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cording to the religion of Jesus Christ, than he, that lives in gluttony and intemperance.
If a man were to tell Julius, that there is no occasion for so much constancy at prayers, and that he may, without any harm to himself, neglect the service of the church, as the generality of people do, Julius would think such a one to be no christian, and that he ought to avoid his company.
But if a person only tell him, that he may live, as the generality of the world do, that he may enjoy himself, as others, do, that he may spend his time and money, as people of fashion do, that he may conform to, the follies and frailties of the generality, and gratify his tempers and passions, as most people, do ; Julius never suspects that man to want a i christian spirit.
Yet if Julius were to read all the New Testament, from the beginning to the end, he would find his course of life condemned in every page. Indeed nothing can be imagined more absurd in itself, than wise, and sublime, and heavenly prayers, added to a life of vanity and folly, where neither labour nor diversions, neither time nor money, are under the direction of the wisdom and heavenly tempers of our prayers. If we were to see a man pretending
to act wholly with regard to God in every thing he did ; that would spend neither time nor money, nor take any labour nor diversion, but so far as he could act according to strict principles of reason and piety, and yet at the same time neglect all prayer, whether publick or private, should we not be amazed at such a man, and wonder how he could have so much folly along with so much religion ?
Yet this is as reasonable, as for any person to pretend to strictness in devotion, to be careful of observing times and places of prayer, and yet let the rest of his life, his time and labour, his talents and money, be disposed of, without any regard to strict rules of piety and devotion. For it is as great an absurdity to suppose holy prayers and divine petitions, without holiness of life suitable to them, as to suppose a holy and divine life without prayers.
The short of the matter is this, either reason and religion prescribe rules and ends to all the or. dinary actions of our life, or they do not. If they do, then it is as necessary to govern all our actions by those rules, as it is necessary to worship God. For if religion teach us any thing concerning eating and drinking, or spending our time and money ; if it teach us, how we are
to use and contemn the world ; if it tellus, what tempers we are to have in common life ; how we are to be disposed towards all people ; how we are to behave towards the sick, the poor, the old, and destitute ; if it tell us, whom we are to treat with a particular love, whom we are to regard with a particular esteem ; if it tell us, how we are to treat our enemies, and how we are to mortify and deny ourselves; he must be very weak, that can think, these parts of religion are not to be observed with as much exactness, as any doctrines, that relate to prayers.
If contempt of the world and heavenly affection be a necessary temper of christians, it is necessary, that this temper appear in the whole course of their lives, in their manner of using the world ; because it can have no place any where else.
If self-denial be a condition of salvation, all, that would be saved, must make it a part of their ordinary life. If humility be a christian duty, then the common life of a christian is to be a constant course of humility in all its kinds. If poverty of spirit be necessary, it must be the spirit and temper of every day of our lives. If we be to relieve the naked, the sick, and the prisoner; it must be the comnion charity of our
lives, as far as we can render ourselves able to perform it. If we be to love our enemies, we must make our common life a visible exercise and demonstration of that love. If content and thankfulness, if the patient bearing of evil, be duties to God, they are the duties of every day, and in every circumstance of our life. If we must be wise and holy, as the new-born sons of God, we can no otherwise be so, but by renouncing every thing, that is foolish and vain in every part of our common life. If we must be in Christ new creatures, we must show,tliat we are so, by having new ways of living in the world. If we be to follow Christ, it must be in our common way of spending every day.
Thus it is in all the virtues and holy tempers of christianity, they are not purs, unless they are the virtues and tempers of our ordinary life. So that christianity is so far from leaving us to live in the common ways of life, conforming to the folly of customs, and gratifying the passions and tempers, which the spirit of the world delights in; it is so far from indulging us in any of these things, that all its virtues, which it makes necessary to salvation, are only so many ways of living above, and contrary to the world, in all the common actions of our life. If our common
life be not a common course of humility, selfdenial, renunciation of the world, poverty of spirit, and heavenly affection, we do not live the lives of christians.
An inquiry into the reason, why 80 many fall short of the
holiness and devotion of christianity.
IT may now be reasonably inquired, how it comes to pass, that the lives of so many are strangely contrary to the principles of christianity. It is, because men have not so much as the intention to please God in all their actions.
We have chosen to explain this matter, by appealing to this intention, because it makes the case so plain, and because every one, that has a mind, may see it in the clearest light, and feel it in the strongest manner, only by looking into his own heart. For it is as easy for every person to know, whether he intend to please God in all his actions, as for any servant to know, whether this be bis intention towards his master. Every one also can as easily tell, how he lays