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things here are vain and fading; to know what we must cleave too, that is proper to religion, to know Christ, and the good we have by Christ; when we have him, we have all; he is the food of our souls; these things are proper to religion ; and therefore let us arise from the confideration of the vanity of all things, to the positive part, to interest ourselves in that which is better than all things. Which if we have, we have all ; and then we shall make a right use of this.
Wherein is unfolded the unsearchable Riches he hath
by his interest in Christ.
I COR. iii. 21, 22, 23.
“4 Let no man glory in man, for all things are yours, whether Paul, “ or Apollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things
present, or things to come, all are yours ; and you are Christ's, 6 and Christ is God's.
THE principal scope of the apostle in this place, is to cut off
faction, and overmuch dependence upon men, who had crept into the consciences of people, and set up themselves initead of Christ. For that is the pride of false teachers, to set up themselves in the conscience where Christ alone should be. The apostle to prevent this, faith, Let no man glory in man; do not glory in your teachers, they are but your servants and Christ's servants,« for all things are yours'-all the teachers in the world are your servants, and Christ's. Having fet down this generally, “ All things are yours," to discourage them from glo. rying in man, he parcels that general into particulars, “ Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or life, or death."
1. All persons are yours. 2. All things are yours. 3. All events are yours.
Perfons.-Paul, Apollo, Cephas.
Things. The world, or life, or death.
Events.- Whatsoever can come for the present, or for time to come.
« All is yours.” For the persons.-Paul, Apollo, Cephas, are yours; therefore Peter is not the head of the church; he is named here in the third place, among the rest, and after the rest. Whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, he is yours. You know who ground all their religion on this, Peter is the head of the church, and they are the successors of Peter : but Peter is the church's, and therefore cannot be the head and commander. The world is
1. The natural world is the church's, that is, the frame of heaven and earth; all things are made foť man, and he is made for God. As the wise philosopher could say, that man is the end of all things in a semi-circle, that is, all things in the world are made for him. He is made for God, in whom all things end. As all things come from a point, and end there again, so all things come from God, and all end in God Christ's, and Christ is God's ;” but the world is ours, and we are God's, all things in the world are our servants; for they mourn in black, as it were, for our miferies, since the fall. And in our restoring again, they shall be restored, they wait for the day, as it is, Rom. viii. 21. “ For the glorious liberty of the sons of God :" they have their happiness and misery together with men.
But there is another world that is ours, take it in the worst sense, the world of wicked men; all their plots, and the prince of the world, are the church's.
How is this? He and all his instruments are under the command of him that turns all his designs contrary to his own in. tention; this is a hell to satan, and one of the chief torments he hath, that as his malice is limited by this power, so his power is limited by God's power, who overshoots him in his own bow. Whatever he designs agaiost the head, Chrift, and against his members, the church, it is overturned for the good of the church. In the primitive church fome were given over to fatan, that they might learn not to blafpheme. It is a
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strange thing that fatan should teach not to blafpheme, who is the author of blafphemy. Yet by consequence, he afflicting their bodies, thereupon they came to be wise, and seemed to be mpderate and sober, and to be christianly minded, and not to blafpheme. So the prince of the world is ours in this, by an overcommanding power, that turns all to good against his intentions. For there is but one grand monarch in the world. Every kingdom is under a higher kingdom, there is but one to whom all are subject, there is one grand wheel that turns all the others, and therefore satan himself is serviceable to God's end, whether he will or no.
2. And then for the world of wicked men; all their designs, though for the present they seem to be against the church, yet they are serviceable to the church ; for wicked men are but the servants of the church, as it were, to wash the church, to purge the church, to do base services that God intends for the refining of the church; and all their hatred is for the good of the church; for God suffers the world to hate his children, that his children might not love the world ; for if the world did not hate his, they would love the world, and it would be a dangerous love. The church is a strange corporation ; it is such a corporation as hath the greatest benefit by enemies. The enemies of the church are the promoters of the greatest good of the church. The very world is the church's, take it in the worst sense ; for the wicked world that lies in mischief.-But I will not dwell upon that. To
The life of others is the church's.
Why doth God continue the life of good magistrates and good pastors ?
1. For the church. As Paul faith, “ It were better for me to be with Chrift," a great deal ; yet for your fakes I must continue. I am content to be without the joys of heaven a while, for your good.
And therefore my life is yours, it is at your service-for you I shall continue flill.
2. And so the life of good magistrates, it is for the benefit of the church ; it were better for them to be in heaven, the life of
all that may be serviceable to the church, till they have acted their part, and served God in their generation, as it is said of David, Acts iji. 36. “ he served God in his own generation :" So every magistrate hath bis generation, a time allotted, a generation to stand up in the church and state, and to serve God in his turn, and then God takes him away.
3. And then the life of every particular christian is theirs ; for God suffers them to enjoy it fo long as life may be a benefit, to gather the more afsurance of salvation, and to do their work that he hath given them to do here ; and when they have done their work, they are gathered to their fathers : so that life is the church's. And indeed life is a special benefit ; because, by the advantage of life we further our reckonings. A good christian, the longer he lives, the larger good accounts he hath ; all his fins are wiped away, they shall not be laid to his charge ; all his deeds, to a cup of cold water, shall be set on the score, and he shall be rewarded : there is not a sigh, nor a tear, but it is regiftered : the longer a man liveth, if he fhould live to the age of Methusalem, the richer he should be in good works; and the more rich he is in good works, the more he fhall have his part and share in glory after ; and therefore, “ life is yours." The happier the time in which he lives is for his good ; and he makes the time happy, and it is happier for himself; the more rich he is in good works, the more rich he shall be in glory after. These things being so, we should be very thankful that God yields to us this life ; for, besides an advantage of doing good, it is a preparative to a better. This life is, as it were, the seminary of heaven. Heaven indeed is the true paradise of all the plants of God ; but they must have a feminary to be planted in first; and therefore the church is called the kingdom of heaven, because we are first planted here. Now this life is an advantage, we are planted here in the church, to grow a while, until we be taken from our seminary, the paradise of the church, to the paradise in heaven. So w life is ours" for that end. I will not further enlarge the point it is clear.
Or Death. 4. As life is ours, fo death is ours. It is a strange thing that death should be ours, which is a destroying hostile thing to nature, “ the king of fears," as the scripture calls it; and that “ terrible of all terribles," as the philosopher terms it;
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