Page images


To effect these salutary measures serm. there are different claims upon all orders and relations of mankind : on the Parent or Guardian, that he train up his Children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and that he keep them from the haunts and habits of vice with patient and unremitting care: on the Magistrate or Governor, that he discountenance and discourage vice with all the weight of his authority, and that he labour to maintain all the decencies of piety and morality: above all on the Minister or Teacher of the gospel, that he keep religion alive in the heart, and that he reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine ; that both he and the people committed to his care may be prepared for the appearing and the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ'. Even every private man, as connected with his neighbours in the bonds of Christian love, has a certain obligation upon him, to offer up his prayers for the conversion and forgiveness of the wicked, and to elideavour the same salutary purpose by the tenour of his life and contersation.

* 2 Tim. iv, 1, 2.




Such conciliating measures are much more agreeable to the economy of divine Providence in the operations of nature, as also more in unison with the spirit of the gospel, than measures of violence and persecution. Thus if we cannot eradicate, we may in some degree suppress the tares of evil, which are so common in the field of the Lord: and if we cannot exclude the wicked from the society of the righteous, we may possibly be enabled by the assisting grace of God to effect a greater and a better work, in reclaiming the wicked into the number of the righteous. By such a conduct we shall best concur with the wise and benevolent designs of the spiritual Sower in suffering the tares to be mingled with the wheat. And thus in obedience to the great Christian law we may contribute to avert the wrath of God from others, at the same time that we advance ourselves in his favour and acceptance. For surely no service can be more acceptable to God, than what is at the same time so beneficial to men. Nor can we more effectually conform ourselves to the example of our Lord, than by our labours in promoting the salva

[ocr errors]

tion of those, for whom he offered up SERM. his life a sacrifice for sin. To this work of love we are encouraged by a powerful motive: the fuller service we render unto God upon earth, the higher recompence we shall receive in heaven; and the nearer resemblance we bear to the example of Christ in this intermingled state of good and bad, the nearer shall we approach him among the Saints in light.




MATT. XIII. 31, 32.
Another Parable put he forth unto them,

saying; The Kingdom of Heaven is like
to a Grain of Mustard Seed, which a
Man took and sowed in his Field; which
indeed is the least of all Seeds; but when
it is grown, it is the greatest among
herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the
birds of the air come and lodge in the

branches thereof. THIS

HIS Parable is one of that series, SERM.

which our Lord delivered from a ship on the coast of the sea of Galilee. In the multitude of Hearers, who were then ranged before him on the shore, he might probably contemplate the beginning of that Church which he was come to establish. This might lead him to give some prophetic intimation


« EelmineJätka »