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51 our spirits, by entertaining the principles of religion ; and to inform our understandings, and to regulate our lives, by holding ourselves constantly to the measures of nature, reason and religion.
The INSTRUCTION from the Judg
ments of God.
ISA IA H xxvi. 9. When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of
the world will learn righteousness.
Have chosen these words to give you an account of the moral part of religion, which is to be un
derstood by the word righteousness in the text , which word is comprehensive of all moral duty, viz. all the principles and acts of true and real goodness. This the apofle doth distinguish by three words, Titus ii. 12. To live soberly, righteously and godly. It is the same habit and perfection of mind which is distinguished relatively to their several objects ; for indeed all virtues are one in the mind; and virtue is nothing else but the mind's health, purity and fincerity.
And a good mind expresseth itself naturally in all acts, worthily towards all objects. It is as true in our divinity, as in Aristotle's philosophy, * that all * Arift. Eth. L. 6. c. 13. Da
moral virtues are in a conjunction; they are all rooted and conjoined in prudence. And it is very true, that all acts of religion are not distinguished in the temper of the mind, but in relation to the object they act upon, and the matter about which they are converfant. This fcripture which we have cited from the apostle, distinguisheth moral goodness, with respect to their particular objects ; but the text comprehends them all in one, in this word righteousness. Now it is an act of righteousness, to give every one their own; to God, the things that are God's; and to do right to all men, and a man's Yelf also. Of this, Tully faith very well, that piety is doing that to God that is just ; giving God his
I will express it therefore according to this distinction with relation to these three objects, God, a mar's neighbour, and a man's self.
All religion, devotion and piety towards God confifts in these fix particulars ; and these we understand by moral righteousness, or the principles of God's creation, or complying with the dictates of natural conscience, or doing those things which are grounded and founded in reason.;, which is the excellency of man and the communication of God to man in the moment of his creation. I fay, this piety towards God comprehends these fix things in it : I. Reverence, and awful regard of the divine majesty. For this is the first thing in piety, to have reverence of God; and to have awful and regard ful apprehensions of the divine majesty. 2. The sea, cond is the admiring, and adoring him, in his height, excellency, and perfection.
3. Love and delight in him, because of his grace and goodness, and free communication ; with thankfulness for his benefits. These are God's dues from
4. Trust, and affiance in God because of his faithfulness; and to give him belief and credit, because of his approved truth and goodness. . 5. Proftration, and submission to him, because of his fuperiority and sovereignty. 6. Duty and service, because of his dominion and property. And these are instances of moral righteousness, respectively to God: and these are the things that are adequately opposite to the spirit of atheism and profaneness, and absolutely preservative against superstition and idolatry ; which fin was so much charged upon the Jewish nation, and brought them to destruction. And these are the things that God makes men to know when his judgments are upon them. And all these things are evident in themselves, and demonstrable, and the man may be sure of them, and there is no question about them, neither is there any difference or controversy in the world about them ; and these are the great points of righteousness towards God, and this do we understand by moral duty, and this comes within the compass of the moral part of religion. And these, at least some of them, are antecedent, and fundamental to all possibility of gospel skill and knowledge; for if so be you do not give God credit and faith, because of his approved and known faithfulness to you ; you are not in a dispo. fition to receive from him, any gospel truth ; for all gospel truth doth depend upon this, God's faith fulness. And if we be not made to know this, that
God is faithful, or if we have not proof and assure ance of his fidelity, we shall no more trust him, than we shall trust his creatures. Of fuch a necesa sity is it, to settle the moral part of religion : for the other parts of religion depend upon the resolution of the divine will, and contain the promises of the gofpel, they all depend upon this. For we shall never credit them, if we be not prepared, and disposed to them, by something that is contained in the moral part of religion. Now how could I expatiate my felf in thefe fix particulars, and bring in all religion into them ? but this is not my prefent defign. I only intend to give you an account, what you are to understand, when you hear preachers charge upon you moral righteousness. And the rather, because some do not understand the term aright ; the moral part of religion.
Secondly, Righteousness towards men. That doth comprehend in it good behaviour, and fair carriage and equal dealings ; and this I will branch out into feveral particulars. 1. In general it doth take in the obedience and subjection that all inferiors owe to their superiors, and governors. 2. It does comprehend that fairness and complacency, which ought to be between all those that converse upon terms of equality. 3. It doth comprehend that tenderness that ought to be ufed towards those that are inferiors, or in a worfe condition than ourselves. So that these are not to be slighted, or undervalued, nor any insulting over them, or trampling them under foot that cannot contend with us : no rendring of them contemptible. This is that which. Moses said
to the Israelites, that they ought to be fair conditioned towards servants, and strangers ; because they themselves were so, Deut. xv. 15. 4. It doth comprehend thankfulnefs, and answerable returns, where we are beholden, and engaged : for that man is unrighteous, who is unthankful.
These four things are contained in righteousness towards men, obedience towards superiors ; fairness in converse with equals ; tenderness towards those that are our inferiors, and thankfulness to those that are our benefactors, and to whom we are beholden. And then to add one thing more, uprightness with all, with whom we have to do. And if we fail in any of these, we are unrighteous. And if you will have this in particulars, I branch it out into these seven heads. 1. In our speeches, truth and honesty. So to speak, as
understand our meaning; and fo to understand him, as he means. Fidelity, where we are credited and trusted. 3. Performance of our engagements and undertakings. 4. Candour in all our judgments, and censures. 5. Fair and benign representations of men, and handfome constructions and interpretations : always being ready to take things in the best sense ; and to interpret other mens words, as we would they should interpret ours. 6. Lowliness and courtesy, in our transactions with others. 7. Clearness and integrity, in all our converse. To which we may add, 1. Moderation in our demand of reparation, in case of
received. 2. Gentleness and calmness, in case of provocation. 3. Clemency and compassion toward those that have done us evil. 4. Bounty and chari