Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

there whole limbs rot, and fall off, and crumble into dust, without at all disturbing that quiet rest, that buries all the cares and sorrows of this life in silence and oblivion.

Where then is the dreadfulness of Death, which only frees us from the Troubles and Crosses of a wretched life? It is unreasonable to complain of that change, which delivers us from a world, of which we are still complaining: and it is childish to quarrel at that hand, which undresses us, and strips off our uneasy garments, only to lay us to sleep.

5. If the world be so vain and empty, we may LEARN TO BE WELL CONTENTED WITH OUR PRESENT STATE AND CONDITION, WHATSOEVER IT BE..

It hath been fully demonstrated, that there can be no compleat satisfaction in any estate. And why, then, should we desire change? The great ground of discontent, is, not our Wants, but our Desires. There is scarce any condition in the world so low, but may satisfy our Wants : and there is no condition so high, as can satisfy our Desires *. If we live according to the law of nature and reason, we shall never be poor; but, if we live according to fond opinion and fancy, we shall never be rich. That, which we have, be it never so little, is full as satisfactory, as that, which we hope for, be it never so great: for Vanity and Vexation of Spirit, is passed upon all that is in the world, whether it be more or less.

And, therefore, O Christian, thou mayest well bear a narrow stint in the things of this world. If God reduce thee to a morsel of bread and a cup of water, it is enough: this will suffice to bear thy charges to heaven; or, if this too should fail, thy journey will only be the shorter. Possibly God keeps thee short in vanities, that he might bestow upon thee that which is a solid and substantial good.

The Psalmist tells us, Psalm lxviii. 9. that God daily loads us with his benefits. Though some may have more than others, yet every one hath his load, as much as he can carry. Every vessel cannot bear up with a like sail; and, therefore, God, to keep us from oversetting, puts on so much as will safest bring us to heaven, our desired port.

Let us, therefore, cast these cares and burdens upon him who

* Oudens de ESI TENS ENS TA ayC[nasa. Clem. Alex. Pæd. l. ii. c. 2.

Quod sutiare potest dives natura ministrat.
Quod docet infrenis gloria fine caret. Petr.

hath promised to sustain us *, and turn the stream of our de sires heavenward, where alone we can find permanent and sa. tisfactory good.

Walk humbly with God t. Keep yourselves always in an awful fear of his dread majesty. Be constant in the exercise of grace, and the performance of duty. These are the only things exempted from vanity and vexation: in these alone can the soul find true rest and contentment. And therefore Solomon, after he had pierced and searched through all the world; and pronounced riches, strength, beauty, wisdom, learning, and all to be vanity and vexation of spirit; he rests himself, in the close, and tells us, Chapter xii. 13. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter : fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole of man. It is his whole duty, and his only happiness in this life.

[ocr errors]

AN

EXPOSITION

ON

THE LORD'S PRAYER:

WITH A

CATECHISTICAL EXPLICATION THEREOF.

BY WAY OF QUESTION AND ANSWER,

FOR

THE INSTRUCTING OF YOUTH.

IMPRIMATUR. . .. . Guil. Lancaster, R. P. D. Henrico Ep. Lond. à Sacris Domesticis.

APRIL 7, 1692.

THE

PREFACE TO THE READER*,

CHRISTIAN READER:

The following Discourses upon that Excellerit and Divine Prayer of our Blessed Saviour contain so much of Practical Divinity necessary to be known by all Christians, and are so solidly and judiciously handled, that they need no Epistle Re commendatory unto the world; having the stamp of the Divine Authority upon the truths contained in them..

But if any shall curiously enquire, whether this Reverend and Learned Prelate designed and finished them for the press, I may truly return the same answer that is given in print by the present Bishop of Cork and Ross to the same question, in his Epistle to the Reader before this Author's “ Exposition on the Ten Commandments;" namely, That they were transcribed by himself, and by him deposited in the hands of a Minister whom he could entrust, to be made public after his decease; whose Epistle should have been prefixed hereunto, but that he is far distant in another nation, and the press cannot tarry so long for it, the book being just finished.

And, as a further confirmation that his Lordship intended it should be made public, appears by his so often quoting this his Discourse on the Lord's Prayer, in his Treatise on the Commandments; which could not be seen or read by others, but by the printing of it. Upon which, many persons have been very desirous and inquisitive after it f.

Unto this large and general “ Exposition on the Lord's Prayer,” there is added a brief and short “ Catechistical Explication” thereof by way of Question and Answer, made use of

* This Preface was prefixed to the first edition of this Treatise, published in 4to. in 1692. EDITOR.

t I have placed this Treatise first, as having been first composed, though not first printed; and being frequently referred to in the Exposition on the Commandments. EDITOR.

VOL. I.

« AnteriorContinuar »