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The FIRST SERMON.
ACTS. X. 38.
-Who went about doing good
HICH Words give us a fhort account of our bleffed Saviour's Life here on earth; it was spent in doing good. They alfo teach us after what manner we his Disciples ought to live in this World; namely, that we fhould omit no fair opportunity of doing good, according to our feveral Abilities and Capacities. I hall speak to them,
I. As referring to our Lord and Saviour, and defcribing his manner of Life to us. II. I fhall confider them as prescribing to us our Duty, in imitation of his most glorious Example, who went about doing good.
I. As referring to our Lord and Saviour, and defcribing his manner of Life to us. Now these words, he went about doing good, efpecially fignify these three things:
1. That this was the chief Business and Employment of his Life, to do good.
2. That where he did not readily find, he went about to seek Objects of Pity and Compaffion.
3. This he constantly perfevered in, notwithstanding the foul Ingratitude and malicious Oppofition his good Works met with in
I. This was the chief Business and Employment of his Life, to do good. To propound to you the several Inftances of it, were to give you a History and Account of his whole Life, the four Gospels being nothing else but the authentick Records of thofe good Works Jefus of Nazareth did; containing his excellent Inftructions, his free Reproofs, the wife Methods he used for the bettering and reforming Mens Minds, together with those various Kindneffes he fhewed to their Bodies and
and outward Eftates, with a Generofity and Charity not to be parallel'd by any thing but the Divine Goodnefs it felf. I fhall not therefore defcend to particulars, but only take notice, 1. That doing good was his ordinary daily Employment, 2. That to the fame end tended all his extraordinary miraculous Works: and, 3. That this was also the Sum and Substance of his Religion. From all which it will easily appear, that he made doing good the chief Business of his whole Life.
(1.) Doing good was his ordinary daily Employment. He did not only by the by, and on great occafions, exercise his Charity and Compaffion, but it was as it were his only Profeffion, his Meat and Drink, his Business and Recreation too; fo that he denied himfelf the Conveniences of this Life, that he might attend this work. How was he throng'd after, and prefs'd upon by the miferable and unfortunate, the difeafed and poffeffed in all places wherever he came; and can you tell of any one Perfon whom he ever fent from his prefence diffatisfied? It was but faying, Lord have mercy upon me! and the poor humble Beggar's wants, of what kind foever, were ftrait fupplied.
And by these Acts of Love and Kindness he did engage Men to hearken to his wife Counfels, and obey his gracious Commands: for he had a farther defign in all this Compaffion which he fhewed towards Mens BoB 2 dies
dies and outward Estates, viz. to heal their Bodies and their Minds both together; to inftil and infinuate good Inftruction, and to promote Mens eternal Welfare, by contributing fo much to their Ease and Happiness in this prefent Life.
All this good he did with the greatest Readinefs and Joy; it was his greatest pleasure to spread his healing Wings over every place, continually to difpenfe his benign Influences and Favours, and to make every one, who had the happiness to converfe with him, fenfible of his good-will to Mankind. Nor from this would he ever reft, not fo much as on the Sabbath-day, tho he was accounted a Tranfgreffor for it. He confulted the good of other Men above his own Reputation, and would cure the Sick on that day, even before those who thought it a great piece of profaneness and wickedness so to do. He wanted Objects fooner than Will to fhew kindness; and nothing grieved him fo much as that Men by their own Malice and Perverfenefs fhould obftruct and defeat his gracious defigns towards them, and obftinately refuse to be made happy by him.
(2.) This was not only his ordinary daily Employment, but for this end did he always exercife his extraordinary Divine Power, to do benefits. All his Miracles were Mercies to Men, so that his wonderful Works proved him to be fent from God, not more by that infinite Power that was feen in them, than by that
that furpaffing Goodness they demonstrated to the World.
He never employed his Omnipotence out of Levity-or Oftentation, but only as the Neceffities and Wants of Men requir'd it. His miraculous Works were not fuch as the Jews fometimes demanded and expected from him, fuch only as would strike their Senfes and Fancy with Admiration and Astonishment; as the making prodigious and amazing Shews and Reprefentations in the Heavens, or in the Air: but they were all Expreffions of a most immenfe Benignity and Charity to Mankind; fuch as healing the Sick of all manner of Diseases, making the Lame to walk, and the Blind to fee, and the Deaf to hear; cleanfing the Lepers, feeding the Hungry, raifing the Dead, and cafting evil Spirits cut of those that were miserably poffeffed with them, and cruelly tormented by
In fuch good Offices, fo useful and profitable to Men, did he all along exert and manifest that divine Power which God had anointed him with; thus demonftrating himfelf to be the most Divine Perfon that ever appeared in our Flesh, not only by doing the strangest and most miraculous Works, but especially by doing the most good in the World.
(3.) To do good was the Sum and Substance. of his Religion. He affected not any precife Singularities, or unufual Severities of Life.