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ser^on soever it may be our Duty. to labour.;
exert ourselves for the Benefit.of others, yet this will riot excuse our Neglect of private Devotion: We must frequently sequester ourselves from the Crowd, and from tne Distractions of all external. Occupations,, ,to to hold an holy Intercourse with God . the rather of our Spirits, and to elevate our Thoughts to Heavenly Things.
Outward Duties have a considerable Place in Religion, forasmuch as. we stand related to those that are about us in various Connexions which call upon us for frequent Expressions of our Charity in mutual good Offices towards our Brethren; but the Divine kite consists chiefly in the Exercise of inwattjj •Graces and devout Affections, bringing us into Communion with God, and so deriyirjg from Him the Supports and Consolations of his Spirit: And in these Actings of Divine Faith, Resignation and Love it was, that 'our Lord's Humanity was enabled to overcome in his Temptation in the Wilderness^ strengthned under his Agony in the Garden, transfigured on the Mount, and nourished with Meat that his Disciples knew not,of, *even the Communications of his own Divine Nature. Were we thus accustomed to.,
, . withdraw/ Withdraw, at Times, after the Example ofSETM°N our Lord, from every busy Scene of Lifec^.ys^ and all Commerce with the World, to feast our Souls with Spiritual Entertainment, we should assuredly find theWork of God to go on more successfully in our Hearts, and that such religious Abstractions would prove not only refreshing Cordials to our Spirits on our wearisome Journey thro' this Vale of Misery, but also greatly helpful in fitting us for the active Duties of our Station. But to proceed.
It happened during this Recess of our Lord, that the Disciples were in great Jeopardy in a Storm, the Ship being now in the Midst of the Sea tosied with the Waves, for the Wind was contrary: and in the fourth Watch of the Night Jesus went unto them walking on the Sea. Whether our Lord foreseeing the Tempest ordered them out to Sea; or whether He, at whose Word the stormy Wind ariseth, appointed it for the Tryal of their Faith and to shew forth his Power in their wonderful Deliverance, is not material for us to know; sure it is, that it happened hot without wife Design; for if even a Sparrow falleth not to die Ground without his Knowledge, much more G a doth
Sermon fofa jje concern'himself in all that befall. eth his Children. The Disciples then Were to be brought into Danger and Distress that they might have a fresh Proof of their Lord's Divinity and tender Care of them, ancfrt&alt by such repeated Pledges of'his Powerand Goodness, their Infidelity might be overcome, and their Hearts melted into Love and Gratitude towards their Divine Master afld Benefactor: So patient is our Lord towards us, condescending, irt Cdmpaffion -to ottr Infirmities, to manifest his Love to us at fundry Times and in divers Manners, if by any means He may conquer the Reluctance-arid. Stubborness of our Nature, and gain himself the Victory over bur unbelieving Hearts. One would think, indeed, that the Disciples stood in little need of any fresh Proof of our Lord's Divine Power for the Confirmation of their Faith after so recent aDemonstration of it as that of his feeding Five thousand Men, besides Women and Children, with only Five Loaves and Two small Fishes j but St. Mark, who also relates this Circumstance of the Storm, tells us, that when the Wind ceased upon our Saviour's entring into the Ship, they 'were sore amazed and wondered; for, fays he, they considered not the Miracle
ff-tbe Loaves, for their Heart was hardened. S'rm°» And here we are naturally led to observe ^/\j upon that kind of Faith which consists in a bare Assent of the Understanding arising from external Evidence only: This confessedly has its use when well applied, but how insufficient this- is of itself alone to any good Purposes of the Divine Life, we may learn from this Instance of the Disciples during their unenlightened, unconverted State, whose Faith (tho' they were Eye-witnesses to so many mighty Works done by our Lord) seldom lasted from one Miracle to the next. It is said in the second Chap, of St. John, that " many belie"ved on Jesus when they saw his Miracles; "but that He did not commit himself unto "them because He knew all Men;" giving us hereby to understand, that altho' they owned his Character and Mission, yet theirs was not a true Faith, but they were probably such as thro' the Hopes of Favour or the Fear of Persecution would have betrayed Him. Hence we are taught, that there is a believing in Christ with a human Faith which we may be no better for, as far forth as it brings us no nearer to Him nor Him to us as the Saviour of our Souls: This \;k G 3 must
Sermon must be^he. Office of $hat Divine Faith* f-fy-sjwhich is wrought in us-by the Spiffs Grace, and wherewith the Heart belieyeth unto RJghteQusfiess,; even. tb»t j©o^i?atiy# holy Principle which the Apostle! fpeafeof where he faith; "the... Ljf$ whichij npfly '!. live, IJiye by . the Fftitkiiefoth^^Sp^^f '' God.:" Æhe formerUn&Qt Faith -fiarrigi Men often have, and yet both Uve.-a&d-jd^ in their.Sins:;;the latterjisjhat whichtpswfe fieth the Heart from Sin, :a,nd under therjn^ fluence of which we believe to the faving;$f the Soul: With the one we call Jesus l&fdr by the Holy Ghost, and so with the Mouth make Confession to Salvation-,-. by the Qthe$ the Devils could cry outv ",Thou art-the. Son of God,v —for they knew that He-JW^j the Christ. Much Stress is laid by the^Qg* nerality on the Evidence of Miracles, ,.$&jif that were the best and surest Foundations the Christian Faith, for outward Christians only build on outward Evidence;. .but where the Heart is lhut against the Grace of Faith, and the inward Demon st rat Lori of the Spirit and Power of Truth; tosfuefe the raising of the Dead to Life (however it might furnish Matter for.Gupjp£ty or Admiration) would be ineffectual