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SERMON XIV.

HEB. XIII. 5.

-Be content with fuch Things as

ye have :-

AVING difpatched those things which I propounded in the Beginning of these Difcourfes, there is nothing now remaining to be done, but only to make fome Improvement of what hath been said, which I cannot neglect, because this is a Doctrine of fo great Importance.

\

And there are but three Things that I shall recommend to your Confideration at this Time.

I.

The First is, that there is no Man, but may have him enough, if he please to use it, to attend the Affairs of his immortal Soul. I make the Inference clear to you thus; if our Souls be not our chief Care, and the informing then with the Knowledge of God and of his Son do not imploy our beft Thoughts, the Reafon must be, if it be worth any thing, because fomething else is more excellent, and deferves

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more

more Regard, or fomething else is more neceffary and cannot, without fo much Time as will leave none for the Concernments of our Souls, be provided and supplyed. But neither of thefe Reafons can be pretended, and therefore our Souls and their Affairs, do challenge our best, most serious, and conftant Thoughts.

That nothing else is more excellent and more to be regarded, is fo plain, that it doth not need any Pains of mine to demonftrate, if it lay in my Way at this prefent to discouse of it.

And that Nothing is of fuch Neceffity, that it must be provided for at the Coft and Charge of our Souls (leaving no confiderable Leifure to look after their Good) doth unavoidably follow from the Doctrine that I have all this while explained and proved to you, viz. That we may well be contented (without fo much Care and Trouble as we put ourselves unto) in our prefent Estate, whatever it he; for God, I have shown you, hath provided for all Creatures enough, and much more for Man who is the best of them: And a few Things I have likewife shown, will give us enough, and those few Things are not fo hard to be obtained, but we may foon have them; and having them, be able to think our elves rich enough.

The clear Confequence of which is, that there vill be no Excufe for Mens grofs want of Care bout their Souls; they will never be able to nake any handfome Apology for their Ignorance f the Gofpel; for their not reading and mediting on the Word of God; for their Unbelief

and

and not living according to the Commands of Chrift: What will a Man fay in his own Behalf, to wipe off the Blame of not praying continually; of not recounting the Mercies and Favours of God to him; and not studying and imitating the Example of our Lord Jefus, in his heavenly Mindedness, Dependance on God, Contempt of Riches, Sobriety, Mercifulness, Meekness, and all other Virtues, which will contribute, I have shewn you, fo much to his Satisfaction; and not only please God but himself too? Will he say that he knew none of these Things? That he cannot, because they are revealed: Will he say that he could not understand them? That's falfe, for they are clearly revealed, and continually inculcated in our Sermons and Difcourfes to you: Will he fay that he had no Time to confider of the Things that were preffed upon him; nor could find fo much Leifure as to pray seriously to God to take an Account of himself, to examine his Heart and Life, to reckon up the Benefits he hath received, &c. This is as unjust a Pretence as either of the former; for I have demonftrated that you may be contented with lefs of the Things of this Life, the inordinate Defire and Love of which, drowns Mens Souls in Perdition and Destruction. You have Leisure for unneceffary Things, and therefore cannot want it for this one thing needful, which is the learning of God's Will, and the doing of it. You can labour for more than you really want of the Goods of this prefent World; and therefore what hinders you, but only an unprofitable Labour, from

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feeking

feeking after that which you moft want, the Knowledge of God, and everlafting Salvation? You can have fo much Faith, or rather Infidelity, as to toil and fweat for thofe Things which God never promised you; why will you not have fo much Faith, as to take Pains for thofe Things which he will certainly give you? Will it hinder you in all your other Labours, fo that you fhall not be able to provide your felves Neceffaries? How justly then might the Ifraelites have excufed themselves with this Pretence, when God bid them go three Times in a Year to Jeru falem, (which was many Miles from fome of their Dwellings) and there spend seven Days at the Paffover, as many at the Feaft of Tabernacles, and one Day at the Feast of Weeks? Might not they have faid, it will undo us to lose feven Days Work together, besides the Time that must be spent in going from our own Houses to the House of God, and returning back again? Who can live if he be conftantly put to fuch great Charges, together with his Time of offering fo many Sacrifices; and yet you fee that pious People, tho' poor and low in the World, did not plead this at all, but fofeph and Mary (who were Perfons of a mean Condition, it appears by their Oblation) went every Year to the Feast of the Paffover, Luke 2. 41. tho' they lived in Galilee, which was the remotest Part of the Country from the holy City, and did he suffer any to fare the worfe for this? Did he not promise them that he would fupprefs the Defires of their Enemies after their Land, when all the Men

were

were gone up to worship at the Temple? And did he not promife to profper their Labours, and bless them in the Increase of their Cattle and Corn, and all other Things? Why should we then, who are not put to fuch Coft, Trouble, and Expence of Time, grudge to ftudy the Will of God, to meditate on his Promises, and pray to him for his Grace and all other Bleffings; when God requires no fuch long Journey to be undertaken that we may go to Heaven, when he dwells among us every where, and is prefent in every Place to blefs our pious Endeavours to please him? What fhould hinder us, what should difcourage us, what should retard these holy Labours? Have we Time for every Thing, but only to feek how we may be happy? Is there Room to entertain all manner of Objects, but only God who made them all? Is the greatest Good the only thing that must be excluded out of our Thoughts, and out of our Affections? What Madness is this which poffeffes Mankind, that they should facrifice their whole Time merely to Ambition, or to the acquiring fuch lazy Poffeffions, that they are a vaft deal more than needs, or the fatisfying extravagant Defires of Pleasure, which in Conclufion they find they had better been without, and repent of their Bargain?

And yet this is the Condition of fo many Souls, that it cannot but move ones Heart to condole the lamentable Lofs of fuch Numbers; for tho' fome are fo poor, that they are tempted by Hunger to barter away their precious Time, as Efau С с 4

did

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