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iity, and are Christians without the Spirit of Christianity.
Let them remember that Religion is to alter our Nature, that Christian Piety consists in a Change of Heart, that it implies a new Turn of Spirit, a spiritual Death, a spiritual Life, a dying to the World, and a Living wholly unto God. SECONDLY, This Doctrine may
serve to instruct those who have liv’d Strangers to Religion, what they are to do to be come true Christians.
Some People who are ashamed of the Folly of their Lives, and begin to look towards Religion, think they have done enough, when they either alter the outward Course of their Lives, abate some of their Extravagancies, or become careful of some particular Virtue.
Thus a Man, whose Life has been a Course of Folly, thinks he has made a fufficient Change, by becoming temperate. Another imagines he has sufficiently declar'd for Religion, by not neglecting the publick Worship as he used to do. A Lady fancies that she lives enough to God, because she has left of Plays and Paint, and lives more at home, than in the former Part of her Life.
But such People should consider, that Religion is no one particular Virtue; that
it does not consist in the Fewness of our Vices, or in any particular Amendment of our Lives, but in such a thorough Change of Heart, as makes Piety and Holiness the Measure and Rule of all our Tempers.
I I is a miserable Error to be content with our selves, because we are less vain, or covetous, more sober, and decent in our Behaviour, than we used to be ; yet this is the State of many People, who think they have sufficiently reform’d their Lives, because they are in fome Degree different from what they were. They think it enough to be changed from what they were, without considering how thorough a Change Religion requires.
But let such People remember, that they who thus measure themselves by themselves are not wise. Let them remember that they are not Disciples of Christ, till they have like him offered their whole Body and Soul as a reasonable and lively Sacrifice unto God; that they are not Members of Christ's mystical Body, till they are united unto him by a new Spirit ; that they have not enter'd into the Kingdom of God, till they have enter'd with an infant Simplicity of Heart, till they are so born again as not to commit Sin, so full of an heavenly Spirit, as to have overcome the World.
NOTHING less than this great Change of Heart and Mind can give any one any
Assurance, that he is truly turn’d to God. There is but this one Term of Salvation, He that is in Christ, is a new Creature. How insignificant all other Attainments are, is sufficiently shewn in the following Words: Many will say to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we nut prophesied in thy Name? And in thy Name have cast out Devils ? And in thy Name have done many wonderful Works? And then will I profess into them, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work Iniquity (a).
So that there is no Religion that will stand us in any stead, but that which is the Conversion of the Heart to God; when all our Tempers are Tempers of Piety, springing from a Soul that is born again of the Spirit, that tends with one full Bent to a Perfection and Happiness in the Enjoyment of God.
Let us therefore look carefully to our selves, and consider what manner of Spirit we are of; let us not think our Condition safe, because we are of this or that Church or Communion, or because we are strict Observers of the external Ofices of Religion, for these are Marks that belong to more than belong to Christ. All are
(2) Matth. vii. 22.
not his, that prophesy or even work Miracles in his Name, much less those, who with worldly Minds and corrupt Hearts are only baptiz'd in his Name.
If Religion has rais'd us into a new World, if it has fill'd us with new Ends of Life, if it has taken Possession of our Hearts, and alter'd the whole Turn of our Minds, if it has chang'd all our Ideas of Things, given us a new Set of Hopes and Fears, and taught us to live by the Realities of an invisible World, then may we humbly hope, that we are true Followers of the Holy Jesus, and such as may rejoyce in the Day of Christ, that we have neither run in vain, nor labour'd in vain.
Christianity requireth a Renuncia
tion of the World, and all worldly Tempers.
HE Christian Religion being to raise a new, spiritual, and as yet invisible World, and to place
Man in a certain Order amongst Thrones, Principalities, and spiritual Beings, is at entire Enmity with this present, corrupt State of Flesh and Blood.
IT ranks the present World along with the Flesh and the Devil, as an equal Enemy to those glorious Ends, and that Perfection of human Nature, which our Redemption proposes.
IT pleased the Wisdom of God to indulge the Jews in worldly Hopes and Fears.
I T was then said, Therefore shall ye keep all the Commandments, which I command you this Day, that ye may be strong, and