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CHA P. Lord from the least to the greatest, (Jer. xxxi. 34.) XVIII. glad Tidings to all People; the Peace of God,
freaching Peace by Jesus Christ; being saved, justified finally; yoy, Eternal Life, &c.
MAKING known what is the Riches of the Glory of this Mystery, that our Hearts
be comforted; and when Words fail of extolling the great Riches of that Grace, we are to abound therein with Thanksgiving * Let the Peace of God rule + in our Hearts, i. e. according to the Force of the Original, moderate and decide Controversies; to the which Peace we are called, but not to doubtfut Disputation in our Knowledge of Christ. That Love of Christ passeth Knowledge, i, e, excelleth, surpasseth, according to the Original, all other Knowledge ; and that Peace of God in like manner, passeth all other Understanding or Science, being a Peace which the World cannot give.
And because we may so well understand that Divine Science, the Powers of that Faculty (Simplex Apprehensio, Judicium, Discursus) improving in that part of the Mystery, according to what is commanded, are said to be most profitably filled with the Fulness of the Knowledge of God in Chrift, reconciling the World to himself, which is the Glory and Perfection of our Knowledge of them: Especially when they take into consideration the Fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him bodily || for making him a complete Mediator of Redemption and Interceflion for us; and that Measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Christ to which they may grow and improve, and make a CH A P. perfect Man in the Knowledge of that Mystery. XVIII. The Love of God in sending his Son into the World, and the Love and Humiliation of the Son taking our Nature upon him, and by his Death, Resurrection, and Ascension perfecting our Peace and Reconciliation, is the wondrous Disclosure of the Mystery of Godliness, the Fountain of all Mercy and Pardon, Means of Grace and Hopes of Glory, the exciting Principle of Repentance and Prayer, and a perpetual Fund of Obedience, Thanksgiving, and Adoration.
* Col. i.
27. i Col. ii. 9.
ť Rom. xiv. 1.
WOULD we be inform'd wherein he hath abounded towards us in all Wisdom and Prudence of the Mystery? It consists in the Redemption we bave through bis Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins according to the Riches of bis Grace * Or would we be contented with St. Paul's own Knowledge of the Matter ? he declares it to consist in the famet; and confines himself to that Point ; and calls his writing of it, the speaking the W1fdom of God in a Mystery F. Would we know the great Article of Faith to which he would have all the Nations obedient, to whom the Mystery, the Preaching of Jesus Christ is made manifest by the Scriptures $; he acquaints us in ihe begining of thac Ep. + that it is, concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the Seed of David according to the Flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with Power, according to the Spirit of Holiness by tbe Resurre&tion from the Dead.
Epl. i. 7, 8. + - iii. 3, 4, compared with ch. i. 7, 8.
1 1 Cor. ii. 2. I Rom. xvi. 25, 26. + Ch. i. 3, 4, 5.
CH A P.
and of Christ, he declares himself made an
Christian, that the Holy one who saw no Corruption was the Son of God. All the after Miracles were wrought in the Name of Christ rilen, and to attest that Truth; and what Truth, what Fact was ever so well attested by History? For he not only wrought many Miracles by his own Power, and in his own Name (doing others, fometimes as the Prophet, the Sent of God, anointed with the Holy Ghost and with Power) the Abundance of which St. John, in the Close of his Gospel, makes a Case of Record, that he was the Son of God. But the Miracle of all was, his raising himself from the Dead, as he afferts of his own Power to do, Demonstration of
nipotence! Therefore doubtless the Son of God.
* Rom. i. 16.
XVIII: Would we lastly know, what the Apostle calls a great Mystery, and then we shall have gone through all the Scriptures, where Mystery is mentioned in reference to Christ, or his Divinity) there are but two Places, Eph. v. 32. I Tim. ii. 16. And if all the other Paffages apply Mystery to practical Purposes and not to Theories, even those Places where great is superadded to Mystery, will be found still more in the same Design. Epb. v. 32. The Spirit of Revelation condescends to apply the Union be tween the Husband and Wife to illustrate the intimate Love and Relation between Christ and his Church; but especially that Instance of it in the preceding Verse, For this Cause all a Man leave his Fatber, &c. and cleave to, &c. This is a great Mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. That is, as the Man leaves bis Father, &c. so Christ left, as it were, his Father to be joined to his Church: Prodigious Love, and Condescension ! And what better Argument for our Love, and Submiffion to him?
1 Tim. iii, 16. And without Controversy, great is the Mystery of Godliness : God was manifest in the Flesh, &c. The Incarnation of our Lord and Saviour is worthily called a great Mystery, inasmuch as the real Divinity and Humanity of Christ, as Son of God, and Son of Man, is the great Point and Corner-Stone of Christianity. The Creed commonly calld Athanafan, says nothing but the Truth, a Truth worth all the rest ; " The right Faith is this, that we be“ lieve and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ "the Son of God, is God and Man." Buc how much is it our Prudence to observe further,
CH A P. for what End is it divulg'd ? to what Uses apXVIII.
pointed ? and what sort of Mystery described ? Nor a Speculative, not a Notional one, devised for Disputation ; but a truly quiet, religious, practical, and exceeding wise one ; improveable to Godliness only, that is the Conduct of the , Mystery, that is its very Proposal, that is the whole of its express’d Contents, whenever we are so wise as to lay aside vain Philosophy ; tho' we know and believe, or think we know and believe many things concerning it, we know them all amiss, if our Knowledge does not confine itfulf to this point. The inconceivable Part, the perpetual Theme of Controversy, is not the Mystery of Godliness, but that which is intelligible and matter of Fact, plainly set down, God manifested in the Flesh: The Sum of that and the Scope of the Particulars following justified in the Spirit, &c. is GODLINESS; that is the great Aim of this great Mystery ; confirm'd by and confined to the Necessity of holding the Mystery of that Faith in a pure Conscience towards God and Man: next to the Being of God, the Apostle would have it accounted the most certain Thing in the World ; and to be so confessedly plain, as to be without any Controversy among Christians. And it is the more observable, that this great Apostle, who was favour'd with the last Knowledge and Discovery from the Lord Jesus himself, concerning the Mystery of himself, in his Directions to Timothy, should fix and ascertain the precise Meaning, single View, and entire Purpose of it, to Godliness, and a pure Conscience: To certain Godliness, not to doubtful Disputation ; to God. liness and Honesty, tending to heavenly Felicity, not worldly Wrangling. This is the worthy