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MOTIVES TO WATCHFULNESS,
IN REFERENCE TO
THE GOOD AND EVIL ANGELS.
As we fee plants in a nursery, when they come to a due growth, are tranfplanted into orchards; and those that are unuseful, are pulled up and caft into the fire; or, as we fee boys in a free-fchool, fuch as are undifciplinable, are, after fome years of probation, fent away to mechanical employments; and those that are ingenious and diligent are tranfplanted to the universities: So among the children of men in this life, thofe that are vicious and incorrigible, are by death rooted out and caft into a fuitable condition; and those that are vesfels fit for the masters ufe, towardly plants, are by death tranfplanted into another region, a garden of happiness and comfort. And poffibly, by continuance of time, they received improvement and perfection here: So in that other region they add to their degrees of perfection, and are promoted to further acceffions, and degrees, and ftations of happinefs and glory, till they come to the state of spirits of just men made perfect.
Could we fee the invisible regiment of the world, by the fubordinate government of good and evil angels, as once Elifba's fervant faw the fiery chariots and horfemen in the mount, it would give us another kind of reprefentation of things, than now they appear to us. We have just reason to believe that there are infinite · numbers of fpirits of both kinds, that have their pallings
to and fro, and negotiations, as well among themselves, as among the children of men; and as ravens, kites, and other kind of unclean birds, haunt carrion, and as vermine haunt after putrefaction, and are bufy about it; or as diforderly, debauched companions and ruffians, ever haunt out, and hang upon a diffolute and foolish heir, till they have fucked out all his fubftance and wealth; so the impure and corrupted angels haunt 'and flock about a man given over to vice, till they have wholly corrupted and putrified his foul; and thofe good men whom they cannot win over to them, they purfue with as much malice and envy as they can poffibly; and although they cannot come within them, yet as far as they can, they raife up external mifchiefs against them, watch opportunities to enfnare or blemish them, though the vigilancy of a better guard, and their own prudence and circumipection, do for the most part dilappoint and prevent then. Befides the difpleafure of the great God, there be fome confiderati n even in reference to thofe good and evil angels, to make good men very watchful, that they fall not into the prefumptuous or foul fins.
1. It cannot choose but be grief to the good angels, to be prefent, and fpectators of the enormities of thofe, for whole prefervation they are employed.
2. It muft in all probability work in them a naufeoufnefs, and retiring themfelves from fuch offenders, at leaft till they have renewed, and washed themfelves by repentance, and made their peace with God in Chrift: For there is no greater antipathy than between thefe pure and chafte fpirits, and any fin or foulnefs.
3. It cannot choose but be a moft grateful spectacle to these envious and malignant evil spirits, who upon the difcovery of fuch a fall of a good man, call their impure company together, and make paftime about fuch an object, as boys do about a drunken man, and upbraid the facred and pure angels, 'Look here is your
Luke xv. 10. Matth. xiii. 10.
pious man, your profeffor: come fee in what a condition he is, and what he is about.'
4. It lays open fuch a man to the power and malice of thofe envious fpirits; they have gotten him within their territories and dominions; and unless God in great mercy reftrain them, render a good man obnoxious to their mischief. And as the contagion and noifomeness of fin drives away the pure and holy fpirits; fo it attracts and draws together those impure and malignant fpirits, as the fmell of carrion doth birds and beasts of prey. It concerns us therefore to be very vigilant against all fin; and if through inadvertence, infirmity, and temptation, we fall into it, to be diligent to make our peace, and wafh ourselves as we can, in the blood of Chrift and water of repentance.
PHIL. 4. 5.
LET YOUR MODERATION BE KNOWN UNTO ALL MEN.
MODERATION is that grace of virtue whereby a Man governs his fenfual appetite, his Paflions and Affections, his Words and Actions, from all excels and exorbitancy.
It Refers, 1. To the Senfual Appetite: 2. To the Paffions of the Mind: 3. To Speech and Words: 4. To the Actions of our Life.
1. Moderation in the fenfual appetite: And this is -properly temperance, which is a prudent restraint of our appetite from all excefs in eating, drinking, and those other inclinations that gratify our fenfes.
And certainly this becomes us not only as Christians, but as reasonable creatures; for the fenfual appetite, and thofe inclinations that tend to the gratification of our external fenfes, are in a great mealure the fame in men and brutes, and they are in their due order and ufe good and convenient for both: we cannot live without them. But Almighty God hath given to mankind a higher and a nobler nature; namely, understanding and reafon, which in the right pofture and conftitution of the human nature is to govern, guide, moderate, and order that inferior faculty that is common to the brutes, as well as to man. And that man
that keeps not this regiment and fuperintendancy of his nobler faculties, degrades himfelf into the condition of a brute, and indeed into fomewhat worfe, for even the inftincts of brutes do for the most part regulate their fenfual appetite from excefs and immoderation. But because this belongs to that diftin&t virtue of tem, perance, I forbear further inftances therein.
2. Moderation of our Paffions and Affections: And thefe are here principally intended; namely, Love, Hatred or Anger, Joy, Grief, Hope, Fear, and those other mixt or derivative paffions, that arife in Man upon the prefentment of their feveral objects.
And although the paffions of the mind, confidered fimply in themfelves, are a part of our nature, and not evil; but when duly regulated and ordered, are of excellent ufe to us; yet if they become once unruly, mifplaced, or over-acted, they occafion the greatest trouble in the world both to the perfons themfelves in whom they are, and to others!. We may eafily trace almost all the fins and enormities, and diftempers, and troubles, and diforders that we obferve in ourselves or others, to the immoderation and diforder of the paffions.
And therefore the due moderation of them is of great confequence, both for the attaining of true tranquillity of mind, of great regularity in all we do or fay, and to the cominion peace, order and benefit of mankind.
The moderation therefore of all our paffions confifts principally in these two things: 1. That they be not mifplaced or fet upon wrong objects, as to love that ¡which we should not love, but poflibly hate; or to hate that which we fhould love; and fo for the reft. 2. That being rightly placed in refpect of their objects, yet that they be not intended or acted beyond that degree that 'may be juftly allowed to thofe objects: And this is properly immoderation; the former is merely misprifion, error, enormity, folly.
'Jam. ic. 1..