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SERM. run well for some Time, we should at last XV. lose the Prize.

To this End there will nothing be of greater Use to us, than a constant and regular Course of Devotion both in public and in private. These are the Means which God has appointed to keep our Resolutions steady, and to kindle in our Hearts the Flames of an ardent Love both to God and Man, and a zealous Expression of it in Prayer and Thanksgiving : And if we make Use of these Means, attend God's Worship constantly, pray devoutly, hear attentively, meditate serioufly, and receive the Sacrament with the utmost Care and Application we are able; we shall find our spiritual Strength increased, our Corruptions mortified, our Passions more calm, our virtuous Habits more strong, and the Practice of Religion become more pleasant and easy to us.

If we set about this Work resolutely, and pursue it with a good and honest Heart, and a Christian Resolution, the Divine Grace and Afliftance will not be wanting, to render our Endeavours successful, and to make us sufficient Amends for our Labour,

Let us therefore give all Diligence to make our Calling and Election sure, and

Seek

seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and its Serm. Righteousness

, and let our chief and prin- XV. cipal Design be to accomplish that one Thing neceffary, the Salvation of our precious and immortal Souls.

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SERMON

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SER M ON

XVI.

Of Walking circumspectly.

EPHES. V. 15.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not

as Fools, but as wise.

T

SERM,

HE Design of this Epistle, and XVI.

particularly of these Words, which I have read to you, is to

direct the Ephesians how to behave themselves in those dangerous and perilous Times, when they were beset with Enemies on all sides, and lay under great Temptations to apoftatise from the Christian Religion; and either to return to their former Judaism or Heathenism; or else, if they did persevere in the true Faith, yet to render it useless and of none Effect by closing with the corrupt Glosses of some Heretics, who sprang up amongst them, and by leading loose and sensual Lives,

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in order to prevent both these, the Apostle SERM.
uses many cogent and powerful Arguments, XVI.
and lays down many excellent Precepts for
the Government of Men's Lives and Con-
versations. And, in the Words of the
Text, he exhorts them to be exceeding
cautious and

wary

in their Words and Actions, and to carry

themselves so prudently and circumspeetly, that they might neither wilfully expose themselves to those Dangers and Persecutions which threatened them from without, nor give Occasion of Offence to their Brethren by any undue and scandalous Compliances either in Matters of Faith or Practice; and, the more effectually to engage them to this, he uses this Argument, that by so doing they would approve themselves to be wise and prudent Persons; Men that were convinced not only of the Truth of the Christian Religion, and were willing to comply with its Precepts, but who understood the Extent and Latitude of their Christian Liberty, and knew how to put in Practice those prudential Rules which are laid down in the holy Gospel, in general Terms, and are left to every one's Discretion to adapt them to the different Circumstances of Time, Place, and Person, and such other accidental Emergencies : See then that ye VOL. II.

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walk

SERM. walk circumspectly, not as Fools, but as XVI. wil.

FROM which Words I shall endeavour more particularly, I. To explain what is meant by Walking

circumspectly. II. To lay down some Considerations to

engage us thus to walk. And, III. To lay down some Rules to direct

us in the Government of our Lives and Conyersations.

1. I AM to explain what is meant by Walking circumspectly.

This Phrase is a Metaphor taken from a Person who is walking on the Brink of a Precipice, who has no safe Path but that exactly before him, and, if he steps never so little aside, is in manifest Peril of losing his Life, and therefore has Need to be

very vigilant and careful : And with this agrees the Phrafe in the Original, Βλέπετε έν πως expo6ws WepStrateīTE : Which denotes to us, I. THAT

we live up to the Rules of Piety and Devotion, Justice and Honesty, of Temperance and Sobriety : That we perform our Duty to God, our Neighbour, and ourselyes, with, that Diligence, Carefulness, and Exactness

as

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