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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 confideration of their own Duty, under an Exhortation so very Full, though very Short, that whosoever shall diligent- ly
I. the context St. Paul lays before
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 expression in the Text, Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ does not relate to our Words and Aétions 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 Subjećts of Christ's Kingdom, and Therefore obliged to condućt 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 Pračtice therein prescribed; And since Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ does, according to the just Interpretation of the expression, signify our Conformi
ed and Extensive signification, denotes the Observance of any Command whatsoever. 1st, 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 Blessed Saviour, in the first Demand which he made upon Mankind, at his entrance upon his Prophetical Office: * The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and Believe the Gospel. And the Indispen
* Mark. i. I 5. C c 2. sable
able obligations of Faith are again very clearly and Emphatically represented in our Lord's Commission given to the Apostles: * Go ye into all the JWorld, and preach the Gospel to every Creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned. In which, and many other Texts, though Truff, or Hope, or other Christian Virtues may beinplied in Faith; yet, without all doubt, the Aét of Believing, or the Assent of the Understanding is Positively Injoyned, and that as the Fundamental Duty, in the Profession of the Gospel. But still, plain as this Law of Faith is; multitudes of Impious, or Self-conceited, or, Mistaken men do notoriously break through the Obligation of it. And Those, who are Disobedient to it, are ever straining their Thoughts, as other Transgressours are wont to do, in palliating their Guilt under various Excuses and Pretences. - - ... " - Sometimes they are found labouring to
* Mark xvi. 15, 16.