Page images
PDF
EPUB

in thy self slain, thy Lusts mortified, and Sermo# the World crucified to thee and thou unto I/~y\j the World, that so Christ, who is the Power of Qod, may be exalted above every Creature, and live, and dwell and reign in thee; if thou hast not seen all this; and if the Sight thereof has not led thee in Repentance and Self-abasement to the Lord 'Jesus as thy only Saviour, however thou mayst fay, I am rich, and increased with Goods, and have heed of nothing, yet thou art in very deed poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. Again — 'thou callest thy self a Christian; if so, thoU art aWarrior, for thou hast engaged to fight under Christ's Banner against the World, the Flesh and the Devil: But dost thou fight successfully, or only as one that beateth the Air? Is thine Armour of a heavenly Temper, such as the Shield of of Faith, thd Breast-plate of Righteousness, and the Sword of the Spirit; or, are the Weapons of thy Warfare only carnal, such as humari Prudence, constitutional Courage, and thy natural Reason? Look well to it! for the Philistines are upon thee, and will soon prove what Metal both Thou and thy Weapons are made of.

Once more: Dost thou strive lawfully, l'v F 2 that Vj^0Nthat is, according to the Law of Arms and ^Y>o the Rules of Discipline to be observed in the Christian Warfare? Dost thou keep under thy Body and bring it into Subjection, and by the Grace given thee fight manfully against those worst of Enemies the Corruptions of thy Nature and the Sins that most easily beset thee, that having subdued the Foes that are of thine own House, thou mayst the more safely engage those that are without? Dost thou, upon gaining any Advantage over thine Enemy, sit, still in Repose and fancied Security, or keep a watchful Eye both on the Right Hand and on the Left to guard against a Surprize? For know, O Christian, that there is no Time of laying down of Arms for thee here, and that if thine Enemy stacken his Efforts or withdraw his Forces, 'tis only a Feint, that he may attack thee to more advantage at some unguarded Hour: Fop we are not ignorant of his Devices.

Lastly, Dost thou resolve, the Lord being thy Helper, to persevere unto the End, under whatever Difficulties or Disadvantages may happen, and tho' thou sometimes losest Ground, and the Adversary chance to get the upper Hand, canst thou % with a full Confidence in the Lord thy setm01* Strength — Rejoyce not against roe, O mine I/y\j Enemy; "when I fall I shall rise again, t' when I sit in Darkness the Lord will be a 'c Light unto me?" If thou canst answer to these Questions aright, happy art thou, for thou art a faithful Soldier and beloved Servant of thy Lord, and shalt go on conquering and to conquer till thou hast trodden down all thine Enemies under thy Feet. But how few of us, my dear Brethren, can fay thus much! How do we entangle ourselves with the Affairs of this Life, and, instead of laying aside every Weight that may hinder us in the Christian Race, go on to load ourselves with the Cares and InCumbrances of the World so that we move at best but heavily and slowly. How many Martha's are there in this Congregation, who mind the Business of the Kitchen more than the one thing needful! How many Demas's who thro' Love of this'present World have left their first Love for Christ, his Ways, and his People! How many, like Dives, are intent only upon enjoying their Temporal good things 1 Afld how many prodigal Sons and Daughters who spend all their Time and Substance F 3 in

Sermon jn pleasure and riotous Living! so do tho \yY>d Profits or Diversions, the Vanities and Follies of the World. run away with us, and leave us neither Leisure nor Inclination for Serir ousness. Nay, among the best of us, how much Reason is there for Complaint! What Backwardness in Religious Duties! What Dullness and Dryness in the Perform'ance of them! How little Devotion in our Closets ! How little of Godliness in ouy Conversation! How unmortified in our.Lives 1 How unfpiritualized in;ou.r Affections! Jnr

ifpmuch that I fear, thutf the Precept in fh<? Text comes home rather as a Word of Reprehension than Caution to everyone of i*sv.y But if- the former Part of the Text carries in it a Rebuke to the Lazy and, the Loiterer, the latter Part of it holds forth Encouragement to the Faint-hearted — Be Followers of them who thro" Ffiit/j! and Patience inherit the Promises. We are here not only told our Duty, but, to animate us in the Discharge of it, have proposed XQ our Imitation the Examples of those whq have gone before us in the Way, have fought the good Fight, and finished their Course, and are now in Possession of that £rown. of Life which is laid up for all tha{

.J v . '. fndur5

endure unto the End. And of these we Sl.rmo1r have an illustrious List upon Record of un- c/V*! doubted Authority, as the venerable Line of the Patriarchs, the goodly Fellowship of the Prophets, the glorious Company of the Apostles, and the noble Army of Martyrs and Confessors, besides numberless other now glorified Saints in all Ages of the Church, who are so many burning and shining Lights to kindle trs into Zeal, and Guide our Feet in the Way to Heaven. Take then for your Patterns these Hearts of Gold purified Seven Times, these Sons of the Morning, these glittering Stars of Light, and, fired by their Examples, press on to Victory and Glory. Say not within yourselves, their Virtues are inimitable by us, such Perfection is too high for us, we cannot attain unto it; for they were Flesh and Blood as we are, Men of like Passions with ourselves; and both- their Failings and Falls are recorded, not only for our Caution, but also for our Encouragement not to despair, and shew us howweak they were by Nature, tho' so strong by' Grace, that the Excellency of the Power may appear to be, not of Man, but of God. We praise God in our Prayer for

F 4 the

« PreviousContinue »