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That the work of the Spirit, though it be not tied to any means in heaven or earth, yet it is ordinarily dispensed by the preaching of the word; the administration of the sacraments; the covenants of the fathers upon the children, prayer, reading; the censures of the Church ; the society of the godly; the cross and afflictions ; God's benefits ; his judgments upon others; miracles; the contemplation of his creatures : all which, though some be more principal, God useth as the means of vocation and conversion of his elect; not derogating from his power to call immediately by his grace, and at all hours and moments of the day, that is, of man's life, according to his good pleasure.
That the word of God, whereby his will is revealed, continued in revelation and tradition until Moses; and that the Scriptures were from Moses's time to the times of the apostles and evangelists; in whose age, after the coming of the Holy Ghost, the teacher of all truth, the book of the Scriptures was shut and closed, so as not to receive any new addition; and that the Church hath no power over the Scriptures to teach or command any thing contrary to the written word, but is as the ark, wherein the tables of the first testament were kept and preserved: that is to say, the Church hath only the custody and delivery over of the Scriptures committed unto the same; together with the interpretation of them, but such only as is conceived from themselves.
That there is an universal or catholic Church of
God, dispersed over the face of the earth, which is Christ's spouse, and Christ's body; being gathered of the fathers of the old world, of the Church of the Jews, of the spirits of the faithful dissolved, and the spirits of the faithful militant, and of the names yet to be born, which are already written in the book of life. That there is also a visible Church, distinguished by the outward works of God's covenant, and the receiving of the holy doctrine, with the use of the mysteries of God, and the invocation, and sanctification of his holy name. That there is also an holy succession in the prophets of the new testament and fathers of the Church, from the time of the apostles and disciples which saw our Saviour in the flesh, unto the consummation of the work of the ministry; which persons are called from God by gift, or inward anointing ; and the vocation of God followed by an outward calling and ordination of the Church.
I believe, that the souls of such as die in the Lord are blessed, and rest from their labours, and enjoy the sight of God, yet so, as they are in expectation of a farther revelation of their glory in the last day. At which time all Aesh of man shall arise and be changed, and shall appear and receive from Jesus Christ his eternal judgment; and the glory of the saints shall then be full: and the kingdom shall be given up to God the Father: from which time all things shall continue for ever in that being and state, which then they shall receive. So as there a times, if times they may be called, or pay
nity: The first, the time before beginnings, when the Godhead was only, without the being of any creature: the second, the time of the mystery, which continueth from the creation to the dissolution of the world : and the third, the time of the revelation of the sons of God; which time is the last, and is everlasting without change.
THE CHARACTERS OF A BELIEVING CHRISTIAN,
IN PARADOXES AND SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS.
1. A CHRISTIAN is one that believes things his reason cannot comprehend; he hopes for things which neither he nor any man alive ever saw : he labours for that which he knoweth he shall never obtain; yet in the issue, his belief appears not to be false ; his hope makes him not ashamed; his labour is not in vain.
2. He believes three to be one, and one to be three; a father not to be elder than his son; a son to be equal with his father; and one proceeding from both to be equal with both ; he believing three persons in one nature, and two natures in one person.
3. He believes a virgin to be a mother of a son; and that very son of her's to be her maker. He believes him to have been shut up in a narrow room, whom heaven and earth could not contain. He believes him to have been born in time, who was and is from everlasting. He believes him to have been a weak child, carried in arms, who is the Almighty ; and him once to have died, who only hath life and immortality in himself.
4. He believes the God of all grace to have been angry with one that hath never offended him; and hat God, that hates sin, to be reconciled to himself, hough sinning continually, and never making, or peing able to make him satisfaction. He believes a nost just God to have punished a most just person,
and to have justified himself though a most ungodly sinner. He believes himself freely pardoned, and yet a sufficient satisfaction was made for him.
5. He believes himself to be precious in God's sight, and yet lothes himself in his own. He dares not justify himself even in those things wherein he can find no fault with himself, and yet believes God accepts him in those services wherein he is able to find many faults.
6. He praises God for his justice, and yet fears him for his mercy. He is so ashamed as that he dares not open his mouth before God; and yet he comes with boldness to God, and asks him any thing he needs. He is so humble as to acknowledge himself to deserve nothing but evil; and yet believes that God means him all good. He is one that fears always, yet is as bold as a lion. He is often sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; many times complaining, yet always giving of thanks. He is the most lowlyminded, yet the greatest aspirer; most contented, yet ever craving.
7. He bears a lofty spirit in a mean condition; when he is ablest, he thinks meanest of himself. He is rich in poverty, and poor in the midst of riches. He believes all the world to be his, yet he dares take nothing without special leave from God. He covenants with God for nothing, yet looks for a great reward. He loseth his life and gains by it; and whilst he loseth it, he saveth it.
8. He lives not to himself, yet of all others he is most wise for himself. He denieth himself often, yet