« PoprzedniaDalej »
Preached at the
James Bonnell, Esquire.
Twenty Third Verse.- And to the
HE Eloquent and Learned Au
thor of this Epistle, ( for such he was in an ordinary Course of Attainment, as well as Extraordi
nary Inspired ) whether St. Paul, or St. Luke, or St. Barnabas, or whoever, fpends much of it, in comparing the Legal
and Evangelical Dispensation; that is, God's Method or Form of managing the Covenant under the Law, and under the Gospel : And having stated Both, He, by the State of such Comparison, all along asserts and proves the great Transcendency of the Gospel-Dispenfation above that of the Law.
This he does, even in a considerable Part of the Chapter, whence I have taken these Words; making the Result of the Comparison, an Argument to aggravate Mens Diso. bedience to the Gospel, above the old jeros Disobedience to the Law.
The Point, on which the Comparison here runs, is, the manner of the Publication of Eacb. The Delivery of the Law was Dread. ful, or with most Amazing Terrors; withal threatned to be Fatal to fuch, who should but touch the Mountain whence it was propounced: All put together, the Terrors such, That they who heard it, could not indure to hear it again. But the Promulgation of the Gospel was Calm, Sweet, Charming, and every way Salutary; such, which, not only Enamoured all its Hearers with what they heard, but endeared to them, the very Places where it was delivered; the Persons who were sent to deliver it; and even the whole Society and Multitude of them, who were Partakers of those blessed Tidings, making them all, however diftant, one Body by Union of Hearts, mutually transported, and made the happier by one anothers growing Happiness. This is the Sum of Vers, 18,19, 20. and to the end of the 24th Verse.
Particularly, in Verf. 18, and so for Four Verses together, he sets forth the Astonishing Manner wherein the Law was delivered : From a Mount that indeed might be Touch'd or Felt, ( Anacowuárw ) In its own Nature, it was, as any other Bodies, an Object of Feeling ; but yet it Burned with Fire, and was declared at that time fo Holy, that it might not be Touched : for if so much as a Beast touch it (Oign, by actual Contact pressed it ) Exod. XIX the Beast should be stoned, or thrust through with 12, 13. a Dart. And, to inhance the Dreadfulness of all, while the Law was about to be delivered, and in the very Delivery of it, Black, ness and Darkness, says our Author, Thundering and Lightning, and a thick Cloud, says Mofes, were upon the Mount. And from thence the Sound of a Trumpet, and the Voice Verse 16; of Words, which they that beard, intreated that the Word should not be spoken to them any more, for they could not indure that which was commanded. So terrifying a Scene was the Promulgation of the Law on Mount Sinai.
Then, on the other hand, in Three Verses ( viz. 22, 23, 24.) he represents the Na. ture of our Calling under the Gospel. Te are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem; to an innumerable Company of Angels; to the General Assembly and Church of the Firft-born, which, are written in Heaven; and to the God the Judge of All; and to the Spirits of Fuft Men made
perfečt; and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Coo venant ; and to the Blood of Sprinkling, that
Speaketh better things than that of Abel. All these Glorious Eminencies of the Evangelical State, above the Law, are verified to Christian People, even in the present Mortal Life ; for herein are we initiated and incorporated into the City of the Living God, which is his Church, the Spiritual Mount Sion. Herein we have the Knowledge of an unseen World, wherein, we are taught, are an Innumerable Company of Angels : And both They have more Communion with us, and consequently We with Them, than we are aware of. Herein are we assured, That the Souls of Saints departed, are in a Paradisical State above ; That the Spirits of Just Men made perfect, are
one Part of the Heavenly Inhabitants. Luke XVI.
But much more will all these things be ve26. rified to us, and in us, when we our selves
shall have shot the great Gulf, and be transported into that World of Blessed Spirits. And with regard to this latter Condition, which we hope for, shall I take these Words, and concinde" thence this Propofition,
It will be one Branch and Advantage of our Felicity in Heaven, that we shall there enjoy the Society of the Spirits of Just Men made perfect.
For opening and making Good hereof, there are Two Points necessary to be stated, or Two Difficulties to be resolved.
I. What Perfe£tion the Spirits of Just Men, while separated from their Bodies, may be conceived to attain to.
II. What Happiness their Society can be there to us, their Christian Brethren, when gathered to them.
As to the First of these, What Perfe£tion the Spirits of Just Men, while separated from the Body, may be conceived to attain to. This may be resolved in. Three Particulars.
I. It is one Step to Perfection, that in that Separate Estate, the Spirits are stript of all the Impediments and Disturbances of their Perfection. Diverse of these, our Souls are here encompassed with, as long as they inhabit these Houses of Clay, which we call our Bodies.
I. All sinful Infirmities. The Hearts of none of the Saints, in the present Estate, are so purged, but some Remains of Corruption secretly lurk in them, or cleave to them. Possibly, some unhappy Propensities to certain Sins; some Easiness or Aptness to yield to sundry Temptations, fome Vanity or Levity of Mind: If none of these, yet at least something of Affection to the Things that are seen ; fome Aversation and Loathness to be turned Naked into an unknown World, and Entertained with none but Invisible and Intellectual Obje&ts. Nothing is there, in the Separate Estate, expected, or to come from Sense, from which notwithstanding, here we have been accustomed to take in most of our Comforts. This kind of abstract and stript Condition, Flesh and Blood is somewhat fearful to enter into. But from this, a