« PreviousContinue »
Moth do corrupt, and where Thieves break through and steal ; but to do good and to communicate are those well-pleasing Sacrifices, which derive a Blessing upon our Substance, and make it like the Loaves and Fishes in the Hands of our Saviour, even grow under Distribution, and enrich us with a more plentiful Remainder ; they will at least lay up for us an incorruptible Treasure in the highest Heavens, whither it shall be as impoflible for a rich Man, or one that trusteth in Riches, to enter, as for a Camel to pass through the Eye of a Needle. It pleases the Almighty frequently to disappoint in the Course of his Providence, the Endeavours of the Covetous and Uncharitable, in growing exceeding Rich; but at the best their Souls will be shortly required of them, and what will the Multitude of their Wealth avail, when the Riches of their Mercy, not of their Poffeffions, will be enquired into ? It will then be indifferent whether one or a thou. fand Acrea yielded us their Fruits of Encrease ; for he who now enjoys the most abundant Plenty, will then have nothing
over, and he who has at present the less Subsistance, will then have no Lack. Let us therefore be always willing to distribute, glad to communicate : The Earth, through God's Blessing, will thereupon bring forth abundantly ; and after the Poor hath eaten of our Substance, and been satisfied, there will ever remain enough, more than enough, for us, and for all our Posterity.
3dly and lastly, SINCE we entirely depend upon the Almighty for the Supply of good things, we ought with all Humility, all Prostrations of Worship, to beg of Him the Continuance of all temporal Blessings; at this time particularly, when the Earth is now covered with all Variety of Fruits, all the Plenty of Provision, we ought with the Sincerity and Earnestness of Prayer to implore his gracious Influences upon the ensuing Seasons. Plenty and Famine, Health and Sickness, are entirely in the Hands of Him, from whom proceed the Issues of Life and Death ; Fire and Hail, Snow and Vapour, Wind and Storm, fulfil his Commands, who with the Word of his Power can scorch up with a burning Heat, or
nip up with a sudden Frost, can parch through the Driness of the Season, or drown in the Floods of Rain, can blast with the Contagion, or pierce with the Sharpness of the Air, all the blooming Hopes of a whole Year's Encrease. It has pleased the Almighty fometimes in the Power of his Wrath, to make a fruitful Land barren for the Wickedness of them that dwell therein ; how generally our Sins call aloud for Vengeance, is an Observation too obvious, too momentous to be disregarded ; let us therefore endeavour by a general Repentance to ward off the Punishment due to so general a Corruption, and with hearty Prayers, as the Church more particularly at this Season of Recollection and Abstinence requires, entreat the Almighty, that it may please Him to give to our Use the kindly Fruits of the Earth, so that in due time we may enjoy them; more efpecially let us pray for the Encrease of his Grace as well as the Encrease of his Bounty, that we may use the same to his Glory, the Relief of those that are needy, and our own Comfort, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
JOHN XX. 29. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because
thou hast seen me, thou hast believed ; blessed are they, that have not seen, and get have believed.
UR Blessed Lord took frequent Opportunities of forewarning his Disciples of the Certainty of his Death, and
the Violence of his Sufferings, but always took Care to close such beavy Forebodings with the comfortable Affurance of his Rising again the third Day from the Dead. Yet strange it is that the Disciples should discover such Depths of
Dejection, such Wildness of Surprize, upon those Sufferings which our Lord had given them such full Reason to expect ; ftrange it is that their Surprize Thould even encrease upon them, and the News of our Lord's Resurrection, of which they had so distinct a Promise, should be receiv'd with so stupid an Incredibility. So foolish were they, jo Now of Heart to believe all, that not only the Prophets, but also that our Saviour himself had spoken, that the first Reports of his Resurrection appear’d to them as idle Tales ; and after it had been confirm’d by other Witnesses also, the Sight of Him did nevertheless terrify and affright them, supposing they had seen a Spirit. Thomas, one of the Twelve, not being with them, when Jesus came, obstinately stood out against the Testimony of them all, and required the most senfible Demonstration before he would give his Aflent to so strange an Article this his Slowness of Belief our Blessed Lord graciously condescended, and at the second Appearance He made among his Disciples, calls upon Thomas to be con