Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

fider. Therefore a wise man, before he resolves upon any thing, will consider it thoroughly: he will examine whether the thing in itself bę good, and worthy of a reasonable creature: whether it be practicable ; and if practicable, whether eafy or difficult ; and if difficult, whether the advantages of doing it will be a sufficient recompence for the difficulties. Our Saviour illustrates this matter by two parables in the XIVth chapter of Luke, from verse 28 to 32. For which of you intending to build a tower, fitteth not down firsi, and counteth the cost, whether be batb fufficient to finish it ? left, baply, after he bath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who behold it begin to mock him ; saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king going to make war against another king, hitteth not down first and confülteth whether be be able with ten thousand, to meet him who cometh against him with twenty thousand? or elle, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an embassage, and defreth conditions of peace.

Now if men are thus wary and cautious in the affairs of this world, much more ought they to be so in the business of religion, which is a thing of

much

much greater consequence. And this was what our Saviour designed to recommend by these parables; as appears by what goes before and follows after. See verses 26, 27. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and fifiers, yea, and his own life also; he cannot be my disciple : and whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Then follow the parables before mentioned. After which our Saviour adds, verse 33. So likewise, wholoever he be of you who forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple, 'Tis as if he had said: “ it is not so easy “ a matter as you may imagine, to be à “ disciple of mine ; for whosoever em« braces my religion, must be able to « bear affliction and persecution, and must “ have resolution enough to persevere in « the profession and practice thereof, tho « it should expose him to the loss of all " that is dear and valuable to him in this «.world. He must be content to be se“ parated from his nearest relations, to

part with all his worldly possessions, “ and even with life fitself, rather than “ quit my service and renounce his allegiance to me. Therefore let no man en

ster

“ ter into my service, and take up my re“ ligion rafhly and inconsiderately; but « let him use all that deliberation which « so vast an undertaking requires; let him “ take an estimate of the difficulties and “ dangers which the profession of my re“ ligion will expose him to, and consider ~ seriously whether he be able to bear " them: even as a man who hath thoughts “ of raising a magnificent structure, before “ he enters upon it, will compute the cost « of it, and see if he has money enough “ to accomplish it: or as one king will “ not make war against another king un“ til he has taken an estimate of his own r and his enemy's forces, and seen whether “ he has strength enough to resist him.”

There are some persons who will be greatly moved by an awakening fermon, by a fit of sickness, by the death of a friend, or any other temporal calamity; and in the heat of those impressions which these things make upon them, will form very good resolutions, and propose excellent designs; but when the warmth of these impressions is over, their resolutions vanish, and their designs prove abortive : the reason of which is, because they did not duly consider the purport of them, and whe

ther ther they had sufficient strength to put them in execution. They trusted to the strength of a sudden passion, which was raised in them by some uncommon accidenț ; not considering that that would foon be over, and then they would have nothing to recommend religion to them but its own intrinfick goodness. But a wise man will deliberate upon the matter : he will nicely examine the duties and difficulties of religion, and then seriously ask himself whether he be able to practise the former, and endure the latter. His good resolutions are not owing to a sudden heat of affection, which will vanilh as soon as that which raised it is extinguished: nor are they founded upon such contingent reasons as will hereafter lose their force, and cease to be any reasons at all ; but are the product of serious thought and consideration, and are founded upon such reasons and arguments as are universal, and will hold good in all circumstances, and upon all occasions. In short; he resolves upon religion, because upon the strictest survey of it, he finds it to be abfolutely necessary in order to his happiness, and moreover not attended with insuperable difficulties, but very practicable by those

who

who diligently set about it in an humble dependence upon God for that assistance which he is ready to communicate un

to those who ask it. 1 2. Another property of religious resolution is, that it is peremptory and unmoveable : and this is a consequence of the former ; for those purposes which are well weighed and deliberated upon, are not easily shaken. The reason why men so often break their resolutions is, because they make them hastily and rathly, without considering what it is that they resolve upon. Coming afterwards to reflect coolly upon those resolutions which they made on a sudden, they find that they were attended with a great many inconveniences, and therefore chuse rather to break than to keep them. But on the contrary, a man who thinks before he resolves, is in no great danger of being moved from his resolutions: for having beforehand confidered all the disadvantages of them, he is not liable to be surprized by any difficulty which was not foreseen ; and therefore having once formed a design, he will not be diverted from it, but will steddily pursue it, and never cease till it be accomplished. So religious resolu

« AnteriorContinuar »