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to confirm our title to the heavenly inheri-SERM.
tance, and increase our confidence, by cul- VIII.
tivating all religious and good dispositions,
and adding to our faith all the christian vir-
tues ; still study to make ourselves more
perfect in love, and let it abound more and
more in knowledge and in all judgment, being
fincere and without offence, filled with the
fruits of righteousness. Other foundation
of hope can no man lay. 'Tis true, finners
have invented others, when their hearts
could not help enquiring wherewith they
Should approach the Lord, and bow to the high
God; superstition founded on wrong noti-
ons of the Deity and his moral government,
has led them to come with rams, and with oil,
and the fruit of their bodies to attone for their
fins ; but the scripture has instructed us to
do what is morally good, as the sure way to
happiness and peace; to do juftly, and love
mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Even
christians themselves have been weak, or
rather perverse enough to substitute some-
thing else in the room of perfect love, and
a self approving mind, as the ground of their
confidence. Some trust in the truth of their
religious opinions, others in the regular per-
formance of solemn instituted services ; than

which

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SERM.which nothing can be more unaccountable, VIII. considering how fully such pretences are dis

approved by plain reason, and the current of the scripture declarations. Others abuse the doctrine of Christ's facrifice, and of faith in his blood, by putting it in the place of a good conscience for giving us boldness in the judgment. But certainly to hope in Christ for obtaining the favour of God, while men continue in their transgressions, is to make him the minister of fin, and to make void the divine law, which be came not to destroy but to fulfil, Consider his own decision of this point, Matt, vii. 24. Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doth them, I will liken bim to a wife man, wbo built his house upon a Rock; and the rain defcended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for, it was founded upon a rock. And every one that beareth these sayings of mine and doth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man who built bis house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

SER:

SERMON IX.

Loying CHRIST above all, the Cha

racter of his true Disciples.

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He that loveth Father or Mother more than

ine, is not worthy of me. And be that
loveth Son or Daughter more than me, is
Hot worthy of me.

T

HE chapter of which my text is a SERM. part, contains the first and fo- IX.

lemn charge which our Saviour gave his apostles when he fent them forth to preach the gospel. As that was a very arduous undertaking, and consequences of the greatest moment depended upon it, to the service of God, and the good of mankind, it was necessary they should be well instructed how to behave themselves in it. And because they were to meet with such opposition from the ignorance and prejudimen, as could not be conquered by

the

ces of

SERM. the meer force of plain reason and persuaIX.

sion, therefore were they furnished with extraordinary powers to do such miracles as might engage the most stupid to attend to their doctrine. Their master instructs them how to conduct themselves in the exercise of those powers, and in general to regulate their whole deportment with prudence and fimplicity, so as they might give no offence, but with unblemish'd characters successfully pursue the great design of their mission. One article relating to this embaffy was of the last moment, and it is very largely insisted on. The apostles were to suffer grievous persecution, being sent out as sheep among wolves, men of favage and barbarous tempers, inflamed with a superstious passionate zeal, who would, without regard to their innocence, treat them with

rage. Their Lord endeavours to fortify their minds against that event, arguing from a variety of topics for equanimity and patience under all their sufferings : Such as, that he had submitted himself to the same state, and furely then they had no reason to repine, nor to hope for an exemption from it. For " the disciple is not above his master, nor the

servant

cruelty and

" servant above his Lord.” That in spite SERM.
of all opposition their cause should triumph, IX.
and themselves with it be in high reputation
and esteem, when their enemies should be
covered with shame. That they were under
the special care and protection of divine pro-
vidence, which orders all things wisely for
the best: And that there is a time coming
when a resolved adherence to the cause of
truth and pure religion shall be gloriously
rewarded, and the desertion of that cause,
through the fear of suffering persecution and
contempt from men, and the prevailing
love of this world, shall be punished as it
deserves. Lastly, our Saviour deduces the
patient enduring of afflictions, even when
attended with the most bitter circumstances,
such as losing the friendship and incurring
the utmost displeasure of our nearest and
dearest relations : I say, he deduces it from
the common obligations of christianity. Sup-
posing the case to be just as he states it in
the verses preceding the text, that the gos-
pel does not produce the proper and genuine
fruit to which by its own nature it tends,
which is

peace and charity among men, but
that on the contrary it becomes the occasion of
hatred and quarrels, so far that a man's nearest

friends

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