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they challenge as of right and juftice belonging to them. Nay, fo high have they carried this doctrine, as to pretend not only to merit eternal life for themselves, but to do a great deal more in works of fupererogation, for the benefit and advantage of others; that is, when they have done as much as in ftrict duty they are obliged to, and thereby paid down a valuable confideration for, heaven, and as much as in equal juftice between God` and man it is worth, the furplufage of their good works they put as a debt upon God, and as fo many bills of credit laid up in the treasure of the church, which the Pope by his pardons and indulgences may difpenfe and place to whofe account he pleaseth. And thus by one device or other they have enervated the Christian religion to that degree, that it hath quite loft its virtue and efficacy upon the hearts and lives of men; and instead of the fruits of real goodness and righteoufnefs, it produceth little elfe but fuperftition and folly; or if it bring forth any fruits of charity, it is either fo mifplaced upon thefe chimeras, (as hiring of priests to fay fo many maffes for the dead, to redeem their fouls out of purgatory) that it fignifies nothing; or elfe the virtue of it is fpoiled by the arrogant pretence of meriting by it. So apt have men always been to deceive themfelves by an affected mistake of any thing for religion, but that which really and in truth is fo. And this is that which the Apostle St. Paul foretold would be the great miscarriage of the last times, that under a great pretence of religion men fhould be deftitute of all goodness, and abandoned to all wickednefs and vice, having a form of godlinefs, but denying the power of it, 2 Tim. iii. 5.

And though things have been much better fince that happy reformation from the corruptions and errors of Popery, yet even among Proteftants the malice and craft of the devil hath prevailed fo far, as to undermine, in a great measure, the neceffity of a good life, by thofe Jufcious doctrines of the Antinomians, concerning free grace, and the juftification of a finner, merely upon a confident perfuafion of his being in a state of grace and favour with God, and confequently that the gospel difchargeth men from obedience to the laws of God, and all manner of obligation to the virtues of a good life; which


doctrines, how falfe and abfurd foever in themfelves, and pernicious in their confequences, did not only prevail very much in Germany, a little after the beginning of the reformation, but have fince got too much footing in other places, and been too far entertained and cherifhed by fome good men, who were not fufficiently aware of the error and danger of them. But bleffed be God, the doctrine of our church, both in the articles and homilies of it, hath been preferved pure and free from all error and corruption in this matter on either hand, afferting the neceffity of good works, and yet renouncing the merit of them in that arrogant fenfe, in which the church of Rome does teach and affert it; and fo teaching juftification by faith, and the free grace of God in Jefus Chrift, as to maintain the indifpenfible neceffity of the virtues of a good life.

And thus I have done with the first reafon, why it is fo fit and neceffary to prefs frequently upon Chriftians the indifpenfible neceffity of the virtues of a good life, viz. because men are and have ever been fo very apt to deceive themselves in this matter, and fo hardly brought to that wherein religion mainly confifts, viz. the practice of real goodness. I fhall be brief upon the

II. Reafon, namely, because of the indifpenfible neceffity of the thing to render us capable of the divine favour and acceptance, and of the reward of eternal life. And this added to the former, makes the reason full and ftrong. For if men be fo apt to deceive themselves in this matter, and to be deceived in it be a matter of fuch dangerous confequence, then it is highly necessary to inculcate this frequently upon Chriftians, that no man may be mistaken in a matter of fo much danger, and upon which his eternal happiness depends. Now if obedience to the laws of God, and the practice of virtue and good works, be neceffary to our continuance in a state of grace and favour with God, and to our final juftification by our abfolution at the great day, if nothing but holiness and obedience can qualify us for the bleffed fight of God, and the glorious reward of eternal happiness; then it is matter of infinite confequence to us, not to be mistaken in a matter of fo great importance; but that we work out our falvation with fear and trembling, and give all diligence


to make our calling and election fure, by adding to our faith and knowledge, the virtues of a good life; that by patient continuance in well-doing, we feek for glory, and honour, and immortality, and eternal life: and that we fo demean ourfelves in all holy converfation and godliness, as that we may with comfort and confidence wait for the bleffed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God, and our Saviour Fefus Chrift; who gave himself for us, that be might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. That this is indifpenfibly neceffary to our happiness, I have in my former difcourfe fhewed at large, from the great end and defign of religion in general, and of the Chriftian religion in particular, from the whole design and doctrine of the gofpel, from the conftant tenour of the bible, and from the nature and reason of the thing.

I know it hath been the great defign of the devil and his inftruments, in all ages, to undermine religion, by making an unhappy feparation and divorce between godliness and morality, between faith and the virtues of a good life; and by this means not only to weaken and abate, but even wholly to deftroy the force and officacy of the Christian religion, and to leave men as much under the power of the devil and their lufts, as if there were no fuch thing as Chriftianity in the world. But let us not deceive ourselves; this was always religion, and the condition of our acceptance with God, to endeavour to be like God in purity and holiness, in juftice and righteoufnefs, in mercy and goodness, to ceafe to do evil, and to learn to do well. And this you will find to be the conftant doctrine of the holy fcriptures, from the beginning of the bible to the end. Gen. iv. 7. If thou doft well, fhalt thou not be accepted? Pfal. xv. 1. 2. Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell upon thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth from his heart. Pfal. 1. 23. To him that ordereth his converfation aright, will I Jhew the falvation of God. Ha. i. 16. 17. 18. Wash ye, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, ceafe to do evil, learn to do well, feek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us rea


fon together, faith the Lord. Though your fins be as fcarlet, they fhall be as white as fnow. Ifa. iii. 10. 11. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they fball eat the fruit of their doings. Wo unto the wicked, it fhall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands fhall be given him, Mich. vi. 8. He hath fhewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk" humbly with thy God?

And our bleffed Saviour, in his fermon upon the mount, tells us plainly what manner of perfons we muft be, if ever we hope to be happy, and to enter into the kingdom of God; and wherein his religion confifts, in righteoufnefs, and purity, and meeknefs, and patience, and peaceableness; and declares most exprefly, that if we hope for happinefs upon any other terms than the practice of thefe virtues, we build upon the fand. Acts x. 34. Of a truth I perceive, says St. Peter there, that God is no refpecter of perfons; but in every nation, he that feareth God, and worketh righteoufnefs, is accepted with him. Gal. vi. 7. 8. Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man foweth that shall he alfo reap. For he that foweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that foweth to the fpirit, fball of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Eph. v. 6. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of thefe things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of dif obedience, 1 John iii. 7. Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doth righteoufness is righteous, even as he is righteous. And here in the text, This is a faithful faying, &c. These things are good and profitable to men, acceptable to God, and honourable to religion, and the only way and means to eternal life, through the mercy and merits of Jefus Chrift our bleffed Lord and Saviour.

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Of the neceffity of good works.

TIT. iii. 8.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm conftantly, that they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

The third fermon on this text.

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Come now to the fecond thing I propofed, which was to anfwer an objection or two, to which the preaching of this kind of doctrine may feem liable. First, That this is to advance and fet up morality. Secondly, That this feems to contradict St. Paul's doArine of juflification by the free grace of God in Fefus Chrift, and by faith without the works of the law. I fhall endeavour to answer both these.

First That this is to advance and fet up morality. To which I anfwer two things.

I. That if by morality men mean counterfeit virtue, and the fpecious fhew of juftice, and charity, and meeknefs, or any other virtue, without the truth and reality of them, without an inward principle of love to God and goodnefs, out of oftentation and vain-glory, or for fome other by and finifter end, fuch as probably were the virtues of many Heathens, and it is to be feared of too. many Chriftians; if this be that which the objectors mean by morality, then we do affure them that we preach up no fuch morality, but thofe virtues only which are fincere, and fubftantial, and real, the principle and root whereof is the love of God and goodness, and the end, the honour and glory of God, and a neceffary ingredient whereof is fincerity and truth. It is righteoufnefs and true holiness, the fincere love of God and


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