Imatges de pÓgina

agree in all your opinions and formalities, and yet were never fanctified by the truth, you do but agree to delude your fouls, and neither of you will be faved for all. your agreement.

III. THE third fort to be fpoken to, is those that let out their paffion in hard fpeeches, againft fuperiours or others that they think do wrong or perfecute them on a Religious account. At this time I will fuppofe the injury be real, and the complaint be juft, It yet befeems not Chriftians to revile.


1. Confider, how contrary this is to the example of our Lord. And that he left us his example in this particular, with a fpecial recommendation for our imitation. When he was falfly acculed, and the high Priest urged him to anfwer

The vain Religion of fwer for himself, Matth. 26. 62, 63. he was filent, to fhew that he could bear a falfe accufation, without so much as vindicating his innocency by a juft defence. O learn both the leffon and motives recommended to you, 1 Pet. 2. 18. to the end. [Servants be fubject to your Mafters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for confcience toward God endure grief, fuffering wrongfully: For what glory is it if when ye are buffeted for your faults, je shall take it patiently? but if when ye do well, and fuffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called,becaufe Chrift alfo fuffered for us; leaving us an example, that ye should follow bis fteps: who did no fin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who when he was reviled, reviled notagain; when be suffered, he threat


ned not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.]Here is the defcription of your duty, and your example. Are you used worse then Chrift was used? [Ifa. 53.7,8. He was oppreffed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lumb to the laughter, and as a sheep before his fhearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.] And if you will come to him and be his Difciples, you must [Learn of him to be meek and lowly in heart, that you may find reft unto your fouls] Matth. 11., 28, 29.

2. Confider, as our Kingdom is not of this world, fo we are not to ftrive for worldly preheminence, nor with carnal weapons, but must know that our greatness here is in being the leaft, and our dignity in being the fervants of all, and our gain is by our lofs, and our honour by evil reports, and by difgrace,

difgrace, and our advancement by our debasement, and our preferment by being kept from worldly honour, and our joy by forrow, and our exaltation by humiliation: And therefore it is contrary to our ftate of faith, to murmur at them that deprive us of the pleafures of fenfe, or the cafe and priviledges of the flesh. Mark the defcription of Christianity in the Gofpel, and fee how much of it confifteth in contempt of the efteem and honours of the world, and of all the accommodations and pleafures of the flesh, because of the expectation of the unfeen eternal pleasures; and in the forfaking all, and taking up our croffe and following a crucified Chrift and in patience, and meeknefs, and forbearing and forgiving and rather then feek either verbal or actual revenge, to give the cloak alfo to him that takes

takes away our coat, and turn the other cheek to him that fmiteth us. Unmortified paffion, and untamed nature,will not give fome men leave to underftand thefe paffages of Chrift; but they fearch for fome fuch figure to expound them by, as fhall annihilate the plain and proper fenfe, Self-love fo blindeth men, that when they read thefe Gospel precepts, they feel not their confciences touched and bound by them but they read them as if they read them not, and retain no more, then if it were non-fenfe which they read. Had the commands aforefaid (of patience, forbearing and forgiving) but as much force and efficacy upon the fouls of moft profeffours as the commandments have that are against swearing, and curfing,and drunkenness, and fornication, we should have much better maintained our innocency,


« AnteriorContinua »