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ing, and Useless, and Unaćtive manner, are Culpable and Inexcusable. We are instrućted, that we must not live unto our SE L v Es, 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 glorifted, that ye bear much Fruit. All Holy Men have, in their several Proportions, answer'd the Charaćter of the Baptist, who + was a burning and a shining Light. They have been eminent for their Aéts 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, f honouring God with their Subst A N C F, as Solomon expresseth it; Eminent for their Earnest Labours in Relieving the Oppressed, Reducing the Vicious, Instructing the Ignorant, Convincing the Erroneous, Strengthening the Weak, Satisfying the Doubtful, Exciting the Negligent, and Guarding Religion from the
* John xv, 8. f John v. 3. # Prov. iii. 9.
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 Aétive, these Industrious 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 dejećted must those other Thoughtless Creatures appear, who have suffer'd their Lives to run down in Sloth and Indolence, Neglecting the Honour of their Maker 2 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 Aétual Performance of Good Works will further appear necessairy, when confider'd in Respect of our Meighbour. For, next to the Advancement of God's Glory, which is the chief End, and therefore should be the chief Aim of every Rational Creature, the Good of Mankind demands the Exercise of Goodness at our Hands. And as it is observed above, that our Obligation to Glorifie God, does lay us under a Necessity of all such Positive Duties, as may be subservient to that Great Purpose and does not consist in the pure Avoidance of Wicked Aétions, which would refleót Dishonour upon him; so here it is obvious, that the Good which we are to do unto our Brethren, is Direct and Positive, and does not only consist in our forbearing to Hurt and Annoy them. Under the Great Conflićts betwixt Kingdoms, in the direful State of War, That which Succours and Supports Another, in the Defence of its just Rights and Privileges, is intitled to the proper Glories of Beneficence; but that which stands Neuter, deserves no Acknowledgments, because it confers no Benefits, and is but One Degree removed from the State of a professed Enemy. 'Tis
by no Means a sufficient Justification, which Men commonly offer in their own Favour, That they have done no Injury to their Neighbours; for wide is the Difference betwixt an Oppressour and Benefactour, betwixt the Charitable and Injurious. It may easily happen, that He who is not so desperate as to become the One, is not yet found in the hopeful State of the Other. No Man can value himself, for Adding much to the Happiness of Mankind, purely on this Account, that he is not a Thief or a Robber. 'Tis not our keeping to the Letter of the Sixth Commandment, that fils up the Measure of Duty to our Neighbour, in regard to his Life; for as we must not destroy it, we stand Further obliged, to. Protećt it, and to Crown it with Comforts, by proper Aćts of our own, to the utmost of our Power. 'Tis not sufficient that we do not Hate our Neighbour; but we must moreover Actually and Ardently love him, and give all possible Demonstrations of that Love, by such Fruits of it, as may be most Beneficial to him: 'Tis not sufficient, that we do not covet any Thing that is His, but we must moreover communicate unto him that which is our Own, as His Exigencies require, and Our Abilities allow. Those have little Reason to expect Admission into the Society of the Blessed Above, who do not Contribute their utmost to the Happiness of Humane Society upon Earth. When we are taught that the Fruitless Tree must be cut down, that it may not be an Incumbrance upon the World, which receives no Advantage from it; what can those Unprofitable Souls think of themselves, which serve to no other Purpose, but to drag their Bodies through the Benefits of the Air, which they scarce deserve to breath in P Let them so far apply the Parable, as to consider, that though they are let alone for this Year also, yet God's Long-suffering will have a Period; and when they are Hewen down, they shall be cash into the Fire. These Two Particulars are the Weightiest Arguments of our Obligations to Positive Duty, or the Aétual exercise of Goodness; but still there are some O- * * ther