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The Application upon this Doctrine. EHOLD, my Friends, now you have seen by all that hath been written or spoken, what belongs to the Principles of the pure and moft excellent Doctrine. But fuppofe you have learned thofe all by Heart, you have a fufficient Knowledge of Religion, you can speak about it with Understanding; think not, that the Knowledge of all that, is enough to fecure your Souls from eternal Damnation. Nay, no Gifts, no Knowledge, or all the Sciences of Theology, e but only that which is operative and influential upon your Heart and Life, and to which you pay Obedience, that alone, and nothing elfe, can fecure you from God's eternal Wrath and everlasting Miseries, John xiii. 17. If you know thefe Things, happy are ye if you do them. The greatest Sins may be found in Conjunctions with thegreatest Knowledge, as you fee in the fallen Angels. Light is then only a Bleffing 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 fame Mind be in you, which was in Chrift Jefus, when he faith, P. xl. 8, I delight to do thy Will, O my God; yea, thy Law is within my Heart.
Preferve 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 Sweetneffes; meditating frequently on them,even as David, Pf.cxix. 16. I will delight myself in thy Statutes, I will not forget thy Word. And Pf. cxix. 93. I will never forget thy Precepts, for with them thou haft quickened me. And Verfe 99. Thy Teftimonies are my Meditation. Bringing forth the Fruits thereof in your Lives, fo that at any Time I may fay with Paul, Col. i. 3, 4, 5. 6. We give Thanks to God,
and the Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, praying always for you, fince we heard of your Faith in Chrift Jefus, 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 alfo in you, fince 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 ferious Manner, the Study and Practice of the Chriftian Religion to you all, as that which is the most important of all other Things, which alone will carry every Thing elfe along with it, and which is both the Light of the World, and the Salt of the Earth.
"Nothing (faith he) does fo open our Faculties, "and compofe 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, bleffing our En"deavours, watching over our Concerns, and of his "being to judge, and to reward or punifh us in ano"ther State, according to what we do in this.
Nothing will give a Man fuch a Deteftation of Sin, " and fuch a Senfe of the glorious Perfections, of the "Goodnefs of God, and of our Obligations to Holi"nefs, as a right Understanding and a firm Belief of "the Chriftian Religion. Nothing can give a Man "so calm a Peace within, and fuch 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
is fure, that by living according to the Rules of Religion, he becomes the wifeft, the best and "happiest Creature, that he is capable of being. "Honeft Industry, the employing his Time well,
" and a conftant Sobriety, and undefiled Purity and "Chastity, with a quiet Serenity, are the best Pre
fervers of Life and Health. So that, take a Man "as a fingle Individual, Religion is his Guard, his "Perfection, his Beauty, and his Glory. This "will make him the Light of the World, fhining "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 Reft of the "World, whatsoever one can with Reason wish or "defire him to be. He is true, juft, honeft and
faithful in the whole Commerce of Life, doing to "all others that, which he would have others do to
him. He is a Lover of Mankind and of his Coun<s try. He may and ought to love some, more than "others; but he has an Extent of Love to all of
Pity and Compaffion, not only to the pooreft, but to the worft; for the worfe any are, the more they "are to be pitied. He has a Complacency and Delight in all thatare truly, tho' but defectively Good;
and a Refpect and Veneration for all that are emi"nently fo. He mourns for the Sins, and rejoices "in the Virtues of all that are round about him. In "every Relation of Life, Religion makes him an"fwer all his Obligations. It will make Princes
juft and good, faithful to their Promifes, and "Lovers of their People. It will infpire Subjects "with Respect, Submiffion, Obedience and Zeal for "their Prince. It will fanctify Wedlock, to be a "State of Chriftian Friendfhip, and mutual affift"ance. It will give Parents the trueft Love to their "Children, with a proper Care of their Education. "It will command the Returns of Gratitude and "Obedience from Children. It will teach Masters "to be gentle and careful of their Servants; and "Servants to be faithful, zealous and diligent in their "Mafter's
"Mafter's Concerns. It will make Friends tender "and true to one another; it will make them gene"rous, faithful and difinterested. It will make Men "live in their Neighbourhood as Members of one "common Body, promoting firft the general Good "of the Whole, and then the Good of every Par"ticular, as far as a Man's Sphere can go. It will "make Judges and Magiftrates juft and patient, "hating Covetoufnefs, and maintaining Peace and "Order without Refpect of Perfons. It will make
People live in fo inoffenfive a Manner, that "it will be eafy to maintain Juftice, whilft Men are "not difpofed to give Disturbance to those about "him. This will make Paftors faithful to their "Truff, tender to their Sheep, and watchful over "them; and it will beget in the People an Esteem "for their Perfons and their Functions.
"Thus, Religion, if truly received, and fincerly ad"hered to, would prove the greatest of all Bleffings "to a Nation. But (in this Manner the Author proceeds) by Religion I understand, fomewhat more "than the receiving fome Doctrines, though ever fo 66 true, or the profeffing them, and engaging to "fupport them, not without Zeal and Eagernefs; "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,
(arifing out of Intereft) and managed with Fury "and Violence) compenfate for the ill Lives of fuch "falfe Pretenders to Zeal, while they are a Disgrace "to that, which they profess and seem so hot for.
By Religion I do not mean, an outward Com"pliance with Form and Cuftoms, in going to Church, to Prayers, to Sermons and to Sacraments, "with an external fhew of Devotion, or which is
પ more, with fome inward forced good Thoughts, "in which many may fatisfy themselves, while this "has no visible Effect on their Lives, nor any in
ward Force to fubdue and rectify their Appetites,
Paffions and fecret Defigns. Thofe cuftomary "Performances, how good and useful foever, when "well understood, and rightly directed, are of little "Value when Men reft on them, and think that <because they do them, they have therefore ac"quitted themselves of their Duty, though they "continue ftill proud, covetous, full of Deceit, Envy "and Malice. Even fecret Prayer, the most effectual "of all other Means, is defigned for a higher End, "which is to poffefs our Minds with fuch a conftant "and present Senfe of Divine Truths, as may make
thefe live in us, and govern us, and may draw "down fuch fpiritual Gifts as may exalt and fanctify "our corrupt Natures. So that by Religion I mean, "fuch a Sense of divine Truth as enters into a Man,
(by God's Grace and Spirit) and becomes a Spring <of new Nature within him; reforming his Thoughts and Designs, purifying his Heart and fanctifying him, and governing his whole Deportment, his Words as well as his Actions; convincing him, "that it is not enough not to be fcandaloufly vicious, "or to be innocent in his Conversation, but that he
muft endeavou thro' the Grace of God, to be entirely, "uniformly and conftantly pure and virtuous; ani"mating him with a Zeal to be still better and better,
more eminently good and exemplary, ufing Prayers " and all outward Devotions as folemn Acts, teftifying "what he is inwardly and at Heart, and as Methods
inftituted by God; to be ftill advancing in the Ufe "of them further and further, into a more refined and "fpiritual Senfe 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 "and ftrong within him. It is true, this is not arrived