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has Walked so as to be able to appear at that great Day with Confidence, and lift up his Head with joy before that dreadful Tribunal, has walked moft Surely..
But some may say, it may admit of some doubt whether these Principles are True or no. And indeed if we were to judge of the Opinions of Men by their Lives; we should be apt to conclude that very few are enough persuaded of them. If the general Corruption of manners, every where too visible, proceed, not rather from a willful neglect of regarding and duly considering these important Truths, than from any Diffidence of them upon due Examination. But however let us grant this, that They are Doubtfull, which is a very large Concession and more than Reason will compel us, nay allow us, but for Arguments sake, to grant. Let us yield, that the first Inbred Notions of our Minds concerning the Reasonableness and Congruity of these things, the Voice of our own Consciences, the Universal consent of the best and wiseft, the simplest and meanest of all Countreys, of all Ages, of all Professions, the dayly Dispensations of Providence, the constant Works of Nature, and the frequent Works against Nature, in fine all that Light which was enough in St Paul's Judgment to leave the Heathen World without Excuse; let us I say allow
that all these together, which is very hard to conceive, have yet left doubtful the being of a Just God, who shall judge the World. Let this greatest and most weighty Truth, which the meer Natural Man may be strongly convinc'd of by Reason, but which the Christian is moft entirely and fully assur'd of by Faith be suppos’d only Probable, or if the Infidel pleases barely Possible, yet even upon this supposition it will evidently appear ,
that the Upright walker, the constant Practicer of Virtue and Piety, has taken by much the furer Path than the Wicked. * Nay farther, let us fuppose all that the most Atheistịcal Person can defire, even that which his Predeceffors of old in the second Chap. of Wisdom laid down for their principle, That we are born at all ad- ventures, and that we shall be bereafter as tho we had never been: Yet even this suppos’d, I can't see, but the Righteous Man, if all things be truly weighed, in the common and usual Course of things has much the better of the Wicked and prophane Liver.
I might instance in most of the Temporal Blessings and concerns of Human Life; such as Ease, Health, Reputation, and the like; and shew from every one of 'em, the Truth of the Apostle's Affertion, that Godliness bas the Promise, and I may also add the Enjoy* Vide Serm. IV.
XIII. ment, of the Life that nop is, as well as that which is to come.
But these things having been at large inlifted on, in some of the former Discourses, I shall proceed to consider the words of the Text, taken in their more ftrict and particular fignification, as by Uprightness is meant, fuffice, Integrity, Plainneß, and' Sincerity, in opposition to Guile, and Hyprocrisy, Craft, and Worldly Wisdom. And here I shall endeavour to fhew,
ift, That Walking Uprightly is the most Easy aud Plain Path we can take.
2dly, That 'tis the most Honourable.
3dly, That it is the most Secure way that we can Walk.
1A, Walking Conscientiously and Honeftly is the most Easy and Plain Path we can take.
The Way of Truth and Righteousness is but One, but those of Falsehood and Wickedness are Infinite; there is no end of wandering, when we once get into the Mazes and Intricacys of Indirect Dealing. In false Living, as well as in false Reasoning, One Absurdity never goes fingle, but is to be supported and kept up with another; there is tan Original Lye runs quite thro Vide Serm. VI, and VHII. t.spāres frūdos.
the whole course of such a Life, which must be maintain’d and cover'd with a long train of more. The Man of Integrity and a single Heart has but One part to play, but One look to put on, and that his own; whilft the Cunning designer, the Man that is to bring his business about by Politick fetches, Crafty collusions, and all the Acts of Dissimulation, must be allways shifting his Countenance, and changing his Vizard, and in perpetual fear left it should fall off; for if it do's, he must expect to be hiss'd off the Stage, and be quite spoil'd for a Politician. And let any Man judge whether this be not a most toilsome and difficult as well as a mean and dishonourable part.
The Man that has once forfeited his Integrity, has in a manner forfeited his Liberty too. For in unjust and wicked things, the more a Man yields and complies, the more he needs to do so. New steps and trans. gressions bring with them New necessities, and One ill Act is a snare and argument to another. When once they have begun, and are got in, they dare not look back, they are apt to think they must go on and do any thing further, that comes under the notion and appearance of being Necessary; sometimes to Hide, as was David's case, somețimes to indemnify, or perhaps to maintain and justify what has been once ill done,
Having lost the true Ballast of Integrity and Innocence, they float now at random, as the Gale of outward Necessity and Convenience drives.
The Man of Integrity is never enslav'd by this Bondage or entangled in these difficulties ; neither is He that proposes one
fteady direct course of Honesty troubled or i concern'd to observe every turn and motion
of other Men, to be ever jealous and suspicious, that there is somewhat more than Ordinary on foot, some deep design or other contriving against him, which is the conftant plague of Men who are ever designing and contriving themselves. How smoothly might They carry on their Plots, how fecure might They be of their Own Contrivances, could they be but once affur'd that no Body Contrivd or Plotted but Themselves? But 'tis this perpetually startles and alarms them, that they have a shrewd fufpicion that Others are at work too as well as themselves, and those such as are every way their Equals in Conduct and Cunning.
But there is another Advantage of Sincerity too, that it is not only the most Easy way to walk in, but the most plain to find out.
It is impossible, in the Corruption that has spread itself over the whole World, but Offences must come, and that the unexpected Changes and wonderful Alterations