« НазадПродовжити »
SERM. It is the will of our Redeemer, who hath bought XXXVI.
us with an inestimable price, and with infinite pains hath rescued us from miserable captivity under most barbarous enemies, that obeying his will we might command our own, and serving him we might enjoy perfect freedom: and shall we, declining his call and conduct out of that unhappy state, bereave him of his purchase, frustrate his undertakings, and forfeit to ourselves the benefit of so great redemption ?
It is the will of our best Friend; who loveth us much better than we do love ourselves; who is concerned for our welfare, as his own dearest interest, and greatly delighteth therein ; who, by innumerable experiments, hath demonstrated an excess of kindness to us; who in all his dealings with us purely doth aim at our good, never charging any duty on us, or dispensing any event to us, so much with in
tent to exercise his power over us, as to express Lam.iii. 33. his goodness towards us; who never doth afflict or
grieve us more against our will, than against his own desire ; never indeed but when goodness itself calleth for it, and even mercy doth urge thereto; to whom we are much obliged, that he vouchsafeth to govern and guide us, our service being altogether unprofitable to him, his governance exceedingly beneficial to us : and doth not such a will deserve regard ; may it not demand compliance from us? To neglect or infringe it, what is it? is it not palpable folly, is it not foul disingenuity, is it not detestable ingratitude ?
So doth every relation of God recommend his will to us; and each of his attributes doth no less : for
It is the will of him who is most holy, or whose will is essential rectitude : how then can we thwart
it, without being stained with the guilt, and wounded SERM.
XXXVI. with a sense of great irregularity and iniquity ?
It is the will of him, who is perfectly just; who therefore cannot but assert his own righteous will, and avenge the violation thereof: is it then advisable to drive him to that point by wilful provocation; or to run upon the edge of necessary severity ?
It is the will of him, who is infinitely wise; who therefore doth infallibly know what is best for us, what doth most befit our capacities and circumstances; what in the final result will conduce to our greatest advantage and comfort: shall we then prefer the dreams of our vain mind before the oracles of his wisdom ? shall we, forsaking the direction of his unerring will, follow the impulse of our giddy humour ?
It is the will of him, who is immensely good and benign; whose will therefore can be no other than good-will to us; who can mean nothing thereby but to derive bounty and mercy on us : can we then fail of doing well, if we put ourselves entirely into his hands ? are we not our own greatest enemies, in withstanding his gracious intentions ?
It is, finally, the will of him, who is uncontrollably powerful; whose will therefore must prevail one way or other; either with our will or against it, either so as to bow and satisfy us, or so as to break and plague us : for, My counsel, saith he, shall stand, and I Isa. xlvi.10. will do all my pleasure. As to his dispensations, we may fret, we may wail, we may bark at them ; but we cannot alter or avoid them : sooner may we by our moans check the tides, or by our cries stop the sun in his career, than divert the current of affairs, or change the state of things established by
BARROW, vol. II.
Dan. v. 23
SERM. God's high decree : what he layeth on, no hand can XXXVI.
remove; what he hath destined, no power can reverse : our anger therefore will be ineffectual, our impatience will have no other fruit, than to aggravate our guilt and augment our grief.
As to his commands, we may lift up ourselves against them, we may fight stoutly, we may in a sort prove conquerors; but it will be a miserable victory, the trophies whereof shall be erected in hell, and stand upon the ruins of our happiness; for, while we insult over abused grace, we must fall under incensed justice: if God cannot fairly procure his will of us in way of due obedience, he will surely execute his will upon us in way of righteous vengeance; if we do not surrender our wills to the overtures of his goodness, we must submit our backs to the strokes of his anger: he must reign over us, if not as over loyal subjects to our comfort, yet as over stubborn rebels to our confusion; for this in
that case will be our doom, and the last words God Luke xix. will design to spend upon us, Those mine enemies,
which would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ : to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Phil, iv. 11.
xns siras .
have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be
έμαθον εν οις content.
είμι, αυτάρIn these words, by the example of an eminent SERM.
XXXVII. saint, is recommended to us the practice of an excellent duty, or virtue; a practice in itself most worthy, very grateful to God, and immediately of great benefit to ourselves; being indeed necessary towards the comfortable enjoyment of our lives : it is contentedness; the virtue, which, of all other, doth most render this world acceptable, and constituteth a kind of temporal heaven ; which he that hath, is thereby ipso facto in good measure happy, tò 8' qüruzwhatever other things he may seem to want; which novo pesvos he that wanteth, doth, however otherwise he be fur-aigsròn roui nished, become miserable, and carrieth a kind of hell rendsvòs ivdsã. within him : it cannot therefore but well deserve i. 7. our best study about it, and care to get it ; in imitation of St. Paul, who had learned in whatever state he was, therein to be content.
In discoursing upon which words, I shall consider two particulars : first, the virtue itself, (contentedness in every state,) the nature of which I shall endeavour to explain ; then the way of attaining or
SERM. producing it, implied by St. Paul in the words, I XXXVII.
have learned Το ευδαιμο- • I. For explication of the virtue: the word here νούν απέχειν dui sávra ä expressing it is aŭrépkera, which signifieth self-suffiTangapain ciency, or having enough of oneself; the which is oi difos dui not to be understood absolutely, as if he took himsportive self to be independent in nature, able to subsist of Arr. iii. 24. himself, not wanting any support or comfort without
himself, (for this is the property and privilege of the great El-shaddai, who alone subsisteth of himself, needing toward his being and felicity nothing without himself; this is repugnant to the nature of man, who is a creature essentially dependent for his being and subsistence, indigent of many things for his satisfaction and welfare,) but relatively considering his present state, the circumstances wherein he was, and the capacities he had; which by God's disposal and providence were such, that he could not want more than he had in his possession or reach. He meant not to exclude God, and his providence; but rather supposed that as the ground and cause of his
self-sufficiency; according as otherwhere he express2 Cor. iii. 5. eth it: Not as if we were sufficient of ourselves,
but our sufficiency is of God: nor did he intend to exclude the need of other creatures otherwise than as considered without his possession, or beyond his power; but he meaneth only, that he did not desire or lack more than what God had supplied him with; had put into his hand, or had set within his reach; that his will did suit to his state, his desire did not exceed his power.
This is the meaning of the word which the apostle useth : but for the more full and clear understanding the virtue itself, we shall first consider