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the Devout participation of THE or DINANCEs of THE CHURCH THE APPoinTED METHOD of salvaTION.
No truth can be more evident toreason than that God has a right to prescribe what method he pleases for the salvation of mankind. Originally dependent upon him as their Creator and their Judge, deriving from him life and all its enjoyments, which they hold by the dependent tenure of his sovereign will, they are bound by every tie of duty interest and gratitude implicitly to fulfil his sacred injunc
tions. By obedience to his commands, they
acknowledge his supreme authority over
them, and attain that perfection and happiness for which they were destined. By resistance to his will, they forfeit that purity and bliss which are only to be found in the enjoyment of his favour. When we farther consider man as a fallen creature subject to the avenging punishment of his offended Judge, we shall be compelled to acknowledge, that he can have no hope of forgiveness but on those terms and conditions, which God in his just and sovereign pleasure may prescribe. If then God hath seen fit to dispense his mercy and grace through the ordinances of a church by communion with which guilty and condemned man is to be restored to virtue and happiness—who is he that will resist his will? To dispute the propriety of his institutions, to doubt the efficacy of the means which he hath established, would be a presumptuous contempt of his mercy and power, a wilful rejection of his proffered grace. Contemning the means which he hath instituted for our salvation, we should aggravate to the deepest dye the guilt of rebellion against our Almighty Sovereign and Judge; and without any plea to extenuate our guilt, we should sink under the avenging arm of his justice.
That, in order to our deliverance from the condemnation and wrath which our sins have incurred, and to our restoration to the favour