Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

indifferent matter what Religion a Man is of or what kind of Life he leads, if he be but mighty bountiful to the Poor, and do a great deal of Good in his Life : No, how acceptable to God foever the Sacrifice of Alms and Charity be, yet we are not to expect is shall be available to our Salvation, unless it proceed from a pure Heart, and be offered with a lively Faith in Jesus Chrift, and accompanied with a sincere Endeavour to obey all God's Commandments. Eternal Happiness is not proposed in the Gospel as a Reward of any one single Vertue, no not of the greatest, but of all of theni together; if : indeed there can be any true Vertue where there is not a Con junction of all; I say, if there can be, for St.

Fames seems to affirm thắt there cannot : 1, Jamh. 2.10. Wbofoever (faith he) fall keep the whole Law;

and yet offend in one point, be is guilty of alla I

But now having said this by way of Caution, to prevent all occasion that any may take from our fo earnestly pressing Charity, to undervalue and neglect other Duries; it cannot be denied, on the other side, that very great Effects are by our Saviour and his Apofties, ascribed to this Vertue, with respect to Mens

Salvation in the other World. Luk.6.30, In the sixth of St. Luke, our Lord thus ad

viseth, Love (faith he) your Enemies, give to bim that asketb, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again, so all your Reward be great, and ye shall be the Children of the most higheft. Now sure to be intitled to great Rewards, and to be the Children of the most high, doth look far

ther

35.

ther than this present World. Our Saviour, without doubt, means the same thing here, that he expreffes upon the same occasion in another place, ziz. They (those that you do Luke 14.

good to) cannot recompense you, but you shall be." 4 i recompensed at the Resurrection of the Yuft.,i.

Again, the Parable of the unjust Steward, Luke 16. that provided fo. well for himself against a . bad time out of his Master's Goods, is wholly designed to this purpose ; and that the Applia ; . cation of it fufficiently shews; for our Saviour having said, that the Lord of this Steward commended him for his providence and care of himself, he thus applies it to all his Disciples : Wherefore I say unto you, Make you Friends to Verle 9. your felves of the Mammon of Unrighteoufiefs, (i. é. of these falfe deceitful Riches) that when you fail, you may be received into everlasting: Habitations plainly declaring that the best Provision that rich Men can make for themselves against the time of their Death, in order

to their Reception into the other World, must I be the charitable Actions they do with their Wealth while they live here. ..

Lastly, In another place our Saviour faith the very same thing, in effect, that is said in the Text; for this is his Counsel to all that mean to be happy in the next Life, viz. that they sell that they have (that is, when the times Luke is are such that it is reasonable fo to do) that 33. they give Alms; for thereby they provide to themselves Bags which wax not old, a Treasure in the Heavens where no Thief approacheth, nor Math · corrupteth. ..KA

То

- To these three Texts of our Saviour's, I Shall add three others of three of his Apostles, which speak just to the same effect, and with themi I shall conclude.?: The first is that of St. Paul; in his Epistle to the Hebrews; where having spoken most severe things, and de'notinced no less that Hell-fire against the false

Brethren among them, yet thus he comforts Heb.6.9. the Church to whom hę writes: But, Beloved,

(faith'he) we are persuaded better thing's of you; and-things that do'accompany Salvation, though

žve thừs speak. And what, I pray, is the RcaVcrfc11.

fon he is thus-persiaded ? Verily' this, for God
(faith' he) is not unrighteous to forget your Work
and-Labour of Love; which you have thewed to his
Name, in that ye håve ministreit to the Saints,
and yet do minister. It was purely their Chaa
rity to the Brethren,' that made him have these
good Hopes of them, that they were in a State
of Salvation. Though that Church, as to
other things, was in a very degenerate Condi-
tion, yet considering they had been laborious
and diligent in the Exercise of Charity, and
still continued so to be, God would not forget
them'; nay, he was not fo unrighteous as to for.
get them. And then, that which follows in
the next Verle is very obiervablc ; And we
de fire that every one of you do shero the same Dio'
ligence (to wit, in the Practice of Charity) to
the full Assurance of Hope unto the End. If they
would have their Hopes of a future Life af-
sured to thein, the way to do it was to perse-
vere in their diligent Attendance to Works of
Mercy and Kindness, and Charity. .

Thic

tsi The second Passage is that of St. John; 1 John 3. " of Hereby (faith he) perceive we the Love of God. 10, cmc. vd towards us, because he laid down his Life for us; di and we ought to lay down our Lives for the Brea pothe thren. But whoso bath this World's good, and ed feeth his Brother hath need, and putteth up his

Bowels of Compassion from him, howo dwelleth the Love of God in him? My little Children, léf us not love in Word, neither in Tongue, but in Deed and in Truth, and hereby we know that we are of the Truth, and Mall assure our Hearts bed? fore him. I pray mind that; by our charitable Disposition and doing good to our Brethren, by this we know we are true Disciples' of Jesus Christ, and this is that that will assure our Hearts, will give us Confidence to appear before God at the last Day, when he comes to judge the World. And this is a Point that the Apostle thinks fo confiderable, that he goes over with it again in the next Verse, Beloved, if our Hearts condemn us not (i. e. condemn us not as to this point of Love and Charity) then have we Confidence towards God; and whatsoever we ask; we all receive of him, be-: cause we do thofe things that are pleasing in his Sight.

The last Text to this purpose that I desire i may be taken notice of, is that of St. Peter, 1 Pet. 4. 8. Above all things, my Brethren, bave fervent Charity among your selves, for Charity shall cover the Multitude of Sins. O how comfortable are these Words ! There is none of us, even the best, but hath a Multitude of Sins to answer for ; by what means now must we ob

Pal.13.1- tain that these Sins shall be covered? that is,

shall be forgiven; for covering of Sins is the
Forgiveness of them in the Scripture-language.
Why, the Apostle hath directed us to the
Method, Above all things put on Charity, for it
is Charity that Mall cover. a Multitude of Sins.
Charity is of that Power with God, that it
alone is able to overcome the Malignity of
many of our Sins and Frailties, that would
otherwise do us mischief: If any thing can
make Atonement for the Carelessnels, and the
many Failings of our Lives, and prevent the
Punishment that is due to them, it is to be very
charitable, and to do much good : Charity com
vers a Multitude of Sins in this Life. A great
many Temporal Judgments, that would other-
wise' have fallen upon us for our Sins, are
hereby prevented, and that not only private
ones, but publick too ; And I think it no Pon,
pery to affirm, that Charity will cover a Multi-
tude of Sins in the other Life also; that is, who-
ever is of a true charitable Disposition, and doth
a great deal of good in his Generation, tho'he
may have a great many Infirmities and Miscar-
riages to answer for ; yet if he bc sincerely
vertuous in the main, and so capable of the
Rewards of the other World; his other Failings
will be overlooked, they will be buried in his
good Deeds, and the Man shall be rewarded
notwithstanding. Or if he be a vicious Per-
fon, and so muft of necessity fall short of the
Glory that shall be revealed; yet still in pro-
portion, the Good he hath done in his Life will
cover the Multitude of Sins, Though it will

not

« AnteriorContinuar »