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where our Saviour is gone to prepare a Place for us.
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, three Perfons and One God, be all Honour and Glory, Power and Dominion henceforth and for evermore.
PHILIP. I. 27.
Only let your Converfation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ.
N the context St. Paul lays before the Philippians fome observations, relating to Himself and his Ministry in the Propagation of the Gospel: And in the words of the Text, he turns the Prospect upon a Point more nearly concerning Them and the Bleffed effects of the Gofpel upon them; leading off their Minds, from the Thoughts of Himself, into the confideration of their own Duty, under an Exhortation fo very Full, though very Short, that whofoever shall diligent
J SERMON XI. 385 ly attend to and Faithfully observe it, will effectually adorn and Finish the Character of a Chriftian: Only let your Converfation be, as it becometh the Gospel of Chrift. In difcourfing on these words I fhall
I. First, Endeavour to fhew, what is to be understood by Converfation becoming the Gospel of Chrift; And
II. Secondly, I fhall propose fome Directions to be obferved, as Means of accomplishing fuch a Conversation.
I. I fhall endeavour to fhew, what is to be understood by Converfation becoming the Gospel of Chrift. And in order thereunto, it should be observed that, in Holy Scripture, the Chriftian Society is fometimes ftyled a City,* and a Kingdom; + And the Members of this Society, or, the Subjects of Chrift's Spiritual Kingdom are styled Fellow Citizens with the Saints. Agreeably to this Allusion, the Original word (πολίεύεσθε) which we tranflate, let your Converfation be, is a Metaphorical expreffion, taken from the
* Hebr. xii. 22. ↑ Colof. i. 13. Eph. ii. 19.
State and Condition of Citizens, or, Members of a Civil Community, denoting a Behaviour fuitable to all the Laws and Customs of the City, or Community, to which they belong. And therefore, according to the just meaning of the expreffion in the Text, Converfation becoming the Gospel of Chrift does not relate to our Words and Actions only, (as the Tranflation may seem to import) but fignifies our Conformity to all the Laws and Injunctions affigned in the Gospel; or a faithful Discharge of all the Duties incumbent upon us, as We are Subjects of Christ's Kingdom, and Therefore obliged to conduct our felves according to the Rules of Polity established in that Kingdom, the positive Institutions of the Gospel.
Since then the Gofpel gives Laws to our Souls, as well as to our Bodies, and as plainly requires us to Believe the Truths therein Revealed, as to Obey the rules of Practice therein prescribed; And fince Converfation becoming the Gospel of Chrift does, according to the juft Interpretation of the expreffion, fignify our Conformity
ty to all the Laws given in the Gospel; Hence it follows, that fuch a Converfation implies in it thefe two general Heads of Christian Duty, Faith and Obedience. And 'tis obfervable, that in the Distribution of Religion "into thefe two general Heads of it, Obedience is to be understood, as relating purely to Practice; for, otherwife, the Diftinction would not stand good, because Faith it felf, as I fhall have further occafion to observe, Below, may justly be ftyled Obedience, as Obedience, in it's Abstracted and Extensive fignification, denotes the Obfervance of any Command whatfoever.
ift, The First thing incumbent upon us, is Faith, or, a firm and ftedfaft Belief of the Truths revealed in the Gospel. For thus we are taught by our Bleffed Saviour, in the firft Demand which he made upon Mankind, at his entrance upon his Prophetical Office: * The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and Believe the Gofpel. And the Indifpen
Mark. i. 15.