Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

In a word, God deals with us as free and accountable creatures; requiring from us a right use of those powers we have ; and, upon that condition only, supplying us with those we want. He will give us such a measure of his Grace, as shall make our endeavors effectual; but not such as shall be effectual without them. He offers us a sufficient assistance, and, therein, is His mercy; we ourselves are to apply for it, and, therein, is our freedom. Hence we, may, easily, learn in what cases we have no right to expect God's assistance, and in what we may, reasonably, depend upon it. Now, if we cast ourselves unnecessarily, upon such circumstances as naturally lead to sin, it is not to be expected that God shall prevent the ill consequences of them. For instance; is a man addicted to licentiousness P Let him avoid such places and company as are apt to tempt him into it; otherwise, if he ventures upon them, he is, actually, resisting God's Grace; and that, surely, can never be the way to obtain God's Grace to resist the temptation. Is another hasty and passionate P Let him, carefully, shun all occasions that may irritate and enflame him; otherwise, it is but reasonable to suppose, that God will leave him to himself; and, if he will needs meet his enemy upon such unequal terms, he must not wonder at any ill consequences that follow. Above all things, we should be cautious how we, needlessly, engage ourselves in such a course of life, as from our constitution and complexion, we know must lay temptations before us; for miracles are no mere to be expected in the moral world, than in the natural. If we, knowingly, venture into an house that has the plague,

we must expect to be infected; if we, intentionally, run ourselves ourselves into temptations, we must expect to sih. God intended his Grace to support, not to supersede, our endeavors; to supply our wants, but not our neglects. . On the contrary, be our callings, our conditions, or circumstances, what they will, let them be such only as Providence hath made necessary, and Providence will make them beneficial too ; and whatever temptations, naturally, meet us in our way, God will, if we be not first wanting to ourselves, support us under them ; in His due time, deliver us out of them; and, at last, infinitely reward us for them. I conclude with a few observations. Can any thing be more effectual than the doctrine, which has been laid down, to prevent us from being envious at other men's conditions, or uneasy in our own 2 For in this, all mankind are upon a level, being all candidates for happiness alike, and alike expecting to meet with temptations in our way to it. God only knows what temptations we are most able to bear; and it is for Him, therefore, to proportion our circumstances accordingly. Let no man, therefore, covet either the riches or greatness of another to himself; since his poverty may, perhaps, be his best security; and Providence may have, therefore, placed him low, in order to keep him safe. Again. Can any thing be a greater comfort to us, under all the difficulties and calamities of life, than to consider, that they are but as trials, which may be endured; and which, if endured, are sure to be rewarded ? “Blessed is the man that endureth temp“ tation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the “crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to “ them “ them that love Him.” “And what He hath pro“ mised, shall He not fulfil P Heaven and earth “shall pass away, but His word shall not pass away.” So that, be our enemies ever so subtle to deceive, or powerful to hurt us; be ourselves, on the contrary, ever so ignorant to foresee dangers, or weak to resist them, yet may we depend upon infinite wisdom to guide, and almighty power to protect us. By way of caution, lastly: hence we are, clearly, taught how to depend upon God's aid, so as, certainly, not to fail of it, and that is, to expect it, only, on such terms as he hath promised it; that is, in a way suitable to our nature, and in eoncurrence with our endeavors. Our utmost care, and God's Grace are to go together in our Salvation; our care, as absolutely necessary; though it is from God's Grace only that it can prove effectual. These God hath joined together; and what God hath joined together, let no man, as he values his soul, ever presume to put asunder.

Vol. III. H . SERMON

[blocks in formation]

ST. BARNABAS was of Jewish extraction, though born in

the island of Cyprus, being descended from parents of the house of Levi, who had settled in that country (Acts iv. 36). He was sent to Jerusalem to perfect his studies, in the Jewish Law, under the tuition of Gamaliel. He is supposed to be one of the seventy disciples sent out by our Saviour to preach the Gospel. He readily complied with that injunction of the Apostles for throwing all their wealth into a common stock, for the better propagation of the Gospel, by selling “ his land, and laying the money at the Apostles' feet; which, some authors say, was a large estate in Cyprus. His first public employ was to settle a Christian Church at Antioch, several Jews in that city being well disposed to the faith in Christ, by the conversation and preaching of some Christians, who were scattered abroad upon the persecution which arose about Stephen, and had fled to that city. Here his labors had great success; and, the converts multiplying upon him very fast, he went to Tarsus to bring Paul thither, to be his fellow-laborer in that great work of the conversion of so populous a city. Here God blessed their joint labors with wonderful success, the number of the faithful growing so considerable, as to be distinguished by the name of Christians first in that city (Acts xi. 22). After continuing some time here, Paul and Barnabas were separated to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles at a more remote distance. Which they accordingly did, planting

many

[ocr errors]

many Churches in Asia Minor, for the space of three years, travelling and preaching together. At last there happened a contention between them, which occasioned them to part asunder, and preach separately; which God ordered for the good of the Church, and the Gospel being further propa

gated by their preaching singly, than it would have been by the joint labors of two such eminent Apostles. After this, he is said to have settled the Gospel in his native country of Cyprus; and, sailing from thence into Italy, to have planted Christianity in Milan, not being suffered to come to Rome, by reason of the edict of Claudius, which had prohibited all Jews to come into that city.

* John xv. 12.

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as Z - have loved you.

THE design of our Blessed Saviour in coming into the world was first, by his Atonement and propitiation to restore lost mankind to the favor of God; and then to offer to us a sublime Religion, the observance of whose precepts is the express condition on which we shall be entitled to the participation of the happiness He had, previously, but conditionally, purchased for us. Among the several virtues comprized in that divine

code, I shall, at this time, direct your attention to one in particular, which, justly, claims to be engraven on every heart—it is, the love of one another.

* Never before printed.

H 2 The

« ZurückWeiter »