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The Application upon this Do&trine. B В
EHOLD, my Friends, now you have seen by
all that hath been written or spoken, what belongs to the Principles of the pure and most excellent Doctrine. But suppose you have learned those all by Heart, you have a sufficient Knowledge of Religion, you can speak about it with Understanding; think not, that the Knowledge of all that, is enough to secure your Souls from eternal Damnation. Nay, no Gifts, no Knowledge, or all the Sciences of Theology, but only that which is operative and influential upon your Heart and Life, and to which you pay Obedience, that alone, and nothing else, can secure you from God's eternal Wrath and everlasting Miseries, John xiii
. 17. If you know these Things, happy are ye if you do them. The greatest Sins may be found in Conjunctions with thegreatest Knowledge, as you see in the fallen Angels. Light is then only a Blessing when it guides the Soul into the Way of Duty and Obedience.
Therefore let it not be enough for you to know the Will of God, but also to do it ; let the same Mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus, when he faith, Pf. xl. 8, I delight to do thy Will, O my God; yea, thy Law is within my Heart,
Preserve this Doctrine carefully in your Hearts and Memories, that you may say with David, Pf. cxix. 1. Thy Word have I hid in my Heart, that I may not Sin against thee.
Labour to get a high Efteem of those venerable Truths which you have learned, and an experimental Feeling of their Sweetnesses ; meditating frequently on them, even as David, Pf.cxix. 16. I will delight myself in thy Statutes, I will not forget thy Word. And PS. cxix. 93. I will never forget thy Precepts, for with them thou haft quickened me. And Verse 99. Thy Testimonies are my Meditation. Bringing forth the Fruits thereof in your Lives, so that at any Time I may say with Paul, Col. i. 3, 4, 5. 6. We give Thanks to God,
and the Father of our Lord Jesus Chrift, praying always for you, since we heard of your Faith in Chrift Jesus, and of the Love which ye have to all the Saints; for the Hope which is laid up for you in Heaven'; whereof ye heard before in the Word of the Truth of the Gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the World, and bringeth forth Fruit, as it doth also in you, since the Day you heard of it, and knew the Grace of God in Truth.
Yea, before I conclude this my Application, I will with a certain Author (though with fome Alteration) recommend in the most folemn and serious Manner, the Study and Practice of the Christian Religion to you all, as that which is the most important of all other Things, which alone will carry every Thing else along with it, and which is both the Light of the World, and the Salt of the Earth.
Nothing (faith he) does so open our Faculties, «s and compose and direct the whole Man, as an “ inward Senfe of God, of his Authority over us,
as the Laws he has fet us, of his Eye ever upon “ us, of his hearing our Prayers, blessing our En“ deavours, watching over our Concerns, and of his « being to judge, and to reward or punish us in ano“ther State, according to what we do in this. “ Nothing will give a Man such a Detestation of Sin, « and such a Sense of the glorious Perfections, of the « Goodnefs of God, and of our Obligations to Holi« ness, as a right Understanding and a firm Belief of « the Christian Religion. Nothing can give a Man « so calm a Peace within, and such a firm Security “ against all Fears and Dangers without, as the Belief “ of a kind and wife Providence, and of a future State. " An Integrity of Heart, gives a Man a Courage " and a Confidence that cannot be shaken. A Man 6 is sure, that by living according to the Rules of “. Religion, he becomes the wiseft, the best and “ happiest Creaturė, that he is capable of being. “ Honest Industry, the employing his Time well,
« and a constant Sobriety, and undefiled Purity and
Chastity, with a quiet Serenity, are the best' Pre56 servers of Life and Health. So that, take a Man
as a single Individual, Religion is his Guard, his " Perfection, his Beauty, and his Glory. This “ will make him the Light of the World, shining “ brightly, and enlightening many round about him.
" Then take a Man as a Piece of Mankind, as " a Citizen of the World, or any particular State,
Religion is indeed then the Salt of the Earth ; for « it makes every Man to be to all the Rest of the " World, whatsoever one can with Reason with or " defire him to be. He is true, just, honest and 6 faithful in the whole Commerce of Life, doing to 66 all others that, which he would have others do to 66 him. He is a Lover of Mankind and of his Country.
may and ought to love some, more than « others; but he has an Extent of Love to all of « Pity and Compassion, not only to the poorest, but “ to the worst; for the worse any are, the more they
are to be pitied. He has a Complacency and De“ light in all thatare truly, tho' but defectively Good; 66 and a Respect and Veneration for all that are emi“ nently so. He mourns for the Sins, and rejoices os in the Virtues of all that are round about him. In “ every Relation of Life, Religion makes him an
“ swer all his Obligations. It will make Princes is just and good, faithful to their Promises, and
66 Lovers of their People. It will inspire Subjects " with Respect, Submiffion, Obedience and Zeal for « their Prince. It will fanctify Wedlock, to be a - State of Christian Friendship, and mutual assist
It will give Parents the truest Love to their " Children, with a proper Care of their Education. « It will command the Returns of Gratitude and 66 Obedience from Children. It will teach Masters bo to be gentle and carcful of their Servants; and “ Servants to be faithful, zealous and diligent in their
“ Master's Concerns. It will make Friends tender “ and true to one another; it will make them generous,
faithful and disinterested. It will make Men “ live in their Neighbourhood as Members of one « coinmon Body, promoting first the general Good “ of the Whole, and then the Good of
Par“ ticular, as far as a Man's Sphere can go. It will “ make Judges and Magistrates juft and patient, “ hating Covetousness, and maintaining Peace and « Order without Respect of Persons. It will make “ People live in so inoffenfive a Manner, that “ it will be easy to maintain Justice, whilft Men are
not disposed to give Disturbance to those about " him. This will make Pastors faithful to their “ Truff, tender to their Sheep, and watchful over “ them; and it will beget in the People an Efteeni “ for their persons and their Functions.
“ Thus, Religion, if truly received, and sincerly ad“ hered to, would prove the greatest of all Blessings “ to a Nation. But in this Manner the Author proceeds) by Religion ) understand, somewhat more « than the receiving some Doctrines, though ever so
true, or the profeffing them, and engaging to “support them, not without Zeal and Eagerness; “ what fignifies the best Doctrines, if Men do not “ live fuitable to them, if they have not a due Influ
ence upon their Thoughts, their Principles, and “ their Lives? Men of bad Lives, with found Opi“ nions, are self-condemned, and lie under a highly « aggravated Guilt. Nor will the Heart of a Party,
(ariling out of Interest) and managed with Fury " and Violence) compensate for the ils Lives of such o falfe Pretenders to Zeal, while they are a Disgrace
to that, which they profefs and seem so hot for. “ By Religion I do not mean, an outward Com
pliance with Form and Customs, in going to “ Church, to Prayers, to Sermons and to Sacraments, “ with an external fhew of Devotion, or which is
more, with some inward forced good Thoughts, " in which many may satisfy themselves, while this " has no visible Effect on their Lives, nor any ins ward Force to subdue and rectify_their Appetites, *** Paffions and secret Designs. Those customary
« Performances, how good and useful foever, when *“ well understood, and rightly directed, are of little
Value when Men rest on them, and think that “ because they do them, they have therefore ac« quitted themselves of their Duty, though they “ continue still proud, covetous, full of Deceit, Envy « and Malice. Even secret Prayer, the most effectual “ of all other Means, is designed for a higher End, 66 which is to possess our Minds with such a constant “ and present Sense of Divine Truths, as may make " these live in us, and govern us, and may draw “ down such spiritual Gifts as may exalt and fanctify “ our corrupt Natures.' So that by Religion I mean, 46 such a Sense of divine Truth as enters into a Man,
(by God's Grace and Spirit) and becomes a Spring 46 of new Nature within him ; reforming his Thoughts " and Designs, purifying his Heart and fanctifying
him, and governing his whole Deportment, his -6 Words as well as his Actions ; convincing him, “ that it is not enough not to be scandalously vicious,
or to be innocent in his Conversation, but that he 66 mustendeavou thro’the Grace of God, to be entirely, « uniformly and constantly pure and virtuous; animating him with a Zeal to be still better and
better, more eminently good and exemplary, using Prayers «s and all outward Devotions as solemn Acts, testifying “ what he is inwardly and at Heart, and as Methods * instituted by God; to be still advancing in the Use “ of them further and further into a more refined and « spiritual Sense of divine Matters. This is true Re“ ligion, which is the Perfection of human Nature, and “ the Joy and Delight of every one that feels it active 6 and strong within him. It is true, this is not arrived