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him will be our heaven; and those glimpses of his presence, which we are vouchsafed through the Spirit in this life, are the pledges and foretaste of it. This is the constant voice of scripture. Every good gift, and every perfe&t gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, Jam. i. 17. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee ; for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the files of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the most high : and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me, Pfal. 1. 12, 13, &c. If thou be righteous, what givest thou unto him? Thy wickedness may burt a man, as thou art, and thy righteousness may profit the son of man, Job xxxv. 7, 8.
SECT. III. Of the Impediments of Perfe&tion. Five
Impediments reckoned up, and infifted on. 1. Too loose a notion of religion. 2. An opinion that Perfection is not attainable. 3. That religion is an enemy to pleasure. 4. The love of the world. 5. The infir
mity of the flesh. The whole concluded ' with a prayer.
T HO' I have been all along carrying T on the depgn of this fection, that is, the removing the obftacles of Perfection, yet I easily foresaw there might be fome which would not be reduced within the compass of the foregoing beads : for these therefore I reserved this place ; these are five.
$. 1. Some seem to have entertained such a notion of religion, as if moderation here, were as necessary as any where else. They look upon zeal as an excess of righteousness; and can be well enough content to want degrees of glory, if they can but fave their souls. To which end they can see no necessity of Perfe£tion. Now I would beseech such seriously to lay to heart, that salvation and damnation are things of no common importance : and
therefore it highly concerns them not to be mistaken in the notion they form to themselves of religion. For the nature of things will not be altered by their fancies; nor will God be mocked or imposed on. If we will deal sincerely with our felves, as in this case it certainly behoves us to do we muft frame our idea of religion, not from the opinions, the manners, or the faShions of the world ; but from the scripe tures. And we must not interpret thefe by our own inclinations; but we must judge of the duties they prescribe, by those defcriptions of them, by those properties and effects, which we find there. We must weigh the design and end of religion; which is to promote the glory of God, and the good of man, and to raise us above the world, and the body: and see how our platform, or model of religion, fuits with it. And if, after we have done this, we are not fully satisfied in the true bounds and limits which part vice and virtue, it cannot but be safest for us to err on the right-hand. We ought always to remember too, that the repeated exhortations in scripture to diligence, and that the most earneft and indefatigable ones, to vigilance, to fear and trembling, to patience, to stedfattness, and fuch like, are utterly inconfiftent with an easy, lazy, gentile religion. That the life of Jefus is the fairest and fulleft comment on his doctrine : and, that we never are to follow the examples of a corrupt world, but of the best men, and the best ages. This, this one thing alone, will convince us, what endeavours, what virtues are necessary to gain an incorruptible crown. See with what eagerness the disciples of Jesus pressed towards the mark ! see with what courage, nay joy too, they took up their cross and followed him ! how generous were their alms ! so that the riches of their liberality were conspicuous in the very depth of their poverty. What plainness and singleness of heart; what grace and warmth, what peace and joy Thewed it self in their conversation! what modesty, what humility in their garb, deportment, and the whole train of life! how frequent, how fervent, and how long too, were their prayers and retirements ! In one word! the spirit and genius of a disciple of Christ discovered it self in all they said and did ; and the virtues of their lives did as evidently distinguish a Christian from a few or Pagan, as their faith. How lovely was religion then ! how full its joy, how strong its confidence ! then did Christians truly overcome the world : then did they live above the body: then was the Cross of Christ more delightful, than the ease or honour, the pride or pleasure of a sinful life: then did they trų.
ly, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Let us now compare our lives with theirs, and then sit down content with poor and beggarly attainments if we can. Let us put our virtues in the scales against theirs; and, if we have any modesty, the inequality will put us out of countenance: we shall blush at our vanity; and shall not have the confidence to expect the same crown, the same kingdom with them. But as too lax a notion of religion is apt to beget too much indifference and unconcernment; so will it be said, too exalted an one is apt to beget deSpair: which is a second and no less obstacle of Perfeétion.
$. 2. Many there are, who, forming their judgment upon the slips and defects of good men, and the corruption of human nature, conceive Perfektion to be a mere imaginary notion. They believe indeed, that, considering how apt man is to fall short of his duty, 'tis very fit that the rule prescribed him should be exact; and that he should be frequently pressed, and exhorted to Perfečtion : but that the thing it felf is too difficult for mortal man to attain in this life. But to this obje&tion I must oppose these few things, which I believe will be suf·ficient to remove it.