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the Confideration of such a noble Reward, and the full Persuasion we have of the Goodness of the Commandments themselves, should animate and inspire us with a great Degree of Courage and Resolution in the Ways of Holiness and Virtue. So much for the Description of the First Qualification required here by our Saviour, in order to a Man's being adjudged Great in the Kingdom of Heaven, namely, that he be a Person of good Life, a Doer of the Commandments.
2. Before I proceed to the Second, which is the Teaching Men so, I shall, as I proposed, consider the Order in which our Saviour places these Qualifications, assigning the first place to good Life, and the next to good Teaching. This Order I take to be very natural, and neceffary on diverse Accounts; for, 1. how should a Man teach others to keep God's Commandments, when he does not keep them himself? You'll say he may have the Theory, tho' he has not attained to the Practice. It may be fo perhaps in other Sciences; but in this the Theory and the Practice go most commonly together, and it is a great Question whether the one can be rightly had without the other. It is not easy to apprehend how a wicked Man should come by the Knowledge of the Mind andWill of God, except we will distinguish between a superficial speculative Knowledge, and a right Sense of Divine Truths. The first a Man may attain by Human Learning; but the second is not imparted, but to them who receive the Truth in the Love of it. And as a wicked Man cannot have a right Sense, and Apprehension, and Taste of divine Things, his Palate being vitiated, it is not easy to be imagined how he can communicate the same to others; for the Streams:
can rise no higher than the Fountain ; he that has but a cold Sense of divine Things himself, will not be able to make a lively Impression upon others. But, 2. Suppose the Theory and Practice in Divine Things separate ; with what' Face of Confidence can an ill Man urge Duty upon others, when he is not only conscious to himself of the Neglect of it, but those others per haps whom he would teach are privy to the fame? It is a Thing not only disgraceful to the Teacher, but very obstructive to the Scholar, when the Teacher is guilty of the fame Faults, which he would amend in his Disciples. Is there any Thing will sooner harden Men in their Sins, than this Observation ? for the most natural Conclusion from it, is, either that the Teacher believes none of these Things himself; or if he does, that he knows of some easier Way to Heaven than what he shews others. It is necessary therefore on many
Accounts that our Saviour's Method be observed, that is, that Keeping the Commandments
first, before the Teaching them. Which being now considered, together with the Order in which it stands here in the Text, let us go on in the next Place to the Second Part of the Qualification here described.
II. Namely, the Teaching good Christian Morality to others. Next to good Life in our felves, this is what our Saviour esteems most, the Teach ing the fame to others. I need not offer any Reafons for this; the Thing speaks it self; for if Holiness be what God delights in most, then the further it is spread, and the more Hands are at Work to propagate it, it is so much the better. Christ is fò desirous of carrying on this great Work, F 2
that he has instituted an Order of Men for this very Purpose, to carry on the Practice of Religion among Mankind; and has made them very ample Promises of a large Share of Honour and Happiness in the future State, if they are faithful in the Discharge of this Trust. We are told in the Prophecy of Daniel, Dan. xii. 3. That they who turn many to Righteousness, Mall shine as the Stars for ever and ever. And the eminent State of the Apostles, those extraordinary Labourers in this Harvest, our Saviour describes by their Sitting on twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Matt. xix. 28.
But tho' these Words of Doing and Teaching God's Precepts may perhaps have a principal Regard to the ministerial Function, whose particular Business it is to teach Men their Duty both by their Example and their Doctrine; it is not to be restrained to them only; for all Men, in their several Stations, are admitted to a Share in this Honour. Particularly Parents are often called upon to train up their Children in the Fear and Nurture of the Lord: And it is given as the Character of good Masters of Families, that they will lay their Commands upon, and use their Authority with their Children and Servants, to keep the Way of the Lord. Hear what God himself fays of the Care of Abraham in this Respect, by which he entailed a Blessing both on himself and his Pofterity, Gen. xviii. 19. I know him, faith God, that he will command his Children and his Houshold afier him, and they shall keep the Way of the Lord, to do Judgment and Justice, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath /foken of bim. Rulers and Magistrates too are enjoined to Rule in the Fear of God, and they are every where
commended for employing their Authority to promote both Godliness and Honesty. In short, St James sets it forth as the Duty of every Man, and that in a very meritorious Manner, to convert his Brother from the evil of his Ways, Jam. v. 19. Brethren, if any of you do err from the Truth, and one convert him, let him know, that he who converteth a Sinner from the Error of his Way, shall fave a Soul from Death, and shall bide a Multitude of Sins. So that this Way of being adjudged Great in the Kingdom of Heaven, is not confined to one Rank of Men; but all Men, if they are not wanting to themselves, may be admitted to a Share of it, if they will employ their Talents in observing the Commandments of God themselves, and in Teaching the fame to others, by their Precepts, Counsels, Admonitions, Example, Interest, Encouragements, or Authority.
II. So much for the Virtue of the Promoters of Christian Morals here described, The Doing and Teaching the Commandments of God; I come next to their Reward described in these Words, The same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Straitness of Time will oblige me to be very short upon this. . As there is a prodigious Difference in the several Degrees of Virtue among professed Christians, all which go undistinguished in this World; ye are to know that there is a new State to come, when our Blessed Saviour will separate the precious from the vile; and not only so, but will distinguish them most exactly according to the several Degrees of Virtue and Goodness; according to which most righteous Judgment, some shall receive both more honourable Compellations, and be assigned higher Degrees
of Glory than others. But none of these Honours or Felicities shall be decided after an Arbitrary Manner; for tho' in this Day of Grace God bestows his Grace often out of Favour, and not by any certain Rules known to us; it will not be so in the Proceedings of that Great Day, where every Man fall receive according to what he hath done in the Body, whether it be Good or Evil. The Rules of Justice tempered with Mercy, will be then exactly observed ; and that not only in affigning all Men to Happiness or Misery, according as they have, or have not complied with the Terms of the Gospel; but likewise in appointing them their several Stations and Degrees in each. Hence it is that we hear of many Manhons in God's House ; and here in my Text, of some that shall be called Great in the Kingdom of Heaven. And tho' by the Kingdom of Heaven here, as in the former Part of the Verse, I believe we are to understand the Christian Church, that is, the whole Body of Christian Professors, yet it will, as to this part of Retribution of Happiness, be all one as if it were meant directly of Heaven; for they who shall be by our Saviour in the Great Day of Accounts Called, or Denominated, or Adjudged Great in the Christian Church, shall likewise be treated accordingly, that is, shall be assigned a proportionable Great Reward in Heaven.
I need not say any Thing to cast Light on the Equity of this Proceeding, there being nothing more just, than that they who make Conscience of living according to the Direction of God's Precepts themselves, and likewise are zealous and diligent in bringing others to the same good State, fhould be highly esteemed of in the Sight of God,