« AnteriorContinua »
and man, Atirred up by the Spirit of Cbrift, through Faisb; and exercised in works of Pirty, Justice, Charity and Temperance, in order to tbe attainment of everlafting bappinel, in the perfed di. fion and fruition of God. And none bur ignorant or brain-fick Sc&aries, will be offended for the Preaching of any of this Morality. Luke 11.42. Wo to you Pbarisius; for ye 1yrbe Mint and Ruemand pass over Judgment and tbe Love of God: I bese sugbt ye to bave done, and not to leave the oiker undone.
The Practical Directions to live by-Faitb, a life of Holiness om
Direct. 1. Ake
the best and furoft revealer of God and bis Will unto mankind.
All the Books of Philosophers-are fapless and crapty, in com. parison of the ocaching of Jesus Chrif; they are but enquiries into the nature of the crcaturcs, and the lowest things, moft inapertinent to our happiness or duty: Or if they rise up to God, it is but with dark and unpredical conje&urcs, for the mof part of them and the rek do but grope and fucoble in obscurily. And their Içarning is mostly but useless speculations, and Atriving about words and sciences fallly so called, which little tend to godly edifying. It is Christ who is made wisdom. to us, as being himsell the wisdom of God. If you know but where to hcar an Aogel, you would all presce him biforc Aristotle or Plato, or Cartefius, or Gafjendwo ; how much more the Son himself?. He is the truc Light, to lighten every man that will not ferve the Prince of darkness. Chriftians were. firft called Cbrits Disciples ; and therefore to learn of him the truc knowledge of God, is the work of cvery truc Believer, Jobu 17. 3. Aus 3.23. fobn-8. 43, 47. &10. 3, 27. & 18. 47
: & 14. 24. Mattb. 17.5.
Dircet. 2. Remember that Cbrifts-way of Teaching is ; 1. By bis Word; 2. His Ministers ; 3. And bis Spirit conjund, and ibe place for bis Disciples is in his Churcle.
1. His Gospel writren is his Book which must b: taughe 05. 2. His Ministers office is to reach it us. 3. His Spirit is Tawardly to illuminate us that we may und:rttand it. And he that will despite or neglect ciher the Scripture, Minitry or Spirit, is ac ver like to learn of Chrift.
Dire&t. 3. Look on ebe Lrd Jesus, and be work of mans Rre demprion by him, as the great designed Revelation of obe Farbets Love and Goodness; even as the fatrick of tbe world is set up to be the Glass or Revelation (eminently) of his Greatness.
Therefoic as you chuse your Book for the lake of the Science or subject which you would learn; fo let this b: the designed, ftud:ed, conftant use which you make of Christ, so fee and admire in him the Farbers Love. When you read your
. Grammar, if one ask you, why? you will say it is to learn the language which it teachech ; and he that readeth Low-beoks,
or Pbilosopby, or Medicine, it is to learn Law, Pbilosopby or Pbyfick: fo whenever you read the Gospel, meditate on Chrift, or hear his Word; if you are aski wby you do it? be able to say, I do it to learn the Love of God, wbich is no where else in the world to be learnt so well. No wonder if Hypocrites have learned to mortific Scripture, Sermons, Prayers, and all o her means of grace; yca all the world which should reach them God; and to learn the letters, and not the sense : But it is moft pirciful that they should thus mortific Cbrift bimself to them; and should gaze on the glass, and never take much notice of the face even of the Love of God which he is set up to dcclare.
Dirc&. 4. Therefore congest all the great discoveries of ebis Love, and let tbem all toget ber in order; and make ibem your daily study, and abbor al doctrines or suggestions from menor devils,' wbicbtend 10 disgrace, diminish or bide ibis revealed Love of God in Cbrift.
Think of the grand design it self; the reconciling and saving of loft mankind : Think of the gracious nature of Chrift; of his wonderful condescention in his incarnation in his life and do&ris, in his sufferings and deatb; in his miracles and gifts: Think of his mcrciful Covenant and Promises ; of all his benefits given to his Church ; and all the priviledges of his Saints; of pardon and peace, of his Spirit of Holiness, of preservation and ,
provifion, of refurrection and juftification, and of the life of glory which we shall live for ever. And if the Faitb which lookech on all abose, cannot yet warm your hearts with love, nor engogo
them in thankful obedience to your Redeemer, certainly it is no true and lively Faich.
But you must not think narrowly and seldom of these mercics; nor hearken to the Devil or the do&rinc of any miftaken Teachers, that would represent Gods Love as vailed or coclipsed; or (how you nothing but wrath and Aames. That which Chrift principally came to reveal, the D.vil principally ftriveth to conceal, even the Love of God to frueners; that so that which Chrift principally came to work in us, the Devil might principally labour to deftroy; and that is, our love to bing thar hath so loved us.
Dirca. 5. Take beed of all tbe Antinomian Doctrines before recited, wbicb, to extol the empty Name and Image of Free Grace, do destroy the true principles and motives of boliness and obedience.
Dirca. 6. Exercise your Faith upon el tbe koly Scriptures, Precepts, Promises und Tbreatnings, and not on one of I bem alone. for when God hath appointed all conjunctly for this work, you are unlike to have his blefling, or the offia, if you will lay by moh of his remedies.
Dirce. 7. Take not that for Holiness and Good Works, wbich is no such thing; tut cirber mans inventions, or some common gifts of God.
Io greatly deludeth the world, to take up a wrong defcrip. rion or character of Holiness in their minds. As 1. The Papilts take it for Holiness, to be very oblervant in their adoration of the supposed transub&tantiated Hosti; to use their reliques, pilgrimages, crossings, prayers to Saints and Angels, anointings, Candles, Images, observation of meats and daies, penance, auricular confession, praying by numbers and hours on their beads, &c. They think their idle ceremonies are holiness, and that their hurtful aulteritics, and felf-afiliatings (by rifing in the night, when they might pray as long bcfore they go to bed) (and by whipping themselves) co be very meritorious parts of Religion. And their vows of renouncing marriage and propriccy, and of absolute obediense, to be a ftate of perfection.
2. Others think that Holiness confifcth much in being rebaptized, and in censuring the Parifa-Churches and Mini&cis as Nul, and in withdrawing from their communion ; and in avoiding forms of prayer, &c.
3. And others (or the same think that more of it congAechia the gifts of utterancc, in praying, and prcaching, than indeed it doth; and that thosc only arc godly, that can pray without book (in their families, or at other times) and that arc molt in private mectings, and nonc but they.
4. And some think that the greatest parts of Godliness, are the (pirit of bondage to fear; and the fhedding of tears for fin; or finding that they were under terrour, before they had any spiritual peace and comfort; or being able to tell at what Ser: mon, or timc, or in what order,and by what mcans they were converted.
It is of exceeding great consequence, to have a right apprehension of the Nature of Holiness, and to escape all fallc conocits thereof. But I shall not now stand further to describe it, because I have donc it in many Books, especially in my Redfors of the Cbriftian Religion, and in my [A Saint, or a Bruit] and in a Trcatisc only of the subject called The character of a found Cbriftian.
Dirca. 8. Let all Gods Attributes be orderly and deeply printed in your minds; (as I have dirc&ted in my book called, Tbe Divine Life.) For it is that which muft moft immediately form his Imige on you. To know God in Chrift is lifc ctcraal, Jobn 17:30
Direa. 9. Never separate reward from duty, but in every religious or obedient action, Aid see it as connext wirb Heaver. The means is no mcans but for the end; and must never be ased but with special respeo unto thc end. Remember in scading, hearing, praying, meditating in the duties of your callings and relations, and in all ads of charity and obedience ; that Al this is for Heaven. It will make you mend your pace, if you think believingly whither you are going, Heb, 11.
Dirca. 10. Yet watcb molt carefully against all proud felfoftreming ebanghts of proper merit as obliging God; or as if you were better tban indeed you are. For Pride is the moft pernicios vermine that can breed in gifts or in good works. And the better you are indeed, the more humble you will be, and apr to think others better than your self.
Cell Dircd. 11. So also in every temptation to fin, let Faith o Heaven open, and toke ebe temptation in its proper forf, 9.5 [Take this pleasure instead of God: fell tby part in Heaven fu sbis preferment or commodiry: caft away thy foul for tbis fexsuai deligbt.] This is the true meaning of every temptation to fin, and only Faith can understand it. The Devil cafily prevaileth, when Heaven is forgotten and out of light; and pleafure,com. modity, credit and preferment, seem a great matter, and can do much, till Heaven be see in the ballance againg them; and there they are nothing, and can do nothing, Pbil. 3. 7, 8, 9, Heb. 12. 1, 2, 3. 2 Cor. 4. 16, 17.
Dirca. 12. Let Faitb also fee God alwaies preseur. Men dare do any thing when they think they are behind his back ; cven truants and cyc-fervants will do well under the Matters cye: Faith secing him that is inviGblc (Heb. 11.) is it that fan&ificth heart and life. As the Attributes of God are the feal which must makc his Image on us; so the apprehension of his presence settetl them on, and keepeth our faculties awake.
Direet. 13. Be fure tbat Faith make Gods acceptance your full reward, and let you above tbe opinion of man.
Not in felf-conceitedness, and pride of your felf-fufficiency, to fet light by the judgment of other men : (That is a heinous fin of it Cell, and doubled when it is donc upon pretence of living upon God alonc.) But that really you live so much to God alonc, as that all men fccm as nothing to you, and their opinion of you, as a blaft of wind, in regud. of any felicity of your own, which might be placed in their love or praise': Though as a means to Gods fcrvice, and their own good, you mult please all men to their edification, and become all things to all men, to win ibom to God, Gal. 1. 10, 11, Rom, 15.1, 3. Prov. 11.30. 1 Cor. 9.22. & 10.33. yaa and study to please your Governours as your duty, Titus 2. 9. But as SH-pleasing is the Hypocrites work and wages'; so muft the pleasing of God be ours, though all the world should be difplcafea, Matb. 6. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, &c. 2 Tim. 3: 4. 1 . i .
5, : 5:8,9. i Thef.2.4. Jobn 3. 27. Ata 2
Cor. 32. Tbef: 4.1.2. Cor.