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called to give an account of it. But these obligations are so obvious, that they are perfectly intelligible to all persons, and therefore require no illustration.
Let all those persons who are possessed of whatever themselves and the world consider as advantages, ask themselves, what they do more than 0thers, who are destitute of them. Better, my brethren, infinitely better were it to be poor, than to be rich and not generous; to be fools, than to be knaves; and to have been taught nothing at all, than to make a bad use of superior knowledge. It would have been better for us never to have heard of Christ than to be Christians in name on: ly, and not in deed and in truth. .. ..? ?
For our Conversation is in Heaven.
PHILL. III. 20.
1 F any person would act in a manner becoming b is station, whatever it may be, he must frequently consider the nature, and the object of it; that he I lay the better judge what course of conduct is no ost suitable to it. Without frequent reflections of this kind, men are apt to forget themselves, to ac t out of character, and to fall into habits of doing things inconsistent with their place and professio n.
"The apostle Paul, in my Text, exhorting the chi irch at Philippi to avoid the disorderly and sca ndalous life which some nominal christians at that time led, reminds them of the nature of their
profession, and of the obligation which it noressaxily laid them under to a sober life and conversati. on. Brethren, says he, V. 17. be ye followers tosether with ple, and mark them which will so as guten hare us for an example: for many walk, of whan y have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemics of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, cnet whose glory is their shane, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaven; Kherte also comes kop}for the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. ..
Observe, what stress the apostle lays upon the proper character, and the consequent decessary profession of a christian. It is $0 hare.94" conter, sation in keazen, whereas those persons, whose irregularities he is pointing out to them, aninded garihly thiness, a conduct, as he intimates, utterly inconsistent: with their profession as christians, sa that he scruples,not to call ihem the enemies of the Trass, full Christa And indeed in. not complying with the main end and design of christianity, which, without all dispute, was to reform meu's conduct, and to teach them to lead righteous and sober lives, they contradicted the whole scheme, and took the most effectual method to bring it into discredit, and contempt, with the Gentile world,
who from seeing the immoralities of christians, would naturally conclude, that christianity was not the thing that it was pretended to be ; and that the apostles, under the specious pretence of re: forming the world, were imposing upon it a religion, which, after all; left meñas wicked and abandoned as it found them. With these men, there*fore the apostle justly disclaims all connection, not considering them as the friends, but the ene mies of christianity; and in order to prevent 'other professing christians from following their example, and sharing their unhappy fate, he here expostulates with those to whom he writes on the inconsistency there was between the disposition that these apostles shewed, and the genuine temper of christianity.
The character of these abandoned professors the apostle sums up in one word, when he says, they minded earthly things. This world, and the things of it, were their chief pursuit. The riches, the pleasures, or the honours of the world, engrossed all their affections, desires, and expectations. They
re not solicitous about any thing else; being without any thought about a future world, or 'su. perior happiness; whereas the proper hopes of christians are necessarily in another life, with
which their religion brings them acquainted. As the apostle elsewhere 'says, if in this life only we have hope we are of all men the most miserable; being disappointed in our principal object and pursuit
It is in heaven, my brethren, that the true chris. tian expects his reward. He is so fully persuad. ed of the reality, and the superior excellence, of the happiness of that state, consisting in the per. fection of his rational nature, in all virtuous en.. joyments, and in the favour of Almighty God, that nothing else can finally satisfy him. He is so much interested in heaven, and heavenly things, and has his mind so constantly employed about them, that he hardly considers himself as related to this world, but rather as a citizen of heaven, and only a stranger and sojourner , here be. low. And this is, indeed, the proper meaning of the phrase having our conversation in heaven; for in the original it is having our citizenship in heaven, implying that heaven is the place to which a christian of right belongs. He is be come a subject of that state, his dependence is intirely upon it, his treasure is lodged in it, and he is therefore chiefly concerned about it. :: Every person, therefore, when he embrates