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Religion; they have large Families to pro- SERM. vide for, and it is as much as they can
XVII, do, to get Things necessary for the Šuster nance of Life ; or that they have painful and laborious Callings, which take
up most of their Time and Thoughts. To whom I answer, That the Business of our Callings is an Act of Religion, and God is as well pleased with a Man that is honestly discharging his Duty, in that Station in which he has placed him, as if he were continually on his Knees, offering up Prayers and Hallelujahs ; but yet there is no Necessity our Minds should be so wholly taken
with the Cares of this Life, as to make us neglect God's Worship, and Providing for Souls ; for there is no Man engaged in so much Business, or under such pressing Circumstances, but he
find some Time in every Day to perform his Devotions, and, besides, may take other Opportunities; even in the Field, on the Exchange, or in his Shop, he may lift up his Heart to Heaven, and, in pious and fervent Ejaculations, acknowledge God's Goodness, and beg Supplies for his future Necessities. But, besides, there is one Day in the Seven set apart by public Authority for the Duties of Religion, when all worldly Business is forbid, and Men have
Serm. nothing else to do but to worship God, XVII. and to take Care of their immortal Souls,
And how unexcusable shall we be, if we neglect these Opportunities of serving God? If we break God's Sabbaths, and pollute his Sanctuary ; if we say of these New Moons, and Holy Days, i. e. those Times which are set apart for the public Worship of God, with those mentioned
by the Prophet, What a Weariness are Mal.i: 13.
they? How will such Men, as complain of the Want of Time, be amazed at the Last Day, when the Devil shall bring in his Indictment against them : So much Time spent unprofitably; so much in Dressing, Gaming, and Intemperance ; so many Lord's Days passed over in worldly Thoughts and Business? How soon this Day will come, none of us can tell ; and to what a Plunge would most of us be put, if we should presently be called to an Account?
Let me, therefore, beg of every one of you to examine his own Heart ; and, if we have done amiss, let us do so no more,
SE R M O N XVIII.
The Character of false Prophets.
MATT. vii. 15, 16. Beware of false Prophets, which come
to you in Sheeps-Cloathing, but in
wardly they are ravening Wolves. Ye shall know them by their Fruits.
HESE Words are Part of our SERM. Saviour's Sermon on the Mount, XVIII. in which he lays down many
plain and excellent Precepts, for the Leading of a Holy and Religious Life ; and after that gives them this Caveat, Beware of false Prophets, &c. He knew that, after he had left them, there would arise many false Prophets, who by their specious Pretences to Piety, their outward Sanctity, and seeming Holiness of Life,
SERM. should be able to seduce, if it were possible,
warns his Disciples of these Men, who are
falfe Prophets in the Text, are
meant false Teachers, for so the Word 1 Cor.xiv. Prophet is understood in the New Testa
ment ; and they are called false, because they vent false and erroneous Doctrines, and not only for want of a lawful Mission ; such was Barjesus, whom St. Luke calls Ψευδοπροφήτην, and thefe are diftinguilhed from falje Christs ; for the 21st Verse of this Chapter makes it evident, that these Words were designed for such false Teachers, as professed themselves the Disciples and Imitators of Christ, and yet perverted the Designs and the Precepts of his Gofpel; for they will be such as will call our Saviour Lord, Lord, and prophesy in his Name, and in his Name do many wondrous Works; and yet their Lord will command them to depart from him, because they are Workers of Iniquity.
Aas xiii. 6.
FROM the Words we may observe, SERM. I. That there will be false Prophets.
XVIII. II. The Character of these false Pro
phets. III. THE Means to discover to whom
these Characters belong. IV. ISHALL make some Inferences from
1. That there will be false Prophets. It is well known how great Influence Religion has upon the Actions of Mankind; it is that which is the first Mover, which manages and sets on Work all the Powers of the Body, and Faculties of the Soul : Temporal Rewards and Punishments may, perhaps, work effectually on some timorous Constitutions, and fright the Bold also into an outward Compliance, but can never reach the Heart and Conscience; they are like Conduit-pipes, which convey the Water they contain no higher, than the Source from whence they derived their Original. It is only the Belief of an omnipotent Being can cast a Dread upon our Minds in our most private Recesses, and not only bring our Words and Actions, but our Thoughts also into Subjection. And therefore as long as there are Men of cunning and designing Heads,