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SERMON I

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HE B. XIII. 5.

- Be content with fuch Things as ye have: ---

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HESE Converted Jews being únder great Perfecution by their unbelieving Countrymen, (as we read in feveral Places of this Epiftle) there were many of them, as may be gathered alfo from fundry Paffages in it, that began to think of retiring back again to their Old Religion, rather than endure fo many Hardihips in their new Profeffion, for Chrift Jefus his Sake. To prevent which fatal Miscarriage, this Divine Writer ufes many Arguments; encouraging and ftrengthning their Minds, from the Confidera

tion of the Certainty of the Christian Doctrine, the Dignity of its Author, the glorious Example he had fet before them, the Power he had in the Heavens, which made him an High-Priest of a better Rank than any of the House of Aaron could be; and the Hope of Eternal Life, wherewith he was able to reward all his conftant Difciples; yea, from the Confideration alfo of their own Sufferings, as soon as they entred into the State of Chriftianity; according as you read, Chap. x. 32. Call to remembrance the former Days, in which after ye were enlightned, ye endured a great Fight of Affliction: Which no wife Men would have done, unless they intended to proceed as they began; and not lose the Reward of fuffering fo much, for want of Patience to fuffer a little more. By these and fuch like Arguments, I fay, he perfuades them not to revolt from Chrift, as fome did to their utter undoing; but to hold fast the Profeffion of their Faith without wavering, Chap. x. 23. there being the greatest Hazard which they ran, if they finned wilfully after they had received the Knowledge of the Truth, Ver. 26. no less than to lose all Hope of Pardon, which was declared to Men only in Chrift Jefus; whom they bafely forfook and renounced, when they apostatiz'd from his Religion.

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Now that which made fome fly back, was Fear of Sufferings, Love of Pleafure, and Covetoufnefs, or Love of the World. Against these Three therefore, he fortifies those who still continued the Profeffion of Christianity, in the

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Beginning of this Chapter; and bids them be fo far from fearing any thing, as to love the Brethren, to entertain Strangers, and to remember them that were in Bonds, and fuffered Adverfity, Ver. 1, 2, 3. that is, to fuffer with others, when they did not yet fuffer on their own Accounts. A Thing which the falfe-hearted Christians would never do; whofe Charity waxed Cold, and who were afraid to own the Disciples of our Lord in Time of Distress,left they fhould be accounted fuch themselves, and fo be brought into Trouble, and fuffer as they did. And as he warns them against this base Fear, and vile Cowardife; fo he feems, in the next place, to give them a Caution against all impure Pleasures, for the Love of which (as you may gather from Chap. xii. 16.) fome turned their backs on their Saviour, and parted with their Hope in him. Ver. 4. Marriage is honourable in all, and the Bed undefiled; but Whoremongers amd Adulterers God will judge.

After which, he proceeds here in my Text, to advise them not to be fo careful for the Things of this World, as fome were; nor to be afraid of Want, though the Days were very bad, and they perhaps might be fpoiled of all their Goods, and bereaved of all their Friends: For he gives them Affurance, that God will provide; and that Affurance he would have them esteem fufficient for them. Let your Converfation be without Covetousness, and be content with fuch Things as ye bave: For he bath faid, I will never leave thee, nor forfake thee, &c.

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