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and intolerable; but where do we find it written in any body of human laws, “Thou “ shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" and, “ All things whatsoever ye would that men “ should do unto you, do ye even fo unto 66 them?” Whereas the laws of the gospel extend to the heart as well as to the life, and speak to all men without exception, at all times, and in every situation. They utter their voice with such precision and perfpicuity, that none can be at a loss to discover their meaning They do not bend to the humours of men, nor accommodate themselves to those flexible maxims and customs which by turns prevail in this or the other age and country; far less do they grow obfolete, as human statutes do, which by long disuse lofe their force, and become void: like their great Master, what they were yesterday they are the fame to-day; and in every succeeding period their efa ficacy will continue till time itself shall be no more. And, therefore, when I repeat the words of this facred book, you are to consider them as spoken to yourselves in particular ; and no less binding upon you
in their most simple and obvious meaning;
One thing further I would recommend to
vour;" and therefore we may rest af-
This last confideration sets the obedience required of us in a moft endearing point of light. It is not the servile task of a hireling who labours for his wages, but the ingenuous and grateful service of a loving
child. Christ hach purchased the glorious inheritance; and to all who believe on him, eternal life is the free gift of God through the merit of his blood : so that nothing is required of them, but what tends to purify and perfect their natures; that, by a growing resemblance to the Father of their spirits in this state of discipline, they may be rendered meet for the full and everlasting enjoyment of him, when death, by dillolving the earthly tabernacle, shall pull down all that remains of the first Adam, and bring a final release from the body of fin.
HAVING premised these general remarks, I shall now proceed to remind you of those particular precepts to which our conformity is required by the gospel of Christ. And we are happily furnished with a short, but most comprehensive, summary of them, by this same Apostle in his epistle co Titus, chap. ii. 11. 12. The grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men; teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and worldly lufts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. VOL. II, Y
To these general heads, all the particulare may be reduced that belong to a conversation becoming the gospel of Christ. And here indeed I might ftop short, and only call upon you to weigh with candour and impartiality, the full meaning and import of the expressions here used.
What do you understand by ungodliness, and worldly lusts? Do these terms reach no farther than to the grosser acts of impiety and sensual indulgence ? And is nothing more intended by denying them, than a prudish reserve and shyness to comply with their demands; or such a feeble resistance as yields after a short and very imperfect struggle? Surely none of you can seriously entertain this opinion. You certainly must admit, that no exception is made of any fpecies or degree whatsoever, either of ungodliness or worldly affections ; and that by denying them, the Apostle could mean nothing less, than such a refusal as proceeds from an inward abhorrence of them, even the most vigorous, determined, and perfevering resistance of all their solicitations. Again, What do you understand by lie
ving soberly, righteously, and godly in this prefent world? – Doth fobriety mean no more,
than that species of moderation which is commonly opposed to surfeiting and drunkenness? Or admitting that it excludes every kind of excess in gratifying our bodily appetites, do you imagine that it leaves the mind at full liberty, so that we may lay the reins upon the neck of our passions, and suffer them to run wild without any controul in perfect consistency with that fobriety which the Apostle recommends ?
Will you call a man righteous, merely because he cannot be charged with any gross acts of fra ud, injustice, and oppreision, though perhaps, in the courfe of a lawful business, he may sometimes use a little artifice to impose upon the simplicity or ignorance of his neighbours ? Or,' supposing him to be strictly honest in his dealings, doth the righteousness which the gospel enjoins lay him under no obligation to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to succour the distressed, according to his ability? Is every man to be reputed godly; who Y 2 ,