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SERM. Impostor to the Holy Jesus, denying that God
has any Son, and so though not Atbeifts, yet still Unbelievers. And of the poor remaining five Parts only of the World that are Christie ans, it is melancholy to say it, three at least are overwhelmed by Popery, Superstition and Idolatry. So that the Number is inconsiderable, comparatively speaking, that enjoy the Gospel in the Purity we do, and have done, God be thanked, since the happy Reformation, Nay we may say it without Vanity or Pride: For indeed we are sorry to say it, we wilh it were otherwise. But say it we must, that except in England and Ireland there is no Church in the World, where the pure Faith and Doctrines of Christianity, together with the primitive apoftolical Government of the Church by Bishops, are at this Day preserv. ed entire. For the Reformed abroad, and in our Neighbourhood of Scotland, and all Sects of Diffenters amongst ourselves, though they have thrown off the Errors and Corruptions of Popery; yet were they fo unhappy as at the same Time to throw off or lose the Episcopal Ordination and Government with it. A Government and Ordination fo very necessary to the Well-being of a Church, that those who lived nearest the Time of it's Institution, the
Fathers and Doctors of the Apostolick Agé,"S ERM.
to him for all the Ignorances, Errors, Sins, Schisms, Heresies, and Irreligion with which the rest of the World abound.
And if thus we behave, we shall be as well accepted and as highly favoured of God, as if the Gospel had been preached unto us by the Mouth of the Blessed Jesus himself :
SERM. The Centurion's Servant, we find, was healed
as well by the Deputation of a Word, by the
must be sure to keep from wavering : For otherwise you will be rejected as were formerly the Jews, purely for Want of a necessary Belief. The Branches, (faith St. Paul, in the Person of a Gentile) The Branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well ; because of Unbelief they were broken off, and thou fandeft by Faith. Be not bigh-minded, but fear, Rom, xi. 19, 20.
It was the Faith of the Centurion that SER M. obtained for his Servant the Blessing of my u Text. The Jews indeed (whom he desired to intercede for him with our Lord, as presuming himself not worthy enough to approach him in Person) talked long to him, in their usuał Strain, of his Works. They set forth his Merits, and magnified his Deeds ; and reprefented him in a Character that they thought must certainly prevail) as a Benefactor to their Nation. When they came to Fesus they besought bim instantly, saying, that be was worthy for whom he mould do this : For he loveth our Nation, and bath built us a Synagogue, Luke vij, 4, 5. But the Centurion had more humble Thoughts of himself: He pleaded no Works or Merits of his own ; but placed all his Confidence in the Goodness and Power of the merciful Jesus. For when Jesus was now not far from his House, the Centurion sent Friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself : For I am not worthy that thou should
t enter under my Roof: IVherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee : But speak to a Word only, and my Servant fall be bealed, ver, 6, 7 It was this Faith, it
SE R M.
pears (a Faith, though so humble, yet at the same Time fo great, that our Lord himfelf witnesses all Israel could not equal it) which prevailed with Jesus. For as he believed, so was it done unto him.
In like Manner, if we expect any Healing to our Sou's, any Share in the Blessings of Christ;
it must be through Faith, through a Reliance on his Merits, Favour and Grace, who regards Mankind, not for any Works of their own, but as they confide and trust in his. And it is such Faith that makes us properly the Children of Abraham, whose Children if we are, we have then an equal Right with the Jews to the Blessings of Jesus. Nay the Jews themselves have no Right in Abraham, except they have also the Faith of Abraham. It is not their being circumcised, as he was, that makes them his Sons; but it is the having such Trust and Confidence in the Promises of God, as he had before he was circumcised: So St. Paul, I am sure, argues at large-We say that Faith was reckoned to Abraham for Righteousness. How was it then reckoned ? When he was in Circumcision or in Uncircumcision ? Not in Circumcifon, but in Uncircumcision. And be received the Sign of