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The Sin and Danger of being afhamed of the Gofpel.


I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Chrift; for it is the Power of God unto Salvation to every one that believeth,


N the foregoing Verfes the Apostle ac-SERM. I. quaints the Chriftians at Rome with his

longing Defire to see them, declaring, that it was not through Want of Good-will, but of Opportunity, that he had not yet made them a Vifit; Often-times, fays he, I purposed to come unto you, but was let (or hindered) bitberto. The fame Lord who had called him to the Miniftry, had Work for him to do elsewhere; and as his Time and Labours were confecrated to his Master's Service, fo did he fubmit the Direction and Difpofal of Himself and them to his good Pleasure. We may design or defire to serve God


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SERM. I. God in this, or that Place, or Way, but it may be more for his Honour, or the Good of his Church, that we be ordered to fome other Poft or Part: Thus Paul and Timothy were forbidden to preach the Word in Afia, and when they effayed to go from Myfia into Bithynia, the Spirit fuffered them. not, for the Lord had appointed them to preach the Word in Macedonia. Learn hence, that we must not think of being our ówn Masters, even in our beft Intentions, but diveft ourfelves of all Self-will, and offer them up in Prayer to God for Direction, and then we need not doubt but that fuch Notices will be impreffed upon our Minds, or fuch providential Occurrences caft in our Way, as will determine us to act in such a Manner, as will be moft for the Glory of God. However, in this unlimited Refignation of ourfelves and Undertakings to the Divine Conduct, we may lawfully purpose and defire this or that good Act or Office, as St. Paul did to vifit the Faithful at Rome': I long, fays he, to fee you, that I may impart unto you fome Spiritual Gift, to the end you may be established, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual Faith both of you and me.

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and me. Bleffed Paul! how art thou


changed from that perfecuting Saul, who SERM. I. a little before breathed out Threatnings and. Slaughter against the Difciples of the Holy Jefus! So powerful is both the constraining and restraining Grace of Chrift to change the Rage of Lions into the Meekness of Lambs, and to turn all our Hatred into Love! We fee then, that the Motive of the Apostle's earnest Defire to fee and be prefent with the Faithful, to whom he fends this Epiftle, was not to pafs his Time with them merrily, in the way of what is now generally understood by good Fellowship, nor to live upon them at Free-coft; nothing of this kind was in his view; he fought not theirs but them, not their temporal good Things, but their fpiritual Welfare, to build them up in the Faith by a holy Converfation, to inftruct and encourage them in the Knowledge and Practice of the Chriftian Life, and to give and receive Confolation, mutually by comparing what great Things the Lord had done for their Souls. O that there were more of these edifying Communications amongft us now-a-days when we meet together! How might we ftrengthen and comfort one another by fuch godly Conferences, and be able to say at the End

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The Sin and Danger of being

SERM. I. End of every Vifit, It is good for us to have been here!-But to proceed,

St. Paul's delaying to vifit the Brethren at Rome, occafioned by his minifterial Labours in other Places, gave Occafion, as it feems, to fome among them to represent it as the Effect of Fear, for Rome was at that Time the Capital City of the World; thither reforted the Philofophers and Learned from all Parts, there the Great and Wealthy lived in Pomp and Pleasure, and there the Tyrant Nero kept his Court: Such difcouraging Circumftances fome might think fufficient to deter even an Apoftle from preaching the Gofpel of Chrift, and the selfdenying Doctrines of his Religion in fuch a Place; but in thinking fo they betrayed their Ignorance of St. Paul, and the Spirit he was of, for neither the Oppofition of the Learned and Great Ones of the Earth, neither Bonds nor Imprisonments, not even Death itself had any thing in them to be fear'd by him, who counted not his Life dear unto himself, fo that he might finish his Course with Joy, and the Miniftry which he bad received of the Lord fefus, to testify the Gofpel of the Grace of God. But whether it was to obviate a Sufpicion that might arife


or to refel a Charge already formed against SERM. I. him, either by the Miftake of Friends, or the Malice of Enemies, the Apostle who was ready on this, as on every other, Occafion, to give fufficient Proof of his being an undaunted Workman, to whom the Lord had given the Spirit not of Fear but of Power, declares as follows; "As much as "in me is, I am ready to preach the Gof

pel to you that are at Rome allo; for I am "not afhamed of the Gofpel of Chrift, for "it is the Power of God unto Salvation to

every one that believeth." As if he had faid, "Do not afcribe my delaying to come << unto you to any Fear or Shame in me of preaching Chrift crucified in your great City, the boafted Mistress of the World; for however the Doctrine of the Crofs may be defpifed, or rejected by the wife <c and great Ones of this World, of which "there are many in that Metropolis, yet I

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am fo far from being afhamed of it, that it is my Rejoicing and Glory, for it is "the Power of God unto Salvation: I have experienced the convincing and converting Power of it in myself, and it is equally powerful to produce the fame Effects, "in all that hear it, with a Difpofition

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