« ZurückWeiter »
have been Heathens, and many of them, who, Serm. without the Revelation that we enjoy, have led very exemplary, moral Lives. But how came they to do so? Why they were Men naturally well disposed ; and therefore they were desirous (because they thought it their Duty) to live up to all the Light they enjoyed : And had any further Revelation been made to them; there is no Question but they would have obeyed it. But, having no more, they acted according to what they had : And what further could be expected from them? But is this the Case of thọfe Free-thinkers and Deifts that live among Christians ? Far from it. For these Men have Divine Reve, lation laid before them, and yet disclaim and reject it: And instead of thankfully embracing Christianity, baughtily despise it. "
It is a fair Teft then, whereby to judge of the Sincerity of such Men, which I have here proposed; viz. When you find them (as you frequently will). vehemently insisting upon the Excellency of Morality, and crying it
jup in. Opposition to Faith; when instead of representing good Works to be: the Fruits of Faith, they shall contend they may be perfarmed, and be sufficient to Salvation, without Faith; when they shall compare moral
SERM. Duties and positive ones together, and, though
they are both of them absolutely necessary,
any Man haranguing thus judge of his Words by his own Practice : Recollect with yourselves his own Manner and Conduct of Life: And if he should prove to have nothing of that Strietness of Honour and Honesty he fo highly extols, (as I fear will generally prove the Cafe ;) in a Word, if you can discover nothing more of his Conscience, (which he boasts is fo calm and quiet within ;) but that it is ever very noify and troublesome without ;--you may then be sure, that the great Stir he makes about moral Religion, in Opposition to what is revealed; is not done with any Design to advance either, but insidiously to undermine and destroy both. Be stedfast therefore yourfelves to adhere to both : Stop your Ears against whatever fuch wicked and impious Scoffers fhalf offer to seduce you, and keep them always open and attentive to that divine Prophet recommended in my Text, and that in all Things wbatsoever be fall say unto you.
To the doing of which, if the persuasive Motives I have hitherto set forth, be not fufficient to induce you ; let me, for a Con
clusion, read to you once more the last Verse SERM.
VIII. of my Text, which remains still to be conGidered, and contains a dreadful Denunciation against all those that do it not.-It Mall come to pass that every Soul, which will not bear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the People. How this Prophecy has been ve~ rified as to the Jews, I have mentioned be fore: And I could also recount to you many remarkable Examples of Apostate Christians, who, of old and of late Days, have whet and sharpened their Tongues and their Pens againft Christianity, which yét have turned against themfelves, and set them forth for a Terror to others. But Censures upon any Judgments that happen in this World, I had rather forbear. But of Destruction either in this World, or the next the Text certainly speaks. In one World or the other, it will come to pass, that every Soul that will not bear that Propbet (i. e. Jesus and bis Gospel) shall be destroyed. Certainly in the next World, if not in this: For this is what Jesus himself has declared, He (saith he) that rejetteth me, and receiveth not my Words, bath one that. judgeth bim : The Word that I have spoken, the fame 'fhall judge him at the laft Day, John xii. 48. That Word which they heard and believed not, shall
SERM. stand as a Witness and testify against them.
If he had not come and spoken unto them; Ch. xv. 22, then indeed (as he himself owns) they had not bad Sin ; i. e. they might have pleaded their Ignorance in Excuse : But now (faith he) they have no Cloak for their Sin ; i. e. they are intirely without Excuse. And the same Judgment which he threatens against those who rejected the Gospel, when preached by himself, he threatens also against all that reject it, when preached by his Apostles, or those that should succeed them. For be said unto them, Go ye into all the World, and preach the Gospel unto every Creature : He that believeth and is baptized, shall be sav'd; but be that believeth not, hall be damn'd, Mark xvi. 15, 16. You know who spake these Words, and upon what Occasion, They were spoken by him who revealed the Gospel; who therefore certainly knew how, far it was necessary for his Disciples to believe it: They were spoken by him who is ordained of God to be the Judge of Quick and Dead; Acts . 42. who therefore again knows whom he will save and whom he will condemn, and for what their Salvation or Damnation shall be awarded. This is he who fpake these Words, and spake them at a Time,
when he was taking his solemn Leave of SER M. his Apostles, giving them his last and final Charge, and in which the. Fate of all the World is pre-determined. The Author therefore, and the Occasion, and the Subject Matter of these Words, all speaking them to be of the highest Importance, and the most general Concern, I chuse to close with them and leave them upon your Minds.