« AnteriorContinuar »
Inexcusableness of those Men, that notwithstanding the Gospel Means .of Salvation, that have been so long afforded them, do still continue Infidels in their Judgment, or Immoral in their Lives.
'What will these Men be able to say for themselves, when they come to appear before the Judge of the World,;: at the great Day of Accounts? Will they pretend there was not Force enough, in the Gospel-evidence, to convince them; or Weight enough in its Motives to reclaim them? Ah, their own Hearts will give them the Lye. They can no longer be able to deceive themselves. There will be no Unbelievers, no scared Consciences, in the other State. They will then be clearly convinced, that God, for his Part, did all that was necessary; nay, all that was lit to be done, in order tp their Salvation:, Put they were resolved to shut their Eyes, and harden their Hearts against the gracious Means that were tendred them.
Oh, how will the Rich Man, and his five Brethren in Hell rife up in Judgment against these Men? For they only refused to hear Moses and the Prophets: But these, besides them, have obstinately refused to. hear Christ and his Apostles, who brought abundantly greater Light into the World, than the former did. .. ..j -•..,.!:i;. i c
Much more, How will the poor ignorant Heathens rife up in Judgment against them, who were destitute both of Moses and Christ? and yet, to the Shame of Christians it may
.: be be spoken, have several of them lived better! Lives than many of us do.
May we not justly and sadly apply that Woe' which our Saviour pronounced of Chorazin, and Beihjaida, to Thousands among us? Woe,' unto you, Unbelievers; Woe unto you, O obstinate and irreclaimable, Sinners'; fat if the mighty Means of Grace, the mighty Evidence of Truth, had been.afforded to Tyre and Sidan, to Sodom and Gomorrha, to Mahometans and Pagans that have been offered unto you, they would long ago h,g,ve~,tefzvted in Sackcloth and Ajhes. But, I Jay unto you, it shall be more tolerable ~for all these in the Day of Judgment, than for you. .;•"
God almighty give us all Grace seriously to consider theje things, that we may, by a timely and hearty closing with his Methods &nd Designs for our Salvation, prevent the dismal Consequences of Infidelity and a vicious Life; that Jo it may not be our Condemnation at the la st Day, That Light is come into the World, and we have loved Darkness rather than Light.
...Viss Preached at : itil WHITE - HALL, ht. On the Eleventh of April, 1690.
GALAT. V. 13. a 14. Use not. Liberty for an Occasion, to the Flesh. any 199 N Y one that useth to make Refle&iSAR ons upon his own Actions, cannot Oh but observe, That one of the great
Occasions of the Sins he is guilty of in the Course of his Life, is the too free use of his lawful Libertya t ahtii .. I do not fay, that any Man doth commit Sin by using his lawful Liberty (for that would be a kind of Contradiction:) But, I say, the using our Liberty to the utmost Pitch and Extent of that which we call Lawful, is the Occasion of a great many Sins that would otherwise not have been committed.
If one should offer to tempt a Man that hath any Sense of Vertue or Religion, to do a thing, that at the first sight appears Sinful or Wicked; it would certainly be rejected.
Every one that has any regard to God of Goodnefs, would start at such a Propofali But here is our Infclicity: A Temptation comes on by degrees. And at the first we are ingaged in nothing but what is Lawful and Honeft ; and accordinglyollwe use that Liberty which Nature and Religion allow usz and so we proceed on insensibly in the use of that Liberty, till at last we become uncertain whether we have not exceeded the Bounds of what is Lawful: And by this means we are often caught. . Nay, indeed, nothing but this could betray well-meaning Perfons, and such as are vertuously disposed, into Sin. Licitis perimus omnes, said a devout Man It is by Lawful Things that we commonly mis carry., 1.1. iirise.ins :5:5
With great Reason, therefore, doth St, Paul give this Advice in the Text: Brethrer: (faith he) ye have been called unto-Liberty; only afe not Liberty for an Occasion to the Fles.
There is no doubt, but the Apostle writ these Words upon Occasion of, and with Rem ference to the great Controversy that was then on foot' among Chriftians, touching the Obligation of the Jewish Law.
Some, then, thought themselves bound in Conscience, to observe all the Precepts of Moses his Law. Other Chriftians thought they were freed by the coming of Christ, from all legal Observances. The Apostle determines the Cafe in Favour of these latter, and des clares, That by the Gospel they were called unto Liberty, and were free from all the Mofæical
Impositions. • But. yet, nevertheless^ he tells them, they ought to be careful in the Exercise of that Liberty, that theydowt,use it for an Occasion to the Flesh. .,•••/. y\ -.
That is to say, that thU Liberty \ to which: they were caHled\ should not minister to any Sin. That they should not so use it, as to "be a Snare, either to themselves or others. To. themselves, by running into Licentiousness,, and taking Unlawful Liberties. To otherx, cU ther by affrighting the unbelieving Jews, from the embracing Christianity, or discouraging thpse that already believe the Gospel, in the Profession of it.
This is the strict Sense of the Apostle's Words, as they come in. here in the Text, and as they do relate to that Occasion upon which he writ them. But that Sense, with Reference to that Occasion, h now out of Doors among us: Though the general Advice.that is here given, will eternally be. gopd and useful; nay, and always needful to .be?insisted on in all Ages of the World.; ...;.
We have none, now, that use their Liberty for an Occasion to the Flesh, as to the Point of the Judaical Ceremonies. But we have abundance that do use it so as to other Matters. Nay, as I said before, this too free Use of our Liberty in lawful 'things, is one of the greatest Sources and Fountains from whence most of our Irregularities do proceed. And, therefore, I do not know how I can entertain you more usefully upon this Text, than by endeavouring to give you the best Rules I