« PreviousContinue »
subject and servant; that he will no longer follow his own corrupt inclinations, but be governed by the law of God, and do that which he believes will best please him. That he will receive the gospel as the law of God, without doubting its truths, or disputing the reasonableness of its injunctions. That he will obey the laws of God, as the only way of pleasing God, and of qualifying himself for heaven and happiness.*
Besides this, he is to consider the difficulties he is certain to struggle with ; namely, a corrupt world, a corrupt heart, infinite errors, and powerful enemies, which yet he is not to submit to; for as much as the Almighty God has promised to defend and assist him.
In short; if Christians could be prevailed on to consider betimes, that this life is but a short passage to another, which is to last for ever ; that it is a state of trial; that our eternal happiness or misery depends upon our good or bad behaviour while we live here; that God requires obedience to his laws, only that we may not be miserable ; that he requires nothing of us but what he will enable us to go through, even with pleasure; if we submit ourselves entirely to be governed by his spirit and by his laws.
If Christians would consider this, and that the night of death cometh, when no man can work ; it is probable they would think of what they have to do with a little more seriousness than is to be met with, and consider things as they have
These are the vows and resolutions made in our name at Ba tism, and renewed by us at Confirmation.
regard to eternity; without which we shall, before we perceive it, set our hearts upon the world, forget the only business for which we were sent into it; and, when we come to die, have no sign of virtue to shew; and, when it is too late, repent that we have been unprofitable servants.
To conclude:—The sentence passed upon Adam, and in him upon all his posterity, after his fall, was this: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread. Labour, therefore, is a duty from which no man is exempt, without forfeiting his right to his daily bread; we are obliged to it by this sentence, as we are the children of Adam. As we are Christians, we are obliged to it, in conformity to Jesus Christ, whose whole life was all labour and sufferings. And lastly, as sinners, we are bound to it, because, without labour and pains, we can never be reconciled to God.
It behoves us all, therefore, to take care that this great business of our life be not put off till it is too late to finish it, lest death overtake us unawares, and we be obliged to bewail our unthoughtfulness in a miserable eternity.
THE CONDITIONS OF OBTAINING THAT PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSETH
PSALY xxix. 10.
THE LORD SHALL GIVE HIS PEOPLE THE BLESSING
If you expect that, from these words, I shall
speak of the blessings of a peace which we have talked of, and wished for, so much of late; though that is the occasion, it is not to be the subject, of the discourse I am now going to make to you.
The truth is, considering that the world was engaging all our thoughts and passions in favour of an expected peace, and the consequences of it, I thought it would be a very proper time to put people in mind of a peace of another kind, which the world can neither give nor take away; and which it concerns us, above all things, to think of.
It is true, even a worldly peace is a very desirable blessing; but then it is so little in our power to hinder or promote it, that we are not accountable whether it
forward or not. Besides, such a peace (though made with wisdom and foresight) is at best uncertain; neither does our happiness depend upon it.
* See Luke i. 79. Joho xis. 27.
But the peace which I would propose to your meditations, is of another nature! it is what is certainly attainable; our happiness depends upon it; it is our business to look after it; and we shall be accountable, we shall be the sufferers, if we do not obtain it. It is that peace which we pray for daily, which the world cannot give, which the world cannot deprive us of, and which, if we once obtain it, will effectually convince us, that the government of the world, and consequently all the changes of this mortal life, are in the hands of God, who will always do what is best for such as fear him.
In short: this is that legacy which the Son of God left at his death to all his faithful servants, in these words:* Peace I leave with
you, my peace give I unto you: not as the world giveth, I give unto you. Of which peace the words of the text are a prophecy; The Lord shall give his people (the true Israelites] the blessing of peace.
It is certain, that it is God who maketh tears to cease in all the world. This he does to all
j he maketh his sun to shine on the evil and on the good; but it is to his people only that he gives that peace, which is a blessing indeed, and which passeth all understanding. As for all others, the
way of peace they know not.
And now, if what has been said has raised in you a desire of knowing more particularly, what this peace is, how we may obtain, how we may secure, so great a blessing, and what will be the fruits and effects of it; I shall, by the good
John xiv, 27.