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of the First Chriftians were qualified to caft out Devils, and to work Miracles. And, notwithstanding that All Christians are not obliged to This kind of Faith, yet it was a Duty ftrictly Incumbent upon all those perfons, to whom a Promife of Extraordinary power was given: And if they did not firmly depend upon fuch Extraordinary Abilities, fo Afcertain'd unto them, Diffidence was as much Unbelief in Them, as an Affurance of working Miracles, would be Prefumption in Others. To this purpose we read, that when our Bleffed Saviour had caft out a Devil, and the Difciples came unto him and faid, why could not we caft him out? Jefus faid unto them, because of your Unbelief. For he had given them + power and authority over all Devils, and to cure difeafes. And though in This inftance they failed of fuccefs, through their Unbelief, yet in many Other inftances we find their Miraculous Faith crowned with Effectual demonstrations
* Mat. xvii. 20. and Mark xvi. 17, 18.
to of their Miraculous Power. Nor were the Supernatural effects of this Extraordinary Faith Peculiar to the Apofiles, or to the Apoftolick Age, but were extended into Succeeding * Times, whilst the Circumftances of Things required That Power, for the Support and Propagation of the Gospel.
'Tis fcarce to be doubted, but that thofe Other perfons, who did not receive an Immediate Promife from our Saviour, as the Apostles did, of a Power to cast out Devils and to work Miracles, and yet had fuch a Power Communicated to them, for ends and purposes agreeable to the Infinite Wisdom of God, were by the Spirit Bleffed with an Extraordinary Faith, a Fiducial Dependence upon God, for such Supernatural abilities, as a Previous Difpofition to the Exercise of them. But ftill,
* Vide Juft. Mart. in Dial. cum Tryph. p. 247. Edit.
Divin. Inftit. lib. iv. c. 27.
Eufeb. Præpar. Evangel. S. Chryfoft. in Pf. cx.
if they had not been fo Influenc'd, the Want of fuch a Faith had been no more Culpable in them, than the Want of fuch a Power: For the One is a Miraculous gift of the Spirit, as well as the Other. 'Tis no more the Duty of a Chriftian, as fuch, to Believe that he can remove Mountains, than 'tis within the compass of his Strength to Remove them.
Extraordinary, or Miraculous Faith was, in fome particular Circumftances, the Duty and the Ornament of some Particular Perfons; but the Common Faith is the Neceffary condition of the Common Salvation: If we do not stedfaftly Believe the Truths revealed by the Gofpel, we have no Right to the Blessings promised in it. For when our Blessed Saviour had given commiffion to his Apoftles, to preach the Gospel, he prefently Inculcated the indifpenfable Obligations of Faith, upon Thofe, to whom it should be Preached, * denouncing unavoidable Condemnation against Unbelievers. And St. Paul speaks plainly of those who believe not,
* Mark. xvi. 16.
as doomed to certain Perdition. And thus the fame Apoftle teftified, that faith towards our Lord Jefus Chrift, as well as repentance towards God, is requifite to the attainment of Eternal Life, Acts xx. 21. And Parallel to this Text is the Character given of the Saints, Revel. xiv. 12. They that keep the Commandments of God, and the Faith of Jefus. Those therefore who Imagine, that they are not Obliged to Believe the Mysteries revealed in the Gofpel, do break through a Principal obligation: And whilft they are Deficient in the Duty of Faith, they labour under a Defect, which prevents the Perfection and Acceptance of every Other Duty.
Faith is the very Foundation + of Virtue in a Chriftian; and if This be wanting, his Beft performances are as an house built upon the Sand. For 'tis unto Faith that Virtue muft be Added, ‡ if it recommends us to the favour of God; and all Thofe who call themfelves Chriftians,
* 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. and 2 Theff. ii. 12.
Theophylac. in Ep. ad Heb. vi. 1. & S. Chryfoft. Homil. ii. in Ep. ad Rom.
2 Pet. i. 5.
and yet content themselves with Moral virtues alone, and thofe derived perhaps from no Higher principle, than what the Heathens acted by, must fall under the character given of the Heathens by the Apostle, that profeffing themfelves to be wife, they become fools. When God hath Required our Belief, as the Ground of all our Duty, is it not extremely Abfurd to conceive, either that we are Obedient unto Him, whilft we Difbelieve, or that He will be Gracious to us, whilft we Difobey him? "Tis a strange Unhappiness of Judgment, to Appropriate the notion of Duty unto Virtuous Actions, and to think that Nothing is Criminal but Immorality. The Rules of Moral Virtue must be Highly esteem'd, and Inviolably observed in their utmost Perfection, even in That perfection, which the Gospel hath given them: But let not the Rule of Virtue derogate from the Rule of Faith; nor the Neceffity of the One be prefumed to fuperfede the Other. Immorality renders us Ob
Clemen. Alexandr. Strom. lib. i. p. 338. Edit. Oxon. noxious