Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

a Number of them, might easily have made himself the richest Man upon Earth, but he chose the very contrary Condition, to fhew how small Efteem he had of all the Enjoyments in the World; he did not frequent the Courts of Princes, nor affect the Acquaintance and Conversation of great Ones, but as he was reputed the Son of a Carpenter, so he made Fishermen, and such other poor People, bis most intimate Acquaintance, and liv'd at such a rate as suited wich the meanest of their Quality; he morever patiently suffer'd all kinds of Affronts and ill Usage, and at last yielded himself up to die in the Eye of the World most ingloriously, to be crucify'd between Two Thieves, rather than noc accomplish his Father's Will ;. and hereby, he plainly manifested that there is nothing of crue Worth or real use in Earthly Possessions or Enjoyments, but only to support Nature in the Performance of Service to God, and the preparing our selves for Heaven and Eternity.

Thus did our blessed Lord, both by his Life and Death, pass a visible Censure on the Pride, Luxury, and Voluptuousness of Men, and gave powerful Arguments to convince us of the Vanity and Emptiness of the World ; Mankind were sunk into an Animal and Senfual Life, and degenerated into a very inordinate Admiration and Love of the World; an high Birth, eminent Rank and Quality, Honour, Wealth, and Pleasure, these were become the Idols of Men, whereby not only their Affections were entangled, but their very Judgments also corrupted; the Son of God therefore being the great Instructor and Example to Mankind, for the re&ifying both their Judgments and Dispositions, by all the Circumstances of his Life and Death openly testify’d his Disregard to all these things, being not only deftitute of the Enjoyments in which depravid Men place their Happiness, bat also expos'd to those Hardships and Sufferings which they falsely account the worst of Evils.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Txinani

1

If therefore you will be pleas’d to employ some of your more serious Hours in pious Reflections on the

and mortify'd Life of our blessed Saviour, Txinanitishd' his greater Humiliation and Examination at his

Death, when he was driven out of the World by Crucifixion, that most base and servile of all capital Punishments, this may greatly conduce towards your mortifying and crucifying all undue Esteem of and inordinate Affections unto the World, and the Things of the World, so as to have no idolizing or overvaluing Regard for them, or Complacency in them, or vain Expectations of that Felicity from them which they cannot afford, much less to let any of them betray you into any sinful Prađice, to the displeasing of God, and the hazarding your Salvation ; for after our Lord and Master has overcome the World, and triumph'd over all its Temptations, how inglorious will it be for any of his Disciples and Followers to suffer themselves to be vanquish'd by them? As soon as you were Baptiz'd into the Religion of Jesus Christ you renounc'd the Pomps and Vanities of this wicked World, and vow'd to fight against them under the Banner of his Cross, let not then the Splendor of the World any more move you than it did your Saviour, when from an bigh Mountain the Devil shew'd him all the Kingdoms upon Earth, and tempted him with the Offer of bestowing all of them ; vour Lord refus'd them all, when they were most advantageously represented to him with a powerful Allurement; and doch it not greatly become, as well as concern you, to imitate his Example ? Not that you are oblig'd to be poor and low in your Fortunes, when you are commanded to be so in Spirit, or to quit your Title to all Treasures here opon Earth because you are to lay them up in Heaven, but to be careful that your Hearts and Souls do not (like the Young Gentleman's in the Gospel) inseparably cleave to your Poffessions, and to endeavour that they may be either consecrated to God, by a discreet and pious Manage

ment

[ocr errors]

ment of them, or if they be calld for by his Providence, or corn from you by the Injustice of Men, they may still be offer'd to him, by your patient Acceptance of his Will, unto which your submissive Obedience is the most grateful Sacrifice.

But your greatest Encouragement in your difficule Warfare is this, that Christ bath overcome the World both in his Life and in his Death, not only as our Pattern to excite our. Imitation, but as our Head, from whom all Christians, who are the Members of his Myftical Body, may derive Grace and Strength for the obtaining the like Victory, if they heartily pray for it, and sincerely endeavour to use and improve it when it is given, for such Persons shall be effectually and successfully mov’d, influenc'd, and actuated by that Holy Spirit which proceeds from him, as the Members of our Natural Bodies are by the Spirits that flow originally from the Head. I can do all things (faith. St. Paul) thro' Christ that strengtheneth me, Phil. 4. 13. That is, in every State and Condition of Life I can relift all Temptations to Evil, and perform all necessary Duty, tho' not by my own Strength, yet by that which is imparted from Christ, by the Virtue, Power and Effi. cacy of that Divine Grace and Alistance which our blessed Lord communicates to us by his Holy Spirit; hereby (as he intimates in the Words preceding) every where, and in all things, he was sufficiently instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound, and to suffer need, so as to be fitted for every Condition, and fortify'd against all Temptations, as well of Affluence and Prosperity on the one side, as of Poverty and Want on the other; neither was this the Privilege of the Apostles only and first Christians, but since it is our Saviour's Promise, that he will be with his Church always, unto the End of the World, we have no reason to doubt of the fulfilling it, but that he will still continue to pour out so much of the Aid and Tofluence of his Holy Spirit on those who humbly and ear

nestly

[ocr errors]

nestly implore it, as shall be proportionable to all the Dangers and Temptations of every particular Stace of Life, whether high or low, rich or poor, prosper- , ous or afflicted. And this may recommend in the

fourth place,

IV. That excellent and powerful Instrument for the overcoming all the Difficulties, Obstacles and Impediments of Religion and Virtue to which your Condition in the World may expose you, viz. humble and fervent Prayer for Divine Grace and Alistance, this is of fingular Use and Efficacy to preserve you from the Dangers that attend Wealth, and Honour, and Earthly Grandeur ; as supernatural Strength derived from Christ and the Holy Spirit, is in a high degree requisite to keep you innocent and upright in your daily Conniet with the pleasant and alluring Temptations of the World, so that Strength shall be certainly obtain’d by daily, constant and earnest Supplication for it. Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you, faith our Saviour, Luke 11. 11. And in the following Words he assures us, that one Heavenly Father is more ready and willing to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him, than any earthly Parent can be to give Bread to his hungry Children.

Prayer also being the Elevation of the Soul to God, doth in its own Nature immediately tend to take off our Hearts from all immoderate Love of or Complacency in any of the Things or Enjoyments of this lower World; when we lift up our Eyes and Hands, together with our very Hearts and Souls, towards Heaven, and present our felves before the Throne of Grace with humble, unfeigned and fervent Petitions for the fan&ifying Influences of the Holy Spirit, we raise our selves above all temporal, sublunary Things, above all mutable, uncertain, perishing Felicities, we fix our Souls upon God, the Rock of Ages, in whom alone we find infallible Wisdom to guide us, infinite

Power

Power to support us, immense Goodness to pity and
favour us, and vnchangeable, fupreme and fovereiga
Happiness, in which we may ecernally acquiefce: Pray-
er is the most proper Means to retine and spiritualize
our Natures, and to preserve our Souls pure and clean
in the midst of that Heap of Earthly Rubbish, with
which the Rich and Opulent are commonly most of all
overwhelm'd ; without a devout and frequent Con-
verse with Heaven your daily Converse with such a vast
Variety of material Obje&s, pleasant to your Senses,
and fitted to gratify Corporeal Appetites, will be ape
to make you wholly sensual, carnally minded, and ut-
terly void of all Spiritual Life ; be careful therefore to
maintain a constant Devotion towards God, if you des
fire to raise your Souls above the Temptations and
Allurements of this bewitching World, and keep them
from those Defilements of the Earth which by their
continual mingling with material Things they will
otherwise unavoidably contract. But the great Use and
Necessity of Prayer I have represented in the former Ba?
Part of Youth's grand Concern.

[ocr errors]

V. Let me next remind you how needful it is that all your Prayers for the Divine Grace and Alistance be accompany'd and attended with your own sincere and active Endeavours, particularly that you labour to guard your selves against the Temptations incident to your Condition, by che constant and studious Exercise of serious Consideration, Circumspection and Watchfulness; our blesed Saviour has joyn's Watching with Praying, and cqually requir'd both, Matth. 26. 43. Watch and pray that ye enter not into Temptation. Amidst the Affluence of worldly Delights, and that Variety of Allurements with which you are on all sides encompass'd, there is no extricating your selves from the Snares of Sense, unless you look about you with a wary Circumspection, watching as far as you can every Motion of your Hearts, and examining every Object that

presents

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »