« AnteriorContinuar »
ed into the world. The business of the lawyer, and physician, and many handicrafts now in the world, owe their original and necessity to Gn's entrance. Nay, the very business of our own salvation does fo too; for if Adam had stood the time of trial, all his posterity's eternal happiness would have been thereby secured to their hand. But God having settled the manner of the propagation of mankind, as Gen. i. 28. it was an evidence that the succeeding generations were not to be created in their prime as Adam was; but to be born infants, and grow up by degrees, in knowledge of religion and other things, as appears from Luke ii. ult. And this would have afforded this business.
2: It is the business of life, that most singly looks to the honour of God. God is honoured by our working out our own salvation : but then our own advantage bears great stroke in it alowably, as well as his honour; but this is a business carried on not for ourselves, but for God allenarly; and in that respect is the more noble. Hence we find the Apostle willing, for the great end of the propagation of religion, either to live or die, to put off his own eternal happiness for a time, Philip. i. 26. downwards. And he prefers one's edifying the church, to his own comfort, i Cor. xiv. 4. 5. He edifies the church that edifies his house, Neb. iii.
3. It is the business of life, that is the end of life and salvation given to the elect, and all their comforts and enjoyments.
Hence faid our Lord to Peter, Luke xxii. 32. I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when the art converted, strengthen thy brethren. We get life and falvation by believing in Christ; and are as really
pofTefled of eternal life that we can never lose, up-
4. It is the business of life, that the new creature
Lord for a generation. They shall come, and Mall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this. So the woman of Samaria, John iv. 29. Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Chrift? Paul, as soon as he was converted, fell a-propagating the religion that before he persecuted. Grace makes people communicative; and there is never a soul in which the leaven of grace is received, but would, if it could, leaven the whole world with the same.
5. It is the business of life, that is most useful to mankind. And we should remember, that both conscience and interest requires us to live fo, as to be useful to our fellow-creatures : Rom. xiv. 7. For none of us liveth 10 himself, and no man dieth to himself. Some have been great blessings to mankind by their usefulness, in propagating arts and sciences, in relieving the oppressed, and helping the ncedy: bat none so useful as those who have propagated religion among them; as extending not only to their good in this, but the other world, If. xix.
24. 25. And a disposition to be useful to mankind would prompt men to this duty.
6. li is the business of life of the most diffusive usefulness. It brings honour to God, comfort to one's self, and advantage to others; it brings advantage to their souls, tends to make them holy here, and happy hereafter. It reaches not only to the present generation, but to the generations yet un. born ; in fo far as, you propagating religion to your children, they will propagate it again to theirs, and theirs to theirs, and so on. It is to be lamented, that fome children follow not the steps of their religious parents. But every body may observe, that there are fome families wherein one generation after another appears for God; others wherein, generation after generation, religion can never get place among them. Trace these back, and ye may come to one that was careful to propagate religion to his children, and his children propagated it again to theirs, and so on; and to another that had no care that way about his children, and his children had as little again about theirs, and so on.
7. lastly, It is the business of life that is the most valuable, most worthy of the dignity of an immortal foul, and likest the life that Christ led in the world. The businefs of most men is nothing but laborious trifling; their thoughts, cares, and time, are wholly spent on things pertaining to this life ; as if they had souls of no other constitution than their bodies. It is nothing like the life of Christ, who went about doing good, propagating religion : 1 Pet. ii. 21. Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye mould follow his fteps. Compared with 1 John ii. 6. He that faith
he abideth in him, ought himself also go to walk, e. Ven as he walked.
IV. The fourth thing proposed was, to shew, what respect it is the special privilege of life.
1. It is that whereby we may honour God moft, and so answer the end of our creation most. In our own embracing of religion we receive the light, in propagating of it we diffuse the light received to the greater glory of God: i Pet. ii. 9. re are a chofen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people ; that ye should new forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darknefs into his marvellous light. Hence among those who turn from sin unto righteousness, those who turn most of others to it, will have the greatest glory : Dan. xii
. 3. They that be wife, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the star's for ever and ever.
2. It is that whereby we may be most useful in the world to others. No benefit done to our fel. low-creatures is comparable to it. We have indeed access to do for their temporal advantage, but this is for their eternal. And when the opportunity of life is over, there is no more doing that way, Luke xvi. 27. downwands.
USE. 6. Of Reproof to several sorts of persons, And, 1. To those who make no conscience of
propagating religion to their families, among their children and fervants. Every man is by divine appointment the prophet of his own family to teach them, the priest to worship God with them, and
the king to rule them. Each will maintain his own authority to his power ; but family-worship with many is not so closely stuck to, but familyteaching least of all, which is yet commanded of God : Deut. vi. 6. 7. These words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou salt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkejt by the way, and when thou lieft down, and when thou riseft up. The want of this makes ministerial teaching in preaching and examination fo’unsuccessful. How will men answer this neglect of the special business of life?
2. To those who are backward and averse to receive family-instruction, or submit to family disciplinc, checks and reproofs for their miscarriages. They will get away from family-catechising on fabbath-nights, shift family exercise, and cannot endure to be checked for their miscarriages ; and therefore they like best to be in those families where least of these is to be found. But if it is the duty of others to propagate religion to you, it is on the peril of your souls yę refuse to receive it. It will aggravate your condemnation, John ir. 10.
3. To those who set an ill example before those that are younger than they. Much of the corruption of children is owing to the ill examples set them by parents, fervants, and others whom they are near. This lets them see much ill which they would otherwise be ignorant of; and the bias of their nature lying that way, they are by that means carried down the stream. So a woe is brought on themselves, and them that set them the copy : Matth. xvii. 76. Woe unto the world because of offen.