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salt of the earth, and a city that is set upona hili. Others will be won upon by our conversation and give glory to God our father in heaven. For such is the natural effect of an example truly great and illustrious, of lives and characters truly pious and benevolent, on such minds and tempers as the world is composed of. For many who are in a de. gree lost to a sense of virtue in themselves, can yet discern and admire itin others; and every sentiment of admiration and esteem tends to engage imitation, and will have a certain effect, though it's full influence may be prevented by a variety of foreign circumstances.
Let us then my brethren, seriously put the question in my text to ourselves. Do we enjoy the benefit of revelation, are we christians, are we protestants, and as we necessarily flatter ourselves, of the most enlightened kind? what do we more than others? In the face of the world we pretend to be and to do something more. Why else do we separate ourselves from the heathen world, from the church of Rome, and from the church of England. The avowed reason why we cannot join in their worship, is because we do not think it to be suffiently pure. It is on account of the corruptions H 3.
which we justly say are among them, and which certainly debase the pure doctrine of the gospel. We also think that, besides a regard to truth and right, which ought always to bind the consciences, and direct the conduct of men, we think that the received tenets of other churches do in some measure give encouragement to vice, by laying an undue stress on something else than pure virtue. It is on these accounts, if we be protestants, and dissenters on principle, that we dissent from the church of Rome, and all other civil establishments of religion in the world; and since these are our public professions, must not something extraordinary be expected from us? This will certainly be the case. The expectation is just, and we ought to answer it... .....!!! ! · Let us not be ashamed of our good confession. I trust we are bearing a public testimony in favour of the purity of the worship of the one true God, amidst a corrupt and idolatrous generation. The christianity that we profess we have good reason to believe (and we are at any time able to produce and maintain those reasons) is much more like that ; pure and holy religion which the apostles preached under that name, than what is held by those from whom we dissent. The cause we are engaged in
may therefore with propriety be termed the cause of God and of truth, a cause we ought never to abandon from any views respecting this world, such as fear, interest, or fashion. But be it cùr care to walk worthy of so pure a profession, and live as God and the world may reasonably expect that rational christians should live; and then whatever may be said of us by those who are ignorant of our principles and couduct, we shall have the testimony of all reasonable and well informed men, and what is more satisfactory still, that of our own consciences, that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have our conversation in the world. And as we have joined ourselves to the purest church of Christ on earth, and lived suitably to it, we shall hereafter make part of that truly Catholic church which will be gathered from all nations, kindrets, tongues, and people, complete in Christ it's head; when we shall join in a still more pure and spiritual worship of God than our impe-fect state, our imperfect knowledge, and apprehension of things, will admit of at present, more to the glory of God, and our own satisfaction and improvement.
I reserve the time that remains to speak to a few particular cases, in which the scale of privi. leges, or moral advantages, rises still higher; so · H 4.
that more may be expected from those who are possessed of them, than from christians, in gene. ral. :
In the first place, I will direct my discourse to such who have enjoyed the great privilege of religious education, as have been trained up by their pious parents in the fear of God, and the practice of virtue, from their earliest years. What, I ask, do ye more than others? What do you more than those who have had the misfortune to be born and educated if it can be called education, by wicked: parents who were taught to curse and to swear before they could speak plain, who were encouraged in thieving and other arts of dishonesty, as soon as they were capable of practicing any thing, and who learned nothing more early than to make mock of all religion and even sobriety; and many such, to our shame, be it spoken, there are in all countries, and especially in great towns and cities, who are training up to infamy, in this world, and to a state of more dreadful punishment in the next.
On the contrary, your conscientious parents took pains to make you sensible, as soon as you could be made sensible of any thing, of the great duties that you owe to God, and to man, of your proper
conduct in this life, and your expectations in ano: ther. You were made acquainted with a heaven and a hell as soon as you could understand any thing at all, or know what the words meant. You were properly corrected if any thing in your behaviour escaped you that was in the lea:st unbecoming religion and good morals; and what is perhaps the greatest advantage of all, you had con: stantly before your eyes a pattern of goodness; and of every thing praise worthy, in the temper and behaviour of your affectionate parents, who wished to see you happy in this world and in the way of being still more happy, together with thera.. selves, in the world to come.
Like Timothy you were from your childhood brought acquainted with the scriptures, whicl) are able to make you wise unto salvation, and had other good books put into your hands, and proper directions for reading them. When you entered into life, after being accustomed to habits of sobriety and industry under the cye, and by the example, of your parents, you had the most carnest and salutary cautions and instructions given you about your behaviour in it. You were particularly warned of the danger of bad insnaring company, and whatever might be hurtful to your morals, or :.. . H 5. .