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SERMON III.

PAGE

Acrs, x. 40, 41. - · Him God raised up the third day, and

showed him openly; not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before of God

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SERMON IV.

Acts, X. 40, 41. Him God raised up the third day, and

showed him openly; not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before of God

. 357

FIVE SERMONS.

SERMON I.

Psalm xcvii. 7. — Worship him all ye gods

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SERMON II.

Romans, iv. 25. – Who was delivered for our offences,

and was raised again for our justification

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SERMON III.

MATTHEW, xx. 23. To sit on my right hand and my

left is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father

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SERMON IV.

EPHESIANS, iv. 30. — And grieve not the Holy Spirit of

God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption

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SERMON V.

EPHESIANS, iv. 30. — And grieve not the Holy Spirit of

God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption

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S ER MON XXVIII.

PHILIPPIANS, iii. 15.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus

minded ; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

The perfection of the Christian character, as may be collected from the apostle's description of his own feelings and his own practice, consists, it seems, in an earnest desire of perpetual progress and improvement in the practical habits of a good and holy life. When the apostle speaks of this as the highest of his own attainments, he speaks of it as the governing principle of his whole life ; and the perfective quality that he ascribes to it seems to consist in these three properties, that it is boundless in its energy, disinterested in its object, and yet rational in its origin. That these are the properties which make this desire of proficiency truly perfective of the Christian character, I shall now attempt to prove: and, for this purpose, it will be necessary to enquire what man's proper goodness is; and to take a view of man, both in his first state of natural innocence, and in his actual state of redemption from the ruin of his fall.

Absolute perfection in moral goodness, no less than in knowledge and power, belongs incommunicably to

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God; for this reason, that goodness in the Deity only is original : in the creature, to whatever degree it

may be carried, it is derived. If man hath a just discernment of what is good, to whatever degree of quickness it may be improved, it is originally founded on certain first principles of intuitive knowledge which the created mind receives from God. If he hath the will to perform it, it is the consequence of a connection which the Creator hath established between the decisions of the judgment and the effort of the will; and for this truth of judgment and this rectitude of the original bias of the will, in whatever perfection he may possess them as natural endowments, he deserves no praise, any otherwise than as a statue or a picture may deserve praise ; in which, what is really praised is not the marble nor the canvass, — not the elegance of the figure nor the richness of the colouring, — but the invention and execution of the artist. This, however, properly considered, is no imperfection in man ; seeing it belongs by necescessity to the condition of a creature.

The thing made can be originally nothing but what the maker makes it ; therefore the created mind can have no original knowledge but what the Maker hath infused, — no original propensities but such as are the necessary result of the established harmony and order of its faculties. A creature, therefore, in whatever degree of excellence it be supposed to be created, cannot originally have any merit of its own; for merit must arise from voluntary actions, and cannot be a natural endowment ; and it is owing to a wonderful contrivance of the beneficent Creator, in the fabric of the rational mind, that created beings are capable of attaining to any thing of moral excellence, – that

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