Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

this commission, The Gospel is come, and bringeth forth fruit to all the world' : and upon those, and such places, have some of the fathers been pleased to ground their literal exposition, of an actual and personal preaching of the apostles over all the world. 1 But had they dreamed of this world which hath been discovered since, into which, we dispute with perplexity, and intricacy enough, how any men came at first, or how any beasts, especially snch beasts as men were not likely to carry, they would never have doubted to have admitted a figure, in that, The Gospel was preached to all the world; for when Augustus's decree went out, That all the world should be taxed5, the decree and the tax went not certainly into the West Indies ; when St. Paul says, That their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world", and that Their obedience was come abroad unto all meno?, surely the West Indies had not heard of the faith and the obedience of the Romans. But as in Moses's time, they called the Mediterranean Sea, the Great Sea, because it was the greatest that those men had then seen, so in the apostles' time, they called that, all the world, which was known and traded in then; and in all that, they preached the Gospel. So that as Christ, when he said to the apostles, I am with you, unto the end of the world, could not intend that of them in person, because they did not last to the end of the world, but in a succession of apostolic men, so when he says, the apostles should preach him to all the world, it is of the succession to.

Those of our profession that go, you, that send them who go, do all an apostolical function. What action soever, hath in the first intention thereof, a purpose to propagate the Gospel of Christ Jesus, that is an apostolical action. Before the end of the world come, before this mortality shall put on immortality, before the creature shall be delivered of the bondage of corruption under which it groans 29, before the martyrs under the altar shall be silenced, before all things shall be subdued to Christ, his kingdom perfected, and the last enemy death destroyed ; the Gospel must be preached to those men to whom ye send; to all men ; further

24 Col. i. 5, 6. 27 Rom. xvi. 19.

25 Luke ii. 1.

28 Matt. xxviii. 20.

29 Rom. i. 8.

29 Rom. 8.

and hasten you this blessed, this joyful, this glorious consummation of all, and happy reunion of all bodies to their souls, by preacliing the Gospel to those men. Preach to them doctrinally, preach to them practically ; enamour them with your justice, and (as far as may consist with your security), your civility; but inflame them with your godliness and your religion. Bring them to love and reverence the name of that king, that sends men to teach them the ways of civility in this world, but to fear and adore the name of that King of kings that sends men to teach them the ways of religion, for the next world. Those!", amongst you, that are old now, shall pass out of this world with this great comfort, that you contributed to the beginning of that commonwealth, and of that church, though they live not to see the growth thereof to perfection : Apollos watered, but Paul planted *°; he that begun the work, was the greater man. And you that are young now, may live to see the enemy as much impeached by that place, and your friends, yea children, as well accommodated in that place, as any other. You shall have ! · made this island, which is but as the suburbs of the old world, a bridge, a gallery to the new; to join all to that world that shall never grow old, the kingdom of heaven. You shall add persons to this kingdom, and to the kingdom of heaven, and add names to the books of our chronicles, and to the book of life.

To end all, as the orators which declaimed in the presence of the Roman emperors, in their panegyrics, took that way to make those emperors see, what they were bound to do, to say in those public orations, that those emperors had done so (for that increased the love of the subject to the prince, to be so told, that he had done those great things, and then it conveyed a counsel into the prince to do them after), as their way was to procure things to be done, by saying they were done, so beloved I have taken a contrary way: for when I, by way of exhortation, all this while have seemed to tell you what should be done by you, I have, indeed, but told the congregation, what hath been done already: neither do I speak to move a wheel that stood still, but to keep the wheel in due motion ; nor persuade you to begin, but to continue a good work; nor propose foreign, but your

80 i Cor. iii. 6. VOL. VI.

2

own examples, to do still, as you have done hitherto. For, for that, that which is especially in my contemplation, the conversion of the people, as I have received, so I can give this testimony, that of those persons, who have sent in moneys, and concealed their names, the greatest part, almost all, have limited their devotion, and contribution upon that point, the propagation of religion, and the conversion of the people ; for the building and beautifying of the house of God, and for the instruction and education of their young children. Christ Jesus himself is yesterday, and to-day, and the same for ever. In the advancing of his glory, be you so too, yesterday, and to-day, and the same for ever, here; and hereafter, when time shall be no more, no more yesterday, no more to-day, yet for ever and ever, you shall enjoy that joy, and that glory, which no ill accident can attain to diminish, or eclipse it.

[ocr errors]

PRAYER.

We return to thee again, O God, with praise and prayer; as for all thy mercies from before minutes began, to this minute, from our election to this present beam of sanctification which thou hast shed upon us now. And more particularly, that thou hast afforded us that great dignity, to be, this way, witnesses of thy Son Christ Jesus, and instruments of his glory. Look graciously and look powerfully upon this body, which thou hast been now somo years in building and compacting together, this plantation. Look graciously upon the head of this body, our sovereign, and bless him with a good disposition to this work, and bless him for that disposition: look graciously upon them, who are as the brain of this body, those who, by his power and counsel, advise and assist in the government thereof; bless them with disposition to unity and concord, and bless them for that disposition : look graciously upon them who are as eyes of this body, those of the clergy, who have any interest therein : bless them with a disposition to preach there, to pray here, to exhort everywhere for the advancement thereof, and bless them for that disposition. Bless them who are the feet of this body, who go thither, and the hands of this body,

who labour there, and them who are the heart of this body, all that are heartily affected, and declare actually that heartiness to this action; bless them all with a cheerful disposition to that, and bless them for that diposition. Bless it so in this calm, that when the tempest comes, it may ride it out safely ; bless it so with friends now, that it may stand against enemies hereafter; prepare thyself a glorious harvest there, and give us leave to be thy labourers, that so the number of thy saints being fulfilled, we may with better assurance join in that prayer, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and so meet all in that kingdom which the Son of God hath purchased for us with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. To which glorious Son of God, &c. Amen.

24+

SERMON CLVII.

A SERMON OF COMMEMORATION OF THE LADY DANVERS,

LATE WIFE OF SIR JOHN DANVERS*. PREACHED AT
CHILSEY, WHERE SHE WAS BURIED, JULY 1, 1627.

Tue PRAYER BEFORE THE SERMON. O ETERNAL and most glorious God, who sometimes in thy justice dost give the dead bodies of the saints to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth, so that their blood is shed like water, and there is none to bury them': who sometimes sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price’: and yet never leavest us without that knowledge, that precious in thy sight is the death of thy saints”; enable us, in life and death, seriously to consider the value, the price, of a soul. It is precious, O Lord, because thine image is stamped, and imprinted upon it; precious, because the blood of thy Son was paid for it; precious, because thy blessed Spirit, the Holy Ghost, works upon it, and tries it, by his divers fires ; and precious, because it is entered into thy revenue, and made a part of thy treasure. Suffer us not therefore, O Lord, so to undervalue ourselves, nay, so to impoverish thee, as to give away those souls, thy souls, thy dear and precious souls, for nothing; and all the world is nothing, if the soul must be given for it. We know, O Lord, that our rent, due to thee, is our soul: and the day of our death is the day, and our deathbed the place, where this rent is to be paid. And we know too that he that hath sold his soul before, for unjust gain, or given away his soul before, in the society and fellowship of sin, or lent away his soul, for a time, by a lukewarmness, and temporizing, to the dishonour of thy name, to the weakening of thy cause, to the discouraging of thy servants, he comes to that day, and to that place, his death, and death-bed, without any rent in his hand, without any soul to this purpose, to surrender it unto thee. Let therefore, O Lord, the same hand which is to

* Mother of George Herbert. Vide Walton's Life of Herbert.
Psalm Lxxix. 3.
? Psalm xliv. 12.

3 Psalm cxvi. 15.

1

« AnteriorContinuar »