Page images

“ discipline; and his discipline was to pass “ upon a sinning person, or had a design of “ charity, his duty met with infirmities of « à man, and anger was its instrument, and “the instrument became stronger than the “prime agent, and raised a tempest; and 6 overruled the man;" and then his prayer twas broken, and his thoughts were troubled, « and his words went up towards a cloud, si and his thoughts pulled them back again, $! and made them without intention; and the « good man sighs for his infirmity, but must

be content to lose the prayer, and he must “ recover it when his anger is removed, and “ his spirit is becalmed, made even as the “ brow. of Jesus, and smooth like the heart “ of God; and then it ascends to heaven upon $ the wings of the holy dove, and dwells with 5 God, till it returns like the useful bee, so-loadeni with a blessing and the dew of * heaven:"

: ..:::::

The seventh sermon in this collection is sof « Godly Fear,” in which he grounds his considerations on part of the twenty-eighth and

Second Serm. on the Return of Prayers, p. 33. edit. 1678 . .

twenty-ninth verses of the twelfth chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Hebrews. Having entered thoroughly into the meaning of this passage, and the words “ godly fear," he proa ceeds to shew, that it is always without despair, accompanied by an opinion honourable to God, and is operative, diligent, and instrumental to cautious and good conduct. Then he conșiders the characters and situations of men, in which fear ought to operate, and passes on to canvass the excess of fear as it degenerates into superstition. ;. j . .. 572

“ Fear is the great bridle: of intemperance, “ the modesty of the spirit, and the restraint

of gaieties and dissolutions, it is the girdle “ to the soul, and the handmaid, to repent " ance, the arrest of sin, and the cuvejor

antidote to the spirit of reprobationg it “preserves our apprehensions of the divine

majesty, and hinders our single actions from “ combining to sinful babits; it is the mother of “ consideration, and the nurse of sober coun. “sels, and iti puts the soul to fermentation

and activity, making it to pass from treme “ bling to caution, from caution to careful“ ness, from carefulness to watchfulness, « from thence to prudence; and by the gates " and progresses of repentance, it leads the " soul on to love and to felicity, and to joys “ in God, that shall never cease again. Fear “is the guard of a man in the days of pro« sperity, and it stands upon the watch-towers, « and spies the approaching danger, and gives “ warning to them that laugh loud, and feast « in the chambers of rejoicing, where a man “ cannot consider, by reason of the noises of “ wine, and jest, and musick ; and if pru. “ dence takes it by the hand and leads it on " to duty, it is a state of grace, and an uni. “ versal instrument to infant religion, and the "only security of the less perfect persons ; “ and in all senses is that homage we owe to “ God, who sends often to demand it, even " then when he speaks in thunder, or smites “ by a plague, or awakens us by threatenings, " or discomposes our easiness by sad thoughts, “and tender eyes, and fearful hearts, and << trembling considerations."'i ?oj bolno The L

owes wailog ** [With what a masterly hand does he de lineate Pusillanimity. The illusions of a ..


P otens ,
t Sermon on Godly Fear, part 3, p.61.**

[ocr errors]


" weak piety, or an unskilful, confident soul, “ fancy to see mountains of difficulty ; but “ touch them and they seem like clouds “ riding upon the wings of the wind, and put “ on shapes as we please to dream. He that “ denies to give alms for fear of being poor, “ or to entertain a disciple for fear of being “ suspected of the party, or to own a duty for “ fear of being put to venture for a crown; “ he that takes part of the intemperance “ because he dares not displease the company, “ or in any sense fears the fears of the world, « and not the fear of God, this man enters “ into his portion of fear betimes, but it will

“not be finished to eternal ages. To fear the .“ censures of men, when God is your judge ;

“ to fear their evil, when God is your de “ fence; to fear death, when he is the “ entrance to life and felicity, is unreson“ able and pernicious; but if you will turn “ your passion into duty, and joy, and se“ curity, fear to offend God, to enter volun. “ tarily into temptation, fear the alluring face " of lust, and the smooth entertainments of « intemperance, fear the anger of God, when * you have deserved it; and when you have “ recovered from the snare, then infinitely fear “ to return into that condition, in which who

“soever dwells is the heir of fear and eternal “ sorrow.”* lo nietos, 592 ott

[ocr errors]

The tenth and eleventh sermons embrace the subject of the two contending principles in human nature, the body and the spirit. Having ascertained the meaning of these terms, as they are expressed in the forty-first verse of the twenty-sixth chapter of St. Matthew's gospel, on which he builds his discourse; he divides his matter into four heads, concerning the infirmities of our nature; its weakness in the introduction of a state of grace, its daily pretensions and temptations, its excuses and diminution of duty; what remedy there is in the spirit to cure the evils of nature ; and how far the weakness of $he flesh can consist with the spirit of grace in established Christians.

Iliev toy ti jud nooit .." Our natural weakness appears best in “ two things, even in the two great instances “ of temptation, pleasure, and pain; in both “ which the flesh is destroyed if it be not “ helped by a mighty grace, as certainly as “the canes do bow their heads before the “ breath of a mighty wind. mon boiser oriwr i Sermon of Godly Fear, part 3. p.65.9% of

« PreviousContinue »