Page images
PDF
EPUB

ERM

What the Slaves to their corrupt Affections Serm, would conceal from others, they cannot hide VII: from themselves. They must feel and be sensible, that the Advantage, which any sinful Indulgence affords, is mean and pitiful, short-lived and perishing; but the Anguilh of Soul, which the bitter Reflection occasions, is substantial and lasting, fharp enough to render the most fortunate Sinner wretched, nauseous enough to pall the Enjoyments, of the Great and Wealthy, and a Burden too heavy for Man to bear.

Yet these Evils are only like small Paya ments, the compleat Sum is still behind : For the full Wages of Sin is Death, not so much as it is, the Difunion of the Soul and Body, as the utter Separation of both from God,---not so much as it is a temporal Diffolution, as an eternal Destruction. Then, is second Death, subsequent to the first, which, whosoever is not found written in, the Book of Life, is not enrolled among God's Servants,---behaves not with the obfequious Fidelity of a true Christian, when he enjoys the happy Privilege of becoming one, shall not escape : And it will consist in the

SERM. being cast into the Lake of Fire (P), where VII. the Servants of Sin shall be eternally tor

mented.

Whilst on the contrary, the Servants of Obedience "unto Righteousness are engaged in a Work equally honourable, easy, advantageous.

The Credit of the Service always rises in Proportion to the Dignity of the Master ; the Grandeur of the one reflects a Brightness on the other. Men glory, and very justly in their Attendance on earthly Princes : But much more noble is it to serve the fupreme Lord of the Universe : To fulfill whose Commands the most exalted Creatures think it their highest Honour; and shall not we poor defiled Mortals be ravish'd at so vast an Advancement, as to be admitted to minister unto him in the meanest Offices!

And, yet to serve him cannot, properly speaking, be in any Respect mean, and the devout Plalmist had great Reason for laying, that he had rather be a Door-keeper in the House of his God, than to dwell in the Tents of Ungodliness (9).

BESIDES,

6) Rev. XX. 15.

(9) Pf. Ixxxiv, 10.

Serm. BESIDES, as there is nothing low or un- VII. becoming, so is there nothing hard or painful in God's Service: It is, what it is represented to be, perfect Freedom ---not indeed a Liberty of doing what our corrupt Nature may incline to (for that is only another Name for Slavery) but a Liberty of following Truth and Reason, of exercising Virtue and Righteousness, and of obeying the Will of God by their own. If such Work can give Uneasiness, this is an accidental Effect, occasioned, not by any Hardship in the Service, but by the Incapaciy of the Servants : Who have contracted bad Habits, and impaired their Strength in their former Employ; and therefore, whatever Difficulties, they meet with in the new one, ought in Justice to be imputed to Sin and not to Obedience.

And be these Difficulties never so great · at first, yet they soon vanilh: They are

found only at the Entrance into God's Household, a little Time and Application will conquer them, and all afterwards will become easy, pleasant, happy,

[blocks in formation]

SERM. · VII. Which brings us to the concluding Cir

cumstance moft powerfully recommending God's Service to us, viz. That it is advantageous, being profitable 'unto all Things, baving Promise of the Life that now is, and of that which is to come (a). There is no living one Moment comfortably out of it, nor can we otherwise be exempt from the Anguish of Mind, and the Apprehenfion of Punishment, whicho Sin produces. To be free from these Evils is no small -Advantage in itself; though small in Respect of that inward Quiet and Satisfaction, that Self-Approbation, and those glorious Hopes, which fill the Heart of the Obedient: For the Work of Righteousness is, what the Prophet foretells: it shall , Peace, and tbe Effect of Righteousness, Quietness and Asurance for ever (b).

They, who are conscious of having ferved Gọd acceptably, 'must enjoy that blissful Complacency of Soul which the World can neither give to, nor take from them. So long as their Reason justifies and their Conscience applauds, what they have done, how insignificant will be the Frowns of Men,

. how

(a) 1 Tim. iv 8,

(6) Isai. xxxii. 17.

[ocr errors]

RM

how light will the Storms of Adversity fall Serm. on them? Whom can' they fear, or what VII.. shall they dread, who have an Almighty Protector ? How can they want any thing, who dwell under the Patronage of the Giver of all Goodness, under the Eye and Favour of the most indulgent Lord ? When he provides for them at present, better than they can even desire, and will at last do for them infinitely more than they deserve. For the Gift of God is eternal Life (c), in which is included every thing that is glorious and blessed, and to which this most ravishing Sentence will introduce them, Well done, ye good and faithful Servants ---enter ye into the Joy of your Lord (d).

TOWARDS the obtaining whereof, let us now and always offer up our Petitions to our great Master in Heaven in these approved Terms of our Liturgy, Almighty and merciful God, of whose only Gift it cometh, that thy faithful People do unto thee true and laudable Service, grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this Life, thet we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly Promises, through the Merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

S2 SERMON (c) Rom. vi. 23. (d) St. Matth. xxv. 21,

« EelmineJätka »