And therefore to close all in a word or two of Exhortation. Oh that God would move our hearts now by what we have heard, to labor to honor the glorious Gospel that we do pro∣fess, O that that worthy Name (in Jam. 2. 7.) may not be blas∣phemed by wicked men; Oh let not that worthy Name of God and Christ (which you profess) be blasphemed for your sakes, but walk wor∣thy of that worthy Name of the Lord, and of his Christ, and of his Go∣spel. My brethren, know that when you undertake the profes∣sion of the Gospel, you undertake a great matter; do not come to the profession of the Gospel and look upon it as if it were a slight matter; 'tis a great matter, the profession of the Gospel: In 1 Tim. 2. 10. it is a good Scripture for women, he speaks of women, that they should walk as those that do profess godliness, such should preach the contents of the Gospel in an Evangelical be∣havior before others, they should therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, or meet for repentance: Hath the Lord wrought upon your hearts, to chang your minds and turn your hearts to him? O then bring forth fruits worthy of repentance; that is, your Conversations must be worthy of the Gospel, and that is fruit worthy of repentance: and in Acts, 26. 20. Works meet for repentance. Oh you say, you have repented you of your sins: the word that is translated there repentance; it is, change of mind: Oh hath God changed your mind? Then let there be works worthy of this change of mind.
Page 129 And divers motives there should have been named for the stir∣ring up of your hearts to walk worthy of the Gospel: O con∣sider what's this Gospel you profess, the Scripture cals it as here the Gospel of Christ: So the Gospel of the grace of God, Act. 20. 24.
It's a Gospel by which you are begotten, 1 Cor. 4. 15.
Thirdly, It's the Gospel of your salvation, Ephes. 1. 13.
And fourthly, It's an everlasting Gospel, Revel. 14. 6.
And then as you had it before, a glorious Gospel.
Oh walk worthy of this Gospel that you have got so much good by. I appeal to you any that have had the Gospel wor∣king upon your hearts, Have not you got so much good by the Gospel that you would not part withal for ten thousand worlds? Oh then walk worthy of that Gospel, seeing you have got so much good by it. And I beseech you consider that motive in the text, Only let your Conversation be as it becomes the Gospel of Christ. [Only] as if the Apostle should say, the Gospel hath many things that darkens it, and many adversaries that do oppose it, Oh but, Only let your Conversation be as it becomes the Gospel; you need care for nothing that opposeth, so you walk worthy of the Gospel, only let your Conversation, be as becomes the Gospel. Now what a many enemies hath the Gospel at this day? and what errors and divisions are there to ecclipse this Evangelical Sun? Why now, Only let your Conversation be as it becomes the Gospel: That is, in these times wherein there is so much done against the Gospel, as if the Apostle should say, Let all Devils and wicked men do what they can they shall never prevail against the Gospel, if your Conversations be as becomes the Gospel; this is enough to stand out against all that is done against the Gospel: Oh me thinks this argument should be a prevailing argument. Oh! do not your hearts bleed when you hear what opposition is made against the glorious Gospel of Christ that should be ten thousand times deerer than your lives? here's the way that the Gospel should stand a∣gainst Hell, and the gates of Hell, all counsels of the enemy shall not prevail against the Gospel, if your Conversations be as becomes the Gospel, This will do it. And mark what Paul saith, he looks upon it as a thing thing dearer than his life, to walk so as might further the Gospel, 1 Cor. 9. 12. We suffer all thingsPage 130 (saith he) lest we should hinder the Gospel of Christ: Mark, (as if he should say) Oh 'tis more dear than our lives a thousand times, we will do any thing, and suffer any thing; Oh the Apostles spirit was filled with the sweetness of the Gospel, he had found the good of it. And here in this Scripture he saith, Oh what shall I do? what shall I suffer that I may not hinder the Gospel? Let them do any thing that possibly can be to me, or take what they will from me, I crave not, we suffer all things that the Gospel may not be hindred.
Now you will neither do nor suffer for the Gospel, you will not part with a base lust that the Gospel may not be hindred; one professor being overtaken with an apparent sin may do more hurt to the Gospel than he can do good all his life, let him live as long as Methuselah; that sin of yours that is so dear to you, Will not you part with it? it will hinder the Gospel, Oh wilt not thou part with thy sin, when any temptation comes to sin? Let every one of you that profess you love the Gospel, but think thus, Oh but shall I not hinder the Gospel if I listen and yeild to this temptation? indeed this will bring me a great deal of comfort and content, and I shall get so much by it; Oh but will it not obstruct the Gospel? the very thought of this that it pos∣sibly may hinder the Gospel, should cause your hearts to rise with indignation against that temptation, and cast out that sin; God forbid that I should meddle with that sin which wil hinder the Gospel. And therefore in Act. 20, 24. the Apostle professes, that his life is not dear to him, so be it he might but further the Gospel: And in 1 Cor. 9. from the 12. vers. to the 23. he professes there, he would become all things to all men, he would be a servant to any man, and yeeld to all things that he could, so be it he might not sin against God, to be never so vile in the eyes of men, and all that he might but further the Gospel. Oh that it were but so in our hearts. We reade of an excellent commendations of one, in the 2 of Cor. 8. 18. That his praise is in the Gospel in all the Churches. Oh this is an excel∣lent thing, when it can be said of a Professor of Religion (it may be this man hath not any great commendation for parts, no but) his praise is in the Gospel. As the Saints of God and all the Churches of God that knew him, they highly commended him, Why? Because that the Gospel is furthered by him, his Page 131 praise is in the Gospel: this we should labor al of us what pos∣sibly we can. My brethren, what a mercy is it, that God should account any thing that we do worthy of the Gospel! Mark the Text, Why, can we poor worms do any thing worthy of the Gospel? I but though you can do but little, God will account your endeavours even worthy of the Gospel. John saith, that he was unworthy to loose the latchet of Christs shoe, nor worthy to carry the shoe of Christ•: Then, are we such as can walk wor∣thy of the glorious Gospel? Oh 'tis Gods infinit goodness that shal account us to be worthy of the Gospel. The Apostles did not account themselves worthy to suffer for the Gospel, Acts, 5. 41. And shall God account us to do that which is worthy of his Gospel? Oh this should be a mighty encouragement to us, to walk worthy of the Gospel. And there is an notable encouraging text, in Luke, 21. 36. Walk worthy of the Gospel: And then you shall see what God will account you worthy of: Watch ye therefore, and pray alwaies, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to passe, and to stand before the Son of Man. Watch and Pray, be watchful in all your con∣verse, keep your communion with God close: What will be the fruit of this? That ye may be accounted worthy to escape these things: that is, the many afflictions, dangers, and evils that shall come upon the world, you shall escape the evil of them at least. And to stand before the Son of Man. Here's a nota∣ble Scripture to quicken up our hearts to walk conscionably and strictly in our Conversation, watch over your waies, stand upon your guard, and pray, that you may be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man: Why? Is there any that can stand before the Son of Man in glory? or that shal be accoun∣ted worthy to stand before Him? Yes, a godly and gracious man or woman that walks conscionably in their Conversation, when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, they shal be able to stand before Him, and be accounted worthy. Oh then, let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel, and you shall be accounted by God, worthy to stand before the Son of Man. Jesus Christ▪ He walks towards you as becomes a Mediator; yea Christ doth al things that are sutable to His relations, as a Husband, as a Sa∣vior: Oh do you all things that are sutable to your relations.
Page 132 And for the close of all, I beseech you lay but to heart the great Design that God hath in the Gospel, think thus with thy self, Surely the Work of God in the Gospel is a glorious Work: Well then: surely God hath some great Design that He drives on in the Gospel. What is it? Let me labor to serve it whatso∣ever in me lieth. Now if you reade in the Gospel you shall find that the Design that God hath, it is, To purchase to Himself, a pe∣culiar people, zealous of good works: to promote holiness and godliness, that we being redeemed from the hands of our enemies, might serve him in holiness and righteousness all the daies of our lives. This is the Design that God hath: I see that Mankind is fallen from me, and the people in the world are generally fallen into wickedness, the whole world lieth in wickedness, over head and ears in sin; but I would have holiness advanced, I would have my Image renewed, I would have a peculiar people that might live for ever to serve and worship me: Here's the Design of God: Oh let me now serve this design of God, and labor to do all that I can to serve, and honor, and blesse, and mag∣nifie that God that hath wrought such glorious things for us, as He hath wrought in the Gospel. And as Christ saith in Mat. 3. when He came to be paptized of John, It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Now shall the Lord Jesus Christ Himself say thus, It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness; surely then it becomes you to fulfil al righteousness. Would you walk as be∣comes the Gospel? Give up your hearts, strength, and endea∣vors what possibly you can to fulfill all righteousness, do not say, Why should I do thus? and why need we be so forward and strict? Oh remember the text; If any talk of too much strictness, and too much forwardness; then answer thus; I heard in such a place such a Text opened and applied to me, that my Conversation must be as it becomes the Gospel; and certainly let me do what I can, I cannot do so much but that the Gospel will require ten thousand times more than I can do, and therfore I do endeavor to walk as becoms the Gospel: And I hear that Christ Himself saith, that it became Him to fulfil all righteousness; And why should not I walk as Christ Himself walked? O my life hath bin too vain heretofore, my heart hath been dead, and I have not been quickned up so as to walk wor∣thy Page 133 of the Gospel; but for the time to come my care and en∣deavor above all things in the world, shall be, That I may ho∣nor this glorious GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, from whom I do expect to have such glorious things hereafter.
Consider now what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding in these things, that you may be kept blameless unto the coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST.