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where our Saviour is gone to prepare a Place for us.
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghofl, three Persons and One God, be all Honour and Glory, Power and Dominion henceforth and for evermore. Amen.
PHILIP. I. 27.
Only let your Conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ*
IN the context St. Paul lays before the Philippians some observations, relating to Himself and his Ministry in the Propagation of the Gospel: And in the words of the Text, he turns the Prospect upon a Point more nearly concerning Them and the Blessed effects of the Gospel upon them; leading off their Minds, from the Thoughts of Himself, into the consideration of their own Duty, under an Exhortation so very Full, though very Short, that whosoever shall diligentSE RMON XL 385
ly attend to and Faithfully observe it, will effectually adorn and Finish the Character of a Christian: Only let your Conversation be, as it becometh the Gospel of Christ. In discoursing on these words I shall
I. first, Endeavour to shew, what is to be understood by Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ; And
II. Secondly, I shall propose some Directions to be observed, as Means of accomplishing such a Conversation.
I. I shall endeavour to shew, what is to be understood by Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ. And in order thereunto, it should be observed that, in Holy Scripture, the Christian Societ/" is sometimes styled a City, * and a Kingdom ; f And the Members of this Society, or, the Subjects of Christ's Spiritual Kingdom are styled Fellow Citizens with the Saints. % Agreeably to this Allusion, the Original word (noXflevscrQe) which we transtate, let your Conversation be, is a Metaphorical expression, taken from the
* Hebr. xii. az. \ Colos. i. 13. \ Eph. ii. 19.
C c State State and Condition of Citizens, or, Members of a Civil Community, denoting a Behaviour suitable to all the Laws and Customs of the City, or Community, to which they belong. And therefore, according to the just meaning of the expreffion in the Text, Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ does not relate to our Words and Actions only, (as the Translation may seem to import) but signifies our Conformity to all the Laws and Injunctions assigned in the Gospel; or a faithful Discharge of all the Duties incumbent upon us, as We are Subjects of Christ's Kingdom, and Therefore obliged to conduct our selves according to the Rules of Polity established in that Kingdom, the positive Institutions of the Gospel.
Since then the Gospel gives Laws to our Souls, as well as to our Bodies, and as plainly requires us to Believe the Truths therein Revealed, as to Obey the rules of Practice therein prescribed; And since Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ does, according to the just Interpretation of the expreffion, signify our Conformity ty to all the Laws given in the Gospel; Hence it follows, that such a Conversation implies in it these two general Heads of Christian Duty, Faith and 0bedience. And 'tis observable, that in the Distribution of Religion "into these two general Heads of it, Obedience is to be understood, as relating purely to PraBice; for, otherwise, the Distinction would not stand good, because Faith it self, as I shall have further occasion to observe, Below, may justly be styled Obedience, as Obedience, in it's Abstracted and Extensive signification, denotes the Observance of any Command whatsoever.
ift, The First thing incumbent upon us, is Faith, or, a firm and stedfast Belief of the Truths revealed in the Gospel. For thus we are taught by our Blefled Saviour, in the first Demand which he made upon Mankind, at his entrance upon his Prophetical Office: * Tlw Kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and Believe the Gospel And the Indifpen
* Mark. i. 15.
C c 2 fable