Page images

Age hath rendered it very unfashionable ; and made it look like a Piece of Singularity. But if it was reviv'd amongst us ; if, as we have a fitting Occasion, we would be talking of the Things of God; communicating to one another the State of our Souls ; our Fears and Hopes ; our Improvements and Defects: If we would comfort and support one another, it is plain how much this would minister to our Edification in Faith and Love, to the Growth and Improvement of our Repentance. 5. Fifthly, And I will add no more.

The frequent Participation of the holy Eucharist in the Lord's Supper would exceedingly cherish and perfect our Repentance. There is nothing in that holy Administration, which does not apparently crontribute thereto. Wise, and Impartial, and searching Reflections does the antecedent Preparation put the worthy Communicant upon? What an unfeigned Humility; what a profound Awe of the Divine Majesty ; what an ardent Love of Jesus Christ does the Contemplation of the whole Mystery infuse and enkindle in the Soul? What firmness and resolution do we derive from fresh Vows, and repeated Engagements; and these offered

up in the fight of God, and his holy Angels; in the Presence and Company of the Congregation of Saints? How much, finally is the Habit of Holinefs improved by that Spiritual Delight we take in each other's Devotions ; by that Zeal, Vigilance, and Circumfpection, we there all oblige our felves to, in

How many


the future Courfe of our Lives: When with Hands and Eţes, and Heatts lift up to God, te beg of him, for the Sake of bis Son Jesus Cbrift, that be would forgive us all that is paft and grant that we may ever bereafter ferve and please bim, in newitess of Life. Can any

Ordinance of our Religion oblige us to a more folenn Exercise of our Repentance to wards God and Faith in our Lord Jesus Chrift, and brotherly Love and Charity, and the Hope of Immortality' and Glody? In a Word, here we prepare to meet God, as if we were going to die, and from thence to be called to Judgment.

And thus I have endeavoured to explain unto you, how, and by what means, a fincere * Chriftian may attain to fuch'a Repentance as is perfed.and acceptable in the Sight of God. I ann abundantly fatisfy'd that the Rules laid down are not only True, but very Praxicable; and indeed so should all Advices of this Nature be; otherwise they do bút amuse and perples, where they ought to instruct and convince.

And would Men seriously, and without referve, refolve upon Repentance; and in order thereunto, try, and put in practice these Rules and Directions - I should not at all doubt but they would find the Comfort of them in their Lives, in their Deaths, and in that great Day when God shall judge the Works of Men by Jesus Christ.

There is one Head more behind, which I must leave to a further Opportunity.

S E R.


The Misery entailed upon

Posterity, from Injustice,
Oppression, and Cruelty.

[merged small][ocr errors]

But in his Son's Days will I bring

the Evil upon his House.

[ocr errors]

Aving spoken to the foregoing Words of
this Verle in a former Discourse


and therein considered. I. The readiness of God to take notice of and suspend his Judgments upon.

Men's present Humiliation of themselves before hiin. "Il. The Insufficiency of a partial and imperfect Humiliation, which though it may mitigate or suspend, yet it does not finally remove the Punishment: And both these


from the Case and Circumstances of Abab's Humiliation in this Chapter. Now from the Consideration of the Kind and Degree of his Hamillation before God that of his Sin, which was the Third general Head of Discourse laid down from the Words. viz. III. The particular Guilt of Injustice, Oppression, and Cruelty. These have an Hereditary Stain and Pollution in them; they des fcend downward, and entail a Curfe upon Poa sterity. But in his Sons Days will I bring the Evil upon his House. In speaking to which Head, 'I will do these Things. 1. I will thew the particular and neceffary Opposition which thefe Sins have to tlic

Nature of God, and the Spirit of Piety. 2. The fingular and reinárkable Punishment

which God hath threatened, and frequent

ly inflicts upon them in this World. 3. The terrible Sentence and Doom they

will receive from God in the other World.

[ocr errors]

i. Let us consider the particular and necefsary Opposition which these Sins of Injustice, Oppression, and Cruelty, have to the Nature of God, and the Spirit of Piety. For they apparently spring from the Principles of Infidelity and Prophaneness; from the Distrust of God and his Providence. They are his most dangerous Rivals and Competitors ; they insensibly


[ocr errors]

steal the Hearts of Men from him


and be. tray them, if not into formal, yet (as the Schoolmen distinguish) into material Idolatry.

Hence it is, that such Men are described in Scripture, as making Gold their Hopez, and Job. 31:24. Saying to the fine Gold, thou art my Confidence: As falling down, and worshipping and praying unto it. Saying, deliver me, for thou art my God. And our Saviour tells us, That we can- Mat. 6.24. not serve God and Mammon.

And St. Paul, : That Covetousness is Idolatry; And again, Col. 3.5. ¿ Charge them that are Rich in this World, that i Tim. 6.

they trust not in uncertain Riches, but in the '7. living God: Where the Antithesis or Oppofition plainly implies how ready and apt such Men are to place their Confidence, and to ascribe a secret kind of Omnipotency to them.

And the Truth is, such Men are therefore incapable of the Instructions of Religion, and of being truly Pious; because their Heart is possessed with a vain Devotion towards fomething besides God; their Affections are placed upon an Idol of Clay, upon a Heap of wellcomplexioned Earth curiously wrought by the Hand of the Artificer; here is the Man's Heart, and here is his Soul; for this he labours and toils in, or all the Day ; upon this he mufes and projects in the Night : For says the wife Man, The abundance of the Rich will Eccler: s: not suffer him to sleep. The Promises of God 12. have no Efficacy upon his Faith, nor his Commands any Force or Awe upon his Conscience :



« PreviousContinue »