« AnteriorContinuar »
SERM.every one, away from our Iniquities ; II. that is, by rooting out all evil Customs
and Habits, and by furnishing our Souls with the Gifts and Graces of his Holy Spirit, to give us the Earnest of future Happiness, and to enable us to taste and relish those Joys, which we shall partake of to all Eternity hereafter. For our Souls must be swept and garnished, before they can become a fit Temple for the Holy Ghost to dwell in; our Glory hereafter, must be begun in Grace here, and, the more fruitful we are, and, the more we abound in every good Work, the greater will our Reward be in Heaven. And therefore, it is not only the Duty, but the Interest of every sincere Christian, to covet earnestly the best Gifts, and to improve to the uttermöft those few Moments of Time, which God has given us in this World, to fit and prepare ourselves for Eternity; that so we may shine like Stars of the first Magnitude, and receive a more exceeding: Weight of Glory.
5. and Lastly, Let us consider, that, if we do not grow in Grace, and improve in virtuous Living, we shall lie under the greater Condemnation; if we do not make Use of those Opportunities of Grace which God has put into our Hands, and employ
those Talents which are committed to Serm. our Trust, our Condition, at the Last Day, II. will be far more intolerable than that of m e the Inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrab : For, at that great and terrible Day, there will Inquisition be made, not only for our Abufe of thofe Mercies God has bestowed upon us; but also for our Unfruitfulness under them, that we have not managed those Tallents we have received as we ought to have done, nor improved them to the best Advantage. And though we shall not be so blameable for our Sloth and Negligence, as for our Wickedness and Riot, yet it will be equally fatal to us to hide our Talents in a Napkin, as to be unjust Stewards of what is committed to our Trust; feeing, therefore, there is a Price put into our Hands, let us not be so stupid and foolish, as to neglect and undervalue it, but let us employ every Moment of our Time, and take hold of every Opportunity, and make Use of all those Means which God has appointed for our Growth and Improvement in godly Living; which is the
III. GENERAL proposed; and they are such as these :
1. Let us endeavour to obtain a meek and humble Frame of Spirit. A Mind,
SERM. justly sensible of its own Wants and Exis
II. gencies, is the fittest Receptacle for God's w Holy Spirit : For that great and glorious
Being, who inhabits Eternity, who dwells in the high and boly Place, yet doth not
disdain to take up his Abode with him Ifa. lvii. who is of a contrite and humble Spirit ; 15. and he has declared, that a contrite Heart Pl.li. 17. he will not despise. He takes Delight in
bringing down the Proud, but giveth, Grace to the Humble. A Man that is swollen up with the Conceit of his own Excellencies and Perfections, that, with the proud Pharisee, fancies himself to be better than other Men, has no Room for. the Divine Shechinah; whereas the humble Petitions of the devout Publicanfound Favour and Acceptance with God. If, therefore, you are desirous of growing in Grace, let your first Care be, to take a true Value and Estimation of yourself, which is the proper and genuine Notion of Humility. Consider your own Wants and Imperfections, whát Weaknesses you are guilty of, what Graces you want, and how much you stand in Need of the Divine Assistance, which will both engage the Help and Blessing of the Almighty, and enable you to comply with and receive it.
prepare us for the Re
2. Give a constant Attendance to the SERM, Offices of Religion, whether public or II. private. For these are the Means which med God has appointed to convey his Graće into the Souls of Men ; God who made us, and therefore knows our Frame and all the Springs and Principles of Motion which actuate our Souls, has appointed these holy Ordinances for this very Use; that is, to fit and ception of his Grace, and to furnish' us with fpiritual Strength. For there is a wonderful Efficacy which goes along with the Duties of Religion; so that it is morally impofsible for a Man, who attends them constantly, and performs them confcientiously, to be habitually wicked : The Spirit of the Lord moves upon these Waters of the Sanctuary, and makes them fruitful and prolific, and, after so wonderful a Manner, blesses them, that though the Words which you hear, and we preach, are the Words of a poor frail Man, yet they are also the Message and Gospel of the great God of Heaven and Earth, the Judge of us all ; and, whoever gives Ear to it, and treasures it up in his Heart, he shall not depart without a Blessing.
3. Look frequently into the State and Condition of your Soul ; set a-part some
Serm. Time every Day, every Week, every
II. Year, to call yourself to Account, and W to consider what Advances you have
made in the Ways of Religion and Holiness? What Sins you have been guilty of? Whether you grow better and better, or worse and worse? Consider that the Concerns of your Soul are your truest Interest, and of the nearest Importance to you; aud that your eternal Happiness depends on the right Management of them; and, therefore, let the Knowledge of yourself be your first Care, and what you ought to be most sollicitous about ; and, I am persuaded, were but these three plain and easy Rules carefully and conscientiously practised, they would have a wonderful Influence upon Men's Lives and Conversations ; to which I shall add,
4. That we should entertain and cherish the Motions of God's Holy Spirit, and, when we find any good Thought spring up in our Minds, we should second it, impress it upon our Memories, improve it by Meditation, and transcribe it into our Actions. We have daily new Vices to mortify, virtuous Dispositions to exercise and cultivate, Temptations to refift, AMictions to undergo, and all these require the Assistance of God's Grace ;