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earnestly purpose to lead a new lfe. And may God, of his infinite mercy, through Christ his Son, grant us his Holy Spirit, and work in our hearts this sorrow, faith, and newness of life, now and
FROM BISHOP JEWELL*.
ROMANS xiii. 12.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us
therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
St. Paul here awakens the Romans from the slumber of death, that they might behold the light of the Gospel, and know the time of their visitation, and shake off the works of darkness, and apparel themselves with the righteousness of Christ our Saviour.
In all our transactions with the world, it is reckoned a point of wisdom to do things in due time. To every thing, says Solomon, there is a SEASON, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. But of all wisdom this is the greatest, that a man lift up his eyes to the throne of God's mercy, and
* John Jewell, Bishop of Salisbury, was born 1522, and died 1571,
know the time of his blessing, and direct his life to the service of God. Make no tarrying to turn to the Lord, says the son of Sirach, and put not off from day to day; for suddenly shall the wrath of the Lord come forth; and in thy security thou shalt be destroyed.
Of this blindness of the people, God complains by the Prophet Jeremiah. The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times ; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming : but my people know not the judgment of the Lord. And thus our Saviour reproves Jerusalem, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one 'stone upon another : because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation,
The Apostle, therefore, calls upon the Romans, tells them that the sun is up, and warns them not to lose the season ; for now, even now, says he, it is time to rise.
That we may the better discern the light, let us behold the darkness of the time which was before. The whole world was, divided between Jews and heathens. The latter were forsaken of God: the ,
former were his chosen people. The heathens worshipped the works of their own hands, and gave the glory of God unto creatures. They lived without hope, or light, or comfort.
The Jews, God's chosen people, were also bereft of knowledge. There was no Prophet left among them, nor any to teach them the way of the Lord. Their light was turned into darkness. They slew the Prophets which were sent unto them. They forsook the fountain of living waters, and followed Baal and Ashtaroth. Of them God spake by the Prophet, I have no pleasure in you, neither will I accept un offering at your hand. Of them he said, When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. In such a darkness lay the Jews : in such a darkness lay the Gentiles. All had sinned.
All had sinned. They were all corrupt and abominable in their ways. They were the children of wrath, and the vessels of destruction. Thus were they wrapt in the cloud of ignorance, and covered with the shadow of death. Such was the night here spoken of by St. Paul; so dark, so void of comfort.
But God gave forth his light to shine upon them. He sent the Patriarchs and Prophets. He sent unto them Moses and Aaron, and even angels from heaven, to give out, as it were, sparks of this light. He made it appear by his Prophet Isaiah, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall
call his name Immanuel. In his days Judah shall be saved. He is the light to lighten the Gentiles. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. In him shall all the ends of the world be blessed. This light they beheld, ere it clearly dawned on them. They saw it coming, and rejoiced in it; yet had not the perfect knowledge of
But God, at length, has scattered all these clouds; and we behold the glory of the Lord as in a mirror. Our fathers in the Old Testament had only a dim taper to guide their feet: we have the brightest sunbeams. They had only the green blade of the corn, we have the plentiful increase, even as in the time of harvest. They had the shadow, we have the light. They had only a few drops to refresh themselves, we have the whole stream of God's mercy poured upon us. Now hath God remembered his holy covenant, and the oath which he sware to our father Abraham. Now the Word was made flesh, and dwelt with us; the day-star is sprung up in our hearts; the Spirit of God hath filled the whole world, the earth is full of his glory. Now is it known that salvation, and power, and glory belongeth to our God. He hath raised his Christ, and hath established his kingdom. The kings and nations of the world shall walk in his light, and his light shall not be put out, and his kingdom shall have no end. Now is that new