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suppose, it is, that the Ancients were wont to call such Instances of Penance by the Name of Satiffačtions : Not that they esteemed them of Value to satisfy the Divine Justice, nothing but the Blood of Jesus can do that, but that they thought them the Conditions, which the Gospel requires of Penitents, as highly necessary, both for their present Correction and future Caution : And accordingly we may observe, that, whenever the Fathers used this Word, 'tis either with Respect to Men, or to God; if to Men, then the Meaning of it is, that, by these external Acts of Sorrow, we satisfy the Church of our Repentance, and make Reparation for those Offences and Scandals, which we gave by our Sins; but if to God, then 'tis taken for the Acknowledgment of our Faults, and the earnest Desire we have of Pardon and Forgiveness.

Nor is the Duty of Self-denial necessary to our present Condition only, whether we consider it in a settled or penitential Capacity ; but as it has a Tendency likewise to our future Glory and Felicity. It can hardly escape the Observation of any common Reader, that there is, in Scripture, a certain Fitness or Meetness required in those, that are to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light ; but then the Question is, how we must acquire this Fitness? And by what Means we are to induce this perfective Disposition into our Souls ? The Apostle, indeed, tells us, concerning our Saviour himself, that he was made perfeet through Sufferings ; for it became him, says he, of whom are all Things, and by whom are all Things, in bringing many Sons unto Glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation perfect through Sufferings : But then these Words do not absolutely imply, that these Sufferings of our Saviour were necessary for his personal Perfection: He might have passed to Glory an eafier Way, because he wanted no Virtue to accom

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plish and qualify him for that State. They imply, however, that his Sufferings were necessary for his exemplary Perfection, i. e. as he was to be an Example to us, and the Captain and President of our Salvation ; as he was to lead us the Way, by which many adopted Sons of God might likewise pass into Glory, so it was necessary that he should be made perfečt by Sufferings, because no adopted Son, no Christian, can ever be perfect without them : And accordingly we find it mentioned in 'the Christian Covenant, as an express Condition of our future Glory, that, if we suffer with Chrijt, we Mall also reign with him; for it is through much Tribulation, (through many Wrestlings or Contendings, as it is in the Original) that we must enter into the Kingdom of God.

Now, if the Spirit of God gives us Warning, that Sufferings are of so neceffary Importance to our future Welfare, and yet, at the same Time, does not lay upon us any outward Neceflity to suffer ; this is a plain Indication, I think, that the Necessity lies upon ourselves to take Care, that we suffer from our own voluntary Discipline ; that we fast often, pray much, impose Talks of 1.abour, ftrict Rules of Abstinence, and have a continual Watch over ourselves, which, in the Time of the Church's Peace and Tranquillity, was called a daily Martyrdom.

The primitive Christians were very remarkable for this Kind of Discipline : Their callous Knees, and guttered Cheeks, and meagre Looks, occafioned by their fasting, weeping, and praying, are often taken Notice of in Antiquity, though with us mistaken for superstitious Usages, and Acts of Supererogation. That Christian, however, (as St Jerom calls one upon a like Occasion) that Chriftian, I fay, is by inuch too delicate, who would excuse himself from this Discipline in the School

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of Christ, when we may find, that, in every Heathen School, they required no less to make a Philofopher ; that is, in the Sense of their sober Stile, an honest and good Man.

Epicurus, indeed, presented the World with a very Specicus Scheme, when he pretended to satisfy the Aims both of Sense and Morality together, when he invited Men to Virtue and Pleasure at the same Time ; telling them, that a Life, which was both virtuous and pleasurable, was purely the Life of the Gods. But all the other Sects remonstrate against this new Doctor, as one, who, by hanging out the Flag of Pleasure, had covered all that was true, and laid aside all that was great in Philosophy. They had juster Notions of the Corruption of human Nature; and therefore they teach, that whoever intends to be a virtuous Man, muft by no Means propose his Life to be a Scene of Pleasure. They teach us, that Wisdom and Felicity have built their Palaces together upon a craggy Rock, whither it is not a little difficult to ascend : They represent their Hercules, as always engaging in Labours, always seeking Conflicts, always harsh and fevere to himself; and his Character they propose to their Scholars, as the common Guide to Proficiency in good Living. But we have our Instruction from a better Fountain, and are sufficiently advertised what we are to do, when we are commanded, by our Blessed Saviour, to enter in at the strait Gate ; for wide is the Gate, and broad is the Way, that leadeth to Destruction ; but strait is the Gate, and narrow is the way, wbich leadetb to Life, and few there be that find it.

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Of Regeneration.
HE first Place, wherein we find express

Mention made of our Regeneration, is (as I take it) in our Saviour's Conference with Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Ruler of the Jews, and of the Sect of the Pharisees, great Enemies to our Blessed Lord; but, being convinced, by his Doctrine and Miracles, of his Divine Mission and Authority, he came, no doubt, tho' it was at Night that he came, with an Intent to be farther inftructed by him. The Evangelist has recorded the first Address, which this Ruler makes to our Saviour; but, from the Nature of our Saviour's Answer, fome have been induced to think, that his whole Speech is not related ; and that, after he had done his Preface, he might not improbably put some such Questions to our Lord, as we find the young Man did in the Gospel, viz. What good Things he was to do, that he might obtain eternal Life ? Because the Answer, which is returned him, is so very much to this purpose, and seems to have so sender a Connexion with what went before ; Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a Man. be born again, be cannot see the Kingdom of God.

To be born again is a Form of Speech, which not only occurs in the Writings of some Gentile Moralists, but was of common Use among the Jewish Doctors. They received Profelytes into the Church by Baptism ; and being persuaded, that the Heathen Soul was, by this Means, washed away, and a new and pure one substituted in its room, they were, for this Reason, wont to call these Proselytes new-born, new Men, new Creatures, and the like. This was the common Phrase and Stile of the Rabbins, and therefore our Saviour very juftly reproves Nicodemus for his Ignorance of it, Art

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ihou a Master of Israel, and knowejt not these Things? The Design of the Expression, however, is to inform us, that there is a two-fold Birth or Nativity, which every one is to undergo : The first is common and natural; when the tender Infant quits its closer Cell, wherein it has been some Months imprisoned, and, coming into the World, enters into a new and different State from what it was in before : But the second is spiritual and supernatural, when a Person, upon his firmly believing and embracing the Gospel of Christ, is not only changed from his wicked Courses, to a contrary Form of living, but is poffeffed likewise with Thoughts, and Desires, and Affections, quite different from what he had before, insomuch, that, both to himfelf and others, who behold him, he looks not like the same Man, but in the Temper of his Mind, as well as the Tenor of his Actions, is indeed another Creature.

His Understanding, which was before darkened, being alienated from the Life of God, through the Ignorance that was in him, becomes then enlightened to discern his true Interest, and is informed with the Knowledge of those great Truths, which he is most of all required to know, .concerning God and hiinself, and a Life to come. This Knowledge has a powerful Effect and Infuence over his Will and Affections. The Belief of the great Truths of the Gospel gives him a new Set of Principles, makes him have different Notions and Opinions of Things, form different Prospects and Projects, and steer quite a contrary Course, to what he did before. For, whereas before he consulted only his present Ease and Pleasure, studied the Gratifications of his sensual Lufts and Appetites, and gave himself up to the Interests of this Life, the Welfare of his Body, and the Concerns of the World; he now mortifies his Members, which are

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