Imágenes de páginas

they now, through a lightness of heart, which is heavy, heavy to every gracious soul?

Secondlv, I shall shew, what is the import of this petition with reference to the will of God's providence. It imports,

First, A confession, (1.) Of a natural aptness in all men to quarrel, repine, and murmur against the methods and disposals of Providence, Numb. xiv. 2. No king's management is so freely canvassed and censured by the subjects, as the King of heaven's management in this world is by the hearts of men. An all-wise Providence guides the world, in every particular; but where is the man that has not some quarrel or other with it?

[1.] Kind providences towards others are grudged, Mat. xx. 15. Though God is the Sovereign Lord of all, and all things are his own, and he is debtor to none, men are prone to quarrel the disposal of his benefits, as if they would teach him on whom to bestow his favours.

[2.] Afflictive providences towards one's self are quarrelled. The foolish heart speaks as one of the foolish women, Job ii. 10. Though the worst we meet with in the world is short of our deservings, yet how does the heart rise against the smallest evils laid upon us! When the yoke of affliction is wreathed about one's neck, the unsubdued heart rages under it, like a wild bull in a net.

(2.) Of a natural backwardness to fall in with the designs of providence of one sort or other. God teaches by kind providences, and afflictive ones too. But such is the perverseness of human nature, that it scorns to be led by the one, Rom. ii. 4. or to be driven with the other, Jer. v. 3. Whether God write men's duty in white or black lines of providence, the heart is disposed not to fall in with it, Matth. xi. 16,17.

Secondly, A profession, (1.) Of the saints sorrow for this disposition of heart crossing the will of God. It is a burden to them, and the renewed nature hereby enters a dissent against this quarrelling of the corrupt nature against the will of God, Jer. xxxi. 18. They condemn themselves for not submitting cheerfully to, and falling in readily with the divine will in all things. It is one of the greatest struggles which a child of God has, to get his will conformed to the will of God.

(2.) Of the faith of the power of grace to subdue the will


to this conformity. So they hereby put their stony refractory heart into the heart-changing hand to melt it down, and make it pliable, Jer. xxxi. 18, forecited. And it is the comfort of all the saints, that there is a remedy of sufficient grace in Jesus Christ, for the removing of the natural perverseness of their wills. Thirdly, A desire of grace for a thorough compliance with the will of God’s providence. Which extends to, 1. A submission to the will of God inafflicting providences. This is our duty, whatever be our trial, Psal. xxxix. 9. “I was dumb,” says David, ‘I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.” But it is a difficult duty, because of that corrupt self-love which cries for ease, and so much prevails in all men; because of that blindness of men’s minds, whereby they take that which is really for their good to be for evil to them, and because we are all so much wedded to our own will. Therefore the saints desire the removal of these im diments by God’s grace, and the subduing of their hearts to a submission. - - - - - - - - - 2. A thankful acceptance of merciful and kind providences, Luke i. 38. This is our duty also ; but it is the natural bias of our hearts to sacrifice to our own met, and to forget and overlook God's goodness in these; to sit down to the covered table of kind providence, not looking up with due acknowledgments to him who has provided it. So it is the saints desire to have grace to enable them to receive thankfully. - . . . . . . . i 3. A compliance with the design of providences of all sorts. We must act according to the will of providence, Acts xiii. 36. and we have need of grace for it. When God by his providence puts workin our hands, and gives us abilities and occasions to serve him, we are obliged to employ all for his service, else we answer not the design. Mercies and rods have a call. And every one is by providence put in some particular station, with some talents, less or more, for the duties of that station. He does the will of God's providence, that em. ploys his interest, gifts, and abilities in his calling, moving in his own sphere prudently, constantly, and vigorously, as those in heaven do. Fourthly, A consent to the will of God, a yielding of the heart to that it may be done. Our Lord gave us a copy of this resignation to the will of God in his bitter sufferings,

_-- - - - - - - - - - - ---------------

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Matth. xxvi. 42. ‘O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.’ And the church in Paul's case wrote after this copy, Acts xxi. 14. saying, “The will of the Lord be done.’ And whatever befalls the church, ourselves, or others, by the will of providence, there ought to be a humble resignation to the will

bf God in it all.

IV. I shall give the reasons why the saints have such a concern that the will of God may be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 1. Because it is most just, holy, reasonable, and equitable, in all things, and they see it so, Psal. cxix. 128. “I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right.” Psal. cxlv. 17. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” God is holy and just in his own nature, and can command, demand, or inflict nothing that is unjust. He can do no wrong to the creature, nor can he bid the creature to do any thing wrong. He is infinitely wise, and knows how to guide the world best. What wonder, then, they be concerned his will be done, since it is the best that can be done?

2. Because the glory of God, which of all things is dearest to the saints, is deeply interested in this matter, God is perfectly glorified in heaven, because there his will is done perfectly: but he is dishonoured on earth, because his will is not obeyed and submitted to there. It is by this that his Spirit is vexed, his will being crossed and contradicted by vile WOTInS. * 3. Because this would make a heaven on earth. If there was such a harmony betwixt earth and heaven, that God’s will were done in the one, as in the other, it would make on earth,

(1.) A heaven for beauty and order of all things. There is a comely order in heaven, because all there keep their own place, and follow the will of the Creator in all things. But sin has filled the earth with confusion and disorder, which will never be rectified till those on earth return to move according to rule, viz. the will of the creature. What would become of us, if the sun and moon were as irregular in their motions as we are :

(2.) A heaven for happiness. The happiness of men fies

* - - - - z - ---- - - - * -

in their assimulation to God; and they are so far like him as they conform to his will. Were our will perfectly conformed to the will of God, we could never be miserable; for if God's will were our will, nothing could befal us against our will; we would be pleased with all that we meet with.

Use. Are we directed thus to pray? Then,

1. We ought to be very careful to know what is the will of God in the several passages of our life, Eph. v. 10. Lest We mistake his will, or overlook it, we should study his word, that we may do it; and study his works, that we may comply with the call of them. For we can never be doers of the will of God, if we know it not. It is impossible that an ignorant person can do the will of God; and therefore it behoves us, if we would do his will, carefully to search the scriptures, and narrowly consider the works of God. .

2. Let us be careful to do the will of God's commands, in such sort as we may most nearly resemble those in heaven, doing it evenly, unweariedly, uniyersally, humbly, cheerfully, readily, and constantly, as you heard the saints desire to do. And let us never forget to comply with this great commandment, of believing in the name of Jesus Christ; for if this be not done in the first place, we cannot possibly do the will of God in any other thing. Faith is the foundation of all acceptable obedience to the will of God, leads to it, and animates the soul therein. For motives, consider,

Mot. (1.) We are under the greatest obligations to the doing of the will of God. God is our Creator, our Sovereign Lord and Ruler, and therefore has a just title to our obedience. The Creator's authority, and the Redeemer's love and grace, so amply displayed in the work of our redemption, loudly call for our obeying the will of God. The law is given us as the matter and rule of our obedience; and we are rer deemed by Christ, that we may be holy, and comply with the whole will of God revealed to us.

(2.) It is only the doers of his will that shall get to heaven, Matth. vii. 21. There is a reward of grace to be reaped afterwards for it. * In keeping of the divine commandments,' says the Psalmist, 'there is great reward.' None are fit or qualified for the work and employment of heaven but holy persons, and none can be holy without doing the whole will of God. Obedience to bis will is an infallible

evidence of holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (3.) Since his will is manifested to us in his word and works, the neglect of it will lay us open to double stripes, Luke xii. 47. Since God has been pleased to write to us the great things of his law, and to reveal his will respecting both matters of faith and practice, we can have no pretence for ignorance, nor room to plead that we know not what is our duty. All pleas of ignorance are as inexcusable as those of neglect, which shall be rejected at the great day, and all neglecters of the will of God punished with everlasting deStruction. 3. Lastly, Let us be careful to comply with the will of Divine Providence. And, (1.) Let us consider what the dispensations of the day towards the church, and towards ourselves, do call for, and comply therewith. While the Lord's hand is stretched out, and he threatens to take away his peace from us, [1..] Let us examine ourselves, smiting on our breasts, and saying, What have I done to kindle the fire of the Lord's anger ? [2] Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and have a deep concern for the preservation of truth and peace; that the Lord may support his own cause, bless the gospel for the conversion of sinners, and the edification of all who have given their names to Christ. (2.) Let us be submissive under all afflicting providences, laying our hands on our mouths, accepting the punishment of our sins, and justifying God in whatever we meet with.

[ocr errors]

MATTH. vi. 11.-Give us this day our daily bread.

HE former three petitions respect God's glory; and the latter three our own welfare. In the first three we are directed to pray for the advancement of his name, kingdom, and will, and in the last three for our own temporal and spiritual good. The order is divine, and teaches us this

« AnteriorContinuar »