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see, but without making spiteful Observations and Reflections ; to be very careful of our Words, that they do not needlessly grieve or provoke any : Especially to be in all Cases tender of our Neighbours Reputation as of our own. But they who give themselves a Liberty of talking about every Thing, and every person, what their own ungoverned Passion or Humour suggests to them; and they who will be invading other Mens Offices, and giving their Advice where it is not asked, and meddling with Affairs they have nothing to do with i they who are perpetually complaining of the Times, and quarrelling with the present Constitution of Things; they who make it their Business to enquire into the Slips or Vices either of publick or private Persons, and will always have something to insinuate to the Disadvantage either of the one or the other; I say, this sort of People, as they do a great deal of Mischief to the Publick, so it cannot but be expected that by their too much meddling they should now and then burn their own Fingers. To conclude this point to study to be quiet and mind our own Business, is as likely a Means as any to preserve a Man from all the outward Inconveniencies that the 'Times can expose him to. But if it be ineffectual that way, and the Man cannot avoid suffering, yet he had better suffer thus than otherwise; nay, he ought to thank God that he

fa

1 Pet. 4. fo fuffer.

Let none of you, says St. Peter, 9.15, 16. fuffer as an evil Doer, or as a Busy-body, in

other Mens Matters. But if any Man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on that behalf.

5. But lastly, in speaking to this Argument, I ought not to omit another Thing, which seems fairly to be hinted to us by St. Paul, as a very proper Means of redeeming the Time in evil Days; viz. a more than ordinary Diligence and Exactness in our own whole Conversation. His Words in the Text are, ακριβώς περιπατάτε; which if we would render strictly, it must be thus; See that

ye
walk accurately, that

ye

walk exactly ; that is to say, Let your Conversation be regular and irreproachable in all things, suitable to the Copy that Christ our Lord hath set before you to follow, and suitable to the Holiness and Purity of that Religion which you profess. As Christians are to have a Regard to their whole Conversation at all Times, so are they especially in evil

and dangerous Times : They should then Tit. 2.10. especially endeavour to adorn the Dottrine

of God in all things, as St. Paul elsewhere speaks, that is, to set it out to its best Advantage : They should not sully the native Beauty of it by any corrupt, or mean, or undecent Conversation, but give the World a fair View of its Amiableness and Goodness by their innocent and unfpotted Lives: Nay,

they

they should set it out to the best Advan-
tage, making it by all exemplary Virtues
and Graces to appear so charming to those
they converse with, that they may fall in
Love with it. I beseech you, says St. Peter, 1 Ep.ch.a.
as Strangers and Pilgrims, (being as it were V. 11, 12.
in a strange Country, and amongst many
Enemies) abstain from fleshly Lufts, which
war against the Soul, having your Conversa-
tion honest among the Gentiles. Honest ;
how is that? Why laudable, commendable,
honourable, such as may be well thought
of among the Gentiles; just as St. Paul useth
the same Phrase in the i2th of the Romans,
Provide things honest in the fight of all Men ; v, 17.
that is, take Care that all your Matters be
so decently managed, as that they may be
approved of, and well reported among Men.
And this Sense the following Words of St.
Peter do confirm, That whereas, says he, 1 Ep.2.12.
they, viz. the Gentiles, Speak against you as
evil Doers, they may by your good Works,
which they Mail behold, glorify God in the
Day of Visitation.

Here then is the
Province that is committed to all of us ; this
is the work that God hath put us upon :
We are to adorn the Doétrine of God our Tit. 2. 10.
Saviour in all things. We are to recom-
mend our Religion to all about us, not only
by living free from Blame, but by abound-
ing in all Virtue, and in all good Works.
Hear, I pray, what St. Peter speaks to this
Purpose in the 3d chapter of his first Epiftle,

quoting

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V. 10.

V. il.

quoting a Passage out of the Psalms; He that will love Life, and see good Days, let him refrain his Tongue from Evil, and his Lips that they Speak no Guile. Let him

eschew Evil, and do Good: Let him seek v. 12. Peace, and enfile it. For the Eyes of the V, 13. Lord are over the Righteous; And who is

be that will harm zoul, if ye be Followers of that wkich is good? There is certainly great Sense and Reason in these Advices

i and all the Men in the World cannot pre1cribe more effectual Methods for the

procuring a peaceful, happy Life to a Man's Self, or Blessings to his Country, than these are : For by thus doing, we take the surest Way not only to recommend ourselves to Men ; but, which is more than that, we take the surest Way to approve ourselves to God, who certainly both takes care of his Church and us; and who doth fo order the Affairs of the World, that he will never suffer any thing to come to pass upon Earth, but what shall prove for the Good of his Church, and of all particular Persons, who truly love and fear him.

Let us all therefore apply these Rules to ourselves. Let us live up to our Principles. Let us not barely make a Noife and a Talk of what we believe and profess; but let us shew to all the World, that we have the true Faith of Christ among us, by bringing forth such Fruit in our Lives, as his holy Doctrine and Religion doth naturally tend

to

to produce among Mankind. Let us do noching that is bad, nothing that hath even the Appearance of Evil. Whatever seems to be unjust, or even hard to those we deal with, let us forbear it. Whatever looks like Knavery or a Trick, let us avoid it. Let our Words and Actions be all of a Piece, being true to our Words, and sincere in our Profellions of Kindness. Let us be ready to do Acts of Humanity, and Kindness, and Charity, as often as they fall in our Power. Let us forgive Injuries, and endeavour to heap Goals of Fire on the Heads Rom. 12. of those that do them; that is, by our gencrous obliging Treatment of them, melt them into Reconciliation and Friendship with us; for that is the Method, they say, of melting the hardest Metal, by heaping Coals of Fire on the Top of it. Let us be regular in all our Conversation, setting Examples of Piety and Devotion, of Temperance and Purity, of Moderation and Contentedness, of Humility and Affability, and Meekness to all above us. In a word, Whatever things Phil. 4. S. are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, honest, and of good Report; if there be any Praise, any Virtue, let us follow these things. This is the true ind proper Way both to fecure ourselves, and to do Honour and Service to our Reli. gion in all Times whatsoever. Who Mall ulct.3.13. harm you, if

be Followers of that which is good? The Christian Religion is a Thing

if ye

10

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