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learning Arts and Sciences, in the Managery of our Trades and Employments; in a Word, in the Choice and in the Prosecution of every Design that is proposed to us. In all these Things, the great Enquiry is to be, What Good will they tend to ? How shall we be rendred more useful to the World, if our Designs and Endeavours, as to these Matters, do take Effect?
Let this be the great Rule by which we proceed in the Education of our Children and Relations, and the Provisions we make for them in the World. Let it be our first Care to possess them with a deep Sense of the Dua ty they owe to the Publick, and to furnish them with such Qualities, as will render them profitable Members of it, and to put them into such Professions and Employments, as may afford them fair Scope for the Exercise of those Qualities. If we thus provide for them, though we otherwise leave them never fó small an Estate, yet, with the Blessing of God, they have a good Portion.
Lastly, Let this Design of doing Good in. fluence our very Offices of Religion. When we make our Applications to the Throne of Grace, let us be sure to have the Publick always in mind; and even when we pray for ourfelves, let it be with this Design and Refolution, that as God in Mercy bestows upon us the Blessings and the Grace we pray for, we will employ them for the Good of others.
O that we would thus seriously concern ourselves in doing Good ! O that we would
once lay aside all our little selfish Deligns, and that Narrowness and Penuriousness of Spirit, with which most of us are bound up ; and with ardent Love and Charity, set our selves not to seek his own, but every Man another's, Cór. 10. Good, as the Apostle exhorteth.
Secondly, If the doing Good be so necessary a Duty, as hath been represented, what must we say of those Men that frame to themselves Models of Christianity, without putting this Duty into its Notion? There is a Sort of Christianity, which hath obtained in the World, that is made up of Faith and Knowledge of the Gospel-Mysteries, with. out any respect to Charity and Good-works. Nay, have we not heard of a sort of Chriftianity, the very Perfection of which, seems to consist in the disparaging this Duty of doing Good, as much as is possible ; crying it down as a Heathen Vertue, a poor blind Piece of Morality, a Thing that will no way further our Salvation; nay, so far from that, that it often proves a hindrance to it, by taking us off from that full Reliance and Recumbency that we ought to have on the Righteoufness of Jesus Christ only, in order to our Salvation?
But, o how contrary are these Doctrines, to the Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles How widely different a thing do they make Christianity to be from what it will appear if we take our Notions of it from their sermons and Practices ? Is it possible, that he that went about doing Good himself, made
18. Pet. 4.8.
it his Meat and Drink, the Business and Em.; ployment of his Life, should set so light by it in us that are his Followers?
Is it possible that they that so often call 1 Tim. 6. upon us to do Good, to be rich in good Works,
above all Things to have fervent Charity among 1 Cor. 13. ourselves, telling us, that all Faith is nothing, 2. 13. all Knowledge of Mysteries is nothing, all Gifts
of Prophecy and Miracles are nothing ; but that Charity is all in all. I say, Is it possible that they should think doing Good fo insignificant so unprofitable, nay, so dangerous a thing as these I spoke of do represent it?
But I need not farther reprove their Opinions, because, I hope, they find but few Patrons; but this seriously ought to be reproved among us, viz. that we do not generally lay that Stress upon this Duty we are speaking of, that we ought to do.
Many are ready enough, to acknowledge their Obligations to do Good, and count it a very commendable Thing, and a Work that God 'will bless them the better for ; yet they are loth to make it an essential Ingredient of their Religion ; they think they may be religious, and serve God without it. If they be but Sober in their Lives, and Just in their Dealings, and come to Church at the usual Times, they have Religion enough to carry them to Heaven; though in the mean Time they continue Covetous, and Hard, and Uncharitable, without Bowels of Pity and Compassion, and make no Use of their Wealth, or their Power and Interest, or their Parts
and Industry, or their other Talents comi mitted to them for the doing Good in the
Far be it from any Man to pretend to de termine what Vertues or Degrees of them are precisely necessary to Salvation, and what Vertues or Degrees of them a Man may
safely be without: But this is certain, that : Charity and doing Good are none of those
that can be spared. The Scripture hath every where declared these Qualities to be as necessary in order to our Salvation, as any Condition of the Gospel. Nay, if we will consult St. Matth. 25. where the Process of the General Judgment is described, we shall find these to be the great Points that at the Last Day Men shall be examined upon, and upon which the whole Case of their Eternal State will turn. So that if we take the Scripture for our Guide, these Men at last will be found to be much mistaken, and to have made a very false Judgment both of Religion and of their own Condition.
Thirdly, From what has been said about doing Good, we may gather wherein that Perfection of Christianity, which we are to aspire after, doth confift. It has been much disputed, which is the most perfect Life, To live in the World as other Men do; and, To serve God in following our Employments, and taking care of our Families, and doing good Offices to our Neighbours, and discharging all other Duties, that our relation to the Publick requires of us; or to retire from the
World, and to quit all fecular Concernments, and wholly to give up ourselves to Prayer and Meditation, and those other Exercises of Religion, properly fo called.
This latter kind of Life, is so magnified by the Romanists, in Comparison of the other, that it hath engrossed to itself the Name of Religious. None, among them, are thought worthy to be stiled Religious Persons, but those that Cloyster up themselves in a Monaftery. But whatever Excellence may be pretended in this Course of Life, it certainly falls much short of that, which is led in a Publick Way. He serves God beft, that is most Serviceable to his Generation. And no Prayers or Fafts, or Mortifications, arę near fo acceptable a Sacrifice to our Heavenly Father, as to do Good in our Lives.
It is true, to keep within Doors, and to attend our Devotions (though those that are in appearance most abstracted from the World, are not always the most devout Persons) I say, this kind of Life, is the most easy and the fafer. A Man is not then expoled so much to Temprations; he may with less Difficulty preserve his Innocence; but where is the Praise of such a Vertue? Vertue is then most Glorious, and shall be most Rewarded, when it meets with most Trials and Oppositions.
And as for the Bravery of Contemning the World and all the Pomps of it, which they fo magnify in this kind of Life ; alas! it is rather an effect of Pufillanimity and Love