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ergery Man another
once lay afide all our little selfish Designs,
Secondly, If the doing Good be fo necessary :-: :
But, o how contrary are these Doctrines, to the Doctrine of Christ and his - Apostles! How widely different a Thing do they make Christianity to be from what it will appear if we take our Notions of it from their Sermons and Practices? Is it possible, that he that went about doing Good himself, made
it his Meat and Drink, the Business and Em. ployment of his Life, should set so light by : it in us that are his Followers?
Is it possible that they that so often call Tim. 6. upon us to do Good, to be rich in good Works, 1 Pet. 4.8. above all Things to have fervent Charity among
Cor.13. ourselves, telling us, that all Faith is nothing, 2. 13.
all Knowledge of Myseries is nothing, all Gifts of Prophecy and Miracles are nothing; but that Charity is all in all. I say, Is it possible that they should think doing Good fo insignificant, so unprofitable, nay, so dangerous a Thing as these I spoke of do represent it? .
But I need not farther reprove their Opini- . cons, because I hope they find but few Patrons; but this seriously ought to be reproved among us, viz. that we do not generally lay that Stress upon this Duty we are speaking of, that we ought to do.
Many are ready enough, to acknowledge their Obligations to do Good, and count it a very commendable Thing, and a Work that God will bless them the better for; yet they are loth to make it an essential Ingredient of their Religion; they think they may be res ligious, and serve God without it. If they be but Sober in their Lives, and Just in their Dealings, and come to Church at the usual Times, they have Religion enough to carry them to Heaven; though in the mean Time they continue covetous, and hard, and uncharitable, without Bowels of Pity and Compassion, and make no Use of their Wealth, or their Power and Interest, or their Parts
and Industry, or their other Talents committed to them for the doing Good in the World.
Far be it from any Man to pretend to determine what Virtues or Degrees of them are precisely necessary to Salvation, and what Virtues or Degrees of them a Man may safely be without: But this is certain, that Charity and doing Good are none of those that can be spared. The Scripture hath every where declared these Qualities to be as necesfary in order to our Salvation, as any Condition of the Gospel. Nay, if we will consult St. Matthew 25. where the Process of the General Judgment is described, we shall find these to be the great Points that at the last Day Men will be examined upon, and upon which the whole Case of their Eternal State will turn. So that if we take the Scripture for our Guide, these Men at last will be found to be much mistaken, and to have made a very false Judgment both of Religion and of their own Condition.
Thirdly, From what hath been said about doing Good, we may gather wherein that Perfection of Christianity which we are to aspire after, doth consist. It has been much disputed, which is the most perfect Life, to live in the World as other Men do, and to serve God in following our Employments, and taking care of our Families, and doing good Offices to our Neighbours, and discharging all other Duties that our Relation to the Publick requires of us; or to retire from the
World, and to quit all fecülar Concernments, and wholly to give up ourselves to Prayer and Meditation, and those other Exercises of Religion, properly so called. 3 !"..::1:1 . This latter kind of Life, is so magnified by the Romanists, in Comparison of the other, that it hath engrossed to itself, the Name of Religious, 'None, among them, are thought worthy to be stiled Religious Persons, but those that Cloyster up themselves in a Monaftery. But whatever Excellence may be pretended in this Course of Life, it certainly falls much short of that, which is led in a Publick Way. He ferves God beft, that is moft-Serviceable to his Generation. And no Prayers or Fasts, or Mortifications, are near foaca ceptable a Sacrifice to our Heavenly Father, it as to do Good in our lives.'
It is true, to keep within Doors, and to attend our Devotions (though those that are in appearance most abstracted from the World, are not always the most devout Persons) I say, this kind of Life is the most easy and the safer. A Man is not then expofed so much to Temptations ; he may with less Difficulty preserve his Innocence; but where is the Praise of such a Virtue? Virtue is then most Glorious, and shall be most Rewarded; when it nieets with moft Trials and Oppositions.. ..! ". . ... con. sini,
And as 'for the Bravery of Contemning the World and all the Pomps of it, whick they fo magnify in this kind of Life;-alas, it is rather an effect of Pufilanimity and Love
of our Fase, and a Desire to be free from
amusing ourselves with our pleasing Contem-
let this be only to the end that we may to appear Abroad again more brisk and lively, in LTE vanquishing the Temptations that come in His our way, and more prompt and readily dis
posed to every good Work : This is to imi-
able to the Contrivance and the Genius of his re Religion, which is more accommodated to
Cities and Publick Societies, than to Cloysters
But, Fourthly and Lastly, if it be a thing me fo necessary, that eyery Man should do Good