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one State or the other. For as Heaven is the center of all that is virtuous, pure, and holy, and all that is good tends thicher by a natural Sympathy; so Hell is the center of all Impiety and Wickedneß, and all that is bad doth naturally press and link down thither, as towards its proper place and Element; and should not the divine Vengeance concern it self to exclude wicked Souls out of Heaven, yet their own Wickedness would do ic. For that is a place of such inaccessible Light and Purity, that no Impurity or Wickedness can approach it, but must of necessity be beaten off with the dreadful lightnings of its Glory, and tumbled headlong down as oft as it eiTays to climb up thither; as on the other hand, should not God by an immediate Vengeance precipitate wicked Souls into Hell, yet their own Wickedness by the mighty weight of its own Nature, would inevitably press and link them down into that miserable Condition. What egregious Nonsense therefore is it, for wicked men to talk of going to Heaven ! Alas !

poor Creatures what would you do there! There are no wanton Amours among those heavenly Lovers ; no Rivers of Wine among their Rivers of pleasure to gratifie your unbounded Sensuality; no Parafires to flatter your lofty Pride ; no Miseries to feed your meagre Envy; no Mischiefs to tickle your devilish Revenge ; nothing but chaste and divine, pure and spiritual Enjoyments, such as your brutish and devilish Appetites will eternally loath and nauseate. Wherefore if we mean to go to Heaven, and to be happy there, we must now endeavour to dispose and attempor our Minds to it; which is no other way to be done, but by leading a heavenly Life

and

and Conversacion; which by degrees will habituate and naturalize our Souls to the heavenly Virtues, and so work and inlay them into the Frame and Temper of our Minds, that 'twill be our greatest pleasure to be exerting and exercising them. And then our Souls will be dressed and made ready for Heaven, and when we go from hence to take possession of its Joys, they will be all so agreeable to our prepared Appetites, that we shall presently fall to and feed upon them with infinite Gust and Relish. But till by living a heavenly Life we have disposed our felves for Heaven, we are utterly incapable of enjoying it. So that now things are reduced to this Issue, that either our Sins or our Souls must die, and we must necessarily shake hands either with Heaven or our Lufts. And therefore unless we value eternal Happiness so little as to exchange it for the sordid and trifling pleasures of Sin, and unless we love our Sins so well as to ransom them with the bloud of our Immortal Souls, it concerns us speedily to engage our selves in this heavenly Life and Conversation. For this is an eternal and immutable Law, chat if we will be wicked, we must be miserable.

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CH A P. IV.

Concerning the militant or warfaring Part

of the Christian Life, by which we are to acquire and perfect the heavenly Virtues ; Jhewing how effe&tually all the Duties of it conduce thereunto.

H

AVING in the former Chapter given a large

Account of the heavenly part of the Christian Life, and shewn how dire&tly and immediately the Practice of all the Virtues that are comprehended in it tends to the heavenly State, and how naturally they all grow into eternal Happinefs; I shall in the next Place endeavour to give some brief Account of that Part of the Christian Life which is purely militant, and which wholly confists of those instrumental Duties, by the Use of which we are to conquer the difficulties of those heavenly Virtues, and to acquire and perfect them. Which Difficulties, as I shewed before, Chap. 2. are the inbred Corruptions of our own Nature, together with those manifold Temptations from without, by which they are continually provoked and excited: and so to subdue and conquer these, as that they may neither take us off from, nor clog and indispose us in the Exercise of the heavenly Virtues, is the great Design and Business of this warfaring Part of the Christian Life.

That I may therefore handle it distinctly, I shall divide it into three Parts, and endeavour with as much Brevity as I can ; First, To explain the Duties of each Part, and to shew how they all conduce to our conquering the Difficulties of the heavenly Virtues ånd to the acquiring and perfecting them ; and, Secondly, To preß the Duties of each Part with proper and suitable Arguments.

In this part of our Christian Life therefore there is,

1. Our Beginning or Entrance into it, which is in Scripture called, Repentance from dead works.

2. Our Conrse and Progreß in it, and this is nothing but a holy Life.

3. Our Perfecting and Consummation of it, and this is final Perseverance in well-doing. Each of which have their proper and peculiar Duties, which I shall endeavour in this Chapter to explain and enforce.

SECT. I.

Concerning those Duties that are proper to our Begin

ning and Entrance into this warfaring Part of our Christian Life; Shewing how they all conduce to the fubduing of Sin, and acquiring the beavenly Virtues.

This first part of our militant Life being nothing but our Initial Repentance, or the first turning of our Souls to God from a state of wilful Sin and Rebellion, the Duties that are proper to it, and by which this turn of our Souls is to be introduced and performed, may be reduced to these fix Heads,

1. A hearty and firm Belief of the Truth of our Religion.

2. A due Consideration of its Motives, and a balancing of them with the Hardships and Difficulties we are to undergo.

3. A deep and through Conviction of our great need of a Mediator to render us acceptable to God.

4. A hearty Sorrow, Shame,and Remorse for our Sins past.

5. Earnest Prayer to God for Aid and Asistance to enable us effectually to renounce them.

6. A serious and well weighed Resolution to forfake ard abandon them for ever.

I. It is necessary to our good Beginning of this our Christian Warfare, that we should heartily believe the Truth and Reality of our Religion. For our hearty Belief of the Gospel is in Scripture represented as the main and principal Weapon by which we are to combate against the World and our own Lusts. And hence it is called the shield of faith, and the breastplate of faith, which are the two principal parts ofArmour of Defence, denoting that an hearty Belief of the Gospel is the principal Defence of a Christian against all the fiery darts of Temptation; the Armour of Proof that guards our Innocence, and renders us Invulnerable in a!! our spiritual Conflicts. For, above all things, faith the Apostle, take the fhield of faith whereby ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one, Eph. vi. 16. And as it is the principal part of our defensive, so it is also of our offensive Armour For so we find all the Victories and Triumphs of those glorious Heroes, Heb. xi. attributed to this irrelistible Weapon of their Faith. 'Twas by Faith that they despised Crowns, confronted

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