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the benefit is future, that is no reason to abate our zeal in prosecuting it. I have observed, that reason does not prevail to Nacken men's endeavours for their worldly gain: How unreasonable then must they be, who have the advantage of a better hope in their aims for another life, and yet neglect the means to attain that happy state? Again, it can be no excuse for a man to say, that he cannot comply with that selfdenial, mortification, and other christian duties, which are acceptable to God thro' Jesus Christ, and without which the soul languisheth, is sick,and his faith is dead: for he cannot be ignorant of that plain rule of wisdom, to decline a present pleasure for one equal to it of longer continuance ; or to submit to a present inconvenience, to prevent one more lasting; or to obtain a more lasting good, tho' there should be no difference in the things themselves, but only in their duration. A wise man will never refuse to go thro’a short course of physick in an ill habit of body, upon a fair prospect of procuring a regular state of health thereby; nor neglect to give a small sum of money in hand, upon security of enjoying a good inheritance in a few years after: and shall he neglect to take proper care of his soul, to cleanse it from all impurity, and to prepare it for the enjoyment of that blessed state of eternal happiness, which is promised to all those who love God, and keep his commandments ? Especially knowing that the most lasting things below bear no proportion to eternal happiness.

If we measure them with eternity, they are as nothing; Wby eternal

and a minute compared with our whole lives is happiness is no proportion in comparison of time and eternal desirable. duration. Therefore whatever is temporal is incapable of giving full satisfaction, because it may be taken from us. So, when we are upon an inquiry after happiness, we may discern at first, that earth says, It is not in me; for every thing here is perishing, and must soon have an end. Thus the continuance of happiness is the most satisfying character of it; and the eternity of misery the most bitter ingredient thereof. It is impossible to be perfectly happy with the prospect of an end before one. This consideration would magnify inferior delights, to think that we should



never be deprived of them: and light afflictions, with eternity written upon them, could not be borne: What then hall we think of perfect happiness and complete misery, both of the highest kind, and both eternal, and in one of which mankind must live for ever? Oh! then let us apply to ourselves the force and evidence of that question, What is a man profited, if he should-gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or, what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Time bears no proportion to eternity. The mostexalted pleasures of this life, which at best are but of a short continuance, can never compensate for the loss of that happiness, which God has prepared for them that love him. Yet there are too many, that make this fad choice. Not that

any one chuses evil for the sake of evil, or prefers misery before happiness: but as he, that obeys tlie commandments of God, chufes life; fo he, that tranfgresses them, chuses death; that death which God has threatened to the finner, even death eternal; for the wages of fin is death. Therefore,

IV. As the portion of the body at the last day must follow the condition of the foul, it is our greatest in- Perfuafives. terest to consider the present state of human nature, to the care and the means by which alone it is possible for us of the soul. to be made happy. For, if we neglect the disorders of the understanding, will and affections, which are the parts of the soul, the flesh will ruin us, at the very time it pretends to please us; and the devil will gain many opportunities to beguile us, whilst the understanding is darkened and shut to good instructions, the will inclines to chuse the evil, and the affections are bent after the pleasures of fin. It is true, man was made holy and upright by God; but, having by his voluntary transgression, and wilful disobe

nature of dienice, fallen from him, did presently fink into a the firsi cocorrupt and degenerate, into a miserable and curfed venant. condition, both in respect to this life, and to that life which is to come; and the disobedience of our first parents involved their posterity, and intailed a depravity of nature upon their descendants; which depravity, though it is not a sin in us, till the will closes with it, and deliberately consents to it; yet it is certainly sinful in itself; and consequently is ityB 2


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led Original Sin. Therefore our church has rightly decreed, » That

Original fin standeth not in the following of Adam, but - it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, • that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam ;

whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil; so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain;

; yea, in them that are regenerated. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptised; yet

the apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust · hath of itself the nature of fin.' So thus, by original fin, man is not only deprived of the image of God, but becomes liable to his justice; and, as such, God cannot take pleasure in him: and that man, that dies before he is restored to his favour, must be separated from him, and be for ever miserable. And as man could not recover himself, nor raise himself out of his own ruin; and as no creature was able to do it; the

mercy of God pitied our misery, and his wisdom devised this expedient to reconcile his mercy and justice, viz. that no man Ihould on account of original fin be eternally miserable, except thro' his own fault: and his goodness resolved, that the Son of God should undertake this work, and satisfy the offended justice of the Almighty, and repair the ruined nature of mankind. Thus,

God did enter into a new covenant with man, by way of And of the remedy for what was past and could not be unJecord cove done ; which, as may be fully collected from the

gospel, was to this purpose: That, on condition of man’s stedfast faith, sincere repentance, and perfect obedience, he should be restored thro’Christ to God's favour; and after death, to that life and happiness, which was promised to our first parents, without tasting of death. And the condition on God's part of the covenant, the remiflion of sins, is always ready to be made good, if we fail not on our part of having worthily repented and reformed our lives. Our Saviour has made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; he has suffered a cruel and ignominious death upon the cross for our fakes, and by his death and sufferings has purchased this grace for us, that real repentance and sincere obedience shall be accepted instead of innocence. But without this repentance and renewed obedience we shall not be accepted upon any terms. The facrifice which he offered upon the cross, altho' of infinite value, will be of no avail to us, unless, in conformity to his death and resurrection, we die unto sin, and rise again unto newness of life. Nothing but a good life will intitle us to the favour and love of God; and without his favour we are of all creatures the most miserable. Not that the condition of the gospel-covenant is a perfeet unfinning ohedience, but a pncere endeavour to obey all the commands of God to the utmost of our power. Which commands, in their general and most proper sense, are so far from being impossible to be observed that on the contrary a man cannot easily transgress them, without an hardened conscience and deliberate choice. And whenfoever God requires inore of us than we are naturally able to perform, he never fails to afford us proportionally great assistance, to inable us to perform what he so requires. And if through the frailty and infirmity of our nature we be at any time, notwithstanding our sincere endeavours to the contrary, surprised into the commission of fin, God accepts real repentance and a renewed obedience, instead of an uninterrupted course of holiness. Hence it is abundantly evident, that as the true and only design of the laws of the gospel is to make us holy and undefiled; so it is possible for us to be really holy according to the true intent and meaning of those laws. Wherefore, as the excellent nature and design of our religion sufficiently recommend it to our judgment; so the possibility of obeying it is a most powerful encouragement to us to set in earnest about the practice of it. But then we must always consider, that as God requires nothing more of us, than a fincere obedience according to the gracious terms of the gofpel-covenant; fo he will not accept of any thing less : For, as it is possible for us to be holy and undefiled, according to



* See the gth Article of Religion.

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Our care

in vain.

the true intent of the laws of our religion; so God has made it the indispensable condition of our happiness, that we actually and in reality become such holy persons. By the ineans I have mentioned, God and man are brought together again; and man is redeemed from a state of fin and eternal death, to a state of holiness, and to the inheritance of eternal life. And this was the end for which the Son of God cloathed himself with our flesh, that, as man, he inight suffer what our fins had deserved, and, as he was the Son of God, he might make a full, perfect, and sufficient oblation and satisfaction to the Divine Justice, for the sins of the whole world; who, for the joy of delivering so many millions of souls from misery, endured the death of the cross, and all the afflictions of his bitter passion, which was the perfect sacrifice whereby all mankind are restored to the favour of God, and put into

a state of falvation: God having, for his Son's fake, will not be promised to pardon all such as fhall repent, and

forsake their sins, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and to give his Holy Spirit to all such as shall sincerely pray for the fame; and after death to make them eternally happy, if during this short state of trial, which is designed to amend our corrupt and disordered nature, they endeavour to observe the rules, which he has revealed in his word, and which are absolutely necessary to make them capable of eternal happiness in the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, seeing a good life is attended with so many ad

vantages: if it will make us live happily; die com

fortably, and at last intitle us, through the merits koly life. of our Saviour Jesus Christ, to an eternal inheritance in that kingdom, which he has purchased for us with his most precious blood ; and if, on the other hand, guilt is its own punishment in this world, and everlasting misery will most certainly be the lot and portion of the wicked and impenitent in the next; what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness ? and how stedfast and unmoveable should this make us in the ways of God's laws, and in the works of his commandments? With what indignation and abhorrence should we look upon fin, and with what speed fhould we fly from that dread


An exhor. tation to a

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