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· In this part of our Case, the Application, I bless God, is made to my Hands. His Care over us has already appeared, and we are like to be saved whether we desire it or
Let us then raise our Hearts to a just Sense of our Deliverance, that we may unfeignedly adore his holy Name for all his Mercies; and let us strive together to promote his Glory by a constant and stedfast Adherence to the Church established, by a dutiful and ready Submission to our Prince, and by Love and Charity one among another.
Matt. iv. 17. From that Time Jesus began to preach, and
to say, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.
THE Design of this Meeting being to
I promote the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign Parts ; and the Success of this Work depending on such Methods as human Prudence can suggest, now left deftitute of those miraculous Aslistances, which the Church of Christ in her Infancy enjoyed; the Occasion will naturally suggest to your Thoughts, the Confideration of the Encouragements and Difficulties which attend this Undertaking; and of the Methods proper to attain this End, so much to be desired by every good and pious Christian :
but yet, since I succeed much abler Men, who have gone before me in the Performance of this Duty, and have with great Judgment considered these necessary Points; since also I stand at present before so many much abler, whose Thoughts have long dwelt upon this important Subject ;' I beg Leave to decline the unequal Task, and to spend the Time allotted me in considering upon what Foot the Gospel first set out in the World, when it was published by our blef. fed Saviour and his Apostles; and what it had to recommend it to the Reason of Mankind, abstracted from those Signs and Wonders, which were wrought by the Hand of God for its Confirmation.
The holy Evangelist tells us, that the. first Doctrine which our blessed Lord taught, was that of Repentance; From that Time Yesus began to preach, and to say, Repent : That he taught it as necessary to qualify Men for the Kingdom of Heaven ; Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand. What is to be understood by the Kingdom of Heaven's being at Hand, may be learnt from the parallel Place in St. Mark, chap. i. 14, 15. Now after that John was put in Prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching
the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, The Time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at Hand: Repent ye, and believe the Gospel. Now whatever we understand by the Kingdom of Heaven, it is plain that the Reason why it was said to be at Hand, was because the Time was fulfilled, for the publishing the Gospel to all the World ; and that the Exhortation in St. Matthew, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand, is the same with that recorded in St. Mark, Repent ye, and believe the Gospel. From whence it is evident, that Repentance was inculcated, as necessary to prepare us for receiving the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
The fame appears likewise, from the preaching of John the Baptist, who taught the fame Doctrine, and in the same Words with our blessed Saviour ; he was that Voice crying in the Wilderness, Prepare ye the Way of the Lord, make his Paths fraight. As it was his proper Office to prepare the World for the Reception of the great Prophet, who was to come after him, we may certainly conclude from his Preaching, what was the neceffary Preparation required ; and as his Doctrine was confined to the fingle Point of Repentance, this was undoubtedly the ne
cessary Qualification for all who were to receive the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
As our Saviour, and his Forerunner the Baptist, taught Repentance as the first neceffary Step to the Gospel ; so also did the Apostles. When the Twelve were sent out by our blessed Lord in the 6th of St Mark, the Evangelist tells us in the 12th Verse, that they went out and preached, that Men
Should repent : St. Peter, in his first Sermon :: recorded in the ad of the Afts, exhorts his
Countrymen to repent, and be baptized, for the Remission of Sins, Verse 38. And in the 20th of the AEts, St. Paul tells us how he had spent his Time, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, Repentance towards God, and Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, Verse 21st; which were the very Topics insisted on by our Lord, when he called upon Men to repent and to believe the Gospel. The same Account he gives of his preaching to King Agrippa, Afts xxvi. 20. namely, that he had Thewed both to Few and Gentile, that they should repent, and turn to God, and do Works meet for Repentance. In the lith of the Acts it is said, that the Apostles and Brethren in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the