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SERM. XLII. "that we labour, as that we labour in vain: When our mini"try petrifies, turns hearts into ftones, and these taken up "and thrown at us, this kills us; the recoiling of our pains "kills us. When our peace returns to us, when we spend our strength to make men more nought than they were; "this wounds our hearts: Which fhould be confidered by finners, to kill one's felf, and one's minister too, which would "fave them; what a bloody condition is this? + Every drop "that hath fallen from our heart and hand, from our eye"lids, and eye-brows, fhall be all gathered up, and put as marginal notes by all our labours, and all put in one volume toge"ther, and this volume put in your hands at the great day, and "opened leaf after leaf, and read distinctly and exactly to you."
Christians, you hear our cafe, you see our work, now a little to chear our spirits in the midst of our hard and killing labours, God fends us to you for a little refreshment, that, by beholding your holy and heavenly converfation, your chearful obedience, and fweet agreement in the ways of God; we may be comforted over all these troubles, 2 Thef. i. 3, 4. And will you wound and kill our hearts too? O what a cut will this be !
Fourthly, God hath further use for holiness of your lives; this ferves to daunt the hearts, and overawe the confciences of his, and your enemies. And fometimes it hath had a strange influence, and effect upon them. There is a great deal of awful Majefty in holiness, and when it fhines upon the confcience of a wicked man, it makes him stoop, and do obeyfance to it. Which turns to a teftimony for Chrift and his ways before the world. Thus Herod was over-awed by the strict and holy life of John, he feared him, knowing that he was a juft and holy man, and obferved (or preferved and faved) him.
That bloody tyrant was convinced in his confcience of the worth and excellency of that fervant of God, and was forced to reverence him for his holiness. So Darius, Dan. vi. 14, 18, 19, 20. What conflicts had he himself about Daniel, whom he had condemned; his confcience condemned him, for condemning fo holy, and righteous a perfon. "Then the king went "to his palace, and past the night in faflings; neither were in"ftruments of mufic brought before him, and his fleep went "from him. He goes early in the morning to the den, and cries "with a lamentable voice, O Daniel, fervant of the living God." How much is this for the honour of holinefs, that it conquers the very perfecutors of it; and makes them ftoop to the meanest
Lockyer, upon the Coloffians, p. 551.
servant of God! It is faid of Henry II. of France, that he was fo daunted by the heavenly majefty of a poor taylor that was burnt before him, that he went home fad, and vowed, that he would never be prefent at the death of fuch men any more. When Valence the emperor came in person to apprehend Bafil, he faw fuch majesty in his very countenance, that he reeled at the very fight of him; and had fallen backward to the ground, had not his fervant ftept in to fupport him. O holiness, holiness, thou art a conqueror. So much, O Chriftians, as you fhew of it in your lives, fo much you preferve your intereft in the confciences of your enemies: caft off this, and they defpife you prefently.
Fifthly, and lastly, God will use the purity of your converfations, to judge and convince the world in the great day ‡. It is true, the world fhall be judged by the gofpel, but your lives shall also be produced as a commentary upon it; and God will not only thew them by the word how they ought to have lived, but bring forth your lives and ways to flop their mouths, by fhewing how others did live. And this I fuppofe is intended in that text, I Cor. vi. 3. "The faints shall judge the world, ye?,
we shall judge Angels ;" that is, our examples are to condemn their lives and practices, as Noah, Heb. xi. 7. is faid to condemn the world by building the ark, i. e. his faith in the threatning, and obedience to the command, condemned their fupinenefs, infidelity and disobedience. They faw him every day about that work, diligently preparing for a deluge, and yet were not moved with the like fear that he was; this left them inexcufable fo when God fhall fay in that day to the careless world, did you not fee the care, and diligence, the holy zeal, watchfulnefs, and felf-denial, of my people, who lived among you? How many times have they been watching, and praying, when you have been drinking, or fleeping! Was it not eafy to reflect when you saw their pains, and diligence; have not I a foul to look after as well as they; a heaven to win or lofe, as well as they? O how fpeechlefs and inexcufable will this render wicked. men, yea, it shall not only be used to judge them, but angels alfo. How many shocks of temptations have poor faints ftood; whereas
When therefore the faithful are faid to fit in judgment with Chrift, it must be understood, not of any authority and power of judging of themselves, but, (1.) Of that which is given them in Chrift their lead. (2.) Of their approbation of the fentence pronounced by Chrift. Apoc. xix. 1. (3.) Of their bearing witness by their miniftry or converfation (against the wicked) and the comparifon of their own lives with theirs, by which the justice of the Judge fhall be manifeft,
they fell without a tempter? They stood not in their integrity, though created in fuch excellent natures; how much then are you concerned on this very account alfo, to walk exactly! if not inftead of judging them, you fhall be condemned with them.
And thus you fee what ufe your lives and actions shall be put to; and are these inconfiderable ufes? Is the winning over fouls to God a fmall matter? Is the falving the honour, and reputa tion of godliness, a fmall matter? Is the encouraging the hearts, and ftrengthening the hands of God's poor minilters, amidst their spending, killing labours, a fmall matter? Is the awing of the confciences of your enemies, and judging them in the last day, a light thing? Which of thefe can you call fo?
O then, fince you are thus obliged to holiness of life, thus fingularly affifted for it; and fince there are fuch great dependencies upon it, and ufes for it, both now, and in the world to come; fee that ye be holy in all manner of converfation. See that, "as ye have received Chrift Jefus the Lord, fo ye walk in "him;" always remembring, that, for this very end, Chrift hath redeemed, or "delivered you out of the hands of your e"nemies, that you might ferve him without fear, in righteouf"nefs and holiness all the days of your lives," Luke i. 74, 75. And to how little purpofe will be all that I have preached, and you have heard, of Chrift, if it be not converted into practical godlinefs? This is the fcope and defign of it all.
And now, Reader, thou art come to the last leaf of this treatife of Chrift, it will be but a little while, and thou shalt come to the laft page or day of thy life; and thy last moment in that day. Wo, to thee, wo and alas for ever, if an intereft in this blessed Redeemer be then to get. The world affords not a fadder sight, tha a poor Chriftlefs foul fhivering upon the brink of eternity. To fee the poor foul that now begins to awake out of its long dream, at its entrance into the world of realities, to shrink back into the body, and cry, 9 I cannot, I dare not die. And then the tears run down. Lord, what will become of me? O what fhall be my eternal lot? This, I fay, is as fad a fight as the world affords. That this may not be thy cafe, reflect upon what thou hift read in these fermons; judge thyself in the light of them. Obey the calls of the Spirit in them. Let not thy flight and formal fpirit, float upon the furface of thefe truths, like a feather upon the water; but get them deeply fixed upon thy fpirit, by the Spirit of the Lord; turning them into life and power upon thee; and fo animating the whole courfe and tenor of thy converfation by them, that it may proclaim to all that know thee, that thou art one who efteemeft all to be but drofs, that thou mayft win Chrift.
METHOD OF GRACE
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY,
To the Worshipful JOHN UPTON, of Lupton, Efq; and the most accomplished and virtuous Lady, his dear' Confort, the Author wishes Grace, Mercy, and Peace.
Honoured and worthy Friends,
was a comfortable expreffion, which Ambrofe ufed in his funeral oration, at the death of Theodofius; *"That though. "he were gone, yet he was not wholly gone; for he had left "Honorius, with others of his children, behind him, in whom
Theodofius ftill lived." Your renowned and worthy ancestors are gone, yet (bleffed be God) they are not wholly gone; whilst the prudence, piety, aud publicness of their fpirits, ftill lives and flourishes in you, the top branch of a renowned and religious family. It is a great truth, which Philo Judaeus recommends to the obfervation of all pofterity, "That it is not a natural "descent from the moft honourable and illuftrious progenitors,
nor the greatest affluence of riches and pleafures that makes a man either honourable or happy ; but the inhabitation of God "in his foul, as in his temple, tho' (faith he) thofe that never "tafted religion, nor have feen its glory, will not credit this af
Theodofius tantus imperator receffit a nobis, fed non totus receffit; reliquit enim nobis liberos fuos, in quibus debemus eum agnofcere. Ambrof, in obit. Theod.
+ Τας 5 υμνεσι την ευγένειαν ως μεγιςον αγαθόν καὶ μεγάλων αγαθων αιτιον, οι μέρεως επίτιμητέον, ει πρωτὸν μὲν οιύνται τις εκ παλαιοπλάτων καὶ παλαιενδόξων ευγενείς, μήτε των πρόγονων αφων αυχέσι γενέσθαι. Βοληθείς γαρ ό Θεός δια ημεροτητα καὶ φιλανθρόπιαν καὶ παρ ημίν τεθ έδρα σασθαι, νέων αξιοπρεπεςερον ἐπὶ γῆς ἔχ ευρε λογισμό κρειττό γαρνός γαλματοφόρες το αγαθόν, καν απιςωσι τινες των μη γεισαμένων σοφάς η χείλεσιν ακροις. Philo Judaas περι Ευγενείας, a book fit for the hands of all gentlemen, tranflated by Laurentius Humphredus in his excellent tract de Nobilitate,
"fertion." "The foul which is filled with God, (faith * Ploti"nus) and brings forth the beautiful fruits of righteousness, this "is the truly noble foul :" Our new birth makes us more honourable than our natural birth, let our birthright dignities be what they will. The children of nobles are, by nature, the children of wrath, even as others: Omnis Sanguis concolor, all blood is of one colour: it is all tainted in Adam, and mingled together in his pofterity. "There is no king, faith † Seneca, which role "not from a fervant; there is no fervant which rose not from a king these things have been blended, and toffed to and fro "by a long variety."
But though the privileges of natural birth fignify nothing as to eternal falvation, yet in civil and political refpects and confiderations, thofe that by birth, education, or estate, poffefs an higher ftation in the world, differ from the vulgar, as ftars of greater magnitude and luftre: their interest and influence are great in these things, and the welfare of kingdoms ‡ greatly depends upon them.
It is therefore a great defign of the enemy of mankind, to corrupt perfons of eminent rank and quality both in religion and morality; and by their influence and example, to infect and poifon the whole body politic; and his fuccefs herein, deferves to be greatly lamented and bewailed. Persons of eminency are more especially obliged to fhun bafe and fordid actions. Hierom profeffed § he faw nothing defirable in nobili
ψυχη πληρωθείσα θες γεννα το καλλος, γεννά τον δικαιοσύνην. Ρlo
† Neminem regem non ex fervis effe oriundum, neminem fervum non ex regibus omnia ifia longa varietas mifcuit, et furfum deorfum fortuna verfavit. Sen. Ep. 44.
Who manages the reins of government, who is prefent at, and prefides over, both private and public matters, but perfons of eminent rank and quality? Who moderates in the fenate, prefides in courts, commands at home and abroad? Chief men and nobles furely. Who commands and countermands, acts and overacts, manages and canvaffes all affairs, who makes laws and refcinds them, who governs the state in time of peace, and commands the forces in time of war, but great men and nobles? No wonder that the management of public affairs be committed to him, who both by perfonal merit and renown of his ancestors hath recommended himself to the good report and efteein of mankind. Laurent. Humphred. on Nobility.
In maxima fortuna, minima eft licentia. Salust.
§ Nihil aliud video in nobilitate appetendum, nifi quod nobiles