Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

2 Samuel VII. i, 2, 3.

And it eame to pass, when the king fat in his house, and the Lord had given him reft round about from all bis enemies; that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark ofGoddwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.

***♦-*** E FO R E I begin to treat on these /J % words, 1 must acquaint you with

& TM .& the reason of my choosing them for l{ ffl the present subject of this occasional

.$-^#•>^-«- Discourse.

There has been, you know, some time ago, a very good design set on foot here among us of building a Church for the service of God, and the Christian Religion; which good design, though it had a beginning, and the walls thereof raised, as you fee, to a considerable height; and though there have been, by all report, large contributions and benefactions made, sufficient to carry on and finish the work; yet, whether by occasion of the late wars, or rather the late wars occasioned by its neglect, and the continual troubles thereupon ensuing; or whether by the collusion and fraud of all or any of the Trustees, to whom the care of that structure was committed; or whatever else might be the occasion of putting a stop to that B 2 intended intended noble and spacious building, I cannot fay; but this is certain, that it has long since been unhappily dropped, neglected, and laid aside; and the ruinous walls, which still remain, are a standing monument of reproach to us and our nation to this day.

Many, it is true, and just are the judgments of God in this world, and for some great and crying sin, no doubt, such public calamities are usually sent; but whoever were the instrumental causes of this great offence, or by whose sacrilegious hands such charitable contributions have heen perverted and misapplied, must be one day accounted for before God in judgment; and dreadful, I Fear, will that account be, if not atoned for, and averted by a timely restitution.

That we may therefore revive this commendable good work, which once, it seems, had a beginning, and still may, by the blessing of God, and your unanimous and hearty concurrence thereunto, be brought to good effect, is what I shall at present endeavour, by the example here before us, to excite your pious and charitable dispositions, and from these words here read to you in my text, encourage you to imitate that fame public and glorious undertaking, which first was in the heart of king David, and approved of and confirmed by Nathan the prophet.

And it came to pass, when the king fat in his house, and the Lord had given him reft roundabout from all his enemies; that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an House of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all thai is in thine heart ; for the Lord is with thee.

From the consideration of which words, and

the the application of them to our present purpose, we may observe these two things.

I. The obligation that all of us lie under, to go and set about this necessary work, Go, do all that is in thine heart.

II. The encouragement here proposed for the doing it, For the Lord is with thee.

I. Of the obligation incumbent upon us ail, to go and set about this necessary work, Go, do all that is in thine heart.

And to this we are obliged, not only in respect to our duty, but gratitude to God Almighty. And,

First, In point of duty.

Now to do good is a duty of that, importance and extent that it is the chief end and business of our whole life; it was the most acceptable sacrifice that could be offered under the law, and is of perpetual obligation to us Christians under the gospel: for to be beneficial to mankind, is to imitate the example of our Saviour Christ, who made it his sole delight to go about doing good; it was his meat and drink to do the will of God that sent him, and to finish his work.

To this we are obliged by the strictest bonds of love and charity to mankind, as men, and much more as Christians; and the greater the good is which is in our power to do, the greater still are the obligations to the performance of it; and consequently, the greatest good of all we are most indispensably obliged in duty to perform. Now what greater good can we possibly do either to the honour of God, our blessed Saviour, his holy religion, or ourselves, than this commendable B 3 work work here before us, the building and repairing the house of God?

Such good works of piety and mercy, which regard the spiritual welfare of men, is what all Christians are bound to advance to the utmost of their power; because they are the only sacrifices we have left, and are of equal obligation with praise and thanksgiving; and no one sure will refuse to give God thanks for his mercies, neither ought we to forget to shew mercy ourselves, by doing good and distributing something of our substance; for with such sacrifices we are expressly assured that God is well pleased: nay, all our prayers, praises, and thanksgivings, will prove but lip-labour, without some more substantial proof of our duty, especially now we have so fit an opportunity.

Secondly, In point of gratitude.

Neither is it without reason that God requires this of us; because he is the sole Proprietor and Lord of the whole earth; so that we have nothing but what we hold by virtue of this tenure, nothing but what we receive from him; and all that is required of us, or that he is pleased to accept of in return, is only a small quit-rent as it were out of what we possess, as an acknowledgment that it is by his favour and blessing that we enjoy it.

Hence it is, that, in all ages, they that were piously and devoutly disposed, and had a true sense of God's benefits and mercy, were always careful to pay this homage of duty and .gratitude, and never thought they could do enough to any pious use, whereby to testify their acknowledgements of God's dominion, and his right of propriety over what they had: witness those ancient

and

and stately Cathedrals, which still remain the glory of their times, and a lasting testimony of munificence to posterity: as also in former times before them, the children of Israel, who when the Tabernacle was to be built for God's worship and service, were so far from being backward in contributing towards it, that they presently brought more than could be used in the building it v so that the people were restrained from bringing any more, for they had enough and too much. Such was their pious emulation in those days, and zeal to promote God's honour and service.

King David too was so sensible of God's goodness towards him, upon the daily success of whatever he took in hand, that he began to make it a matter of conscience to live in a palace of cedar himself, and to let the ark of God remain within curtains; this reflection gave him no peace nor satisfaction in his mind, though he was at rest from all his enemies round about, it yielded him no real enjoyment of his'happiness, though completely settled in the throne of Israel; the pleasures of his court, and magnificence of his palace, which usually allay and divert those thoughts, did but encrease them so much the more, and upbraid him with neglect: yea, such was his zeal and religious affection for the house of God, that it brought him to this solemn resolution and vow; Not to suffer his eyes to sleep, nor his eye-lids to slumber, neither the temples of his head to take any rest', until he had found out a place for the Temple of the Lord, an habitation for the Almighty God cf Jacob. Psalm xxxii. 4, 5.

Now, though David, who was a man after

God's own heart, was not permitted to set about

this holy and religious work himself; because he

had frequently been engaged in wars, and conse

B 4 quently

« AnteriorContinuar »