Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

is what Zophar intends to shew us; when speaking of the wicked, he saith, “ His meat in his bowels is turned ; it is the gall of asps within him; he hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again ; God shall cast them out of his belly,” Job xx.

37. It is otherwise with them who apply their hearts to the fear and service of God, and that find his yoke easy and his burthen light, Matt. xi. They take great satisfaction in the ways of righteousness; they run with an holy freedom to their happy end, and to the prize of their spiritual calling. The more they drink of the waters of Siloah, the more they thirst; their zeal is like an holy fire, that never saith, “ It is enough,” Prov. x. As the prophet Moses, after he had been forty days and forty nights conversing with God in his holy mountain, came down with a glorious countenance, shining as bright as the light, with two tables of the law in his hands; likewise a Christian soul, that hath been lifted up to God by : fervent prayer, and been conversing with him in divine meditation, cannot hide its spiritual joys, and its unspeakable delights; it burns with an earnest desire of glorifying God, and of pleasing him in all things. When the apostle St. Peter saw our Saviour transfigured upon mount Tabor, he was ravished and transported in such a manner, that he cried out,“ Lord, it is good for us to dwell here; let us make three tabernacles.” Thus the good Christian, who is enlightened from above, is never weary in the company of God; if he should live several ages, he would not believe that he had too much time to serve his Creator, to worship his divine Majesty, and to refresh himself with the unspeakable pleasures of his presence. As the time of Jacob's service seemed to him but a few days, because of the love that he had to Rachel; thus the days that we spend in the service of God seem to be but a few hours or moments, in case our love for God be earnest and sincere,

38. Represent

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

38. Represent to yourselves the fearful curse denounced against the wicked and profane, Gen. xxix. They carry about them every where the marks of God's anger and just revenge ; they are the objects of his hatred, and odious to the public. They who flatter and fawn upon them most for their own advantage, abominate and curse them in their hearts; and they who, out of a servile fear, seem to honour and worship them in the light of the sun, would be many times very joyful to dance upon their graves, and to erect a gallows to hang them thereon.

39. It is not so with good men ; they are honoured by God and man, and their greatest enemies admire their virtues. Let us be never so poor and contemptible in the world, we are rich and noble enough, if we fear God as we ought, and obey his holy will; for the fear of the Lord is our chief treasure, it is our crown, our diadem, and our greatest ornament.

40. The wicked man is frighted and troubled of his own accord; he trembles in the midst of his guards, and flies when

m an pursues : all things scare him ; he is jealous, and disusts his best friends ; his children are suspected ; and in Me embraces of his dearest wife, he slumbers with on unquiet

spirit,

God is free God, that hath banishes a Sion, that is fismlyn

$1. It is otherwise with a good man; he marcheth every ere with an head lifted up, and his heart rejoiceth in a per& tranquillity of mind; for there is no bulwark like that of ood conscience : it is like a wall of brass, that divides and

Stands the batteries of times and seasons. He that fears

is free from all other fears, Psa. cxxv. The finger of 2, t hat hath settled in his soul the dread of his holy name, Shes all other apprehensions, Psa.cxii. He is like mount > that cannot be moved : he fears no ill report ; his soul m ly fixed upon God; in the midst of his greatest dan

gers,

unt

gers, and violent storms, he saith with David, “ The Lord is my light and my deliverance; of whom should I be afraid ? the Lord is the strength of my life; whom then shall I fear? O God, thou art a buckler round about me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. I have laid myself down, I have slept, and I have awaked; for the Lord upholds me. I will not fear thousands of people, when they shall set themselves round about against me; when a whole army shall encamp against me, my heart would never fear,” Psa. xvii.

42. Let the wicked be never so great and honourable, and be never so highly advanced in the world, their fame shall perish eternally. It is to no purpose that they rear up stately trophies, and fill whole volumes with the remarkable passages of their lives, making the marbles to publish their praises for whatsoever they do, and to render their glory eternal; their name shall be always abominable to God, and all his holy angels; and mankind shall never remember it but with curses and detestation. These infamous persons are like a stinking lamp, that gives light for a time; but when it is put oui, it yields a most odious stink. They may be also compared to certain devils, that never go out of a place without leaving an ill scent behind them.

43. It is not so with good men ; their fame shall flourish for ever; and, like the palm, the more men press it down, the more it rises. Their name is engraven in the highest heaven, in the glarious temple of eternity, and it shall always be blessed by God and the angels of his glory. The example of Christian virtues shall remain after them for a model to their posterity to imitate. A faithful Christian, whose soul is sanctified by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, is like the alabaster box of ointment, which, wlien it was broken and spilt upon our Saviour's head, was a precious liquor that perfumed all the room ; for such an one lives after his death. When his

body

[ocr errors]

body is broken and reduced to ashes, his good name spreads
abroad to the glory of God, and the edification of his church.
Mary Magdalen's perfume filled only the chamber where
they were sitting, and was soon spent; but the sweet perfume
of an innocent and holy life, fills both heaven and earth with
á grateful scent, and continues for ever and ever.

44. I judge that another powerful means to withdraw us from vice, and to induce us to virtue, is, to represent to ourselves, at every moment, the excellency and dignity of our calling; to take delight in beholding, with the spiritual eyes, the white stone where our new name is written, which none knows but he who receives it. It is the noble and high quality of the children of God, and of believers, which he bestows upon none, but upon such whom he hath elected from all eternity, for the eternal enjoyment of bliss in his glorious kingdom. It is reported of a certain young prince, that when he had a design to disgrace himself by lustful actions and debauchery, a wise philosopher reclaimed him from his wicked purpose, by telling him, “Remember that thou art a king's son.” Thus you, Christian souls, when Satan, the flesh, and the world, shall tempt you to filthy and unjust actions, or to any other sin, call to your mind that you are the children of the King of kings. Take great heed you defile not such a precious crown; and as our Saviour said to him who should have followed him, but was desirous first to go and bury his father, “Suffer the dead to bury the dead;" likewise we say unto you, devout souls, who have freely consecrated yourselves unto God, to his service and worship, Cast away these vain and base actions, and all these dead works; leave them to such as are dead in their trespasses and sins. But for you, behave yourselves according to your celestial calling, apply yourselves to righteousness and holiness, and to the practice of all other virtues, as such who were dead, but now are risen to life.

45. We

[ocr errors]

45. We must continually meditate upon the holiness and purity of our future abode in heaven, and the expectation that we have there, Rom. vi. For as Jesus Christ is gone to prepare a place for us in the house of his heavenly Father, John xiv. it is but just and reasonable that we should fit and prepare our souls for such holy and glorious mansions, Rev. xxi. It is not possible to go to heaven by treading in the paths of hell. Nothing impure nor filthy shall enter into the holy city, the new Jerusalem. As in Solomon's temple there was no way to the holy of holies, but through the sanctuary; thus, if we will one day enter into the heavenly sanctuary where Christ doth dwell, the true ark of the covenant, and the mercy-seat, Eph. ii. it is absolutely necessary that we should tread in the path of good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them, Tit. ii. It is upon this consideration that St. Paul grounds the exhortation to piety and Christian virtues; “ The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to allmen, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glori. ous appearing of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Seeing that we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filth of the flesh and spirit, finishing our sanctification in the fear of God," 1 Cor. vii. St. John makes use of the same reason, to persuade to holiness, “ Beloved, we are now the children of God; but what we shall be doth not yet appear: now we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is; and whosoever hath this hope in him, let him purify himself as he is pure,” I John ii. The apostle St. Peter employs the same consideration to kindle in our hearts this pure and celestial fire: “ We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore,

« AnteriorContinuar »