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fetting, afide the Christian, or any. Reuver lation, if what is offered in its favour carries with it the greater and higher degree of probability. When any ques stion adinits of a dispute, common justice requires that every thing should be brought into the case which makes either for, er against that question ; and wherever upon a fair.comparison, the greater and higher degree of probability lies, that ought in reason to determine our judgments, either for or against that question.
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SECTION I. :-it H E great end and the professed design
of our Lord Jesus Christ as to his coming into the world, and with re
spect to what he has revealed to it, performed in it, and suffered from it, and for it, is manifestly and apparently this, viz. to save mens fouls ; that is, it is to prepare men for, and to insure to them the favour of God, and their happiness in another world, and to prevent them from bringing great and lasting misery upon themselves. And that this is the truth of the case is most evident from Christ's own repeated declarations concerning this matter. Matth. xviii. 11. For the fon of man is come to save that which was loft. Luke ix. 56. For the son of man is not come to destroy mens lives, but to save them. Chap. xix, 10. For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was loft. John iii. 16, 17. For God so loved the world, that he gave bis only begotten fon;
that whosoever believeth in him, pould not perih, but have everlasting life. For God fent not bis fon into the world to condemn the world; but that the world thro? him might be saved. Chap. y. 24. Verily, verily I say unto you, be that beareth my word, and believeth on him that fent me, bath everlasting life, and Mall not come into condemnation: but bats passed from death unto life, Chap. vi. 40. And this is the will of him that fent me, that every one which seeth the son, and believeth on bim, may have everlasting life : and I will raise bim up at the last day. Chap. x. 10. I am come that they might bave life, and that they might bave it more abundantly. Chap. xii. 47. And if any man bear my words, and believe not, I judge him not ; for I am not come to judge the world, but to save it. From these and such like declarations which Chrift has made, it is most evident and apparent, not only that men by their vices and wickedness had rendred themselves unworthy of God's fa, vour, and had exposed themselves to his juft dif pleasure; but also that the great end and the pror fessed design which Christ came into the world to prosecute, was to procure their falvation; which in other words is the same as to say, that his great end and design was to prepare men for, and to insure to them, the favour of God, and their happiness in another world, and to prevent them from being greatly and lastingly miserable. And,
As this was the main or chief end which Christ came into the world to prosecute; fo in confequence thereof, and thereby in a secondary and less proper sense, he may be said to come into the world to promote and secure the present well-being of mankind; namely, to lead men to present pleac
fure, and to secure them from prefent misery, as the pleasures and pains of this world, are generally connected with the pains and pleasures of another; that is, what fits and prepares a man for future felicity, generally tends to make him easy and happy here, and what exposes a man to the miferies of another world, generally tends to make him unhappy and miserable in this. And in this view bf the case, Christianity may as truly be said to be subservient to mens present as to their future wellbeing; not by investing any Christian with any temporal power or jurisdiction over his brethren or fellow Christians, out of which his present good or temporal advantage might arise; but only by engaging each and every individual to put on such a temper of mind, and such a behaviour, as ren ders each person a blessing to himself, and to fociety, and from which temper and behaviour the present temporal good of each individual generally fows. Christianity was not intended, and therefore it has made no provision, for the investing any Chriftian, nor any set, or order, or body of men amongst Christians, with any the least degree of temporal power of wealth, any otherwise than as it engages each individual in the practice of that virtue which may render him worthy to be intrusted with the former in civil society, and as it leads him to that diligence, industry, and frugality, which is productive of the latter. And,
As the grand design of Christ and the Christian revelation is to promote the future good and being of mankind, and not the present interest of ány person, but only as the latter is connected with, and naturally flows, from the former: fo whenever the name of the revelation of Christ is B 2
made use of to support and carry on the temporal interest of any Christian, or any fet, or order, or body of men among Christians, by investing them with any the least degree of temporal power out of which their present interest might arise, this is manifestly an abuse of the name and of the revelation of Christ, by making these subfervient to other and contrary purposes than what they were intended. I would not be understood to mean that Christians as Christians have not a right to make use of the name and the revelation of Christ, by way of argument or motive in order to perswade and engage each other to the practice of justice, gratitude, and benevolence, out of which the temporal good of many Christians must arise, there being in these cases no temporal power or jurisdiction at all; but what I intend is, that 110 Christian considered as a Christian, and by virtue of his being such, has any coercive power or jurifdi&tion over the persons or properties of any other Christians, so as to have a right forcibly to oblige them to any thing, or to mulet or punish thein for their non-compliance, Christ. not having delegated any such power; and when, or wherever it has been claimed and exercised, it has been subversive of the great end and purpose of his coming, and of his preaching and minis stry; that is, it has been injurious to the present and future happiness of mankind. Wir
To believe in, and to submit to be governed by the laws of Christ, is what, and what alone, con Ritutes a Christian; and it is this which contracts the relation betwixt Christ and his people. Whoever therefore believes in, and lubniits to be governed by the laws of Christ, by