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Sirm. J.gave Occasion to that Caution of the Soaps . 'Sir act, "That we suffer not the Reverence "of any Man to cause us to fall." An4 this will hold true of the Gospel of Cbrijfc, in a more especial Manner, as the Genius and Spirit of it are directly contrary to thoie which govern the World: Hence it is that God and the World, i. e. People who live only to Time, and follow the Propensions and Gratifications of corrupt Nature, are all along spoken of in the New Testament as contrary the one to the other: The World is there said to lie in Wickedness, and therefore we are commanded neither to love nor to be conformed to it: And forasmuch as the Respect and Praise of worldly People cannot be acquired nor preserved, unless in. some measure our Thoughts be as their Thoughts, and our Ways as their Ways, we find a Wo denounced against those, whom all Men speak well of: But as the pious Mr. Bur kit observes, " The World has all along taken effectual care, by their cruel Mockings, bitter Reproaches, and sharp Invectives, to free Christ's faithful Servants from the Danger of this Wq," Had we a particular History of the Old
World* J doubt not but this ObservationS*Rm- *. would stand verified in the Treatment of Eawv&and Noah, as it does in that of Lot, the Patriarchs, and the Prophets, of Christ, the Aposttes,and most other eminent Preachers of Righteousness downwards, confirming St. Pants Assertion, that, "As he who ** - -was born after the Flesh persecuted him .^'-i^howas born after the Spirit in Times * past, so it h now;"
In vain we -plead the Establishment of Christianity, under the Protection and Countenance of the civil Power, to evade the Force of this Truth. Rules s may compile good Articles, and good Canons, and frame Wholesome Laws for the Government and Polity of the outward Church, but the Spirit and Power of Godliness, they can neither give nor secure Respect to: A pleasare-loving, sensual, sinful World, must upon Principle be at Enmity with'the Children iaP'tfie Kingdom, who have turned their Backs-upon what they idolize, and have set -their Faces full for Zion -, and consequently the Reproach of Christ will never fail to fce'the Badge of the true Christians EKsci-pleshipj for this he is prepared, and in so vmkny Places exhorted and encouraged to en.' dure
Serm. 1-dure the Cross, and despise the Shame, as* .</Y>- ter the Example of his blessed Master.
Beware.then, O Christian,- show thou promisest to thyself Ease and Security here, saying, Peace; Peace; for thou art engaged in a Warfare which ends not on this Side the Grave, and therefore thou must persevere in the Combat like a valiant Soldier, and be faithful unto Death, as thou expectest to receive a Crown of Life. Beware how thou feedest thyself with vain Hopes of the Riches and Honours of this World, whilst so considerable a Share of them is lodged in the Hands of its own Children, and which are therefore a Kind of forbidden Fruit, which thou canst hardly touch, without wounding thy Conscience: Consider, thou art a Pilgrim on thy Way to a better Country, and needest but little for thy Journey; much would be an Incumbrance, and perhaps thou hast already more than thy Master had, and yet he was therewith content: And as to the Favour and Friendship of the World, it would only prove a Snare to thee, for thou canst no more please two Masters, so contrary by Nature, and in the Services they require of thee, than thou canst reconcile Light with Darkness, Why
then then do we go on halving it betwixt Gociserm- Iand Mammon, catching at heavenly Things with one Hand, and at earthly Things with the other; let us be cold or hot, let us declare for God or Baal. If we worship the Beast in our Hearts, why do we refuse to receive his Mark in our Foreheads? Or if we are really Disciples of a crucified Master, why do we flinch at bearing the Cross after him, feeing it is Honour enough for the Servant to be as his Lord ? Nor will he own them at the last Day, who are now asham'd to confess him before Men in a Life and Conversation becoming the Gospel. Besides, whilst we stand ballancing betwixt Christ and the World, our Lives are more miserable than those of the very brute Beasts; The almost Christian is crucified betwixt Heaven and Earth, without having any Portion in the good Things either of this Life, or of that which is to come. Thus we seek to avoid the Reproach of the Cross of Christ, which would set our Hearts at Liberty, and enrich us with spiritual Blessings, and so fall under the Reproach of Conscience which worketh Sorrow and Death, and enslaves Us to the most tormenting Fears: We assent unto the Truth with - . the
&erm. I-the Understanding, and so are speculative Believers, but through the prevailing Power of Human Respects, suffer it not to take Root in our Hearts^ that it may become a Divine Faith, bringing forth Fruits unto Holiness, and filling us with all Joy and Peace in Believing. How can ye believe (to the saving of the Soul) who receive Honour one of another, and seek not the Honour that cometh from God only?
But if some come short of the Crown thro' the Fear or Shame of the Cross, others add to the Weight of their Cross by refusing to bear it now ; they cannot endure the Thought of losing all Interest in Christ, and therefore resolve to follow him, but first desire Leave to do this or that; they want perhaps to get a little more of this World's Goods, or wait for somemore favourable Season to declare for Christy when there may be less of Danger, or Scandal in the Cross j but either such Limitations and Reserves will not be allowed us, or, if the Lord bear with our Weakness in /this Thing for a Time, he is sure to reckon with us for it afterwards. When Peter, through Fear aodl Shame, denied his Master, he little thought what Anguish and Bitterness of Soul that