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Ser m. Path of Life, and how far we have made
it the Path of the Juft. Let us cultivate all our moral Faculties to such Degrees as to render them worthy to be accompanied by divine Grace. Let us endeavour to preserve such an uniform Obedience in our Lives, that they may know no Variety but in their Increase towards Perfection : And, as we are daily growing nearer to Eternity, God grant that we may be more and more prepared for a blessed Eternity!
What could have been done more for my
Vineyard, that I have not done in it?
brought it forth wild Grapes?
will do to my Vineyard : I will take
N this beautiful Parable God, under SE R.M.
XIV. the Image of a Vineyard, sets before the Jews, his chosen People the many and great fpiritual Blessings he had conferred upon them; as great a Measure of Grace as the Divine Goodness itself (in Concert and Harmony with eternal Recti
Serm. tude and Justice) could bestow; could be
stow, I mean, for the Probation of such ra-
Wherefore when I looked, that
I will take away the Hedge of my Vineyard, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the Wall thereof, and it Mall be troden down.
The Occasion of the present Solemnity will suggest to you my Design of applying this Parable to the Circumstances of our own Nation; and, agreeably thereto, I shall confider,
It, What God hath done for us, and what Returns we have made,
IIdly, What we may expect as the ser m. Consequence of our Ingratitude and Impiety.
IIIdly, The proper Means to avert and remove God's Displeasure.
IA, I am to consider what God hath done for us, and what Returns we have made.
In early Ages, when we were over-run with Heathenism and Idolatry, it pleased God to plant the Christian Religion among us : A Religion every Way worthy of the Divine Dispensation, and suited to the Exigencies of Mankind. A Religion the most heavenly the World was ever blessed with; and blessing all the Kingdoms wherein it should be received with the greatest Happiness, 'national, social and personal: Containing every Motive to Goodness which can be suggested : Our Sins are forgiven upon a sincere and unfeigned Repentance; and our Pardon sealed with the Blood of a gracious Redeemer. Perseverance in the Paths of Virtue we are allured by Precepts of the purest Mo. rality, exhorted by the Promise of divine Grace, and encouraged by the Reward of an eternal Crown of Glory.
When this Religion had flourished many Centuries in it's native and unallayed Pu
Serm. rity, in a very dark and unlearned Age it
becaine adulterated with impure Doctrines, and quite over-grown with a Heap of monstrous Absurdities : But it pleased God, by the Ministry of his faithful Servants, to re-enlighten this Land with the Beams of Truth; to restore Christianity to it's original Simplicity and Sincerity.
Then was the Key of Knowledge, which had been long taken away, again recovered into our Hands; which, at the fame Time that it unlocked the facred Truths of the Scripture, laid open the mysterious Iniquity of Popery; and helped us to discover, that the Boast of Infallibility tended to nothing better than to introduce the grosseft Ignorance, and to make Error incurable. At the breaking in of this Light, the evil Spirit of Popery departed; and we were freed from those Chains in which we had been fast bound for many Generations. Then had we the Happiness to see the Church, which, by Romiß Artifices, had been made to encroach upon the just Rights of the civil Government, become the most friendly and favourable to it. Our Reformation from Popery was conducted by such peaceable, discreet, and deliberate Steps, and in so strict a Conforinity to primitive Usages, that the Plan of it was the Envy of foreign Nations ; unhappy only in this, that it was not copied