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interest of religion and the edification of Chriftians may S ERM. receive any prejudice; that is, when our eating may be a scandal to others, that is, "a ftumbling block, or "an occasion of falling into fin." And that this is the apostle's meaning, is evident from ver. 23. "AH


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things are lawful for me, but all things are not expe“dient, & wala ovuqéget, all things profit not; all "things are lawful for me, but all things edify not," that is, though I know it is a thing very lawful in itfelf, to eat things which have been offered to idols, if they be bought in the market, or accidentally set before me at a feast; yet in fome circumftances it may not be for the advantage of religion, and be fo far from edifying, that it may be "an occafion of fin" to them. For inftance; I am invited to a feaft, where things offered to idols are fer before me, and one fays, "This "was offered in facrifice unto idols;" a fufficient intimation to me, that he thinks it unlawful; and therefore I will forbear, because of the inconvenience to religion, and the manifold fcandal that might follow upon it, by hindring others from embracing religion, or by tempting weak Chriftians, either to the doing of a thing against their confcience, or to apoftatize from religion. In this cafe, he that abftains from these meats, and contents himself with others, "eats to the glory of GoD." And that this is the true notion of fcandal and offence, not barely to grieve others, or do things dif pleafing to them, but to do fuch things as are really hurtful to others, and may be a prejudice or hindrance to their falvation, and an occafion of their falling into fin: I fay, that this is the true and proper notion of scandal, is evident from what follows immediately after the text; "give none offence to the Jews, nor to the "Gentiles, nor to the church of GOD: as I please all "men in all things; not feeking mine own profit, but

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SERM." the profit of many, that they may be faved. Give


"no offence to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the "church of GOD;" the apoftle intimates, that fuch an action as this we are speaking of might be "an occafion "of finto all thefe, and a hindrance of their falvation." It might hinder the Jew from turning chriftian, and harden him in his infidelity; for he might fay, fee how well you Chriftians worship one God, when you can partake of things offered to idols: it might confirm the heathen in his fuperftition, and keep him from embracing chriftianity; for he might fay furely, why fhould the chriftians perfuade me to forfake the worship of idols, when they themselves will knowingly eat things offered to them? It might tempt the weak Christians either to fin against their confciences, by following my example, or to apoftatize from chriftianity upon this offence taken against it; therefore, fays the apostle, “do all things to the glory of GoD;" that is, for the honour and advantage of the chriftian religion, and the furtherance of men's falvation: for fo, fays he, I do in thefe and all other actions of my life; I ftudy the advantage of all men in all things, not regarding mine own convenience, in comparison of the eternal falvation of others.

And thus I have, as briefly and clearly as I could, explained this phrafe to you, of "doing things to "the glory of God."

The refult of all is, that we glorify God by doing our duty; by all actions of worship and obedience to GOD, and by our repentance in cafe of fin and difobedience; by doing and by fuffering the will of God; more especially by ufing our christian liberty, as to things lawful in themselves, fo as may make moft for the honour and advantage of religion, for the unity and edification of the church, and the falvation of the


fouls of men; which is the proper notion, here in the S ERM text, of "eating and drinking, and doing whatever, CCX. "we do, to the glory of GoD."

From all this difcourfe it will be evident, that three things must concur, that our actions may be faid to be done to the glory of God."

1. Our actions must be materially good; we muft do what God commands, and abftain from doing what he hath forbidden. Sin is in it's nature a difhonour to GOD, a contradiction to his nature, and a contempt of his authority and laws; fo that we cannot glorify Gon by tranfgreffing our duty.



2. Our actions must not only be good, but they must be done with regard to GOD, and out of confcience of our duty to him, and in hopes of the reward which he hath promifed, and not for any low, and mean, and temporal end. The best action in itself fpoil'd, and all the virtue of it blafted by being done for a wrong end. If we ferve God to please men, and be charitable out of vain glory," to be seen of men;" if we profefs godlinefs for gain, and are religious only to ferve our temporal intereft, though the actions we do be never 'fo good, yet all the virtue and reward of them is loft, by the mean end and defign which we aim at in the doing of them; becaufe all this while we have no love or regard for GoD and the authority of his laws: we make no confcience of our duty to him, we are not moved by the rewards of another world, which may lawfully work upon us and prevail with us, but we are fwayed by little temporal advantages, which if we could obtain as well by doing the contrary, we would as foon, nay, perhaps, much fooner do it.

And this is fo effentially neceffary, that no action, though never so good, that is not done with regard to GOD, and upon fome of the proper motives and con

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SERM. fiderations of religion, fuch as are the authority of GOD, confcience of our duty to him, love of him, faith in his promises, fear of his difpleafure; I fay, no action that is not done upon all, or fome of these motives, can be faid to be done "to the glory of GoD," And this is the meaning of that faying among the Jews, which I mentioned before," that he who "obeys any command of GoD, but not in his name, "fhall receive no reward." Moral actions receive their denomination of good or evil, as well from the end, as from the matter of them; and as the best end cannot fanctify an action bad in itself; fo a bad end and defign is enough to fpoil the beft action we can do; and as it is great impiety to do a wicked thing, though for a religious end, fo it is great hypocrify, to be religious for mean and temporal ends.

3. That all our actions may be done." to the glory "of God," we must not only take care that they be lawful in themselves, but that they be not spoiled and vitiated by any bad circumftance; for circumftances alter moral actions, and may render that which is lawful in itself, unlawful in fome cafes: lo that if we would "do all things to the glory of GoD," we must in fome cafes refrain from doing that which is lawful in itself, As when fuch an action that I am about to do, may through the prejudice or mistake of men, probably redound to the difhonour and disadvantage of religion, by caufing factions and divifions, by hindring fome from embracing the true religion; or making others apoftatize from it, or by being any other way an occafion to men of falling into fin, or any impediment to their falvation; in thefe and the like cafes, we are bound to have that confideration of religion, that regard to the peace and unity of the church, that tenderness and charity for the fouls of men, as to deny


deny ourselves the ufe of things otherwife lawful; SER M. and if we do not do it we offend against a great rule, both of piety and charity.

I fball only farther, at prefent, endeavour to give a brief refolution to two queftions, much debated upon occafion of this rule of the apostle, of " doing all things to the glory of God".

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Firft, How far we are bound actually to intend and =defign the glory of God in every particular action of our lives. To this I answer,

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1. That it is morally impoffible that a man fhould do every particular action with actual and explicit thoughts and intentions of glorifying GoD thereby, and therefore there can be no obligation to any fuch thing.

2. It is not neceffary, no more than for a man that takes a journey, every step of his way actually to think of his journey's end, and the place whither he intends to go; a constant resolution to go to fuch a place, and a due care not to go out of the way; and in cafe of any doubt, to inform ourselves as well as we can of the right way, and to keep in it, is as much confideration of the end of a man's journey, as is needful to bring him thither, and more than this would be troublesome and to no purpose; the cafe is the very fame in the courfe of a man's life. From whence it follows in the

3. Place, That an habitual and fettled intention of mind, to glorify GOD in the courfe of our lives is fufficient, because this will ferve all good purposes, as well as an actual intention upon every particular occafion. He that doth things with regard to GOD, and out of confcience of his duty to him, and upon the proper motives and confiderations of religion, in obedience and love to GOD, in hopes of his reward, and out of fear of his displeasure, glorifies GoD

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