« AnteriorContinuar »
S E R M. principal Benefits and Advantages, which XVI. may arisse t0 good men from This con
I. A s to the Signification of the Phrase, having our conversation in Heaven; it may properly be understood to imply, three things.
ijl, -our Meditating frequently upon That Heavenly State, That Kingdom of Truth, Virtue and Happiness, which is proposed to us as the Reward and End of our Christian Warfare. To converse with any Person present, signifies delighting in his Company, or being concerned in his Affairs. To be conversant with any person absent, signifies holding mutual intercourse and correspondence with him j being sollicitous about what is done by him, or happens to him. To have our conversation in a distant Place, signifies being much 'There in our Minds; desiring to have an influence or interejl, in what is done There; and judging, that What passes There, has an influence upon Us, affeSls us nearly, or relates to us more immediately. When .therefore the Apostle affirms, as in the
Text, that our Conversation is in Heaven ;serm. his meaning is, that though our Persons ^VIat present dwell on Earth, yet our greatest Interejt and Concerns are in Heaven. Like a Merchant trading in a distant Country; his present Abode may be in foreign parts, but his Estate, his Family, his settled Habitation, is at home; and 'tis of much more importance to him, what the lasting State of his Affairs is at Home; than what happens to him Abroad, with regard to such Accidental temporary Circumstances, as do not much affect his main Concerns in his own Country. Thus Christians, have their great, their lasting Interest, in Heaven. And though they cannot, they ought not, any more than other men, to be infenstble of what happens to them in this short and transitory life, according to the true proportion of things, and their real value; yet every thing here, ought chiefly to be considered, with regard to the influence 'tis likely to have, upon our suture and eternal State. Which right Judgment and Estimation of things, 'tis impossible men should make; unless by
S E R M. frequent and serious meditation, they so XVI. behold the things invisible, as to bring them
<-/"v"NJ to make proportionally as strong an impression upon the Mind, as Earthly Objects do upon the Senses. Many men, like the Brute Creatures which have No Understanding, seem hardly to think at all upon any thing, but what is present and sensual. But Reason in general, and ChrU stianity in particular, teaches us, and requires of us, to judge of things according to their true and real Value; and to be more concerned about things at present invisible, if they be really of greater and more lasting importance to us, than about things which do Now more immediately afeB our Senses. St Paul, the great Business of whose Life was the Care of the Churches; thus writes to the Corinthians, when at a distance from them; I verily, fays he, as absent in Body, but present in Spirit, l Cor. v. 3; and to the Colosjians, ch. ii. 5. 'though I be absent in the Fleshy yet am I with you in the Spirit, joying and beholding your Order, and the Stedfasiness of your Faith in Christ. The Description
the Apostle here gives of himself, withSerm.
S E R M. by the Love of Truth, and Practice of XVI. virtue, is in a continual Preparation for the State of Heaven. Nevertheless, though the Practice of Virtue and Goodness is indeed the End of all religion, yet frequent and serious Meditation is valuable as a Means to promote That End, and to incourage That Practice.
The proper Subjects in particular to be meditated upon, as being most likely to have an immediate Influence upon the Course of our Lives, and to cause our Conversation on Earth to be effectually preparative for that in Heaven-, are, in the first place, the Nature of God, and of his Relation to Us: the consideration of his being himself a Person infinitely Holy; a Lover of Virtue and all Goodness; a Hater of Iniquity, of Debauchery, and of every Corrupt Practice; a ^w/? and -R/g/k/#?#.? Governour of all things j and a Æo#;z///#/ Rewarder of them who serve and obey him; *'» whose Presence there will finally be fulness of Joy, and */ his right hand Pleasures for evermore.