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Serm. ing good from a principle of love to God, a XIV. desire of his favour, and hopes of rewards
from him, without views to worldly honours and advantages : resignation to the disposals of Providence : maintaining the truth in all circumstances : of which virtues the Lord Jesus himself was a conspicuous and perfect example : who also, after he had died in term timonie to the truths taught by him, was raised from the dead, and exalted to glorie. And all who follow him sincerely are to be made perfect and happy, like him, and to be for ever with him.
They who attend to this must be disposed to do somewhat considerable. And, if they should meet with temptations, they will be able to surmount them.
Accordingly, the Apostles of Jesus, who did abide in him, and retained his words, did bear much, and good fruit. Their conduct was excellent and exemplarie. could endure (hame and all manner of sufferings for his name fake, and in hope of partaking in the recompenses of his heavenly kingdom.
Under what discouragements Peter with the eleven first preached the gospel at Jeru
falem, and under what discouragements it Serm. was professed by their first converts, and by XIV. many others afterwards, the historie in the A&s, and other things in the epistles of the Apostles, plainly shew.
And the power and efficacie of the divine word are attested to by every part of scrip
Says holy David : Wherewith shall a young Pl.cxix. man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto, according to thy word. And, Thy word kave Ver. 11: I bid in my beart, that I might not fin against thee.
The word of God is represented as the great mean of forming, and of cherishing and emproving good dispositions. The Chriftians, tó whom St. Peter writes, bad pu- 1 Pet. i. rified themselves in obeying the truth. And 22. 23. had been born again, not of corruptible feed, but of incorruptible, even by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. And he exhorts them, as new born babes, to defre the ii, 2. fincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby. And St. James : Receive with meek- Jam. i.
23, nelle the engraffed word, which is able to save your souls
SERM. What St. Paul says at Miletus to the elders
XIV. of Ephesus, is very observable : Wberefore I
take you to record this day, that I am free from
For I have not buned
all tbem that are sanctified.
known to all men. He and Barnabas visited A fts xiv. the churches, which they had planted, con
firming the disciples, and exhorting them to
bath be reconciled, in the body of his fles,
SERM. II. I shall now mention two or three re. XIV.
marks, briefly, by way of application. 1. We may hence infer, that, generally speaking, fad will be the condition of those, who having once known the doctrine of the gospel, afterwards forsake and disown it, and wilfully act contrarie to it's holy laws and commandments.
The Apostles of Christ in their epistles make the supposition of such instances, and speak of them with much concern, as past hope. It would be exceeding difficult to Heb. ii. renew them again to repentance : and it had
2 Pet. ii. been better for them, not to have known the 21. way of righteousnesse, than to turn from the boly commandment delivered to them.
2. This discourse of our Lord with his disciples Thould induce us to a strict regard to his genuine doctrine.
This is the best way to be steady and eminent in things excellent and commendable. We have not seen Christ. But we have good reason to believe in him, and love him. His words, and his works, and all his transactions on this earth for our welfare, have been carefully transmitted to us. We should abide in him,
SERM. And endeavor to know more the
of XIV, his death, and resurrection, and all the forci
ble considerations, which his doctrine contains to the practise of virtue and perseve. rance therein.
3. We here see cause to lament the dege. neracie of Christians, and the absurdities that have been introduced into the Christian profeflion,
Says God with regard to the Jewish people: I had planted tbee a noble vine, wholly, a right feed. How tben art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me! The statutes delivered to the people of Israel were good and right. The laws of moral righteousneffe had the preference. And the others were wisely ordained at that time, and suited to answer valuable ends. Nevertheless they diverted to idolatrie, or made additions of human observances, to the great detriment of true piety. The doctrine of Jesus is excellent and important. And yet numberless superstitions and absurdities have been graffed in. Whence comes this? It is, because men do not attend to their true interest : because they do not love truth and fimplicity. And so it has been from the begining. God
Ecc, vii. 29.