« PreviousContinue »
itself, not regularly, but in various Instances. Many good Christians have complained of a Coldness sometimes in their Devotion, and of wandering and roving Thoughts; which įs, without doubt, one of those Weaknesses that shall be forgiven to pious and sincere Christians. Will you
then make this one of your Sins of Infirmity, an Evil that carries įts Excuse always with it? Surely no: For, though it shall be forgiven some, it will be an Aggravation of the Guilt of others, who have not the same sincere Obedience and good Disposition to plead in their Excuse. Some are troubled with impious and blafphemous Thoughts, unworthy Conceptions of God and Christ, and suffer a prodigious Torment and Anxiety of Mind because of them, who are Objects of Pity and Compassion both to God and Man: And when this is the Case of well-disposed Persons, who are no ways consenting to them, there seems to be as little Guilt in them, as in a Fever or an Ague.
Upon the whole then : Since there is so little Reason to depend upon this Excuse, and since all Men in some Degree stand in need of it, I will thew you the Way, and I know but one Way of entitling o’rselves to this
Plea, which is by endeavouring sincerely and universally to obey the Will of God; then shall we be in the Number of those, whose Infirmities for the sake of Christ shall be forgiven.
IS AIAH liii. 3. He is despised and rejected of Men, a Man of
Sorrows, and acquainted with Grief.
CM* HEN our Lord was led away
to be crucified, and the WoW
men bewailed and lamented his OSX
Misery, he turned about to
them, and said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for
yourselves. Words, which we may very properly apply to ourselves for the Direction of our Devotion on this Day of his Crucifixion : A Day it is of Sorrow and Mourning, but not for his fake, who, crowned with Glory and Honour, is set down on the right Hand of the Majesty on high; but for our own, whose Sins brought down this Load of Woe and of
Misery upon our blessed Redeemer. If we consider with how unbounded a Love he embraced us in our lowest State of Weaka ness, and with how cool an Affection we daily approach to him; how much he gladly endured upon our Account, and how unwillingly we suffer any thing upon his; if we reflect how earnestly he laboured to save our Souls, and how carelessly and wantonly we throw them away; what Pains and Sorrows he underwent to perfect our Redemption; and to what empty Pleasures we sacrifice all his Sufferings, and our own eternal Happiness, it will shew us where the true Cause of our Grief lies, and how vainly we compliment our Lord, by venting our Indignation against his antient Crucifiers, which ought to be spent upon ourselves, who are daily renewing his Shame, and crucifying him afresh.
Whilst therefore I reprefent unto you this Scene of Woe, and endeavour to place before you this Man of Sorrow, acquainted with Grief, let every Christian Heart fupply this necessary Admonition, All this he suffered for my fake; then cast one Look upon yourfelves, and see how you have deserved all this Love: This will teach you how to divide your Affections, to admire and adore the on
bounded Goodness of your Redeemer, and to lament and weep only for yourselves.
Many Prophecies there are relating to our Lord, which regard only some particular Actions and Circumstances of his Life; but this in the Text points at no single Calamity that befel him, but is a general Description of his Condition during his Abode on Earth : It begins at his Cradle, and ends with his Cross, pursuing him in every Step, and discovers to us the Son of God through the darkest Veil of Sorrow and Affliction.
Known unto God are all bis Works from the Beginning of the World: In Wisdom he ordained them all, and in Mercy he has revealed some of them to the Children of Men. How gracious was it in him to forewarn the World by the Spirit of Prophecy of the mean Appearance of their Redeemer, that their Faith might be armed against the Reproach and Contempt which attended his Poverty, and the great Scandal of his Cross ! In human Reckoning a mean Condition bespeaks a mean Man; but here the Case is otherwise : For, when God had foretold the mean Appearance of his Son, his Poverty became a Proof of his Authority, and the Lowness of his Condition thewed the Ex