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The consideration of the irreparable loss sustained in the fall of our first
INTEREST DEPOSED, AND TRUTH RESTORED.
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I deny before my Father which
The occasion of those words inquired into, 36, and their explication, by
being compared with other parallel scriptures, 37, and some observations
The explication of them, by showing,
I. How many ways Christ and his truths may be denied, 39. 1. By an here-
tical judgment, 39, 40. 2. By oral expressions, 40. 3. By our actions, 41.
II. The causes inducing men to deny Christ in his truths, 42. 1. The
seeming absurdity of many truths, ib. 2. Their unprofitableness, 43, 44. 3.
III. How far a man may consult his safety, in time of persecution, without
denying Christ, 46. 1. By withdrawing his person, ib. 2. By concealing his
When those ways of securing ourselves are not lawful, 47.
IV. What is meant by Christ's denial of us, 48, with reference, 1. To the
V. How many uses may be drawn from the words, 50. 1. An exhortation,
chiefly to persons in authority, to defend Christ in his truth, ib., and in his
ECCLESIASTICAL POLICY THE BEST POLICY.
After this thing king Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the
lowest of the people priests of the high places. Whosoever would, he consecrated
him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. And this thing became
sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the
Jeroboam's history and practice, 53. Some observations from it, 55. An
explication of the words, "high places," ib.; and consecration, 56.
The sense of the words drawn into two propositions,
I. The means to strengthen or to ruin the civil power is either to establish
or destroy the right worship of God, 57. Of which proposition the truth is
proved by all records of divine and profane history, ib.; and the reason is
drawn from the judicial proceeding of God; and from the dependence of the
principles of government upon religion, ib.
From which may be inferred, 1. The pestilential design of disjoining the
. civil and ecclesiastical interest, 61. 2. The danger of any thing that may
make even the true religion suspected to be false, 62.
II. The way to destroy religion is to embase the dispensers of it, 63: which
is done, 1. By divesting them of all temporal privileges and advantages, ib.
1. Ministers are brought under contempt, 68; 2. Men of fit parts and abilities are discouraged from undertaking the ministry, 70.
A brief recapitulation of the whole, 71.
THE DUTIES OF THE EPISCOPAL FUNCTION.
TITUS II. ult.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise
thee. P. 75.
Titus supposed to be a bishop in all this epistle, 76. The duties of which place are,
I. To teach, 76; either immediately by himself, 78, or mediately by the subordinate ministration of others, ib.
II. To rule, 79, by an exaction of duty from persons under him, ib., by a protection of the persons under the discharge of their duty, 80; and by animadversion upon such as neglect it, ib.
And the means better to execute those duties is, not to be despised, 82; in the handling of which prescription these things may be observed:
1. The ill effects that contempt has upon government, 82. 2. The causes upon which church-rulers are frequently despised. And they are,
Either groundless; such as their very profession itself, 84; loss of their former grandeur and privilege, 85.
Or just; such as ignorance, 85; viciousness, 86; fearfulness, ib.; and a proneness to despise others, 87.
The character of a clergyman, 88.
WHY CHRIST'S DOCTRINE WAS REJECTED BY THE JEWS.
JOHN VII. 17.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. P. 89.
An account of the Jewish and Christian economy, 89.
The gospel must meet with a rightly disposed will, before it can gain the assent of the understanding, 90; which will appear from the following considerations:
I. What Christ's doctrine is, with relation to matters of belief, 91; and to matters of practice, ib.
II. That men's unbelief of that doctrine was from no defect in the arguments, 92; whose strength was sufficient, from the completion of all the predictions, 93, and the authority of miracles, ib. And whose insufficiency (if there could have been any) was not the cause of the unbelief of the Jews, 94, who assented to things less evident, ib.; neither evident nor certain, but only probable, ib.; neither evident, nor certain, nor probable, but false and fallacious, 95.
III. That the Jewish unbelief proceeded from the pravity of the will, influencing the understanding to a disbelief of Christianity, 95; the last being prepossessed with other notions; and the first being wholly governed by covetousness and ambition, 96.
IV. That a well-disposed mind, with a readiness to obey the will of God, is the best means to enlighten the understanding to a belief of Christianity, 97; upon the account both of God's goodness, ib., and of a natural efficiency, 98, arising from a right disposition of the will, which will engage the understanding in the search of the truth through diligence, ib., and impartiality, 100.
From which particulars may be learned, 1. The true cause of atheism and scepticism, 101. 2. The most effectual means of becoming good Christians, 102.
GOD'S PECULIAR REGARD TO PLACES SET APART FOR DIVINE WORSHIP.
God hath loved the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. P. 106.
All comparisons import, in the superior part of them, difference and pre-eminence, 106, and so from the comparison of this text arise these propositions:
I. That God bears a different respect to consecrated places from what he bears to all others, 106. Which difference he shows, 1. By the interposals of his Providence for the erecting and preserving of them, ib. 2. By his punishments upon the violators of them, 109. 3. Not upon the account of any inherent sanctity in the things themselves; but because he has the sole property of them, 112; by appropriating them to his peculiar use, 113; and by deed of gift made by surrender on man's part, ib.; and by acceptance on his, 114.
II. That God prefers the worship paid to him in such places above that in all others, 116; because, 1. Such places are naturally apt to excite a greater devotion, ib. 2. In them our worship is a more direct service and homage to him, 118.
From all which we are taught to have these three ingredients in our devotion; desire, reverence, and confidence, 120.
ALL CONTINGENCIES UNDER THE DIRECTION OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE.
PROV. XVI. 33.
The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing of it is of the Lord. P. 121.
God's providence has its influence upon all things, even the most fortuitous, such as the casting of lots, 121. Which things implying in themselves somewhat future, and somewhat contingent, are,
I. In reference to men, out of the reach of their knowledge and of their power, 121.
II. In reference to God, comprehended by a certain knowledge, 122; and governed by as certain a providence, 123; and by him directed to both certain, 123, and great ends, 125; in reference,
1. To societies or united bodies of men, 125. 2. To particular persons, whether public, as princes, 128; or private, touching their lives, 130, health, ib., reputation, 131, friendships, 132, employments, ib.
Therefore we ought to rely on divine providence; and be neither too confident in prosperity, 134, nor too despondent in adversity, 135, but carry a conscience clear towards God, who is the sole and absolute disposer of all things, 136.
THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD.
1 COR. III. 19.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. P. 137.
Worldly wisdom, in scripture, is taken sometimes for philosophy, 137; sometimes, as here, for policy, ib.; which,
I. Governs its actions generally by these rules, 138. 1. By a constant ́ dissimulation; not a bare concealment of one's mind; but a man's positive professing what he is not, and resolves not to be, ib. 2. By submitting conscience and religion to one's interest, 140. 3. By making one's self the sole end of all actions, 141. 4. By having no respect to friendship, gratitude, or sense of honour, 142.
Which rules and principles are,
II. Foolish and absurd in reference to God, 144; because in the pursuit of them man pitches, 1. Upon an end unproportionable to the measure of his duration, 144, or to the vastness of his desires, 145. 2. Upon means in themselves insufficient for, 146, and frequently contrary to the attaining of such ends, 147; which is proved to happen in the four foregoing rules of the worldly politician, 148.
Therefore we ought to be sincere, 152, and commit our persons and concerns to the wise and good providence of God, 152.
GOOD INTENTIONS NO EXCUSE FOR BAD ACTIONS.
2 CORINTHIANS VIII. 12.
For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. P. 153.
Men are apt to abuse the world and themselves in some general principles of action; and particularly in this, that God accepts the will for the deed, 153. The delusion of which is laid open in these words, ib., expressing, that where there is no power God accepts the will; but implying, that where there is he does not. So there is nothing of so fatal an import as the plea of a good intention, and of a good will, 154; for God requires the obedience of the whole man, and never accepts the will but as such, 156. Thence we may understand how far it holds good, that God accepts the will for the deed, ib.; a rule whose
1. Ground is founded upon that eternal truth, that God requires of man nothing impossible, 158; and consequently whose
2. Bounds are determined by what power man naturally hath, 158; but
3. Misapplication consists in these, 158. 1. That men often mistake for an act of the will, what really is not so, ib., as a bare approbation, ib.; wishing 159; mere inclination, 160. 2. That men mistake for impossibilities, things which are not truly so, 161; as in duties of very great labour, ib., danger, 162, cost, 165, in conquering an inveterate habit, 168.
Therefore there is not a weightier case of conscience than to know how far God accepts the will, and when men truly will a thing, and have really no power, 169.
OF THE ORIGIN, NATURE, AND BASENESS OF THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE.
And the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their Go, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: neither showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had showed unto Israel. P. 171.
The history of Gideon, and the Israelites' behaviour towards him, 171, are the subject and occasion of these words, which treat of their ingratitude both towards God and man, 172. This vice in this latter sense is described, ib., by showing,
I. What gratitude is, 173; what are its parts, ib.; what grounds it hath in the law of nature, 174, of God's word, 175, of man, 176.
II. The nature and baseness of ingratitude, 178.
III. That ingratitude proceeds from a proneness to do ill turns, with a complacency upon the sight of any mischief befalling another; and from an utter insensibility of all kindnesses, 179.
IV. That it is always attended with many other ill qualities, 180; pride, ib., hard-heartedness, 182, and falsehood, 183. Therefore,
V. What consequences may be drawn from the premises, 184. 1. Never to enter into a league of friendship with an ungrateful person, ib. Because,
2. He cannot be altered by any acts of kindness, ib.; and, 3. He has no true sense of religion, 185. Exhortation to gratitude as a debt to God, 186.
OF THE NATURE, MALIGNITY, AND PERNICIOUS EFFECTS OF FALSEHOOD AND LYING. PROV. XII. 32.
Lying lips are abomination to the Lord. P. 187.
The universality of lying is described, 187. And this vice is further prosecuted, by showing,
I. The nature of it, 188. Wherein it consists, and the unlawfulness of all sorts of lies, whether pernicious, officious, or jocose, 189.
II. The effects of it, 192; all sins that came into the world, 192, all miseries that befall mankind, ib., an utter dissolution of all society, 195, an indisposition to the impressions of religion, 197.
III. The punishments of it: the loss of all credit, 198; the hatred of all whom the liar has or would have deceived, 199; and an eternal separation from God, 201.
All which particulars are briefly summed up, 202.
THE PRACTICE OF RELIGION ENFORCED BY REASON.
He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely. P. 207.
The life of man is in Scripture expressed by walking; which to do surely, great caution must be taken not to lay down false principles, or mistake in consequences from right ones, 207; but to walk uprightly, under the notion of an infinite Mind governing the world, and an expectation of another state hereafter, 208. Which two principles will secure us in all our actions, whether they be considered,
presuming upon God's mercy, 210.
I. As true, 208. The folly of a sinner Or relying upon a future repentance, 211. Or whether supposed, II. As only probable, 212. No man, in most temporal concerns, acts upon. surer grounds than of probability, 213. And self-preservation will oblige a man to undergo a lesser evil to secure himself from the probability of a greater, 214. Probability supposes that a thing may or may not be; both which are examined with relation to a future state, 214.
III. As false, 216. Under this supposition the virtuous walketh more surely than the wicked, with reference to temporal enjoyments: reputation, 216, quietness, 217, health, 218. Answer to an objection, that many sinners enjoy all these, 219.
Thence we may perceive the folly of atheistical persons, 220, and learn to walk uprightly, as the best ground for our present and future happiness, 222.
OF THE SUPERLATIVE LOVE OF CHRIST TO HIS DISCIPLES.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father, have I made known unto you. P. 224.
The superlative love of Christ appears in the several degrees of his kindness to man, before he was created, 224; when created, ib.; when fallen, 225; whom even he not only spared, but, from the number of subjects, took into the retinue of his servants, and further advanced to the privilege of a friend, ib. The difference between which two appellations is this:
I. That a servant is for the most part, 1. Unacquainted with his master's