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Serm. mote the practice of substantial virtue; and 1.
least of all, is that edifying which leads to faith in men, or an iinplicit submission to their authority in matters of religion, instead of faith in Jesus Christ, and an inviolable adherence to him as the only Lord of conscience; to confirm the prejudices of men against the plain and simple doctrines of the gospel, to inflame their passions and encrease their uncharitableness.
Secondly, It is not every compliance with men and pleasing them, ev’n in things for the substance lawful, which the christian law requires or allows; but only that which is for good to edification. Some please others from low and selfish motives, from an affectation of popularity, to gain applause, or it to serve their worldly interest, which instead of edifying their neighbours so complied with, and doing them good in a religious sense, tends to confirm them in their mistakes, and to gratify their unreasonable humours, their pride and their passions ; and instead of promoting peace on a just foundation, tends to strengthen an imposing spirit, the certain cause of divisions. It is noble and generous to bear the infirmities of the weak, but it is mean and unbecoming a servant of Christ, by
a tame submission to imperious demands and Serm. arbitrary encroachments, to betray the liberty I. wherewith be bas made us free, and to suffer ourselves to be entangled in a yoke of bondage.
Not every one that faith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but be that doththe will of my Father which is in keaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils.? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And tben will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me ye that work iniquitya
O question can be of greater imII.
portance to men than this, upon
what foundation they may hope for the favour of God; and what is to be done on their part that they may be intitled to it ? And none more important to christians, than what are the terms of salvation fix'd in the gospel ; fince our Lord Jesus Christ came
into the world on purpose to reveal the Fa- SERM. ther to men, and the way to 'eternal life
II. that is, to give them just sentiments concerning God, and the homage he requires ; and to declare by an express law, what are the dispositions of mind, and the course of action which will be acceptable to him; we,who have embraced christianity are not left to be directed by the dictates of men in this great inquiry, nor merely to our own reason, and what the light of nature will suggest : (though that is still fo far a rule, that we cannot receive any pretended revelation which contradicts it, and hereby the Gospel is recommended to our acceptance, that its terms are perfectly agreeable to it :) but we must have our recourse to our Saviour's express declaration. The rule of life which he has prescribed, will be the rule of judgment; and we cannot reasonably have any hope of happiness in the other world, but upon our conforming in this world to the precepts he has given us.
he has given us. The verses I have read, being near the conclusion of his excellent sermon upon the mount, which contains the sum of his doctrine, decide the grand question already mentioned with the greatest clearness. It is the point which of all others he takes care to declare the most plainly, as
SERM. indeed it may reasonably be expected he
est moment to men whom he came to