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SERM.

By thinking of these things it is likely the
XV. Apostle means the examining and obferving

the reasonablenesfe and fitnesse of them : seri-
oufly attending to the several branches of each
particular here mentioned : not omitting to
take notice of every thing implied and contain-
ed therein : observing how far each of these
things may be especially suited to their fevex
ral stations and characters: accounting them-
felves under an indispensable 'obligation to
practise them, as occasions offer: and like-
wise studying and contriving, how they may
be best able to shew an exact and chearful
conformity to such a direction as this, and
guard against every thing contrarie' to it.

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II. In the next place I shall endeavor to ex

plain and illustrate the several particu-
lars, here recommended.

1. The first is whatever things are true. And
it should be observed, that this comprehen-
five word whatever is prefixed to every par-
ticular. It is used for the sake of brevity.
St. Paul designed not to enumerate the seve-
ral parts of each character here mentioned.

But

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But he desires, that his Christian friends SERM, and brethren would themselves observe and XV, attend to every thing included in them,

Whatever thing are true, or fincere. There is a truth of words and actions. We are to be fincere and upright in our profession of religion, in the worship of God, and in our dealings with men. We should be what we appear to be: and be far from defiring or aiming to be esteemed what we are not, when there is any the left hazard of any damage, or injurie, thereby accruing, cither to religion, or to men.

Whatever things are true, think of these things. Reckon yourselxes obliged to every branch of truth and sincerity. Shew a love of truth in your studies and enquiries. And when

you are upon good grounds convinced of the truth of any principles,-be not shy of owning them upon proper occasions. Never disown or deny the truths

you are convinced of, for any worldly considerations whatever. As you have taken upon you the name of Christians, steadily acknowledge and profess the principles of that doctrine. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves to

gether,

SERM. gether, nor be moved from your stedfastnelle
XV. by the reproches, or other ill treatment,

which you may meet with.
: Let your worship of God be sincere and
fervent. Never appear before him with
your body only: but always worship him in
{pirit and truth.

In your conversation and dealings with men, whatever is your station, and character, maintain your integrity. Be faithful and upright in your words and actions, in your professions of respect and esteem, in your promises and contracts : that no one may have cause to suspect or doubt of your fincerity, and all men who have dealings with you may be readily disposed to confide in you.

And never let any be disappointed, of have reason to complain of falthood, and to repent of the trust they have reposed in you.

Whatever things are boneft. In the margin of some of our Bibles the original word is rendred venerable. And in divers places our Englith translation has the word grave, instead of that in the text. Among the qua:

lifican

8.

2.

{ifications of a Bishop this is one, that be rule SERM. well his own bouse, having his children in fub- XV. jection with all gravity.... Likewise must the Time deacons be

grave.... Likewise must their wives üi 4. be grave, not flanderers, sober, faithful in all things. In the Epistle to Titus. But speak Tit. i I. thou the things that become found doctrine, that the aged men be sober, grave. And, In all ...7. things sewing thy-self a pattern of good works, in doétrine shewing uncorruptnesse, gravity, fincerity.

These instances may help us more distinctly to conceive the design of the Apostle in this place, where the same word is rendred honest. It seems that he intends to recommend to Christians a concern for their character, a care so to behave, as to secure to themselves some degree of respect and esteem : that they should avoid unbecoming levity in word, action, habit, and outward behaviour, which tends to render men defpicable: whereby they appear weak, mean, and of no consequence in the eye of others.

Doubtless the practise of this rule must be different and various, according to mens several characters and stations in the world. We perceive from the texts just cited, that

gravity

SERM. gravity is more especially recommended to XV. the aged, and to those who have the honour

of some office or trust in the Church. But here St. Paul gives this advice to Christians in general, to reckon themselves obliged to whatever things are boneft, grave, or venerable.

It is not needful, nor scarce proper, to be very particular in such a direction as this. Every one who thinks, as St, Paul here defires all Christians to do, may be the best judge, what is most suitable to his own station and character. However, such a hint as this in the text may be of use to awaken the attention of every one, and induce men to consider, what does best become them, in their stations, and what tends to diminish them in the esteem of others. It may be of use to excite men to labor after some useful qualifications, and to be furnished with some valuable branch of knowledge. It may raise a desire of weight and solidity. It tends to caution men against extravagant and excessive mirch. In a word, whatever is becoming, and is rather suited to secure respect, than expose them to contempt and fcorn: and whatever tends to make others

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