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and to every good work reprobate, as the Apostle defcribes fome, chap. i. 16. And therefore,

2. The great end and defign of religion is, that our minds being poffeft and prepared by the principles of religion, the belief of these should have its proper influence upon us, which is effectually to oblige us to the obedience and practice of God's laws. Now the laws which God hath given us to live by, as they are the rule and measure of our duty, by the performance whereof only we can hope to gain the favour of God, fo they are the proper directions and means in order to our happiness; they teach us both the conditions of our happinefs, and the proper qualification and difpofition for it.

Obedience to the laws of God is the condition of our happiness, both temporal and eternal, both in this world and the other. The promises which God hath made of temporal felicity and bleffings, are upon condition of our obedience to his laws; it is godliness only that hath the promife of this life as well as of the other, 1 Tim. iv. 8. A truth fo certain and evident, that the Apostle thought fit to add that folemn feal to it, which he prefaceth to the faying in the text, This a faithful faying. And though God be pleafed out of his exceffive goodness to beftow many temporal bleffings and favours upon very bad men, that by this goodness of his he might lead them to repentance; yet God never made any promife of temporal bleffings to wicked men ; on the contrary, hath threatened them with great temporal evils and calamities; but all the promifes, even of temporal good things, are made to the obeying of God's laws; to them that keep his covenant, and remember his commandments to do them.


And this is not only the condition upon which the promises of temporal bleffings are fufpended, but generally, and for the most part, the natural caufe and means of those bleffings; for there is no moral duty enjoined by God, no virtue the practice whereof he requires from us, which does not naturally tend to our temporal felicity in this world; as temperance and chaftity to that invaluable blessing of health, and to the preservation of our estate, which is wafted by lewd and riotous living; humility and meeknefs to our quiet and fafety;

fafety; juftice and integrity to our reputation and honour, one of the chief inftruments of temporal profperity and fuccefs. Kindness and charity, and a readiness to do good to all men as we have opportunity, are in their rature apt to recommend us exceedingly to the love and esteem of all men, and to their favourable regard and affistance, when we stand in need of it. And fo I might instance in all other virtues, the fincere practice whereof, though it be not in all cafes certain and infallible, yet it is the best and wifest courfe that any man can take, to attain the greatest happiness which this world can afford, and to avoid the greatest miseries and calamities of it as on the contrary, there is no vice, no wicked practice, but is naturally productive of fome great temporal mischief and inconvenience.

And then the practice of virtue and goodness, as it is the abfolute and indifpenfible condition of our future happiness in another world, fo is it the neceffary and only proper qualification for it, and the certain and infallible means of attaining it.

It is an abfolute and indifpenfible condition of attaining it; and without this, it is in vain to hope for it. As God will certainly punish the tranfgreffors of his laws, fo nothing but obedience to them can pretend to his rewards. This God hath most exprefly declared, that without purity and holiness no man shall fee him; that Christ is the author of eternal falvation only to them that obey him. And if God had not declared this in his word, the confideration of God's effential holiness and juftice would fufficiently affure us of it.

But befides this, in the very nature and reafon of the thing, holiness and goodness is the neceffary and only proper qualification for happiness. Without the bleffed fight and enjoyment of God we cannot be happy, and holiness and goodness can only qualify us for this. For happiness is a state which results from a temper and difpofition of mind suited to it; and where this is wanting, the man is no more capable of happiness, than he that is fick is of cafe. Virtue and goodness are fo effential to happiness, that where these are not, there is no capacity of it. Thefe make us like toGod, who is the fountain and pattern of all happiness; and if we be not like to


And a wick

God, we can have no enjoyment of him. ed man, if he could fteal into heaven, into the fight and prefence of God, would, from the temper and difpofition of his own mind, fo unfuitable to that holy place and company, be extremely miferable, even in the manfions of the bleffed. Such a temper of mind, fuch a polluted and guilty confcience, as a finner carries with him out of this world, will accompany him, and remain with him in the other; and guilt is always reftlefs and full of torment; and though God should not punish it with any pofitive infliction of pain, would of its own nature make a man for ever miferable. So that it is a vain dream and imagination, that any man, without the practice of holinefs and virtue in this life, can be happy in the other. A fincere and thorough repentance of all our fins will indeed clear our confciences of guilt, and by the mercy of God make us capable of happiness; but it does this by changing our minds, and reconciling them to holiness and goodnefs, in firm purpose and refolution of a new life; and by changing our lives and actions too, if there be opportunity for it, but till this change be wrought, either in firm purpofe, or in real effect, it is impoffible we should be happy. And though I will not deny, but this may be done by a deep repentance, and fuch as God fees would prove fincere, in the laft act of our lives: yet it is extreme madness, to run fuch a hazard, because we may be cut off from the opportunity of it; or if God fhould afford us time and grace to that purpose, it is the hardest thing in the world to have any comfortable and well grounded affurance of the fincerity of it. So that very little hopes of heaven and happinefs can be given upon any other terms, than the general and conftant course of a holy and virtuous life; and least of all to those who have all their life long refolved to venture their everlasting happiness upon the infinite uncertainties of a death-bed repentance at the laft. But,

II. The truth of this propofition, that they which have believed in God, fhould be careful to maintain good works, or that faith and the virtues of a good life ought to go together: I fay, the truth of this will yet be more evident, if we confider the great end and defign


of the Christian religion in particular, which was to reform the world, to purify the hearts and lives of men from corrupt affections and wicked practices, to teach men to excel in all kinds of virtue and goodness.

And this is every where in the New Teftament most exprefly declared. The great promife of bleffednefs is made to the virtues of meeknefs, and patience, and peaceableness, and purity, and righteoufnefs, as our Saviour exprefly teacheth in that excellent fermon of his upon the mount, which is the fummary of the Christian religion. Ephef. iv. 17. 18. &c. This I fay therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye hencefortb, that is, now that ye have embraced Chriftianity, walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lafcivioufness, to work all uncleanness with greedinefs. But ye have not fo learned Chrift: if fo be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jefus that ye put off, concerning the former converfation, the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lufts: and be renewed in the Spirit of your mind; and that ye put on that new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, peak every man truth with his neighbour for we are members of one another. Be ye angry and fin not; let not the fun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole, steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needetb. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the ufe of edifying: that it may minifter grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are fealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-fpeaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, &c. So that you fee, that unless there be an univerfal reformation of heart and life, we have not fo learned Chrift as the truth is in Jefus: we do not rightly understand the gofpel, and the tendency of the Christian religion. VOL. IX.



Gal. v. 22. 23. 24. But the fruits of the spirit, of that spirit which the Chriftian religion endows men withal, is love, joy, peace, long-fuffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meeknefs, temperance; and they that are Chrift's, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lufts; that is, they that profefs themselves Chriftians, are obliged to endeavour after all these virtues, and to put off the contrary lufts and vices. Phil. iv. 8. Finally, brethren, whatfoever things are true, whatfoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatfoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praife, think on these things. St. James likewife declares to the fame purpose the genuine effect of Chritianity, which he calls the knowledge and wisdom which is from above: Jam. iii. 13. 14. 15. 17. Who is a wife man, and endowed with knowledge among you? let him fhew out of a good converfation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts,glory not, and ly not against the truth. This wisdom defcendeth not from above; but is earthly, fenfual, devilish. And the wifdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrify. To which I will add but one text more, which is the fum and comprehenfion of all the reft, and it is chap. ii. of this epiftle to Titus, ver. 11. The grace of God, fo he calls the doctrine of the gofpel, The grace of God, which brings falvation unto all men, hath appeared, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lufts, we should live foberly, and righteously, and godly in this prefent world.

I might proceed particularly to fhew, that the whole difpenfation and doctrine of the gofpel, and all the parts of them, are calculated to raife and exalt human nature to the highest pitch and perfection of virtue and goodness, and effectually to reform the fpirits and lives of men.

The difpenfation of the gofpel, or the Chriftian religion, confifts in God's merciful condefcenfion to fend his own and only Son in our nature, to live among us, and to die for us. The doctrine of the gospel confifts in


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