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tending the Credit of Religion; compared to the Salt of the Earth, and U d City set on an Hill.
The Uncommon and Shining Virtues of the first Christians were, under God/ highly Instrumental towards the Conversion of the World. Their Perseverance in well-doing, their Zeal for their Master, and the Effects of their Charity td' all the World, were so many demonflra-^ tions of the Spirit. The apologists did ever appeal to this Known and Unexcep-3 tionable Testimony in their several Apo* fogies for the Christian Religion. And this Argument was of the Greater force* because it was such as the Ignorant could easily Conceive, and the Learned could neither Despite nor Disprove.
Such was the Excellency of Their Ex-* amples, and such mould be Qurs, if we Would be rank'd amongst those, who turn many to Righteousness. We should not be Content with Low and Obscure Per-'sormances, but sometimes Rife to such* as This Day testifies; such as may strike Emulation or Reverence into the Behold
P 4 ' ers, ers, and may Adorn and Recommend that Truth which we profess.
The Apostle exhorts to * Adorn the Doffrine of God our Saviour in all things, and, to + provide for Honest (y.clkol, Honourable, things, not only in the fight of the Lord, but also in the Sight of Men.
5. Positive Goodness is Necessary to that Perfection which the Gofpel requires. A Christian is described under Characters Importing, not only that he is purged from dead Works, but that he faithfully serves the living God; not only that he hath put off the Old Man, but that he hath put on the New Man, in order to become an habitation of God through the Spirit.
The Christian Institution is a Discipline Qualifying us for Heaven, and the several Rules of the One do, in some respect, Assimilate our Affections to the Other. That Flame of Divine Love is to be raised in This Life, which is to stune forth in Full Glory for ever in the Next. But Negative Goodness is at a
• Tit. ii. to. j 2 Cor. viii. *i.
* great great Distance from this Perfection, and is indeed little better than the Infancy and Elements of Religion. Repentance from dead Works, is but the previous Disposition to that Perfect Goodness, which is required in a Christian. The Restraint of the Passions, which made so great a Part of Philosophy, is no more than a Preparation to the Principal Duties ofChristianity.
The Peculiar Doctrines of the Gospel begun, where the Other Institutions ended. When Man's Reason was at a loss, and could carry him no further, Faith came in to his Succour, that he might go on to Perfection. And as Faith is in it self the Highest and Noblest Principle, so it is a practical Principle, and by Works is Faith made perfeB,
The Gofpel does not only require those Good Works which were inforced by the Law of Nature, and that in Higher degrees of Excellency, than what they ap-p bear'd in before; but does likewise call for Additional Acts of Goodness, in such Instances as could never have issued forth from Natural Light. Those Good Works, P 3 which
which stand in the First rank under the Go/pel, are such as Reason without Faith pould nqt discover, and Nature without Grace could not perform.
And all this ought to be well considers by Those, who go on in a Middle way betwixt Saints and Sinners; who, though they be free from the Vices of the Carnal Man, are yet at a great Distance from the Perfections of the Spiritual. They satisfy themselves, if they step not aside into Wrong Paths, though they do, not Move forward in the Right One, toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. They, hang in a State of Indifferency between God and the World, without any vehemence of Tendency toward Either. And though they have Experience er. nough, to fee through this Grave cheat, which is so commonly put upon Life J yet they still remain Indulgent of Easej and Patient of Delusion. They are not, filling to offend God by flagrant Acts of Iniquity; but they continually provoke him, by neglecting to do those things that are phasing in his Sight.
Wherefore let every Unprofitable Servant Carefully view the Precipice, whereon he stands; that he may betimes retire from the Dreadful Brink to a safer Situation: Let his Total Neglect of Good Works be Succeeded by Earnestness, and Assiduity, and Fervency in the Performance of them. And This leads me in the next Place briefly to represent,
II. That Zeal is the Necessary Qualification of Positive Duty, or Acts of Goodness; for 'tis incumbent upon the Servants of our Lord, that they mould be Zealous of Good Works. The value of Performances does much depend upon That Disposition of Mind from whence they flow-. When Good Works are done with a Negligence and Unconcern, as if it were perfectly Indifferent to the Man, whether they be Undertaken, or let alone, whether they Succeed or Miscarry; They then sit upon him with a very ill grace, and he may easily expect, that What is Performed with so much Coldness, will meet with a Cold Reception. 'Tis the Life and Spirit, the Sprightliness and the Fervour of Religious enterprizes, that . ?4 must