proceed. If that be laudable and justifiable, the Usage is fo likewife. But if we will follow the Mode of the World to gratify fome ill Affection in us, the whole Rom. 13. Thing is naught; it is a making Provision 14. for the Flesh to fulfil the Lufts thereof.

3. In this kind of Things there is great Regard and Confideration to be had of our own Tempers and Inclinations. There are feveral Things we might innocently enough comply with, and conform to the World in, if we had the perfect Government of ourselves. But yet the Weakness of our Tempers may be fuch, that if we use these Compliances we fhall be drawn into horrible great Inconveniencies: We shall be betrayed into Sin, tho' we meant no fuch Thing. Now where we have fuch Experience of ourselves, in this Cafe it is adviseable to abridge ourselves even of our lawful Liberties. Thus for Inftance ; if we cannot adorn ourselves, or wear rich Cloaths, but we are in danger to think our felves the better for them, or to be drawn away to pursue some undecent Design upon the Account of them; if we cannot go into fuch a fort of Company but we are drawn into Intemperance, or foolish Talking: If we cannot play at any innocent Game, but we are apt either to be angry if we lofe, or to play for confiderable Sums of Money, or the like; in all thefe Cafes it is the best wholly to forbear thefe Things, and to


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deny yourselves lawful Liberties, that we may preferve our Innocency, and not engage in Things unlawful.

4. To conclude: Tho' we may conform to the World in all lawful Things, yet to make a conftant Practice of fome Things, which are lawful in themselves, will become unlawful to us, and will prove fuch a Conformity to the World as is here forbidden. A Thing may be done now and then that may be innocent enough, and we fhall deferve no Blame for it. But if we make a common Practice of the Thing, fo as to spend our Time in the minding of it, to the Neglect of other more neceffary Business, it will in this Cafe be so far from being lawful, that it will be a grievous Sin in us. For Inftance, To ufe innocent Pafstimes and Recreations, to enjoy our Friends, and make Vifits, and the like, is not only allowable, but highly commendable: But yet to make a Trade of thefe Things, fo wholly to give up ourselves to them, as to fpend most of our Time in them, this is intolerable, and we fhall be called to account for it in the other World. The Reafon of this is evident: The main Bufinefs we have to do in this World, is to ferve Go and benefit our Neighbours, and to fit ourselves for Eternity. This is our great Work, and all those other Things we are speaking of, ought to be managed and ordered by us in Subfervience thereunto; fo that they may

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Mat. 6.33.

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promote that great End, and no ways
der it. But if we fo place our Affections,
and bestow our Time upon them, that one
would think we make Them our great De-
fign, and not the other; then we cannot be
innocent, but are horribly unjuft both to
God, and our own Souls.

These are the general Rules by which we ought to steer ourselves in the Practice of the Apostle's Precept of not conforming to the World. The farther applying them to Particulars, is left to every one, as he finds himself concerned.

The Sum of all is, We should firft feek the Kingdom of God, and the Righteousness thereof, and feriously endeavour in all our Converfation to recommend ourselves to our Lord and Master, by a diligent Obfervance of all his Commands, and abstaining from all the Pollutions of the Flesh and the World. And as for thofe Gratifications and Liberties that our Religion allows us, we fhould, as to them, ufe the World, as tho' we ufed it not; taking them only by way of Convenience and Accommodation for our more easy Paffage thro' this World into the


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Our Obligations to live as Chrift lived.
[Delivered in Four Sermons.]

I PET. ii. 21. (Latter Part of the Verse.) Leaving us an Example, that ye fhould follow his Steps.


HE whole Verse runs thus: For
even bereunto were ye called, be-
caufe Chrift alfo fuffered for us,
leaving us an Example, &c.
St. Peter here is exhorting
Servants to be fubject to their Masters, and
with Patience and Submiffion to bear what-
ever hard Usage they might meet with from
them. And the Argument wherewith he
enforceth this Exhortation is the Example
of Chrift. He patiently for our Sakes un-
derwent a great Load of Sufferings, and

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therefore highly reasonable it is that we should not repine at any hard Measures we meet with in the World. The Force and Strength of this Argument lies in that which St. Peter addeth in the laft Part of this Verfe, namely, that Chrift's Life was framed for our Example; that it was defign'd to be a Pattern for Chriftians to walk by, and that we are all of us bound to follow his Steps, He left us an Example, &c.

This Point of the Example of Chrift is that I have now defign'd to treat of; and in speaking to it I fhall not reftrain it to one Inftance, that of his Sufferings; (nor indeed do St. Peter's Words fo reftrain it, tho' it must be granted he brings it in upon that Occafion) but I fhall confider it in its full Latitude with refpect to his whole Life and Converfation in the World.

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I. And in treating of this Argument I fhall endeavour these three Things. First of all in general, To fhew the great Obligation that lies upon all Chriftians to follow Chrift's Example.

II. Secondly, To explain the Extent of this Obligation; How far, and in what Inftances Chrift's Life is an Example to us, and doth oblige us to Imitation.

III. Thirdly,

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