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more Zeal to run down all Strictness of Morals, and living up to our Christian Profession. Vice never appeared with a bolder Face, as if it would look Virtue out of Countenance. It is high time then for all that would preserve their Innocence, to be upon their Guard against the wicked Maxims, and corrupt Examples of the World; and as the Apostles advised, to save ourselves from this untoward Generation.
And in order to this, let us, after our Saviour's Example in my Text, take our Characters of Men, not so much from their high Profession, as from the Consequences of their Doctrine,' and the Fruits it is apt to produce. Let us learn to value real Holiness and good Life above all other Accomplishments, remembring that as we judge pot of Fruit-trees by the Fineness of their Shapes, or the largeness of their Leaves, but by the Plenty and Goodness of the Fruit they yield; so it is neither a fair Profeflion, nor any, or all other Accomplishments, will recommend us to God's Favour, but only the bringing forth good Fruit in an holy and virtudus Conversation.
There is a terrible End my Text mentions, as the Fate of barren Fruit-trees; Every 'Tree that bringeth not forth good Fruit, is hewen down, fnd cast into the Fire. A most dreadful Expression! not only every Tree that bringeth bad Fruit, every one that is exemplary in Wickedness, but every one that is not fruitful in good Works, that is, in the Actions of Christian Virtues, shall be destroyed in Hell-fire. But on the Q$her hand, give me Leave from another Scripture (q (ell you, what shall become gf fruitful
Trees, Trees, those fruitful Branches, which believe in Christ, and bring forth Fruit in a good Life. John xv. 1. I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman. Every Branch in me that bearetb not Fruit, he taketh away: and every Branch that bear et h Fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more Fruit. The unfruitful Branch is abandoned by God, and not only abandoned, but cut off and destroyed; the other is cultivated with higher Degrees of Grace, till Grace is crowned in Glory.
O blessed End; for which God of his infinite Mercy prepare us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord. To him with the Father, &c.
S E R M O N XIX.
Mat. VII. 2r.
Not every one that faith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of-Heaven: but he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven.
V. 22. Many will fay to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophefied in thy Name? and in thy Name have cajl out Devils? and in thy Name done many wonderful Works?
V. 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work Iniquity.
WE are now come to the last Impediment or Obstruction of Obedience to our Saviour's holy Precepts, which he thought necessary to remove, before he ended this divine Sermon on the Mount; namely, the trusting to a great Profession.. This he foresaw many would depend upon, without any vigorous Endeavours to live up to it in their Life and Conversation; and therefore he judged it necessary to forewarn them, not to trust to so broken a Reed as this will prove. In speaking to the Words, I shall do these three Things,
1. I will consider the Pretensions upon which many Men build their Hopes of Salvation, as they are here described; by saying unto Christ, Lord, Lord; and by pleading the many great Gifts they were possessed of; and their laying them out in Christ's Service.
2. I shall shew how far short all these will come of Acceptance In the great Day of Accounts.
3. I shall consider the great Thing wanting to make our Persons and Services acceptable, namely, sincere Obedience to the Laws of Christ. And these three -X think will comprehend xhe whole of the Text..
I. I am to consider the Pretensions upon which our Saviour foresaw many Men would build their Hopes of Heaven: Which are, 1. A bare Faith in Christ. 2. An owning of Christ by Profession for their Lord and> Master. 3. The fancying to themselves that they had a great Interest in him. 4. The Knowledge, Skill, and Dexterity, they had in teaching his Religion to others. 5. The high Station and Dignity of Teachers wherein they were employed, with the great Gifts bestowed upon them; and their employing these Gifts in Christ's Service, perhaps with Success: These being all Things of great Honour, Trust, and Distinction, let us consider them a little more particularly; for we are very apt to deceive ourselves, and to build our tjopes upon the fame, or as slender Grounds.
1. One of the false Hopes our Saviour mentions is, a bare Faith in Christ. This is included in saying to him, Lord, Lord; for this was Faith ; the owningChristforour Lord. Now that there might be many such at that very Time is manifest; because there were many that believed in him, merely on Account of the carnal Expectations they had from him. For having as yet no right Notions of his Kingdom, there was little more requisite in their Sense towards becoming his Disciples, than believing from his Miracles that he was the Messiah; but then being prepossessed with carnal Notions of the Messiah, as if he had been to be a great earthly Conqueror, as to the inward Temper and Disposition of their Minds, it was full of Covetousness, Ambition, Luxury, Cruelty, Injustice, and all other Vices, incident to Men so full of worldly Expectations, as all or most of them were at that Time, when they entred first into Christ's School. Our Saviour had been all along this divine Sermon, forming their Minds and Manners to a better Frame; and now he tells them plainly, in the Close of his Discourse, that without this Change in their Hearts and Lives, he will never own them in the great Day for his genuine Disciples. They may plead as much as they please that they owned him for their Lord, and that they took on with him, and were employed in many great Trusts and Services but unless they join Holiness of Life to their Faith in him, he will throw them off in the great Day. By the by, we are to observe, that this is a new Argument, with which our Saviour enforces all those Pre3 cepts