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Worship, hath ever thought himself obliged to Minister unto the Necessities of Thofe who give Attendance at the Altar, what Kind Offices may not Their Distress'd Widows and Orphans expect from You, who are under the Additional obligation, of standing in the same common Relation to the Altar with Them. Let your Bowels of Mercies therefore still yern towards Your Brethren, and let the Influence of the Holy Spirit, Graciously moving You to Charity and Compassion, be Faithfully Obey'd by you; That he which hath begun a good work in you, may perform it until the day of Jesus Christ; To Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, Three Persons and One God, be ascribed all Honour and Glory, now, Henceforth and for ever. Amen.
The Necessity of Positive Duty or Actual Goodness.
TITUS it. Part of the 14th Verse,
AN essential Part of Christianity is now before us; and whosoever falls short of this Character here given, and yet presumes to account himself the faithful Servant of Chrifl, is mistaken in his Notions of Himself, and frustrates the Purposes of his Redeemer. For the whole verse runs thus, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purifie unto himself a peculiar People, zealous of good Works.
By good Works, we may understand in General, the Exercise of Goodness, whether in Acts of Justice, Piety, or Charity. For the sincere Disciples of Christ are here first represented, as Redeem d from all Iniquity, and Purified; which Expressions do imply, their being delivered from the Guilt and Punishment of Sin. And when 'tis added, that thofe who are Purified, must be moreover Zealous of good Works, 'tis in these Words plainly signified, if it be not the peculiar Sense of them, that all faithful Christians are obliged, not only to avoid the Commission of Sin, but Aflually to perform Positive Duties; that they must not only cease to do evil, as the Prophet Isaiah expresseth it, which is described by Negative Goodness; but also learn to do well, which is called Positive Goodness, and be zealous in so doing. These two Propositions therefore are observable from the Words -t
I. That Positive Duty, or the Actual Exercise of Goodness, is indispensably required at our Hands. And, O II. That
II. That Zeal is the necessary Qualification ofPositive and Actual Goodness.
I. That Positive, &c.
And this I shall represent, first, under a general View: And, secondly, under some more particular Considerations. And,
Firsts That we are obliged to the actual Exercise of Goodness will appear, in a general Way, if we do but turn a Thought to the State and Order of created Beings, and the Designs of their Creatour. For though no Virtue or Vice can be ascribed to those Beings, which have no Understanding; yet remiss and negligent Man may form a just and useful Reproof to himself, upon this Observation, That whilst He, who is the Glory of visible Creatures, fails of exercising his Powers and Abilities, and of Answering the Ends of his Creation, all the other Parts even of the natural World do exert themselves to their utmost Capacity, in promoting and fulfilling the great Ends and Purposes of Nature. The Sun ceaseth not to visit, and cneer, and
beautify beautify the World, but cometh forth as a Bridegroom out of his Chamber•, and re-' joiceth as a Giant to run his Course; And is it once ftoodstill in the midji of Heaven, and hasted not to go down, about a whole Day, this was owing to the special Restraint of the Creatour; for Otherwise* It goeth forth from the uttermost Part of the Heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again. And so the other Celestial Bodies maintain their constant ReVolutions, for the Illustration of God's Glory, the Benefit of Mankind, and the Regularity and Harmony of the World.
And if we bring down our Prospect into the lower Regions, there all the Orders of Beings purely Animate are in a State of Motion and Activity, under their proper Proportions. And those things here below, as well as those above, which are destitute of Life, are not yet wanting in their Motion, but are making continual Advances, agreeably to their proper Tendencies, for the Accomplishment of their proper Ends. The Seas are fulfilling the Course of Nature by constant Agitations, and, for the like
O % Purpose,