صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

tion; to be xovWVIXOÌ Tν OνTWY, as Lucian's expression is, That others may be partakers of our good things with us.

And this duty is expressed by a very elegant reason, in a way of videos, and as a prolepsis or prevention of what might be objected." If I be so diffusive and communicative to others, I shall leave nothing for myself, or those of mine own household:"-This the apostle preventeth, telling us,

[ocr errors]

First, That thus to lay out, is to lay up,' and that as in 'a treasure,' aлobnσaupíze. It is like scattering of seed,


in order to an increase and harvest".

Secondly, That thus to lay out upon others, is to lay up for themselves, ἀποθησαυρίζοντας ἑαυτοῖς.

Thirdly, That hereby the uncertainty and instability of riches is corrected and fixed, ἀδηλότης turned into θεμέλιος καλός.

Fourthly, Whereas worldly riches are only ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι, for the present time, they will not descend after a man, when he dies; being put into good works, they are Seμéos Eis To Méxλov, returnable into another country; a man's works will follow him; he shall find them again after many days. And whereas they, being of a muddy and slimy original, are slippery, and cannot be held; either we shall go from them, or they from us; they have wings, and will fly away; that which is thus laid up by them, may be held, Iva émiλábærtai, that they may lay hold.'

Fifthly, Whereas a man's riches cannot lengthen his life one night beyond the period which God hath fixed;-being thus laid out, and laid up, to comfort the lives of others, they are graciously by God rewarded with eternal life. A house, thus founded, shall continue for ever.

[ocr errors]


1. Timothy's duty; "Charge those that are rich." doth not say, Flatter them, nor please them, nor humour them, nor fawn upon them, or crouch to them;' nay, he doth not say what he used to do himself; Beseech them, entreat them, persuade them;' but he giveth Timothy the same power towards them, as he used towards him, ver. 13. waραγέλλω σοι, παράγελλε τοῖς πλουσίοις. Aud, 1 Tim. iv. 11,

xi. 1.

Prov. xi. 24.
b Psalm xlix. 17.
Prov. xxiii. 5.

Rev. xiv. 13.

d Eccles.

Luke xii. 20.

παράγ[ελλε ταῦτα καὶ δίδασκε ; “These things command and teach." It is true, the ministers of Christ are the servants of his church. The Levites and priests were so; "They served the Lord, and his people Israel.” (2 Chron. XXXV. 3) The apostles themselves were so; "Ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." (2 Cor. iv. 5) Yea, the Lord of all, whom the angels worship, " took upon him the form of a servant;" (Phil. ii. 7) came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. (Matth. xx. 28) And he was the Apostle, the High-Priest, άpxiñolμny, the Great, the Chief Shepherd; is pleased to be called by one of the lowest appellations, Alάxovos, a Deacon, a Minister of the Circumcision.' (Rom. xv. 8)

Servants then we are; and accordingly must, in humiliation, in meekness, in condescension, stoop to men of the lowest degree. The very angels of heaven do so; they are LEITOUGYIxà яVEÚμLara, ministering spirits.' (Heb. i. 14)

[ocr errors]

But you must consider, we are servants to your souls,not to your wills, much less to your lusts: so servants to you, as that we must give account of our service to a greater Lord, who gives us authority and power, as well as ministry and service. (Tit. ii. 15) And therefore, in the delivery of his message, we may not so be the servants of men, as to captivate the truth of God, and make his spirit bend and comply with their lusts. (1 Cor. vii. 23. Gal. i. 10)



There is a majesty and power in the word of Christ, when set on with his spirit, who spake as ourlav xwv, as one having authority, (Matth vii. 29) and regarded not the persons of men; which no power, wealth, or greatness, can be a fortification against. It is a two-edged sword; sharp in the hearts of Christ's enemies; able to break rocks, to tear d cedars, to pull down strongholds, to smite the heart, to stop the mouth, to humble an Ahab, to shake a Felix, to awe an Herod. It is the arm of the Lord, which can sling a stone into the conscience of the stoutest sinner, and make it


⚫ Servili pretio venditus. Math. xxvi. 15. Exod. xxi. 32. Zech. xi. 12, 13. Cod. 1. 7. Tit. 2.-Vide Causab. Exercit. in Baron. Anno. 34. num. 15.-Servilis sup. a Heb. iv. 12. b Psalm plicio affectus. Lips. de Cruce. 1. c. 12. • 2 Cor. h Mark vi. 20.

xlv. 5.

Isai. xlix. 2.

d Psalm xxix. 4, 5.

f 1 Kings xi. 27.

8 Acts xxiv. 25.

Isai. iii. 1.

L. 4, 5.

sink, like Goliath, to the ground. It can so shake a man with conviction of guilt, and prepossession of wrath, that he shall go in sackcloth and ashes, weeping and mourning, roaring and rending of himself, till his soul draw nigh to the grave, and his life to the destroyers.

And there is an authority in the office, which dispenseth the power of God; being the ambassadors of Christ, there is a wapinola, a liberty and boldness belonging to our charge. So that albeit we must manage the same decently and prudently with due regard to men's stations and degrees, shewing all meekness to all men; yet we must do it, First, Impartially, without respect of persons: Secondly, Zealously, against the daring presumptions of the greatest sinners. "Say to the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves." (Jer. xiii. 18) "I have made thee a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.” (Jer. i. 18) A minister of Christ, though he must be meek and lowly, gentle and patient, of a dove-like innocency, and of a winning compliance; yet he must not be a low-spirited man, to fear the faces or the frowns of men; he must magnify his office, as Paul did; and dare to be as bold for Christ, as the proudest sinners can be against him. The file is as impartial to silver and gold, as it is to brass and iron. The honey, though it be sweet, yet it cleanseth. Oil, though soft and smooth, yet fetcheth out the poison which lies in the stomach. Ministers must be bold to speak the gospel v wo άy, with much contention; (1 Thess. ii. 2) to cause the truth of Christ to enter into a combat with the lusts of men ; to deliver it in the spirit and power of Elias, to "sever the precious from the vile; not to please men, except in case when they may be edified and profited (then we may please them, 1 Cor. x. ult.); not to please them by strengthening their hands in wickedness, but to please God that trieth the heart. They must speak nothing but as the word and oracle of God. (1 Pet. iv. 11) And when they do so, the richest and greatest amongst men owe as much reverence, fear,

a 2 Cor. v. 20. Vid. Aug. Epist. 64.

xv. 19.


Acts ii. 19, et iv. 13. Ephes. vi. 19. Tit. ii. 15.
Rom. xi. 13.

* 1 Thess. ii. 1.

e Luke i. 17.


trembling, and obedience to the word, as the meanest. Nay, many times, as a cannon-bullet makes more battery upon a stately pile of building, than upon a wall of mud; and a tempest doth more easily break an oak or cedar, than a low shrub; so the majesty of the word delighteth to shew itself more in taming the pride of an Ahab, or a Pharaoh, or a Doeg, than of other mean or inferior persons".

Besides, great men stand so much the more in need of plain-dealing from ministers, by how much the less they meet with it from other men. Some flatter them; others fear them; some are bewitched with their favours; and others are affrighted by their frowns. But the word of the Lord is not bound; the spirit of the Lord is not straitened; his ministers are or should be full of judgement, power, and might, to declare their transgressions to the heads of the house of Jacob, and to the princes of the house of Israel. (Mic. iii. 8,9)

Besides, they are in more danger. The richest land is more subject to be overgrown with weeds and thistles; great men are apt to be hardened, ensnared, tempted unto more pride and stubbornness. And as they are under greater danger, so they are under a greater trust, and are responsible to the Lord for more talents: their conversion is of a more general influence and concernment, than that of mean and private persons; their meekness and professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, doth give much glory and abundant thanksgiving unto God; and therefore nowhere is the charge more seasonable," Charge those that are rich in this world." They say, the crowing of a cock will cause the trembling of a lion. What is a bee to a bear, or a mouse to an elephant? Yet if a bee get his sting into the nose of a bear, or a mouse creep into the trunk of an elephant, how do so little creatures, upon that advantage, torment the greatest! Now the richest men have a tender point, into which a sting will enter. The conscience is as sensible in a prince, as in a beggar; and therefore the one, as well as the other, equally exposed to the charge of God. And therefore the apostle, as he doth, in humility, beseech and exhort,-so he doth, in authority, give commandments, by the Lord Jesus, unto the church:

h 2 Tim. i. 9. Mic. ii. 7.

(1 Thess. iv. 1, 2, 11) and four times in one chapter speaketh in that language of authority. (2 Thess. iii. 4, 6, 10, 12) A physician sometimes gives a cordial to a poor man, and a vomit to a prince; tempers his physic not to the dignity of the person, but to the quality of the disease-And so must the ministers of the gospel: "Eadem omnibus debetur caritas, non eadem omnibus adhibenda medicina; aliis blanda est, aliis severa, nulli inimica "."

Let us now consider the subject of this charge: "Charge those that are rich in this world." He doth not forbid men to be rich, as if Christian perfection consisted in voluntary poverty, as some would persuade us. When Christ pronounceth a woe unto those that are rich, he shews us whom he means, even such as receive all their consolation in this world, and are wholly forgetful of another. (Luke vi. 24) When he said to the young man, "If thou wilt be perfect, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor," (Matth. xix. 12) he speaks not of evangelical counsels, or a state of perfection and supererogation, beyond the fulfilling of the law; but he speaketh wapaixas by way of trial, and to convince him of that worldly love, which obstructed his salvation; of his self-deceit, in conceiving that he had done all that the law required; of his unsoundness and insincerity of heart, which could not forego all, when Christ required it, to be his disciple; (Luke xiv. 26) which could not suffer the loss of all things, and count all dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; (Phil. iii. 8) which could not, with Abraham, leave his country, and kindred, and father's house, to follow the command of God; (Gen. xii. 1, 4) and with Peter and the other disciples, leave nets, and boats, and fathers, and all, to follow Christ; (Matth. xix. 26) and, with Barnabas, sell all, and lay down all at his feet". (Acts iv. 36, 37)


Vossi Hist. Pelag. lib. 5. Thess. 2. m Aug. de Catachunienis Rudibus. c. 15. Πάλιν τε αὖ, ὅτ' ἄν εἴπῃ Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος γενέσθαι, πωλήσας τὰ ὑπάρ χοντα, δὸς πίωχοῖς, ἐλέγχει τόν καυχώμενον ἐπὶ τῷ πάσας ἐντολὰς ἐκ νεότητος τετηρηκέναι· οὐ γὰρ πεπλήρωκε τὸ, ̓Αγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς ἑαυτόν, &c. Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. 3. p. 327. E. 328. A. Edit. Heinsianæ.-Volens arguere Divitem illum Dominus noster, quasi non vera dicentem, dixit ad eum, Si vis perfectus esse, vade, vende omnia quæ possides, et da pauperibus: sic enim apparebis dicere verum, si dilexisti aut diligis proximum tuum sicut teipsum.' Orig. Tract. 6. in Matth.—Τινὲς ὡς κόμπον καὶ ἀλαζόνα διαβάλλουσιν τοῦτον, Theoph. Hunc ex lege insolentem, solicitum de salute remittit ad legem, ut in ea ipsa, in

« السابقةمتابعة »