« AnteriorContinuar »
do, towards our Salvation; never to grieve or do defpite to him by wilful Sin or Negligence; but to learn from his Inftructions, and yield to his Influences, that he may abide with us for ever, and make us, as the Apostle expreffes himself, Temples of the Holy Ghost".
› Eph. iv. 30.
• Heb. x. 29.
1 Cor. vi. 19.
MATTH. Xxviii. 19, 20.
Go ye therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing
Teaching them to obferve all Things, whatsoever
former Difcourfe on thefe Words I my have fhewn both what is meant by being baptized in, or rather into the Name of any one, particularly of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft; and what Faith in them that Baptifm obliges us to profess; endeavouring so to set forth our Christian Belief, as neither to decide concerning what is hidden from us, nor to omit what is made known to us. For the fecret Things
belong unto the Lord our God: but thofe Things, which are revealed, belong unto us and to our Children for ever; that we may do all the Words of this Law: Let us now therefore go on to the practical Part of Christianity, comprehended under the
Second Branch of the Text, in which our Saviour directs his Apoftles, what Duties they were to enjoin Men, in Confequence of their Faith. Teaching them to obferve all Things, whatfoever I have commanded you.
Now of thefe, our Duties to the feveral Perfons of the Holy Trinity are so closely connected with our Faith in them, that I thought it most natural to mention them together. And of the reft, it would be impoffible at present to fpecify every one in particular. And therefore I shall only treat of the more general Heads and Divifions of them. By this Commiffion of our bleffed Lord then, the Minifters of the Gospel are bound to teach, and the Profeffors of the Gospel to obferve, the Precepts of Piety, as well as Morality; of revealed Religion, as well as natural; difficult, as well as eafy Duties; those of Self-Government, as well
a Deut. xxix. 29..
as of focial Behaviour; all Things whatsoever he bath commanded, and nothing else.
I. Precepts of Piety, as well as Morality. In fome Ages of the World the Generality of Persons, and in all too many, have almost intirely difregarded Virtue, at least fome Parts of it, while yet they seemed very zealous in Religion. That the Religion of fuch is vain b, requires little Proof. Indeed it must be, either mere Pretence, or grofs Miftake. Either they have really none of that Devotion, which they profefs, or it is Devotion to an unknown God. For did they at all apprehend his Nature aright; the Love of him could not but incline them to the Love of whatever was good; and the Fear of him could not but deter them from whatever was evil. These Things are so easily demonftrable, and the Mifchiefs of not attending to them have been so dreadful; that whereever Knowledge and Liberty have prevailed, fuch wrong Notions of Duty to our Maker have (amongst the more confiderable Part of the World at least,) quickly fallen into the Contempt and Hatred, which they well deserve. But then, as it is natural for the Warmth of Men to carry them too far; and c Acts xvii. 230
James i. 26.
the Thoughtlessness of Men to confound Matters, which should be diftinguished: fo, in our Times, most unhappily, Multitudes have run from one Extreme to another; and, not difcerning the Difference between two of the unlikeft Things in the World, when well compared, false Religion and true, have, in a great Measure, if not abfolutely, rejected both together. Declaring in general the highest Honour·for Virtue, they flight and even ridicule Piety : the inward Feeling of it, under the Name of Enthusiasm; the outward Marks of it, under that of Superftition. Yet plainly, if Sentiments of Duty and Affection to our FellowCreatures be neceffary Ingredients in a good Character: Want of them towards our Creator, must (where Means of Inftruction are afforded) be a certain Argument of a bad one. And, if our Regards to our Fellow-Creatures ought to be fhewn by visible Tokens, not only that they may be sensible of our proper Difpofitions, but that by exercifing them we may improve in them, and others be excited to Imitation then our Reverence to our Creator ought likewife to be manifefted openly; because, though he fees the devout Thoughts, that lie hid in our Hearts, yet, by exprefling them, we shall