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SERM. and relies upon him for falvation; and VIII. he endeavours to form his life, his prac
tice, and the inward difpofition of his foul, according to the precepts of the gofpel. This is the true and serious believer, to whom are made all the promifes of life and falvation, immortality and glory for ever. Such a one has all affurances given him, that he fhall be happy after this frail and imperfect life, whatever be his prefent condition and circumstances. And therefore, let him lift up his head and rejoice, as our Saviour expreffes it, for the day of his redemption draweth nigh.
2. From hence alfo, every man may examine himself, whether he be in a ftate of falvation, and whether he has any claim to the promises of the gospel. For the enquiry is very fhort and easy. Can he say from his heart, that he is a ferious believer of the gospel revelation, and that he endeavours, as far as human frailty will allow, to form his life and converfation according to the dictates of it, without allowing himfelf in any known fin, or neglect of his duty. If fo, then he may take comfort to himself, and be affured of his happiness. Let him lay
afide all his doubts and misgivings; for SER M. his infirmities, that he is confcious of and often laments, will never condemn him before a merciful God, who has promised his acceptance through a mediator. But if he cannot fay, that he seriously believes the gospel, nor that he endeavours to conform his heart and life to its precepts, fuch a one has no part nor lot in the redemption purchased by Jefus Chrift; he runs the hazard of being condemned at the last day, and of having a portion affigned him among the unbelievers.
The Converfation that becometh the Gospel.
PHILIPPIANS I. 27.
Only let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Chrift.
HOUGH experience fhews that S E R M. the bulk of chriftians are corrupt and degenerate, and that no means used to reform them are in general effectual; yet it is confeffedly true, that the doctrines and precepts of the gospel are pure and rational, and well fitted to recover mankind to that degree of perfection which they are capable of; and that if they would conduct themselves agreeable to what it prefcribes, their practice would be unblameable, and ast perfect as their nature will allow. And therefore, whatever be the practice of believers, the fcheme of the gospel will always be vindicated, and the blame of their conduct will fall upon themselves.
SERM. Our holy religion gives no encouragement to the wickedness of its profeffors, but justly and severely condemns it; and it requires nothing more for the vindication of its reafonablenefs and purity, and to place it in an amiable light, than the suitable practice of Chriftians; that is, their doing what the apostle exhorts to do in the text, only to let their converfation be as becometh the gospel of Chrift.
In the former part of this epiftle, which was written while the apoftle was prifoner at Rome for the fake of the gofpel, he expreffes his thankfulness and joy on account of the faith of the Philippians: and then he tells them, that he only wished to continue in life for their improvement, and that their rejoicing might be more abundant in Chrift; that whether he were present or absent from them, he might have the comfort to hear of their good behaviour; for this only he defired of them, and this was only expected of them from their profeffion, that they would let their converfation be as becometh the gospel of Chrift.
The Greek word which is here tranf
lated, let your converfation, fignifies strictly, the behaving as citizens, who live according