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Soul's Health ; whatever he there reads he may, thro' God's Grace, so profitably learn, and so acceptably perform, as to have his Fruit unto present Holiness, and the End everlasting Life, through Yesus
PHILIPPIANS iv. 4. Rejoice in the Lord always ; and again, I
GO T is a wonderful Advan
S tage in our most Holy ReFech 1102 ligion, that it fan&ifies the
whole Man, an S U Turn of Piety to the most natural and indifferent Circumstances of Life : If we do but keep God's Glory in View, and make that in general the End of our Adions; whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are constantly en.
gaged in the Divine Service ; and our whole Life will afcend up to Heaven, as a Sacrifice of a sweet-fmelling Savour.
There is not a Passion of the Soul, a Temper of Mind, cr Function of Body, which may not be improved into a Duty, and consequently which may not promote our eternal Happiness : And such is the Power of the Gospel ; that those, which to an irregenerate Man, are only Tempers and Habits, do, by the blessed Influences of the Holy Spirit upon him who is a new Creature, become Christian Virtues and Graces. Faith, Hope and Charity, e.g. simply considered in themselves, are the one, an Habit of the Understanding, the other two, Passions of the Soul : But when refined and exalted under the Gospel, directed to proper Objects, and regulated by Religious Views, they pass into the three Virtues, which are, by way of Emi. nence, call’d the Theological Virtues, and make up the three moft necessary and Di. vine Graces of a Christian Life.
Thus it is, that Religion does not des stroy Nature, but exalts it ; does not alter Mens Faculties, but improves them :
It is even Nature itself cultivated by right Reason, restored and purified by Gospel. Grace. Nature prompts us to pursue our Happiness in general; Religion binds it upon us as a Duty, to pursue that particular sort of Happiness, which it is Man's highest Interest to aspire after : Nature necessarily breaks forth into soy, when its Pursuits after Happiness meet with Success; Religion commands us to make God the Object, as of our Happiness, fo of our soy; Rejoice in the Lord, faith the Apostle : Nature seems always ready to fall in with fo delectable a Passion, but is much at a loss for Matter to exercise it upon ; Religion proposes God to us, as a never-failing Source of substantial Rejoicings : Rejoice in the Lord always, faith the Apostle, and again, I say, rejoice.
This Precept was given to the Philippians at a Time, when the Church of · God laboured under Persecution. And
if in the Midst of Dangers and Difficulties, we are commanded to possess our Souls of the calm Composure of secure Innocence : If in the Midst of worldly Vol. I.
Calamities, it be our Duty to rejoice, and Religion be able to furnish out Matter for our continual Rejoicings; How much more does it become our Duty, how much more ready ought we to be, to exercise this delightful Passion, when such Trials and Calamities are removed far from us ; when no other Difficulties and Afflictions fall upon us, than what are common to Man ?
IT shall be the Business of this Difcourse, to set forth and inculcate the Precept now before us, by considering,
I. WHAT that Rejoicing in the Lord
is, which we are here commanded
ble of performing it.
1. Then let us consider, what that Rejoicing in the Lord is, which we are here commanded to exercise.
It is the being of a regular Evenness of Temper ; a chearful Frame of Spirit ;