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SERM.one, if applied, would prevail with the finner II.
to break the whole law, or any of its commandments, which actually prevails with him in the one point wherein he does offend. Now what is the consequence from all this? So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. Let the inflaence of your profeffed expectation of a future judgment by the gospel, appear in the whole of your Conduct, in all your works and words, Do not imagine, that you fatisfy the obligations of your christian character, or that you can maintain the wellgrounded hope of divine acceptance at last by fome good actions, and abstaining from some fins, unless you abound in every good work, and abstain from all kind and all appearance of evil.
One reflection upon what has been faid, is very obvious, and that is all I shall farther infist upon at this time, namely, libertinism in practise, or licenciousness of life, lis so far from being included in that it is die rectly contrary to christian liberty. For the apostle, when he is most strictly preffing the observance of all God's commandments, and enforcing it by the most powerful of all confiderations, the future judgment, he gives the gospel the character of the law of liberty ; which ifS ERM, it were to be understood in this sense, that 11: it gives a licence to sin, would be perfe&tly inconsistent. Nay, in the words immediately following the text, and thro' the whole remaining part of the chapter, he designedly and largely proves, that we cannot be jufti
fied before God, otherwise than by works of s righteousness, or an universal and persevering obedience. There were some then, as there have been at other times, who professing the gospel, expected to be justified by the faith of it without works, and tho’ they indulg'd themselves in wicked courses, which was turning the grace of God into a criminal liberty, and into lasciviousness, as the Apostle - Juide fpeaks, and making Christ the minister
of fin : but, St. James Thews the vanity of (such a pretence, and confirms his doctrine of Justification, or final abfolution in the day of judgment, by works; he confirms it, 2iI say, by examples from the Old Testament,
fuch as Rahab, and the patriarch Abraham, - which might be yery convincing to the Jews
who had gone into this pernicious Error, - inoLet us then, take care to understand our liberty aright, and that we do not abuse it to
purposes inconsistent with its true nature and - . Promotion an d
SERM. defign; which we may be füre is always 11. done, when men take any encouragement
from it to fin ; to allow themselves in any
* Gal. ii. s.
not take a licence to yourselves in any vicious SERM. practices, nor indulge corrupt affections ; II. and let there be no animosities, no ftrife, nor envying among you, which will indeed shew you to be carnal and walk as men ; but by love serve one another. To the same purpose he warns the Corinthians that they Thould not in the use of their liberty offend against charity, ist epiftle viii. 9. But take heed least by any means this liberty of yours become, a stumbling block to them that are weak. St. Peter, also, earnestly exhorts the converted
Jews, not to imitate the rest of their counë , try men who committed great disorders under the pretence of freedom, ist epistle ii. 16, as free and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, by an obstinate refiftance and contempt of lawful human authority, but as the servants of God., ..
Thus let us always value our liberty as a high priviledge ; maintain, but not abuse it; and live in expectation of the future judgment; being holy in all manner of conversation *. Expecting the resurrection of the dead, both of the juft and unjust, let us, after the example of the holy apostle, herein exi ercise our felves to have always consciences void of offence towards God and towards men, Vol. I, E
SER .* Acts xxiv, 15, 16.
Matth, iv. 17.
band. Serm. T he kingdom of Heaven, or the III. kingdom of God, does usually in
the New-Testament, and particularly in the discourses of our Saviour himfelf, fignify the gospel state, that glorious model formed in the divine counsels for recovering finful men to their duty, and restoring them to the favour of God. The Deity has a upreme unalienable right to our obedience, which neceffarily results from our relation to him as the workmanship of his hands, endued with those powers which render us capable of knowing and doing his will, continually depending on him, and receiving favours from him. But when mankind had corrupted their ways, and fallen short of the glory of God, it pleased