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The right eam'Js more excellentHhan his neigh* S E R M. fear; wiser, he is better, and he is XII. happier, and in the end. he (hall appear*" much more distinguished in all these respects. The text represents virtue in this imperfect Ttiewi, as practised by weak and frail mortals^ 3nd therefore as far below that consummate moral excellence, which shines in some finite beings,^ not to speak of the supreme; flpy, :far below what our own nature is capable of, and what the spirits of just men shade perfect have actually attained. Our goodness here, the goodness of the sincere,: is not \i\æ :the. morning cloud that paffeth a~ •æa^hutit is like the morning dawn which h weak in its- beginning, but gradually increases in brightness, till it arises to its meridian glory. The path of the just, even the imperfectly.just, has a real, substantial excellence w"hereby it is essentially distinguished^. from the- path of the wicked j they differ as light and darkness, which are the mostoppo? site to each other, and their difference isj» common proverbial description of thinge most directly contrary, which can never bereconciled or consist together, and which in,* their kinds and qualities set against eacsjiother, are the best and the worst, at kaJK? : 4 very

Serm. very good and extremely bad. Thus Solomon XII. here speaks concerning the path of the,jujE£>

u""v""and the wicked; the former, h§ &j$ in, th£ text, is as the Jhining tight j and in the verse immediately following, the way of tip wicked is as darkness, • -u- ljS ^

My intention in this discourse is to pony sider the beauty, dignity, and excellence-^ religious virtue in human characters. an^ actions, not only in general, but in the deferences of its state, and the various step^ of its progress, from its weak imperfect he* ginnings to its consummation. It is like fa Jhining light that Jlnneth more and mor&^fy the perfeSl day. It is not neceflarj to, Jejerifie, the path of the justj it is nothing else b$$ the practice of virtue, of moral piety, of righteoufess, of temperance, and charity, which I suppose so far universally known, a&jtp make the encomium Solomon gives it, that it is as the Jlnning light, easily intelligible. Only let it be observed, that the whole of virtue is comprehended, and every essential branch of it must be reduced to practice in -thjg. path of the just. Philosophy itself determines, and it is plain to every one whp attentively considers it, that the virtues are. in? separable; at least, that no character can be

eminent eminent for any one of them, which is de-SERM. stitute of the rest. Rigid justice will dege- XII. nerate into cruelty, if it is not accompanied v--v—* with beneficence; and to both these, that they may shine in any character constantly and uniformly, must necessarily be added temperance, or a steady self-dominion, a due

But in such a state as that of the world is, full of temptations, both blandishments and terrors, none of all the virtues which have been named, can subsist without fortitude, a firm inviolable resolution of cleaving to what appears right and good, whatever difficulties and dangers may attend it: And, lastly, as all these are the qualities, the works, or rational exercises of intelligent Beings, not the result of mere instinct, but of calm reflection; and, especially, as great regard is to be had in them to a variety of external circumstances, they must all of them be Amducted with prudence. But to us christians the case is exceeding plain by the rule of our religion, which is delivered in the form of a law, containing short and plain precepts enforced by proper sanctions, and Other motives. Will you meet with one declaration in the bible which authorises you


the appetites and passions:

j^tJk'M, to detach a single virtue, or a few,fromthe XH. body, the systein of virtue v atid-to make it

^"^^jnr.those few the iwhole of;your religion, fiifficient to denominate you. tote. christian^ «to{ satisfy the demand of your rprofefuon, and entitle you to the rewards:ofvchriftianiityjfc:No, the contrary is indeed.exceedingly clear, not one good moral .quality or.good work is omitted or left, outof rtbereligiods cicharacter, or the path of the jqftij&iiSnfa .described in the word of God/j fcut eydcy branch of our duty to God,: our. .fellow creatures and ourselves, is frequentlyj inculcated, and strongly enforced,; Sometimes we have the whole of our duty throiwifctogether in short and beautiful; descriptions.; the high way of holiness, as the prophet?* Isaiah calls it, exactly delineated;; andeveSy road, that is, each particular virtoe iri the path of the just marked out t&\ vEJ^s we are told, that what God requires of U9»^s to do justly, and to love mercy, .and to walk humbly with God \\. And St-f- Paul fzys, that the grace which hath appeared bringing salvation, teaches Us to Jivesoberly, and righZ'eMtsfy, and godly, in this present. world... Will \i ::l es ;to -..ivXifWi

^*J^jocxv, 8. "fl Mic vi.'i. ^f^thfah. ybu then Imagine, that 4ofiKvjsiffc?i^.^QarS£'Rf&.
dealings witk mankind, is sufficient to make XH.
you the true disciples of Jesu* Christ,-'aMa^*^'
give you confidence towards him, whcnihfc
shall come to judge the world, while yon
indulge yourselves in some secret vices, con-
\trary to sobriety? Or, that freedom from,
ithese, in conjunction with the other, wHl
? be sufficient; while the necessary offices of

moral piety are neglected? or will you on
s the other hand think that to be devout, to

abound in the instituted services of religion,
enough to the purposes of Christianity,
'While you are unrighteous and uncharitable?
♦Noj'•.this' ia not to be christians, this is not

the paffrtif the jiist, for it comprehends all
'the parts of our duty. See what the apostle
\St. Janus fays expresily in the second chapter
his epistle, and 10th verse: Whosoever
shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one
t point (habitually, or wilfully and deliberate-
be k guilty of all.i -..x.•.•-• ;.'> o.r

'Having made this remark, which I
J thought neceflary, to give us a true idea of
-the path of the just, that is, of religious
i virtue, as it is exemplified in human cha-
* rasters, or, as it is reduced to practice by

men having infirmity, which, tho' it be

"- imperfect,

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