Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

on.

light in him ; these are the very acts of religion, as to God.

Now the other are acts towards religiThis is a great mistake in some men, they think that the discharge of several offices and obfervances about religion, that these are religion : but they are mistaken ; for these things are but to work them into a religious frame. For religion is a holy and devout frame of mind, and a good life. And all those things that have place in order to other things, if those other things are not attained by them, they signify little. Here is a plain discovery whether men be indeed made better by the instrumental part of religion. When men come not by the means to be settled in a state of real religion, become not really humble, modest, sober, temperate, chaste, &c. and brought to live in the true reverence, fear and regard and awe of God, and to delight in him, to put their trust and affiance in him. I say, if men in the use of the instrumental part of religion, be not brought to these things ; if they be frustrated, and attain not these effects, they are all vain, and no ways considerable with God.

Now to conclude all in a word. You see what the christian religion doth consist of ; an internal frame and temper of mind, which is productive of a holy life, and true motion towards God, in all the actions of religion. It doth also import a divine fpia rit for our enlivening, acting and guiding of us. We are therefore to charge ourselves with a due preparation and qualification of mind, that we may be fit to receive and entertain such an inhabitant. If we are to be an habitation of God through the spirit, ihen we are to purify our spirits, that we may be fit to entertain such an inhabitant. 'Tis exprest by Moses, that the children of Israel should take care that no unclean thing should be found in the camp because God would walk thro' it, Deut. xxiii. 14. There ought to be no unclean lust found in us, nor naughty disposition, as pride, envy, malice, hatred, ill-will, or any malignity of mind ; because we are to entertain so glorious an inhabitant as the holy fpirit. For that God, who is the high and lofty one, he dwells also here below in qualified and prepared souls, viz. in souls that are purified, and discharged from envy, malice, pride, ill-will, and such like naughty dispositions.

then

Religion, as it doth denote an obligation on our parts to God, fo it doth denote a disposition and preparation on our part for God. So that by religion we come to be in fellowship with God; and by irreligion and profaneness men come to be pofseft and hurried on by the devil. By delight in, and by continuance in evil, men work themselves into a devilish state and temper : just as the apostle, Aets xiii. 10. saith unto Simon Magus, thou child of the devil, ihou enemy of all righteousness, why hath satan filled thine heart ? So that I may conclude with the observation, that I have often quoted ; every one of us in respect of his mind and soul, will be a place of residence, either for the good spirit of God, or for the evil spirit; every foul is either the spouse of Christ, or else adulterated by the devil. Therefore consent not to iniquity, but always live in the ob

servance

[ocr errors]

395 servance of the difference of good and evil ; That fo we may invite the divine spirit to dwell with us, and take up

his abode in us. For if we live in fin, and give consent to iniquity, we give occasion to the divine spirit to withdraw; and as he doth withdraw, the evil spirit will approach.

DISCOURSE XLIX.

The DECENCY of Life recommended

by RELIGION.

ROM. xiii. 13.
Ευχημόνως περιπατήσωμεν.
Let us walk with a grace.

I

Mention the original, because I have taken the liberty to vary from the translation, which faith

let us walk honestly. Which word honestly, though it be included, yet it is not exact according to the Greek. Let us wolk gracefully ; as for the credit of the gospel, beautifully, comely, venerably, suitable and proportionable to the principles of christianity. Let us walk with a grace, so as to be above the contempt of

any, to command reverence and esteem. This is the import of the words; and I find it thus used by other authors. What is comely, what is orderly. So that if you do fulfil this text, you are as beautiful and as orderly in your motion, as the fun, inoon and stars, which are known by their ex

act

act order. This is the account of the words : and according to this account I shall give you some few obfervations. Only in the first place, I cannot but give my text a great advantage, by telling you, that it was the cause of the conversion of that famous instrument of God to the church of God, St. Auguftine ; who as he was in error, so he was debauched, till by providence he took up the bible, and fell upon this place of scripture. This to recommend the words.

I shall now give you some parallel scriptures that go upon the same notion. Whatsoever things are venerable, Phil. iv. 8. Follow that which is honest, 2 Cor. xiii. i

7. I Cor. vii. 35. I Cor. xi. 13. which is the apostles compass whereby he guides himself, that that men ought to aim at ; that that is comely ; that that is fit, that that a man ought to aim at, even in matter of liberty. Let all things be done decently, and in order. 1 Cor. xiv. 40. This is the rule whereby to govern, that all things be done decently. If you go to the old testament; he hath made every thing beautiful in his time ; Eccl. iii. 11. speaking how a man should use providences in this life. Rejoice in the Lord, Oye righteous ; for praise is comely for the upright, Pfalm. xxxiii. 1. Praise ye the Lord ; for it is good to sing praises unto our God : for it is pleasant ; and praise is comely, Psal. cxlvii. 1. And now, that I

may
lead
you

to understand the notion, I will lay before you the rule whereby you are to estimate and judge of this decency, comeliness, and order : and to this rule you are to comply. The rule is in things; there is the reason of things ;

and

and this is an undoubted, infallible, unquestionable rule ; and a rule that is as sure as the nature of God, as sure as the verity and truth of God's creation. For you are to understand, that the reason of things is a law to the reason of the mind. Truth and goodness are first in things, and then in the mind and understanding. My mind is true, when I do understand as the truth of things is ; my mind is good, when I do comply with things that are good, and abhor things that are evil. For it is not all one for a voluntary and intelligent agent to do either one thing or another : for there are fixt rules of right ; and whosoever doth comply with these, doth righteousness; and whosoever doth vary from them, doth sinfully. To know and discern this, is a man's understanding and wisdom ; and to comply with it is his goodness, integrity, and uprightness. Therefore of the difference of things; there are some that are comely, beautiful, handsome, graceful, and becoming a person of ingenuity to do them; and others that are ugly, irregular, and absurd, which bring shame and guilt upon the person so employed. Now by the help of their reason and understanding, men have power to judge ; and by their freedom have liberty to do according to their judgment. Therefore man alone is able to do that that is moral : the understanding doth judge and discern what it ought to do (according as things are ;) and then the will should follow. For how monstrous were it, that the blind should lead the way ?

There is that in God himself that is more beautiful than will. It is not majesty and glory divid

ed

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »