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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 others, 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 only, and not in deed and in truth.
HAVING OUR CONVERSATION
H E A V EN,
For our Conversation is in Heaven. ***
PHILL. III. 20.
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 mo 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 thi ngs inconsistent with their place and profes
* 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 tha t time led, reminds them of the nature of their
profession, and of the obligation which it noressafily laid them ander to a sober life and conversați01. Brethren, says he, V. 17. &e ve followers together with ple, and mark them which will so as guide hage us for an example: for many walk, of whom have told you often, and now tell you" even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end.is destruction, whose God is their belly, one whose glory is their same, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaveR; KMC162 caso no look for the Saviour the Lord Jesus Glırist.
Observe, what stress the apostie lays upon the proper character, ani! the consequent pecessary Profession of a christian. It is to have qui comper, Esation in hengen, whereus, those persons, whose ir. regularities he is pointing out to them, minded qarthly things, a conduct, as he intimates
, utterly inconsistent with their profession as christians, sa Wat he scaunies, not to call them the enemies of the spass of Chris. And, indeed in. not complying svith the main end and design of christianity, , Plrich, without all dispute, was to reform meu's sober lives, they contradicted the whole scheme, and took the most effectual method to bring it into discredit, and contempt, with the Gentile srorlut,
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 men as 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 enemies 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, enigrossed all their affections, desires, and expectations. They were not solicitous about any thing else, being without any thought about a future world, or superior 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 persuaded of the reality, and the superior excellence, of the happiness of that state, consisting in the perfection of his rational nature, in all virtuous enjoyments, 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 below. 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 io which a christian of right belongs. He iş be come a subject of that state, his dependence is întirely upon it, his treasure is lodged in it, and he is therefore chiefly concerned about it. : Every person, therefore, when he embrutes