Imágenes de página

xc. 8, 14.

SERM. by faith, we have peace with God, through our XLIII. Lord Jesus Christ. Will not this belief revive us, Psal. li. 8. and make the broken bones to rejoice? will not the gospel of peace be hence in truth a joyful sound to us? might it not hence well be proclaimed in the Isa. xl. 1, 2. prophet, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned?

And if we find ourselves in habit of soul grievously distempered, labouring under great impotency and blindness, overborne and oppressed with the prevalency of corruption, pestered with unreasonable desires and passions, unable to curb our inclinations and appetites, to resist temptations, to discharge our duty in any tolerable measure, or with any ease; is it not then comfortable to believe, that we have a most faithful and skilful physician at hand to cure our distempers; that we have a powerful succour within ken to relieve our infirmities; that God is ready to impart an abundant supply of grace, of light, of spiritual strength to direct and assist us?

that if any man doth lack wisdom, he is encouraged Jam. i. 5,6. with faith to ask it of God, who giveth liberally, and upbraideth not? If any man want strength,

Luke xi. 13. God's Almighty Spirit is promised to those who with
humble earnestness do implore it; so that we may
Phil. iv. 13. be able to do all things (incumbent on us) by Christ
Rom.vii.25 who strengtheneth us.

2 Cor. iii. 5.

Phil. ii. 13.

3. And what more hearty satisfaction can we feel, than in a firm persuasion concerning the real 2 Pet. i. 4. accomplishment of those exceedingly great and precious promises, whereby we become capable of the most excellent privileges, the most ample bene



fits, the most happy rewards that can be? How can SERM. the belief, that, by God's infallible word, or as surely as truth itself is true, an eternal inheritance of a treasure that cannot fail, of a glory that cannot fade, of a kingdom that cannot be shaken, of a felicity surpassing all expression and all conceit, is reserved for us, in recompense of our faithful obedience; how, I say, can that be a dead, dull, dry belief, void of sprightly comfort and pleasure?

Likewise the faith of confidence in God's good providence and paternal care over us, (whatever our condition or circumstances be,) should infuse a cheerful refreshment of heart into us.

It is in holy scripture most frequently asserted, that he who placeth his trust in God is a very blessed and happy person; and can we, without great satisfaction, partake of that beatitude?

Can we, by such a trust, disburden all our solicitous cares, all our anxious fears, all the troubles of our spirit, and pressures of our condition upon God, with strong assurance, that from his mighty power and watchful care, in due time, in the most expedient manner, we shall receive a competent supply of our wants, a riddance from our grievances, a protection from all danger and harm, a blessing upon all our good endeavours and undertakings, without feeling much ease and peace in our hearts?

What can be more cheering than a persuasion that all our concerns are lodged in the hands of such a Friend, so wise, so able, so faithful, so affectionate, so ever readily disposed to help us and further our good? They who trust in God are said to abide Psal. xci. 1. under the shadow of the Almighty, and to be co- xci. 4. lvii. vered with his wings; God is often styled their xxxvi. 7.

Psal. Ixi. 4.

1. xvii.

lxii. 2.

Ps. xxviii. 7.


SERM. rock, their fortress, their shield and buckler, their XLIII. defence and refuge; and are they not then impregPs. xviii. 2. nably safe? why then should they fear any disaster? at what occurrence should they be disturbed? Have Ps. cxii. 2. they not huge reason to say with the Psalmist, In Ps. lxiii. 7. the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice; The Lord (Ps. xxxiii. is my strength and my shield, my heart trusteth in him, and I am helped; therefore my heart danceth for joy, and in my song will I praise him. May not each of those confiders in God well repress all insurrections of trouble and grief with that holy Ps. xlii. 14. charm, Why art thou so vexed, O my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me? O trust in God for he is the health of my countenance, and my God.

xliii. 5.


II. We should evermore rejoice in the practice of Christian hope, making good that aphorism of SoloProv. x. 28. mon, The hope of the righteous shall be gladness; and obeying those apostolical injunctions, that we Rom. xii. should rejoice in hope; that we should retain the Heb. iii. 6. confidence, and the rejoicing of hope firm to the end. Those excellent and most beneficial truths, those sweet proposals of grace and mercy, those rich promises, which faith doth apprehend as true in a general reference to all Christians, hope doth appropriate and apply as particularly touching ourselves; improving the knowledge of our common capacity into a sense of our special interest in them. God, saith our faith, will assuredly receive all penitent sinners to mercy, will crown all pious Christians with glory, will faithfully perform whatever he hath graciously promised to all people, hath a tender care for all that love and fear him; but God, saith our 2 Tim.iv.8. hope, will have mercy on me, will render to me the

wages of righteousness, will verify his good word SERM. to me his servant, will protect, will deliver, will_XLIII. bless me in all exigencies: if so, being conscious of 1 Kings viii. our sincere endeavour to serve and please God; if 26. discerning, from a careful reflection upon our heart and ways, that in some good measure with fidelity and diligence we have discharged the conditions required of us, we can entitle ourselves to God's special affection, we can accommodate his word to our case, we can assume a propriety in his regard, how can we forbear conceiving joy?

All hope, in proportion to the worth of its object, and the solidity of its ground, is comfortable; it being the anchor of the soul, which stayeth and Heb. vi. 19. supporteth it in undisturbed rest; it appeasing unquiet desires; it setting absent goods before us, and anticipating future enjoyments by a sweet foretastea: seeing then, if we have a good conscience, and our heart doth not condemn us, our hope is 1 John iii. grounded on the Rock of ages, (on the immutable ĭsa. xxvi. 4. nature and the infallible word of God;) seeing it is the hope of the most worthy, the most sublime, the most incomparable and inestimable goods, it must be most extremely delightful.

If it much pleaseth men to conceit themselves next heirs of a fair estate, to have the reversion of a good office, to be probable expectants of a great preferment, (although death may intercept, or other accidents may obstruct the accomplishment of such hopes,) how much more shall that lively hope, of 1 Pet. i. 4, which St. Peter speaketh, of an inheritance incor-5. ruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,

* Καὶ πρὸ τοῦ παραστῆναι ὑπόσχεσιν τῆς παλιγγενεσίας αὐτὴ ἡ ψυχὴ τῇ ἐλπίδι γαυρουμένη εὐφραίνεται. Const. Ap. vii. 33.

SERM. reserved in heaven for us, who are kept by the XLIII. power of God through faith unto salvation, (which hope therefore can never be dashed or defeated,) breed a most cheerful satisfaction, far transcending all other pleasures, which spring from the most desirable fruitions here; according to that admonition Luke x. 20. of our Lord, Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

III. We should evermore rejoice in the performing the duty of charity; both that which we owe to God, and that which is due to our neighbour.

Love is the sweetest and most delectable of all passions; and when, by the conduct of wisdom, it is directed in a rational way toward a worthy, congruous, attainable object, it cannot otherwise than fill the heart with ravishing delight.

And such (in all respects superlatively such) an object is God: he infinitely beyond all other things deserveth our affection, as most perfectly amiable and desirable, as having obliged us by innumerable and inestimable benefits, all the good that we have ever enjoyed, or that we can ever expect, being derived from his pure bounty; all things in the world, in competition with him, being pitifully mean, ugly, and loathsome; all things, without him, being vain, unprofitable, and hurtful to us; so that the Psalmist Ps. lxxxix. might well say, Who in heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I can desire beside thee. He is the most proper object of our love; for we chiefly were framed,


Ps. lxxiii. 25.

« AnteriorContinuar »