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A SERMON, PREACHED IN THE NEW LUTHERAN CHURCH OF ZION, IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, At the Instance of the MINISTERS, WARDENS, and VESTRY-MEN, of the incorporated CONGRE­GATION of ST. MICHAEL's, On the 26th DAY of JUNE, 1769.

By the Revd. Mr. RICHARD PETERS, Rector of CHRIST-CHURCH and ST. PETER's, in the said City.

PHILADELPHIA: Printed by JOHN DUNLAP, at the Newest Printing-Office, in Market-street, the Third Door below Second-street. M.DCC.LXIX,

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TO THE MINISTERS, WARDENS and VESTRY­MEN, of the incorporated Congrega­tion of ST. MICHAEL's;

MY DEAR BRETHREN IN THE LORD,

IT was at your pressing Instance, that I preached this Sermon. It is at the same pressing Instance, that I con­sent to its Publication. I had many more Things wrote down in my Notes than I delivered. The Weather, you know, was hot, and my State of Health but indifferent. It would have pained both me and the Audience to have made a long Sermon. I have therefore inserted some Things that were not delivered, but have taken Care to insert none, but such as will explain the several important Points of Be­lief and Practice, that were then laid before, and pressed upon, my Hearers. The Manner in which the Text is treated is not to be got in the modern fashionable Systems of Divinity; but it is, and always has been, in the Heart of every pious Believer of the blessed Incarnation. These Per­sons are no Strangers to what is here said; but will cheer­fully assent to, and be delighted therewith. But where the Heart has not received, nor is sensible of, this blessed Incar­nation,—there, I expect Rebuke and Censure. Be it so. [Page iv] Let it produce no Ill-will, nor angry Contention. Let us not enter into Disputation about Terms. If these Censurers are sincerely desirous to know the Truth, and will apply for it, where it only can be had, in and from Christ Jesus, they will from him learn Meekness; and as soon as they have received this Grace from their Saviour, the Glory, as it is here described, will not stay long after, and then, they will possess the Thing. It makes no Difference in the Thing itself by what Name they call it, nor how they imagine it comes into their Hearts—whether with or at their Birth—or in their Baptism,—whether with or without a Person's Pre­destination and Election,—or whether, and how far they think, their own Will is concerned in it. God's Manner of conveying Grace and Power into the Heart, leaves no Room for such Questions as these.

The Scripture gives this plain Account of the Process of Salvation in every one; namely, the Seed of the Woman—the Seed of Abraham—the Seed of David—and the Seed that was by the Conception of the Holy Ghost in the Body of the Virgin Mary—opened itself in the Body of Christ, ("a Body hast thou prepared for me: Then said I, Lo! I come"—) and there grew up to its full Perfection of Glory, and is now a perfect God-man, sitting at the right Hand of God in Heaven, and helping us, who have, one as well as another, a Seed within us after its Kind, to go through our Trial here on Earth, and when this is done, to attain our Body of Glory in Heaven. In this Faith let us live and die; and [Page v] let us publicly declare that this Faith is not a Matter of Opinion, or any Thing that will bear a Dispute, but is a self-evident Manifestation made in the Heart by Christ him­self coming there, with his Kingdom of Heaven and the Glory that he had with the Father from the Beginning, agreeable to his own Declaration and Promise.

O righteous Father! the World hath not known thee: But I have known thee; and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy Name, and will declare it, that the Love, wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.

I am, Your affectionate Brother, In CHRIST JESUS, RICHARD PETERS.
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ST. LUKE, CHAP. II. V. 13th, 14th.And suddenly there was with the Angel a Multitude of the Heavenly Host praising GOD, and saying, Glory to GOD in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good­will towards Men.
MY DEAR FELLOW-CHRISTIANS OF THIS EVANGELICAL CHURCH,

MAY the God of all Grace, who hath called us to his eternal Glory by Jesus Christ, make you perfect in your Christian Course, stablish, strengthen, settle you!

Your Invitation to the Ministers and Members of the Episcopal Church, to mix their Devotions with yours, and to partake of the Joy you must needs feel on bring­ing this large Building to such an admired and astonish­ing Perfection, fills us with an high Sense of your Bro­therly Love to us in Christ Jesus. It reminds us of the Love and tender Affection which subsisted between the first Christian Churches, and which makes so large and delightful a Part of the Apostolic Epistles recorded in Scripture. All those numerous Congregations, which in divers and distant Parts, and under various Forms of [Page 8] Divine Worship, were brought together by the Apostles and first Preachers of the Gospel, had nothing afflictive or joyous in their Affairs, but what they were all alike Sharers in. As often as Occasion called them to distant Places, they went with the utmost Cheerfulness into one anothers Churches; and joined together in Communion of Prayer and Exhortation. And is it not much to be lamented, that the same affectionate Intercourse does not prevail now? Do we not all worship the one God and Father of All—the one Son and Redeemer of All—the one Holy Ghost and Sanctifier of All? What though Churches are built in different Forms; what though Ministers wear different Habits; what though every national Church has a different Mode of Expres­sion in the Compilement of their Articles and Prayers—has not Christ Jesus provided one and the same strong Coment of Love and Charity, to tie and keep all these his different Members together? Should these Differ­ences be Reasons for Enmity, Distance, or separate In­terests?—What does the Spirit of Christ say to us all on this Occasion? ‘As the Body is one, and hath many Members, and all the Members of the one Body, be­ing many, are one Body, so also is Christ; for by one Spirit are we all baptised into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.’ We heartily wish this Union of Hearts, this Commu­nion [Page 9] of affectionate Intercourse, was general among Protestant Churches: And we have a very sensible Plea­sure in being able publicly to declare, that between your Church, the Swedish Church, and our own Episcopal Church, there has always been, from the very first, a kind and loving Participation of Divine Service and Brotherly Offices. May the good God bless this disinterested friend­ly Union! and may we all use our own earnest Endea­vours to inspire the same Zeal into our Children, that we may for-ever continue in the sincere Love of one ano­ther, and in an open undisguised Participation of Wor­ship and Instruction!—And there is good Reason why it should be so: Because, if we will only look into our Liturgies, Church-Offices, and Articles of Religion, we shall find so near a Resemblance, as may well entitle us to the Name of Sister-Churches. In some Things we do differ; and with an honest open Freedom let each of us give its own the Preference. We may do it safely, and perfectly agreeable to the Spirit with which both Churches established their own particular Constitutions. Our Pray­ers breathe one and the same primitive Apostolical Piety, the same impartial universal Love. Holding these, why not differ from one another in some Points? And what hinders any of us from declaring, as I do at present, that upon the same virtuous Principles, that any one Man loves, esteems, and prefers his own Church, so any other Person may love and prefer his Church likewise; and all of us may, and ought, however we differ in Articles and [Page 10] Modes of Worship, to hold a loving Intercourse with, and do good to one another.

Having thus expressed my honest and sincere Pre­ference to my own Church, my general Love to all Protestant Churches, and my particular Regard to this Evangelical Church—let us now turn our Meditations to the Church of God in Heaven, where there is no Dif­ference in Judgment, nor any Abatement of Charity. The Holy Angels, we hope, are here present, and feel a sensible Delight at the Opening of this and of every other Protestant Church. ‘If, as our Saviour says, there is Joy in Heaven over one Sinner that repent­eth,’ as we may have an humble Confidence that this Church will be the Means of bringing many Sinners to Repentance; so these Angels cannot but be partaking of the pious Joy which fills every Breast on the Commence­ment of Divine Service in this beautiful Temple. And were the Angels at this Juncture to make their personal Appearance, (as Christ is with them, as well as with us, "All in All") they could give no ampler Testimony to his essential Glory and Divine Nature, nor to the Merits, Blessings, Extent and Character of his holy Religion, than they gave at his Incarnation, thus expressed by St. LUKE, ‘And suddenly there was with the Angel a Multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good-will towards Men.’

[Page 11] Hence it appears, my dear Fellow-Worshippers, that Christ's Religion, founded, as it wholly is, on his Incar­nation, makes every Man an Angel, and, I had almost said, every Angel a Man. It unites Heaven and Earth. By it Angels enter into all our Concerns, and become Ministers of God to us in every Thing relative to our Salvation: And by it we can without Presumption boast, that we are Fellow-Citizens with the holy Angels, and of the Houshold of God. One Nature—One Life—One Spirit—One Will with Angels—Oh! What a blessed Inter-Community is this?—How repeatedly re­vealed?—And upon what a firm Foundation establish­ed?—Do not your Hearts feel an Enlargement, that reaches to the Throne of God? Are you not by behold­ing your Face in Christ Jesus—you in him, and he in you—changed from Glory to Glory, till you see no other Difference between yourselves and the holy Angels than this—they are already made perfect, and have their Con­summation and Bliss—You are but Beginners in Glory, but proceeding, through your Union in Christ, from Step to Step, till you reach, if not exceed, the Stature of the highest Cherub and Seraph.

And that I may make you sensible of this your Im­portance in Christ Jesus, I beseech you to enter with me into the Consideration of the Divine Service and Wor­ship, which these holy Angels performed to God; the first solemn Worship that was performed at, and on Ac­count [Page 12] of, the blessed Incarnation of Christ.—Let us de­voutly examine the Ground and Foundation, the Rea­son and the Motive of their Worship. Let us look into the Temple of their Hearts, see what it was, that was stirring there, and in what Posture they stood; that we may learn, when we come into this or any other Church, how to worship God rightly, and to put ourselves into a proper Posture both of Soul and Body. You see the Subject. Let us divide it properly, that you may have a distinct Notion of it.

I. It is, first, to shew you the true and full Ground and Foundation, together with the true Reason and Motive, of this angelic Worship addressed to our Savi­our at his Incarnation:

II. It is to shew what was their Posture, and what was in their Hearts, when they sounded forth this hea­venly Hymn, that we may learn, when we enter into this or any other Church, to stand in the same Posture:

III. As all that which stirred up these heavenly Strains of Divine Worship in the Breasts of the Angels, is by Christ's Incarnation in you, and in every Man in the World, (since you may all praise God as these An­gels did, and for the same Reasons, and with the same Truth) I shall most earnestly press you to call it forth into the same spiritual and heavenly exercise.

[Page 13] ‘And there appeared with the Angel a Multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, GLO­RY to GOD in the Highest—On Earth PEACE,—GOOD-WILL towards Men.’

This, then, is the Triune Ground of their Worship—GLORY—PEACE—GOOD-WILL.—What a rich Ground is here, out of which the Worship of these Angels arose? These three Things are the eternal Representations and Symbols of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. GLORY belongs to the FATHER—PEACE and RECONCILIATION to the SON—GOOD-WILL, or a Will to all Goodness, to the HOLY GHOST. Let us speak of all these distinctly, and in their Order.

GLORY has its Source in the Most High God. There is its Center—there is its Circumference. It makes the Heaven of Heavens. It is the Outflowing of the Unity of God▪ It is the Father's first and most perfect Manifestation. Out of this Original come all the Glances and Cheerfulness that we see in our own Light, when the Sky is in its most serene and pure State and Temperament. To be in Glory is to be in God. When God puts his Glory into Men's Hearts, he gives them himself. These Angels, sensible, that all their Glory, both inward and outward, is continually received by fresh and fresh Supplies, out of and from God, acknowledge it in this Hymn; and such Acknowledgement made [Page 14] humbly and thankfully, and continually, with a true Devotion and Love of Heart, is all the Glory and Wor­ship, that the highest Angel can give to God; namely, owning, that all he is, and has, and does, is from God alone, and that he has no original personal Glory of his own, but that it is all derived—All is God in him, and he in God.

But what was the particular Reason and Cause of this present Adoration? Did this Fountain of Glory break out in any particular Place? Had it assumed any new Form? Was it come into any new Temple, that it should require a new Address, a new Act of Adoration and Worship? Yes, yes, my dear Hearers,—This, that these Angels saw, was a new Thing. They now for the first Time saw this Glory in its full Brightness, infinitely exceeding in Lustre that which shone in themselves—They saw it blazing out of the Heart of the Son of God—They saw it incarnated in the Infant Jesus—All that Glory, which filled the very high Place of their Residence—all that Glory that formed the Shechinah in the Holy of Holies—was come down upon Earth, and had brought itself into the Breast of a little Child. This was the Reason of the Appearance of a Multitude of Angels, that the Shepherds might see before-hand that Glory about the Angels, which they should behold en­circling the new-born Babe. What a self-evident Proof was this to the Shepherds of the Divinity of this Infant? [Page 15] They were not left to the Inferences of Reason—to the Application of Prophecies—but to the Evidence of their Senses; since the very Glory that shone round these An­gels, they would find shining in the very same Manner about the Babe that was lying in the Manger.—This Glory, then, was the true heavenly Sign, so much spoken of in the Law and the Prophets, by which not only these Shepherds should know for certain the Birth and Person of their Saviour, but all the devout Men in Isra­el, who had waited for the Messiah, should likewise be favoured with the same Certainty, should see the same Glory, and so with old Simeon, bless God, that they had even before their Death the Satisfaction of seeing the "Lord's Christ."

Behold in this Visit of the Angels, and its Conse­quences, (and admire and adore the eternal Truth of God for it!) a full and satisfactory Proof of the Ac­complishment of all those Prophecies, which speak of the Glory of God as a specific Excellence in the Chris­tian Dispensation! Behold this great Gospel Truth brought Home to the Senses of all the pious People among the Jews; namely, that the Glory of the second Temple infinitely exceeded the Glory of the first.

2. But then, secondly, the Angels, not only worship­ped this Glory as an Heaven manifested within the Body of the Infant; but they worshipped it on a View of the [Page 16] Effects it should work on Earth, even, UNIVERSAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION. Behold here it became a new Center, a new Source, a new Creation, which was to cover the Earth, as the Waters cover the Seas, and to be poured over all Flesh. It was to spread all over the fal­len World, and, where-ever it came, it was to redeem, save, purify, cleanse and pacify all the disturbed Ele­ments of Nature. It was to be a Fountain of new Blood in the Veins of all the corrupted Sons of Adam. It was with the Meekness of the Lamb to take away all the Sins of the World, to turn the angry, fretful, proud, envious Passions of Men into Gentleness, Sweetness and delightful Joy. In short, it was to bring every sinful Soul into Temperature, Harmony, Equality and Peace. It was in Heaven the GLORY of the Father, and from thence these Angels worshipped him as the GOD of GLORY. Now that it was in the Son, and was become in him the Brightness of the Father's Glory, it was right­ly called on Earth PEACE: For wherever it should enter, it would restore Peace, and bring every Thing into its original REST and SABBATISM. "There remaineth yet a Rest for the People of God."

3. God and Man thus reconciled, this Glory con­ceived, and assumed its last and most perfect Form, even a Spirit of universal Love, which is the third Object of the Divine Worship paid by these Angels, namely, "GOOD-WILL TOWARDS MEN."—

[Page 17] For in and out of this Brightness of Glory shining in the Heart of this new-born Babe, these Angels saw and worshipped a PROCEEDING WILL AND SPIRIT—the Spirit of Love,—an eternal and unchangeable Will to all Goodness, Happiness and Perfection, even the HO­LY GHOST himself, here called GOOD-WILL TOWARDS MEN; because this Spirit was to descend into, and be­come the Leader and Guide of all the Hearts of Men. It was to regulate their Human Fire as a sacred Tincture, an Holy Oil, a divine Breath, and heavenly Baptism, breathing through and purifying all Human Nature, sanctifying and glorifying all the Children of Men. These Angels worshipped this GOD THE HOLY GHOST, as doing his perfecting Offices first in the Body of JESUS CHRIST, and, in and by him, in the Body of every Man in the World, who would receive his Inspiration.

Having shewn this Worship in its Three-fold Distinc­tion of GLORY, PEACE and GOOD-WILL; let us attend to what is further said in Holy Writ upon this Subject, that we may be more and more convinced of the Rea­sons and Motives of this particular Act of Worship.

In the Psalms and in the Prophets, GOD foretold, that, whenever he should bring his First-born into this lower World, there, as well as in Heaven "all the An­gels should worship him." Accordingly, the HOLY JE­SUS was no sooner born, but the Angels were convened [Page 18] to render him that Homage, which was so particularly foretold. One Angel might have sufficed to announce to the whole World the Birth of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, just as GABRIEL alone was sent to the VIRGIN MARY to apprize her of the Honour intended her. But the Matter had been otherwise planned,—and therefore there was ‘with the Angel a Multitude of the hea­venly Host praising God and saying, GLORY to GOD in the Highest, and on Earth PEACE, GOOD-WILL towards Men.’

In this supernatural Convention of Angels, on this particular Occasion, another Matter was brought about, ‘even the MYSTERY, which, St. Paul says, was hid from the Beginning of the World in GOD, who created all Things by JESUS CHRIST, to the Intent that un­to the Principalities and Powers in heavenly Places might be known by the Church the manifold Wisdom of GOD according to the eternal Purpose, which he purposed in CHRIST JESUS.’ Thus these Angels beheld in the Incarnation of JESUS CHRIST what they did not know before, and what, as ST. PETER says, "they had earnestly desired to look into," namely, the Source of their own Birth. They did not desire to know this from such a Temper as SATAN did, who, from Pride, longed to find out his first Forms, think­ing that he should discover something there, that would render him independent of GOD—No, No—. These An­gels [Page 19] were of a very different Temper. They had been present, when the Spirit of Prophecy, mentioning CHRIST, had predicted things in which they were to be as much concerned as the Sons of Men. It was these partial In­timations given from Time to Time by the SPIRIT OF GOD, that occasioned their Curiosity and earnest Desire, as ST. PETER says, to know the Sufferings of CHRIST, and the Glory that should follow. Here then first at this blessed Incarnation, these Angels saw, that the WORD now become incarnate, this present SON OF GOD begin­ing to be a SON OF MAN, was and is the Creator of An­gels as well as of Men: And that all Things both in Heaven and Earth were made by him, and that not a single thing of all that was made, was made without him; that He only was in the Beginning, GOD IN GOD, GOD OF GOD; and that they, together with their Hea­ven, the eternal Seat of the Divine Presence were all after and from this JESUS: And therefore they worship­ped CHRIST from a Sense, that he was just as much their Creator and Maker and Former—just as much their Strength and Glory and Life,—(and that this was like­wise the Case with Respect to all other Principalities, Dominions and Thrones in Heaven) as he was now by his Incarnation declared to be, and to have been, from all Eternity the Reconciliation and Peace and Salvation of fallen Man.

Learn, therefore, O ye Sons of Men, from this [Page 20] plain Passage of Scripture, which manifestly includes in it all that hath been here said of CHRIST: That in all the Nature of Things both in Heaven and Earth, there was none that could bring Salvation to fallen Man, but this SON of GOD—that as GOD had created Man at first by his SON, this SON could only be his RE­DEEMER. If CHRIST had not been the Creator of An­gels, their Worship had been Idolatry. And if CHRIST had not been the CREATOR as well as REDEEMER of Man, the Worship performed to him in all Christian Churches is likewise rank Idolatry.

Thus have I, with a Copiousness which the Subject required, and which Scripture amply furnishes, finished my first Head.

II. Let me now proceed to my second general Head, and shew in what Posture these Angels stood, that is to say, what that Spirit was, which in them sounded forth this Divine Hymn; that we may learn, when we enter into this or any other Church, to put ourselves into the same Posture.

From what hath been said it appears that there nei­ther is nor can be such a Thing as Selfishness, or Self-Will, Self-Love or Self-Esteem in Heaven. Such a Falshood could never take Place, 'till the first Union be­tween GOD and the Creature was broken. 'Till then [Page 21] the Creature could not acquire an Idea or Sensibility of Self. For we see here by the Account which Scripture gives of our Creation in CHRIST JESUS, that the first Be­ginning of our Creation is in and out of JESUS CHRIST. It is not in and out of Nothing, but in and out of JESUS CHRIST, who, being the Fullness of the Godhead, and having all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge in him, brought the same Powers that were in himself into the first created man. Now what did ADAM do? What did these Angels do to help forward this creating Work? Or what share of Power had they in the forming them­selves?—None at all.—Their Capacity of receiving Happiness was from GOD. The Happiness they did receive was likewise from GOD. ‘He openeth his Hand and filleth all Things living with Plenteous­ness.’ He inspires his own Likeness and the Love of his own Goodness. The whole Image and Similitude of GOD was, in these Angels and this Adam, antece­dent to every outward Work or Action that proceeded from them.—Now what was, what could be in the Hearts of Beings thus made, and perfectly sensible, that they were thus made—perfectly sensible, that they had nothing of their Happiness either from themselves, or from one another, but that their All was from GOD? Could their Adoration be any Thing else but their Feel­ing—their Sensibility of that, which GOD was always doing in them and to them? And could it produce any Thing else but an Union of Hearts, an united [Page 22] Splendor of heavenly FIRE, LIGHT and LOVE: GOD in the Angels—and the Angels in GOD. The whole Heavens and Eternal Nature on this Occasion came into View, and were a Temple of Love, and every Angel's Heart was a living separate Apartment therein. CHRIST was the HIGH-PRIEST with the URIM and THUMMIM of MAJESTY and PERFECTION on his Breast, and the HOLY GHOST was the sacred Oyl, the Frankincense and sweet-smelling Odour that filled the whole Temple with Aromatic Fragrance: ‘All thy Garments smell of Myrrh, Aloes and Cassia.’ When these Angels turned their Countenances towards one another, as every Heart glowed with one and the same Divine Fire, the Flames of Love came forth—contracted like a Magnet, and brought all together—It made but one Pyramid of Ma­jesty, and Light and Love. What a Transcendency of Happiness is there in this Angelic Posture? Was it possible, think you, that these Angels could receive an In­crease of GLORY or GOOD-WILL?—Yes—Yes—Our SA­VIOUR, who alone felt the highest Degree of Joy that could be raised on any Occasion, shews us, how these Angels might find themselves in an higher Degree of Sensibility, than they had ever before experienced. Hear the Lip of Truth itself!—‘There is Joy among the Angels in Heaven over one Sinner that repenteth more than over Ninety and Nine just Per­sons who need no Repentance.’—You may easily conceive then, that if this was the Case as to a single [Page 23] Sinner, there must needs have been an Exuberance, an Effervescence of Joy at the endearing Prospect, which this Blessed Incarnation afforded of Salvation to a whole World of fallen Sinners. Surely, surely the Glass of Eternal Wisdom would at this Time be held up to these Angels, in which FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST were delighting themselves with the Aspects of Thousands and Thousands of lost and undone Sinners, that from the North and from the South, from the East and from the West, now happily redeemed and enlarged, were crowding in such Numbers and with such an holy Vehe­mence and Ardour into the Courts of Light, that ‘the Kingdom of Heaven itself suffered Violence.’

Attend, then, to the Posture of these Angels!—If they looked towards GOD, there was the Triune Ma­jesty of Love—if towards one another, there it was in full Communication springing forth as the Glance of a Firmament without them, and within them taking a particular Seat in every one of their Hearts, and bring­ing with it their natural Bodies of Glory.—If they look­ed towards the Earth, the same Streams of Happiness were spreading themselves all over its Surface, gliding at the same Time into every Human Heart, that felt the Power of its Redemption. Language they could have none: For such Love as this is above all Lan­guage. They could do nothing but repeat a thousand and a thousand Times this one Song of Praise: ‘GLO­RY [Page 24] to GOD in the Highest, and on Earth PEACE, GOOD-WILL towards Men.’

III. As all that which stirred up these heavenly Strains of Divine Worship in the Breasts of these Angels is, by CHRIST's Incarnation, in you and every Man in the World, since you may all praise GOD as these An­gels did, and for the same Reasons, and with the same Truth, I shall now, in the last Place, most earnestly press you to call it forth into the same spiritual and heavenly Exercise.

It is easily said, that such high Powers are in Man; (and if in one Man, then in every Man, for "with GOD there is no Respect or Distinction of Persons") but how is this proved? For surely no Man, that is once per­suaded of this Truth will be so unjust to himself, as not to trust entirely to them, and quit all Systems of Divinity, which fall short of these Powers, as inade­quate to the just Demands of a rational Religion. CHRISTIANITY makes but one Pretension, and that is, to save Man from Death, and to help him to Life. ‘In ADAM all die:—In CHRIST shall all be made alive.’ Our SAVIOUR, just as he was going to ascend into Hea­ven, after he had finished all that Part of our Redemp­tion that could be done on Earth, gives his Disciples a special Commission to go and convert all the World to his Religion. The Form is strongly expressive of what [Page 25] this Religion was in its Nature and Efficacy, and de­serves well to be minutely considered; for it most cer­tainly does warrant me with Scripture to assert what I have done as to the Powers inherent in you and in every Christian Man.

‘All Power, says our SAVIOUR, is given to me both in Heaven and Earth.—Go ye, therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the FA­THER, and of the SON and of the HOLY GHOST; teach­ing them to observe all Things, whatsoever I have commanded you, and Lo! I AM WITH YOU ALWAY EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD.’

Let us distinguish all the Parts of this Commission, and give unto each the Peculiarity of its Nature, as distinguished from every other Part. It consists of these several Particulars—"Go, teach all Nations"—‘Go, baptize all Nations—in the Name of the FATHER, and of the SON and of the HOLY GHOST.’—Go, teach all Nations to observe all Things, whatsoever I have commanded you—and in, and while you are doing this in all Places and in all Ages, I shall accompany you, and be with you to the End of the World."

"Go, teach all Nations." The Word in the Origi­nal is— [...]—Go and disciple all Nations—as much as to say—Go and communicate to all Nations [Page 26] every Word that I have said, and every Thing that I have done relative to Salvation, which I have commu­nicated to you in the whole Course of my being and conversing with you, in the particular Character of my Disciples—Go and assure them in my Name, that every Thing I spake to you in the Character of the MESSIAH, every Thing I have done and promised to do, in and for you, is the very same as if I had said and done and promised it to every particular Man in the World: For I have nothing in Charge from my FATHER in Fa­vour of any Man, or any one of you my Disciples re­lative to Redemption, that is not equally in Favour of every other Man in the World. Go, therefore, to all Nations without any Distinction, and make them in my Name these most solemn Assurances, that when they, through your Instruction and Baptism, become Disciples to my Religion, they will be as much entitled to every Thing that has been said to you, or any others either privately or publicly, relative to Salvation, by me in my Character of the MESSIAH, as you are: And that they may know this to be Truth and Reality in their own Persons, just as you do, baptize them in the NAME of the FATHER, and of the SON, and of the HOLY GHOST—that is, in other Words—Go and use the same Ceremony of Baptism, that has always been in Use in the Church: And when you administer it, make a most solemn De­claration in my Name, that every Man so introduced into the Church by you or your Successors, shall be re­ceived [Page 27] into a Participation of the Power, Nature, Life and Spirit of FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST; their essential Powers shall be given to them by these three sa­cred Persons in the Divinity, who shall live and dwell and work in and with them all the Time they are in this World, in the same Manner as they did live and dwell and work in me all the while I lived on Earth in the Body which I took out of the VIRGIN MARY: And as this was in every Respect like their own Bodies, I can therefore unite with them just as I did with it, and I will unite with them, and become incarnate in their Bodies just as I did in my own Body.

"Together with this Baptism, all the Effect of which is to take Place by my own Incarnation and Operation in them, you are to instruct all Nations without Distinc­tion, and enjoin them that they will take Care to ob­serve every Thing that I have communicated to you, as my Disciples, either in the Way of Precept, Informa­tion, Illumination, Inspiration, or any other Kind of Revelation or Manifestation, either natural or superna­tural. Instruct them in all these Things—Hide nothing from them—Lay it before them in the same easy and sa­tisfactory Manner as I have laid it before you—Bear your Testimony concerning the Whole of it to all these Nations—Assure them, as my Witnesses, that it was said and came to pass to and in your own Persons, and that you can, therefore, speak of it with the same Certainty [Page 28] as you can of any other Things that are made known to you by your earthly Senses.—Go and bear this further Witness, that all, who, through your Means, become my Disciples, with the same Truth and Honesty that you are become Disciples, shall, like you, find the same Things done in themselves, and become like you living and true Witnesses of the Truth of my Religion: And be assured, that in order to enable you to experience these Things in yourselves, and to make others likewise experience them, I will be with you and them to the End of the World."

Thus have I given you the distinct Meaning of the Terms made Use of, viz. The NAME of FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST; and of the Nature, Power and Efficacy of the Baptism administered in their Name. Numbers of Texts might be adduced in Proof of this honest and full Explanation: But detached Texts may be made to speak any Thing and every Thing: There­fore to avoid such an useless Adducement of single Pas­sages of Scripture, I shall lay before you a continued Discourse, made by our SAVIOUR, just before his Ap­prehension in the Garden, wherein all that is said by our SAVIOUR is evidently upon the same Subject we are now speaking of. This is in the XVIIth Chapter of St. JOHN's Gospel, which I cannot shorten without Injury to the Sense, and therefore shall transcribe the whole for your most serious Consideration.

[Page 29] ‘These Words spake JESUS, and lift up his Eyes to Heaven, and said, FATHER, the Hour is come; glo­rify thy SON, that thy SON also may glorify thee. As thou hast given him Power over all Flesh, that he should give Eternal Life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is Life Eternal, that they might know thee the only true GOD, and JESUS CHRIST whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the Earth: I have finished the Work, which thou gavest me to do. And now, O FATHER, glorify thou me with thine own Self, with the Glory which I had with thee before the World was. I have manifested thy Name unto the Men which thou gavest me out of the World: Thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy Word. Now they have known, that all Things whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee. For I have given unto them the Words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely, that I came out from thee, and they have believed, that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the World, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the World; but these are in the World, and I come to thee. HOLY FATHER! keep through thine own Name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the World, I kept them in [Page 30] thy Name: Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the Son of Perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee, and these Things I speak in the World, that they might have my Joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy Word, and the World hath hated them, because they are not of the World, even as I am not of the World. I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the World, but that thou shouldst keep them from the Evil. They are not of the World, even as I am not of the World. Sanctify them through thy Truth; thy Word is Truth. As thou hast sent me into the World, even so have I also sent them into the World. And for their Sakes I sanc­tify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the Truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also, which shall believe on me through their Word: That they all may be one, as thou, FATHER, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: That the World may believe that thou hast sent me. And the Glory, which thou gavest me, I have given them: That they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the World may know that thou hast sent me,—and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. FATHER, I will, that they also, whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my Glory, which thou hast given me: For [Page 31] thou lovedst me before the Foundation of the World. O righteous FATHER, the World hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known, that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy Name, and will declare it; that the Love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.’

If this Discourse, which is a connected, designed and devout Address of our BLESSED LORD to his Disciples, all dictated by divine Love, and all to the present Point, de duly considered, I may proceed to ask, whether the Words can have any other Meaning than this—That GOD the FATHER, and GOD the SON, and GOD the HO­LY GHOST will, by Covenant, and agreeable to the Plan of Redemption, as settled in Heaven, and gradually revealed by MOSES and the PROPHETS, by CHRIST and his APOSTLES, make such an inward and real Operation in the Soul of every Christian, as will bring into it a Manifestation of GOD, and heavenly Glory, and Eter­nal Life—of the very Life and Kingdom where CHRIST now dwells at the Right Hand of GOD? And let me ask further, can such a Manifestation be made to any Soul of Man, on any other Supposition, but that the same GOD, that makes this Manifestation, has already in the Constitution of the Soul, by the redeeming Grace of CHRIST, given it a Power and Capacity to receive and become a Partaker of the heavenly Power, Nature and [Page 32] Glory, which he is thus from Eternity to Eternity mani­festing in it?

Here then I rest. This is the Foundation, Ground and Reason why, with the Scripture, I declare to you, that you have all the same Powers, and can with the same Truth of Nature sing forth the same Praises, as these Angels did: And, therefore, as much as Eternity is pre­ferable to Time, as much as heavenly Powers surpass earthly Powers, with an Ardour proportionable to this great Difference, I beseech you to turn to your incarnate SAVIOUR. In and through him you have in you all that which is in these Holy Angels. There is this Differ­ence—We see but in Part, as through a Glass darkly—they see even as they are seen—They have an outward Heaven—Ours is yet hidden within the Heart—But it is as much an Heaven as theirs—and will and must grow to the Height of theirs, if we will suffer it to grow—We live by Faith and Hope—They, by Possession and Light. But should this be any Discouragement? No—Because the very JESUS that gives them the Fullness of their Light, and the Powers, Colours and Virtues of the Figures and Fruits that are perpetually within their View, and tasted with all the Luxuriancy of a perfected Sensation—That very JESUS gives us the same Things, as a Nourishment of our Faith and Hope, that we may gradually, as every other Thing in Nature does, grow up to that Perfection of Love which makes the Felicity [Page 33] of these Angels. I say as every other Thing in Nature does; for between the Growth of our heavenly and earthly Powers and Graces, there is an exact Simili­tude. Look at the Root of the Lily, or any other Flower, it will shew you your own Nature and Powers—how they may lie dormant, and how they come to be quickened again to Life. When the Root of a Lily or Rose, or any other Flower, is in a Drawer, or in the frozen Ground, in the Middle of an hard Winter, it has in it, even in this State of Death and Inactivity, all that which makes its Beauty and sweet Smell when it comes to blow in the Summer. The Sun, it is true, brings forth all this into it, but the Sun does not give it its Nature; this was in it at all Times, and as much when it lay in the Drawer as when the Sun is operating upon it with its Summer Heat. For if it had not the Peculiarity of the Lily in its Nature, the Sun would have no more Power over it, to make it produce its fine Colourings, and sweet Smell, than over any other common Lump of Earth. Be not, therefore, discouraged, that your spiritual Powers are by Nature in this defective inactive State; but learn from this Comparison, that JESUS CHRIST, the Light and Life of the spiritual World, does all that to your dead, hard, angelic Nature, shut up in an outward Body of earthly Flesh and Blood, which the Sun of this World does to the Lily Root, namely, he helps you, and every other heavenly Man, out of his own present Death, into his highest [Page 34] State of Life. You can have no Doubt then, my dear Fellow-Worshippers, but the very same high Powers, that were and are in CHRIST JESUS, are in you; for he is in you THE HOPE OF GLORY. All that is now neces­sary is to know and distinguish CHRIST, and his Resi­dence in you. And let me tell you this Gospel Truth, that you have as complete and real a Way to know this as these Angels have.—You may know it by these Marks, and Sensibilities—When you are all Hunger and all Thirst for Goodness, and an heavenly Life: When you see, not from Reasoning and Speculation, but by the Understanding, which is opened by the SPIRIT of GOD to your own Spirit, your own Nothingness—your own total Inability to bring forth Good in yourselves without abiding in CHRIST; and can and do, without mourning and grieving on this Account, rejoice in GOD, that he has shewn you your own natural Inability, not to tor­ment you, nor to leave you in the Anguish of a Desire not obtained, but in and through this Hunger and Long­ing, to pour into you the Riches of his Grace, and eve­ry Sort of Divine Food, that can nourish you to eternal Life. Could you have done any the least Thing in the World towards regaining your first lost heavenly Life, he would have had no Need to come into your Bodies by the new and living Way, which he hath consecrated. You can never mistake his Presence and Power over you. When you find your Hearts formed to Holiness, Good­ness, Charity, mutual Forbearance and every Sensi­bility, [Page 35] which the Spirit of Love can inspire—then you are sure, that JESUS is within you.—Then adore, wor­ship, serve and conform to this GOD within you. Give him Thanks and Praise—nor give him barely the Praise of your Tongue, and the Adoration of your Heart—but go and conform to the good Temper he hath brought into you. Go among your Fellow-Creatures—Go about doing Good—See, whether among your Families, in your Neighbourhood, among your Friends, yea and among your Enemies too, there is any Good to be done, any Differences to be settled, any injured Reputation to be redressed, any sick Man to be comforted, any in­nocent Modesty to be encouraged and brought into Ac­tion: For all this is JESUS CHRIST in you of a Truth: And do every good Thing you can any where, as Op­portunity presents; and do it quickly, cheerfully and effectually, for its own Sake, because it is good, know­ing that CHRIST does Good always for its own Sake.

This is all the Worship you can perform to GOD, in Return for the Good his HOLY JESUS is always doing in you, namely, not to oppose the working of his Spirit in you—Do you but desire him to mend your Hearts, and he will do it. A Christian cannot be at any Uncertainty about the present or future State of his Soul, or be ig­norant of what he is or to what he belongs, whether to the good or the wicked Spirit—since he finds in Scripture all the Things, all the Feelings, all the Sensibilities, all [Page 36] the Passions described and ranged under their proper Masters—Every Thing is minutely put down in this blessed Book, that the Spirit of JESUS works and effects in our Hearts.

Would you (I again repeat it) know the JESUS of the holy Scriptures? Would you know the true CHRIST of GOD?—You can never know him otherwise than as you know yourselves, by a Self-evident Sensibility of what passes, and is done, and felt, in your own Spirits—When Love, Benevolence, Generosity, Goodness, Pa­tience, Meekness and Humanity, are the reigning Af­fections of your Hearts, then CHRIST is in you of a Truth. For these, as I said, are declared in Scripture to be the true genuine Fruits of the HOLY SPIRIT—These are the Branches, CHRIST is the true Vine, and the FATHER is the Husbandman.

To conclude, would we worship GOD on Earth as the Angels do in Heaven, we should neither think, nor speak, nor know any Thing of SELF. They know no more than this, that GOD, when he made them, brought himself into a finite Figure, which he took out of his own Nature at his own good Will and Pleasure; and when he had done all that was agreeable to his own good Pleasure, as to their outward Form and Shape, then he brought his BLESSED SON into their Hearts.—This bringing his SON into their Hearts was not fully [Page 37] known. ‘It was a MYSTERY hid in GOD—namely, that he created all Things by JESUS CHRIST.’ This MYSTERY they saw more fully opened—and they wor­shipped the HOLY JESUS as a MYSTERY just opening—‘And, without Controversy, great is the MYSTERY of GODLINESS—GOD was manifest in the Flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gen­tiles, believed on in the World, received up into Glory.’—With this I began—with this I end: This is and ever will, with all good Christians, be the Begin­ning, Middle and End, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last—And I pray GOD it may be so to us all!—AMEN, AMEN.

FINIS.

ERRATUM.

Page 31, Line 9, for "to" read "for his Disciples,"

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