« السابقةمتابعة »
first undergoing much Labour, and many Difficulties.
The Merchant, if he after a ten Years Voyage can encrease his Estate, repines at none of the many Difficulties and Dangers he has paffed through.
I fhall not mention to you the Perils of a Soldier's Life, .Experience has fufficiently instructed you in
How great is the Trouble, how many the Anxieties which furround the Way to the Favour of Princes, in the gaining Friends, and acquiring Honours?
These I can better learn of you, than tell you; for I am content with my Books, and I have endeavoured to retire within my felf, and farther than this, I do not aim or afpire.
Shall we then labour with fo much Eagerness after the uncertain fading Things of this Life, which are common both to us and Brutes?
And fhall we take fo little Pains to obtain an eternal Inheritance, infinitely above all that Eye ever faw, or Ear heard, or ever entred into the Heart of Man to conceive?
Why are we thus unwillingly drawn to the Love and Service of the Almighty; as if God needed us, or that the Inhabitants of the Heavenly Manfions could not be happy without us?
Indeed, if earthly Happiness could be obtained without any Pains of ours, would any chufe this rather than the Favour and Bleffings of the Almighty?
But if the way of the Ungodly is not lefs, nay more uneafy than the Paths of Righteousness; is it not the height of Madness not to follow that which leads to the Rewards of our Labours, rather than that wherein only the Punishment of them is to be found?
I omit the Peace, and Felicity of a Confcience void of Offence towards God and Man, which is certainly
the greatest Pleasure we are capable of enjoying in this Life.
What can there be defirable in the Pleasures of the World, which tire us in their Purfuit, infatuate us in their Enjoyment, and torment us by their Lofs?
Can you doubt that the Minds of the Wicked are agitated with perpetual Difquietudes, when the Word of God, and the Experience of all Ages affure us, that the Wicked are like the troubled Sea, never at Reft?
Are these then the Perfons we are to envy? Are these they we are to emulate? And being forgetful of our Immortal Souls, and our Duty to our Heavenly Father, fhall we chufe to live with them wickedly, to die miferably, and to be tormented hereafter in unquenchable Flames?
You meet, no doubt, continually with innumerable Impediments, in running that Race which leads to the Prize of Eternal Bliss; and which without great Care will hardly be furmounted.
But amongst all these the most deftructive Peft is the Lives and Converfations of those who, under the Prince of Darkness their Ruler, are wholly employed in ridiculing and deftroying all Principles of Religion and Virtue, fighting under the Banner of Death and Hell, against God and his Christ.
But do you cry out with the Prophet, let us break their Bonds afunder, and caft their Cords from us; for thefe are those whom God hath given up to Ignominy and a reprobate Life, that they may do those Things which are not convenient, full of all Iniquity, full of Envy, Adulteries, Uncleanness, Deceit, Haters of God, Proud, without natural Affection, Friendship, or Piety; who though they see the Juftice of God daily, yet confider not that they who do fuch Things are worthy of Death, and not only they, but fuch as confent to those that do them.
Conform not your felf therefore to thofe that defpife and neglect Religion; but always remember what the Apostle faith, it is better to please God, than Man; and that if I please Men, I am not the Servant of Christ.
When I confider these Men, I do not know whether to wonder at their Folly, or deplore their Condition. Certainly it is the Height of Madness not to believe the Gofpel, the Truth of which the Blood of Martyrs hath teftified, the Apoftles have preached, Miracles proved, Reason confirmed, the Elements declared, and the Devils confeffed.
But far greater is that Madness, if not doubting of the Truth of the Gofpel, we live as if we were fatisfied of the Falfenefs of it. If it is true, that a covetous Man fhall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, why are we so anxiously heaping up Riches? If it is true, that we are to feek Glory from God and not from Men, why are we fo folicitous for their Applaufe? What fhall I fay more, there are indeed many that are called Chriftians, but few are fo in Reality.
Do you endeavour to enter in at the ftrait Gate, and not regard what others do, but what ought to be done.
For neither will your Glory be lefs, if you are happy with a few, nor your Punishment leffened by the Multitude of Fellow-fufferers.
There are two Remedies against the Allurements of the World and the Devil, which may be always present with you, namely, Charity and Prayer; for what can we do without the Affiftance of God, or how will he affift us uninvoked, and invoked how will he hear us, who regard not the Cries of the Needy? It is written, with what Meafure thou meteft, it shall be meafured to thee again.
When I exhort you to Prayer, I do not mean long b. 2
Prayers, but thofe that come from the Secrets of the Heart, which are only acceptable to God.
Be not concerned how long, but how ardent your Prayer is, rather interrupted by Sighs, than continued.
If you Defire to be pleafing to God, and to be for ever happy, let no Day pafs without approaching the Throne of God, by humble Prayer, through the Interceffion of Chrift Jefus our Redeemer; not with the Lips only, but with all the Affections of your Soul: Cry out with the Royal Prophet, Remember not the Sins of my Youth, but according to thy Mercy remember me for thy Goodness Sake, O Lord.
I make it my humble Request to you, that you would not fail to read the Holy Scriptures Night and Morning with great Attention; for as it is our Duty to meditate upon the Law of God Day and Night, fo nothing can be more useful.
For there is in the Holy Scriptures a Celestial and efficacious Power, inflaming the Soul with the Divine Fear and Love.
Lastly, you should never forget that the Son of God died for you, and that this Life is of a very short Continuance; with these two Spurs, the one of Fear, the other of Love, haften through this your short Stage of momentary and uncertain Life, to the Rewards of an eternal Blifs.
Of the HOLY SCRIPTURES, their Authority and Excellence; how they are to be meditated upon, observed and obeyed.
God, and is profitable for Doctrine, LL Scripture is given by Inspiration of
2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.
for Reproof, for Correction, for Inftruction in Righteousness. That the Man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good Works.
Rom. xv. 4. What foever Things were written afore-time, were written for our Learning, that we through Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures, might have Hope.
Deut. viii. 3. Man doth not live by Bread only, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the Mouth of the Lord doth Man live.
Luke xvi. 29, 31. Abraham faith unto him, They have Mofes and the Prophets, let them hear them.
If they hear not Mofes and the Prophets, neither will they be perfuaded tho' one rofe from the Dead.
Deut. xi. 18, 19. Therefore fhall ye lay up thefe my Words in your Heart, and in your Soul, and bind them for a Sign upon your Hands, that they may be as Frontlets between your Eyes.
And ye ball teach them your Children, Speaking of them when thou fitteft in thine House, and when thou walkeft by the Way, when thou lieft down, and when thou rifeft up.
Heb. i. 1, 2. God who at fundry Times and in divers Manners fpake in Time paft unto the Fathers by the Prophets,
Hath in thefe laft Days fpoken unto us by his Son.
John v. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye bave eternal Life, and they are they which testify of me.
John xx. 31. Thefe are written, that ye may believe that Jefus Chrift is the Son of God, and that believing ye might have Life through his Name.
Luke xxiv. 44, 45. These are the Words which I fpake unto you while I was yet with you, that all Things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Mofes, and in the Prophets, and in the Pfalms concerning me,