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SERM. 5. These points do likewise serve to excite and encouXXXI. rage our devotion: for having such a mediator in heaven, "~so near God's presence, so much in God's favour; having so good and sure a friend at court, having such a Master of requests ever ready to present up, to recommend, and to further our petitions, what should deter, what should anywise withhold us from cheerfully, upon all occasions, by him addressing ourselves to God? We may therefore, Heb. iv. 16. as we are exhorted by the Apostle, come to the throne of grace with boldness, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable aid. We cannot, considering this, anywise doubt of those promises being effectually made Matt. xxi. good to us; Whatever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye Mark xi.24 foull receive; whatsoever ye ask in my name, that will I do. iJohnv.14. There is nothing which he, enjoying such power, cannot 13. xv. 7. do for us; and there is nothing which he, our loving and xvi. aa. merciful brother, will not do, that is good for us, if we do with humble confidence apply ourselves to him for it. And what greater incitement can there be to devotion, than an assurance so firmly grounded of fair acceptance and happy success thereof? Yea, what an extreme folly, what a huge crime is it, not to make use of such an advantage, not by so obliging an inducement to be moved to a constant practice of this so beneficial and sweet kind of duties?
6. It may encourage us to all kind of obedience, to consider what a high pitch of eternal' glory and dignity our Lord hath obtained, in regard to his obedience, and as a pledge of like recompense designed to us, if we tread in his footsteps, running the race that is Jet before us, arid looking up unto Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, and is set at the right ha7id of the throne of God. As God, in respect to what he mould perform, did offer to him so high a promotion; so doth he likewise, upon condition of our obedience to his commandments, oblige himself to put us into a like excellent and happy state: so our Lord himself declared, when he said, Luke xxii. J covenant to you a kingdom, as my Father covenanted to me a kingdom: it goeth before, Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations: there is the condi- SERM. tion, faithful and constant adherence to Christ in doing and XXXI. suffering; upon performance of which condition our Lord Rev.;. 6, tendereth that glorious reward of an eternal kingdom:v-10and the divine covenant being thus effectually fulfilled unto him, doth ascertain us, that his overture will likewise be made good to us; It is, faith St. Paul, a faithful 2 Tim. il. faying, (that is, a word, upon which we may confidently' rety>) if we lie dead with him, (dead to fin and vanity,) we shall also live with him, (live with him in glory and joy;) if we endure, (or persevere in obedience and patience after him,) we shall also reign with him: and, To him (faith our Rer. iii. Lord in the Revelation) that overcometh will I grant so21ft with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne.
7. Lastly, the consideration of these points should elevate our thoughts and affections from these inferior things here (the vain and base things of this world) unto heavenly things; according to that of St. Paul; If ye be risen Col. iii. 1. with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is fitting at the right hand of God. To the head of our body we should be joined; continually deriving fense and motion, direction and activity from him: where the master of our family is, there should our minds be, constantly attentive to his pleasure, and ready to serve him; where the city is, whose denizens we are, and where our final rest must be, there mould our thoughts be, careful to observe the laws and orders, that we may enjoy the immunities and Heb. xi. 16. privileges thereof; in that country, where only we have any good estate, or valuable concernment, there our mind should be, studying to secure and improve our interest therein: our resolution should be conformable to that of the holy Psalmist; / will 1st up mine eyes to the hills, from Ps. cxxi. L. whence comelh my help. Christ is our life, faith St. Paul; Col. iii. 4. and shall our souls be parted from our life? Christ, faith p^v4^ he again, is our hope; and shall our mind and hope be Col. i. 97asunder? Christ is the principal object of our love, of our Animus trust, of our joy, of all our best affections; and Ihall ourj|£ja"bl affections be severed from their best objects ? By his being
6ERM. in heaven all our treasure becometh there; and where our
XXXI. irea/ure is, there (if we apprehend and believe rightly,
there naturally) our liearls will lie also: if they be not, it
;Cor. v. 6. is a sign we take him not for our best treasure. We do in our bodies sojourn from the Lord, as St. Paul faith; but in our spirits we may and should be ever present, ever conversant with him; contemplating him with an eye of faith, fastening our love upon him, reposing our confidence in him, directing our prayers and thanksgivings to him; meditating upon his good laws, his gracious promises, his holy life, and his merciful performances for us. We should not, by fixing our hearts and desires upon earthly things, (upon the vain delights, the sordid interests, the fallacious and empty glories, the sinful enjoyments here,) nor by a dull and careless neglect of heavenly things, avert, estrange, or separate ourselves wholly from himf No, sursum corda, let us, unloosing our hearts from these things, and with them soaring upward, follow and adhere to our Lord; so mall we anticipate that blessed future state, so shall we assure to ourselves the possession of heaven, so here enjoying our Lord in affection, we (hall hereafter obtain a perfect fruition of hig glorious and blissful presence; the which God of his mercy by his grace vouchsafe us, through the same our ever blessed Saviour; to whom be for ever all glory and praise. Amen.
0 God the King os glory, who hast exalted thine own Son Jesus Chri/l with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; we beseech thee leave us not comfortless, but fend thine Holy Ghojl to consort us, and exalt us to the fame place, whither our Saviour Chriji is gone before; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
Eccles. iii. 17.
I said in my heart, God Jhall judge the righteous and the wicked.
J.HESE words are the result of a serious contemplation SERM. upon the state of human affairs and common occurrences XXXII. in this world: the Royal Philosopher having, as he telleth Eccles u us, given his heart to seek and search out by wisdom con- 13, earning all things thai were done under heaven; what was the proper nature, what the just price of each thing; what real benefit or solid comfort each did afford; how every person did fare in the pursuit and success of his designs; did, after full examination and careful balancing all things resolve upon such conclusions as these:
That no kind of undertaking here did in effect yield any Eccles. i. considerable profit or complete satisfaction, but all in the8,11-11' issue did prove vain and vexatious.
That no man from his care and industry, in any course Eccles. ii. of life, could promise himself any certain success, or reap *'_""* answerable reward.
Vyyh ^at a'tn°ugh between wisdom and folly (or between
'_ goodness and wickedness) there is some intrinsic difference
Ecclcs. ii. of worth, (one excelling the other, as light doth excel darkness,) yet, as to external advantages, and as to final event here, there is no great odds discernible; for that events is. vii. is. (prosperous and adverse) did appear to fall out, not acix. i,u. cording to the qualifications or to the practices of men, but indifferently, according to the swinge of time and chance; and for that death and oblivion alike do seize upon l^itu 19. a" ' *° tnat apparently, in that respect, a man hath no preeminence over a beajl. Ecclrf. H. That in common life nothing doth appear better, than
54. III. 12. . « .
T. I 8. viii. for a man, with the best advantage he can, to enjoy ordiIs. xi. 10. nasy sensible delights and comforts, which his condition
doth afford. 3C3leii'i7 ^nat m regard to tbe present things here, life were not is. desirable to any man, the inconveniences and troubles
thereof outweighing its benefits; so that even the wisest, greatest, and happiest persons (such as he himself was) had cause to hate life, and all their labour which they had taken under the fun. nfviii.'iV. That the mind and affection of God toward men are xi. s. very reserved; the course of Providence very abstruse, the reason of events unsearchable to the wit or study of men; so that we can hardly from appearances here descry any conspicuous marks of God's favour or his displeasure.
From these observations, as from so many arguments,
he doth both here and otherwhere in several places of
Ecclrf. xi. tnjs Book infer that there shall be a divine judgment,
9. xu. 14. , J ° *
v. 8. viii. pasting upon all men, both righteous and wicked; whereby is. m. is. tnefe feerning incongruities in the providential administration of things shall be salved; and in regard whereto our present opinions of things may be rectified: this he interposeth here; I said in my heart, (that is, by the consideration of things I was persuaded,) that God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: this he ever now and then toucheth, as incident to his meditations: this he in the close of all proposeth as the grand inducement to piety, Eccles. xii. and obedience to God's commandments; For God (hall