Page images

Lastly, If we consider Christ as the

great Exemplar of human Life, his Ascension will upon that Account also be of great Use to us, teaching us with him to exalt our Affections, to withdraw them from the Earth, and to place thein in Heaven. This Inference the Apostle draweth from his Resurrection and Ascension, Colof. iii. 1. If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Christ died to the World, to instruct us that we ought to mortify our worldly Lusts, to restrain and subdue to Reason the use of carnal Pleasures. He left the World and ascended into Heaven, to teach us that there our Affections ought principallyto be fixed, there our chief Interest placed, and there only perfect Happiness to be expected. Could the pleasures, the Power, and the Prosperity of this World have given the most compleat Happiness; our Lord, who deserved it by the most complcat Obedience which was ever paid, who was more dear to God than all the Sons of Men, who was himself heir of all things, and Lord of all, would have fixed his abode here, and not removed it into Heaven. But when immediately after his Exaltation, as soon as he began to receive the Reward of his Obedience and Sufferings, he forsook the Earth, and returned into the Bofom of his Fazher, he hath thereby instructed us, that in vain is true Felicity to be fought here be

low; low;

that this World can afford no adequate Recompence for Virtue and Piety; that we are indeed but Strangers and Pilgrims upon the Earth; and that as many as pursue the End of their Creation, and study to be truly happy, ought to seek a better Country, even that into which Christ the forerunner is en. tred for us, that so where he is, there we may be also; receive the same Reward, and be crowned with the fame Happiness; that so as we have imitated his Ascension, we may share in his Glory. Which God of bis infinite Mercy grant.



Preach'd on the 13th of July, 1690.

at Lambeth Chapel.

Μ Α Τ Τ Η. V. 16.

Let your Light so shine before Men, that

they may see your good Works, and glorify your Father which is in Hea



HESE Words are Part of our Lord's

upon the Mount, which was directed to a mixed Multitude of Auditors, and treats altogether of universal Duties, incumbent upon all, who receive the Doctrine, and acknowledge the Authority of him who spoke it.

Upon which Account we have just Rea. son to reject the Opinion of those, who would restrain to the Apostles only, and their Successors, the Preachers of the Gofpel, the Duty prescribed in this and the three Vol. II.



foregoing Verses: Which requireth the Professors of Christianity, not to confine the Exercise of their Duty to their fingle Breasts, or rest satisfied in having discharged the Office of Piety in secret; but to perform such eminent Acts of Devotion, Temperance, and Charity, and so to direct them, as may promote the Glory of God and Instruction of Men.

The whole preceding Part of this Sermon was directed to all Christians in general, delivering the Promise of those Beatitudes, in which all the Disciples of Christ are equally concerned. What follows, treats concerning thegeneral Laws of Justice, Temperance, and Charity: So that with no good Reason can these intermediate Verses be restrained to the Apostles only. If they are here called the Salt of the Earth, Verse 13. our Lord addressed himself in the same Words to great mnltitudes, as we read, Luke xiy. 25. If they are stiled the Light of the world in the fourteenth Verse, St. Paul applieth the fame Expression to the Philippians, ii. 15. exhorting them to be without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse Genera. tion, Jhining among them as Lights in the World.

It must be acknowledged indeed, that the Apostles were, and their Successors in the ministerial Office ought to be, more eminently, the salt and light of the world, purging away the Corruptions, removing the Darkness of Mankind, by Example and Instruction, To effect this by their Doctrine, is peculiar to them, not common to other Christians; To promote it by their Example, is a Duty common to thein with all other Christians.

It is my present Purpose to treat of it as an universal Duty; to which my Text directs me, by placing the Light of this Exemplariness which is commanded, nor in verbal Instructions, but in good Works, which are acknowledged to be the Duty of all Christians. Of this then I will discourse under these Four Heads.

I. The Duty imposed, such an exemplary Conduct, as may become a Light of the World.

II. The Manner of being thus Exemplary. By good Works.

III. The End to which it ought to be directed. The Glory of God.

IV. The good Effects of it; the Instruction of Men, and Promotion of the fame good works in others,

1. Concerning the Duty, which is that of an illustrious Example, to the Practice of which our Lord hath directed us, both by his Laws, and by his own Example. He stiles himself, and truly was, the light of - the world; he was foretold under the Figure of the Sun of righteousness, who should en



« PreviousContinue »