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love mercie, humble yourselves before the SERM. Lord your God: and take upon you the

III. obligation of his reasonable and excellent laws and commandments: Then he will receive

you gracioully, and love you freely. All your fins shall be blotted out: they shall be as if they never were. They will be remembered against you no more,

And all this is of absolute necessity. Nothing else will avail for our acceptance. We cannot substitute any thing else in the room of true virtue and goodnesse. Long abstinence, painful mortifications of the body, at certain seasons, will not fuffice : nor fome short transports of devotion, however warm and lively: nor any zeal for the externals of religion, or for the right faith, and for spreading the principles of religion in the world. Nothing but a regular course of fincere and undifsembled virtue, in the several branches of righteousnesse, mercie and piety, can recommend us to the favour and acceptance of a wise and holy God.

Wherewith Mall I come before the Lord, and bow my-self before the bigh God? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or

with

F4

Serm. with ten thousands of river of oyle? Shall I III.

give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body, for the fin of my foul?

Or, shall I fast twice in the week, and pay tithes of all that I possess?

Shall I confess my fins once, or twice, or every month, in the year, to a person in holy orders, and submit to all the bodily pains and penances,

he appoints ? Shall I encrease the number and length of my prayers to a double, or treble proportion more than ordinarie? and hear, or read over an abundance of sermons, and other treatises of religion?

Shall I erect a costly and magnificent edifice, wherein men may meet, and unite together in the worship of the great God and King of the world ?

The point is already resolved. Natural reason and divine revelation agree in one and the same answer to this solicitous and important enenquirie. He hath shewed thee, o man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of thee, but to do juftly, to love mercie, and walk bumbly with thy God?

I have now explained the words of the SERM. text, and added an inference or two by way

III. of reflexion. But I propose to discourse. again upon this subject, and farther shew the nature and extent, the excellence and importance of virtue, of moral righteoufneffe.

SER

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The Nature, Excellence, and Import

ance of moral Righteousnesse.

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MICA H. vi 8,

He bath foewed thee, o man, what

is good. And what doth the Lord
require of thee, but to-do justly,
and to love mercie, and to walk
humbly with thy God?

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HAVE already shewn the co

herence, and distinctly explained I

the several particulars in the text.

It will not be unsuitable to this
portion of Scripture, if we proceed to con-
sider, in a more general way, the nature, ex-
.

tent,

teot, and obligation of yirtue. In doing this SERM. I fhal observe the following method.

IV.

1. I will endeavor to fhew the nature

and extent of virtue, or moral right

eousneffe. II. I shall fhew the excellence and im

portance of virtue, or righteousnesse and

true holineffe.
III. After which I shall conclude with

some inferences in the way of appli-
cation,

But I do not intend a discourse, or differtation upon this subject, containing abftrufe and profound notions, for the entertainment of metaphysical minds, and such as have thought, or read much concerning these matters, and have penetrated far into the speculative points of religion. But my intention is to explain this matter, fo far as I am able, in a clear and intelligible way, for the fake of meaner capacities, and such as are but lite tle acquainted with these points.

For one main reason of this design is, that I have been apprehensive, that we, in the modern language of our ordinarie discourses,

fre

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