Imágenes de página
PDF

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 desiroy 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 mameth the name o

Christ, does it Unprofitably and in Vain, if he fails of departing from all Imiquity. 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 Condućt 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 ačtions, relating to God, our Neighbours, and our - Selves, Selves, the Gospel requires from us many Internal Qualities and Dispositions,

a great Variety of Graces, Transcendent

ly Good in Themselves, as well as the Noblest Principles and Foundations of Aćtion; insomuch that they plainly carry along with them, an abundant Intrinsick Evidence of their own Divine authority: Their Perfeótion 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 Perfečtion 'tis capable of, on this side Heaven, That this Argument therefore may leave the more useful and lasting Impresfions upon so , 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 heart. 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 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 Counter

feit Images of it. But such masterly Appearances of Religion, which frequently gain the Admiration and Applause of Men, are ever an Abomination in the fight of God. Those who are most effeótually restrain'd from Evil ačtions, 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.

D d 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 Elett of God, we are elsewhere taught, in a Metaphor of the like Import, to put on Humbleness of Mind. For 'tis in this, and in all other Graces, as in the Case of Puri– ty, that the Soul is the Seat of them; And if they have not gain’d Intire Posfession and Dominion There, the most plausible external representations of them are always Insignificant, and often Sinful. A Man of the Haughtiest Mind may possibly behave himself, in the most Condescending and Humble manner, for the sake 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

[ocr errors]

more, by adding Hypocrisy to Haughtiness, and making the false Appearances of Humility Ministerial to his Pride? Humility then is, Principally, a Quality or Affection of the Soul; And 'tis under This view of it, that our Blessed Lord requires us to be Humble, and to become as little children: Not unlike to This is David's manner of expressing his Humility; My heart is not haughty My soul is even as a weamed Child. How highly Necessary, Amiable, and Acceptable unto God this excellent Frame of Spirit is, himself hath declared by his Holy Prophet: * Thus saith the High and lofty one, that inhabiteth etermity, whose mame is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with Him also that is of an Humble spirit. ' And as this Grace is Necessary to Qualifie us for receiving the Full Influences of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in us, here on Earth; Sois it necessary to Qualifie us for the Attainment of happiness in Heaven. For if the Angels fell from Heaven by Pride; we can

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »