Page images
PDF
EPUB

of us, who are made Partakers of the Chris ftian Vocation. This Engagement we have all taken upon ourselves at our first entring into Christ's Religion, and most of us, to be sure, if not all of us, have several times renewed it. So that being thus solemnly consecrated to God and Christ, we are none of us at our own Disposal, but have entirely given up ourselves to God to be disposed of by Him. Oh, let us think of this, and then judge what kind of Converfation will be worthy of our Calling! Whether, being in these Circumstances, it will be possible for us, without the most horrid Perjury and Sacrilege, to allow ourselves in any known open Course of wilful Sin; nay, whether being thus devoted to God, we are not very false to our Engagements, if we do not make his Service, and the promoting his Interests, the great Business and Design of our Lives.

3. Be pleased to ask yourselves further, what kind of Life should that Man lead, who is called into the nearest Relation to God Almighty; who, from a Child of Wrath and Slave of Satan, is made the Son

of God, the Brother of our Lord Jesus Rom. 8. Chrift, and a joint Heir with him of the

Inheritance of God. Why certainly, upon the

very first naming of this, it should come into every body's Thoughts, that a Person who is thus highly dignify'd, ought to have a great, and a noble, and a generous

Scul

17.

Soul, suitable to that Quality to which he is advanced, and becoming that illustrious Quality into which he is adopted. It should come into everybody's Thoughts, that such a person should think himself concerned above all Things, to behave himself in all the Circumstances of his Life bravely and worthily, and should take a World of Care that he did not by any base, mean Carriage of his, put a Disparagement upon that Alliance that he is honoured with. And

yet this is the Calling to which we Christians are called. These are the Privileges that, by undertaking Christ's Religion, we are promoted to. We are the Children of the most High, and the Son of Luk.6.35. God is not ashamed to call us Brethren. We Rev. 5.10. are made Kings, and Priests unto God our John 15. Father. We are bis Friends, bis Favou- Eph.1.14. rites, his Cbosen ones; in a Word, the Por- 1 Pet. 2. tion, the Pofésion, the Treasure of God in 5.9. this World. All these Titles are bestowed upon Christians by the inspired Writers. Oh therefore, let us consider these Privileges of our Calling, and then judge what kind of Conversation is worthy of it.

4. Pray ask yourselves likewise, what sort of Life he is to lead, who owns the Gospel of Christ for the Rule of his Actions, and by his very Calling hath engaged himself to the Practice of every Thing which is there enjoined. Whoever hath read the Gospel, knows what kind of Precepts it is Vol. VI.

Q

made

.9 رگ

made up of, and must be convinced that no Rules of Living, that were ever given to the World before, can pretend to come near it for Perfectness and Exactness.

There is indeed no great Stress laid there upon any kind of Ceremonies or outward Observances. God never set any Value upon these in any Religion. But for the Things that are intrinsically good; for the Things that do really perfect and adorn human Nature ; for the Things that do accomplish the Mind and Spirit of a Man: The Christian Institution, as it is set forth in the Gospel, is the highest, the noblest, the exactest, and withal the feverest that ever was set on foot in the World. There all Sorts of Purity and Holiness, every Kind and every Degree of Virtue are recommended, and every Thing, that hath but the Appearance of Vice and Sin, is dif

couraged. There we are called upon to 1 Pet. 1. be holy, as God is holy; to be merciful, as 15, 16.,

he is merciful. There even our disorderly Luk.6.36.

Desires and Appetites, tho' they do not break forth into outward A&tions, are reproved and discountenanced. And it is made a Sin not only to commit Adultery, to kill, or steal, or defraud our Neighbours of their Right, to do Injuries, or the like ; but the very Workings of our Minds towards these Things (if our Consent be given to them) are declared culpable. As we must not commit Adultery, fo.we must not look upon a Woman to luft after her. As we must not defraud our Neighbour, so neither must we covet what "belongs to him. As we must not kill, so neither must we be angry without a Cause. As we must not do an Injury, fo neither must we revenge one that is done to us. As we must not be ungrateful to our Friends, so neither must we hate our Enemies, but do them all the Good we can.

And thus as to all the other Instances of our Duty.

Oh, holy Religion ! Oh, just and excelTent Laws! worthy to come from God, and worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ to promulgate, and most of all worthy of us to be observed. And therefore let every one, who names the Gospel of Christ, walk worthy of this his Vocation, by seriously endeavouring to bring all his Thoughts, and Words, and Deeds, throughout the whole Course of his Life, to a Conformity with the Laws there delivered.

5. And, in the next Place, pray ask your selves how that Man ought to live who professes in his Life to copy out the Example of our Lord Jesus. Our Calling, our Vocation, is to be the Disciples of Christ; and the very Notion of being a Disciple, is to frame our way of Living according to the Pattern that He, whom we call our Master, hath set before us. And therefore, as the Apostle hath told us,

6.

Matt. 20.

28.

if we pretend to be Christ's Disciples, we 1 John 2. ought to walk even as he walked.

But now, if we take him for our Pattern, then we may easily know what kind of Conversation will be worthy of our Calling. If we call ourselves the Disciples of Chrift, then we must be humble, and meek, and lowly in heart, for he was so in the greatest Degree, Matt. xi. 29. We must not be arrogant or assuming, but descend to the meanest Offices of Civility and Charity, for the Son of Man, our Lord and Master, came not to be ministred unto, but to minifter. We must think nothing below us, if we can thereby shew Courtesy to our Brethren, for the Author of our Religion and

our Happiness did descend even to the John 13. washing the very Feet of the Disciples. We

must be easy and gentle to all about us. Not easily provoked ; and when we are provoked, ready to forgive the Injuries that are done us. For this was the Way of our Master; He was never known to be

put out of his Temper by any Perverseness, any Impertinence, any Affront or Indignity that was offered him. He was gentle to all Men, patient under the greatest Sufferings, and fo regardless of Injuries, that he not only forgave those who had the Malice to

his Life, but he heartily prayed 3+. for them. He never fought himself, or his own Interests, in any thing he did, but

only

Luke 23

take away

« PreviousContinue »