, than by our own Learning. The Rational Mind may discern the Literal Sense of the Propositions in the Gospel, and may yield a naked assent to the truth of them; but without supernatural irradiation by the Spirit of Life, there can be no transforming and saving Knowledg and Belief of them. And as the vast expansion of Air that is about us, doth not preserve Life, but that part which we breath in, so 'tis not the compass of our Knowledg and Belief (though it were equal to the whole revealed Will of God) that is vital to the Soul, but that which is practised by us. The Apo∣stle saith,*Though he had the understanding of all My∣steries, and all Knowledg, and all Faith, yet if it were not joyned with Love, the Principle of Obedience, it were unprofitable. There is the same difference be∣tween the Speculative Knowledg of these Mysteries, and that which is Affectionate and Operative, as be∣tween the wearing of Pearls for Ornament, and the taking of them as a Cordial to revive the fainting spirits.

Page  143In short, Such a Belief is required, as prevails upon the Will, and draws the Affections, and 〈◊〉 the whole Man obsequious to the Gospel. For 〈◊〉 a Faith is alone answerable to the quality of the Revelation. The Gospel is not a meer Narrative, but a Promise. Christ is not represented only as an in∣nocent Person dying, but as the Son of God dying to deliver Men from Sin, and the effects of it. The fallen Angels may understand and believe it without any Affections, being unconcernd in it: To them 'tis a naked History, but to Men 'tis a Promise, and cannot be rightly received, without the most ardent Affections. This is a faithful Saying,*and worthy of all acceptation, That Jesus Christ came into the world to save Sinners. 'Tis essentia••• good, as true; its Sweetness and Profit are equal to its Certainty: So that it commends it self to all our Faculties.

There are severe and sad Truths, which are at∣tended with fearful expectation, and the Mind is averse from receiving them: As the Law which like Lightning terrifies the Soul with its amazing Bright∣ness; and there are pleasant illusions which have no solid Foundation: And as Truth doth not delight the Mind, unless united to Goodness, such as is suitable to its Palate, so Goodness doth not affect the Will unless it be real. Now the Doctrine of the Gospel is as certain as the Law, and infinitly more comfortable than all the Inventions of Men. 'Tis in the knowledg of it alone that the sensible and considering Soul enjoys perfect Satisfaction and the most composed Rest. 'Tis evident that the Under∣standing doth not behold these Truths in their proper light, when the Will doth not embrace them. For the rational Appetite follows the last judgment of Page  144 the Mind. When the Apostle had a powerful Con∣viction of The Excellency of the Knowledg of Christ,* this made him so earnest to gain an interest in Him. For this reason, those who are only Christians in Title, Having a form of Godliness and denying the power of it, are in Scripture-language stiled Infidels: It being impossible that those who truly and heartily believe this great Mystery of Godliness, should re∣main ungodly. 'Tis a strong and effectual Assent that descends from the Brain to the Heart and Life, that denominates us true Believers: So that when the Death of Christ is propounded as the cause of our Reconciliation with God, the wonder of the Mystery doth not make it incredible: when as the reason of the Morti•••ation of our Lusts, the Plea∣sures of Sin do not disguise its horrour: When Sal∣vation is offer'd upon our accepting of Christ for our Prince and Saviour, the Soul is ravisht with its Beauty, and chooses it for an everlasting porti∣on.

To conclude, The Doctrine of the Gospel clearly discovers its Divine Original: 'Tis so reasonable in itself, and profitable to us, so sublime and ele∣vated above Man, yet hath such an admirable agree∣ment with Natural Truths, 'tis so perfectly cor∣responding in all its parts; that without affected Obstinacy no man can reject it. And if after the open revelation of it we are so stupid and wicked, as not to see its Superlative Excellency, and not to receive it with the Faith, Love, and Obe∣dience which is due to it; what contempt is this of that infinite Wisdom which contriv'd the astonishing way of our Salvation? What a reproach to the Page  145 Divine Understanding, as if it had been employed from Eternity about a matter of no moment, and that deserves not our serious Consideration and Ac∣ceptance? The neglect of it will justly bring a more severe punishment than the Hell of the uninstructed Heathens, who are strangers to Supernatural My∣steries.