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Vol. II. earnestly for one, one only can ob

tain it, because it was thus in the Ilthmian Race. Ņor, on the other hand, must we imagine that those who do not obtain the Prize in this Spiritual Contention, suffer nothing worse than the loss of that Reward and Glory which they Atrove for, because this was the worst that befel them that were foild in the Grecian Games; for at this rate we should advance a very wild and falle Scheme of Divinity ; no, our business is to consider the Scope and Drift of the Apostle ; and this is very obvious upon the flightest Reflection, namely, to exhort Christians to run vigorously that Race of Vertue and Glory which is set before them, and to this end he makes use of two Arguments; the first' taken from the Reward or Prize which they will win, called in the Verse following, an incorruptible Crown ; the other from the ill Success of many, who pretend to run, Know ye not that they which run in a race, run all; but one receiveth the prize.

But before I enter upon this, two things are necessary to be done, to clear the Sense of the Text, and place the Exhortation in a true light

1. Το

1. To fhew you who will not, and Vol. II.

who will receive the prize, &c.
2. What we must do that we may

run successfully, so run that ye
may

obtain.

1. Who will, and who will not fall sort of the prize. This we may learn from St. Paul, v. 26. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly : so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. In these words, as he proposes himself as an Example of such who contend successfully; so does he insinuate that there are two sorts of Men who will certainly be disappointed in their Expectations.

1. Such as only beat the Air, and do not fight in earnest,

2. Such as run uncertainly, i. e. milimploy their Zeal, and misplace their Labour.

Of the first fort are those who purpose and propose great Things, but never Execute them ; who are always beginning, but never finishing the Work of Righteousness; who make profession of Christianity, but are never thoroughly influenc'd by the power of it; these are they whofe vaini Hope's

our

beat upon

Vol. II. our Saviour compares to a House built

on the Sand, Matth. 6. 26, 27. And
every one that heareth these Sayings of
mine, and doth them not, shall be likened
to a foolish man, which built his house up-
on the sand ; and the rain descended, and
the floods came, and the winds blew and

the house, and it fell and great
was the fall of it. But our Saviour has
more fully described the various forts
of these unfortunate Pretenders, in
that Parable Mark 4. wherein he re-
presents them by three sorts of Ground,
that on the High-way side, that on the
Rock, and that which was over-run
with Briars and Thorns; when the
Seed was sown on the High-way side,
the Fools of the air came and eat it up ;
these are they who are either so obdu-
Tate nothing can penetrate or move
them, or so gay and vain, of such vo-
latile and unsettled tempers, such Ene-
mies to Thought and Seriousness, that
nothing can fix upon them ; the best
Reason they hear is immediately de-
feated by a flash of Wit, the wiselt
Thought defac'd by the next Fancy,
and a good Motion or good Purpose
utterly banish'd by the next pleasing
Trifle that presents it self. Others

there

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there are, who like the Ground upon Vol. II. the Rock, shew well, but of no depth; their Resolves are sudden, and so are their Relapses too ; chay are susceptible of good Impr-ilions, but very un. apt to retain them; they are soft, but not steady; they are soon charm'd by Divinclov, he Beauty of Holiness,and the Fc.ce and Attraction of Gospel Promises ; but their Faith has not taken root enough, nor are their Resolutions so well form’d, but that they yield to the next Temptation. Lastly, There is Ground in which Seed grew up, but Bryars and Thorns with it. The Luft of the Flesh, the Cares of the World, the Pride of Life soon defile their Repentance, depretiate their Good Works, and put a stop to their. Growth and Progress, so that their Vertue never arrives at Strength and Maturity. Nor is Vice the only thing that defeats the purpofes of a Convert, but too too often Negligence and Sloth, and a too early Confidence and Presumption. This was the Case of the five foolish Virgins, Matth. 25. the Lamps of these were trim'd and lighted at first, as well as those of the wise, but they foon went out, for they had taken no Oyl with them, I will conclude

Vos. Il.this Head in few words, Christianity

must consist in Action, not in Talk.
Nor is it enough to begin well, but we
must use all Diligence to Cultivate and
Improve our Vertue, and if we would
have it thrive, we must take care that
it be not starv'd by our Negligence, nor
choak’d by any Vice; if we would have
it Qand against Temptation, we must
lay the Foundation deep, and make a
thorow and intire Reformation, and
not be too soon confident of our state,
till we have made our Calling and Ele-
&tion fiere, by setled and establisbt ha-
bit of Righteousness.

2. Another sort of Christians who
run, but do not obtain the Prize, are
such who misplace their Pains, and
misimploy their Zeal. The Christian
Religion consists in Solid and Substan-
tial Piety, not Fancy, Singularity, or
Superstition : 'Tis good to be zealousy
affected in a good thing, Gal. 4. 8. this
is what the Apostle means by those
words, So run I, not as uncertainly; and
in those other to Timothy, 2 Ep. 2. 5.
And if a man also strive for masteries,
yet is he not crowned except he strive law-
fully. 'Tis too common to pay tythe of
Mint, Annife and Cummin, and omit

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