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and commerce of this world. Nor is it only SERM. outward action. But virtue, or morality, in it's comprehenfive meaning, as before obferved, takes in the love of God and our neighbour, or every thing that is fit and reasonable in itself. It's laws and precepts regulate thoughts, as well as outward actions. It is true holineffe. It is the image of God in man: it is a meetneffe for the rewards and happineffe of another life. 4. We conclude from what has been faid upon this fubject, that the promoting of› virtue, or righteousnesse and true bolineffe, or a right moral conduct, will be one great defign of any revelation that comes from God: forasmuch as these things are truly excellent, and useful in their natural and genuine tendence. And fince these things are always obligatorie, it is very probable, that one great defign of revelation will be to perfect men in virtue, or moral righteoufneffe, to encourage and enforce that righteousnesse by new and powerful motives and arguments, and to deter men from the contrarie unrighteousneffe. And, as before obferved,
we do evidently perceive this to be the great
defign, the fum and substance of the Law,
SERM. the hiftorical writings, the book of Job, the
5. He that has fome juft fentiments of God, and a ferious regard to moral obligations, is in a great measure fited and prepared for revelation. For he must be disposed to pay a regard to one who speaks in the name of God, and gives proof of a divine commiffion by works of mighty power, and teaches a doctrine enforcing real holineffe. This is what our Lord declares, when he fays: If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine; whether it be of God, or whether. I Speak of my-felf. And when one had ac Mark xiii. knowledged, that there is one God, and that to love the Lord with all the heart, and his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt-offerings and facrifices; he declared, that he was not far from the kingdom of God. This is what he teaches alfo, when he fays: No man can come unto me, except the Father which bath fent me draw him: and, Every man that hath beard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
John vi. 44. 45.
6. From what has been faid, it appears SERM. to be a dreadful thing, for any man to leffen the obligation of virtue and true holinesse, or moral righteousnesse: or to abate mens regard thereto by any means whatever, or with a view to any particular and favorite scheme of his own, or of other mens invention. Our bleffed Lord has declared, that fuch fhall be Matt. called the left in the kingdom of heaven. And he freely reproved the Scribes and Pharisees, who taught for doctrine the commandments of men, and made void the law of God by Matt. traditions, which they received, and recommended..
7. We are likewife carefully to avoid mifrepresentations of the divine being, and to be very cautious of admitting any principles, derogatorie to the moral perfection and righteoufneffe of God, the creator and the governour of the world. We are not only to be concerned for the honour of God, as perfect in knowledge and power: but we should also maintain his moral perfection, as a being perfectly true, righteous, good, merciful. Are thefe perfections in fome men? Would men want what is their greatest glorie and excellence, if they should be arbitrarie and unequal? And H 4
SERM. can we fuppofe, the divine government to V. want juftice and equity? Are great and good men merciful and forgiving? And can we deny thofe properties to God, the fource of all being and perfection? It is eafie to obferve, that in Scripture the greatneffe and majesty, and the goodneffe and mercie of God, are often joyned together. Thus faith the high and lofty one, that inhabiteth eternity: I dwell in the high and holy place: with him also, who is of a humble and contrite fpirit.... For I will not contend for ever. Neither will I be always wroth. For the fpirit should fail before me, and the fouls that I have made. And Elihu Job xxxiv. ftrongly argues: Far be it from God, that he fhould do wickednesse, and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.... Yea furely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgement.
8. We may hence infer the difficulty of defcribing particularly and exactly the fervices and enjoyments of good men in the heavenly ftate. They will be then perfect in holineffe, and compleat in happineffe. Confequently a love of God and fellow-creatures will abide, and be in great perfection. But many branches, various exercifes of virtue, neceffarie and
If. lvii. 15. 16.
and reasonable on earth, can have no place in SERM. heaven, where we are to be as the angels of V.
Particular defcriptions therefore of the future happineffe of good men, however agreeable and entertaining, will be for the most part conjectural and uncertain. We know enough from reafon and Scripture, to fill us with great hopes and expectations, and inspire us with the utmoft zeal and diligence in perfecting holineffe. The future happineffe is,. we know, the perfection of foul and body; it is freedom from all the imperfections of this condition. It is immortality, everlasting life, a glorious kingdom, a crown of glorie that fadeth not away, an inheritance uncorruptible, and undefiled, referved in heaven. We are then to see God, and to be like unto Jefus Chrift. But it is obfervable, that neither Jefus Chrift, nor his Apostles, have deligered particular and precife representations and defcriptions of the glories of the other world, or of the fervices and enjoyments of good men therein. And St. Paul, who was caught up into the third heaven and paradife, 2 Cor. xii, abfolutly declines a reprefentation of the