Obrazy na stronie

God will lay up the iniquity of sinners for their children ; i.e. he will not satisfy himself with wreaking vengeance of other men's wrongs upon your heads that have done them, but will take care also that your children shall be no gainers by the bargain : therefore, as you desire the welfare of those, for whose sake especially you dare adventure to hazard your own souls, bequeathe not to them for a legacy a canker and moth, that will assuredly consume and devour all your riches : take pity of those poor souls, who are nothing interested, in their own persons, in those crimes wherewith their wealth was purchased, and leave not unto them a curse from God upon their inheritance. But I see I must be forced even abruptly to break from this argument of restitution: I come therefore, briefly, to my last particular, namely, the excess and extraordinary measure of Zacchæus his restitution, which he professeth shall be fourfold, to be dispatched in one word.

44. However I found it something a hard task to clear my first particular of confession from the danger and neighbourhood of popery, yet I fear that in most men's opinions it will prove more difficult to do as much for this : for here is an action performed by Zacchæus, (namely, fourfold restitution,) without all question good and acceptable to God, and yet not enjoined by virtue of any commandment; and what is that but plain popish supererogation? for the judicial law of restoring fourfold is only in strictness and propriety applicable to plain, direct stealing.

45. Sol. I confess, that some particular men, for fear of this consequence, have thought themselves obliged to dissent, not only from St. Paul's distinction of counsels from precepts in the gospel, but also from the general, uniform consent of all antiquity; whereas, if we shall well consider it, they have feared where no fear was: for our churches never condemned that distinction, as if there were danger from thence of making way for popery; but this is that abomination of more than pharisaical, self-justifying pride in the church of Rome, that upon so weak a foundation they have most

, inartificially erected their Babel of supererogation, whereby they teach that they can, not only through the whole course of their lives, exactly perform all the commandments of God, without offending in any one mortal sin; by this means challenging at God's hands remission of their sins, and everlasting salvation for themselves; but also, by their voluntary, unrequired obedience unto evangelical counsels, leave God in arrearages unto them, and make an extraordinary stock of merits, which shall be left unto the pope's care and providence to manage, and dispense to any man's use for ready money. This is that doctrine which the church of England, in express words, most worthily professeth a detestation unto, in their fourteenth article, which hath been transcribed into the five and fortieth of this church. And yet for all this, neither of these churches have any quarrel to that distinction of St. Paul, when, speaking of voluntary chastity, he saith, I have received no such commandment from the Lord, yet I give my advice or counsel ; as hath been excellently discovered by the late incomparable bishop of Winchester, in his Resp. ad Apologiam.

46. And now, though I have gone through and quite absolved my text, yet I can scarce think my sermon finished, till I have endeavoured to make it beneficial unto you, by applying it to your consciences and practice: but when I should come to that, I confess I find these times wherein we live so indisposed for such an application, that I know not which way to begin with you; for, shall I seriously enjoin you, as by a precept from God, that where you have unjustly oppressed, or cunningly and closely defrauded your neighbour, that you should, as Zacchæus did here, restore unto him fourfold. No, I dare not adventure so far, I have received no such commandment from the Lord; and then I should be guilty of that which was an unjust accusation laid upon Moses and Aaron, Ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

c i Cor. vii. 25.

47. Shall I then endeavour to persuade you to conform yourselves to this pattern of Zacchæus, as to a counsel ? Alas! the times are such, that well were we, if, as some have turned all counsels into precepts, that the same men would not, at least in their practice, convert all precepts into counsels: if they would not think that the moral, legal precepts were antiquated and dissolved by bringing in the new covenant of grace ; or, if not quite abrogated, yet left so arbitrary, that they should become matters of no necessary importance and consequence; duties, which if we shall perform, we shall thereby approve our gratitude and thankfulness unto God our Saviour; and yet if by chance they are left undone, since they are esteemed no necessary conditions of the new covenant, there is no great danger, as long as we can keep a spark of faith alive, as long as we can persuade ourselves that we have a firm persuasion of God's mercy in Christ to ourselves in particular; which kind of newly invented faith an adversary of our church pleasantly, and I fear too truly, defines, when he says", it is nothing but a strong fancy.

48. These things therefore considered, I will leave the application of Zacchæus his extraordinary restitution

r Dr. Carrier, in his epistle to King James.

to your own consciences, according as God and your own souls shall agree together : only I beseech you not to make a counsel of restitution in general, but to free yourselves from the burden and weight of other men's riches, lest they overleaven and swell you so unmeasurably, that you shall not be able to press in at that strait gate, which would lead you unto those blessings and glorious habitations which Christ hath purchased for you, not with these corruptible things of silver and gold, but with his own precious blood : unto which habitations God of his infinite mercy bring us all, for the same our Lord Jesus Christ his sake: to whom, with the Father, &c.


GALAT. v. 5. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness

by faith. This day the wisdom of the ancient, primitive, and, I think, apostolic church, hath dedicated to the memory of an epiphany, or apparition of a miraculous star, which was sent to guide the magi, or wise men of the East, to the place where our Saviour was born. But suppose there were such a star seen, and three men of the East conducted by it; must all the Christian world presently fall a rejoicing for it? There was reason indeed that they should be exceeding glad, but shall we therefore lose a whole day's labour by it ? To say the truth, there is no reason for it; therefore, either better grounds must be found out for rejoicing, or it were well done to make Christmas a day shorter hereafter.

2. But for all this, if we well consider it, we Gentiles might better spare any holyday in the year than this; for there is none besides this properly our own, but the Jews will challenge an equal interest in it. The appearing of the star then is the least part of the solemnity of this day; for a greater and more glorious light than the star this day arose unto us, even that so long expected light, which was to lighten the Gentiles, which was to give light to them which, sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. This day, as St. Paul saith, étepávn ý zápis toll Ocoû, Titus ü. 11,

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