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well upon this Subject, If he were obliged to annihilate the Souls of wicked Men, it must be because he is obliged to put them out of that Misery which they have brought upon themselves by their own Folly and Rebellions; and if so, lince this must certainly be an Act not of strict Justice, but of Grace and Favour, God must be bound to {hew an Act of Grace and Favour towards Men, purely because they have provoked and rebelled against him; that is, because they have done that which renders them the proper Objects of his Hatred and Indignation; and be obliged to save Men from that Misery, which by their stubborn Disobedience to all his Calls, Admoni-. tions, and Exhortations, and all the gracious Methods his Providence had used to preserve them from it, they wilfully have brought upon themselves. To all this, if we add, that as this dismal State has neither present Joy, nor future Hope, it must be necessarily and eternally miserable; and all this, not by any positive Act of God, inflicting everlasting Stripes on the Wicked, or loading them perpetually with fresh Torments, as the Objection against his Justice and Mercy supposed, but wholly from their own Sin, which renders them uncapable of the Enjoyment of an holy God, and perpetually excludes them from his blissful Presence, which, to a Soul that is immortal, and can never die, must be the Source of everlasting Torment; and from the natural Workings of its Faculties, will necessarily subject it to the perpetual Gnawings of a despairing Conscience; as might be shewn more at large, if I had not already left too little Room for,

IV. The

IV. The fourth and last Thing I observed from the Words; namely, The great Duty here enjoined, of entring in at the ftrait Gate, and going by the narrow Way of Christian Virtue; if we intend to be finally happy. That this requires some vigorous Endeavours, appears not only from the Straitness of the Gate, and Dif£ ulties of the Way, here mentioned, but more plainly from the parallel Place in St. Luke, Chap. xiii. 24. Where the Exhortation is worded thus: Strive to enter in at the fir ait Gate: for many, I jay unto you, isoill seek to enter in, and shall not be able. It appears plainly from this Exhortation of our Saviour's, that though there are considerable Difficulties in Religion, yet by Pains and Diligence they are all to be surmounted, through the Assistance of God's Grace, which, a little before my Text, he had taught us to beg of God by fervent Prayer. Endeavours and Prayers must go hand in hand together; and ye have heard what great Encouragement there is to our Endeavours; no less than a Life of infinite Glory and Happiness; and what Danger, if we neglect them, even an Eternity of the most exquisite Anguish and Misery; and how many there are who miscarry for want of due Pains and Endeavour. ,;

What remains then, but that we gird up the Loins of our Minds, and prepare ourselves for working out our Salvation with all Diligence; and begrudge no Time or Pains that is laid out either in studying to know, or in learning to practise our Duty, or in avoiding or resisting the Temptations to the contrary Vices, from the Devil, the World, and the Flesh: Assuring our selves that no Labour is so well bestowed, or. can turn to so good Account. I shall conclude ■with the Words of St. Peter, 2 Pet. i. 5. Giving all Diligence, add to your Faith, Virtue; and to Virtue, Knowledge; and to Knowledge, 'Temperance; and to Temperance, Patience; and to Patience, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly Kindness; and to brotherly Kindlefs, Charity. For if these Things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. s E R M ON XVI.

Now to Him, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, &c.

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Mat. VII. 15.

Beware of false Prophets, which come to you in Sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves.

V. 16. Ye shall know them by their Fruits:

do Men gather Grapes of Thorns, or Figs of

Thistles? * V. 1.7. Even so every good Tree bringeth forth

good Fruit: but a corrupt Tree bringeth forth

evil Fruit.

V. 18. A good Trie cannot bring forth evil Fruit: neither can a corrupt Tree bring forth good Fruit.

V. 19. Every Tree that bringeth not forth good Fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the Fire.

V. 20. Wherefore by their Fruits ye jhall know them.

The First Sermon on this Text.

THESE Words have an apt Coherence with the foregoing, being a further Prosecution of a Design which our Saviour manages with great Accuracy in the Close of this divine Sermon on the Mount: His Design was to guard

his

his Diseiples, and his other Auditors, against every Thing that might prevent or obstruct their Obedience to those Precepts of holy Living, which he had given them in the foregoing Part of the Sermon. These six Verses which I have read, are a Caution against the bad Influence false Prophets or Teachers might have upon us, to turn us away from that Obedience. In the Words we may briefly observe these three Things:

1. The Caution itself, against false Prophets or Teachers, who, howsoever they make in outward Appearance some specious Pretensions to Piety and Religion, yet inwardly are dangerous Enemies to it; as a Wolf under a Sheep's Skin designs to make Havock of the Flock.

2. A Mark given how we may discern false Prophets from true, by the Fruits of their Doctrine on themselves and others.

3. An Illustration of this Mark, from the Similitude of good and bad Trees and Vines, which in this resemble bad and good Doctrine, that each of them brings forth good or bad Fruit, according to its Kind; and likewise that each of them shall be treated well or ill, according to the Goodness and Badness of their Fruit.

I. I begin with the first, The Caution against false Prophets, ver. 15. Beware of false Prophets, which come to you in Sheeps Clothing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves. For understanding and recommending of which Caution, it will be necessary to do these four Things:

i. To

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