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diligent and thorough Search after Wisdom, SERM. and his utmoft Enquiry into every thing

II., that had even the Appearance of it, finding that nothing here below could satisfy the Mind of Man, pronounces Vanity and Vexation upon all his Experiments, and being at last assured that Religion afforded the only Means of obtaining Happiness, makes that the Sum of all our Duty; and thus concludes his whole Enquiry : Fear God, and keep his Commandments, for this is the whole Duty of Man.-----When the young Man asked our Saviour what he fhould do to inherit eternal Life, he did not turn him over to Arts and Sciences, and the Wisdom of this World, or bid him do what was not in his Power; but said, If thou wilt enter into Life, keep the Commandments. And when a certain Lawyer asked him the fame, Question, either to try his Knowledge, or improve his own, or to see whether he would teach any thing contrary to the Law of Mofes, he enjoins nothing contrary to That, but refers him to his own Rule; What is written in the Law ? How readest thou ? And he answered, Thou palt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Strength, and with all thy Mind, and"thy Neighbour as

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thyselfi

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SERM. thyself. Upon which our Saviour did not II. say this was not sufficient, or that Matters

of a speculative Nature were more necessary to Salvation, but said, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou Malt live. And indeed 'tis very consistent with the Nature of an all-wise and good Being, who would that all Men should be saved, to make the Way to Happiness plain and easy; and since eternal Happiness is a Matter of infinite Concernment, and not confined to a few who have more Learning, and greater A bilities than others, but that the Learned and Unlearned, Bond and Free, are all to be saved through the Mediation of Jesus Christ, if they will make use of proper Means, 'tis but reasonable to suppose that those Means should be such as are fuitable to every Man's Capacity, and such likewise as will never fail of obtaining their End.--

Since then the Fear of the Lord, or a religious Life, is the only true Wisdom, what remains but that we endeavour to obtain it by a suitable Behaviour and Conversation in every Action of our Lives? And indeed there seems to be less Need of any great Persuasion in this Matter, because there are few but are willing and forward enough to be thought wife, even at the Expence of

their

their Modesty, and therefore to be really SERM fo one would think should be much more

II. desirable, especially if we consider, that this is not the Wisdom that makes us wise only for a Day or a Year, but for ever; and tho' it be true that Tongues Mall cease, Prophecies fail, and Knowledge be done away, yet the Wisdom of Religion shall never fail us, because it leads us to a Place where nothing shall cease or be done away.----When a Man gains his End by proper Means, however trifling that End is when obtained, he is esteemed wise; how much wiser then must he be, who has obtained an End of the greatest Concernment in the World, even the Salvation of his Soul. And since People generally spare no Pains to obtain what, after all, is little else but Vanity and Sorrow, and hardly worth the Labour that is bestowed upon it; if they would but act in an equitable Manner, as in other Cafes, they would use the greatest Pains and Industry about that which is of the greatest Moment: That, upon which a whole Eternity depends, certainly requires our utmost Care and Concern : And they have no Right to make use of any Argument with relation to the Difficulty of the Task, who have not at least taken the fame Pains about it as E 2

they

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SERM. they have in other Cafes, to obtain any
II.

other good Ęnd. In short, a rational Crea-
ture should act as such, and as Religion is
undoubtedly his greatest Business, so should
it be likewise his greatest Care. 'Tis true,
it is not expected of a Horse or a Mule, that
have no Understanding, to be religious ;
but Man, who has a reasonable Mind, must
act contrary to his Nature if he is not so ;
such a one can never contradi& Religion,
till he has first acted contrary to his Reason,
and offer'd manifest Violence to his Under-
standing.-----And we may add to this like-
wise, that we profess ourselves to be Chri-
ftians, and if so, we don't act at all con
sistently, if we are not Men of Religion ;
for however a lewd, dissolute Life may fuit
with a Mahometan Scheme of Religion,
yet for a Christian to live so, who has en-
gag’d to keep God's Commandments, and
to walk in the same all the Days of his
Life, is the oddest Thing in the World ; ?tis
going against Nature and Principle both,
and destroying the Notions we have of Right
and Wrong. But if, after all, People will
fiill go on in a vicious Way of Living, and
yet nevertheless expect to be happy, tho?
they don't concern themselves at all about
Religion, which (as has been shewn) is the

only

only Means of obtaining it, it lies upon SER M. them to shew where Happiness is promised II. without it.------Since then a godly and religious Life is so necessary and becoming in every one who has a future Happiness to. securé; 'tis much more so in those who are called to any holy Function, because they have stronger Obligations to it than other Men have. They who. give Rules to others, must surely be fupposed to practise them themselves, if they think to instruct with Success, and be living Examples of every. Precept they teach others; for People will then only be convinced that we deal equitably with them, when we require no more of them than what we ourselves do constant, ly perform.

To conclude. A good Life is the Sum of the whole Christian Philosophy ; and every thing else is to be valued more or less, according as it has more or less Tendency to it: And whatever Fancies People may set up in the Room of it, which

may

be always Master of Dispute, and become Demonstration in one Age, and Nonsense' in another ; `yet, as long as the Word of God has any Influence or Authority with Men, the Fear of the Lord will always be Wisdom, and to depart from Evil Understanding.-

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