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VOL, as I remember the Moralist ftiles it, “ The FOUN-
II.

“ DATION of foundations.". Hence, from so
noted and principal a part the denomination is
put upon the whole.

To know God therefore, is to own him, to ac-
knowledge him as our God; and thereupon to
carry ourselves fuitably towards him. In the first
commandment, which establishes the relation be-
twixt God and us, it is incimated, that if we will
have him to be our God, we must have no other
Gods before him. And again, one of the Prophets
expresses it by knowing no other God but Him.
I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt ;
and thou shalt know no other God but me, for there
is no Saviour besides ineb. The import then of
the expression, is to own him as God, in relation
to ourselves; and consequently to love and fear
him, to hope and delight in him, and the like.
All which result from the relation betwixt him and
us: according to that well known obfervation and
rule among the Hebrews; that “ Words of
“knowledge import life and sense, as consequent;

as words of life and sense suppose knowledge " antecedent."

SECONDLY, This phrase imports not only
natural religion, but also that which is revealed.
Knowing God therefore is not to be taken
lo abstractedly, as though it meant no more
than only to entertain the notion of the Deity, and
the practice of those duties that we are led to by
the light of nature; but more generally whatever
duy he is pleated to injuin also by revelation.

We
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a Exod. xx. 9

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We then know and acknowledge him as God, SERM. with respect to his sovereignty and dominion, when

1. we are universally observant of his will; how or by what means soever it is made known to us : whether it be by natural light, or express superadded revelation. And therefore we find this expresfion made use of to signify religion among the Jews, while they were a peculiar people unto God. It is said, Hezekiah, a good king, spoke comfortably to the Levites, to their hearts according to the Hebrew, who taught the good knowledge of the Lord', That is, instructed the people in religion, according to the revelation of the mind and will of GOD, which was then afforded them.

THIRDLY, We find this phrase expresly used to signify the Christian religion in particular. And thus the same Apostle uses it in another place, Awake to righteousness and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of GOD, I speak this to your Mamed. As if he had said, You do not know GOD, you do not demean and behave yourselves like those, who understand the principles of your own religion. And again, says the Apostle, After you have known God, why turn ye back to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye defire again to be in bondage? That is, why do you follow the Gnostics in mixing judaical and pagan rites with the religion of Christ?

FOURTHLY, We are therefore further to collect, that the Apostle does here, in this place, par. ticularly intend the Christian religion. They pro

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fejs

? 2 Chron. XXX. 2ź. d, Cor xv. 34. Gal. iv. 9.

VOL. fess they know God; that is, they profess to be II.

Christians. For it is very evident he writes of such, as profeffed the only true religion. The teachers who seduced and corrupted them it is evident, were professed Christians, though very corrupt and unfound ones: for they endeavoured to deprave others ; not indeed as avowed adversaries to the Christian name, but as deceivers and gainsayers. It is true, the Apostle faid, they ought to be convinced; by which he implies that there were some common agreed principles among them, which might be the ground of such conviction. He calls them deceivers, who by cunning insinuations laboured to pervert the Christian doctrine, and to render it favourable to licentious and immoral practices. And therefore those, whom they had perverted, must be of the same stamp: not wholly of the Jewish religion, for that their teachers were not; but judaizing Christians. They who lived so remote from Judea, cannot be thought to have entertained the principles of the Jewish religion intirely; nor lo generally and in such numbers, as is here implied, for many whole houses were subvert ed. Much less can we suppose the whole body of the people to be naturally Jews; for the Apostle does manifestly describe them by the common national taint of that iland, that is, as LIARS, EVIL BEASTS, SLOW BELLÍES, according to the character given of them by one of their own poets *. Thus are the people described, whom the Apostle speaks of, namely, the natives of Crete, who

were Tic 1.12. Epimenides,

{ Tic. 1. 19.

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were converted from paganism to the profession SERM. of the Christian religion, with which they mingled

I. many of the Judaical sentiments. This therefore being premised, our way

is plain and clear to the things I intend to infift up on; which are especially these two.

That men may profess the true religion, and yet lead very

ill lives. And That they who do so, by just interpretation may be said to deny the religion they profess.

I propose to speak to these two observations jointly in this order,

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First, I shall Thew what sort of profession

that must be, which can be meant in such a

case. SECONDLY, What the persons who make it

may be notwithstanding, in the temper of

their spirits, and the course of their practice. Thirdly, I shall shew whence it is, that men

fhould make profession of a religion, to
which the temper of their spirits, and the
course of their walking are so repugnant.

And
FOURTHLY, The vanity of such a profession,

and how little it signifies to intitle persons to
the reputation, or proper rewards of such a
religion.

First, I shall shew what sort of profesfion that must be, which can be meant in this case, or was made by such persons as the Apostle speaks of.

I. IT

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V.OL" I. It must be understood to be, in the main, II. but a nominal profession. These professors in

deedown the Christian name, call themselves by it; and not only do so, but also claim the privilege of being called Christians by others : like those who said they were Jews, when they were not, but were of the synagogue of Satan ". And St. Paul in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans, speaking of these professors, uses the very famestyle, alluding to those who called themselves Jews, or were commonly so called by others; Thou art called a few, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, &c. but says he, in the close of that chapter, He is not a Jew that is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a few, that is one inwardly wbofe praise is not of men but of Godi.

II. This profession could be only formal ; that is, wholly made up of the external form of that religion to which they pretended. So in like manner many now profess the Christian religion, and make a shew or appearance of being religious by fre: quenting Christian assemblies; by owning them: selves to be members of the catholick, or some protestant church; and by wearing the badge and cognizance of such and such a party. The bare having a name, is all we can suppose to be in such a profession as this. And therefore to these

professors may be applied what our Lord says to the church in Sardis ; Thou hast a name that thou art alive, when thou art dead k. And so it is, in like manner, with all others; who content them

selves Rev. 11. 9. i Rom. II. 17, 29

k Rev. 111. I.

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