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and how constant to the Death in afferting his Pretenfions?
Have you thought of the prodigious Miracles that he wrought all his Life long for the Confirmation of his Doctrine; the Voices of God from Heaven to atteft that he was the Son of God; his Refurrection from the Dead, and vifible Afcenfion into Heaven? Which Things are Demonftrations to all Mankind, that believe a God and Providence, that Jefus Chrift was no other than he pretended to be, the Son of God, and the Saviour of the World?
Laftly, Have you confider'd that the fame Power and Virtue that was in Christ for the doing all thefe wonderful Things, was, as he promised, continu'd to his Apoftles, and to all the Preachers of the Gospel for many Years afterwards, even till they had converted the World from Idolatry to the Belief of Chrift Jefus? And that by no other Ways nor Methods, but by the Excellency of their Doctrine, and the Holinefs of their Lives, and the wonderful Miracles they perform'd, and their Readiness at any Time to lay down their Lives for the Cause of the Chriftian Religion?
These are some of the Things which you ought very well to confider before you can fatisfy your felves that you have Reason to keep off from being Chriftians. But you will perhaps fay, you have thought of all thefe Things, but yet you are not convinc'd
that you ought to embrace Chrift's Religion. Why, it is almoft impoffible. Sure you have not thought of them as you should do. Sure you was biaffed and prejudiced on the other Side, when you took these Matters into your Confideration. But that is not fair thinking. You ought to come to thofe Matters wholly free and indifferent, at least as much as is poffible. But pray say serioufly, whether the Objections and Diffatiffactions which you have met with about the Christian Religion be the Result of your own thinking, and fuch as you naturally fall into; or you have rather learned them from the Difcourfe of that lewd, debauch'd, hot-headed Company that you have used to converse with. If fo, there is no great Reafon you fhould infilt upon them.
I pray be pleased to examine your felves further. Are you really concerned for another World after this? and do you really defire and endeavour to approve yourfelves to God as well as you can? If you do, then I am fure you will do all that natural Religion will teach you about this Matter. Tho' you do not believe in Chrift, yet you will live very fober and virtuous Lives, and you will heartily pray to God likewife to direct you in the Way that is acceptable to him. Now do you do this? Do you every Day addrefs to the Throne of Grace for Affiftance and Direction? and do you hate every Thing that is apparently evil,
and make it your Bufinefs to be as pious, and charitable, and fober, as is poffible? Why, whether you believe in Christ or no, thefe are the Dictates of Natural Religion; and you muft thus frame your Life, otherwife you are not qualified for any Direction or Affistance from God Almighty. And if any Man among us do thus frame his Life, I shall think it very strange if fuch a Man be not a hearty Chriftian. Sure I am, I never yet heard or read of any Inftance to the contrary.
The Truth of it is, Men that are of this Temper, Men that are thus honeftly dif pofed, never fail to believe in Christ at last, tho' at the Beginning they do not. All fuch fhall come unto Chrift, because the Father draweth them. All fuch, because they endeavour to do God's Will, fhall know of Chrift's Doctrine, that it is of God. All this our Saviour hath long before told us.
But here is our Cafe:
It is not the virtuous, the good, the humble, the modeft, the charitable, the piouslydifpofed Souls that disbelieve Christianity among us, but another fort of Men: And I pray God the great Reason of their Unbelief be not this, that the Doctrines of the Gospel do not fuit with those Principles of Liberty which they have efpoufed; nor with that Courfe of Life they are engaged in and therefore fince the Gofpel is against VOL. V. $ them,
them, they will be against the Gospel. But Woe be to all fuch, for they are of all Mortals in the most hopeless Condition.
"I pray God convert them from the Evil "of their Ways, that they may understand "the Things that belong to their Peace be"fore they be hid from their Eyes." And we ought all to joyn in this Prayer, not only for their Sakes, but for the Publick. For Atheism and Irreligion are infinitely mischievous to the Kingdom, as well as to those particular Perfons who maintain and promote them. And I pray God that all of us, who do heartily embrace and believe the Chriftian Religion, may frame our Lives and Conversation fuitably to it, that fo we may be no Difparagement to our holy Faith, but may rather adorn the Doctrine of God we do profefs in all Things: This is the true Way to obtain happy, peaceful Days in this World, and the Way likewise that will infallibly bring us fafe to the Kingdom of Heaven after this World is ended. May God Almighty grant us both these Bleffings for the Sake of his dear Son our Lord Jefus; To whom, &c.
Of Conformity to the Customs and Ways of the World. How far allowable, and how far not.
[Delivered in Two Sermons.]
ROM. xii. 2.
Be not conformed to this World.
HE whole Verse is this: And be not conformed to this World, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your Minds, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect Will of God; that is, ye that call your felves Chriftians must not follow the Ways of the Men of this World, nor frame your Converfation according to the evil Customs you fee before you; but you are to look upon your felves as Men of another World: your Minds are to be formed and acted with new spiritual Principles, that fo ye may