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concerned for their Interest with the World,
than for their Interest with God; and this is,
in the Language of our Saviour, to receive
Honour one from another, and to neglect the
Honour which cometh from God only. We
have an Instance of this Conduct in the
twenty-fourth of the Afts; As Paul reasoned
of Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgment
to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Gotby
way for this Time; when I have a convenient
Seafon, I will call for thee. You see the na-
tural Working of Conscience, and the Power
of Conviction: A sober, serious Discourse
upon

the great fundamental Points of Reli-
gion threw the Governor into a Fit of trem-
bling, and made him unable to bear the
Presence of his Prisoner. Had this Light
been cherished and encouraged, what noble
Fruits might it have produced ? But the Love
of the World prevailed : The Governor often
communed with St. Paul, but it was in hopes
of getting Money of him for his Release.
When this Hope failed, he permitted the
Preacher of Righteousness, Temperance, and
Judgment to come, to continue in Prison
two Years; and, when he left the Govern-
ment, he left Paul bound, being willing, as
the Text expresses it, tophew the fews a Plea-

Jure,

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fure. You see what Place the Honour of God had in this Man's Affections : He would have sold both God and the People for Money; but, when no Money was to be had, he chose rather to please the People than God; and therefore facrificed his innocent Prisoner, whom in Justice he ought to have set free, to the Prejudices and Resentments of the Jewish Nation. Many denied Christ, for the same Reason that Felix left St. Paul bound, that they might sew the People a PleaJure, and thereby become acceptable to them. Truth and Justice must always suffer, as long as Men determine their Choice by Confiderations of their temporal Interest. These Considerations are fo apt to overbear the Judgment, that our Saviour fpeaks of them in the Text, as if they put Men under a moral Impossibility of acknowledging the Truth: How can ye believe, who receive Honour one of another, and seek not the Honour that cometh from God only?

Secondly, We are to inquire what is meant by seeking the Honour which cometh

from God only.

Them that honour me, I will honour, faith the Lord; and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed. The only way therefore to seek Honour from God, is by paying to God the Honour that is due to him. A sincere Regard to Truth and Justice is the truest Honour, indeed the only Honour we can pay to God. All external Signs of Regard to God, though expressed in the

feek

very

Method prescria bed by himself, become empty Shews, unless they proceed from an honest Heart. Under the Law, Circumcision was the Seal of the Covenant; and under the Gospel, Baptism succeeds in its place. They were both ordained by God; yet of the first St. Paul has said, He is not a few, which is one outwardly; neither is that Circumcihon, which is outward in the Flesh: Bụt be is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and Circumcifion is that of the Heart, in the Spirit, and not in the Letter; whose Praise is not of Men, but of God. And of the second St. Peter has said, Baptism doth now save us; not the putting away the Filth of the Flesh, but the Answer of a good Conscience towards God. But this Matter is directly considered and settled by our blessed Lord in his Sermon on the Mount. In treating on the great Duties of Religion, Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting, he expounds to us what it is to seek the Praise of Men; and what to -feek the Praise of God, and sets before us VOL. III.

the

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the Confequences on both Sides. Take heed, says he, that you do not your Alms before Men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no Reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore when thou doeft thine Alms, do not found a Trumpet before thee, as the Hypocrites do, in the Synagogues, and in the Streets, that they тау

have Glory of Men : Verily I say unto you, They have their Reward. But when thou doeft Alms, let not thy left Hand know what thy right Hand doth, that thine Alms

may

be in fecret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly. The like Injunctions he gives us with respect to Prayer and Fasting; and shews us in every Instance, that to have Regard to Men, and the good Opinion of the World, in the performing of religious Duties, will entitle us to no higher a Reward than the Praise of Men. God will not hold himself obliged, nor can he in Justice be thought obliged, to reward those Works, which are offered up as an Incense to the World, without Regard or Respect to himself. If we seek the Praise of God, we must consider only what will please him, and put the World quite out of the question.

Asit is in practical Duties, fo is it in Faith likewise: He who profeffes to believe in

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Christ, merely because the World about him is in the same Profession, may obtain perhaps the Ease, the Honours, or the Riches which he aims at; and let him make the most of them, he has his Reward; for his temporal Faith will procure him no Praise or Honour from God. If

you

chuse a Religion with an Intention to save your Soul, you must chuse that which will render you most acceptable to God, however it may expose you to the Frowns of the World. Thus it is

you must seek the Honour which cometh from

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God only.

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How differently Men will act in Matters of Religion, when they seek the Praise of Men, and when they seek the Praise of God, may easily be collected from the Knowledge we have of God and the World, and the Measures that are necessary to please them; but I chuse to place it before you in some Instances recorded in Scripture. We read in the seventh of St. John, that many of the People believed on Jefus, and said, When Cbriff cometh, shall be do more Miracles than these, which this Man hath done? The Pharisees were alarmed at this Defection of the People; and to prevent the Growth of the Evil, they with the Chief Priests fend Officers to seize

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