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be reckoned a breach of good manners to introduce anything that related to their Father in heaven; to his house with many mansions, where they all hoped to dwell ; -or to that precious Redeemer, who hath gone before to prepare a place for them. Might it not rather be expected, that besides occasional converse upon subjects of so interesting a nature, they would choose to fet

apart fome portions of time for the fole purpose of comforting themselves toge“ ther, and edifying one another,” according to the early practice of the Christians at Thessalonica, which our Apostle fo highly. commends, 1 Tbel. v. 11.?

Thus have I given you my cool deliberate sentiments upon the practical influence of the great doctrines of the gospel, and that kind of conversation towards God and man which is best suited to the belief of them, Should any indeed be fo perverse as to resist the influence of thefe doctrines, and counteract their native and most ob. yious tendency, while at the fame time they acknowledged the evidence of their truth,

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it would not at all surprise me, to see them crowding, from day to day, the public theatres, that the regularity and decorum of a fictitious representation might draw their attention away from that real and il-conducted medley in which they themselves acted their disgraceful parts. I should not wonder to behold them flying with eagerness to cards and dice, and seeking aid from every engine of diffipation and noise, to conceal the lapse of time, and to bear down the clamours of an accusing conscience. It would not even furprise me, to see them rushing beadlong into the haunts of riot and debauch, that the intoxicating cup might either stupify or madden their reafon; which, if left to its fober exercise, would anticipate the evil day, and torment them before the time. Such things as these I should expect to see: but for none of them could I find any place at all in the natural and orderly state of reasonable creatures, whose temper and conduct, as I have all along supposed, were formed and regulated by the doctrines of the gospel. How far my reasoning upon this branch

of

of the subject hath been just, will more fully appear afterwards. It no doubt exhibits to our viev a state of things widely different from what we at present behold; which, I am aware, may furnith us all with matter of humbling and painful reflection. This, however, shall not discourage me from proceeding in my inquiry; as I well know, that if, “ by the sadneis of the countenance, “ the heart be made better,” we shall in the issue be infinite gainers, and obtain from him who is “ the comforter of those that

are cast down,” “ the oil of joy for ss mourning, and the garments of praise for as the spirit of heaviness.”

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MAY God dispose and enable us all to judge righteous judgement." Amen.

SER

323

S E R M O N

XIII.

PHILIPPIANS i. 27

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the

30fpel of Chrift.

is E have already considered the most

essential doctrines contained in the gospel of Christ, and the influence that the cordial belief of such interesting truths might be expected to have upon our temper and practice.

I am not sensible that any of the conclusions I drew were strained, or even obscure. To me they appeared, and, after the most serious and impartial examination, still do appear, fo reasonable and obvious, and withal so moderate, that I cannot think they are liable to any just objection

At the same time, as they present to our view a state of things, so widely different from that which daily passeth before our eyes, I shall now proceed to consider the LAWS or precepts of our holy religion ; that, from the review of these, we may discover, , with still greater certainty, what the converfation is that may be said to become the gospel of Christ.

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But before I descend to particulars upon this extensive subject, I must beg your attention to a few remarks I have to make upon

the

precepts or laws of the gospel in general. : With regard to their authority, there can be no doubt. He who enacted them hath an unquestionable right to our most perfect obedience ; " In the beginning was the 6 Word, and the Word was with God, and " the Word was God: all things were made

by him, and without him was not any « thing made that was made.” therefore his property in the most absolute and unlimited fenfe of that expression. He called us into being when as yet we were

every moment he sustains that existence which he gave us ; for " in him we

We are

not, and

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