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SERM. Song which even the Angels themselves XIV. cannot fing: Unto him that bath loved us

and washed us from our Sins, and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God bis Father, to him be Glory and Dominion for over and ever Amen.

SERMON

SE R M ON

XV.

The strait Gate.

I

Luke xiii. 24.
Strive to enter in at the strait Gate : For

many, I say unto you, will seek to
enter in, and shall not be able.
T is a wonderful and amazing Thing SERM.
to consider that, amongst those Mul- XV.
tudes who make Profession of the m

Christian Religion, there are so very few who are the true Disciples and Followers of the holy Jesus, who submit to his Laws here, or have any rational Hopes of obtaining those Rewards which he has proposed, and of being eternally happy hereafter. And yet thus it is, for our blessed Saviour has told us, that his Flock is a very little one ; and that strait is the Gate, and Matth. vil, narrow is the Way which leadeth unto Life, Vol. II. ZA

and

14

SERM. and few there be that find it. That is, few
XV. in Comparison with those who shall miss of

it; who enter in at the wide Gate of Sin,
and take the broad Way that leads to De-
struction. And therefore we are advised in
the Words of the Text, to strive to enter
in at the strait Gate : For many, I say unto
you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be
able. From which Words I shall make it
my Business to Thew,

1. THAT the Obtaining the Favour of

God here, and the comfortable Hopes
of being happy hereafter, is a work of
Difficulty that requires our útmost Pains
and Industry : We must strive to enter

in at this straight Gate.
II. I SHALL shew wherein the great Dif-

ficulty doth confift.
III. THAT all those Difficulties may be

conquered by any one, who will but
make Use of those Means which God has

appointed.
IV. ISHALL enquire into the Reason why
fo
many

Persons miscarry; and why
their Endeavours prove

ineffectual.
And,
V. I SHALL lay down fome Inferences

naturally arising from the Confideration
of the Premises.

H

Í. The Obtaining the Favour of God ŠERM. in this world, and eternal Happiness in XV. the next, is a work of Difficulty, that requires our utmost Pains and Industry. We must strive to enter in at this strait Gate. The Word in the Original, which is here rendered strive, is dywviCeode, which denotes that, to effect this difficult Talk, there is required the greatest Intention of Mind and Application of ourselves to it imaginable ; that we must so strive as those Combatants did, who contended in the Olympic Games for the Prize, either by Running, or Fighting, or Wrestling; this is signified likewise to us by those Commands of Working out our Salvation with Fear and Phil. ii. Trembling ; of Taking Heaven by Force ; Matthxi. Words which imply the great Care, Diligence, and Difficulty which is to be passed through in the Performance of this Work. Now since those Things, which are required of a Christian, may be reduced to these three Heads :

First, To understand the Principles of Religion, to know what those Truths are which our Saviour has revealed to us in his Holy Gospel;

Secordly, To yield our full Assent to

I 2,

them;

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SERM. And thirdly, To govern our Lives and XV. Conversations according to those Rules

which he has laid down, and those Laws which he has enacted; it is evident that the Difficulty doth not lie in the first and second of these, but only in the third. For,

1. It is no difficult Matter to understand the fundamental Articles of the Christian Religion, I mean these which are absolutely necessary to Salvation, because some of them are evident by the Light of Nature, most of them may be deduced from natural Principles by the Use of our Reason, and all of them are laid down in the Holy Writ as plainly as Words can express them, and are so clearly revealed to us, that they leave every one without Ex

and hence the Gospel of Christ is called Light, because it made such clear Discoveries of God's Will to Mankind, it was first preached and propagated by Mechanics and poor Fishermen;

it is true they were in an extraordinary Manner inspired by the Gifts of the Holy Ghost; but this was chiefly in order to the Working Miracles, for the Confirmation of their Doctrine and even the Gift of Tongues seems to be limited to particular Şeasons, when they were to speak to Men

of

cuse ;

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