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the Words of the prophane King of Israel; Serm. What Jould I wait for the Lord any X. longer (b)? Though disposed to be vigorous and active enough to prosecute an ungodly Cáuse, they are quickly tired in their Christian Race, nor can they be prevailed on to finish it, even for a Crown of Glory. This Weariness are they subject to in the Point of doing well, and how much more in the Point of suffering Evil ?
And that we have much more Reason to fear and to be doubtful of our own Strength, than to be high minded, and confident we have too many Instances, besides, probably, our own Experience to convince us.
If we look back into Antiquity, we shall find the great Abraham himself fo remarkable for his strong Faith and steady Obedience, to be ranked in the Number of those who have not in all Cafes stood their Ground: For though he could most wonderfully signalize himself by his neither staggering at his Promise of having a Son, through Unbelief, made to him at an Age, which rendered it highly improbable that he should beget one, and impossible that his
(5) 2 Kings vi. 33.
Serm. Wife should conceive one, humanly speakIX. ing and according to the Course of Nature,
nor stumbling at the trying Command of sacrificing that Son, through Disobedience, yet this Father of the Faithful coming among Strangers, upon some Apprehensions that his Life might be in Danger, should he openly acknowledge Sarah to be what in Reality she was, not only his Kinswoman, but his Wife, his Heart failed him, and he dissembled first with Pharoah, and afterwards with Abimeleck.
But obfervable above all is the Behaviour of pious Job, celebrated to a Proverb for his Patience; he, we find grew weary of his Constancy, nor could he prevail on himself to wait God's Time for Relief without this perverse repining. O that I might have my Request, and that God would grant me the Thing that I long for, even that it would please God to destroy me. And again, What is my Strength that I pould hope? And, Ob! that one would bear me, behold, my Desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that my Adversary had written a Book.
SERM. Nor can we well overlook the faint-heart- X. edness of the blessed Apostles in shamefully deserting their dear Lord and Saviour at the critical Season of his being apprehended, they had very zealously engaged to stand by him at all Events, and rather to die with him than deny him, and yet, when they were put to the Trial, they every one forsook him and fled to secure their Lives, and Thewed not the least Regard for his.
Now all these Things were written for our Admonition, and afford us this instructive Lesson, that he who thinketh he standeth, should take Heed left he fall (h). If Persons of the most exemplary Characters have found the Flesh to be weak tho' the Spirit was willing, and whilst they approved what was Good, have experienced Evil to be prea sent with them, in how much more Dan. ger must we be of Aying off from the Bent of Virtue, and growing weary of welldoing? We are taught from these Scripture Instances of Back-liding, the vicious Byass of our Nature, not to discourage, but to animate us, to keep us alert and vigilant in our Station, and if by our Indolence and
(h) 1 Cor. x. 12.
Serm. Sloth we decline from our Stedfastness, and
to justify our Faults by the Faults of others,
As often as we perceive an incoherent Mixture of Virtue and Vice in our Lives, our own Hearts cannot but upbraid us.. Dissatisfaction must be the present Fruits of being religious“ only by Fits and Starts, where Humour or Interest, and not Conscience is the ruling Principle. To have been innocent is a sharp Sting of Guilt, and the Reflection on our past Piety, Temperance and Charity is only then uncom'fortable, when we find ourselves to be in a contrary Disposition. :-*
If we did run well, what should induce us to give over ? Is the Difficulty greater to go on" than to make our Progress so far? Or were we formerly mistaken in our Opinion of the Worth and Importance of Things ?
Are our Souls less valuable now than here- SERM. tofore ? Or in less danger of Sin when we X. indulge it, than when we avoided it ? Is the Nature and Tendency of Good and Evil changed? Or do we even think them fo? If we cannot answer any of these Questions in a Way satisfactory to our Minds, how must we be disquieted, as often as we coolly consider them, and at the same time consider, that the right Answers bear exceeding hard upon us.
NEITHER is this the worst Consequence which flows from our Weariness in welldoing, as it cannot please us, so will not God take Pleasure in it. He expects that we maintain our Ground, at all Times and on all Occasions, and move on in a con: sistent uniform Obedience. What he has made our Duty at first, the same or greater Degrees of it remain our Duty at last, we must end as we have begun, and not fancy that a Life, in part only well spent, will intitle us to Acceptance, or that we shall continue in his Love unless we are constant in doing his Commandments.
But those are got into a Strain of profane Jesting, who talk of balancing Accounts Z2