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these Practices. And as for you, who are here present, let me bespeak you in the Words of the Apostle ; Dearly Beloved, I beseech you, as Strangers and Pilgrims, to abstain from Flesbly Lufts, which war against the Soul. I beseech you, as you have any Honour for your Lord and Master; as you have any' Regard to the Preservation of a Sense of Religion in your Minds; as you have any Concern for your Health, for your Estates, for your families
8 as you have any Respect to the Publick, that Effeminacy, and Sottishness, and Diseases, may not be entailed upon our Posterity. Ladly, as you love your own Souls, and hope ever to see the Face of God in Heaven, learn to live Soberly, learn to live Chaftly, learn to pra&ise Purity and Temperance in all your ConVersation. Avoid Whoredom and Drukenness, as you would the Plague ; for certainly they are the worst of Plagues to them that use them : For other Plagues do only put our Bodies in Danger, but these do endanger both our Souls and Bodies. Nay, as to the one (I mean our Souls) they will prove certain inevitable Destruction, without Repentanceand Reformation.
I know these Things are made flight Matters of by a great many among us. But assure yourselves, God will not account them fo: it is certain he will not, if we may believe his Word; for it is there told us exprelly, that Whoremongers and Adulterers, God will judge. And withal, that neither Adulterers," nor Fornicators, nor unclean Persons, nor Drunkards,
Mball ever inherit the Kingdom of God, or of Christ.
IV. I proceed to the last Head of Advice, that is given in my Text. The Apostle ha ving Instanced in Three Things necessary to be Daily thought upon and pursued by all Chriftians, viz. Truth, and Honesty, and Purity; leaves off to meddle any farther with Particulars, and sums up the rest of his Advice in Generals." And that Sum comes to this; That as we are Christians, we should not only take care of the Three fore-mentioned Things, but should make it our Business to improve ourselves in every other Sort of Vertue; Nay, in every other Sort of Thing that is Praise-worthy, or that is well esteemed of among Mankind. So that really it should be the Endeavour of our Lives, to render ourselves as excellent, and as exemplary for all sorts of amiable Qualities, as it is possible for Men to be in this World. This
. I take to be the full meaning of those Four Expressions that follow in my Text, Whatsoever Things are Lovely, whatsoever Things are of good Report ; if there
be any Vertue; if there be any Praise, think on these Things.
And now, Brethren, see from hence what your Obligations are. You that have such a glorious Light vouchsafed you ; such unvaluable Promises, such mighty Assistances made over to you by the Gospel of Christ; You must in Reason imagine, that in return of these great Advantages, great Things are expected from you.
It will not satisfie your Engagements, that you do believe and profess the Gospel; that you do no wrong to your Neighbours; that you are neither given to Lewdness nor Drunkenness; (though yet even these, as the World goes, are very great Things; and could all Men that profess Christianity, truly say this of themselves, we should see Heaven upon Earth.) But your Christianity obliges you to aspire after greater Things: you must get yourselves possessed of the whole Circle of Vertues; you must be Kind and Charitable, as well as Just and Honest; you must be Modeft, and Meek, and Hamble, as well as Temperate and Chaste.
Nay, not only so, but you are to labour after all these feveral Vertues in the full Lati. tude and Extent of them, even to that Degree, that every Thing which hath but the Appearance of Evil, is to be avoided by you. You are not only to abstain from Acts of Injustice, but even from doing a bard Thing to any one; you are not only to keep yourselves within the known Limits of Temperance and Chastity, but to avoid all those Things that border upon the Vices opposite thereunto; and so as to all other Instances : If any Thing be of ill Report, and looks infamously to the fober Part of Mankind; why that very Consideration is enough to deter you from the Practice ofit : For you are to recommend your Religion to all the Men in the World, by all the Ways that are possible.
In a Word, you are to endeavour to be as free from blame in your whole Conversation, VOL. I:
as you possibly can; and not only fo, but to be as good, and to do as much Good as your Circumstances will allow
you. This now is to be a Chriftian indeed ; by thus endeavouring you truly walk worthy of that high and Heavenly Calling wherewith you are called, and you do (as the Apostle advises) adorn the Doctrine of God in all Things; and Happy, extremely Happy are they that do thus; for great is their Reward: Great even in this World, in the solid Peace and Assurance of God's Favour which they here enjoy, and which indeed far exceeds all the Blessings that the Earth can afford; but exceedingly great in the Life to come, when Jesus Christ shall come with all the Powers of Heaven to do Honour to those that have thus here honoured .him.
Thus have I gone through all the parts of my Text; but I do not think that I ought so to leave it. I have given you an Account of the Things that St. Paul hath here directed us to, to be the main pursuit of our Lives. But I think likewise it will be proper to speak something of the Methods of that Pursuit, or the Means which we are to observe, if we would practise this Text; And here I am to begin anew with my Advices. Several Things I have to represent upon this Occasion, and to exhort you to. I am not much folicitous, whether they strictly belong to my Argument or no: But I desire to leave them with you,as Things that I judge to be veryuseful, and which I wish may be ever remembred by you.
And the Firft Thing I would exhort you to, is this, That you would endeavour to posles your Minds with a hearty Sense of God Almighty, and the absolute Necessity of being seriously Religious.
I do not mention this, as if I thought there was any need to caution you against Atheismi or Infidelity; for I hope not many among us are inclined that way. Mankind are natu. rally disposed to believe a God and Religion; and since, through God's Blessing, it is Christia anity that is the Religion of our Country, and in which we have been all Educated, I look upon an Atheist or an Infidel among us, to be a sort of Prodigy, a strange unusual Creature; vaftly different from those of his own Kind.
But here is the Thing: Though most of us profess Religion, and the true Religion, yet many of us have no lively or hearty Sense of it. We use Religion as we do our Cloaths. They are very convenient; Nay, perhaps necessary, and therefore we wear them, and for the particular Form or Mode of them, we follow, as to that, the Custom of the Country where we live. Yet as the Cloachs we wear, do not alter the Complexion or Features of our Body, so neither doth the Religion we profess, any more affect the Temper. of our Souls. We serve our selves in both Cafes of the outward Conveniencies that are to be had by them, but we are still the same Persons, both as to our outward and inward Lineaments.
But, alas ! this is a very sorry way of being Religious, and will do us no great Kindness. We may perhaps reap some fecular Advanta