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Fear, and shall be amazed at the Strangeness of his Salvation, so far beyond all that they looked for. And that they repenting and groaning for Anguish of Spirit, shall say within themselves ; This was he whom we had sometime in Derision and a Proverb of Reproach; we Fools accounted his Life Madness, and bis End to be without Honour. How is he numbered among the Children of God, and his Lot is among the Saints. Any of these considerations would effectually convince us, that neither the Expressions nor Behaviour of che Apostles and primitive Christians proceeded from wild Enthusiasm, or the like, but from Soberness and Truth. The Effects are as adequate to their Cause, and the Behaviour as well proportioned to the Motive as in any other Case more familiar to our Experience.
From what has been said, ic appears plainly, First
, That God is not
a hard Master, reaping where he has not sown; but that his Precepts are adapted to our Understandings, and the Motives annex'd to them, to our Affections ; insomuch, that nothing is wanting but our own Application to make them effectual to us, as they have been to others. And how shamefully must we be wanting to our selves, who bestow all our Care and Thought upon this vain, uncertain, and milerable Life, and will not see a far off (if it may be called afar off) into our next Stage of Existence, which indeed may be nearer to us, chan our nearest Expectation? Does this become the noble Faculties we are invested with, is ic worthy the great Ambition of our Natures ? I might here play the Oracor in rallying our foolis Choice, the gross Absurdity and Perverseness of our Conduct; but I shall only put you in mind of thac exceeding and eternal Weight of Glory
reserved for us in the Heavens ; do but admit the magnificent Idea, and it must work for it felf, it will make us superior to all the Power of the Adversary; whilst without it, we become the Sport of every Temptation, we must fide with the World, and sneak into base Compliances, and may be sneered out of our Salvation by every rash and thoughtless Mortal. How fond therefore should we be of a Contemplation so full of Hope and Allurance, of Energy and Motive? And how must we be covered with Shame and Confusion, if we reflect on the dumb Idol that succeeds in its Room, whensoever we suffer it to depart
Secondly, Thosc Persons to whose Distribution the Honours of this World are more especially committed, are, if possible, more concern'd in this matter than others. When Honour (as a late Author says) is a sup
port to virtuous Principles, and runs parallel with the Laws of God and our Countiy, as was most certainly designed in the original Constitution of Things, it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged. But when the Dictates of Honour are contrary to those of Religion and Equity, they are the greatest Depravations of human Nature, by giving wrong Ambitions and false Ideas of what is good and laudable, and should therefore be exploded by all Governments, and driven out as the Bane and Plague of human Society.
Thirdly, We of this * Place should consider the uncommon Opportunities we enjoy of encouraging Virtue, and discountenancing Vice in the Distribution of our Honours; we who are in a good measuré secluded from the World, and form'd into small societies, under very extraordinary Re
* Vit. The University of Oxford,
gulations ; where our Customs and Fashions are prescrib'd to us in almost every Particular, by wise and good Men, and not left to the Caprice of the World. Should any low or vicious Qualifications gain Esteem amongst us, and become matter of Recommendation to our highest Honours and Preferments, I will say nothing at present of the Consequences, but this must be far more inexcusable, than in Societies more mix'd and diffus’d, which are govern'd also by many Persons of different education, and by Laws more general and loose.
Fourthly, Those few Persons, the Eyes of whose Understanding are enlightned, so that they know, what is the Hope of the Calling, of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of Glory, and what is the Riches of the Glory of his Inheritance in the Saints, ought in common Prudence to associate themselves together as much as