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have been Heathens, and many of them, who s E R M. without the Revelation that we enjoy, have led. very exemplary, moral Lives. But how came they to do so? Why they were Men naturally well disposed j" and therefore they t were desirous (because they thought it their Duty) to live up to all the Light they enjoyed: And had any further Revelation been made to them j there is no Question but they would have .obeyed it: But, having no more, they acted according to what they had: And what further could be expected from them ?• But is this the Case of those Free-thinkers and Dei/is that live among Christians? Far from it. For these Men have Divine Reve-, lation laid before them, and yet disclaim and reject it: And instead of thankfully embracing Christianity, haughtily despise it.
It is a fair Test then, whereby to judge of the Sincerity of such Men, which I have here proposed; viz. When you find them (as you frequently will) vehemently insisting upon the Excellency of Morality, and crying it np in Opposition to Faith; when instead of representing good Works to be the Fruits of Faith, they shall contend they may be performed, and be sufficient to Salvation, without Faith i when they shall compare moral ., '. . 2 Duties
S vmM ^ut^s *fi&positive ones together, and, though they are both of them absolutely necessary, shall vastly prefer the one to the other ;— When you hear any Man haranguing thus; —judge of his Words by his own Practice: Recollect with yourselves his own Manner and Conduct of Life: And if he mould prove to have nothing of that Strictness of Honour and Honesty he so highly extols, (as I fear will generally prove the Case j) in a Word, if you can discover nothing more of his Conscience, (which he boasts is so calm and quiet within ;) but that it is ever very noisy and troublesome without ^you may then be sure, that the great Stir he makes about moral Religion, in Opposition to what Is revealed j is not done with any Design to advance either, but insidioufly to undermine" and destroy both. Bestedsast therefore yourselves to adhere to both: Stop your Ears against whatever such wicked and impious Scoffers (hall offer to seduce you, and keep them always open and attentive to that divine Prophet recommended in my Text, and that in all Things whatsoever he shallsay unto you. To the doing of which, if the persuasive Motives I have hitherto set forth, be not sufficient to induce you j let me, for a Con.. 'v elusion, elusion, read to you once more the last Verse s E R M.
VIII of my Text, which remains still to be con-1
sidered, and contains a dreadful Denunciation against all those that do it not.—Itshall come to pass that every Soul, which will not bear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the People. How this Prophecy has been verified as to the Jews, I have mentioned before: And I could also recount to you many remarkable Examples of Apostate Christians^ who, of old and of late Days, have whet and sharpened their Tongues and their Pens against Christianity, which yet have turned against themselves, and set them forth for a Terror to others. But Censures upon any Judgments that happen in this World, I had rather forbear. But of DeJlrucJion either in this World, or the next the Text certainly speaks. In one World or the other, it will come to pass, that every Soul that will not hear that Prophet (i. e. Jesus and his Gospel) shall be destroyed. Certainly in the next World, if not in this: For this is what Jesus himself has declared. He (faith he) that rejectetb me, dndreceiveth not my Words, hath one that judgeth him t the Word that 1 have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last Day, John xii. 48. That Wpr4 which they heard and believed not, shall
sERM. stand, as a Witness and testify against them.; If he had not come and spoken unto them; Ch. xy. 22. then indeed (as he himself owns) they had not had Sin ; i. e. they might have pleaded their Ignorance in Excuse: But now (faith he) they have no Cloak for their Sin; i. e,. .they are, intirely without Excuse. And the; fame Judgment which he threatens against. those who rejected the Gospel, when preached by himself, he threatens also against all that reject it, when preached by his Apostles, or those that should y«arm/them. For he faid, unto them, Go ye into all the World, and preach the Gospel unto every Creature: He that believeth and is baptized, shall be sdv'dx but he that believeth not, shall be damn'd, Markxvi. 15, 16. You know who spake these 'Words, and upon what Occasion, They were spoken by H I M who revealed the Gospel; who therefore certainly knew how far // was necessary for his Disciples to believe it: They were spoken by him who is ordained of God to be the Judge of g>uick and Dead; Acts x. 42. who therefore again knows whom he will save and whom he will condemn, and for what their Salvation or Damnation shall be awarded. This is he who spake these Words, and spake them at a Time,, it. when when he was taking his
solemn Leave of S E R M. his Apostles, giving,them his last: and filial Charge, and in which the. Fate of ^1K the World is pre-determined. The Author therefore, and the Occasion, and the Subject Matter of these Words, all .speaking them to be of the highest Importance, and the most general Concern, I chuse to close with them and leave them upon your Minds.