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the World to come: These Considerations, and some others of Affinity with these, have in all ages effectually induced Judicious and Wise men, to suppress all Pride, and Arrogance and Self-conceit, rising up in their Breasts as the great springs of Infidelity, and to depend, with Humility and Stedfastness of Faith, upon God's Knowledge and Wisdom, rather than their own.
2dly, The Second Thing signified by conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ, is Obedience to the Precepts and Rules of Practice deliver'd in the Gospel. The Reality of our Faith is to be demonstrated by the Holiness of our Lives. Notwithitanding the Necessity of Faith, yet the Highest degrees of it, without Obedience attending it, and grafted upon it, are utterly insignificant, and unavailable to Salvation. * By works a man is justified, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. An Obedient and Spiritual Life is the evidence,
Ja. ii. 24, 26.
which we are Indispensably required to give of our being filled with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. It was the great Design of our Blessed Saviour's Manifestation in the flesh, to destroy the works of the Devil, to reduce us from the Dominion of Sin, and restore us to the similitude of God, by the Conformity of our Lives to his Holy Will revealed from Heaven. Whosoever nameth the name of Christ, does it Unprofitably and in Vain, if he fails of departing from all Iniquity. . We can have no claim to the Privileges and Promises of the Gospel, but by our Fidelity in performing the Conditions of them. For we can have no Just hope of entring into Life, but by keeping the Commandments, or, by taking effectual care, that our Lives be, as the Commandments themselves are, Holy, and
Just, and Good. 'Tis the Highest excellency of Conduct which we are to arrive at, before our Conversation can be indeed suitable to the Gospel; For 'tis to be observed, that besides the Rules prescribed to all our Outward actions, relating to God, our Neighbours, and our
Şelves, the Gospel requires from us many Internal Qualities and Dispositions, a great Variety of Graces, Transcendently Good in Themselves, as well as the Noblest Principles and Foundations of Action; insomuch that they plainly carry along with them, an abundant Intrinfick Evidence of their own Divine authority: Their Perfection testifies their Origin, and their Tendency shews that they are from Above; For they Improve and Refine our nature, and raise it to the utmost Perfection 'tis capable of, on this side Heaven.
That this Argument therefore may leave the more useful and lasting Impreifions upon you, I shall pass on, from this General view of it, to a Short representation of as many of those Particular Graces, relating to it, as the Time will allow me to mention.
1. The First is Purity of beart. There is no true worth or excellence in the Fairest and most Beautiful outward behaviour, unless it be built upon a true Principle of Goodness Within. So curious a Gloss may possibly be laid, by an
Artful hand, upon Hypocritical actions, that the most piercing eye of Man cannot reach to the Bottom of them, or, perceive any manner of Difference between Real holiness and these Counterfeit Images of it. But such masterly Appearances of Religion, which frequently gain the Admiration and Applause of Men, are ever an Abomination in the sight of God. Those who are most effectually restrain’d from Evil actions, or, excited to Good ones, by a Principle of Vain-Glory, or any other worldly view, freely entertaining and Indulging their minds with Evil Thoughts, may seem to be religious, but their religion is vain. They are not in Any respect obedient unto God; For the Visible part of their Lives is a Fraud put upon the World, to bribe Mankind' into a good opinion of them; and their Inward parts are very Wickedness. Let us therefore continually revolve it in our Thoughts, that none but the pure in heart shall see God; either in spiritual fellowship with him upon Earth, or the eternal enjoyment of him in Heaven. .
Dd 2. The 2. The second Christian Grace that I shall mention is Humility in Mind and Thought. Be ye clothed with Humility, faith the Apostle, intimating, that this virtue should be Particularly and Eminently Conspicuous in us. And, left we should be mistaken in the Nature of that Humility, which becometh the Eleet of God, we are elsewhere taught, in a Metaphor of the like Import, to put on Hum= bleness of Mind. For 'tis in this, and in all other Graces, as in the Case of Purity, that the Soul is the Seat of them; And if they have not gain’d Intire Pofsession and Dominion There, the most plausible external representations of them are always Insignificant, and often Sinful. A Man of the Haughtiest Mind may poffibly behave himself, in the most Condescending and Humble manner, for the fake of being Thought humble and condescending, and of securing to himself, by Artifice and Address, that Deference and Respect from the World, which he would be sure to forfeit, by an Insolent and Overbearing Demand of it: But does he not, all the while, offend God the