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To conclude. A good Conscience will be always our best Friend, and notwithstanding any Troubles or Misfortunes that may befall us at present, we may be sure That will bring us Peace at the last. Mark the perfeff Man, (fays David) and behold the Upright\ for the End of that Man is Teace.
Now to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be ascribed (as is most due) all Honour, Glory, Praise, Might, Majesty and Dominion, now, henceforth, and for evermore. Amen.
:tim. iv. 7j 8. have fought a good Fight, / have'finished my Course, I have kept the Faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness* which the Lord the righteous Judget shall give me at that "Day.
Serm. SPSK8T. Taul being well assured that
s ^ he was about to put off this 4§?r?y| earthly Tabernacle, and that the Time of his Departure drew nigh, was not at all uneasy under the Apprehensions of it j but, having the Testimony of a good Conscience on his Side, declared his well-grounded Hope and Confidence in God, and, like a victorious Soldier of Christ, went off a Conqueror.
Indeed the State of a Christian in this Serm, Life, is a State of Warfare. Christ is our XIV, Head, and we are to fight manfully under v-^^' his Banner against Sin, the Worlds and the Devil, and to continue his faithful Soldiers and Servants unto our Lives end. Now the Apostle acquitted himself a faithful Soldier in these three respects.
I. He fought a good Fight. From his Conversion to Christianity he followed the Example of his great Master, entered the Lists, and bravely carried on the War with the Prince of Darkness, which our blessed Saviour had so gloricufly begun. For the Sake of the Gospel of Christ, he had been in Weariness andPainfulnefs, in Watchings often, in Hunger and Thirst, in Fastings often, in Cold and Nakedness. He fought not only against Flesh and Blood, against human Violence, and corrupt Nature, but against 'Principalities, against Powers^ against the Rulers of the Darkness of this World, against spiritual Wickedness in high 'Places. He knew that we must through much Tribulation enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; and accordingly he took up a Resolution to make all Opposition fall before him, to take unto Serm. him the whale Armour os God, that he XIV. might be able to withstand in the evil Daff, W1^ and having done all, to stand.
, IL He also finished his Course. And this he did both as a Christian and an Apostlc ;• as a true Disciple, as well as a faithful Ambasfador of Christ. He did not begin and then leave off, when he found the Burden grow heavy upon his Hands, but persevered unto the End , knowing that if he was faithful unto Deaths he should re* ceive a Crown of Life,
. He was so far from being weary of running the Race that was set before him, that he went through it with Constancy and Chearfulneis j and, as he himself assures us, he took pleasure in Infirmities, in Re* proaches, in Necessities, in Distresses for Christrs Sake: For when I am weak, fays he, i. e. as to his outward St3te, then am I strong, viz. by the Power of Christ.
He appeals to all the Churches, as well as to God, who were Witnesses of his Labours, to testify the Unblameableness of his Life and Conversation. Te are Witnesses, fays he, and God also, how holityj and justly, and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe j as yt
kn(rwY know, how that we exhorted you, and com- Serm; sorted, and besought every one of you, as a XIV. Father his Children, that you would walk ^^^^ worthy of God, who hath called you unto his Kingdom and Glory. .'. !n.';
He went about f reaching boldly in Seafm and out of Season, and counted all Things but Loss for the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus. •
III. He also left the Faith. And that he did pure and inviolable. He did not introduce the Doctrines of Men in the Room of the Doctcines of Christ, but faithfully transmitted the Doctrine of his Master to the Churches without Alteration: i»r, fay* he, what I have received as the Lord Je+ fus I have delivered unto you. And he received a Crown of Glory for his Pains. And indeed, if People will fight, and toil, and run the utmost Hazards to obtain a corrupt tible Crown, which they did in the Qlymfick Games, from whence this figurative Expression is taken, well might we join with the Apostle in doing greater things for an incorruftible one, that fadeth not away. •
Thus have I eKplained the Text, and hewn how the Apostle has fulfilled it. I Wist now enter uppq a melancholy Scene,