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first, to walk; and secondly, to walk in truth. We are created unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them. We are redeemed, and bought with a price, not to do nothing, but to serve Him who hath redeemed
There is no such bane to a commonwealth, no such poison to an individual, as idleness. We have but too many examples in all ages. Idleness in David, was the cause of his adultery. Idleness was the root of all the pollutions of Sodom. Israel, in the absence of Moses, being idle, fell to feasting, dancing, and idolatry. As the Lord hath CALLED every one, says St. Paul, so let him WALK.
And, lest in walking, we should wander out of the way, the Prophet teaches us that we should walk in truth. Truth comprehends both soundness of doctrine, and integrity of life. Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father, says Solomon, great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart.
But, so great is the corruption of our nature, that St. Paul complains of many that walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. By the cross of Christ, he means the passion of Christ, who suffered for our sins. To seek remission of sins, redemption, justification, satisfaction, or salvation, elsewhere than in Christ crucified; is to be an enemy to the cross of Christ,
and to walk not in the high-way of truth, but in the by-paths of wickedness.
Ezekiel complains of those who walk after covetousness; Jeremiah of others who walk in the hardness of their hearts; and David of such as walk in the counsel of the ungodly ; as Eve was led by the Serpent, Absalom by Achitophel, Saul by Doeg. Jeremiah complains also of others whom he terms grievous revolters, walking with slanders; flattering those whom they purpose to undermine. Of this description was Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, who, pretending great regard for his master's interest, no sooner espied an opportunity, than he begged and obtained his whole inheritance of David : and Joab; who, taking Abner aside, as if to speak to him as a friend, stabbed him to the heart. But, to use the language of St. Paul, What shall I say more? The time would be too short, were I to enumerate all the ways wherein the wicked walk.
The Gospel of Christ has long been taught among us. We have long heard it. The sound has filled our ears : but whose heart has it pierced ? whose life has it bettered ? Sin is sharply reproved; yet still iniquity abounds. Often have we promised, with the Psalmist, We will walk in truth : but we never set forward on the journey. Towards God we are hypocrites, towards men deceitful. Where shall be found one righteous man among us? Is it not to us, my brethren, that the Prophet speaks —
Hear ye this, O House of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah ; which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness?
Let us, therefore, return from the paths of ini. quity. Let us inquire for the good way, that we may walk in it. In a word, let us all so walk as it becometh the children of light. Let it suffice that in times past we have walked according to the vanity of the Gentiles. Let us now return unto the Lord. Let us cast away impiety and worldly concupiscence; and live a sober, a righteous, and a godly life. Let us, with true repentance, solicit pardon and mercy at the hands of God, and hereafter walk humbly before him ; not for a day, or for a month, but continually; even all the days of our pilgrimage on earth. He only shall be saved that continueth to the end. And may God, for his mercy's sake, send down the dew of his heavenly grace upon the hill of Hermon, and the mountains of Sion, to the fruitful watering of the whole land of Israel. Teach us, therefore, O Lord, teach us thy way, that we may walk for ever in thy truth. This that we may do, all and every of us, in our several callings, God of his infinite mercy grant; to whom (the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,) be ascribed, &c.
But, beloved, remember
the words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our Lord
Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in
the last time, who should walk after their own
ungodly luşts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual,
having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your
most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for
the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto
eternal life. The occasion and design of this Epistle are explained to us in the commencement of it. There
* Richard Hooker was born 1553, and died 1600.
were then, as there are now, many evil-disposed persons, who were not of the mystical body, yet within the visible bounds of the Church : certain men, crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. For this cause the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, to exhort them that are called and sanctified by God the Father, that they would earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
In his Epistle to the Philippians, St. Paul says that there are men, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ : 'whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. But we are taught from the present text, that the Apostles, not only declared what they heard and saw in the days wherein they lived, but that they have prophesied also of men in time to come, and described a generation reserved for the end of the world. We have also a sure word of prophecy, says St. Peter ; whereunto ye do well that
take heed ; knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
As to the spirit of prophecy by which men have spoken and written of things to come, we must