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before my Text. And for this Advice he gives two Reasons; one drawn from the Benefits which might come to both by thus living together; for, in all Probability, it might be a Means to bring over the Unbeliever, whether it was Husband or Wife, to the true Belief, and so save their Souls : The other is drawn from the Nature of Christianity in general, which is such, that it never made, nor doth make, any Altera, tion in the civil Relations or Callings of Mankind; but left Men, as to these things, in the fame Circumstances in which it found them; and therefore it was fit and reason, able that all Men should continue in that Calling, and that Condition, into which they were disposed by the Divine Providence at that Time when they were called to be Chriftians. And this is that which is represented in the Words of my Text, and the true Account of the Relation it hath to the foregoing Part of the Chapter. As God bath distributed to every Mar, as the Lord bath called every Man, so let him walk: That is, into what Condition or Lot foeyer a Man is put by the Providence of God, in what State or Function foever he was placed, when our Lord Jesus called him to be a Disciple, in that let him conținue, in that let him walk, even after his becoming a Christian, And this, says the Apostle, į do ordain, as a Rule to be observed, not only among you Corinthians, but in all other
Churches. And having laid down this ge-
stance or two more in the following Words; v.18. Is any Man called being circumcised? Let
him not become uncircumcised. Is any called
thou shalt be set free from the Power of Sin, and from the Consequence of it, eternal Death. Which is a far greater Privilege than any Manumislion from thy earthly Master can instate thee in.
This is the plain Meaning of St. Paul's Instances; which having laid down, he concludes this point with a Repetition of the general Exhortation that went before in my Text: Brethren, let every Man abide in the same Calling, wherein he is called, viz. let him continue in the same civil State of Life wherein he was when he first became a Chriftian.
Having thus given an Account of the Text, I observe these three Points from it, which I shall make the Heads of
I. God hath made various Distributions to Mankind; or, the Distribution of Mankind into various Conditions and Functions is from God.
II. The Christian Religion hath made no Change or Alteration as to Matters of civil Degrees or Callings; but hath left all Men, as to these things, in the same Posture and Station in which it found them.
III. Since the various Circumstances and Callings into which Men are disposed, are from God, no Man can be justified who lives in fuch a way, or follows' such a Course of Life, as cannot be suppofed to be of God's Distribucion.
The first of these Points is the Supposition or Foundation upon which the Text
The fecond is that which is dire&ly intended in it.
The third is a necessary Consequence from it.
I. God has made various Distributions unto Mankind; or, the Distribution of Mankind into various Conditions and Functions is from God. As God hath diftributed to every Man, fo let him walk. It is God who hath distributed. As he is the Parent of Mankind, so he is the Author of that Variety of Gifts and Faculties, of Powers and abilities, of Tempers and Fitnesses, which are to be seen among them: And also of all those several Ranks, Dei grees, and Stations, of all those several Callings, and Functions, and Employments, which must necessarily arise from that Vam riety. All Men are not made alike, nor framed with the same Inclinations, nor qualified for the fame Employments, nor fitted for the same Circumstances. And as variOus as are the Talents and Genius's of Mankind, no less various is the outward Lot and Condition into which they are dispofed.
And, And, in truth, the Necessities of Mankind in this World do absolutely require all this Variety. Without this Multitude of Distributions, and Degrees, and Callings, neither publick Societies could be maintained, nor the Good of particular Persons in any tolerable way attained or secured. This Truth St. Paul hath most elegantly set forth in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. 12. where he compares the Society of Christians to a national Body. There he shews, that as in the natural Body there are many Members, and all those Members have not the fame Dignity and Honour, nor the same Use and Office, and yet every Member, even the meanest, hath its particular Use, by which it doth real Service to the Body; nay, so useful it is, that the Body cannot be without it: So it is in every commonwealth or Body-politick, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil. There is 'a Necessity both in the Church and in the State, that there should be Variety of Functions, and Degrees, and Conditions. There must be some to govern, and some to be governed. There must be some more conspicuous, and some more obscure. Some for bodily Labour, others for Contemplation. Some whose Gifts lie this way, and others whose Talents lie the other way. And yet there is not one of these, but in his Degree and Station either is, or may be, as useful as any who belong to the Society; so that the 1 Cor. 12.