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SERM. once enlightened, and have tasted the good word
And St. Peter makes the supposition, that
therein, and overcome. And St. Paul with Philip. ii. grief speaks of many, who fo walked, as to
thew themselves enemies of the crosse of
St. Paul therefore was not
cified to him, and be to the world. St. James Jam. i. 21. makes no hesitation, to exhort men, to re
ceive with meeknesse the engraffed word, which
Let us then esteem the doctrine of the gor-
Tit. ii. 12.
God ; how to perform the duties of our sta- SERM. tions : how to emprove the mercies and af- XIĮ. fictions of this state, so as that we may lay up a good foundation against the time to come, and obtain everlasting life.
Happy discoveries are pleasing and entertaining to men, whilft new and fresh. But they are really a good foundation of lasting joy. We have reason always to rejoice, and think ourselves happy, that we have the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Chrift, and the way of salvation through him. It was the abiding frame of the Apostle Paul, And after that the gospel had cost him much of those things which are highly esteemed by the most, he declares, that he counted all Philip. things base and contemptible, for the excel lence of the knowledge of Chrift Jesus bis Lord.
I@, Finally, this subject puts us in mind of the importance of our preaching and hear ing.
Says St. Paul to Timothic : Take keed to 1 Tim. thy-felf, and to thy do&trine. Continue in them. For fo doing, thou fbalt both fave thya self, and them that bear thee. This is the defign of our preaching: to teach men the way
SERM. of salvation, and to persuade them to walk XII.
and persevere therein. Such therefore must be the usual topics of our discourse, as explain the certain principles, and enforce the great duties of religion. And such things ought to be carefully attended to.
And when men receive the truth in the love of it, and come under the power
of it: when their affections are set upon things above: and they can be contented in every condition: when men live in love and friendship: and their moderation is conspicuous : and they are ready to offices of goodnesse of various kinds, to all men : this is the best recompense, the most desirable fruit of well meant endeavours, to instruct men in things of religion : greater than applauses for elegance of speech, and exactnefse of method, or any thing else that can be named. Such hearers are an honour to their instructors. And if they who speak, and they who hear, are faved in the day of the Lord, they will be mutually a crown of glórie and rejoycing, when the most splendid, and the most durarable things of this earth are no more.
The good Exercise of Faith.
I TIM. vi. 12.
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH.
Lay hold on eternal life : whereunto thou art also called, and haft professed a good profefion before many witnesses.
31X HERE are some texts of Scrip
ture, that at first appear plain, and easie to be understood :
which yet are somewhat difficult and obscure, and the precise meaning is not readily apprehended. And sometimes we
Serm. are liable to be diverted from the right meanXIII. ing by a translation. Which is not always
awing to the mistake of the translators of the Bible: but rather to some defect in mos dern languages, which want words corresponding to the ancient original.
Of this we feem to have an instance in the present text. Fight the good fight of faith. Many may be apt to think, that the Apostle's metaphorical expressions are taken from wars and battles : and that he here res commends to Timothie, to behave as a valiant soldier in the service of the gospel. And they may be the more induced to this apprehension by some other exhortations to Ti
mothie, where the allusion is manifest, 1. Tim. i. This charge I commit unto thee, fon Timotbie,
...that thou mightest war a good warfare. 2 Tim. ii. And, Thou therefore endure bardnesle, as a
good foldier of Jesus Ghrift. Moreover St. Paul has made use of the fame allusion in
an exhortation to Christians in general. WhereEph. vi. fore take unto you the whole armour of God.... 13. - 17. "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about
with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousnese: and your feet food with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all ta