Imágenes de páginas

II. The next Thing I have to recommend to : you, from these Words of the Apostle, is Uni

versal Honesty and Justice, and Righteousness in your Conversation. Whatsoever Things (1šith he) are True, whatsoever Things are Honest, whatsó ever Things are Juft; think on these Things.

You see I join these two Words Honest and Juft together, as importing the fame Thing.

Though yet I am aware that the Word we here render Honest, is often used in another Signification, that is to tay, for Grave or Venerable : But since that other Signification falls in most properly under my last Head, I wave it here, and take the Word as our Translation renders it.

Indeed, it is vain to expect any Advantage from our Profession of the Truth, if we be not sincerely Just and Honeft in our Actions. į Whosoever can allow himself in the Practice of any Dishonest, Knavish, Indirect Dealing, let that Man be never so Orthodox in his Belief and Opinions, yet I am sure he is no true Chriftian.

Otherefore, let me exhort you all, whatever Interests you have to serve; whatever Dealings you are to engage in, to be always strictly yuft and Upright in your Conversation. Use no Tricks, practise no ill Arts for the serving your Ends; but in all your Transactions with Men, deal with that Simplicity and Integrity and good Conscience., that hecomes those who would be accounted the Disciples of him who was the most Innocent, the most Sincere, and the least Intriguing Person in the World.


Assure yourselves, no Dishonisty can pro- 15 sper long. Whatever Turns you may serve by it at present, yet you will bitterly repent of it fome time or other. But Righteousness and Justice doth establish a Man's Ways : And the upright Man, though he is not always the richest, yet always walketh most surely. And as for the final Event of Things; remember this, that God Almighty has pronounced, that 110 Unrighteous Men, no Covetous, no Lyars, oo Extortioners, fhall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But to go on. 9.11.20! - III. The next Thing I have to exhort you to; from the Words of my Text, is the Practice of Purity. For after the Apostle hath recommend. ed the pursuit of Things that are True, and the Things that are Hơneft and fut, he next adds the Things that are Pire; meaning hereby, that we should study to be Pure, and Chafte, and Temperate both in our Hearts and Lives; 'avoiding all Excesses, and Lewdness, and Sensuality.

And if he thought it convenient in that Age of Strictness and Severity, and Devotion, to put the Christians in Mind of this; I am sure it is not only convenient but necessary to do it, in this Age of ours, when Luxury and Debauchery, when Whoredom and Drunkenness, and all Sorts of Vices that are contrary to Purity, are grown to that Height among us, that we feeni to defy God Almighty by our impudent Practice of them, and provoke him to give lis up to Destruction.

I pray God make the whole Nation deeply sensible of the Folly and Wickedness, as well

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

as of the Danger and dreadful Consequences of
these Practices. And as for you who are here
present, let me befpeak you in the Words of
the Apostle; Dearly Beloved, I beseech you, a's
Strangers and Pilgrims, to abstain from Flefoly
- Lufts, which war against the Soul. I beseech
you, as you have any Honour for your Lord
and Master, as you have any Regard for the
Preservation of a Sense of Religion in your
Minds, as you have any Concern for your
Health, for your Estates, for your Families';
as you have any Respect to the Publick, that
Effeminacy and Sottishness and Diseases, may
not be entailed upon our Posterity. Lastly, as
you love your own Souls, and hope ever to see
che Face of Godin Heaven, Learn to live Sober-
ly, Learn to live chastely, Learn to Practice
Purity and Temperance in all your Conversati-
on. Avoid Whoredom and Drunkenness, as you
would the Plagiie ; for certainly they are the
worst of Plagues to them that use them': For
other Plağues do only put our Bodies in Danger,
but these do endanger both our Souls and Bo-
dies. Nay, as to the one (I mean our Souls)
they will prove certain inevitable Destruction,
without Repentance and Reformation.
1. I know these Things are made slight Mat-
ters of, by a great many among us: But
assure yourselves, God will not account them
fo; it is certain he will not, if we may believe
his Word; for it is there told us expresly, that
Whoremongers and Adulterers God will judge:
And withal, that neither Adulterers, nor' For-
nicators, nor unclean Perfons, nor Diunkards,

[ocr errors]

shall ever inherit the Kingdom of God, or of Christ.

IV. I proceed to the last Head of Advice, lyon that is given in my Text. The Apostle having you instanced in Three Things necessary to be liker daily thought upon and pursued by all Chriftians, viz. Truth, and Honesty, and Purity, leaves off to meddle any farther with Particu- loft lars, and sums up the rest of his Advice in La Generals. And that Sum comes to this, That as we are Christians, we should not only take on care of the Three forementioned Things, but le should make it our Business to improve our lo felves in every other Sort of Virtue; nay, in every other sort of Thing that is Praise-worthy, or that is well esteemed of among Mankind. So that really it should be the Endeavour of our Lives, to render ourselves as excellent, and as exemplary for all Sorts of amiable per Qualities, as it is poslible for Men to be in this World..

This I take to be the full Meaning of those list Four Expressions that follow in my Textil Whatsoever Things are Lovely, what foever Things are of good Report; if there be any Virtue, if the there be any Praise; think on these Things.

And now, Brethren, fee from hence what ; your Obligations are. You that have such a 10 glorious Light vouchsafed you, such unvalu-lib able Promises, such mighty Assistances made over to you by the Gospel of Chrift; you must in Reason imagine, that in Return of these great Advantages, great Things are the expected from you.

[ocr errors]

It will not satisfie your Engagements, that you do believe and profess the Gospel; that . you do no Wrong to your Neighbours; that you are neither given to Lewdness nor Drunkenness; (though yet even these, as the World goes, are very great Things; and could all Men that profess Christianity, truly say this of themselves, we should fee Heaven upon Earth.) But your Christianity obliges you to aspire after greater Things: you must get yourselves poffefsed of the whole Circle of Vertues; you must be Kind and Charitable, as well as Yust and Honest; you must be Modejt and Meek, and Humble, as well as Temperate and Chafte.

Nay, not only fo, but you are to labour after all these feveral Virtues in the full Lati- ' tude and Extent of them, even to that Degree, that every Thing which hath but the Appearance of Evil, is to be avoided by you. You are not only to abstain from Acts of Injustice, but even from doing a hard Thing to any one; you are not only to keep yourselves within the known Limits of Temperance and Chastity, but to avoid all those Things that border upon the Vices opposite thereunto; and so as to all other Instances : If any Thing be of ill Report, and looks infamously to the fober Part of Mankind; why that very Confideration is enough to deter you from the Practice of it: For you are to recommend your Religion to all the Men in the World, by all the Ways that are possible. In a Word, you are to endeavour to be as Vol. I.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »