Page images

(1.) That the violence be so apparent, great, and pressing, that there can be no other means of escape, 75. (2.) That there be no possibility of recourse to a magistrate for a legal protection, 76. (3.), That a man design only his own defence, without any hatred or bitter purpose of revenge, 78.

3dly, Who are the persons against whom we may thus defend ourselves, 78.

Fourth case. Whether it be allowable for Christians to prosecute, and go to law with one another?

1. The arguments brought against it are examined, 81. Which seem principally to bear upon two scriptures, (1.) Matt. v. 40. (2.) 1 Cor. vi. 7. The arguments against going to law being drawn from the letter of these scriptures, they are examined and explained according to the sense of them, 81-87. The third argument is the strict command that lies upon Christians to forgive injuries. Here prosecutions are distinguished as they concern restitution or punishment, and going to law with regard to the first of these shewn to be just and allowable, 87.

The arguments for the proof of the assertion are next considered. Which are,

1. That it is to endeavour the execution of justice, in the proper acts of it, between man and man, 90.

2. That if Christian religion prohibits law, observance of this religion draws after it the utter dissolution of all government, 91.

The limitations of law-contentions are three :

1. That a man takes not this course, but upon a very great and urgent cause, 93.

2. That he be willing to agree upon any tolerable and just terms, rather than to proceed to a suit, 94.

3. Supposing great cause, and no satisfaction, that he manage his suit by the rule of charity, and not of revenge,


III. The means by which the duty of living peaceably is to be effected, are,

1. A suppression of all distasteful, aggravating apprehensions of any ill turn or unkind behaviour from men, 97.

a 4

2. The forbearing all pragmatical or malicious informations against those with whom we converse, 104.

3. That men would be willing in some cases to wave the prosecution of their rights, and not too rigorously to insist upon them, 112. As (1.) When the recovery of it seems impossible, 113. (2.) When it is but inconsiderable, but the recovery troublesome and contentious, 115. (8.) When a recompence is offered, 116.

4. To reflect upon the example of Christ, and the strict injunction lying upon us to follow it, 118.

5. Not to adhere too strictly to our own judgments of things doubtful in themselves, 120.

IV. The motives and arguments to enforce this duty are, 1. The excellency of the thing itself, 122.

2. The excellency of the principle from which peaceableness of spirit proceeds, 124.

3. The blessing entailed upon it by promise, Matt. v. 124. Two instances of this blessing, that certainly attend the peaceable in this world: (1.) An easy, undisturbed, and quiet enjoyment of themselves, 125. (2.) Honour and reputation, which such a temper of mind fixes upon their persons, 126. Their report survives them, and their memory is blessed. Their name is glorified upon earth, and their souls in heaven, 128.


ROм. vi. 23.

The wages of sin is death. P. 129.

A discourse of sin not superfluous, while the commission of it is continual, and yet the preventing necessary. The design of the words prosecuted in discussing three things:

I. Shewing what sin is, 130. As it is usually divided into

two sorts:

1. Original sin, 130.

2. Actual sin, 132. Which is considered two ways:

(1.). According to the subject matter of it: as, 1. The

[ocr errors]

sin of our words, 133. 2. Of our external actions, 134. 3. Of our desires, 134.

(2.) According to the degree or measure of it: as 1. When a man is engaged in a sinful course by surprise and infirmity, 185. 2. Against the reluctancies of an awakened conscience, 136. 3. In defiance to conscience, 137.

II. Shewing, what is comprised in death, which is here allotted for the sinner's wages. And

1. For death temporal, 138.

2. Death eternal, 140. Which has other properties besides its eternity, to increase the horror of it. As (1.) It bereaves a man of all the pleasures and comforts which he enjoyed in this world, 141. (2.) Of that inexpressible good, the beatific fruition of God, 142. (3.) As it fills both body and soul with the highest torment and anguish that can be received within a finite capacity, 148.

III. Shewing in what respect death is properly called the wages of sin.

1. Because the payment of wages still presupposes service and labour, 144.

2. Because wages do always imply a merit in the work, requiring such a compensation, 147.

Now sin is a direct stroke, 1st, At God's sovereignty, 149. 2dly, At his very being, 150.

Having thus shewn what sin is, and what death is, the certain inevitable wages of sin; he who likes the wages, let him go about the work, 151.


MATT. V. 8.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. P. 152.

It may at first seem wonderful, that there are so few men in the world happy, when happiness is so freely offered: but this wonder vanishes upon considering the preposterous ways of men's acting, who passionately pursue the end, and yet overlook the means: many perishing eternally because

they cannot eat, drink, sleep, and play themselves into salvation. But this great sermon of our Saviour teaches us much other things, being fraught with the most sublime and absolute morality ever vented in the world, 152. An eminent instance whereof we have in the text, which is discussed under four heads:

I. Shewing, what it is to be pure in heart.

Purity in general cannot be better explained than by its opposition, 1. To mixture, 154. 2. To pollution, 155.

Purity in heart is shewn, (1.) By way of negation; that it does not consist in the external exercise of religion, 156. There being many other reasons for the outward piety of a man's behaviour. As, 1. A virtuous and strict education, 157. 2. The circumstances and occasions of his life, 159. 3. The care and tenderness of his honour, 160.

(2.) Positively, wherein it does consist, viz. in an inward change and renovation of the heart, by the infusion of such a principle as naturally suits and complies with whatsoever is pure, holy, and commanded by God, 162. Which more especially manifests itself, (1.) In the purity and untainted sanctity of the thoughts, 163. (2.) In a sanctified regulation of the desires, 164. (3.) In a fearful and solicitous avoiding of every thing that may tend to sully or defile it, 166.

II. Explaining, what it is to see God.

Some disputes of the schools concerning this, 168.

Our enjoyment of God is expressed by seeing him; because the sense of seeing, (1.) Represents the object with greater clearness and evidence than any of the other senses, 170. (2.) Is most universally exercised and employed, 170. (3.) Is the sense of pleasure and delight, 171. (4.) Is the most comprehensive and insatiable, 171.

III. Shewing, how this purity fits and qualifies the soul for the sight of God; namely, by causing a suitableness between God and the soul, 172.

Now during the soul's impurity, God is utterly unsuitable to it in a double respect.

[ocr errors]

1. Of the great unlikeness, 173. 2. Of the great contrariety there is betwixt them, 173.

IV. The brief use and application is, to correct our too great easiness and credulity in judging of the spiritual estate, either of ourselves or others. If we would prevent the judgment of God, we must imitate it, judging of ourselves as he will judge of us: for he who has outward purity only, without a thorough renovation within him, and a sanctified disposition of heart, may indeed hereafter see God, but then he is like to see him only as his judge, 174.


GAL. v. 24.

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. P. 178.

As all sects and institutions have their distinguishing badge, or characteristic name, that of Christianity is comprised in the crucifixion of the flesh, and the lusts thereof, 178.

This explained, by shewing,

I. What is meant by being Christ's: it consists in accepting of, and having an interest in Christ, as he is offered and proposed in the gospel, under three offices; his prophetical, his kingly, and his sacerdotal, 179.

II. What is meant by the flesh, and the affections and lusts: by the former we are to understand the whole entire body of sin and corruption, the inbred proneness in our nature to all evil; by the latter, the drawing forth of that propensity or principle into the several commissions of sin, through the course of our lives, 180.

The text further prosecuted in shewing two things:

I. Why this vitiosity and corrupt habit of nature comes to have this denomination of flesh: and that for three reasons: 1. Because of its situation and place, which is principally in the flesh; concupiscence, which is the radix of all sin, following the crasis and temperature of the body, 181.

« PreviousContinue »