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Fesus Christ our most blessed Saviour and Redeemer.
These, I say, are the main branches, and fundamental parts of our duty to God: and as we must be ever careful and diligent to perform all these things towards him, so we must not, upon any account, render this, or any part of this same duty to any thing or person but to God alone. We must neither love, nor fear, nor hope, nor trust in, nor honour, nor worship, nor praise,'nor pray to any faint, or angel, or image, or any thing whatsoever, whether in heaven or upon earth, in the same or the like manner as we perform these things towards almighty God : for God is a jealous God, and will not endure any rival or competitor in that love, honour, and duty which we owe unto him.
I come now, in the second place, to those laws of God which concern the duty of every man towards himself: the chief branches of which are these that follow; that is to say,
To be bumble in our own thoughts, considering what frail and infirm, what ignorant and forgetful creatures we are:
Not to desire any praise from men, but to refer the glory of every thing that may seem good in us, wholly and entirely to God, who is the author of it.
To be meek and calm in our temper and behaviour, 'never suffering anger, or any other pafron, to grow so strong within us, as to make us either say or do any thing that is unbecoming a christian.
Often to consider and think upon our state and condition, with respect both to this world, and that which is to come, that so we may be always upon our guard against temptations to fin.
To be patient and contented in all estates and conditions of life, as well in sickness as in health, in adversity, as in prosperity; neither murmuring nor repining at any evil that befalls us, nor envying those who seem to be in a better condition than ourselves ; not coveting, or in the least desiring either riches or preferment, but as God sees fit, and may conduce moft to his glory; but always submitting to the secret hand and directions of God's providence, which is in every thing that comes to pass in the world.
We are also to be diligent and industrious in improving ourselves more and more in the knowledge of religion, and the practice of every sort of virtue ; making the best use we can of that portion of grace which we already have, that so more may be given to us.
To be very chaste and modes both in our actions, and also in our very words and thoughts, avoiding not only all filthy lust and uncleanness, but even all
manner of immodes discourse; and mortifying and subduing all impure desires. · To be moderate in eating, fober and temperate in drinking ; not wasting over much time in seep or idleness, or any sort of recreations, much less in such as are unlawful.
Not bestowing much coft in apparel or furniture, or any other thing which serves only to please our fancy, or gratify our curiosity; but always making such an use of those creatures which God has given us, and those liberties which he has allowed us, as may tend most to his glory, the good of others, and the health and welfare both of our souls and bodies.
And this shall fuffice for a brief account of that duty which every man, by God's law, is obliged to perform towards himself.
And now, in the third place, for that duty which we owe to all other men.
By the laws of God, we are obliged to love all men, whatsoever (whether they are poor or rich, low
or high, friends, strangers, or enemies) although not 'altogether as well, yet as truly and sincerely, without
any fraud or disimulation, as we love ourselves; and 'this our love must never fail to be thewn, by our
hearty prayers for the welfare of every man, and our . fincere endeavours to prevent his hurt, and promote his good, as far as we have ability and opportunity D 2
for it; always remembring and taking care, that in our doing good unto one man, we do not offer any injury, or neglect any part of that duty which we owe unto another ; but doing unto every man, as we should judge it to be reasonable and conscionable for us to expect and desire that they should do by us, if we were in their case and condition.
We must neither take away nor detain from any. other man, any thing which is his lawful right; but whatever is fairly due to him, either by the laws of God, or those of the land, or by any lawful promise or agreement made to, or with him, must freely and readily be rendered to him, without putting him to the trouble of suing or contending for it.
The life of no man must be taken away (except by the lawful authority of the magistrate, or in one's own juff and necessary defence) nor must his body be maimed or hurt, or his good name injured or lessened, either by raising or helping to spread any false or illgrounded reports concerning him, or by publishing his faults or failings, except in justice and charity to others we become bound to do it: but on the contrary, we must be ready, as we have opportunity, to contribute what in us lies, to preserve the life, and health, and good name, as well as the goods and estate of our neighbor, if they appear to be in danger, either by any accident or by the malicious
design of another against them: we must not tempt or allure, or by our évil example encourage other men to commit fin; but as we may conveniently, we must admonis, advise, reprove, and exhort them for their souls good. :
Nor may we deceive any man by false or equivocating speeches, or by breaking such promises as we have made to him; but must be true, faithful, and sincere in all our conversation and dealing with all men. '
Those who are poor, or in any distress or affliction, we are bound, to the best of our power, to relieve, help, and comfort; and although malefactors may and must be punished for the public good, for a terror to others, and for the saving and protecting the lives, estates, and good names of honet men, yet
nothing of this nature muft be done either out of :private hatred or resentment, or with greater cruelty or severity than what the law requires, and is nda . cessary for the true end for which such punishments -åre, or ought to be always designed.
They who are under errors as to matters of religion, are to be argued with, and perfucded for their « fouls good, in the mildest and most gentle manner'; nor should any heat or anger, railing or reviling, be • made use of against the greatest heretics or schismaticks : neither ought any man to be perfecuted or punished by the civil power, barely for his mistakes