Imágenes de páginas

this were to dijhonour our nature, to serve our fellow-creatures andfellow-servants : besides, that such will neversacrilegiously usurp their Maker's honour, nor admit that service which is due to &z» alone. Shall we then serve man? alas! the breath of great ones is *'» their nostrils; their ///*" is but a vapour, tossed to and fro with restless noise and motion; and then it vanishes; they die, and all their thoughts and projects perissh. What then; shall we at length be reduced to serve our lusts? this is worse than pagan idolatry; flocks and stones indeed could not help or reward their votaries; but our lusts, like wild and savage tyrants, destroy where they rule, and oppress and overwhelm us with ruins and mischiefs, while wejervilely court and flatter them. I have not done yet: I have proved it indeed to be our duty and honour to serve God; but these with some are n?/</ and lifeless topicks: I will now prove it to be our interest and happiness; and this too, laying aside at present, as I promised, the consideration of a future reward, and the joys springing from it. To make good this assertion, it will be necessary briefly to examine two things. First, The design or end: and, secondly, The nature of this service. If we enquire after the «z</ of it, 'tis evident ly our ow» advantage and happiness. The

lusts lusts or the humours, the wants and necessities of man, may put him upon invading our liberty, or purchafing and contrasting with us for our servitude: but God \s all-sufficient to himself and has no »«v/ of our service: when he will be glorified by «.r, 'tis that w may enjoy his protection and Bounty: when he obliges us to oÆ^y his commands, 'tis in order to perfect our natures, zndpurisy and qualifie us for the enjoyment of spiritual and divine pleasure: when he enjoins us prayer, 'tis because it does exalt and enlarge our minds, and ^fr us for the blessings it obtains: when he prescribes us Jelf-refignation, 'tis because he will chuse for us, and manage our affairs toft?r than w can ourselves. Let us in the next place consider the nature of this service. To serve God, what is it, but to love what is infinitely lovely; to follow the conduct of infinite wisdom, and to repose our confidence in /to being whose goodness is as boundless as his power % to serve God, 'tis to pursue the great «a/ of our creation, to act consonant to the dignity of our nature, and to govern our /raw by the dictates of an enlightened reason. How wisely has our church in one of her collects expressed her notion of the nature of Go^i service? whose service is perfect freedom. The </m'/ maintains his dominion over us, by

infatuatingour understandings, by enfeebling and fettering our wills, by deluding and corrupting our affections: but on the quite contrary, the more clear and impartial our #«derstandings, the more free and absolute our ■awV/j, the more unbyafd and rational our affections, the ft ter are we to worship God; nay indeed, we stf«;zo/ worship him at all as we o&gitf to do, «»/<?/£ our ibuls be /te qualified. Therefore is the service of God called a rational service, ^jyxi ^Tp*'a: and the word of God is called aJV^v >a'^a, fincere milk; to signify to us, that in the service of God a\\'is real and solid good. Such is the Perfection of o#r natures; the zw/gÆ/' and /ojr of f& S/zr/V; the protection and conduct of Providence; and all the great and precious promises of Go*/ in Christ are 2># and Amen. But in the Jervice offin all is sÆra/ and imposture; and under a pompous shew of gW, the present is vanity, and the future, repentance; but such a repentance as does not relieve, but increase the sinners

This is enough to be said of the nature of Gc^'j service: and by the concessions I made my objector about the beginning of this /£tfW, I am restrained from taking notice of the wore glorious effects of it: yet yo/w^ there are, very great and gW ones, that fall »<>/ within the compass of the objection,

which I will but just mention. The first is* rest. While religion regulates the disorder\ and reduces the extravagance of our affections, it does in effect lay astorm, and compose a mutiny in our bosoms. Whilst it enlightens our minds, and teaches us the true value, that is, at least the comparative worthlejhess of icorldly things, it extinguishes the troubles which present disappointments and losses, and prevents those fears which the prospect of future changes and revolutions is wont to create in us. A mind that is truly enlightened^ and has no ambition but for immortality and glory', whose humility with reference to these temporal things is built upon a true notion of the nature of them; this foul has entered already into its rest. This is the doctrine of our Lord and Master, Matt, xi. 28, 29. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden; that is, all ye that are Or> pressed by the weight of your own cares and fears, that aresatigued and ft/Yn/ in the designs and projects of avarice and ambition, and I•willgive you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for lam meek and lotely in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. I need not, I think, here shew, that the more we fear and serve God, the more we love and admire him, the more clear is the understanding, and the more pure the heart: for the more we converse with solid and eternal

good, good, the more insignificant and trifiing will temporal things appear to us; and, the more the mind rejoyces in the Lord, the oftner 'tis rapt up into heaven, and, as it were, transfigured into a more glorious being, by the joy of the Jpirit, and. the ardors or' dt Jvine love; the move fiat and infipid are all earthly and carnal satisfactions to it. Another effeSl that attends our staking off the dominion of fin, and our devoting our selves to the service of God, is our being purified from £#///. The y?#/«.? of the past life are washed off by repentance and the blood of Jesus; and thefirvant of G<?</ contracts no »<?ie> ones by wilful'andpresumptuous fin- iVbw therefore he can <?«jVr into himself and commune with his own tear/1, without any uneafiness; he can r^?^ upon his actions, and review each sl^y, when it is />#/?, without inward regret or sh ame. To ^mzÆ o^' a vicious course; to vanquish both terrors and allurements, when they persuade to that which is #zra« and ^z/£ ; to be mafier of one's T^J and entertain no affedlions, but what are w?/<?, and regular, and such as one has reason to w^Æ should daily increase and grow stronger; these are things so far from meriting reproach and reproof from one's 07ot #zzW, that they are sufficient to support it against all reproaches from without. Such is the beauty, such the pleasure of a well established Ætfto of righteousness, that

« AnteriorContinuar »