Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

"I have given you, you shall infallibly attain everlast'ing life and happiness, and even in this present life, 'shall have the influence and presence of iny favour, 'to support, to direct and bless you: On the other 'fide, if you refuse my fear, and reject my commands, * and prefer the unlawful and vain delusions of this 'present life, before the obedience of my will, and 'persilt impenitently in it, your portion shall be ever"lasting misery.' And now everlasting life and everlasting death being set before the children of men, there are a sort of men that rather chule to disobey the command of God, reject his fear, and all this, that they may enjoy the pleasures of fin for a feafon, those pleasures that are fading and dying, that leave behind them a fting, that renders their very enjoyment bitter, and that make even that very little life they enjoy, but a life of discomfort and unhappiness, in spite of all their pleasures, or be they as fincere as their own hearts can promise them, yet they are but for a seafon, a season that in its longest period is but short, but is uncertain also ; a little inconsiderable accident, the breach of a vein, an ill air, a little ill digested portion of that excess wherein they delight, may put a period to all those pleasures, and to that life, in a year, in a week, in a day, in an hour, in an unthought moment, before a man hath opportunity to consider, to bethink himself, or to repent; and then the door of life and happiness is Mut. Again, there are a fort of men that consider this great propofal, and choose the fear of Almighty God, and with it eternal life, and are content to deny themselves in things unlawful, to obey Almighty God, to keep his favour, to walk humbly with him, to accept of the tender of life and salvation upon the terms propounded by Almighty God: And in the practice of this fear they enjoy his favour, and presence, and love; and after this life spent, whether it be long or frort, and whether their

death

D 2

death be lingering or sudden, are sure the next moment after death to enjoy an immortal life of glory and happiness. Judge then which of these is the truly wife man, whether this be not a truth beyond dispute: The fear of God that is wisdomn, and to de part from evil is-understanding.

OF OF THE

KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED.

1 COR. IV. 2.

FOR I DETERMINE NOT TO KNOW ANY THING

AMONG YOU, SAVE JESUS CHRIST, AND HIM CRUCIFIED.

As the understanding is the highest faculty of the reasonable creature, because upon it depends the regularity of the motions or actings of the will and af fections; so knowledge is the properest and noblest act or habit of that faculty, and without which it is without its proper end and employment, and the whole man without a due guidance and direction : “My people perish for want of knowledge 1.'

And as knowledge is the proper business of that great faculty, so the value of that knowledge, or employment of the understanding, is diversified according to the subject about which it is exercised : for though all knowledge of the most differing subjects agree in this one cominon excellence, viz. the right representation of the thing, as it is, unto the understanding; or the conformity of the image created in the understanding, unto the thing objectly united to it, which is truth in the understanding : yet it must needs be, that according to the various values and degrees of the things to be known, there ariseth a diverlity of the value or worth of that knowledge ; that

1 Hos. iv. 6. D3

which

[ocr errors]

which is of a thing more noble, useful, precious, must needs be a more noble, useful, precious, knowledge, and accordingly more to be desired.

There have been doubiless many excellent understandings that have been conversant about an exact disquisition of fome particular truth, which though as truths they agree in a common value with all others, yet in respect of their nature, use, and value, are of no great moment, whether known or not; as concerning the precise time of this or that passage in such a prophane history; the criticism of this or that Latin word, or the like; which, thoug! by accident, and by way of concomitance, they may be of considerable use, when mixed with, or relating to some other matter of moment; yet in themselves have little value, becaufe little use. Others have spent their thoughts in acquiring of knowledge in some special piece of nature, the fabrick of the eye; the progression of generation in an egg; the relation and proportion of numbers, weights, lines, the generation of metals: and these, as they have a relative consideration to discover and set forth the wisdom of the great Creator, or to public ufe, have great worth in them; but in themselves, though they have the excellence of truth in them, and consequently in their kind feed and give light to the underitanding, which is a power that is naturally ordained unio, and greedy of, and delighted in truth, though of a low and inferior constitution ; yet they are not of that eminence and worth, as truths of some other, tither higher, or more useful, or durable na

ture.

As once our Saviour, in relation of things to be done, pronounced one thing only necessary'; so the Apoitle, among the many things that are to be known, fixeth in the fame one thing necessary to be known, Christ Jesus, and him crucified.

There are three steps ;
I. Not to know any thing. Not as if all other

Luk. X. 42.

knowledge knowledge were condemned; Moses's learning was not charged upon him as a fin ; Paul's fecular learning was not condemned, but useful to him ; to be knowing in our calling, in the qualities and dispositions of persons, in the laws under which we live, in the modest and sober inquiries of nature and arts, are not only not condemned, but commended and useful, and such as tend to the setting forth the glory of the God of wisdom. Even the discretion of the husband. men God owns as his : * For his God doth instruct

him to discretion, and doth teach him 1.' But we must determine to know nothing in comparison of that other knowledge of Christ Jesus, as the Apostle counted what things were gain, yet to be lofs for Christ?, so we are to esteem that knowledge of other things, otherwise excellent, useful, admirable, yet to be but folly, and vile in comparison of the knowledge of Christ. And this requires :

1. A true and right estimate of the value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus above other knowledge ; and consequently an infinite preferring thereof before, all other knowledge in our judgments, desire, and delight: And the preponderation of the knowledge of Christ above other knowledges excels most knowledge in all the ensuing particulars, but excels all knowledge in fome, and those of most concernment.

1. In the certainty of it. Most other knowledges 3 are either such as we take in by our sense and experience; and therein, though it is true that the gross part of our knowledge, that is nearest to our sense, hath somewhat of certainty in it, yet when we come to sublimate and collect, and infer that knowledge into universal or general conclusions, or to make dedictions, ratiocinations, and determinations from them, then we fail, and hence grew the difference between many philosophers. Again, the knowledge that we elicit 4 from sense, is but very narrow, if it stand there;

3 kinds of knowledge. draw ort.

i Isa. xxviii. 26.

2 Phil. iv. 7.

4

« PoprzedniaDalej »