apply ourselves to the Throne of Grace for Strength, and Influence, and Support; if we do not frequently take Times to recollect, and renew our Refolutions, and fortify our Minds by ftrong Confideration, by repeating to ourselves the great Obligations we have to God, and the absolute Neceffity there is of forfaking our Sins, and pursuing a Courfe of Virtue and Holinefs; and laftly, by fixing our Thoughts on the vaft, immenfe Rewards that await us at the End of our Pilgrimage, if we behave ourselves worthily: I fay, if we do not daily give ourselves to the Practice of thefe Things, how good foever at the present our Intentions and Purposes may be, yet there is little Hopes we fhall make any great Progrefs or Advancement in Chriftianity, but fhall at last infenfibly fink down into a State of Carelessness and Indifferency as to thofe Matters, if not return to a worldly, fenfual, or vicious Life.

But, Secondly, let us propofe our Saviour to ourselves as a Perfon that, as he was very devout towards God, fo was he also very diligent in the Business he had to do in the World. He did not fo fspend his Time in Solitude and Abstractions, as to hinder the Discharge of any of the Works of his Calling. On the contrary, he lived more publickly, because of his frequent Privacies.


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His Retirements ferved for no other Purpofe, than to make him more active and vigorous in doing Good when he came into Company. He fo managed his Devotions towards God, that they were no Obftructions, but a great Furtherance of the Duties he owed unto Men; and hereby, as he gave us the true Notion and Measures of a perfect Life, fo did he effectually confute the fuperftitious Fancies, that too many of his Followers have entertained concerning Religion.

There are a Sort of Men, we know, in the World, that place the Perfection of Christianity in living at a Distance from the Concernments of the World. With them, to ferve God in the best Way, is to dwell in a Wilderness, or to be cloistered up within the Walls of a Monaftery, and to fit loofe from all the Bufinefs of common Life. And fo far hath this Notion of Religion obtained, that none are accounted among the Number of the Religious, but thofe that have taken upon them this kind of Life. I wish there were not alfo fome among us that are too much Popish in this respect, tho' they yet fufficiently hate the Name of Papifts. Are there not thofe that make Religion wholly to confift in doing of Duty, as they call it? If they do but go to Prayers often enough, and hear Sermons enow, and spend

their Time in reading godly Books, and fuch other Exercises and Amusements, they think it is all that is required of them; it is with them the Sum and Perfection of Religion.

God forbid that I should blame any body for doing these Things! On the contrary, I would encourage every one in the Practice of them: for, as I faid before, they are neceffary Duties; fo neceffary, that it is impoffible to be religious, to any great Purpofe, without a confcientious Respect unto them. But this is the Thing I blame, The Thinking that we have no other Work to do in the World but this. The being fo taken up with these Things, as to neglect all the other weighty Business of our Callings, and the Duties which our Families, our Neighbours, our Country do call for at our Hands. As God hath not confined Religion to Cloifters and Defarts, fo neither hath he shut it up in Churches or Closets: But he hath fo contrived it, that it may flourish in our Cities, and in our Fields, in our Shops, and in our Markets, even in all the Places where our Employment lies. God never intended that Religion should be an Enemy to Business and an active Life; but rather an Inftrument to promote the one, and encourage the other. We then ferve God beft, when we make our religious Offices and Contempla

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plations a Means to advance the diligent Purfuit of our Callings, and the doing Good in the World. We are then moft devout, when we moft benefit others. And it is the most acceptable Sacrifice to God, to be useful in our Generations.

This, I am fure, was the Thing that our Saviour proposed to himself: For tho', as I faid, he had his Time of Retirement, wherein he gave himself up to Meditation and Prayer, yet the Design hereof was, that he might the next Moment more illuftrioufly appear in the World as a Pattern of good Works. His Devotions did not spend themselves in unprofitable Ardors, and for his own Content and Satisfaction only, but they influenced his Actions, and made him more bufy, more vigorous in the Discharge of that Employment that God had committed to him: Nay, whenever the Duties of his Calling and the Duties of Devotion, properly fo called, came into Competition, we find that he made the latter give way to the former. As we have a famous Inftance in his preferring Acts of Charity before the exact Obfervation of the Sabbath ; and he backed his Practices herein with a memorable Axiom, which he had made a standing Rule in all fuch Cases, that God will have Mercy, and not Sacrifice. Not that to offer Sacrifice was not a Duty, or that God would refuse them when they


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were devoutly offered; but that of the two he rather delights in Works of Mercy; and that if both cannot come together, the former must give Place; we then beft expreffing our Love to God, whom we have not feen, when we exprefs our Love to Men, whom we have feen, as St. John tells


And this leads me to the Third Thing, wherein we are to propofe our Saviour to our Imitation, (and it fhall be the laft I fhall confider at this Time) namely, his boundless Love and Charity.

Of all his other Virtues and excellent Qualities, this was moft confpicuous in him, and this was that which he most recommended to our Practice. His whole Life was but one continued illuftrious Expreffion of Kindness and Charity. Never was any Perfon in the World known to be fo fweet, so obliging, fo compassionate, so kind, as was our Lord Jefus. How eager, how infatiable a Thirft had he to do all the Good he could to Mankind! How did he feek Opportunity to oblige and to benefit every body! He went up and down to fee who ftood in need of his Prefence and Affistance, either for Soul or Body; and whofo did, never failed of it. So intent was he upon doing Offices of Charity to others, that he often neglected himself, and

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