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SECT. V. Queries urged against the Ne-
Sacrifice of CHRIST,
Operations of the SPIRIT, &c..
The Introduction, or AGRIPPA's Creed recited and oppofed.
S there no other way to defend Christianity, faith Paulinus to his Friends, Is there no other Way to refute the Cavils of the Deift, but by yielding up the peculiar Glories of the Gospel? Can it never be vindicated as Divine, unless we reduce it almoft to the mere Dictates of the Light of Nature, with Jefus Chrift fet at the Head of them only as a great Prophet? Many a Doubter is not gone fo far from Christianity
as to deny the Facts on which our holy Religion depends; and they will allow that the Chriftian Religion in general is fupported by thefe Facts, which have been deliver'd down to us by a notorious and inconteftable manner of Evidence: But the fpecial and important Doctrines of this Religion, fuch as the Sacrifice of Christ as a proper Atonement for Sin, and our Sanctification by the Holy Spirit, which are taught fo frequently and fo exprefsly in the New Teftament, carry fomething in them so disgustful, not only to the Relish of our modern Infidels in general, but alfo to the Prejudices of fome who profess Chriftianity, that they would fain evade these Truths, and quit themselves of them by fuch a Construction as really destroys them. Agrippa is a Christian of this Stamp, a Gentleman, as I am told, of no confiderable Eftate; but 'tis faid, he makes a fhining Figure when he appears in Company. A few Weeks ago I faw a Scheme of his Gofpel, and was inform'd 'tis the general Senfe of many of his Acquaintance both in Town and Country. I have the Paper here, and he expreffes his Creed in the following Words.
"When the Gentile Nations had loft the "Knowledge of the true God and his Wor"fhip, and buried it under an immenfe "Load of fuperftitious Follies; when "they had banished a great part of Mo
rality from their Minds as
"their Practice, the Bleffed God thought proper to fend his own Son from Heaven "to reftore it. When the Jews, who were a People favour'd with many divine Re"velations, had turn'd their Religion into
Superftition, by refting upon the mere "Ceremonies of it with the neglect of mo"ral Virtues and inward Piety, God deter"min'd this Great Reformer fhould be of "their Nation. When the whole World "of Mankind was grown thus horribly de
generate, it pleased God to fend this moft
glorious Perfon Jefus Chrift into this "World with peculiar Commiffion to re"fore the Religion of Nature, the Know
ledge of the one true God and his fpiri"tual Worfhip, instead of a Load of Ce"remonies, whether human or divine, and "to teach the Nations true Virtue and Piety "without Superftition: He was fent to af"fure Men of the Pardon of their Sins up"on Repentance (which indeed they knew "before, or their Reafon might have taught "'em, but not quite fo clearly) and to tell "them that after Death Men fhould be "call'd to account for their Behaviour in "this Life, and that a future State of long Mifery fhould atter d the Wicked, and a "fair and laiting Scene of Happiness was provided for thofe who were Virtuous. "This indeed, faith he, Reason teaches us B2 " too,
"too, but the Gospel fuperadds the Refur"rection of the Body.
"And further, that this glorious Perfon "coming into the World for the Reforma"tion of it when it was fo dreadfully cor"rupted, and preaching in oppofition to "the grofs Errors and Iniquities of the Age, "it could not be expected that he should escape their Rage and Malice: Thus he "was condemn'd by the Jews, and cruci"fied by the Romans. This Death of Chrift "on the Crofs was a noble Teftimony "which he gave as a Martyr to the Do"Єtrines which he preach'd; and it is dig"nified after the Jewish and Eastern manner "with grand Expreffions in the New Te"ftament, and represented in many facrifi"cal Phrafes, of which the Jews were ex"tremely fond, fuch as redeeming us by bis "Blood, and making Atonement for Sin, &c. "because by his Death he vindicated and "fealed that Doctrine, which taught the af"fured Pardon of Sin upon Repentance, and "the Recovery of Sinners by new Obedience "to the Favour of God and Eternal Life.
"Before he left the World he appointed "two Ceremonies, (viz.) Baptifm and the "Lord's Supper; the first by washing with "Water to reprefent to us that we must "be wafh'd from our Sins, i. e. we must "repent and be reformed, and live a new "Life if ever we would be pardon'd and