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you can, yet fome crofs' accident, fome failure in gratifying their unreasonable expectations, may suddenly turn all your honours into disgrace, and leave you to com plain, as Cardinal Wolsey did, “ Had 1 • ferved God as faithfully, as man, he would
not thus have forsaken me in my old age.' Nay, the perverfeness of many is fo great; that they require contradictions ere they will be pleased. If John come fasting, they fay, “ he hath a devil:" If Christ come eating and drinking, they say, “ Behold a man “ gluttonous and a wine-bibber, a friend of “ publicans and sinners.” If your judgemene and practice be accommodated to your fuperiors, fome will call you supple and temporising: if it be otherwise, you will perhaps be reproached as discontented and feditious.
Thus, you see, that it is impossible to please all men, or even any confiderable number of them at one time. Nor have we cause to wonder at this, when we consider, that our blessed Saviour himself; notwithstanding his perfect innocence and wisdom, was more reviled than any man. Can you
do more to deserve the favour of men than Christ did? or can you expect to please those who are displeased with God him felf? For is not God daily displeasing men in the course of his providence ? and what is there that they quarrel with more bitterly than with his word?. In fine, how can we expect to please any number of our fellow-creatures, when we cannot even please ourselves constantly? And for the truth of this, I appeal to your own experience. You must be singular indeed, if you never fall out with yourselves; I mean singularly inattentive, (to give it no harsher name), for with the best I am fure there is too often just cause for it. If then we are not able to preserve our own esteem at all times, how can we expect to preserve the approbation of other men?
And now what is your judgement upon the whole? Is not man-pleasing both a mean and fruitless attempt? Is it wise to have for your aim a thing so disquieting, and so very precarious ? Is it not by far the wiser course to seek the approbation of God, who trieth your hearts, whom you please Vol. III.
fouls above every mean and sordid view, and enable us always fo to speak and act, “ not “ as pleasing men, but God, who trieth our “ hearts.”—Then the peace of God, which pafseth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jefus : and amidst all the changing scenes of life, we shall have this for our rejoicing, even the testimony of a good conscience, that: in fimplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world,
Acts xi. 23. :
beart they would cleave unto the Lord.
IT is not easy to conceive a more complete I or amiable character than that which is given of Barnabas in the following verse: “ He was a good man, and full of the Holy “ Ghost, and of faith.” And as a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things ; so this faithful minister of Christ, who had been sent by the church in Jerusalem to visit the new converts at Antioch, having seen those real effects of the grace of God among them, of which he had formerly heard the agreeable report, was filled with joy; and, like a true ď son of consolation,” which his name fignifies, 'he“ exhorted them all, that with “ purpose of heart they would cleave unto
“the Lord.” -My design in discoursing from these words is,
11, To explain the exhortation contained in them; 2dly, To enforce it by some mo. tives and arguments; and, 3dly, To offer · some directions which, through the blessing of God, may be useful to those who are defirous of complying with it.
I Begin with explaining the exhortation contained in the text. And, :
if, It is obvious, that it supposeth those to whom it is directed to be already entered upon a religious course of life. Barna
bas addressed his discourse . to persons who - were real converts to Chriftianity. It ap
pears from the 2ift and 22d verses, that the tidings which had come to Jerusalem concerning them, expressly affirmed, that a “ great number had believed and turned 66 unto the Lord :” and Barnabas, soon after his arrival at Antioch, received full conviction that this report was. true;. for he " saw the grace of God, and was glad." The form of his exhortation indeed fufficiently distinguisheth the character of those