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notwithstanding all the difficulties and discouragements, the opposition and persecution that we meet with for righteousness sake : For this we must expect and reckon upon before hand, to encounter many difficulties, and find many discouragements in the ways of religion ; for ftrait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, as our Lord himself hath told us. Nay, we must count to be grievously perfecuted for righteousness fake, and, if God fee it good for us, to pass through many tribulations, before we Thall enter into the kingdom of God; and therefore we had need to be armed with a great deal of patience, and a very firm and obstinate resolution, to enable us to bear up, and to hold out, againt all these ; for this is a necessary qualification for our seeking the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. So our Lord hath told us, Matth, x. 22. 'He ihat endureth to the end, fhall be saved; if we hope to receive the crown of life, we must be faithful to the death, Rev. ii. 10.

And to the same rpose St Paul declares, Rom. ii. 7. that they only shall be made partakers of eternal life, who by patient continuance in well-dsing seek for glory, and Lorour, and immortality.

You see what is meant by seeking the kingdom of God, and lis righteousness; it remains briefly to be shewn, in the 2d place, what is meant by seeking these first ; Seek g'e first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; that is, let this be your main and principal désign, fo as to take place of all others in your esteem and affections, in your aim and endeavour; in comparison of this, mind nothing else, not the comforts and conveniences, no, not the necessaries, of life, what je small eat, and what ye mall drink, and whereswithal je fall be clothed. These you see our Saviour instanceth in before the text, as not to be regarded sind taken care òf, when they come in competition with the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. And our Saviour tells us elsewhere, that not only none of the comforts and necessaries of life are to be valued against him and his religion, but that even this temporal life itself, as dear as it is to us, is to be parted yithal, and given up, rather than to quit the profef

sion of his truth and religion, Matth. x. 37. 38. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me ; and he that loveth son or daughter more tharz que, is not worthy of me. He instanceth in the nearest relations, those towards whom we have the moft tender and relenting affections; and yet he tells us, that the confideration of his truth and religion ought to take place of these; nay, even of life itself; for to it follows, and he that taketh not bis cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

St Luke er prefeth' it more strongly and vehemently, Luke xiv. 26. If any man coine to me, (that is, take upon him the profession of my religion), and hate 1:5t his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and fifters, yea, and lis own life alfo, le cannct be ny dif. ciple. When these come in competition with our religion, and the great interest of our eternal salvation, we are to regard and value them no more than if they were the objects of our hatred, but to set aside all confideration of affection to them, so far as it would tempe us from constancy in our religion, and the care of our souls.

So that when our Saviour bids us first to seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, his meaning is, that religion, and the concernments of our fouls, and the eternal happiness of them in another wcrld, should be our first and chief care; and that all other things should be made fubordinate and fubfervient to this great design, and be no farther minded by us, than they really are so : for that which is our great end, will subdue all other things, and bring them into fub. jection to it, and will reject them, and throw thein aside, if they be inccnfiltent with it. If heaven be our utmost aim, and in order to that, it be our great study and endeavour to be righteous and holy, this resolution and defign, fincerely entertained, will over-rule all other considerations, and make all the things of this world to stoop and give way to that which is our chief end, the eternal happiness and falvation of our fouls. And thus I have done with the second thing I proposed, namely, what is meant by


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seeking the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and what by seeking them first.

I proceed, in the ihird place, to lay down some plain rules for our direction and furtlierance in seeking the kingdom of God, and his rightcousness; that is, in the great business of religion.

Firi, Let us always live under a lively and powerful sense of another world; that we are placed here in this world but for a little while, and that wholly in order to our preparation for a better and a happier life. Let this thought be often in our minds, that eternity is the most considerable duration, and the next world the place of our everlasting abode, where we must dwell and continue for ever.; and therefore our present state is but of little moment and consideration to us, but only in order to our future and verlasting condition. We may please ourselves here for a little while with toys and trifles, with dreanis and shadows of pleasure and happiness, and may be exercised with some troubles and afflictions for a short space, for a morent, (as the Apofile calls it); our light afflictions, which are. but for a moment, and so indeed it is, compared with all eternity ; but the substantial and durable happiness or misery remain for men in the other world, and will certainly be their portion, according as they have demeaned themselves in this world.

Now the serious consideration of this cannot fail to put us upon vigorous preparations for another world, and to make us wholly intent upon our eteral concernments, and to resolve whatever becomes of us in this world, to take effectual care that we may be happy for ever. He that firmly believes the iminortality of his soul, ande a life after death, which. will never have an end, must needs take into confi. deration his whole duration, and bend all his care and thoughts, how he may avoid the greatest and most lasting misery, and secure to himself an immortality of bliss and happiness.

Secondly, Let us be always under a conviction of the absolute and indispenfable neceflity of holiness and righteousness, as the only way and means where


by the kingdom of God is to be attained ; and that holiness and happiness are not to be separated, the one being a necessary condition and qualification for the other; and consequently, that it is the vainest thing in the world for any man to hope to enter into the kingdom of God, without endeavouring after his righteousness. There is so strong a connection be. tween them, that a man may as reasonably expect to be well and at ease without health, as to be happy without holiness ; for this makes us like to God, and our likeness and conformity to God, is that alone which can make us capable of the bleffed sight and enjoyment of God. We must be partakers of a divine nature, in order to our participation of the divine blessedness. And the confideration of this will ef. fectually engage us to seek the rightesufness of God, without which we shall never enter into his kingdom ;.. and to follow holiness, without which no man mall fee: the Lord:

Thirdly, Let us always remember that righteousness is of a great extent, and comprehends in it all goodness; it takes in all the duties of religion, and the practice of all of them: it is a complication of all graces and virtues, of all the parts and ingredients, of all the duties and offices, of a good man. To: denominate a man righteous, all causes must concur; all the effential principles and parts of religion and goodness muít meet together; knowledge and practice, faith and good works, right' opinions and real: virtues, an orthodox profession and a holy life, abstaining from fin and doing of righteousness, purity of heart and -unspotted manners, -godliness and honesty; the bridling of our tongue, and the government of our paffions, and above all things charity, which is the band of perfections

For righteousness is our conformity to the law of God, as unrighteousness and fin is the transgression of it. Now this, if it be real and sincere, will be uniform and universal, equally respecting all the laws of God, and every part of our known: duty; and will not content itself with an especial regard to one or two precepts of the law, though never fo considers.



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able, and then allow itself in the negleet and violation of the rest ; no, nor with the observation of the duties of one table of the law, if it overlook the o. ther; no, nor with obedience to ail the coinmand. inents of God, one cnly excepted. St James hath put

this very case, and determined it, that he that Fall keep the whole law, save only that he offend in one point, is guilty of all; that is, he is not fincere in his obedience to the rest : and therefore if we seek the: righteousness of God, our righteousness must be universal; as he that hath called us is holy, so muft we be. holy in all manner of conversation, in the tenor of our actions, and the whole course of our lives : and any one reigning fin and vice, any gross and notorious de. fect in the virtues of a good life, will spoil allour righ: ieousness, and will effectually thut us out of the kinge dom of heaven.

Fourthly, Let us wisely subordinate the several parts and duties of religion to one another, according to the intrinsical worth and value of them, that so we inay mind every part of religion in its due place, and according to the true nature and importance of it. Knowledge and faith are in order to practice, and a: good life; and fignify nothing unless they produce that. The means of religion, such as prayer and fasting, diligent reading and hearing the word of God, reverent and devout receiving of the blessed facrament, are of less account and value, than that. which is the end of all these, which is to make us inwardly and really good, and fruitful in all the works of righteousness, which by Jefus Christ are to the praise and glory of God. And therefore the means of religion which I have mentioned, are to be regarded and uled by us, in order to the attaining of these ends, without which they are mere formaliiy and hypocri. fy, and instead of finding acceptance with God, they are an abomination to him, and his soul bates them,

And fo.likewise the circumstances of religion are less considerable than the substantial means and instruments of it;, and therefore all rites and ceremo.. nies are in religion of less consideration, than the sub. {tance of God's worship, and ought always to be sub


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