« AnteriorContinuar »
believes it, cannot but find exceeding great Contentment of Spirit.
It is certain, there is nothing that it more naturally defires, than to know and understand. Our Souls have a peculiar Inclination and Affection to Truth; and are likewife big with Designs and Contrivances of feveral Sorts. Their Thoughts are ever reftlefs and unquiet: They are too active and vigorous, to stand still, and do nothing; infomuch that if they can find no other Employment, they will trouble themfelves, and perplex and difquiet all at home. For no Man is difcontented, but he is crucified by himself, and his own Thoughts are his TorThat we might never therefore be fo idle as to vex our felves, nor roll and tumble about perpetually in our own unquiet Imaginations; God hath propounded the most Glorious Objects, on which to fix our busy Thoughts; and imparted to us the Knowledge of a vast Number of Things, fome of which were never known in the World before; and the reft but imperfectly understood, and uncertainly believed; and those of the greatest Concernment to our Souls, and most highly importing to our Happiness; whereby that natural Appetite after Wisdom and Understanding is abundantly filled and replenished, and all other Appetites are Strangely gratified and pleased too.
For there is nothing can yield greater Satisfaction to the Heart of Man, than this Revelation which God hath made of his Mind and Will by the Gospel of Chrift, in fuch a large
a large and ample manner, as it felf witnelfes. I am perfuaded, Brethren, faith St. Paul, Rom. xv. 14. that ye are filled with all Knowledge; able to admonish one another. This was the End for which God gave fuch Gifts unto Men, as upon this Day, and made fome Apofles, fome Prophets, fome Evangelifts, &c. till we all come in the Unity of the Faith, and the Knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect Man; unto the Measure of the Stature of the Fulnefs of Chrift, Ephef. iv. 10, 13. There is, you see, a great Fulness of Divine Knowledge communicated to us; the nearer unto which we arrive, the more contented and well pleased we fhall be in every State. And therefore the Apoftle prays for the Coloffians, Col. i. 9. that they might be filled with the Knowledge of God's Will, in all Wisdom and spiritual Understanding ; as the first Blessing he could wish to those, whose Happiness he exceedingly defired. And to fuch Perfons as these it is, that this Divine Writer speaks, when he exhorts them to be contented with fuch Things as they had.
They were Men that knew the fuperabundant Love of God to Mankind; being perfuaded that he had spoken to us by his own Son, (as you read Chap. i. 1.) a Perfon higher than all Angels; who, at God's Command, worfhipped him when he came into the World, and acknowledg'd themselves to be but Ministring Spirits to the Servants of this Glorious Prince, the Heir of all Things.
Lord, what a Grace was this! What a noble Pitch of Knowledge! whereby Mankind were made certain, that there is a Providence greater than their own, which watches over them, and takes care of them here on Earth. It affured them beyond all Difpute, that the Great God, whofe Power is infinite and unlimited, doth not defpife us; but is fo far from it, that he defires to be our Friend. For they had the Satisfaction to know (and fo have we) that he loves us fo well, as to manifeft himself in our Flesh: Jefus who spoke unto us, being the Brightness of his Glary, the exprefs Image of his Perfon, upholding all Things by the Word of his Power, Cap. i. 3. They faw clearly that God was in him, reconciling the World to himfelf; because, when he had by himself, as it there follows, purged our Sins, be fat down on the Right Hand of the Majesty on High. What a Discovery was this, that this Son of God fhould dye, to take away the Sins of the World! What an Honour hath he put upon our Nature? First, in appearing in it; then in purging us by fuch a noble Sacrifice; and then preferring us in the Perfon of Jefus, to fuch great Dignity and Glory, as he now hath in the Heavens. What greater Satisfaction can there be, than to know that Chrift Jefus reigns: To fee him, as he speaks, Chap. ii. 9. who was made a little lower than the Angels, for the Suffering of Death, crowned with Glory and Honour! To know that we are under his tender Care; and that he is our Interceffor with God, ready to do us any good Offices in the Court of
Heaven, when we have any Business there? What would we defire more, than to have fuch an affectionate High-Priest over the House of God, full of Compaffion and Mercy; and not without a Royal Power, to fuccour those who flee unto him for Sanctuary and Affiftance? Who can never fail not to be deny'd; having by one Sacrifice of himself once offered, obtained an eternal Redemption for us. And who can never fail to discharge his Office (having learnt Obedience by the Things that be fuffered) for the Benefit and Comfort of all thofe, who depend upon his Power, Faithfulness and Love: Who is fat down for ever, at the Right Hand of God, to reign till all bis Enemies are become his Footstool: And bath delivered us already from the Fear of Death; and destroyed him that had the Power of Death, which is the Devil: And made Angels also ministring Spirits, fent forth to minister for them, who fhall be Heirs of Salvation. Which he will come one Day to bestow upon all thofe, who look for his fecond appearing; being become the Author of Eternal Salvation, unto all them that obey him, Chap. i. ult. V. 9, &c.
This and much more, is the Subject of this fingle Epistle: And therefore though they fuffered Perfecution, though they were spoiled of their Goods, and endur'd many Reproaches, and other Croffes, yet they might be contented in their present State. For they had a Fulness of Divine Reason in them, many heavenly Notions that would be ever presenting themselves to them; fuch Store of rare Meditations, that
there was no Room, no Place empty for difcontented Thoughts to come and lye in. They could presently think in the worse Condition Well! let it be fo: But we are of Kin to God the Father of all; we are under his most wife and good Providence; we may trust him, for he loves us, as appears by his fending Jefus, to dwell among us: And Jefus, who did and fuffered fuch great Things for us, is ftill alive, and reigns, and will reign for evermore. His Power can never be impaired. When we are dead, he can raise us again; and while we are alive, he will not fail to intercede with God for us, and fupport and comfort us in all our Sufferings; for he was tempted as we are.
They knew that none could be miserable, who were beloved of God: That none could want, who had his Providence for their Storehouse That none could be alone, who were in the Company of Chrift and his holy Angels, that attended on them. That it was impoffible but his Sacrifice fhould prevail for any Thing needful, which was of fuch Force, as to prevail for the Remiffion of the Sins of the World: That he who will come again from Heaven to reward us, cannot at prefent be unmindful of us. That all Sufferings are but to prepare us for a greater Recompence of Reward, by patient enduring the Pain and Trouble of them And that they are so far from being the Tokens of God's Anger, that they are in fome Cafes the Marks and Characters of his Sons; who could not therefore reasonably complain of their Heavenly Father, but rather fubmit unto him