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have you done*? What life have you led? Have you lived according to the best of your knowledge? Have you lived a holy virtuous life? Have you performed the moral duties according to your faith? For these are the grand important points. We ought therefore as soon, and as ably as we can, to make ourselves thorough masters of our clear and expressed duty, and then God will instruct us in what we ought to know. We should endeavour also to inform our neighbours with simplicity and candidness, and then in every particular should endeavour to perform what we know to be reasonable, just, merciful, and virtuous. If our neighbour differ with us in opinion, let us endeavour to set him right by exhibiting to him the plain declarations of scripture; but let us not proceed to nice or doubtful disputations, let us by no means anger him, for says the Redeemer of mankind, “Thou shalt Jove thy neighbour as

thyself.” Besides, God who seeth the heart will know how far to punish or to pardon. He alone is the judge. Let us, and let our neighbour act according to the best of

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our knowledge and belief, and neither of us can be fatally wrong; for if any man does the will of God, as far as he knows and can do, him God will further instruct in fuch doctrine as is necessary to his salvation.

Another inference is, that we should always pay an inviolable regard to the will of God, i. e. to the weightier matters of his law, in which all good men are agreed; and make it a rule in judging of religious truth. Should any new opinions be offered to your confia deration, then reflect, that whatever has a necessary connexion with justice, and mercy, and honesty, and the love of God, and a direct tendency to promote them, that may safely be received, but whatever has no relation to them is not of importance, and whatever has a contrary tendency ought to be rejected. Judging by this rule a great many doctrines which have been taught in fome christian churches are no otherwise to be accounted of than as clouds without

water, or as stubble carried about by “ winds*.” What notion can any man have of the will of God, who imagines it amply

* Jude xii.




fulfilled by forms and ceremonies, by an over-
pretended fanctity, and by always merely
talking about it? What connexion have these
things with moral goodness and “holiness
“ without which no man can see the Lord,
or with that purity of manners, which alone
can entitle us to the reward obtained for us
by the merits and atonement of Christ?
They are pernicious and eversive of the very
foundation, when substituted in the room of
it; and so are things of a better character
and original, even all the instrumental parts,
or positive ceremonies of religion, when
they are substituted in the stead of folid
piety and virtue,-in the stead of that faith
in the merits of Christ, which produces
righteousness, temperance, and charity. These
then are the doctrines which we have for
many years maintained in this place, they are
the doctrines, which upon a candid and fe-

rious review will be found in the holy scrip-
tures, and such are the doctrines of the church
of England which we profess.

To conclude, if we would make a proficiency in the most useful knowledge, and in the discernment of religious truth, let us be diligent in the practice of our duty, so



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far as we already understand it, and thus “if

we follow on, to know, we shall know “ the Lord.” The apostle speaks of a kind of knowledge which puffeth up, but charity edifieth*. By charity we make the best and surest progress in true christianity. It is not always the greatest genius, nor the most penetrating judgment, that understands relia gion best. Some men of the most eminent abilities are the most subtle defenders of error, when their minds are under the power of corrupt affections. Thus the apostle accounts for the apostacy of christians, and experience justifies his accountt. “Men are drawn away with the deceits of the world, because they received not the love of truth, and are abandoned to the efficacy of error to believe lies, because they had pleasure in unrighteousnefs.” But an honest heart found in God's statutes, shall know the truth, and the truth, faith the apostle shall make them freet. The pfalmist says, “ Fear the Lord, all ye his

saints, for they that fear him lacknothings." and in the words of the Royal Preacher, “ Fear God, and keep his commandmentsll;" for that is the sum and substance of religion.

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+ 2 Thef. ii. 10, 11. || Eccles. xii. 13.

| John viii. 32.


1 Cor. viii. 1. ý Palm xxxiv. •


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