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the doctrine which he taught was true, and from God.

And thus I have thewn you, how the resurrection of Christ from the dead, is a powerful demonstration that he was the son of God.

All that remains, is briefly to draw some practical inferences from the consideration of our Saviour's resurrection.

1. To confirm and establish our minds in the be. lief of the Christian religion, of which the resurre&tion of Christ from the dead is so great a confirmati

And therefore I told you that this one article is mentioned by St. Paul as the sum and abridgment of the Christian faith ; If thou shalt confefs with thy mouth the Lord Jefus Christ, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. The belief of our Saviour's resurrection doth by necessary consequence infer the belief of his whole doctrine ; for he who believes thật God raised him from the dead, after he was put to death for calling himself the Son of God, cannot but believe him to be the Son of God; and consequently that the doctrine which he delivered was from God.

2dly, The resurrection of Christ from the dead afsures us of a future judgment, and of the recompences and rewards of another world. That Christ was raised from the dead, is a demonstration of another life after this; and no man that believes the immor. tality of our souls, and another life after this, ever doubted of a future judgment; so that by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, God hath given afsurance unto all men of a future judgment, and consequently of the recompences and rewards of ano. ther world.

The confideration whereof ought to have a mighty in. fluence upon us,more especially to these three purposes :

ist, To raise our minds above the present enjoyments of this life. Were but men convinced of this great

and obvious truth, that there is an infinite difference between time and eternity, between a few days and everlasting ages ; would we but sometimes represent to ourselves, what thoughts and apprehen. sions dying men have of this world, how yain and empty a thing it appears to them ; how like a pageant and shadow it looks, as it pafseth away from them methinks none of these things could be a sufficient temptation to any man to forget God and his soul ; but notwithstanding all the present delights, and allurements of sense, we should be strongly intent upon the concernments of another world,' and almost wholly taken up with the thoughts of the vast eternity which we are ready to enter into. For what is there in this world, this vast and howling wilderness, this rude and barbarous country which we are but to pass through, which should detain and entangle our affections, and take off our thoughts from our everlasting habitation, from that better, and that heavenly country, where we hope to live and to be happy for ever ?

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2dly, the consideration of the rewards of another world should comfort and support us under the troubles and afflictions of this world. The hopes of a blessed resurrection are a very proper consideration to 'bear us up under the evils and pressures of this life. If we hope for so great a happiness hereafter, we may

be contented to bear some afflictions in this world, because the blessedness which we expect will fo abundantly recompense and outweigh our present sufferings. So the Apostle assures us, Rom. viii

. 18. We know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. The confideration whereof, was that which made the primitive Christians to triumph in their sufferings, and in the midst of all their tribulations to rejoice in the hopes of the glory of God; because their sufferings did really prepare and make way for their glory. So the fame Apostle tells us, 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18. Our light affliétions which are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; whilst we look not at the things which are seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen arè eternal.

3dly, and lastly, The assurance of our future re. ward is a mighty encouragement to obedience and a holy life. What greater encouragement can we have

than this, that all the good which we do in this world will accompany us into the other ? That when we reft from our labours, our works will follow us ? That when we shall be stript of other things, and parted from them, there will ftill remain with us, and bear us company ; our riches and honours, our sensual pleasures and enjoyments will all take their leave of us, when we leave this world ; nay, many times they do not accompany- us so far as the grave, but take occasion to forsake us, when we have the greatest need and use of them ; but piety and virtue are that better part which cannot be taken from us. All the good actions which we do in this world will go along with us into the other, and through the merits of our Redeemer procure for us, at the hands of a gracious and merciful God, a glorious and eternal reward; not according to the meanness of our services, but according to the bounty of his mind, and the vastness of his treafures and estate.

Now what an encouragement is this to holiness and obedience, to consider that it will all be our own another day ; to be assured that whoever serves God faithfully, and does suffer for him patiently, does lay up so much treasure for himself in another world, and provides lasting comforts for himself, and faithful and constant companions, that will never leave him nor forsake him !

Let us then do all the good we can, while we have opportunity, and serve God with all our might, knowing that no good action that we do shall be lost and fall to the ground, that every grace and virtue that we exercise in this life, and every degree of them, Mall receive their full recompence at the resurrection of the just.

How should this inspire us with resolution and zeal and industry in the service of God, to have such ą reward continually in our eye! how should it tempt us to our duty, to have a crown and a kingdom offered to us, joys' unspeakable and full of glory, such things as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of inan! And such are VOL. VI.

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the things which God hath laid up for them who love him heartily, and serve him faithfully in this world.

SERMON CXXI.

The danger of apostacy from Christianity.

T

H E B. vi. 4, 5, 6. For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten

ed, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come ; if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance ; seeing they crucify to themselves the son of God afresh, and put him to an open Mame. \Hese words are full of difficulties, and the

misunderstanding of them hath not only been

an occasion of a great deal of trouble, and even despair to particular persons, but one of the chief reasons why the church of Rome did for a long time reject the authority of this book, which by the way

I cannot but take notice of as a demonftra. tive initance both of the fallible judgment of that church, and of the fallibility of oral tradition for St. Jerom more than once expresly tells us, " That in “ his time (which was about 400 years after Christ) “ the church of Rome did not receive this epistle for ca“ nonical :" But it is plain, that since that time, whether moved by the evidence of the thing, or (which is more probable) by the consent and authority of other churches, they have received it, and do at this day acknowledge it for canonical : from whence one of these two things will necessarily follow ; either that they were in an error for 400 years together, while they rejected it ; or that they have since erred for a longer time in receiving it. One of these is unavoid

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able; for if the book be canonical now, it was so from the beginning, for Bellarınine himself conferseth (and if he had not confessed it, it is nevertheless true and certain ) that the church cannot make a book canonical, which was not so before ; if it was not canonical at first, it cannot be inade so afterward : so that let them choose which part they will, it is evident, beyond all denial, that the church of Rome hath actually erred in her judgment concerning the authority of this book; and one error of this kind is enough to destroy her infallibility, there being no greater evidence that a church is not infallible, than if it plainly appear that she hath been deceived.

And this is also a convincing instance of the fal. libility of oral tradition. For if that be infallible in delivering down to us the canonical books of fcripture, it necessarily follows, that whatever books were delivered down to us for canonical in one age, must have been so in all ages; and whatever was rejected in any age, must always have been rejected: but we plainly see the contrary, from the inftance of this epiftie, concerning which the church of Rome (which pretends to be the great and faithful preserver of tradition) hath in several ages delivered several things. This is a peremptory, instance both of the fallibility of the Roman church, and of her oral tradition.

Having observed this by the way, which I could not well pass by upon so fair an occasion, I shall betake myself to the explication of these words; towards which it will be no small advantage to consider the particular phrafes and expressions in the text. It is impossible for those who were once enlightened ; that is, were solemnly admitted into the church by baptifm, and embraced the profession of Christianity. Nothing was more frequent among the ancients, than to call baptism Owt oliv, illumination; and those who were baptised were called "wTILÓWeroi, enlightened per fons, because of that divine illumination which was conveyed to the minds of men by the knowledge of Christianity, the doctrine whereof they made profession of at their baptism: And therefore

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