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SER M. merly made under the old testament ; but it doth CCXXV.
only formally contain in it a belief of the gospel, viz. chat revelation which God hath in these last days made to the world by his Son Jesus Christ. The heathens who were destitute of divine revelation, did only believe the principles of natural religion ; and the generality of them did not believe those, but in a very imperfect manner. The “ Jews, to whom “ were committed the oracles of God," did superadd to the belief of the principles of natural religion, the belief of such revelations as God was pleased to make to them under that dispensation. Christian faith fuperadds to both the former, a belief of the revelation of the gospel.
I shall now therefore, by God's affistance, endeavour to open to you the nature of christian faith from these words ; in which you have these three things considerable.
First, the end of committing the gospel to writing, which was to persuade men to believe in Christ, to propagate and continue christian faith in the world; “ these things are written, that you might believe “ that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;" and by faith to bring men to a participation of thofe benefits, and the falvation which Christ was the author of ; " and that believing, ye might have life " through his name. These are written,” TRŪT% “ these,” which may either refer to onucia, “ thefe
signs or miracles," referring to the former verse, “ and many other signs, &c.” but “ these signs," or “ miracles are written" to confirm Jesus to be the person he pretended to be, the Messias, the Son of God, and consequently to confirm the truth of the doctrine which he delivered; that by this confirmation, men might be induced to believe him to be
the true Messias, and to give entertainment to his SERM.
Or else (which is very probable) the word Tauta may refer to the whole history of the gospel, in which you have an account of the life of Christ, and the doctrine which he taught, and the miracles which were wrought for the confirmation of it. And so we may look upon these two verses as a conclusion of the whole history of the gospel writ by the four evangelists. For as for the chapter following, it seems not to be written by St. John himself, but by the church, probably as Grotius conjectures by the church of Ephesus, where he had resided, and whom he had acquainted with the particulars which are there set down; the principle of which is, the prediction of our Saviour concerning his long life, for the sake of which the rest of the story seems to be brought in ; which particular was not fit to be recorded till after his death ; I say, it seems probable that St. John ended his gospel here, and that the last chapter was added by others, as the last chapter of the pentateuch was added by some other after the death of Moses; and the last chapter of Joshua after his death. And this seems very evident from the 24th verse of the chapter ; where, after a relation of our Saviour's prediction, concerning
" the disciple whom Jesus loved,” it is added, “this is the
disciple which testified of these things, and wrote “ these things” (that is the foregoing history of the gospel) “ and we know that his teftimony is true;" which seems plainly to be spoken by some other perfons : for it were improper for him to say this of himfelf, “ we know that his testimony is true.”
So that here seems to be the end of the history of CHRIST, which St. John wrote: and these two verses
SER M. feeni to be the conclusion of the whole gospel writCCXXV.
ten by the four evangelists'; and then the sense of them will be this ; “ many other signs truly did JE-6
sus in the presence of his disciples, which are not “ written in this book ;” that is, the disciples were witnesses of many other miracles which CHRIST wrought, which they did not think necessary to fet down in this book, that is, in this history of Christ witten by the four evangelists : « But these are writ“ ten, that ye might believe that Jesus is the CHRIST “ the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have “ life through his name ;” that is, these things which are recorded in this hiftory, this account which is here given of the life and actions and doctrine and miracles of Christ, is sufficient to bring men to the faith of the gospel, to satisfy men that Christ was the Messias, the Son of God, and consequently that his doctrine is true.
And that this conclusion doth refer to the whole history of the gospel written by the four evangelifts, I am induced to believe upon these two accounts.
1. Because St. John's gospel doth not seem to be intended for a history of the life and actions of Christ: but an appendix to the history, which had been written before by the other evangelists, and to supply only what they had omitted. Therefore you shall find that he gives no account of the genea. logy or birth of our Saviour, nor of his sermon upon the mount, which did contain the sum of his doctrine, nor of any of his miracles or his other discourses which are related by the other evangelists ; nor doth he relate any more of the history of his life, than was just necessary to bring in, and connect those things which he thought fit to superadd to the former history. So that considering how defective this gol
pel, taken by itself, is in the most effential parts ofS E R M.
CCXXV. the history of the life, and doctrine, and actions of CHRIST; no man can think that St. John did intend this for a full and sufficient account of the life and doctrine and miracles of Christ; or that upon this imperfect relation, in which he had knowingly omitted many of the most material and considerable things belonging to the history of Christ, he could expect that men should receive full satisfaction concerning him. Therefore I think it is highly reasonable, and almost necessary to conclude, that when he says, " these things are written, that ye might believe “ that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;" he does not solely refer to the gospel which was written by himself; but to the whole history of the gospel, which was put together into one book or volume, which was completed by this appendix.
2. Another reason I have for this, which doch much strengthen this conjecture, is what I find in Eufebius, in the 18th chapter of the third bcok of his history, where he tells us to this purpose, 66 That “St. John, who lived the last of the apostles, did “ revise what they had written of the history of “ CHRIST, and added his gospel as an appendix to " the rest."
I have insisted the longer upon this, that no man might think, when St. John says, “ these things
were written that ye might believe,” that his gospel taken alone and by itself is a sufficient account of Christ, and contains all that was requisite to bring men to believe on him. This is the firit thing in the words, the end of committing the gospel to writing.
Secondly, you have here the nature of christian faith described; it is “ believing that Jesus is the “ CHRIST, the Son of God;" that is, that he is Vol. XI.
S E R M. the true Messias prophesied of in the old teftament, CCXXV. and promised as the Saviour of the world, and
that he is the Son of God, who came from the Father into the world, and took our nature upon him, that he might teach us, and go before us in the way to eternal happiness.
Thirdly, The blessed effect of this faith, or the benefit that redounds to us upon believing, “ that
• believing, ye might have life through his name ;' that is, that upon these terms and conditions, you might be made partakers of all those blessings and benefits which CHRIST, the SAVIOUR of the world hath purchased for us, which are here set forth to us in the name of life; it being usual in the phrase of scripture, to express to us those things which are most excellent and desirable by life. Now the principal benefits which Christ hath purchased, and which in scripture we are said to be made partakers of by believing, are regeneration, justification or pardon of fin, and eternal life and falvation ; and the two first of these, as well as the last, are called life in fcripture. Regeneration, in which I include the continuance and progress of this work, which is sanctification) that is, a new life, Rom. iv. 4. it is called " newness of life." And we are said to have this life by faith, Gal. ii. 20. “ And the life which I now “ live in the field, I live by the faith of the Son of « God.” And Col. ii. 12. " buried with him in
baptism, wherein also you are risen with himn;" that is, regenerated and born to a new life. How? " by the faith of the operation of God, who hath “ raised him from the dead;" that is, by believing the power of God, who raised up Christ from the dead, for the confirmation of the truth of the gofpel, 1 John v. 1. “whofover believeth that Jesus