Abernathy - Houston-Packer Collection BX9178.A33 S4 1748 v.2


SERMONS O N VARIOUS SUBJECTS. Containing, I. Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chriftians. II. Sincere Obedience neceffary to our acceptance with God. III. The Caufes and Danger of Self- Deceit. IV. Of Chriftian Fortitude. V. Of Knowledge. VI. Of Temperance. VII. Of Patience. VIII. Of Godlinefs. IX. Of Brotherly Kindnefs and Charity. X. Sincere Obedience the belt Preparation for knowing the Truth. XI. Of the Vanity of Man's Judg- ment comparedwith that of God. XII. Of acknowledging God in . all our Ways. XIII. A Sermon on Occafion of a public Fait. XIV. Prudence neceffary in con - verfing upon Religious Subje &s. XV. Religious Converfation re- commended. By fOHN ABERNETHY, M.A. VOL. II. LONDON: Printed for D. BROWNE, without Temple-Bar ; C. DAVIS, in Holborn ; and A. MILLAR, oppofite Katherine - ftreet in the Strand. M.DCC.XLVIII,

CONTENTS. SERMON I. Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chriflians. Korn. XV. 2. Let every one of us pleafe his neighbour, for his good to edification. p. t SERMON II. Sincere Obedience neceffary to our Acceptance with God. Mat. vii. 21, 22, 23. Not every one that faith unto me, Lord, Lord, flail enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will fay unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have not we prophefied in thy name? and in thy name have call out devils? and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profef unto them, I never knew you ; depart from me ye that work iniquity. P. 30 SERMON III. The Caufes and Danger of Self - Deceit. Mat. vi. 22, 23. The light of the body is the eye ; if therefore thine eye be Jingle, thy whole body (hall be full of light : But, if thine eye be evil, thy whole body 'hall be full of darknefs. If therefore the light, A 2 that

II CONTENTS. that is in thee be darknefs, bow great is that darknefs? P. 55 SERMON IV. Of Chrillian Fortitude. 2 Pet. i. 5. And bejides this, giving all dili- gence, add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, tem- perance, and to temperance, patience ; and to patience, godlinefs ; and to godlinefs, brotherly kindnefs; and to brotherly kindnefs, charity. p. 86 SERMON V. Of Knowledge. 2 Pet. i. 5. And to virtue, knowledge. p.1"4 SERMON VI. Of Temperance. 2 Pet. i. 6. And to Knowledge, Tempe- rance. p. 141 SERMON VII. Of Patience. 2 Pet. i. 6. And to Temperance Pa- tience. p. 170 SERMON VIII. Of Godlinefs. 2 Pet. i. 6. And to Patience, Godlinefs. P 197 SER-

CONTENTS. SERMON IX. Of Brotherly Kindnefs and Charity. 2 Pet. i. 7. And to Godlinefs, Brotherly Kind - n f ; and to Brotherly Kindnefs, Charity. p. 223 SERMON X. Sincere Obedience the bell Preparation for knowing the Truth. John vii. 17. If any Man do his Will, he (hall know of the Dotlrine, whether it be of God, or whether I fpeak of myfelf. p. 249 SERMON XI. Of the Vanity of Men's Judgment compared with that of God. z Cor. iv. 3, 4. But with me it is a very fmall thing that I fhould be judged of you, or of man's judgment but he that judgeth me is the Lord. P. 275 SERMON XII. Of acknowledging God in all our Ways. Prov. iii. 6. In all thy Ways acknowledge Him, and He (hall direct thy path. p. 302 SERMON XIII. A Sermon preached on a public Fafl, ap- pointed by Authority, on Occafion of a Declaration of War with Spain. Ezekiel xiv. i 2, 13. The word of the Lord came again unto me, faying, Son of man, when the land finneth againft me by tref- pagng

CONTENTS. tailing grievoufly, then will I ßretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the jiaf of the bread thereof, and will fend famine upon it, and will cut of man and beat from it. p. 328 SERMON XIV. Prudence neceffary in converfing upon reli- gious Subjects. Mat. vii. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cafi ye your pearls before fwine, left they trample them under their feet and turn again and rent you. p. 357 SERMON XV. Religious Converfation recommended. Malachi iii. 16, i7. Then they that feared the Lord, fpake often one to another ; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name : and they fall be mine, faith the Lord of hofls, in that day when I f all make up my jewels, and I willfilare them as a man /paretb his own fon that ferve.th him. p. 384 S E R-

(I) SERMON I. Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrians. Rom. xv. 2. Let every one of us pleafe his neighbour, for his good to edification. ST. Paul in his epiftles very often re- SERM. commends to chriftians a folicitous I. care every one for their own edification, 'f'`/ and not only fo, but that they fhould ufe charitable endeavours to edify one another. For this he fhows that the facred miniftrations were inftituted, and a great variety of ufeful gifts beftow'd upon the church, when our Lord Jefus afcended up into heaven he gave gifts unto men, he gave f me Ap jiles, and fame Prophets, and Tome Evangel fis, and forre Pa/lors and Teachers. For the perfecting of the faints, for the work of the minry, and for the edifying of the body of Chrifl . But, Eph. iv. t t, t >.. VOL.II. B the

z Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrillians. SERM. the end cannot be anfwered without a due I. ufe of the means, and therefore the Apoftle wU prefcribes a diligent and regular attendance on the public offices in Chriftian affemblies defcending to a very minute circumftantial regulation of them, fo as they might have their proper defigned effeét, to promote the common edification, as you may Tee in the iq.th chap. of the ift epiftle to the Corin- thians: But, let no one imagine that this im- portant affair is devolved intirely upon men in Rations of publick miniftry ; every fingle member of the body of Chrift has it in charge to contribute in the belt manner he can to the edification of the whole, and of every part. To this purpofe our facred author gives many particular direátions ; he would have us to pray for, to inftru t and exhort one ano- ther, to avoid all corrupt communications, to give examples of fobriety, meeknefs, patience, and all other virtues, adorning the do5lrine of God our Saviour, and to abound in all the offices of charity, that fo the body may be edified in love. And having in the 5th chap- ter of his ift epiftle to the TheJalonians men- tioned fome of the molt important duties of the chriftian life, fuch as that they fhould be vigilant and fiber, putting on the brea/t -plate

Mutual Èdifration, the Duty of Chrillians. of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope SERM. of fälvation ; and fome of the ftrongeft mo- I. tives of chriftianity, as, our being appointed 'w not to wrath, but to attain falvation through our Lord 7efus Chr, and his dying for us; he concludes thus at the it th verfe, Wherefore comf rt yourfelves together, and edify one ano- ther, even as cello ye do. Purfuant to which the fequel of the chapter contains many ex- cellent exhortations, which, if carefully put in pra &ice, have the greateft aptitude in their own nature to edify, fuch as, a proper refpe& to the public inftru &ions, and an efteem for fuch as minifter them only for their work - Jake, living in peace, warning the unruly, comforting the fèeble- minded, /ispporting the weak, being patient towards all men, not ren- dering evil f.or evil, but following that which is good, praying without ceafing, in every thing giving thanks, and abflaining from all ap- pearance of evil. The apoftle even defcends to matters of expediency and indifference in his rules for edification; he would have chrif- tians fo much concerned for the fpiritual good of their brethren, and have it fo much at heart to promote their knowledge and efta- blifhment, and progrefs in religion, as for that end to avoid ofé nee ; that is, as he explains B2 it,

q Mutual Edification, the Duty of Ghrian.s. SERM. it, the weakening or humbling of their fel- I. low- chriflians, tempting them to defert chri- ti'v"%-) ftianity, or do things unbecoming the pro- fef'ion of it ; to avoid offence, I fay, not only by anions in their nature wicked, and there- fore of pernicious example, but by an indif- creet ufe of liberty. He carries this fo far as to the abftaining from certain meats, which he himfelf and other well- inflruâed chriftians judged might be lawfully ufed, but fome weak perfons thought otherwife ; abftaining from them, I fay, out of a charitable cóndefcend- ing regard to the weaknefs of fuch. And what can be ftronger than this general corn- prehenfive exhortation in the text, Let every one of us pleafe his neighbour for his good to edification. You will now perceive from what has been already faid, that this matter of edification, and the care of it fo ftriEtly injoin'd, did not peculiarly relate to the firft age of chriflianity. The nature of the thing, and the directions given in order to it, plainly flew that it is the common concern of chriftians at all times. I think, therefore, it may be ufefully infifled on, as what may very well be applied to our- felves. And in this difcourfe, I will,firfi, en- deavour to give you the true fcripture account of

Mutual Edcation, the Duty of Chrillians. S of what is meant by edification. In the fe- SERM cond place, I will more particularly confider I. the diredtion in the text. Firfi, to give the true fcripture account of what is meant by edification ; which I am afraid fome chriftians do not well enough un- derftand, and therefore have run into dange- rous miftakes in judging both of their own and others edification. The expreffion is plainly figurative, and it leads us to confider the church of Chrift, the whole collective body of his members, or believers in him, under the notion of a building, which is a very ufual one with the facred writers in de- fcribing it thus, * re are God's building. As material edifices are compofed of many parts which are regularly difpofed by human art fo as to make an intire work, raifed upon one foundation, firong in proportion to the firm - nefs of that foundation ; and fo long as the parts adhere to it and to each other, fubfifting in its artificial form, and under the notion of a building ; the materials being united toge.. ther by a cement, and the whole, if it be done by a fkilful architc t, form'd and finifh'd ac- cording to an exalt model : fo our Lord i Cor. iii. g. 13 3 Jcfus

6 Mutual Edification," the Duty of Chriflians, SERM. Jefus Chrift has gathered together the Chidren I. of God that were flattered abroad, and of kiw yews and Gentiles, made one beautiful church, united in- himfelf, and by their adherence to him, according the divine plan laid in the eternal counfels of his father. God, intending in the antient yewifh eeconomy to fet forth a fhadow of better things to come, commanded Mofes to make a tabernacle in the wildernefs, where he would place the tokens of his pre- fence, and (hewed him a pattern on the Mount. But, the things which were old, and indeed made to be taken away, are now áétually vanifheda giving place to a higher conftitution worthy in all refpeas of its great founder, a fpiritual building, which is the inure fociety of fincere chriftians, an habita- tion of God through the Jpirit. This is ex- cellentlydefcribed by the apo file * ; And (ye Chriftians) are built upon the foundation of the ap jiles and prophets, Yefus Chrifi t_imfe being the chief corner (lone. In whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy tem- ple in the Lord, The foundation being the apoftles and prophets, that is their dottrine, and. Jefus Çhrift, or the gofpel fcheme of which he is Eph. ii. io, 21. the

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrians. 7 the author, and which centers in him, being SERM. the chief corner ftone, the fupport of the I. whole building, this clearly leads us to un- .'"`^° derftand the allufion. How is it that a fo- ciety of men can be built upon a doctrine or Inftitution ? It is when that do ±nine or In- ftitution is received by them, and has it pro- per efleft upon them ; when their conduct is regulated by it, and they reap the benefit of it ; when the intention of it is anfwered in their practice, and the advantages they enjoy. But, here a difference in the fimilitude will obvioufly occur, I mean between the out- ward fenfible figure, and the fpiritual fubjed it is intended. to reprefent. Every one knows that the materials of an earthly edifice can contribute nothing to the difpofing of them - felves in the proper form ; they are wholly paffive, and their order, harmony, and ufe- fulnefs, are intirely owing to the (kill and labour of the workman. Not fo are the fe- veral parts in the fpiritual houfe of God; they are not like inanimate and unintelligent or- gans, but work together with him, to their own and to the common edification, And, therefore, the apoftle fupplies the defe i of this image by another very elegant one, of the natural human body, in which the a hve B 4 parts,

8 Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chriflians. SERM. parts, by performing their feveral appointed I. functions concur to the promoting of their v`^-' own nouritiment, and the ftrengthening of the whole, * From zeíborn (fefus Chrifi) the whole body fitly joined together, and compabled by that which every joint fùpplieth, according to the e f 'hlual working in the meafure of every part, maketh encreafe of the body to the edify- ing itfèlf in love. Another difference arifing from the diver- fay of the fubjets in their nature and condi- tion, is this, that whereas edification, in the litteral fenfe, means only the relation of the parts as fuch, or, as they conftitute one whole, fo that it cannot be faid, properly, that the ftones and timber are, but the houfe, which is an aggregate of them, is built ; in the fpi- ritual fenfe, it belongs to every particular part, or member. And thus in the apoftle's ufe of the word, every fingle perfon receives edifi- cation ; as well as the whole fociety, as you will foon fee more fully ; for, Upon the grounds already laid down, we may apprehend the point before us after this manner. The foundation being the doc- trine of the gofpel, which is a doctrine ac- cording to godlinefs, the fubjet being men, * Evh. iv. 16. i{telligent

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chr f ians. 9 intelligent and moral, but imperfe& agents ; SERM. and the intention being to reform them, and I. at Taft bring them to theperfeaion of righteouf- nefs, holinefs, and charity ; their edification muff, confequently, be in knowledge and virtue, and in mutual good -will and peace. Accordingly, thefe are the very things in which St. Paul hirfelf explains it. Firft, edification lignifies an increafe of true, ufeful, religious knowledge ; fo it is ufed in feveral paffages of the i4th chapter of the ift epiftle to the Corinthians, where fe- veral diforders in the public miniftrations are correäed, and a decent manner of perform- ing them recommended, fo that they may be profitable and edifying, that is, inftrutive. verfe 3. He that prophefieth, fpeaketh unto men to edification, In the 4.th and 5th verfes, he that prophefieth, ed f eth the Church ; and greater is he that prophefieth, than he that fpeaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. In the 12th, forafmuch as ye are zealous offpiritual gifts, feek that ye may excell to the edifying of the church. In the 17th, thou verily give thanks well (in an unknown tongue) but the other is not edified. And at the 26th, whereas there was an emulation among them, every

io Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrians. SERM. every one ftriving for precedency in the exer- I. cife of his gifts, which made their affemblies j p confufed and tumultuous ; Every one, fays he, of you, when you come together, bath a p/i ln, bath a doctrine, bath 4 tongue, bath a revelation, bath an interpretation ; the apoftle gives them this caution, let all things be done to edifying. In all which places, it is very evident, that edification fignifies inftruttion, or improving men in knowledge. And indeed it is evi- dent in the nature of the thing, that this is the foundation upon which we muff grow in every good, moral, or religious quality, which to their very being require underftand- ing, and 4i11 encreafe in proportion to it. Not but that knowlege may be feparated from virtue, in fart it is often fo, and men de- tain the truth in unrighteoufnefi, trefpafling againft the light andconvittion of their own minds, which makes the worft of charmers; particularly, according to the dottrine of the new teftament, knowledge without good dif- pofitions and a good practice is unprofitable, and an increafe of it far from edification in the chriftian fenfe; for, fays the apoftle, '* Know- ledge pujèth up, but charity ed feth. And, if any man think that be knoweth any thing, * d Cor. viii, t, z. be

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chr Jlians. i he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know ; SERM. that is, if he be conceited of his knowledge I. in the chriftian religion, as a reputable ac- e-eNev complifhment, confidering it only as a fcience, or fpeculation, he has not yet attained to any right underftanding of it, fo as to anfwer its true intention. Yet Rill knowledge is necef- fary, and without it we can make no pro - grefs in religion ; for as by the vanity of their thoughts darkening their underftanding, the Gentiles were alienated from the life of God, fo it is by revealing the father to men, giving them juft notions of God and of their duty that our faviour reforms them ; they are re- newed in their minds, after the divine Image, firft in knowledge, and thereby in righteouf- nefs and true holinefs ; and it is by the unity of faith, and knowledge of the Son ef God, that the whole body of his fincere difciples grow up to a perfect man, to the meafiare of the flature of the fancy's of Chr Secondly, we muff be built up, and build up ourfelves in our molt holy faith, according to St. jude's diretion, in the 2oth verfe of his epiftle ; whether that exprefìion means the divine fyftem of chriftianity, as the faith 1 nifies in the 3d verfe of the fame epiftle, or the principle of faith in us, it amounts to the

13 Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrißiáns. SEkM. the fame thing; for the doctrine of the gof- l pel can have no effe& on us to form our tem-. V".") pers and converfation, which is its 'proper end, unlefs it be believed. Taking faith in the firft and molt obvious fenfe, for an affent of the mind to truth, it can, no more than knowledge, be profitable, without good af- fe Lions ; and therefore St, lames, in the 2d chapter of his epiftle, very juftly expofes the folly of thofe who truft to fuch an in- fufficient and dead faith, as he calls it ; it is no better than the devil's believing, which only produces a confounding dread and hor- ror. Yet í1i11 even an affent to the truths of the gofpel is abfolutely necefl'ary ; and we fhould endeavour to be more firmly rooted and grounded in it, that it may produce good fruits, and we may encreafe in every good work. To this end, as all that by the frame of our nature we are capable of, is a diligent impartial examination of the evidence of truth, it is all that God requires ; and the more we confider with upright hearts the grounds of the great chriftian verity, and fearch the fcriptures, the more we (hall be fatisfied concerning it. But faith feems, at leaft very often, in the New Teftament, to fi nify, not barely an affent, but indeed obe- dience

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrillians. i 3 dience to the gofpel, and to comprehend all SExivi; thofe áffe Lions and difpofitions of 'mind L which are the immediate principles of con - L."rU formity to its laws : It is in this fenfe that faith is enjoined as a very important and corn - prehenfive duty ; indeed the whole of that duty which is indifpenfably neceffary to our . acceptance with God and our falvation; as on the other hand, difobedience to the gofpel and unbelief, in the ftile of the apoftles, mean the fame thing. It follows according to this fenfe, that edification in faith, is in effect, edification in all the chriftian virtues, and all the fruits of the fpirit ; in love to God and men, in meeknefs, patience, fobriety and righteoufnefs. Thus St. Paul explains edifi- cation, Neither give heed to fables and end - lets genealogies which miner queions, rather than godly edifÿing, which is in faith. The character of edifying in faith, is, that it is godly, or the edification of God, as the words are ftrictly tranflated. God is the object and the end of it; it is the knowledge, love and fear of him, which comprehends all religion. At the fame time we fee what kind of in ftruction it is which has this tendency, not trifling unneceffary things, remote from the * t Tim. i. 4. life

4. Mutual Edification, the Duty of Cbr ftians. SERM. life of godlinefs, and points of curious fpe- I culation, which are the occafions and the of fierce contention, direcl:ly con- trary to the true defign and genius of'chriftia- nity ; thefe teachers and all chriftians ought to avoid if they would promote edification, applying themfelves principally to thofe doc- trines which have a direct tendency to pro- mote good affections and a good life. Thirdly, chriftian edification is in charity, as appears from the fequel of the apoftie's words laft cited ; for having warn'd Timothy againft thofe curious unprofitable fpeculations which minifter contentious debate, not godly edifying, he immediately fubjoins, verfe 5, as in direct oppofition to them, Now the end ©f the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good confcience, and of faith unfeigned. Plainly intimating, that as cha- rity from thefe principles is the end of the gofpel, edification in it, is godly edifying which is in faith; and in Eph. iv. i6, he exprefly fays, that the edifying of the body of Chr f, is in love. You will remember what I obferved before, that to underftand this fubject right, we ought to confider chriftians either as in their relatian to one another and to Chrift their head, as members of the fame body

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chr f ians. z S body, or in their private and perfonal capa- SERM, city, in both which refpets they receive edi- I. fication. The former has been already ex- `lam plain'd, it being only fingle perfons who are the fubje t of knowledge, of faith and virtue; but a general peace, that is, concord and har- mony, as the refult of prevailing love, be- longs to a fociety as fuck. This the apof ie evidently means in feveral paffages of his epi- flles on the fubjeil of edification, as * Edify one another, or edify yourfelves into one, fo that you maybe one body or fociety, beautiful, and ftrong by your union. And in the 14th chap- ter of this epiflle, and s 9th verfe ; Let us fol- low after the things that make for peace, and wherewith one may edi /3 another, or wherewith one may be edified to others, more firmly united in the bond of mutual affection and peace. Such is the intimacy of that relation which fubfifis between chriftians, by virtue of their adherence to Chrift, their common head and the center of their unity, that the fafety and profperity of every one is the fafety and profperity of the whole ; and the intereft of the whole, is the intereft of every part. Like the members of the natural body which have no interefis feparate from that of the ' [ Thef. v. i t, body

16 Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrifiians. SERM. body itfelf, and of each other ; for, whether I. one fifer, all lujèr with it ; or, if one is ho- ! J noured, all rejoice with it *. The head and feet, the hands and eyes, have a mutual fympathy, and under the dire &ion of one principle con- tribute their good offices on every occafion to the whole; fo is the body of Chrift, and fo ought all the members in particular to be dif- pofed. As the members of the natural body difcharge their feveral fun &ions by a neceffity of nature, in fuch a manner (purfuant to the wife conftitution of its author) as to preferve the union, and promote the advantage of the whole, fo chriftians, being by one fpirit bap- tized into one body, ought to be folicitous for the common profperity, and for the good of every one of their fellows in particular, as they have opportunity. And the truth is, by doing fo, they ferve themfelves in the belt manner, and moll effe &ually promote their own trueft and higheft interefl. It is a moil undoubted truth, as will appear to every one who tho- roughly examines it, that virtue, which con- flits in good -will to other moral agents, has a neceffary connection with private happinefs; which is a moll fatisfying argument to in- duce us to the practice of it, and demonftrates 4 i Cor. xii. z6. that

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrians. 17 that the Author of our beings defigned us for SERM. it. And chriftianity, the glory of which is, I. that it is an inftitution defign'd to reftore the integrity of the human nature, and raife us to the perfetion of virtue, has jai taught us the fame thing in the point now before us, namely, that public and private edification are moft ftritly connected ; that we can no way fo effe&ually fecure and advance our own greateft good as by a hearty benevolence, with the proper fruits of it, to our fellows, and a zea- lous attachment to the common intereft. Only, let us always endeavour to have juft notions of the true public, and of the body of Chrift ; that it comprehends all who in every place call on his name, and is not confin'd to the particular parties into which chriftians have fubdivided themfelves, to their own unfpeaka- ble difadvantage, and the difhonour of their religion. Let us follow peace with all men, and do good to them as we have opportunity : let us have a fincere regard to all the difciples of the Lord Jefus our Saviour ; inflrutling the ignorant, warning the unruly, comforting the feeble- minded, bearing with the infirmities of the weak; fo fùlling the royal law of love. Thus (hall we comfort ourfelves, and edify one another. I have now given you what I VOL. II. C take

18 Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrff ians. SEaM take to be the true fcripture account of edifi- I cation, and I proceed in the wv Second place to confider more particularly the direction in the text. Let every one of us pleafe his neighbour for his good to edification. In order to this, we mull reflet a little on the cafe refer'd to in the preceding chapter, which was fhortly this. The chriftians at Rome were of different opinions, and therefore different pra ±ices about leffer things, as it is always to be expelled chriftians will be, in this imper- feet Rate. Some had Rill fuch a refpe f± for Judaifm in which they had been educated, as to obferve the diftintion of days and meats which was appointed by the law of Mofes, or introduced by the tradition of the elders. Others, with the apoftle, were perfuaded that the diftindion was abrogated, and that there is nothing now unclean of itfelf. But, notwithftanding this difference, union mull be preferved, not upon, the foot of a perfect agreement in all things (an agreement in their opinions is contrary to the fuppofition and the true fad ; and an agreement in outward pro- feffions and practices, againf the real fenti- ments of fome, would on their part be hypo- critical, and fuch as no one can imagine is at all becoming a religious fociety) but their 8 union

Mutual Edification, the Duty ofChrJians. union the apoftle would have preferv'd on quite another principle, namely, that of mu- tual forbearance and condefcending charity. And here the apoftle ftrikes at the very root of divifion, which is a narrow felfifh fpirit. When men only regard their ownfelves, the gratifying of their own private inclinations, and fulfilling the defires of the flefh and of the mind, what can be expected among them but ftrife, and confufion, and every evil work ? while fuch a fpirit prevails, how to avoid of- fences, and edify our neighbours will not be the queftion. And when all conduct them- felves thus, their interefts, which are fo nar- row and particular, will interfere with each other, and the church be filled with offence and difcord. But, charity which freketh not her own, will determine us to purfue con - ftantly the benefit of others, and to pleafe them, to make them eafy, and give them fatisfa &ion as far as it is in our power, and as it appears to be for their real good. Charity is, I fay, a true cement which will preferve the union of the church, it is, as the apoftle calls it, the bond of perfèc`inef. The defign of pleafing men, even our fel- low chriftians, is not to be purfued univer- fally, and without any limitation ; they have C 2 their i9 SERM. lMJ

zo Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrfians. SERM. their weakneffes about them, not only mil - I. takes, which however involuntary and tole- "'"v"' rable, the man who is differently minded cannot confent to with fincerity; but they have alto finful paffions and froward difpofi- tions, which, tho' they ought to be forgiven, and pitied, muff not give laws to their neigh- bours, nor is the rule of pleafing them to be fo underiood. It can never be reafonably thought that the fervants of Chrifls are put in a Rate of fervile fubjeEtion to the humours and caprices of their fellows ; nay, as the apoftle fays elfewhere, if we fo pleafèd men, we f:ould not be the fervants of Chri/l. The neceflàry exprefs limitation is this, that we Mould pleafe our neighbours, fo far only as tends to their edification, that is, as I have (hewn you, to their inftru6tion, or encreafe in religious knowledge, to their eflablifhment in the faith and profeffion of chriftianity, to their growth in virtue, and the promoting of concord and peace on truly fcriptural founda- tions. Except in that cafe, the precept does not take place ; and in that cafe, the defign of pleafing his neighbour is the moll generous and worthy that a man can poffibly have. It is, as the apoflle reprefents it in the text, a noble imitation of our Lord fefus Chrill, who for

Mutual Ed cation, the Duty of Chr /ians. 21 for the love he had to his church, his body, SERM. purchafed by his own blood, pleaJéd not him- L fell. He did not gratify the molt innocent' ' demands of nature, th e defire of reputation, of eafe, or even of felf-prefervation ; he de- nied all, and gave them up a facrifice for our redemption. This fhould infpire his followers with a refolution to thwart and deny every felfifh, corrupt inclination which may Rand in the way of their ferving the end of his death, and promoting the falvation ofhispeople. But, the text has a fpecial reference to the reftraint of liberty, in the ufe of in- different things for the good of our neigh- bour, to edification ; which St. Paul, by his example and exprefs exhortation, recom- mends it to chriftians voluntarily to fubmit to. When fome were fo weak as to judge fome meats unclean, which were really not fo in themfelves, nor by anylaw of God then in force, he would have the chriftians who were ftrong, that is, who better underftood their liberty, to condefcend to their weaker bre- thren, at leaft for a time, by abftaining from fuch meats, 'till they fhould be better in- ftruEted. And the reaCon was, that the weak, feeing their brethren, of whofe knowledge in chr'ifiianity they had a high opinion, ufe li- e= 3 berty

22 Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chri /tians. SERM. berty in that cafe, they were offended; that is, eí- I' ther tempted to think that the chriftian inftitu- 'tion itfelf indulged men in the profane violation of a ftanding divine law, (for they thought the law prohibiting certain meats was ftill bind- ing) and fo might be fhock'd in the belief of it ; or elfe they were tempted in imitation of the ftrong, efpecially influenc'd by a re- gard to their fuperior knowledge, to ufe the fame freedom, yet with a gainfaying con- fcience, which was in them a very heinous guilt. The apoftle fets this in a very ftrong light *. The cafe indeed he there treats of is different, but fo far parallel, that it relates to the ufe of liberty in a point 'not abfolutely unlawful, the eating of meats offered to idols, which did not become unclean of themfelves by that abufe of them. His words are, If any man fee thee who haft knowledge, fit at meat in the idol's temple, (hall not the con - fcience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat thofé things which are offered to idols? and thro' thy knowledge (hall the weak bro- ther perifh, for whom Chrill died? The word render'd, emboldened, properly fignifies, edfed; but it is the reverfe of chriftian edifi- cation, it is building up men in impiety and profaraenefs in contempt of God's authority, Y Cor. viii, io, by

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrians. z3 by counteradting the light of their own con- SERM. fciences. When a cafe is fo hated that the I. ufe of our liberty has fo vaftly different and `'rte diredtly oppofite effe is upon our neighbour ; on the one hand, doing what we may think in itfelf not finful, tends to his edification in wickednefs, to his ruin, and fo far defeating the defign of chrift's death ; on the other, abftaining, which no man can judge unlaw- ful, tends to his edification in faith and virtue, and the prefervation of his integrity, to the faving of his foul, and the honour of the gof- pel ; when, I fay, a cafe is fo hated, what chrihian heart would not chufe the charitable fide and abhain ? St. Paul for himfelf carries his charityfo far as to declare, verfe 13, Where- fore, if meat make my brother toénd, I will eat no flefh while the world flandeth, left I fhould make my brother to offind. I conclude, that thus far to pleafe their neighbours for good to edification is a handing rule to chriftians in all ages, where the cafe is parallel to that hated and decided by the apoftle. But then we muft take care that the cafe be indeed parallel, that is that in a diverfity of opinions concerning the fame adtion, it is on the one fide known to be in- different, and on the otherjudged tobe fimply C 4 un-

24. Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chriflians. SiRM., unlawful; and that the tendency of aking L againft the opinion of the weak, is not merely v`^) to irritate, or difoblige, but to (hock them in their religious faith and profeflion, or induce them to violate their confciences by imitating what their hearts condemn as an evil example. It is plain no man can be bound under pre- tence of pleafing his neighbour to edification, to do what himfelf judges unlawful, or to omit a pofitive duty; that would be doing evil that good may come; pretending to edify another at fogreat an expence as deftroying him - felf; in fine, introducing univerfal wickednefs among chriftians, by taking awaymoft abfurdly the neceffarydifferences of duty and fin : noryet, Secondly, Does it appear, by the precedents and decifions of the apoftle, that our judg- ment concerning expediency is tobe fubmitted to others. The meaning of 'expediency in the language of St. Paul is the conducive - nefs of an action, in itfelf indifferent, to pro- mote the intereft of religion and the good of others, which in a great meafure depends on their opinion concerning it. The very reafon for his abftaining from fome lawful things, was, that the circumftances with which they were attended, rendered them inexpedient, that is dif-ferviceable to the honour of chrifti unity,

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrians. as amity, and the fpiritual good of weak chri- SERM. ftians, efpecially, becaufe thofe weak chri- I. ftians judg'd them unlawful. But, if they Y`.1 had judg'd them only inexpedient their opi- nion could not affet him in the fame man- ner, and be an argument for his forbearing in compliance with them ; becaufe there the reafon doth not hold, offence is not given in the fcripture fenfe of the word ; no one can be fuppofed to be weakened in his belief of, and adherence to the gofpel, by feeing the profeffors of it do what he only accounts inexpedient; nor is an aaion only inexpedient, and not reputed in itfelf wicked, a temptation to prefumptuous wickednefs, as an example. Betides, if the rule to pleafe our neigh- bours were carried fo far, no man would know how to conduct himfelf, there'is fuch a variety and contradiction in the opinions of men upon the point of expediency, which de- pend wholly on mutable circumftances, there would be no certain meafures for our direc- tion ; that which fome efteem expedient, others efteem inexpedient; he that would pleafe all, muff find it impracticable, and fhould not know how to ad. And the truth is, in that way of proceeding, a chriftian would find himfelf poffefs'd of no liberty at 411,

26 Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrifliani. SERM. all. In thematters ofpofitive dutyand fin, the I. law of God has prefcribed to him; and if in `"v^'lefïer things, not determined by the rule of his religion, his judgment and pra ±ice muff be dire ted byhis neighbours, wherein is he free? But St. Paul was jealous for liberty as, every wife and good man will be, for it is one of the molt valuable rights of the human nature and of the chriftian Bate. It was his principle and his rule, to contend for it when any unreafonable encroachments were made upon it. If any thing, which in general was indifferent, fo that it might be done or not done, as prudence confidering circumftances fhould diret, was made neceffary by the will of men, his fellow chriftians, in whatever fia- tion, he would by no means fubmit to it. Of this we have a remarkable inftance in his different condut with refped to the Jewifh ceremonies. He fometimes complied with them, when it only appeared expedient, but íh11 left a matter of liberty. He circumcifed Timothy to recommend him the more to the Jews, and he pra &is'd fome of the ceremonies himfelf, by the advice of his brethren*. But if the fame things were infifted on as neceffary, which happened at Antioch, where * Alts xxi. the

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrians. 27 the tircumcifion of Titus was peremptorily SERM, demanded to qualify him for religious com- I. munion, there he contended earneftly for V freedom, and, as he Pays himfelf, would not give place by fùbjec`lion for fo much as one hour, that the truth of the gofpel .might continue with the churches, uncorrupted by any fuch additions to it. I conclude, then, that li- berty muff not be given up to the pretence of edification, and that it is not the meaning of the rule in the text, that we íhould plèafe our neighbours, by fubmitting to a ftanding, conftant neceffity laid upon indifferent things, merely by their opinions, or their wills. I íhall conclude this difcourfe with the following inferences. Firf, from the ac- count which has been given of the nature and meaning of edification, it appears that chriftians are often miftaken in the judgment they make concerning edification, both of themfelves and others. If it really means an increafe of profitable knowledge, of faith, virtue and charity; they judge very wrong who efteem inftrudions to be edifying merely by the found of words, the pleating of the fancy, or even executing fome fudden, un- abiding warmth of affetions, without giving any light to, ufeful points, or tending to pro- mote

28 Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chrylians. SERM. mote the pra&ice of fubftantial' virtue; and I. leaft of all, is that edifying which leads to faith in men, or an implicit fubmiffion to their au- thority in matters of religion, inftead of faith in refus Chrift, and an inviolable adhe- rence to him as the only Lord of confcience; to confirm the prejudices of men againft the plain and fimple dodrines of the gofpe!, to inflame their paffions and encreafe their un- charitablenefs. Secondly, It is not every compliance with men and pleafing them, even in things for the fubftance lawful, which the chriftian law re- quires or allows ; but only that which is for good to edification. Some pleafe others from low and felfifh motives, from an affettation of popularity, to gain applaufe, or it may be, to ferve their worldly intereft, which inftead of edifying their neighbours fo complied with, and doing them good in a religious fenfe, tends to confirm them in their miftakes, and to gratify their unreafonable humours, their pride and their pafiions ; and inftead of pro- moting peace on a juft foundation, tends to ftrengthen an impofing fpirit, the certain caufe of divifions. It is noble and generous to bear the infirmities of the weak, but it is mean and unbecoming a fervant of Chrift, by a

Mutual Edification, the Duty of Chriflians. 29 a tame fubmiffion to imperious demands and SERM. arbitrary encroachments, to betray the liberty 1. wherewith he has made us free, and to fu /Jér`" ourfelves to be entangled in a yoke of bondage. S E R-

( 30 ) SERMON H. Sincere Obedience neceffary to our Acceptance with God. Mat. vii. 2I, 22, 23. Not every one that faith unto me, Lord, Lord, _hall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in hea- ven. Many willfay unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not propheed in thy name? and in thy name have call out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profefs unto them, I never knew you ; depart from me ye that work iniquity. O queflion can be of greater im- portance to men than this, upon what foundation they may hope for the favour of God ; and what is to be done on their part that they may be intitled to it? And none more important to chriflians, than what are the terms of falvation fix'd in the gofpel ; fine our Lord Jefus Chrift came into SERM. II.

Sincere Obedience necelary to, &c. 3I into the world on purpofe to reveal the Fa- SERM. ther to men, and the way to eternal life ; II that is, to give them jufl fentiments concern- ing God, and the homage he requires ; and to declare by an exprefs law, what are the difpofitions of mind, and the courfe of a Lion which will beacceptable to him; we, who have embraced chrifbanity are not left to bedire&ed by the diäates of men in this great inquiry, nor merely to our own reafon, and what the light of nature will fuggefl : (though that is Hill fo far a rule, that we cannot receive any pre- tended revelation which contradiEls it, and hereby the Gofpel is recommended to our acceptance, that its terms are perfedly agree- able to it :) but we muff have our recourfe to our Saviour's exprefs declaration. The rule of life which he has prefcribed, will be the rule of judgment; and we cannot reafonably have any hope of happinefs in the other world, but upon our conforming in this world to the precepts he has given us. The verfes I have read, being near the conclufion of his excel- lent fermon upon the mount, . which contains the fum of his dottrine, decide the grand queflion already mentioned with the greateft clearnefs. It is the point which of all others he takes care to declare the moil plainly, as indeed

32 Sincere Obedience neceÇary to SERM. indeed it may reafonably be expeeted he II fhould, fince confequences of the great- eft moment to men whom he came to fave, depend upon it. And indeed his words are fo very plain, that one would think it hardly pofi"ible for any of his followers to mif- take his meaning. On the one hand, he thews the infufficiency of fome pretences, fuch as a great outward profeßion of refpe± to him, calling him, Lord, Lord, and the gift of prophecy, of calling out devils, and working miracles, Thofe pretences he exprefsly fays, he will reje &, and if the perfons, who claim or expea acceptance by them, are workers of iniquity, his fentence againft them will be, depart from me, I know ye not. On the other hand, he eftablifhes obedience, as the only folid ground of hope towards God, and declares that they, `and they only, who do the will of his heavenly Father ; that is, fin- cerely keep his commandments, thall be ac- quitted in the day of Judgment, and enter into the kingdom of heaven. Thefe, there- fore, are the heads of difcourfe I (hall infitl upon from the text. Firfl, I will endeavour to explain the falfe pretences to the favour of God, and the kingdom of heaven, menti- oned by our Saviour, with others parallel to them ;

our Acceptance with God. 33 them ; and to Phew how vain and infufficient S E x M. they are. Secondly, to illuftrate that only II. folyd ground of hope and foundation of our t."*".v title to future happinefs, doing the will of. God. Firfl, to explain the falfe pretences to the favour of God and the kingdom of heaven ; mentioned by our Saviour, with others pa -. rallel to them, and thew how vain and infuffi- cient they are. The firft pretence is faying to Chrift, Lord, Lord : the plain meaning of which is, making profeffion of chriftianíty. What elfe can naturally be underftood by calling him Lord, than acknowledging the character given of him in his word as a law- giver fent from God to erect a kingdom upon earth, whereof he himfelf is the king; to in- itruc , toreforin,andtofaveasmanyofmankind as will believe in him and obey him ; and at Taft, to judge the world in righteoufnefs ac- cording to their works. The apoftle gives us this account of the religion of the Gentiles le. They had gods many, and lords many ; fu- perior and inferior gods, celeftial deities and terreftrial, lord- agents, Baalim as they were called by the Hebrews, who had the ma- nagement of affairs in this lower world, and * 1. Cor. viii. s. Vo L. II. D were

Í'. I!. 34- Sincere Obedience necejary to S E R M. were mediators between the higher gods and II. men : but to us chriftians, there' is one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; andone Lord .7efusChr , by whom are all things, and we by him : that is, by whom there is a communication of the divine favours to us, and we have accefs to God. To acknowledge this, is indeed to acknowledge the truth of chriftianity, which only reveals it to us : for in the 12th chapter of the fame epiftle, and the 3d verfe, the apoftle afferts, no man can fey, that 7efus is the Lord, but by the holy Gh fi. whereas among the Jews there were pretend- ers to infpiration, revelation, and miraculous powers ; thefe gifts were now appropriated to chriftianity ; and no one would believe in Chrift as his Lord, without being convinced of the divine atteftation of the religion which he taught. The true meaning therefore of faying unto Chrift, Lord, Lord, is embracing the gofpel, profeffing to receive its doctrines, to obey its laws, and found our hopes of acceptance upon it, in whatever forms, by whatever words or . acts that is done ; and of thofe there may be a great variety. For, to anfwer the purpofes of the gofpel difpenfation, and obtaining its proper effect in the world, there mutt be a vifible

our Acceptance with God. 3S vifible fociety of chriftians, who call upon the SERM. name of the Lord ; and every one of them who IL compofe this fociety muff avouch Jefus Chrift `...seI as their Saviour and their Lord. St. Paul joins together believing in the heart, and con - feffing with the mouth, as neceffary to fal- vation *, If thou 'halt confefs with thy mouth, the Lord yefirs, and believe in thine heart, that God has ra f d him from the dead, thou f alt be Paved. For, with the heart man believeth unto righteot f i l;, and with the mouth confejlion is made unto fcalvation. Our bleffed Saviour himfelf required of all his followers the fame open profeilion of his religion. For this end he inflituted baptifm, to be a public decla- ration of men's receiving the gofpel, and fubjebting themfelves to its laws ; there- fore he fays -j-, He that believeth and is baptifed fall be Paved. There are other folemn external ads of religion, as well as baptifm, by which a profeßîon of chri- ftianity is made, even all thofe which in the nature and defign of them import our being chriftians; or the avowed difciples of Chrift. Now our Saviour forbids his followers to lay any ftrefs on this claim, or build upon it their hopes of the favour of God and the king- * Romans x. 9, to. t Mark xvi. 16. D 2 dom

36 Sincere Obedience neceffary to SERM. dom of heaven, if it be feparated from the II. practice of true holinefs and virtue in their lives, or doing the will of his heavenly Father, which is the fuppofition in the text. One would indeed think it ftrange, that any fhould delude themfelves in that manner, confider - ing how obvious the obligation and neceffity is upon all men to keep God's command- ments as the condition of pleafing -him ; and efpecially how exprefs the declarations of his word are as to that point, and yet in fad we find it is the way of hypocrites. How often do the prophets reprove the antient Jews for trufting to, a zealous profeffion, and to exter- nal ads of worfhip, fuch as facrifices, keep- ing the new-moons and fabbaths, and an out- ward refpeft to the temple of the Lord, whilft they neglected the moral precepts of the law, and indulg'd themfelves in wicked courfes ? And in our Saviour's time, the pharifees went on in the fame track ; they were the ftrideft fed of the Jews, but their ftridnefs confifted all in external obfervances ; in tithing mint, annife, and cummin; making long prayers, and nicely performing all the ceremonies, which were either enjoingd by the law of Mofes, or recommended by the tradition of the elders ; yet they neglefedjudgment, faith, 8 mercy,

our Acceptance with God. 37 mercy, and the love of God, the weightier SERM. matters of the law. Seeing, therefore, this II. has been fo ufual among men profefhng reli- `''`r`' gion, our Saviour had reafon to warn his dif. ciples againft fuch a fatal error, which many of them in all ages have run into, as expe- rience íhews, fome even in his own days and thofe of the apoftles, trufted to aform of god- finely, denying the power of it ; and named the name of Chrß, without departing from ini- quity. But, afterwards, the degeneracy of chriftians was more remarkable ; and depart- ing from that fimplicity of worfhip and fub- ftantial holinefs which the gofpel enjoins, religion was turn'd, among them; into empty form. Scarcely can any thing be more notorious, than that many chriftians, almoft whole fees of them, even the molt nume- rous, and fome of every felt, have nothing better to fupport their pretenfions to the chri- ftian charaéter and hopes, than a loud cry for the honour of Chrift, a vehement zeal for the truth of chriftianity, or what they ima- gine to be fo ; and an exact regularity in the outward forms of devotion, whilft the fruits of temperance, righteoufnefs, and charity do . not appear in their lives : fome have even got into opinions which favour this deceit ; fuch D as

38 Sincere Obedience nece Thry to SE M. as annexing invifible grace and very important II. ípiritual effe is to the outward miniftration of "+r`-'baptifm, the Lord's fupper, and it may be other ufages lefs valuable than thofe, which are wholly of human invention. Others, who difclaim fuch principles, yet muft have their fecret confidence, if they have any at ill, in the fame things, the real ufe and intent of which amounts to no more than a religious profeffion ; I fay their confidence muft be in thofe things, fence they ufe them conílantly and regularly, at the fame time indulging themfelves in immoralities, which their own hearts muft neceffarily sell them are contrary to the will of God. Now, the vanity and infufficiency of this pretence is fo apparent, it would feem not ne- ceffary to infift upon it. The perfuafion of this, one would think, muft follow in confe- quence upon our profeßion : fince by it the words of our Saviour muft be decifive in all cafes. For he is confidered as our infallible teacher, and he has fo exprelly declared, as in the text, not every one that faith, Lord, Lord, jhall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that dotb the will of my Father who is in heavçn; the wholetenor of the gofpel clearly fhcws the fame truth : nor can any attentive perfon