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Serm. judicial it is to our Welfare both in this
VIII. World and the next; and that all the w Gain, Honours, and Pleasures of this
World are not to be put in Competition with the Loss of our precious Souls ? Are we sensible of God's infinite Love and
Compassion to us, in that he is not ready 2 Pet. ii. to mark when we have done amiss, but
long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all Men Should come to Repentance, and so obtain everlasting Life? That it is from his wonderful Mercy and Compassion, that we are not cut off in the Midst of those Acts of damning Sin which we are guilty of; that he gives us more Time, and more Opportunities and Invitations to repent and make our Peace with him?
And Lastly, Hasthe Examination of ourfelves had a present Influence upon our Lives and Conversations? Do we not only resolve to repent, but do we set about it presently? Do we not only resolve frequently to practise religious Duties, but do we actually apply ourselves to them? Do we pray to God constantly in private? Do we bid adieu to our best beloved Sins ? Do we forgive our Enemies, and do to our Neighbour all the Good we are able, both in Word and Deed ? Are we diligent and
industrious industrious in our Callings? Is our Dif-SERM. course such as becomes the Purity of the VIII. Gospel? Do we put in Practice all Chriftian Virtues ? And do we resolve to persevere in the Practice of them as long as we live? If we do thus, then we have duly prepared ourselves for this Table of the Lord ; then we shall receive the holy Elements with Comfort, and, to our unspeakable Satisfaction, partake of the Benefits of his Death and Passion; to whom, with the Father and Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory for evermore,
· ACTs xxiv. 16. And herein do I exercise myself, to have
always a Conscience void of Offence toward God and toward Men.
Serm. Y N the Beginning of this Chapter, IX.
we find St. Paul accused before Felix s o the Governor, by Tertullus a mer
cenary Orator, in the Behalf of the Jews: The Crimes which were objected against him were Faction and Sedition ; that he endeavoured to stir up the Jews to shake off the Roman Yoke; which was a Crime of the highest Nature, and a Point which touched the Roman Governor to the Quick; there being nothing he was more jealous of, and more desirous to pre
vent, than an Insurrection amongst the SERM.,
Fews. St. Paul has Liberty given him to IX. answer for himself; and he doih it by deny- o ing that he was guilty of those Crimes Ver. 16. which they basely and falsely laid to his Charge, Neither can they prove (says he) Ver. 13. the Things whereof they now accuse me ; and then he goes on to Thew the true Reason why the Jews brought this malicious Accusation against him, because he was a Preacher of that Doctrine professed by the Nazarenes, which, as he presently subjoins, was agreeable to the Law of Moses, and to the Writings of the Prophets ; and particularly, that he believed and taught the Resurrection of the Dead, a Doctrine acknowledged to be true, by all the Jews, except the Saducees; and which had a very great Influence upon the Lives and Conversations of those who believed it; for it was upon this Account, and for this Reason, i, ē. because he believed a future Life, and eternal Rewards and Punishments, that the Apostle exercised himself in having always a Conscience void of Offence, both toward God, and toward Men. In my Discourse upon these Words, I shall proceed after this following Method.
m eant by Conscience.
toward God and toward Men.
ing a Conscience void of Offence. And, IV. I SHALL conclude with some Direc
tions for the better Performance of this Duty.
. 1. WHAT is here meant by Conscience.
And here it is to be noted, that this Word is not to be found in the Old Testament, but is expressed, in the Hebrew, by two
Words, one of which fignifies the Spirit, Prov. iv. the other the Heart: Keep thy Heart with 23. all Diligence, i. e. Keep thy Conscience. Prov. The Spirit of a Man will sustain his Infirxviii, 14. mity ; but a wounded Spirit who can bear ? . And, in the New Testament which a
bounds with Hebraisms, the Heart is put i Joh. iii. for the Conscience, If our Heart con
demn us not, i. e. our Conscience ; the Greek Word, Euvísdness, and the Latin, Confcientia (from whence our English Word Conscience is derived) import the fame Thing, and signify, conjunéta multorum Scientia, and may denote, either First, that several distinct Persons know, or are