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SÉR MON XV.
Hebrews xiii. 5. He bath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, - . - 332
GALATIANS V. 24.
Psalm iv. 6, 7. . '
any good? Lord, lift thou up the light
HEBREWS ix. 28.
many; and unto them that look for him
, 'SER- ..
1 THESSALONIANS ii. 4.. :: But as we were allowed of God to be put in
trust with the gospel, even fo we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
TT THEN we compare ourselves with
the primitive Christians, we are
obliged to confess, that, in every respect, we fall greatly short of their attainments. We seem to be creatures of a lower rank, incapable of reaching the same degree of perfection with them: And indeed it is to be suspected, that through a false and vicious modesty, we look upon these ancient worthies as examples which, though we ought to imitate, we can never hope to equal. Hence we rest satisfied with any distant resemblance we can attain, thinking that if we are not altogether unlike
to them, it is all that a modern Christian can expect. · This is a gross and most pernicious miftake. The gate of heaven is no wider now than it was seventeen hundred years ago. The law of God extends as far as it did when the Apostles lived; and I know of no indulgence granted to us which did not exist in the earliest times of Christianity. The church of Rome indeed hath taught, that some eminent Christians have done more than was strictly necessary for their own salvation. But no such doctrine is to be found in Scripture : Nay, on the contrary, we are told, that when we have done all, we are still unprofitable servants, and have done no more than what was our duty to do. To this day, therefore, we are bound to the fame strictness and purity, to the same mortification and self-denial, to the same zeal and stedfastness, which distinguished the primitive Christians; and it is impoffible to devise any excuse for our degeneracy from their bright example. They were all men of like passions with ourselves; they had the same corrupt nature to strive