FAITH and practice make up the whole of our religion: A sacred compound, and divinely necessary to our happiness and our heaven! Nor does the blessed apostle in any of his writings ever dwell so entirely on one of them, as to forget the other. In this letter to the saints at Philippi, practice has the largest share. Through every chapter he scatters up and down particular directions for the conduct of those believers who dwelt among the gentiles; but he gives them two general rules, by which they were to walk. The first is in the beginning of his epistle; Philip. 1: 27. Let your conversation be as becomes the gospel. Act always agreeable to the temper and design of that gospel, which brings salvation by Jesus Christ, and then you will certainly practise every virtue of life; your carriage can never be amiss.
And toward the latter end of his letter he saith, Finally, brethren, before I take my leave of you, I would give another general rule to direct your practice: I would recommend holiness to you under another view, and describe it in such colours and characters, as will not only approve themselves to your fellow-christians, but even to the heathens among whom you live, that you may be, as he expresses it in chap. 2 ver. 15 that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke in a wicked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; that they that have a mind to speak evil of christianity, and cast what reproaches they can upon the doctrine of the cross, may not be able to find any flaw in your conversation, or any ground to slander the doctrine which you profess.
The rule is this, whatsoever the light of nature, and the better sort of heathens, esteem true and honest, or decent, and just, and pure, and lovely, and of good report, let these things be your meditation, let these be your constant aim and design, let these be the business of your lives, and your perpetual practice: Think of these things, says the apostle, and think of them so as to perform them.