Page images


Serm. Therefore, as our infallible Teacher füms VI. up his Argument, take no Thought, saying, What Mall we eat? Or what shall we drink ? Or wherewithal fall we be clothed ? For your heavenly Father knoweth, that ye have Need of all these Things : Let not these worldly Goods be always uppermost in your Minds,-----let them not be your chiefest Concern, nor the principal Objects of your Affection. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness, and all these Things Mall be added unto you,

Here we have the religious Improvement; our Saviour Christ builds on the premised Doctrine of an universal Providence; and; as he enters deep into the Subject, we must necessarily suppose it to be a Matter of the greatest Weight, and be persuaded, that what he thought deserving of his highest Attention, does likewise demand ours; this obliges us in Point of Reason to search and look into his Meaning : And as all his Instructions were ordered with a View to our Advantage, Interest pushes us on to the Enquiry : And since his Advice carries with it the Force of a Command, a Sense of Duty also engages us to make it in the best manher we can,

O 2


[ocr errors]

VI. By these Motives let us be urged to con-

sider, what we are to understand by the
Kingdom of God and his Righteousness,---what
it is to seek these, and why we are to make
the seeking of them our first Work.

The Kingdom of God has diverse Acceptations in his holy Word. It signifies either his natural, or his moral Dominion, and, taken in the former Light, includes under it the whole Creation inanimate and animate, irrational and rational : This is that Kingdom, which ruleth over all, and to the Laws of which all Creatures must be subfervient.

But besides this abfolute Government of universal Nature, there is also a moral Kingdom established by God, and conducted not by irresistible Power, but by equitable Commands, and the influencing Motives of Rewards and Punishments. This Empire has for its Subjects none but rational and free Creatures, and they for the Measure of their Subjection the original and unalterable Laws of eternal Reason, which flow from their very Constitutions, and are founded on the fixed Relation, they bear to their great Author and one another. And though they

are are not necessitated to obey those Laws, SERM. which if they were, it must destroy their VI. Natures, and make them different Beings from what they are, yet they are as strictly bound to obey them, as if they could not transgress them, and if they prove Rebels by an Abuse of their Liberty, will be sadly accountable to their supreme Lord and Potentate.

Not, that every Tansgression becomes alike fatal to the Offenders ----what was denied to the higher Rank of Criminals, is yet indulged to the lower,----there is Mercy in Store, tho' not for fallen Angels, however for fallen Men; these are permitted and assisted to recover themselves, nor are ever looked upon as Reprobates, fo long as they offend through a pitiable Weakness, and not through inveterate Malice, like the Devil and his Afrociates.

From hence we have a Prospect of another of God's Kingdoms, even that of Grace, which is the settled Order of his Government under the Gospel-state, and this, if it was not erected, was promised prefently after Man had rebelled against the moral Dominion of his Maker: It has the Dispen




Serm. fation of Mofes to prepare its Way, and VI. usher it into the World, and was compleat

l y founded by the Appearance of the Son of God in the Flesh..

[ocr errors]

WHEN Mankind had withdrawn from their Allegiance to God, and had felt the Folly, and the Misery of affecting to be independent of him, a new Scheme of governing, and a new Set of Laws were requisite to reduce the Traitors to, and keep them in their Duty, not indeed to abolish the old, but to improve it,---not to lessen the Obligation of moral Virtue, but to perfect it, by making them to stand in a new Relation to him, as redeemed by his Mercy, as well as created by his Power.

Whilst a sinful World continued under, as it had justly incurred, the Displeasure of the Almighty, what could remain for them in these Circumstances, but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment? And what was there to brighten the Prospect? Till the Introduction of a better Hope by Christ Jesus encouraged them to expect a far milder Treatment than they deserved, till a general Pardon was proclaimed anda Form of obtaining ịt by the Sacrament of Baptism appointed, on


the easy Condition of a penitent Faith : So SERM. that there is now no Condemnation to them VI. that are in Christ Jesus (a),---to them, who being admitted to a Share of the Reconciliation he purchased with his Blood, behave like loyal Subjects, and do not madly forfeit the Allegiance, wherewith they are bound.

Of this excellent Society consists the Kingdom of Grace ; to which all were invited to submit themselves. And to bring the whole Race of Sinners into it, and to instruct them, how to live under it so, as to preserve a juft Title to its Privileges, is the Substance of the Doctrine published by our blessed Lord, and delivered down in the Gospel.

BEFORE the Son of God appeared in the Likeness of Men, and declared himself to be the supreme Head and Governor of this Kingdom, which is his Church, in Conjunction with the Father; God's special Dominion was exercised over one Family and Nation only: But the Ends and Purposes of of the Jewish Economy being anfwered, the middle Wall of Partition was broken

. O 4
(a) Rom. viii. 1.


« EelmineJätka »