Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Psalms and pray, and receive Sacraments as the true Christian does, and administer them too, and preach; but to give up the Will to God at his Disposal, and obey his Will, is what no Hypocrite can do, and continue fuch: For it is the Effence of Hypocrisy to pretend only to let God have our Will, and yet resolve to have our own. And it is the Evidence of Sincerity, to be thankful if God will let us have our own Wil; but contented with his, and submissive to it. All other Parts of Religion, I say, lie in common. If you hear Sermons ever so attentively, the Hypocrite will fit as demurely: They fit before me as my People fit. Herod beard John gladly, and did many things. If you pray fervently and frequently, the Hypocrite may be as fre. quent, long, and copious. The Pharisees, for a Prelence, made long Prayers. You cannot come to the Sacrament oftener, nor behave with more Devotion than they do. Judas sat down with the Twelve. If you entertain good Discourse with great Readiness in the Scripture Language, the Hypocrite can do the same. Men may preach to others, and be cast away themselves ; may be Companions to good Men, as Demas was to Paul, and yet be Lovers of this present World, so as to forsake the Disciples for it. Men may be any thing, and do any thing short of this resigned Will to God, and yet be no Christians. But the Surrender of our Will to God, is a Sacrifice of that Sort, which demonstrates him that makes it to be a Christian indeed.

The

The Children of Wrath are described from their not having resigned their Will to God Fulfilling the Desires of the Flesh, and of the Mind, Eph. 2. 3. that is, their own Wills, and not God's; their own Wills, in Opposition to God's. And, They bave altogether broken the Yoke, and burst the Bonds, Jer. 5. 5. Let us caft away his Cords from us, and break bis Bonds in sunder, Pfal. 2. The Children of God, on the contrary, are described from the entire Surrender of their Will to God. As obedient Children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former Lusts, not acting merely according to your own Will; But, as be wbo balb called you is boly, so be je boly in all manner of Conversation. David was a Man after God's own Heart, and served bis Generation according to the Will of God; while others are described as walking after their own Imagination and Lust, Jer. 23. 17.

The Devil will let you have as much Religion as you please, without this; because he knows all Religion, that leaves the Will of Man unresigned to God, will never rescue the Soul out of his Hands.

Immoderate Passion, for losing or gaining any thing in this World, is a Reproach to Religion, to good Principles, and the best Profpects in the World. As if these were not sufficient to bear us up, and to bear us out ; or to make an ample Amends for the Loss of any Comfort. As if God with all his Perfections, and Heaven with all its Glories were nothing:

No:

No; nothing to that Child, that Husband, that Wife, that Eftate. I have seen a Grief fo stubborn and savage as to prove insensible to all the Principles and Prospects that could be mentioned.

In such Cafes we fall short of many excellent Heathens. We are ourdone by those with whom we are ashamed to be compared, considering all things. Some of them had noble Sentiments under the Lofs of Estates, Relations or Friends. Zeno lost all in a Shipwreck: He protested it was the best Voyage he ever made in his Life, because it proved the Occasion of betaking himself to the Study of Virtue and Philosophy. Seneca fays, he enjoyed his Relations as one that was to lose.them; and lost them as one who had them still in Poffeffion. A Spartan Woman had five Sons in the Army, on the Day of Battle. When a Soldier came running from Camp to the City to bring Tidings, she, waiting at the Gate to hear his Report, asked, What News? Says the Messenger, Tby five Sons are sain. You Fool, says she, I did not ask after them. How goes it in the Field of Battle? Why, says the Messenger, we have gained the Vistory ; Sparta is safe. Then let us be thankful, says she, to the Gods for our Deliverance and continued Freedom !

Seneca speaks to God in such Language as this ; " I only want to know your Will : As 6 soon as I know what that is, I am always of " the same Mind. I do not say you have taken

" from

" from me; that looks as if I were unwilling; “ but that you have accepted from me, which “ I am ready to offer *."

SECT. XI.

Directions.

A Y the Foundation of your Consolation

right, nimely in crue Conversion, a State of Grace, the Pardon of Sin, and the Favour of God. Lay the Foundation of it within you, and not on Things without ; above, and not on Things below ; on Christ, and not on ourfelves ; in the Principles and Prospects of Re. ligion, and not on the Things of this World ; in the Rectification of your Opinions, in the Government of your Appetites and Paffions, and in possessing your Souls in Patience: Without this, you have something else to cry for than a loft Friend. You have a loft Soul to bewail,

of

* Seneca abounds with noble Sentiments of this kind. He is the great Soul, says that Philisopher, who gives himself at once to God: 'Tis little and mean to dispute it. Maguus est animus qui fe Deo tradidit : Pufillus et degener qui obluctatur. Epift. 107

Accipere potuistis ; fed ne nunc quidem auferetis, quia nihil eripitur nisi retinenti. Nihil cogor, nihil patior invitus: nec servio Deo, fed assentio. De Provid.

Permittes ipfis expendere Numinibus quid
Conveniat nobis, rebusque fit utile noftris.
Nam pro jucundis aptiflíma quæque dabunt Dii ;
Carior eft illis homo quàm fibi. Juv. Sat. 10.

of infinitely more Concern to you than any Thing, or any Person in the World.

If my Conforts depend only on Things without me, they lie at the Mercy of so many Accidents, that it must needs be very precarious. But if I can say, “ I am at Peace with God; I 6 have a Conscience void of Offence toward God o and Man; I have a good Hoje through Grace, “ as to another World, and my Heart does not " condemn me;" the Accidents of Life cannot utterly ruin the Peace of such a Soul. This is that Peace of which Christ says, My Peace I leave with you ; my Peace I give unto you : Not as the World gives, give I unto you.

Let not your Heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.

The Man who lays the Foundation of his Peace and Quiet in Estate, Relations, Health, Pleasures of Life, or Life itself; when any of these is in danger, his Peace is shaken or destroyed; whereas, the Man is immoveable who can think and say thus:

“I am sick, but not afraid to die: It is he or who is sick and fears to die, whose Peace is " destroyed by Sickness. I am in Pain, it is true ;

but I have Patience to poffefs my Soul: leis o lie who is in Pain, and has no Pacience, whose " Comfort is destroyed. I am Nighted, and dis" regarded ; perhaps for want of Merit: If I am « conscious of my deserving better, let chat be “ my Consolation, without estimating my Com“ fort and Peace by the Opinion of others. I am " leffened in Estate, and reduced to narrow Cir

66 cumstances ;

« AnteriorContinua »