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spel all the World over; and this he does in these Words, Go ye (faith he) into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every Creature. St. Matthew hath fet it down a little more largely, Go ye and disciple alb Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Gboft; and teaching them to observe all Things whatever I have commanded you ; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the End of the World. This was the Apostles Commillion
this was the great Trust committed to them, and in them to all succeeding Ministers of Christ to the World's End.
But now lest it should be surmized that this Order might signify very little, since here was no Inforcement of it, no Obligation laid upon the People to whom they were to preach to receive their Message, our Saviour takes care to remove that Pretence by adding these Words following, (which are the Words I am now to discourse of) He that believeth, and is baptized, jball be saved: And he that believeth not, Mall be damned. Here is an Obligation with a Witness upon all Persons whatsoever, to whom the Gospel is preached, to receive and embrace it, fince no less than their everlasting. Salvation or Damnation depends upon it.
That which I design at present upon this Text isto make fome Observations and Reflections upon it, partly in order to the
clearing the Sense of it, and partly by way of Inference from it.
Our Saviour here orders his Apostles to go
into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every Creature, declaring, that whosoever believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved : And whosoever believeth not, shall be damned.
The First Thing I beg Leave to observe from hence is, That since Men, to the World's End, are to be saved by believing the Gospel, then there is a Necessity that there should be always an Order of Men in the World, whose Business it should be to preach this Gospel. For, as St. Paul truly argues, How shall Men believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how mall they hear without a Preacher? and how mall they preach except they be fent? If Christ deligned that the Belief of his Gospel should be the Way of Salvation as long as the World lasts, he must certainly have design'd that there should be Men set apart to preach and make known this Gospel as long as the World lasts likewise. Accordingly we find that he hath de facto done so: For the Commission he gave to his Apostles, he did really mean fhould extend to all those tha should succeed them in that Ministry, as appears plainly in the last Clause of it, as I read it to you out of St. Matthew, Lo, I am with you alway, even to the End of the World. What is the Meaning of that ?
Would he be with the Apostles to the End of the World ? Why, that could not be i they were to go off the Stage in a few Years; and so they did : But the World hath continu'd many Ages after their Death, and is yet like to continue.
like to continue. Christ's Meaning then could be no other than this, that he would not only by his Spirit assist the Apostles in the preaching of the Gospel during their Lives, but he would also continue that Assistance to those that should succeed them in the Work of the Ministry, even as long as the World should endure ; and accordingly we see that he hath hitherto made this Promise good, having for above 1600 Years all along continued a Succession of Christ's Ministers to gain Souls to Christ, and all along likewise continu'd a Succefsion of Christ's People in all Parts of the World, who are gained to Christ by their Ministry; and as he hath hithertó made good his Promise, so we doubt not but he will continue to do it to the End of the World.
We beg therefore of all People, that they would not think it strange that at this Day they see a sort of Men (you may call them by what contemptible Names you please) that are so zealous for this Business of Christ Jesus and his Gospel, making it their fet Work to be talking of it once a Week, nay, and now and then, being so plain with you as to tell you that it is upon
ble if you
the Peril of your Salvation if you do not give ear to their Message. The Men may be contemptible enough ; but yet
the Errand they come upon is not contemptible. How untowardly, how ungraceful, how unacceptable foever they may be as to their other Circumstances, yet, if they preach nothing but the Gospel of Christ, you are bound to listen to it, nay, you are miserado not.
And as for those that do embrace it, it is no less a valuable Treasure to them, for being had from earthen Vessels. Let it not therefore be objected to us, when we preach Christ Jesus to you, that it is our Trade; we must talk at this rate, for we get our Living by it: Alas! it is but small Comfort to get a Livelihood by other People's Credulity ; I think an honest serious Man would rather starve than live by Cheating. If there be any Atheists or Infidels
among the Clergy, any that, whilst they preach Christ Jesus to the People, helicve no better of him and his Religion than as a mere Fable (as they say Pope Leo the Tenth did not) they are certainly the worst of Men, and the greatest Imposters that the World can fhew; and let them be treated as such; no Man will be sorry for it. But when we heartily believe in Jesus Christ and his Religion, and are really persuaded that neither we nor you can be saved without it, and likewise are called by the Authority of God and Man to the publick
Preaching of it, we think it very hard we fhould be the less credited, because it is the Profession we live by. If our Saviour's Words be true, Whosoever believeth shall be saved; but whosoever believeth not, fall be damned; it is certainly more your Interest than ours, that you should all be such Believers as we would have you. But let that be as it will, we shall have a fad Account to make, if, being Ministers of the Gospel, we suffer you to perish for want of telling you of these Things ; or, if we cannot tell you any thing but what you knew before, at least for want of calling upon you, to put in practise what you know. Time was, when the preaching of the Gospel was so far from being encourag'd by the State, that to be a publick Minister was the ready way to Martyrdom ; Yet in those Days there were as many Preachers, in Proportion to the Number of the Hearers, as there are now: Nay, and their Saying then was, Væ mihi si non evangelizavero, Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel! I hope such Times will never come again ; and I hope none among us wish for them : But if they fbould come, I doubt not but God would raise those that would still preach the Gospel, and would declare, even at the Peril of their Lives, that Whosoever believeth shall be saved; but whosoever believeth not, Mhall