A SERMON Preached to the UNIVERSITY of Oxford. Decemb. 27. 1664.
JOH. xvij. 3.
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the onely true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I Need not apologize for the seasonableness of this Text; by telling you, that the Subject Matter of it, suites well with the great Solemnity, which at this time we celebrate; Page 2 and the Pen-man, with that of the day: Be∣cause a Discourse on such a Subject, can ne∣ver be unseasonable to a Christian Auditory. Especially to such as, whose profession being to seek after Knowledge, should not decline that of God and Christ, the chief of all.
Nor will it be any Exception hereunto:
That it is no news, but well known alrea∣dy: Not only because That there be many who pretend to know what they do not, or do in effect deny; and That there be many things, which, though we know well, we have need enough to be minded of: But even because I do not find that many persons are wont to be displeased with being often minded of those things wherein they think that either their Interest or Excellency lies; more than a good Wit when commended, or a fair Lady with being told she is handsome; even though sometimes (as we are wont to say) they know it but too well already. And therefore, since to know God and Christ is both our Interest and our Commendation; it will not, I hope, seem grievous to any to hear it discoursed of; to the end that those who know it not may be incited to learn it, and those who know it, may take content in it.
Page 3And I shall as little apologize for a plain Discourse on this Subject: Since it is both my Profession and Practice, to Demonstrate or make things as plain as I can; not to perplex or make them intricate; which may amuse the Auditors, or sometimes please or tickle them; but is not wont either to Teach, or Perswade: like too much of Ornament, which doth but disguise the native Beauty; or too much Trimming, which hides the Cloth.
The words read, are our Saviour's Words; addressed to his Father in the behalf of his Disciples: And are a part of that Prayer with which he closeth his large Exhortation, or Farewel-Sermon to his Disciples, the night be∣fore he was to suffer; of which we have a large rehearsal in the three foregoing Chapters, the 14th, 15th, and 16th: which this 17th. clo∣seth with a Prayer.
He begins his Prayer, with a Petition con∣cerning Eternal Life, which he was to bestow (according to the Power his Father had gran∣ted him) to as many as He had given him; that is, to as many as should effectually be∣lieve in him. To which Petition he subjoins this Exegetical Epiphonema, And this is life eter∣nal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
Page 4We may consider the words either accord∣ing to a Synthetic or an Analytic method, as the Schools speak: The former of which they commonly follow in Sciences Theoretical; the latter in Practical.
If considered Synthetically; they present us with, First, The Cause, or Principle; The Knowledge of God and Christ: and, Secondly, The Effect, or Consequent resulting from it; Eter∣nal Life.
If Analytically; we have in them, First, A glorious End proposed; Eternal Life: and, Se∣condly, The Means proportionate thereunto; The Knowledge of God and Christ.
In the former way, the Result of them is to this purpose; That the excellent Knowledge of God and Christ, is attended with this most glorious Consequent, Eternal Life.
In the latter way, it amounts to thus much: That the way or means to Eternal Life, is the Know∣ledge of God and Christ.
Nor is it much material, whether of the two ways we take them; Synthetically, or Ana∣lytically: whether we take them as a Theorem; affirming this Effect, of that Cause: or as a Problem; directing to these Means for such an End.
Page 5Yet I chuse rather to take them in the lat∣ter consideration, (though not exclusive of the former;) Because, this Epiphonema taking its rise from the mention made of Eternal Life, in the former verse; (not from a former men∣tion of the Knowledge of God and Christ;) it seems to be rather intended as a Direction how to attain Eternal Life; than, an account of the Effect of such a Knowledge. But, in doing the one, it doth the other also.
I shall begin, first, with that which lies first in the order of the word; The End pro∣posed; or the Effect, or Consequent of this Knowledge; the Happiness which doth attend it: which, for its Excellency, is called Life, and, for its Duration, Eternal. This is life eternal.
The word Life I take to be here used in a figurative sense; and to import Good or Hap∣piness: like as, its contrary, Death, especially Death Eternal, to import Misery.
There is indeed, at least, a threefold Life commonly mentioned; and, in proportion thereunto, a threefold Death: Natural, Spiri∣tual, and Eternal.
Life Natural, (which is indeed the proper acceptation of the word Life, or the first sig∣nification of it,) is more easily apprehended, Page 6 than expressed. It imports that active state or condition which ariseth from the Union of the Soul and Body, as well in Man, as in other Animals; (not to mention that of Plants:) the destruction or want of which, upon the Soul's departure, we call Death. 'Tis that, accord∣ing to which, in common speech, a Man or Beast is said to be alive or dead.
Now this Life, is, of all natural Goods, look∣ed upon as the chiefest; and consequently Death the greatest of natural Evils: Because Life is that foundation or first good, which makes us capable of what else is so: and with our Life, we lose all the rest. Hence that in Job 2.4. Skin for skin, and all that a man hath, will he give for his life. And that of Solomon; A li∣ving Dog is better than a dead Lion, Eccles. 9.4. For, when Life is gone, there succeeds an inca∣pacity, not only of Doing, but also of Enjoy∣ing Good.
From this consideration it is, that the other significations of the word have their Original. For Life being looked upon as the greatest na∣tural Good, and Death as the greatest natural Evil; The one (by a Synechdoche speciei) is fre∣quently used (both in sacred and profane Au∣thours) to signify Good indefinitely, especially Page 7 the greatest Good; and the other, in like manner, to signifie Evil, especially the greatest Evil. The one is put for Happiness, and the other for Misery.
And then, again, (by a Synechdoche generis) this general notion of Good or Evil, Happi∣ness or Misery, implied in the words Life and Death, becomes applicable to this or that particular Good and Evil, as occasion serves. Suppose the Spiritual Life of Grace, or Death in Sin: And the Eternal Life of Glory in Heaven, or the Eternal Death of Torment in Hell. Thus, Deut. 30.19. I have set before you (saith Moses to Israel) life and death, blessing and cursing: (where Life and Death, are made equivalent to Blessing and Cursing;) therefore chuse life (saith he) that thou and thy seed may Live; that is, that you may be Happy. So at ver. 15. of the same Chapter; I have set before you (saith he) life and good, death and evil. Where Life and Good are put exegetical each of other, and so Death and Evil. And in the same sense it is the Poet tells us, Non est Vivere, sed Valere, vita. Thus God to Adam in Para∣dise (for 'tis no new Trope, nor of yesterday) In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death; that is, thou shalt become miserable: For we know that Adam did not the same day Page 8 die a natural Death; but some hundreds of years after: but he did that day begin to be in a state of Misery, whereof his natural Death was but a part. So, Rom. 6.23. The wages of sin is death; where the comprehension of all the Evils or Mi∣sery which sin deserves, or God inflicteth for it, is called Death: like as on the contrary, all the Happiness, which the Saints enjoy, is, on the same account, called Life; The gift of God is eternal Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So here: By Life we understand Happiness; contrary to which is the Death of Misery: and then (by a Metalepsis, or double Trope,) that Happiness in special, which the Saints enjoy in Glory (though not exclusive of what they have be∣fore;) and that Misery which in Hell attends the wicked.
'Tis true indeed, that the condition of the Saints in Glory, after the Resurrection, may, even in a proper sense, be called Life; be∣cause of that Union, which shall then be, of Soul and Body; and the exercise of (at least the most noble) faculties of Life. Yet do not I take that to be the true import of the Word here. For though it be true, that the Saints in Glory, have not only an Union of Soul and Bo∣dy, but likewise a knowledge or sense of that estate Page 9 wherein they are, (which may import not only a Life, but even a Rational Life:) yet as true it is, that the Damned in Hell have so too; (for their Souls and Bodies shall not be less United; nor shall they be Insensible of their Woful con∣dition:) yet is not that estate of theirs called a Life (though naturally it be so, and it is their misery that it is so,) but Eternal Death; because a Life of Wo and Misery; not of Bliss and Happiness: A Living Misery, being, in this sense, the truest Death.
Secondly, As it is called Life for its Excellen∣cy, so, for its Duration, it is called Eternal.
It is very usual in Scripture, in the use of Allegories, or Figurative expressions, to add some kind of Epithet to distinguish the word so used from the same in its native signification: And, when the word is used so as to express figuratively somewhat more excellent than it self, the Epithet hath somewhat of additional exel∣lency in it. Thus Christ is said to be the Spi∣ritual rock, 1 Cor. 10.4. the Living Bread, or Man∣na that came down from Heaven, Joh. 6.50. to distinguish the words, so metaphorically used, from the Rock and Manna literally spoken of, in the story of their travails in the Wilderness. And the Church of Christ, as Living stones, be∣come Page 10 a Spiritual house, and a Holy priesthood, to offer up Spiritual sacrifices to God, 1 Pet. 2.5. Where the Epithets serve both for distinction from the material Stones and Temple, the Le∣vitical Priesthood, and corporeal Sacrifices; and for the commendation or preheminence of those before these. So the new heaven, and the new earth, and the new Jerusalem, Rev. 21.1, 2. Jerusalem that is above, Gal. 4.26. And Matth. 26.29. I will drink no more (saith Christ) of the fruit of the vine, till I drink it New with you in my Father's kingdom: Not that Christ did intend anew to drink of such wine in his Fa∣ther's Kingdom; but of a New wine, another sort of wine than that commonly so call•d; to wit, those spiritual Joys in his Father's Kingdom, which should more refresh their Hearts and Souls, than this wine did their Bo∣dies. So; I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman, Joh. 15.1. I am the good shep∣herd, Joh. 10.11. Not that Christ was more truly a Vine, in propriety of speech, than that which we so call; or indeed a Shepherd, who took the care of Sheep: But that there was in Christ somewhat of another kind much more emi∣nent, than that of the Vine, which did yet in some measure resemble it; and, a much grea∣ter Page 11 Care, but of another nature, of those he calls his Flock, than a Shepherd hath of his Sheep. So here; This is life eternal: Not a natural Life, (such as is commonly meant by the word Life,) a life of the Body, which af∣ter a short time is to be exchanged for Death; but a Life, a Happiness, of another nature; a far more excellent Good than what we call Life, which doth but very imperfectly express it; An Eternal Life.
And this Eternity, as it serves, in general, to distinguish this word Life from the ordinary acceptation; and doth import, for the kind of it, somewhat much more excellent: So it doth particularly point out that Everlasting Du∣ration of this so great a Happiness. 'Tis that which, though indeed it have a Beginning, shall never have an End. And upon this ac∣count it is, that it is so often called Eternal Life, and Life Everlasting; that it were endless to enumerate the places where it is so called. An eternal inheritance;*A house eternal in the hea∣vens; An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, which fadeth not away; A kingdom which cannot be moved; An eternal weight of glory; When our mortal shall have put on immortality.
Page 12And this consideration of Eternity, added to that of Life; this everlasting Duration, to that unspeakable, unimaginable Happiness; ren∣ders this Eternal Life, a perfect Felicity and eve∣ry way compleat. For that Perfection of De∣gree, imported in the word Life, can admit of no addition, but that of Perfect Con•in•ance, which the word Eternal assures us of. Like as, on the other hand, that perfection of Misery, which attends the wicked, is capable of no greater Aggravation, than that of Perpetuity: sealed up in that sad expression of a Living Mi∣sery, Eternal Death. You have them both pa∣ralleled in Matth. 25.46. These shall go into e∣verlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eter∣nal.
I have now done with the first part, the Happiness here proposed; Eternal Life.
Before I come to the s••ond, The knowledge of God and Christ; it will 〈◊〉 requisite to consi∣der, a little, the conne•••• of these together, in the word, Is; This is 〈◊〉Eternal. Which is capable of a double ac••ptation. For it may be understood either as a Formal, or as a Causal predication. This is life eternal; that is, Herein consisteth eternal life. Or else thus; This •s life Page 13 eternal, that is, This is is the way or means, to at∣tain eternal Life.
The former of these is very agreeable to the doctrine of the Schoolmen; who general∣ly place the Happiness of Heaven in the Beati∣fick Vision; in the seeing or knowing of God. Grounded on such places as that of Matth. 5.8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 1 Cor. 13.9, 10, 12. We know but in part, and we prophesie but in part; but when that which is perfect shall come, then that which is in part shall be done away: We now see through a glass darkely, but then face to face: Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known. 2 Cor. 3.18. We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory. 1 Joh. 3.2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know, that when he shall appear, (or, when it shall appear) we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is. With others of the like import. And certainly that Per∣fection of Knowledge, shall be at least a great part of that Happiness, which we expect in Heaven; as from these and other the like pla∣ces is well collected. So that it is not impro∣perly said, that Eternal Life doth, at least in part, consist in such a knowledge.
Page 14Nor is it any sufficient Objection hereunto, to say, That, it is not by knowledge only, as an Act of the Understanding, that we enjoy God, wherein our Happiness consists; but by an Act of the Will also, chusing and closing with, and delighting in him.
For though this be true; yet neither is the Knowledge here spoken of, a bare Speculative, or Notional Knowledge, wherein the Under∣standing is alone concerned: But an Active, Operative Knowledge; such as brings the Will, Affections, and all the Faculties into a proportionate Conformity thereunto. And in such a Knowledge of God in the Understand∣ing, attended with such a Conformity in the Will and other Faculties, it is not to be deny∣ed that our Happiness doth consist; even that of Eternal Life.
Yet (without excluding this sense) I take the words here to be rather a Causal Predication: assigning the way or Means whereby Eternal Life is attained. This is life eternal, that is, this is the Way to attain Eternal Life; To know thee the only true God, &c. The knowledge of God and Christ, being the direct way to attain E∣ternal Life. Parallel to which, is that of our Saviour, Joh. 12.50. His commandment is life Page 15 everlasting. And very frequent elsewhere are such Metonymies of the Effect for the Cause. I am the resurrection, and the life, saith Christ, Joh. 11.25. that is, The Authour of it. So Luk. 12.15. Man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth; that is, it doth not depend upon it; it is not secured by it: or a Christ elsewhere, Matth. 4.4. (out of Deut. 8.3.) Man liveth not by bread alone, &c. And Moses, speaking of their diligent obser∣ving the Commands of God, Deut. 32.47. This is your life, (saith he) and through this thing you shall prolong your days: (where the latter Clause is enegetical of the former:) just in the same form with the words here, This is life eternal; that is, hereby they shall attain eternal Life.
This therefore being the most plain and simple Interpretation of the Words: We are now to enquire particularly, what that is that Christ here says to be Eternal Life, or rather the Way thereunto. That they may know thee the only true God; and, whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.
Which contains in brief the Doctrine of the Gospel, or Christian Religion: Distinguished in∣to two parts, The Knowledge of God, and The Page 16 Knowledge of Jesus Christ. Both which are ne∣cessary to bring us to Eternal Life.
I shall speak, first, to the former of these two; the Knowledge of God; that is, of God the Creatour and Lord of all; as contradi∣stinguished to that of Christ the Redeemer. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, That they might know thee the only true God.
By Thee, or the Person here spoken to, we are to understand God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; (For to him it is manifest, that Christ doth here direct his Prayer:) Yet not so much in his Personal as in his Essential consi∣deration. For it is not the Personality, but the Essence of the Father, that determines him to be the only true God.
We have therefore, in the Object of this Knowledge, at least, these Three Propositi∣ons:
I. That there is a God. II. That there is but One (True) God. III. That God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is this God.
I. The First of these strikes at Atheism, or those that deny a God. And that we know thus much is necessary from that of Heb. 11.6. He that cometh unto God, must believe that God Page 17 is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. He must believe, That there is a God. Nay, he must believe also somewhat of What he is: Not fansie to himself somewhat under the name of God, which in∣deed is not a God; or notions inconsistent with that of a Deity; as those, Psal. 50.21. Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thy self: or the like. For to believe such a false notion of God, is not to believe a God, but to believe an Idol.
We are next to know, as that there is a God; so, That there is but One God. I mean; But One True God. For there are indeed, as the Apostle tells us, 1 Cor. 8.4, 5, 6. Gods many, and Lords many; that is, there are that are called Gods, (for so he explains himself) but to us there is but One God; We know, (saith he) that there is no other God but One. And this indeed depends upon the former. For he that doth, according to a true notion of God, know That there is a God; must needs know also that there is but One. For the true notion of God, including Infinite, Absolute, Perfect, &c. must needs also include Unity; for it is inconsistent that there should be many such. So that, in a manner, Polytheism includes A∣theism. Page 18 He that believes many Gods, doth, in effect, not believe any: that is, not any such Being as of which it is impossible there should be more than One.
We are, Thirdly, to know, that This God, is that onely True God. I say, This God; whom we have variously designed in Scri∣pture, by several Characters. The God that made Heaven and Earth: The living God: The God of Israel: The God whose name is Jehovah: And (as here, and elsewhere frequently in the New Testament) the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By which and other the like Characters, he is distinguished from all false Gods, from all pretended Deities. This God we are to know to be the onely True God.
But, when I say, That the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is this onely True God; I add, That this appertains not so much to his Personality as to his Essence. For though the three Persons in the Sacred Trinity, be distinguished each from other by their Personalities, (the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, &c.) yet they all communicate in the common Essence; whereby the Son as well as the Father, and the Holy Ghost as either, is this Onely True God. The Person of the Father is indeed True Page 19 God, but not according to his Personality, but according to his Essence. And the Person of the Son is God also, and the True God; yet not another, but the same True God. And the Holy Ghost likewise. According to that of Joh. 10.30. I and my Father are One: That is, One mod, though not One Person. And 1 Joh. 5.7. There are Three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these Three are One. Three, and yet One. Three Persons, yet but One God. They are all this One, this Onely True God; beside whom there is no God.
I know there are some who would be glad to take advantage of this place, to the Dero∣gation of the Divinity of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost. As if it were here affirmed, That the Father onely were True God: and therefore, not the Son, nor the Holy Ghost.
But the Cavil is obvious, and the Answer easie. It is not said that the Father Onely is True God; but that the Father is the onely True God; he is that God beside whom there is no other True God: which may well enough be said, though the Son also (as indeed he is) be that same True God; and the Holy Ghost likewise. Indeed should we say, That the Page 20 Son were also True God, and another God; the Father could not then be said to be the Onely True God, since that there would be ano∣ther True God beside this. (And the like of the Holy Ghost.) But to say that the Son is the Same True God, is well consistent with it. For though another Person than the Father be True God, yet, because not Another God, this One God remains still the Onely True God. And the original words are to this purpose very clear; 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Where the Article 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 coming before 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (not after it) doth determine it to be a restriction of the Praedicate, not of the Subject. 'Tis not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Not Thee onely to be the True God; but (as we truly render it) Thee to be the onely True God. That is; To know Thee to be that God, be∣side which God there is no other True God; though another beside Thee be likewise this onely True God; viz. the same God with Thee, though not the same Person. It ex∣cludes only a Plurality of Gods, not a Plura∣lity of Persons in the same God-head. 'Tis true indeed, That this Divinity, is not, in this place, so directly Affirmed, either of the Son, or the Holy Ghost: But, neither is it Denyed: Page 21 And therefore it is to receive its decision from other places where it is affirmed clearly.
And thus much concerning the first branch of this Knowledge, the Knowledge of God. To know Thee, the only True God.
There is another piece of Knowledge ne∣cessary to the attainment of Eternal Life; the Knowledge of Christ. For so it follows, And Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
'Tis true, that had we continued in that Estate wherein Man was at first Created, there had been no necessity of this second branch of Knowledge. For, had there been no Sin, there had been no need of a Saviour: and consequently, not of this knowledge of Jesus Christ. A knowledge of God, the onely True God, with an Obedience conformable there∣unto, had then been enough to make us Hap∣py. But Man, by his Fall, having contract∣ed an Estate of Misery; there is now no Resti∣tution to our lost Happiness, but by a Re∣demption; and there is no Redemption, but by Jesus Christ. For as there is but One God; so, but One Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. 2.5. Neither is there any other name given to men, whereby we must be saved, but that of Jesus Christ of Nazareth; whom Page 22 they Crucified, and God raised from the dead: (Act. 4.10, 12.) There is no Salvation in any other. It is necessary therefore, to the attainment of Eternal Life, that we know Him, in this Ca∣pacity.
What we are to know concerning him, though we cannot expect, in so few words, to have clearly set down, without a Comment from other places to give light to them: Yet at least three things seem in these words to be pointed at; His Divinity, His Incarnation, and His Mediatory Office.
1. His Divinity; in that he is the Son of God. For he calls him Father, whom he says we must know to be the onely True God. Indeed, were he onely the Son of God in such a sense as Adam is so called, Luke 3.38. or the Angels thought to be, Job 1.6. that is, by Creation; for as Saints are so called (Rom. 8. and else∣where,) that is, by Adoption; it would not in∣er a Divinity. But to be (as Christ is) the Son of God by Eternal Generation, argues a Com∣munication in the same Nature. As the Apostle infers, Heb. 1.5. For to which of the Angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? This onely begotten of the Father, must needs be also of the same nature with the Page 23 Father; and therefore, God, as he is.
And this Argument, (however now per∣haps there are who endeavour to elude it) the Jews, his Enemies, thought to be conclusive. For when they observed him to call God his Fa∣ther, or pretend himself to be the Son of God; especially, the Christ the Son of God; they did not understand him to speak in such a sense as when themselves were commonly wont so to speak (as Joh. 8.41. We are not born of fornica∣tion; we have one Father, even God;) but in such a sense as they judged Blasphemous, (and had been so indeed, had it not been true;) who therefore sought the more to kill him, (Joh. 5.18.) because he said, That God was his Father; making himself Equal with God. And the High Priest (Matth. 26.65.) rent his Cloths, saying, He speaketh Blasphemy, when our Saviour af∣firmed before him, That he was the Christ, the Son of God. 'Twas manifest therefore, that he so spake, and they so understood him, of such a Son-ship as argued a Divinity, a being equal with God.
2. His Humanity, or Incarnation, is pointed at, in these words, whom thou hast sent. For by the Fathers sending him, or his coming into the World, is clearly meant his being Incarnate, or Page 24made Man. As Gal. 4.4. God sent his Son made of a Woman. And Joh. 1.14. The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt amongst us.
3. His Mediatory Office, is implyed as well in the Title Christ, added to his Name Jesus; as in that of his being sent by God. Jesus the Christ, or Jesus the Messiah, whom thou hast sent. For as his Name Jesus doth design the Person; so the Title Christ, that is Messiah, (that in Greek, answering to this in Hebrew, and both signifying the Anointed) doth import the Of∣fice, to which he was designed, and for which he was sent. For God did not send him, to no purpose; but sent him for this end, for this Work,*To be the Mediator between God and Man; To reconcile us to the Father; To make an Atonement or Propitiation for us. To take away the sins of the World;*To obtain Eternal Redemption; To procure an Everlasting Inheritance; a purchased Possession; To make Intercession for us; To save to the uttermost those that come unto God by him.* Or, as Joh. 3.16, 17. (where all the three Parti∣culars are likewise intimated) God therefore sent his onely begotten Son into the World, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have Everlast∣ing Life.
Page 25And now, having gone through the whole Text, we might, if time would suffer, look back upon it to take a new Survey thereof, and collect from thence some of those particular deductions which might concern our pra∣ctice. For certainly, the Knowledge which Christ here declares necessary to Eternal Life, and the means conducing thereunto, is not a bare Notional knowledge, or a pure speculative Belief, (such as the Devils may have as well as we;*) but an operative Knowledge, a practical Faith, a Faith fruitful in good Works; without which those speculative notions will never bring us to Heaven. And therefore, without ingaging in the nice Disputes, of Justification by Faith alone, or Works concurring thereunto; this is on all hands agreed without dispute, That Faith without good Works will never justify us. Whatever their influence be, in Justification; their Presence at least is necessary. Without Doing, we cannot, in God's account, be re∣puted either to Believe or Know. Those that obey him not, are reckoned, in God's account, amongst those that Know not God:* at least a∣mongst those who profess they know God,*but do in their works deny him. Who shall be so far, by such a Knowledge, from obtaining Eter∣nal Page 26 Life, that Christ shall come in flaming fire to take vengeance on them, and to punish them with ever∣lasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his Power.
In particular: If we know God, to be the onely True God; Then must we Love him, Fear him, Worship him, and Obey him. Nor doth the knowledge of Christ, as Mediator, abate any thing of this Duty. For though he came to take away the Curse of the Law,*by being made a Curse for us; yet not our Obligation thereunto. He came not to destroy the Law,* or make it less obligatory to duty, but to fulfill it. I may add; That, those, who will not acknowledge them∣selves under the Obligation of it, have reason to fear, they be yet under the Curse of it.
Again, If we know Christ whom he hath sent; It will be our duty then to Believe in him; (For 'tis,*to those onely, that Christ doth give eternal life.) And, so to Believe in him, as to Obey him;* For, to those who obey not the Gospel of his Son, it is, that Christ shall render vengeance in flaming fire.
Furthermore: If in this Christ we hope to have Eternal Life; how should this excite our Rejoicing and Thankfulness for so great Salvation! Not by Rioting and Drunkenness; by Re∣velling, Page 27 and Debauchery; (which is the Abuse, not the Celebration, of this Solemni∣ty, in memory of Christ's Incarnation;) But by a pious Remembrance and Commemora∣tion of that Redemption obtained for us: such as may be to the Honour, not the Reproach, of him that came to Redeem us from our vain Conversation: That,*denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live Godly, Righteously, and Soberly in this present World: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself, a peculiar People, zealous of good Works.
To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be Glory for evermore.