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ye would no longer be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. What objection can you have to so reasonable an exhortation ? I know of but one; and it would be as great a reflection upon your understanding as upon your piety; to suppose it will have any great weight with you.
It is the charge of preciseness and singularity-a charge that will do you real honour. Your Master endured it before you, and was nobly superior to it. Be ye therefore followers of him. And as he hath required you, at the peril of his displeasure, which you of all things dread, to deny yourselves and take up your cross a ; O! be obedient to the divine command. And, that you may the more easily combat the difficultics which lie in the way of your duty, let me further intreat you—to revolve seriously in your breasts the considerations that have been offered—to detach yourselves from all unnecessary connexions with the vain and thoughtless pårt of mankind—to make wise and good men your companionsto cry mightily to God for the seasonable restraints and influences of his grace—and to comfort yourselves with the animating prospect of that future happy world, where you, with all the excellent of the earth, shall see God, be like him, and enjoy him for ever.
a Matt. xvi. 24.
THE GREAT DUTY OF PROPAGATING THE TRUTH CON
SIDERED AND RECOMMENDED:
AT SALTER'S-HALL, APRIL 12th, 1776,
THE CORRESPONDING BOARD IN LONDON,
SOCIETY IN SCOTLAND
(INCORPORATED BY ROYAL CHARTER)
PROPAGATING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE IN THE HIGH-
THE GREAT DUTY OF PROPAGATING THE TRUTHÍ
CONSIDERED AND RECOMMENDED.
3 John, ver. 8.-We therefore ought to receive such, that we
might be fellow-helpers to the truth. It is very wonderful, considering the fair claim which the gospel hath to the character of truth, that any, who would be thought men of probity and understanding, should treat it as a cunningly devised fable. But it is still more wonderful, considering the infinite excellence and importance of the gospel, that any who admit it to be true, should yet give it but a cold and heartless reception. This is the sad character, I fear, of great multitudes among us. Some, however, there are, who, emancipated from the base and cruel dominion of prejudice and sin, receive the truth in the love of it, and cheerfully become fellowhelpers with other good men in the cause of virtue and religion.
Of this number, in the first age of Christianity, was Gaius, the person to whom the apostle John addresses this short epistle. He was a man of wealth, piety, and a public spirit. The prosperity of his soul was such, that the apostle makes it the measure of his earnest wish, in regard of his bodily health. Both he and his children walked in the truth, so that his house was dedicated to the service of God. And not only the brethren, but strangers also, bore witness of his charity before the church. No wonder, therefore, the venerable apostle, who himself excelled in charity, addresses him as the well-beloved Gaius. Among others, to whom this excellent man extended his charitable regards, were those especially who, for Christ's sake went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. For it was usual, in the first ages of Christianity, for missionaries to foreign parts, either to defray their own expences, or to have them borne by the church, lest they should be suspected by those to whom they preached of being influenced by mercenary views. Now, we ought, says the apostle in our text, to receive such; that is,
give them all the encouragement and assistance that lies in our power, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth.
The great business of spreading and promoting THE TRUTH in the world, with all the blessed advantages which result from it to individuals, and to society in general, is the object of this discourse. I propose, therefore,
First, To inquire what is here meant by THE TRUTH, and why it is so called;
Secondly, To shew how we may become HELPERS to it; And,
Thirdly, To persuade the friends and lovers of the truth, to apply themselves heartily to this great duty.
First, If it be inquired, What is meant here by TRUTH?
I answer, not truth in general; for this is a term applicable to an infinite number of historical facts, and doctrinal propositions, with which religion is no ways concerned; and yet truth in every matter ought to be regarded and maintained.
But by THE TRUTH here, as also in many other passages of Scripture, is meant the Gospel; that is, the sum of what the evangelists have reported concerning the person, character, actions, sufferings and glory of Christ; and the doctrine which our Saviour and his apostles have grounded upon these facts, namely, That God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life a ; and that God s in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them b. It is, in short, that wise and gracious constitution, whereby God assures believing and penitent sinners of pardon, acceptance and eternal life, through the merits and mediation of his own Son, promising them the seasonable and effectual influence of the Holy Spirit, to form and prepare them for the heavenly blessedness.- Now this gospel is, on several accounts, styled The
It is so described to express its Authenticity-Simplicity-and Importance.
First, It is authentic and divine.
That Jesus Christ came into the world to save sireners, is a faithful saying c. We have every evidence to produce in support of its truth, that can be reasonably desired. To the excela John iii. 16. b 2 Cor, v. 19.
cl Tim. i. 15.