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SERMON VIII.
Of imitating the Holiness of

GOD.

1 Pet. i. 15, 16.
But as he which hath called youl, is

Holy ; to be ye Holy, in all man-
ner of Conversation; Because it
is written, Be ye holy, for I am
boly.

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OTWITHSTANDING the natu-Serm.

ral Proneness of Mankind to VIII.
Superstition; and the strong
Bent which is in all cor-

rupt Minds to endeavour to
make amends, by formal and external

Services,

M 4

SER M. Şeryices, for the want of true Virtue and VIII. Holiness of Life; yet even in the Heathen

World itself, under the bare Light of Nature alone, the best and wifest men were sensible of this great Truth, that the most acceptable Service which could be paid to God, was to indeavour to become like him by a righteous Temper and Disposition of Mind. The Revelation which God has been pleased to make to us of himfelf in Scripture, does every where confirm this Noțion; and almost the whole Design, both of the Antient Prophets under the Law, and of all our Saviour's Difcourses in the Gospel, is to establish the fame Doctrine: As be which hath called you, is Holy; so be Ye Holy, in all manner of Conversation. In the following Difcourse upon which words, I shall ist briefly set forth the Obligations we are under to imitate the God whom we worship. 2dly, I shall consider the true Extent, and proper Limitations of This Duty. And 3dly, I shall draw some useful Observations from the whole.

IN, I SHALL briefly set forth the Obligations we are under, to imitate the God whom we worship. The Difference of

moral

un

moral Good and Evil, is, in the nature of S e Rm.

VIII. things, eternally, essentially, and changeably necessary. Just as Light and Darkness are of necessity always contrary to each other, and can by no Power be made to be the same.

With regard to this necessary and unalterable difference of Good and Evil ; the Will of God, who can never be imposed upon by any Errour, is constantly and invariably determined to do always what in the whole is best and fittest to be done, according to the everlasting Rules of Justice, Equity, Goodness and Truth. This is the Ground and Foundation of all God's own Actions in the Government of the Universe. Now the same intrinsick Excel lency of Right and Good, which always determines the Will of God Himself, ought also in Proportion to govern the Actions of all other rational Beings likewise, according to the degree of their Knowledge of what is right, and of their Power to perform it.

That is to say; All rational and intelligent Beings are, by the Law of their Nature, obliged to indeavour to become in their several degrees and proportions like unto Him, whọ a

lone

VIII. ing.

Serm.lone is Perfeet Reason and Understand

This is an original Obligation, founded in Nature itself, requiring us to imitate what it necessitates us to admire. And this Obligation is confirmed by the same Light of Reason, teaching us further, that Imitation of God, as ’tis most fit in itself, so it cannot but be likewise most acceptable unto Him, and agreeable to his Will. For the same absolute Perfection of the Divine Nature, which makes us certain that God must Himself be of Necessity infinitely Holy, Just and Good; makes it equally certain that he cannot possibly approve Iniquity in Others : And the fame Beauty, the same Excellency, the fame Weight and Importance of the Rules of everlasting Righteousness, with regard to which God is always pleased to make those Rules the Measure of all his own Actions, necessarily prove, that it must likewise be his Will, that all rational Creatures should proportionably make them the Measure of Theirs. mong Men, there is no Earthly Father, but in those things which he esteems his own Excellencies, desires and expects to be imitated by his children. How much

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