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suaded you will do me the justice to believe, that, your benefit is the principle object I have in view. Therefore let us consider the case fairly and impartially. I know the excuse you have to offer for not attending the prayers of the church on Wednesdays and Fridays-you are busy, and have not time.And indeed, I must admit this excuse as sufficient with those whose employment or situation places them at a great distance from the church, and whose families depend upon their daily labour: therefore I must argue the case more particularly with those who are near the church. To them I answer, that the time of their attendance is short; not much more than half an hour twice in a week; and that this little portion of time cannot occasion any very great interruption in their affairs. Let them ask their own hearts seriously, whether they would not be prevailed upon to spare twice as much time, on any day in the week, upon motives of curiosity or vanity? And is the favour of God so light a matter? Will they always think, that a trifling visit, or an empty sight, is rather to be sought than the pardon of their sins, and the blessing of heaven? Will they think so in the hour of death, or the day of judgment? If they dare not insist upon such excuses then, in the presence of God, why should they depend upon them now.

But let me suppose charitably, that they are persuaded in their own minds, that the business of their calling is the first thing required of them; that the worship of God ought to give way to it; and that their diligence will turn to a better account than their devotion: if this is their reckoning, they will find on farther consideration, that it is very ill grounded. For man in this life is never independent of God; he doth not work alone; but God worketh with him in

every thing that is good and lawful. If he conforms himself to the will of God, his work will be more likely to prosper, than if he consulteth himself only. If the wisdom of the earth is not tempered and regulated by the wisdom of heaven, it will at last find itself disappointed. And however strange this may seem to a man, who at the week's end thinks himself well able to reckon up all the profit of his labour; yet I can tell him of a much stranger thing, which is undoubtedly true upon Christian principles, though it sounds like a contradiction-He that saveth his life shall lose it-He that saveth his life against the will of God, shall lose it against his own will; or, he shall save for awhile the life of his body, and lose for ever the life of his soul. May it not well be said then, he that saveth his time shall lose it? He shall be out in his reckoning; his time, by some unforeseen interruptions and miscarriages, shall be rendered less profitable than he expects: or, he shall lose the grace of God by preferring a very inconsiderable reward of a very small portion of his labour: whereas, he, who will bestow some of his time upon God, shall see the remainder sanctified, and find that he has enough and to spare for all other purposes. It is an old proverb that the wealth honestly gotten goes far: and it is equally true, that the time which hath God's blessing upon it shall be much increased in its value. Providence hath many ways of disappointing worldly men in their calculations. A fit of sickness may confine them much longer against their will, and much more to the hurt of their temporal affairs, than a regular attendance for several years upon the hours of prayer. When the Jews were become carnal, they reasoned as Pharaoh did before: who said, Ye are idle, ye are idle, therefore ye say, let us go and do service to the Lord our

God. So they argued that the time spent in divine worship was just so much time lost to themselves and their affairs. But God shewed them the folly of this reasoning he led them into captivity, where they had no church, but sighed and lamented for the want of one, saying, how shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? Their sabbaths and festivals had been neglected on motives of worldly profit: therefore so much time as they had stolen from God, so much and more did he cut off in judgment from the enjoyment of liberty and property in their own land: and I make no doubt but this is the reason why many are not blessed in their property, and find unexpected miscarriage in their affairs; which might have been prevented, had they but lifted up their eyes unto the hills, and considered themselves rather as the servants of God, than the masters of their own time.

I hope you will consider these things, that the house of God is the house of prayer-that you may lose your time by saving it-and that for a little time well spent you may purchase the blessing of God here, and the riches of eternity hereafter, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

SERMON XVI.

THEN SAID JESUS UNTO HIS DISCIPLES; IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.

MATTH. XVI.

24.

OUR blessed Saviour, in these words, hath proposed himself to us, as the captain of our Salvation, made perfect through sufferings. And he, that wishes to come after him, must consider himself as the follower of a self-denying, suffering Saviour; a disciple, whose profession is signified by the sign of the Cross; to which his whole character must be conformed, till the cross shall be exchanged for the crown.

But here you are to observe, that there is no necessity imposed, no compulsion; a proposal is made, which it is in our power to reject, if we are so disposed. It is only said, if any man is willing*, if he chooses to follow Christ, these are the conditions of so doing; he must deny himself; he must take up his cross. The profession of a Christian is a service of choice: he must not follow Christ, as malefactors follow the officers of justice, because they cannot avoid it; but as one who seeks the rewards and blessings of the Christian profession; and having set down to consider the cost, determines to take it upon him, with all its present disadvantages. With this spirit and Ει τις θελει.

temper Christianity was professed by those saints and martyrs, who endured unto the end, and triumphed over all the enemies of our salvation. But now the whole doctrine of self-denial is dismissed with a high hand, as fit only for weak women, solitary monks, or deluded enthusiasts. And, I am sorry to say it, there are too many in the church, who, although they ought to know better, because it is their calling to teach better, are yet so ignorant, or so mistaken, as to congratulate themselves on the established lawfulness of ease, pleasure and self-indulgence, as a great and very happy improvement of the Protestant Reformation: and they think we are fallen into blessed times, now the calendar of a wise man has no fasting days in it. But this opinion is not only false in itself, injurious to Christianity, and a fatal snare upon Christian people; but contrary also to the common sense of the whole world. I will appeal to all mankind, whether it is not their general practice to suffer pain willingly, for the sake of future profit?-Whether they do not, by their own choice deny themselves, and part with what they value, to obtain what they hope for? How then can he be thought to have the hope of the gospel in him, who will neither abstain from any present good, nor bear any present evil, for the sake of it? The Christian hath nothing in his power, whereby to testify the sincerity of his hope, but abstinence and patience and he, who refuses to give this proof, can never be thought to set much value on the prize of the high calling that is set before him.

If we observe mankind in their several pursuits, we shall find, that they never seek a prize, without submitting to some hardships in obtaining it. For what they expect in future they give up present ease and pleasure; and there are few examples, where future

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