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then were all dead: and that he died for all, or as taking an improper method to produce that they which live should not henceforth it? He values his system because of its prac live unto themselves, but unto him which tical bearing; because of its sanctifying indied for them, and rose again."
fluence; and affirms constantly, that they Lastly. How can you determine your actu- which have believed in God, be careful to al interest in this redemption, unless you have maintain good works. He abhors the impudedicated yourselves unto God? Who are tation of doing evil that good may come; or the persons our Saviour will render eternally of sinning that grace may abound. But he happy by his death? Not the righteous, but does not rear a superstructure without a sinners. This is true. But what sinners? foundation; neither does he lay his foundation Those that remain in their unbelief and im- in the sand. He does not expect spiritual penitence?-Can the profligate; can the sen- motion without spiritual life. He does not sual; can they who mind earthly things, how- look for good fruit from a bad tree. His conever orthodox; can such men say, "I know cern is, that the spring may be healed, and that my Redeemer liveth; and that in my then he knows the streams will be wholeflesh I shall see God ?— They that are Christ's some. have crucified the flesh with its affections and Oh! Christians, let it appear from your lusts. He is the Author of eternal salvation practice, as well as from your argument, that to all them that obey him.” He groaned, and the doctrine we preach is according to godlibled, and died: but this does not, cannot render ness. Let your lives furnish us with our best it less true, that “ without holiness no man defence. • Be our epistles known and read shall see the Lord.”_" This," says John, " is of all men.” The eyes of many are upon the message which we have heard of him, and you, not that they may find reason to remove declare unto you, that God is light, and in him their unhappy prejudices against the Gospel, is no darkness at all. If we say that we have but to confirm them; and though we quote fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, Scripture, they will appeal to you; and perwe lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk haps all the notions they form of evangelical in the light, as he is in the light, we have fel- religion will be taken from the representations lowship one with another, and the blood of you give, and the impressions you make. May Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” these representations be accurate! May these What is the experience of a man who can impressions be just! May you “put to silence claim all the benefits of the cross, and who the ignorance of foolish men,” and “adorn will never be confounded? “I am crucified the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, _“And this I pray, that
abound but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I yet more and more in knowledge and in all now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the judgment; that ye may approve things that Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself are excellent; that ye may be sincere and for me."
without offence till the day of Christ; being Thus if we consider the claims of justice filled with the fruits of righteousness, which and of gratitude; if we would meet the de- are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise sign of God in the dispensation, or know that of God.” we have eternal life abiding in us as the con- As for those who are living without God in sequence of it; the inference strongly results the world, and who feel no concern to glorify
ye are not your own, but bought with a him, let them remember that God will be price-therefore glorify God in your body and glorified even in them—though not willingly, spirit, which are God's.”
yet by compulsion; though not intentionally, If I had been addressing persons, who, like yet by his overruling providence; though not the Athenians, can only be charmed in hear- in their salvation, yet in their destruction. ing some new thing, I should not have chosen His power, his truth, his holiness, and his justhe subject on which I have been speaking. tice will be displayed in their misery. The It pretends to no novelty: but it possesses grace that should have been the savour of importance ; and to those who are in a proper life unto life, will become the savour of death state of mind, it will always prove interest-unto death. It cannot be otherwise. They ing.
are exposed to a twofold condemnation; one It clearly shows us that the doctrines of from the law which they have transgressed, Christianity are derived from its facts; and and another from the Gospel which they have that its duties arise from its doctrines. These neglected. And how can they escape ?' " He doctrines therefore are not, as some would that despised Moses' law died without mercy suppose, mere opinions, or speculations, but under two or three witnesses: Of how much are necessarily connected with experience sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be and practice. The Christian's consolations thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot and motives are supplied and maintained by the Son of God, and hath counted the blood his principles. Is it not therefore astonishing, of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctithat the preacher who inculcates these princi- fied, an unholy thing, and hath done despite ples is to be considered an enemy to holiness, I unto the Spirit of grace?”.
DISCOURSE LXXXI. is bribed to acquiesce in the hardness of their
Let us see whether life will not yield LIFE ENJOYED AND IMPROVED.
sources of enjoyment and beneficence too. I know that there is no good in them, but for but recommends both in the words of our
Solomon saw no inconsistency between these; a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. text. " I know that there is no good in them, Eccles. iii. 12.
but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in “I LEAD,” says Wisdom, not only-—" in his life.” That is, all our temporal possesthe way of righteousness,” but—" in the sions are only valuable, as they are expended midst of the paths of judgment:" that is, upon ourselves, or others; either as they aid between the extreme on each side of the our own comfort, or advance the welfare of road, and into which we are so liable to run. our fellow-creatures. Let me then call upon Indeed, moral duty always lies in the middle you, of two opposites. Patience is equally remote I. TO REJOICE IN THEM. II. TO DO GOOD from stupidity and excessive sensibility: it is with THEM. alike destroyed by feeling too little or too I. Let me call upon you TO REJOICE IN much. True courage is ashamed of rashness THEM. This part of our subject requires reas well as of fear. Real economy shuns par- marks, not so much of a stimulating as of an simony and meanness, as well as profusion explanatory and qualifying nature. Let me and waste.
begin with two cautions. Let us apply this to the subject before us. The first regards justice. See that what It is desirable and necessary to form a proper you enjoy is your own.
“ Owe no man any estimate of our present condition; so that we thing," says the Apostle. You would deem may use this world as not abusing it. We it shameful to purloin from a neighbour's are prone to value it too highly; to acquire garden, or shop, any thing you deemed agree too keen an appetite for its pleasures; to lay able; but what is the difference between too great a stress upon its riches; and to rest stealing, and ordering what you are con in that, as our home, which was only de- scious, at the time, you are unable to pay for ? signed for our passage. Yet it is possible Yet there are those, who are determined
, to err on the other side; and we may neg- that, whoever may suffer, they will enjoy lect to secure and enjoy all the advantages themselves; who have not only everything which our residence on earth is capable of comfortable, but often luxuriant, in food, in affording.
apparel, in furniture: while their tradesmen's There are some whose liberality trenches bills give them not a moment's uneasiness ; on their allowed enjoyment. The case, in- or the prospect of failure, the least sentiment deed, is not very common; and there is some of disgrace. It was well said by Lord Mansthing noble in the principle, when it does field, that “ for one cruel creditor
, there arise from principle,- for it may arise from were a hundred cruel debtors.” Upon this vainglory, when a man denies himself for the head our laws are far too lenient for the supsake of usefulness. Yet it should be remem- port of the public welfare. But what can we bered, that God "giveth us richly all things think of professors of religion who can gratify to enjoy;" that, as Christians, we are not to themselves at the expense of others, and insuffer “our good to be evil spoken of;" that, volve themselves in debt, rather than exerif we refuse ourselves such accommodations cise the least self-denial! There may be and comforts as our station in life permits, honesty without religion; but it is a strange we shall appear sordid and avaricious to those kind of religion that can subsist without bowho, while they witness our savings, are not nesty. A real Christian should blush, not to acquainted with the use we make of them; be seen in a threadbare, mended garment, and, that what is expended upon ourselves, that is his own ; but in a goodly and splendid in the hire of servants, the employment of one, that belongs to his tradesman! Poworkmen, and the purchase of articles in verty is not disgraceful; but sin is
. Jesus trade, is one of the ways in which we can and his Apostles were poor; but they were
serve our generation." This, however, not unjust: otherwise, He might have had though a mistake, is an error on the right where to lay his head, and they would not hand: the greatest danger lies on the left; have complained of nakedness and hunger. and arises from the self-indulgence that The second regards moderation. You can trenches upon the claims of charity. For never suppose that God requires, or even althere are persons who give way to so much lows intemperance. Reason does not allow needless gratification, as to have no ability it; health does not allow it; enjoyment does with which to answer the calls of misery : not allow it: for it is verified by experience, they are wrapped up in selfishness, looking that the moderate use of all earthly good, is every man on his own things, and not on the productive of the greatest degree of pleasure. things of others; while their conscience - Let your moderation, therefore, be known gives them no alarm, and their very religion unto all men;" and, while alive to the beau
ties of nature ana the bounties of Providence, favours; that one trifling event not according beware of losing the heart of a stranger. to your mind, but upon which your real welThe danger lies on the side of gratification. fare has no dependence, should deprive every Therefore, “ Watch and pray, lest ye enter thing else of all power to interest you! Did into temptation.". Never be so absorbed in you never think Haman a fool? • He called any present indulgence, as to be careless of for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And the voice that will summon you to “arise Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and depart hence, for this is not your rest, and the multitude of his children, and all the because it is polluted.”
things wherein the king had promoted him, After having cautioned you, allow me to and how he had advanced him above the admonish.
princes and servants of the king. Haman And First. If you would rejoice in the good said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let things which God gives you under the sun, - no man come in with the king unto the ban
Cherish a grateful sensibility. Some re- quet that she had prepared but myself; and ceive all their mercies like the beasts that to-morrow am I invited unto her also with perish. The animal only is gratified in them. the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, There is nothing to refine the grossness of so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at appetite, or to increase the relish of posses- the king's gate." It is to no purpose to exsion, derived from the mind and the heart. empt some even from real evils; they will be How much in passing through life, does he sure to conjure up imaginary ones. It matlose who regards all its blessings as the effects ters not what is done for them; they are inof chance, and is not led by them to an intel-capable of being pleased. It matters not ligent Author, and an indulgent Benefactor! where they are placed; it is impossible to He has the secret of adding a hundred-fold to make them happy. How must it shock an his enjoyment who connects all his advan- angel, to see a man, notwithstanding his untages with the agency of his God, and feels his worthiness, surrounded with every wish, obligations to his bounty. He has the high- every comfort, and yet made up of fretfulness est relish of every thing who, instead of and complaint, a torment to others, and a “sacrificing to his own net and burning in- burden to himself! He is far worse than his cense to his own drag," realizes the senti- brethren in the field: “Doth the wild ass ment of Solomon, " The blessing of the Lord bray when he hath grass ? or loweth the ox it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with over his fodder ?" it.” Gratitude is a lively and cheerful feel- Thirdly. Shun avaricious and distrustful ing, even where it regards a creature only; anxiety. This will produce excessive exerhow much more when it respects the God of tion, and make you forget that “the life is love! The man who lives a stranger to it can more than meat, and the body than raiment." never rejoice in his mercies, and is compara- Diligence is a duty, and employment is a pritively a wretch in all his abundance. vilege. But this cannot be said of drudgery
Secondly. Guard against habitual discon- or bondage; these are incompatible with tent. To possess is not to enjoy. Many pos- comfort. And why is the man a slave and sess much and enjoy nothing. We cannot a drudge ? Has he not often prayed “Give judge of a man by outward appearances. His us day by day our daily bread ?" Has not grounds may bring forth plentifully. He God promised that he shall eat the labour may fare sumptuously every day; he may of his hand? Yes—but he must make haste have servants to anticipate all his wants; he to be rich; he must gain, not a substance, may have more than heart can wish ; and but a fortune; he must, not continue in his. yet if we could look within, we should see calling with God, but, retire from it, to live his soul a prey to dissatisfaction. An ability in a state of independence and inaction : to relish our mercies is considered by Solo- hence, he has not a moment that he can call mon as the gift of God: “Also that every his own; hence he denies not only recreation, man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good but rest, to body and mind; hence he is afraid of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” But of every present expense and gratification ; this gift of God comes to us like other gifts, and loses the best part of life, in providing in the use of means, and is increased by them. for the worst! He may never reach the peYou should, therefore, sanctify reason and ex- riod that flatters him, and if he does, he may ercise thought. You should compare your be incapable of relishing what he has laid up, circumstances with the state, not of those owing to bodily infirmities and disease, the above you, but of those below. As soon as removal of relatives and friends, and the force you are placed in a condition, you should shut of habits deprived of their proper objects. your eyes and ears against all its disadvan- Fourthly. Entertain no harsh and supertages, and dwell only on the good and im- stitous views of Religion. « Touch not, provable. You should often inquire, what it taste not, handle not: which things have inis that keeps you from taking comfort in your deed a show of wisdom in will-worship and portion; and be ashamed to think, that one humility, and neglecting of the body; not in trial should make you insensible to a thousand any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
But where las God prescribed bodily flagel- , is not safety. And the thought cannot be lations ? Where does He require us to with- always banished; it will sometimes intrude, draw from society? to turn mendicants ? to and mar all your peace and pleasure. But live in deserts and caves ? to go barefooted ? blessed is the man whose transgression is forand sleep on the cold ground? Is God pleased given, whose sin is covered." The curse is only as we are tormented ? does He surround removed from all his trials. He has a covenant us with enjoyments only that we may not right to all his mercies. God is his fathertaste of them? To enjoy is to obey, because death is his friend-heaven is his home—the it corresponds with the obvious will of God. Bible is his treasure—he has nothing to do What says Paul of those who “ forbid to with events. Providence is engaged to make marry, and command to abstain from meats all things work together for his good." All which God hath created to be received with his interests are secured-not a hair of his thankfulness, of them which believe and head is unnumbered-he dwells safely, and know the truth? They preach the doctrine is “ in quiet from the fear of evil.” This is of devils." And what says the wise man in the man to enjoy life; every thing similes this book? “Let thy garments be always when God smiles. "Go thy way, eat thy white; and let thy head lack no ointment. bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest merry heart; for God now accepteth thy all the days of the life of thy vanity, which works." he hath given thee under the sun, all the Having called upon you to rejoice, let me days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in exhort you also, with the royal preaches, this life, and in thy labour which thou takest II. TO DO GOOD. “I know that there is no under the sun."
good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to Some Protestants have had a tinge of Po- do good in his life.” Here let us inquire, pery, and have enjoined themselves austeri- What is the good these things will enable u ties which God has never required. Their to do? How we are to perform it? and, Why motive, perhaps, in some cases, has been we should be concerned to accomplish it? good; and they adopted these mortifications, What good can these things enable us to not to recommend them to God, so much as do?-It is of three kinds. to promote their sanctification. But God They enable us to do religious good. This knows our frame. His own means are the is the chief. No charity equals that which best ; and we ought not to distinguish our regards the souls of men; and what an honour selves by morals and self-denial of unscriptu- is conferred upon property, that by means of ral devisings; but, remembering that we it you can be instrumental in the salvation of serve a good master, gratefully use what his sinners
, in the diffusion of the Scriptures, in providence supplies." For every creature the preaching of the Gospel, and the estaof God is good, and nothing to be refused, if blishment of the Redeemer's empire! But so it be received with thanksgiving: for it is it is; and every thing, under God, depends sanctified by the word of God and prayer." upon the pecuniary resources of his agents
Lastly. Šeek after a knowledge of your What, at this hour, hinders, or limits, a thoureconciliation with God. It is your mercy sand exertions in the cause of truth and of that you know how this is to be obtained. righteousness—but the want of “ silver and Jesus is the only Mediator, and he made gold,” to replenish the funds of wisdom and peace by the blood of his cross. once zeal? “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that harvest, that he will send forth labourers into he might bring us unto God.” Through him, his harvest:" by which we mean, not minis "God now waits to be gracious, and is ex- ters only, but men of independence, who will alted to have mercy upon you." You are al- say, Lord, I am thine, and all that I have: lowed, you are invited, you are commanded men of trade and commerce, who will gain, to “seek him, while he may be found, and to not to squander away in extravagance, or call upon him, while he is near.” And can hoard up in the miser's bag; but to honour you be happy without any well-grounded the Lord with their substance, and to realize hope of your pardon and acceptance with the prediction concerning the deliverance God? Could a man enjoy a feast if a sword and conversion of Tyre: "And her merchanwas suspended over his head by a hair?- dise and her hire shall be holiness to the Could he be charmed with the finest music Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; if he knew he was hanging over a bottomless for her merchandise shall be for them that pit by a rotten thread ? Can you enjoy life dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and while you know-that death is certain—that for durable clothing." it cannot be far off—that it may be very near They enable us also to do intellectual --that after death is the judgment—and after good. This takes in education: and whatthe judgment—the sentence, “ Depart from ever the advocates for mental darkness supme, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared pose—who plead that because a man is born for the devil and his angels?" You may, in- to poverty he is born to ignorance, and will deed, banish the thought; but forgetfulness fill his place the better the less he knows; no
property can be better expended than that harvest will very slowly follow the seed-time. which is laid out in the instruction of the Zeal, without patience, will do nothing. young. A little education gives a poor child “Cast thy bread upon the waters : for thou the use of his understanding. It opens to shalt find it after many days. In the morning him a thousand sources of pleasure, to allevi- sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold ate his condition. It prepares him to support not thy hand: for thou knowest not whether himself, and to be useful to others. While it shall prosper, either this or that, or whether is friendly to religion, by teaching him the they both shall be alike good. Let us not be nature and grounds of his duty, and enabling weary in well doing, for in due time we shall him to read the word of truth.
reap, if we faint not.”—Let us inquire, They enable us to do corporeal good: by Thirdly. Why we should be concerned to which we mean, that which immediately accomplish it. regards the body, though the mind will also Why? Because the bounties of Providence derive comfort from it. Here we can never were conferred upon us for this very purpose. be at a loss. We are surrounded with the The Donor looked beyond ourselves in comdefenceless, the hungry, the naked, and the municating them. He designed them to be sick. We live in a world full of misery, and not only indulgences, but talents; he constiwhatever be our situation, it is impossible to tuted us not so much the proprietors as the elude cases of distress. But are we to elude stewards; " and it is required in a steward, them? Are we to hide ourselves from our that a man be found faithful." own flesh? “ Pure religion and undefiled Why? Because God hath commanded it. before God and the Father is this, To visit the He is our sovereign master; and if we are fatherless and widows in their affliction, and servants rightly disposed, we have often asked, to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" And
Secondly. In what manner are we to do has he left us ignorant of his will? Did you it? We are to do good
never read, “ as we have opportunity let us Immediately, and with diligence. “With- do good unto all men, especially unto them hold not good from them to whom it is due, that are of the household of faith ?" Can any when it is in the power of thine hand to do reason be assigned why he is to be obeyed, it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and when he commands us to believe on the name come again, and to-morrow I will give, when of his Son Jesus Christ, and when he enjoins thou hast it by thee." He may be dead be us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves fore to-morrow, or you may be dead; and together and despised, when he issues the thus the action will be lost for ever. For the charge, “Charge them that are rich in this saints on earth have one privilege above the world that they do good, that they be rich in saints in heaven; it is the opportunity of good works, ready to distribute, willing to doing good; but this opportunity, we should communicate ?" always remember, is as short and precarious Why? Gratitude requires it. How much as it is precious: “Whatsoever thy hand has God done for us, notwithstanding all our findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there unworthiness and guilt! What an instance is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor of unparalleled goodness does the Apostle of wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." love mention with rapture; and how natural, We are to do good
how forcible, the inference he draws from it, Extensively, and with impartiality. Some while teaching us to derive Christian morals cases indeed will have stronger claims than from evangelical motives; “ Herein is love, others, and the most generous ability cannot not that we loved God, but that he loved us, reach every case. But it is only preference, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our not exclusion, it is only want of means—not sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought indisposition, that must limit our exertions. also to love one another.” Gratitude consists We are not to be restrained by relationship, in a disposition to return a favour received : or country, or religion, or even personal and from man to man, it may be so expressed, injury-yea, says our Saviour, “ Love your as that a compensation may be made, yea, enemies, bless them that curse you, do good and even more than an equivalent be returnto them that hate you, and pray for them ed. But we can never discharge the obligawhich despitefully use you, and persecute tions we are under to God. Let us, however, you; that ye may be the children of your show that we are sensible of them. Let us Father which is in heaven: for he maketh ask, “What shall I render unto the Lord for his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, all his benefits towards me?" And if He is and sendeth rain on the just and on the un- exalted above all blessing and praise, and our just."--We are to do good
goodness extendeth not to him, let it extend Perseveringly, and without declension. We to those who are appointed to receive, as his must reckon upon encountering much, very substitutes, the acts of our beneficence. He much, that will try us. We shall often meet will judge of our disposition towards himself, with very unworthy returns. We shall whom we have not seen, by our conduct frequently seem to labour in vain. The towards his creatures, and his children, whom