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for us to be holy and undefiled, according to the true intent of the laws of our religion; so God has made it the indispensable condition of our happiness, that we actually and in reality become such holy persons. By the means I have mentioned, God and man are brought together again; and man is redeemed from a state of sin and eternal death, to a state of holiness, and to the inheritance of eternal life. And this was the end for which the Son of God clothed himself with our flesh, that, as man, he might suffer what our sins had deserved, and as he was the Son of God, he might make a full, perfect, and sufficient oblation and satisfaction to the divine justice, for the sins of the whole world; who, for the joy of delivering so many millions of souls from misery, endured the death of the cross, and all the afflictions of this bitter passion, which was the perfect sacrifice whereby all mankind are restored to the favour of God, and put into a state of salvation: God having, for his Son's sake, promised to pardon all such as shall re pent, and forsake their sins, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and to give his holy spirit to all such as shall sincerely pray for the same; and after death to make them eternally happy, if during this short state of trial, which is designed to amend our corrupt and disordered nature, they endeavour to observe the rules, which he has revealed in his word, and which are absolutely necessary to make them capable of eternal happiness in the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, seeing a good life is attended with so many advantages; if it will make us live happily, die comfortably, and at last entitle us, through the merits of our saviour Jesus Christ, to an eternal inheritance in that kingdom, which he has purchased for us with his most precious blood; and if, on the other hand, guilt is its own punishment in this world, and everlasting misery will most certainly be the lot and portion of the wicked and impenitent in the next; what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? and how stedfast and unmovcable should this make us in the ways of God's laws, and in the works of his commandments? With what indignation and abhorrence should we look upon sin, and with
what speed should we fly from that dreadful enemy souls, that would rob us of our present as well as future happiness? How should the consideration of these things make us to take heed lest there be in any of us an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God? And how stedfastly would we resolve to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; but to walk as children of light in the
of true piety and holiness ; and not to delay for one moment the care of our immortal souls? For although God is a being of infinite goodness and mercy, and is patient and longsuffering toward sinners, being unwilling that
any should perish, but that all should come to repentance; yet we must remember, that he is also infinitely just, and will assuredly vindicate the honour of his laws. All sin and wickedness is an abomination in his siyht. He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity ; and, if his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little, what will become of the wicked and ungodly? Nothing but a sincere repentanco and amendment of life will be sufficient to secure them from the vengeance's
which he has threatened to pour down, upon all obstinate and rebellious sinners; and true repentance will most undoubtedly avert his anger.
V. To conclude with the sentiments of a devout and pious divine: The great plea, that men do generally make for the wickedness or carelessness of their lives, is this ; . It really is not in their power to live up to such a state of holiness and virtue, as the law of God obliges them to; grace is in them too weak, and their natural corruptions too strong, for their ever being in a capacity, without more assistance from God, to live strict and religious lives ; conversion is the work of God, and cannot be wrought by man's self; and therefore, till God shall please to come upon them with an irresistible power of his holy spirit, they must be contented to live as they do ; nay, they must unavoidably live so. Now it is readily granted, that without God's grace no man can do any thing; and we grant likewise, that it is very probable their circumstances may be such, that it is not morally possible, unless they had greater strength and more grace than they have, on a sudden to live as they ought
to do; for their bad principles are really more powerful than their good ones; but yet, in the mean time, we must needs tell them, that they are not mere stocks and stones. How much reason soever they have to complain of the infirmity or degeneracy of their natures, yet some things they can do toward the bettering of them: for instance, though they cannot on a sudden conquer the inward bent and inclination of their minds so as to hate all sin, and to delight in virtue; yet they must needs confess that they have a power over their ontward actions: they can as well direct their feet toward the church as to a house of gaming, or drinking, or lewdness: their eyes will serve them as well to look upon a bible, or a serious discourse about religion, as to read a scurrilous and a profane book: it is as much in their power to yield their ears to the reasonable advice of their sober friends, as to the mad harangues of the dissolute company they keep. These things they must needs acknowledge they can do, if they will; nay, and they can do more than this; for (if they pleasa) they may give themselves time to consider and think of what they read, or what is said to them, or what their own experience or observation of things will suggest to their minds; and they can further (if they please) add to their consideration, their prayers to almighty God to direct them, to assist them, to strengthen them. And though it is certain that all this without God's especial grace will not be effectual for their regeneration and conversion; yet, if they will but do as much as this comes to; we can assure them, that in time they shall have this especial grace, which they now want. In the same proportion that they use and employ those gifts and powers, which they at present have, God will increase and enlarge them. And the truth of all this is confirmed to us by that memorable saying of our Saviour, which we find in his mouth at several times, and upon several occasions: To him that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath. Let it then, above all things, be our great and constant endeavour to make him our friend, who is the best of beings, the sovereign good and happiness of all his creatures, and the fountain and founda
tion of all our comforts and enjoyments in this life', and of all our hopes and expectations in that which is to come. Let us make religion the great business of our lives, and while we have time and opportunity, let us prepare ourselves by a life of virtue and righteousness, for that great account which we must one day give. Let not the pleasures and vanities of this world, which will shortly have an end, make us unmindful of the great and momentous concerns of eternity. There shall in nowise enter into that holy place any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. And those only are the good and virtuous, who have kept themselves from the pollutions of this wicked world, and have led a life of piety and renewed obedience toward God, and of love and charity toward their neighbours.
O GOD, the protector of all that trust in thee, who was pleased to accept the death an: passion of thy dear son Jesus Christ as an expiation for the sins of mankind, and a ransom of their guilty souls from the torments of hell; grant that I may duly weigh the efficacy of his merits, and faithfully improve the benefits of my redemption. Let not the pleasures of sin betray me, nor the craftiness of Satan deceive me: but do thou guard and protect me with ţhy blessed spirit against all spiritual teinptations ; and let me always have the danger and care of my soul before my eyes, and the torments of the wicked fresh in my memory, so that, by contemplating upon the misery of others, I may hate their practices, and avoid their punishments, through the all-sufficient merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
THE FIRST PART
OF THE NEW
Whole Duty of Man:
OUR DUTY TO GOD..
SUNDAY I. I. Of true morality and of the duty of man, astaught by natural
and revealed religion; containing the three great branches of our duty to God, to our NEIGHBOUR, and to OURSELVES. II. Our duty to God is to believe in him, and in his affirmations, commands, promises, and threatenings. III. To hope in him without presumption or despair. IV. To love him for his excellencies and kindness. "V. To sear him rather than men. VI. To trust in him in all dangers and wants. VII. To submit to his divine will, both in respect of obedience and patience, in all his commands and disposals.
I. THE christian religion being the means, which God has appointed for the restoring of mankind to his favour, which man had forfeiter] by his wilful disobedience; and for his recovering the image of God; the Almighty does therein give us a new hope and title to that everlasting happiness, for which man was at first created: but this is only to be hoped for on certain conditions,* namely, our lively faith, and sincere and hearty endeavours to obey his will; on the performance or neglect of which depend our eternal happiness and misery: therefore it is of the greatest importance for us to inquire, what that faith is, and what those several things are to which God requires our obedi
But, first, it will not be improper to consider what we are to understand by true morality.
See page 11.