OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
Religion, in a large sense, doth signify the whole duty of man, comprehending
in it justice, charity, and sobriety; because all these being commanded by God,
they become a part of that honour and worship which we are bound to pay to him.
And thus the word is used in St. James, `Pure religion and undefiled before God
and the Father in this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world. But, in a more restrained sense, it is taken for that
part of duty which particularly relates to God in our worshippings and
adoration of him, in confessing his excellencies, loving his person, admiring
his goodness, believing his word, and doing all that which may, in a proper and
direct manner, do him honour. It contains the duties of the first table only,
and so it is called godliness, and is
by St. Paul distinguished from justice and sobriety. In this sense I am now to
explicate the parts of it.
Those I call the internal actions of
religion, in which the soul only is employed, and ministers to God in the
special actions of faith, hope, and charity. Faith believes the revelations of
God, hope expects his promises, and charity loves his excellencies and mercies.
Faith gives us understanding to God, hope gives up all the passions and
affections to heaven and heavenly things, and charity gives the will to the
service of God. Faith is opposed to infidelity, hope to despair, charity to
enmity and hostility; and these three sanctify the whole man, and make our duty
to God and obedience to his commandments to be chosen, reasonable, and
delightful, and therefore to be entire, persevering, and universal.
 James, i. 27.
 Tit. ii. 12.