Imágenes de páginas

2dly, The miracles which confirmed the apostle's Ist, How the Spirit is said to be in men, namely,

two ways allowable by Scripture, either, 1. Substan-
Lastly, That such tradition has greater reason for tially, as he filleth all things ; or, 2. By the effects
its belief, than can be suggested for its disbelief. he produces in them ; for the way pretended to by

Thence we ought to admire the commanding ex the Familists, namely, a personal indwelling in
cellency of faith, which can force its way through believers, is not to be proved either from reason or
the opposition of carnal reason, with an entire sub from Scripture.
mission to divine revelation.

2dly, How men are led by the Spirit, namely,
1. Outwardly, by his prescribing rules of actions in

the written word ; 2. Inwardly, by his illumination

of the judgment, and bending of the will; for the

way pretended to by enthusiasts, namely, his speak-
OBEDIENCE FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE, THE DUTY OF GOOD ing inwardly to them, is not allowable ; because,

(1.) Scripture is by the Spirit itself declared a rulo

both necessary and sufficient ; (2.) That inward
* Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for speaking is seldom alleged but for the patronage of
wrath, but also for conscience sake."-Rom. xiii. 5. such actions as cannot upon any other account be

warranted ; (3.) It is contrary to the experience of
In these words there is,

the generality of Christians ; (4.) It opens a door to
1st, A duty enjoined, namely, subjection, which all profaneness and licentiousness of living ; (5.) No
the believers of the church of Rome are commanded man can assure himself or others, that the Spirit
to pay Nero.

speaks inwardly to him ; neither from the quality of
2dly, The ground of this duty, “for conscience the things spoke, nor from reason, Scripture, or
sake,” in which we are to consider, 1. The absolute miracles. An examination of what the pretenders
unlawfulness of resistance, notwithstanding the doc to an immediate impulse of the Spirit plead from
trine of the sons both of Rome, and of Geneva, of the several Scripture examples,- as of Abraham, Jacob,
Scotch, and of the English puritans. An account the Egyptian midwives, Moses, Phinehas, the
how far human laws bind the conscience. 2. The

Israelites, Samson, Ehud, Jael, Elijah. Four obser-
scandal which resistance casts upon Christianity. vations relating to the examination of these examples.

3dly, What is meant by being “the sons of God;"

namely, by imitation.
SERMON LIV. - P. 474.

4thly, We may infer from the foregoing particu.

lars, 1. That pretenders to such an inward voice of
MAN'S INABILITY TO FIND OUT GOD'S JUDGMENTS. the Spirit, in opposition to God's written word, aro

not to be endured in the communion of a Christian
“ How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways church, as being the highest reproach to religion ;
past finding out !” — Rom. xi. 33.

nor, 2. To be tolerated in the state, as having a per'-

nicious influence upon society.
The methods of divine Providence, whereof King
Charles's return (the subject of this day's commemo-
ration) is an eminent instance, surpass all human

apprehension, and the most advanced wisdom
incompetent judge of the ways of God, with respect, THANKFULNESS FOR PAST MERCIES, THE WAY TO OBTAIN
Ist, To the reason or cause of them ; for men are

prone to assign such causes as are either false,
that the happy in this life are the proper objects of “ What could have been done more to my vineyard,
God's love ; the miserable, of his hatred ; and that that I have not done in it ?” -- Isaiali, v. 4.
prosperity always attends innocence ; and sufferings,
guilt, — or imperfect.

From these words, a parallel is drawn between
2dly, To the event, or issue of them ; for men the sins of the Jews and those of this nation, by con-
usually prognosticate the event of an action, accord-sidering in the text,
ing to the measure of the ability of second agents ; 1st, The manner of God's complaint, which runs
or from success formerly gained under the same, or in a pathetical interrogation, importing in it a sur-
less probable circumstances ; or according to the pre- prise grounded upon, 1. The strangeness ; and, 2
parations made for it, and the power employed in it. The unusual indignity of the thing.

Hence we may infer, 1. The folly of making suc 2dly, The complaint itself, wherein is included,
cess the rule of our actions ; 2. The necessity of 1. The person complaining, God himself ; 2. The
depending upon Providence ; 3. The impossibility of persons complained of, the Jews ; 3. The ground of
a rational dependence, but in the way of lawful the complaint, which appears by observing, (1.) How

God dealt with them, by committing his oracles to

them, by his miraculous mercies, and by his judg-
SERMONS LV. LVI. - P. 483.

ments for their correction ; (2.) How they dealt

with God by way of return; and they are charged
ENTHUSIASTS, NOT LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. with injustice and oppression, ver. 7, rapacity and

covetousness, ver. 8, luxury and sensuality, ver. 11,
« For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they 4. The issue of the complaint, ver. 5, 6, namely, tho
are the sons of God.” - Rom. viii. 14.

bereaving them of all their defences, – of their laws,

and military force, upon the failure of which will
It being clear, that the Spirit of God in some follow these evils, (1.) From within, a growth of all
degree leads and helps all men, it will be necessary, sects and factions ; (2.) From without, to be laid
in the prosecution of these words, to shew,-

waste by a foreign enemy.






opposing them resolutely whenever they did : which

two, namely, mouth and wisdom, being united, have

the greatest advantage. 2. The person promising,

namely, Christ. 3. The means by which that promiso

“ For where envying and strife is, there is confusion was performed, namely, The effusion of the Holy

and every evil work." — James, iii. 16.


In order to prove that of all sins there is none of

SERMON LX. – P. 522.

greater malignity and baseness than envy, it will be

necessary to shew,

Ist, What it is, and wherein its nature consists.

2dly, What are its causes, on the part. 1. Of the

“ To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for

person envying, namely, great malice and baseness of

nature, an unreasonable grasping ambition, an in-

an hour ; that the truth of the gospel might con-

ward sense of a man's own weakness, idleness ; 2. Of

tinue with you.” — Gal. ii. 5.
the person envied, namely, great natural parts and From the way of Saint Paul's dealing with the
abilities, the favour of princes and great persons, schismatics of his time, a pattern may be drawn,
wealth and prosperity, esteem and reputation. how to deal with our dissenters, namely, not to yield

3dly, What are its effects, “ confusion and every up the least lawful, received constitution of our

eril work,” 1. To the envious person himself ; 2. To church to their demands or pretences, though never

the person envied, namely, a busy prying into all his so urging and importunate. The prosecution of which

concerns, calumny or detraction, his utter ruin and assertion shall be managed by considering,


1st, The pretences alleged by dissenters against

4thly, What use and improvement may be made our church's ceremonies, -as, 1. The unlawfulnesg
of this subject, by learning, 1. The extreme vanity of of those ceremonies ; 2. Their inexpediency ; 3. Their
the best enjoyments of this world ; 2. The safety of smallness. Which three exceptions are confuted
the lowest, and the happiness of a middle condition; severally.
3. The necessity of depending upon Providence. 2dly, The consequences of yielding or giving them

up ; which will appear very dangerous, if we observe,

1. The temper and disposition of those men who

press for such a compliance ; 2. The effects of such

a compliance heretofore, and those which a compre-
hension is likely to produce for the future. A dis-

course upon toleration.
« For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all 3dly, The good and great influence of a strict

your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or adherence to the constitutions of our church, in pro-
resist." -- LUKE, xxi. 15.

curing the settlement of it, and preserving the purity

of the gospel amongst us, because it is the most
Our Saviour, before his death, in order to support sovereign means, 1. To preserve unity in the church;
the ministers of his church against what should befall 2. To beget in the church's enemies an opinion of the
them after it, leaves with them this promise, in the requisiteness of those usages ; 3. To possess them
words of which is implied,

with an awful esteem of the conscience of the gover.
1st, A prediction that the apostles should not fail nors of the church.
of adversaries, which wonld oppose them both in Lastly, a brief recapitulation made of all the fore-
word, by gainsaying, and in deed, by resisting. alleged reasons and arguments, why (according to

2dly, The promise itself, of such an assistance as Saint Paul's example and dealing with the Judaizing

should overcome all that opposition, very necessary Christians) we are by no means to give place in the

to remove the fears which he foresaw would be apt least to our dissenters.

to seize their spirits. In which promise we may

consider, 1. The thing promised, namely, a mouth, or SERMONS LXI. LXII. LXIII. – P. 534.

an ability of speaking with great perspicuity, sim-

plicity, zeal, and wisdom; or a prudence in action [The heads of these sermons will be found at

and behaviour, by opposing neither things nor per Bermon XXI., as they relate to the subject there

sons any farther than they stood in their way, and ! treated of.]






Though to prefix s9 great a name to so mean a piece, seems like enlarging the entrance of a house that affords no reception ; yet, since there is nothing can warrant the publication of it, but what can also command it, the work must think of no other patronage than the same that adorns and protects its author. Some, indeed, vouch great names, because they think they deserve; but I, because I need such ; and had I not more occasion than many others to see and converse with your lordship's candour and proneness to pardon, there is none had greater cause to dread your judgment; and thereby in some part I venture to commend my own. For all know, who know your lordship, that in a nobler respect than either that of government or patronage, you represent and head the best of universities; and have travelled over too many nations and authors to encourage any one that understands himself, to appear an author in your hands, who seldom read any books to inform yourself, but only to countenance and credit them. But, my lord, what is here published pretends no instruction, but only homage; while it teaches many of the world, it only describes your lordship, who have made the ways of labour and virtue, of doing, and doing good, your business and your recreation, your meat and your drink, and, I may add also, your sleep. My lord, the subject here treated of is of that nature, that it would seem but a chimera, and a bold paradox, did it not in the very front carry an instance to exemplify it ; and so, by the dedication, convince the world, that the discourse itself was not impracticable. For such ever was, and is, and will be, the temper of the generality of mankind, that, while I send men for pleasure to religion, I cannot but expect that they will look upon me as only having a mind to be pleasant with them myself ; nor are men to be worded into new tempers or constitutions : and he that thinks that any one can persuade but He that made the world, will find that he does not well understand it.

My lord, I have obeyed your command, for such must I account your desire ; and thereby design, not so much the publicat on of my sermon, as of my obedience : for next to the supreme pleasure described in the ensuing discourse, I enjoy none greater, than in having any opportunity to declare myself your lordship's very humble servant, and obliged chaplain,


is; for pleasure in general is the consequent "Her ways are ways of pleasantness." - Prov. ii. 17. apprehension of a suitable object, suitably

applied to a rightly disposed faculty; and so The text relating to something going before, must be conversant both about the faculties of must carry our eye back to the thirteenth the body and of the soul respectively; as being verse, where we shall find, that the thing, of the result of the fruitions belonging to both. which these words are affirmed, is wisdom: a Now amongst those many arguments used name by which the Spirit of God was here to press upon men the exercise of religion, I pleased to express to us religion, and thereby know none that are like to be so successful, to tell the world, what before it was not aware as those that answer and remove the prejudices of, and perhaps will not yet believe, that those that generally possess and bar up the hearts two great things that so engross the desires of men against it: amongst which, there is and designs of both the nobler and ignobler none so prevalent in truth, though so little sort of mankind, are to be found in religion; owned in pretence, as that it is an enemy to namely, wisdom and pleasure ; and that the men's pleasures, that it bereaves them of all former is the direct way to the latter, as reli- the sweets of converse, dooms them to an gion is to both.

absurd and perpetual melancholy, designing That pleasure is man's chiefest good, to make the world nothing else but a great (because indeed it is the perception of good monastery, With which notion of religion, that is properly pleasure,) is an assertion most nature and reason seem to have great cause certainly true, though, under the common ac to be dissatisfied. For since God never created ceptance of it, not only false, but odious : for any faculty, either in soul or body, but withal according to this, pleasure and sensuality pass prepared for it a suitable object, and that in for terms equivalent; and therefore he that order to its gratification; can we think that takes it in this sense, alters the subject of the religion was designed only for a contradiction discourse. Sensuality is indeed a part, or to nature ? and, with the greatest and mos' rather one kind of pleasure, such an one as it irrational tyranny in the world, to tantalize



and tie men up from enjoyment, in the midst 1. That pleasure is, in the nature of it, a of all the opportunities of enjoyment? To relative thing, and so imports a peculiar relaplace men with the furious affections of hunger tion and correspondence to the state and conand thirst in the very bosom of plenty; and dition of the person to whom it is a pleasure. then to tell them, that the envy of Providence For as those who discourse of atoms, affirm, has sealed up every thing that is suitable that there are atoms of all forms, some round, under the character of unlawful ? For, cer some triangular, some square, and the like; tainly, first to frame appetites fit to receive all which are continually in motion, and pleasure, and then to interdict them with a never settle till they fall into a fit circumscrip“ Touch not, taste not,” can be nothing else, tion or place of the same figure : so there are than only to give them occasion to devour and the like great diversities of minds and objects. prey upon themselves; and so to keep men Whence it is, that this object striking upon a under the perpetual torment of an unsatisfied mind thus or thus disposed, flies off, and redesire : a thing hugely contrary to the natural bounds without making any impression ; but felicity of the creature, and, consequently, to the same luckily happening upon another, of the

wisdom and goodness of the great Creator. a disposition as it were framed for it, is

He, therefore, that would persuade men to presently catched at, and greedily clasped into religion, both with art and efficacy, must the nearest unions and embraces. found the persuasion of it upon this, that it 2. The other thing to be considered is this: interferes not with any rational pleasure, that that the estate of all men by nature is more it bids nobody quit the enjoyment of any one or less different from that estate, into which thing that his reason can prove to him ought the same persons do or may pass, by the to be enjoyed. It is confessed, when, through exercise of that which the philosophers called the cross circumstances of a man's temper or virtue, and into which men are much more condition, the enjoyment of a pleasure would effectually and sublimely translated by that certainly expose him to a greater inconve which we call grace; that is, by the supernience, then religion bids him quit it; that is, natural, overpowering operation of God's it bids him prefer the endurance of a lesser Spirit. The difference of which two estates evil before a greater, and nature itself does no consists in this ; that in the former, the sensiless. Religion therefore intrenches upon none tive appetites rule and domineer ; in the latter, of our privileges, invades none of our plea- the supreme faculty of the soul, called reason, sures; it may indeed sometimes command us

sways the sceptre, and acts the whole man to change, but never totally to abjure them. above the irregular demands of appetite and

But it is easily foreseen, that this discourse affection. will in the very beginning of it be encountered That the distinction between these two is by an argument from experience, and therefore not a mere figment, framed only to serve an not more obvious than strong; namely, that hypothesis in divinity; and that there is it cannot but be the greatest trouble in the no man but is really under one, before he is world for a man thus (as it were) even to shake under the other, I shall prove, by shewing off himself, and to defy his nature, by a per a reason why it is so, or rather, indeed, why petual thwarting of his innate appetites and it cannot but be so. And it is this : because desires ; which yet is absolutely necessary to every man in the beginning of his life, for a severe and impartial prosecution of a course several years, is capable only of exercising his of piety: nay, and we have this asserted also sensitive faculties and desires, the use of reason by the verdict of Christ himself, who still not shewing itself till about the seventh year makes the disciplines of self-denial and the of his age; and then at length but (as it were) cross, those terrible blows to flesh and blood, dawning in very imperfect essays and disthe indispensable requisites to the being of his coveries. Now, it being most undeniably disciples. All which being so, would not he evident, that every faculty and power grows that should be so hardy as to attempt to per- stronger and stronger by exercise ; is it any suade men to piety from the pleasures of it, be wonder at all, when a man, for the space of liable to that invective taunt from all man his first six years, and those the years of kind, that the Israelites gave to Moses; “Wilt ductility and impression, has been wholly thou put out the eyes of this people ?”Wilt ruled by the propensions of sense, at that age thou persuade us out of our first notions? Wilt very eager and impetuous; that then, after all, thou demonstrate, that there is any delight in his reason beginning to exert and put forth a cross, any comfort in violent abridgments, itself, finds the man prepossessed, and under and, which is the greatest paradox of all, that another power? So that it has much ado, by the highest pleasure is to abstain from it? many little steps and gradual conquests, to

For answer to which, it must be confessed, recover its prerogative from the usurpations of that all arguments whatsoever against expe- appetite, and so to subject the whole man to rience are fallacious; and, therefore, in order to its dict es; the difficulty of which is not the clearing of the assertion laid down, I shall conquered by some men all their days. And premise these two considerations,

this is one true ground of the difference

« AnteriorContinuar »