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ed into the world. The bufinefs of the lawyer, and phyfician, and many handicrafts now in the world, owe their original and neceffity to fin's entrance. Nay, the very bufinefs of our own falvation does fo too; for if Adam had flood the time of trial, all his pofterity's eternal happiness would have been thereby fecured to their hand. But God having fettled the manner of the propagation of mankind, as Gen. i. 28. it was an evidence that the fucceeding generations were not to be created in their prime as Adam was; but to be born infants, and grow up by degrees, in knowledge of religion and other things, as appears from Luke ii. ult. And this would have afforded this business.
2. It is the business of life, that most singly looks to the honour of God. God is honoured by our working out our own falvation: but then our own advantage bears great stroke in it allowably, as well as his honour; but this is a bufinefs carried on not for ourselves, but for God allenarly; and in that refpect is the more noble. Hence we find the Apostle willing, for the great end of the propagation of religion, either to live or die, to put off his own eternal happiness for a time, Philip. i. 26. downwards. And he prefers one's edifying the church, to his own comfort, 1 Cor. xiv. 4. 5. He edifies the church that edifies his houfe, Neh. iii. 28.30.
3. It is the bufinefs of life, that is the end of life and falvation, given to the elect, and all their comforts and enjoyments. Hence faid our Lord to Peter, Luke xxii. 32. I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, ftrengthen thy brethren. We get life and falvation by believing in Chrift; and are as really poffeffed
poffeffed of eternal life that we can never lose, upon our firft believing, as the faints in heaven are, though not in that measure, 1 John v. 11. 12. When the Lord had a mind to honour Paul to propagate religion, he reached his own heart firft by his grace; and then having fo furnished him, he fet him to work. Is not that the special bufinefs of Jife, for which God brings people into a ftate of falvation?
4. It is the business of life, that the new creature as natively falls to, as the new-born infant falls abreathing. Hence it is faid, Pfal. xxii. 30. 31. A feed fhall ferve him, it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They fhall come, and fhall declare his righteoufnefs unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this. So the woman of Samaria, John iv. 29. Come, fee a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Chrift? Paul, as foon as he was converted, fell a-propagating the religion that before he perfecuted. Grace makes people communicative; and there is never a foul in which the leaven of grace is received, but would, if it could, leaven the whole world with the fame.
5. It is the bufinefs of life, that is most useful to mankind. And we should remember, that both confcience and intereft requires us to live fo, as to be useful to our fellow-creatures: Rom. xiv. 7. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. Some have been great bleffings to mankind by their usefulness, in propagating arts and fciences, in relieving the oppreffed, and helping the needy: but none fo ufeful as thofe who have propagated religion among them; as extending not ony to their good in this, but the other world, I. xix.
24. 25. And a difpofition to be useful to mankind would prompt men to this duty.
6. It is the business of life of the moft diffufive usefulness. It brings honour to God, comfort to one's felf, and advantage to others; it brings advantage to their fouls, tends to make them holy here, and happy hereafter. It reaches not only to the prefent generation, but to the generations yet unborn; in fo far as, you propagating religion to your children, they will propagate it again to theirs, and theirs to theirs, and fo on. It is to be lamented, that fome children follow not the steps of their religious parents. But every body may obferve, that there are fome families wherein one generation after another appears for God; others wherein, generation after generation, religion can never get place among them. Trace these back, and ye may come to one that was careful to propagate religion to his children, and his children propagated it again to theirs, and fo on; and to another that had no care that way about his children, and his children had as little again about theirs, and so on.
7. laftly, It is the bufinefs of life that is the moft valuable, moft worthy of the dignity of an immortal foul, and likeft the life that Chrift led in the world. The bufinefs of moft men is nothing but laborious trifling; their thoughts, cares, and time, are wholly spent on things pertaining to this life; as if they had fouls of no other conftitution than their bodies. It is nothing like the life of Chrift, who went about doing good, propagating religion 1 Pet. ii. 21. Chrift fuffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye fhould follow his freps. Compared with 1 John ii. 6. He that faith
he abideth in him, ought himself alfo fo to walk, ven as he walked.
IV. The fourth thing propofed was, to fhew, In what refpect it is the fpecial privilege of life.
1. It is that whereby we may honour God most, and fo answer the end of our creation moft. In our own embracing of religion we receive the light, in propagating of it we diffufe the light received to the greater glory of God: 1 Pet. ii. 9. Ye are a chofen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye fhould fhew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darknefs into his marvellous light. Hence among thofe who turn from fin unto righteoufnefs, thofe who turn most of others to it, will have the greatest glory: Dan. xii. 3. They that be wife, shall fhine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever
2. It is that whereby we may be most useful in the world to others. No benefit done to our fel- ̈ low-creatures is comparable to it. We have indeed accefs to do for their temporal advantage, but this is for their eternal. And when the opportunity of life is over, there is no more doing that way, Luke xvi. 27. downwards.
USE. 1. Of Reproof to several sorts of perfons. And,
1. To those who make no conscience of propagating religion to their families, among their children and fervants. Every man is by divine appointment the prophet of his own family to teach them, the priest to worship God with them, and
the king to rule them. Each will maintain his own authority to his power; but family-worfhip with many is not fo clofely ftuck to, but familyteaching leaft of all, which is yet commanded of God: Deut. vi. 6. 7. These words which I command thee this day, fhall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and halt talk of them when thou fittest in thine houfe, and when thou walkeft by the way, and when thou lieft down, and when thou rifeft up. The want of this makes minifterial teaching in preaching and examination fo unfuccefsful. How will men anfwer this neglect of the special business of life?
2. To thofe who are backward and averse to receive family-inftruction, or fubmit to family difcipline, checks and reproofs for their mifcarriages. They will get away from family-catechifing on fabbath-nights, fhift family-exercise, and cannot endure to be checked for their mifcarriages and therefore they like beft to be in those families where least of these is to be found. But if it is the duty of others to propagate religion to you, it is on the peril of your fouls ye refuse to receive it. It will aggravate your condemnation, John i. 10.
3. To thofe who fet an ill example before those that are younger than they. Much of the corruption of children is owing to the ill examples fet them by parents, fervants, and others whom they are near. This lets them fee much ill which they would otherwise be ignorant of; and the bias of their nature lying that way, they are by that means carried down the ftream. So a woe is brought on themselves, and them that fet them the copy: Matth. xviii. 7 Woe unto the world because of offen