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Squandred and Wafted his Talent by any Means whatsoever: But he had neglected to improve it, to apply it to Any Purpose, to make any Use of it at All; and upon this single Point, because he was Slothful and Unactive, did his Condemnation turn: Though he had Actually committed no Evil, yet because he had not actually done any Good, the · dreadful Sentence is given against him, Cast ye the unprofitable Servant into outer Darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth. The unprofitable Servant is the Parallel to the fruitless Tree, which must not be suffered to stand at all, because it would stand to no other purpose but to cumber the Ground..
How superficial therefore and imperfect must our Notions of our own State be, if we do not plainly perceive our selves obliged, in order to Salvation, not only to withstand the Temptations of Sin, but to fulfil the various Duties which are enjoined: Which may still further appear from that more Particular Consideration of this point which is now in the
Second Place to be added to the General One already offer’d: Where I shall represent our obligation to Good Works, or, to the actual Exercise of Goodness, as such Good Works may be considered, : : 1. In respect of God, as we are Created and Redeemed by him, and Subject to him, and therefore Obliged to contribute our utmost to His Honour, For thus St. Paul does at once give us a Rule of Duty, and the Reason of it, * Glorify God in your Bodies, and in your Spirits, which are God's. And the Method of Answering this high Obligation, and Accomplishing this great End, is assigned by our Blessed Lord himself; Let your Light so seine before Men, that they may see your good Works, and glorifie your Father which is in Heaven. Whilft we deny our selves unlawful Pleasures, and unlawful Advantages, out of a Sense of Duty, grounded upon the Love of God, we do undoubtedly acquit our felves in an Acceptable manner
* 1 Cor. vi. 20.
Matt. v. 16.
before him; and if the Other parts of our Behaviour are but Agreeable to This, we shall not fail of the Recompence of Reward: And, as Corrupt Inclinations Within are More Powerful, and Temptations from Without More Engaging, Acts of Self-denial will be ftill More Approved in the Judgment of God, and Crowned with a Higher Reward. But still ’tis possible that we may deny our selves the commission of most agreeable Sins, and yet contribute Little or Nothing to the advancement of God's Glory. The abstaining from sinful Actions is indeed the preventing direct Dishonour to God; but our Obligation to promote God's Honour does signifie a great deal more than our avoiding plain instances of Dishonour towards Him: It implies Positive and Absolute Duties, whereby we shall give direct occasion of Celebrating His Praise, and propagating the Glory of His Name. And therefore all Those who are so far Innocent and Harmless, that they do not launch out into any Enormities, but yet spend their Lives, and possess their Talents, in a Dreaming, and Useless, and Unactive manner, are Culpable and Inexcusable.
We are instructed, that we must not live unto our SELVES, but unto the Lord; and that whatsoever we do, we must do all to the Glory of God: And our Saviour teacheth us, How we are to promote God's Glory; * Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much Fruit.
All Holy Men have, in their several Proportions, answer'd the Character of the Baptist, who + was a burning and a shining Light. They have been eminent for their Acts of Piety, testifying their Constancy and Fervency in the Worship of God; Eminent in the utmost Dangers, for the open Declaration and Profession of their Faith, for the Instigation and Encouragement and Confirmation of others in it, in Opposition to Profane and Gainsaying Men; Eminent for their Liberality and Charity, I honouring God with their SUBSTANCE, as Solomon expresseth it; Eminent for their Earnest Labours in Relieving the
* John xv. 8.
† John v. 3.
# Prov. iii. 2. Oppressed,
Oppressed, Reducing the Vicious, InItructing the Ignorant, Convincing the Erroneous, Strengthening the Weak, Satisfying the Doubtful, Exciting the Negligent, and Guarding Religion from the Attempts of its Enemies on every Side.
St. Paul's Greatest Glory is, that he Laboured more abundantly than they all, in promoting the Glory of God. When these Vigilant and Active, these Induftrious and Strenuous Instruments of God's Honour shall appear in the Judgment, how Beautiful and Joyful, how Resplendent and Glorious will their Appearance be? And how contemptible, and dismal, and dejected must those other Thoughtless Creatures appear, who have fuffer'd their Lives to run down in Sloth and Indolence, Neglecting the Honour of their Maker? Whilst the One inherits the Glory of Good Works; the Other, having been unfruitful, must sink under Shame and Confusion of Face. But,
2. The Actual Performance of Good Works will further appear necessary, when consider'd in Respect of our Neighbour. For, next to the Advance