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And yet these are duties which in their turns may all be performed, and very acceptably, to Almighty God. Bleffed be God, that we have an argument and proof of this, fo ready at hand.

You that are engaged in this good work, which you have defired me to recommend," Do you find, by experience, that having undertaken a charity which has fome care and trouble attending it, do you find, that it straitens you in your time; that it obliges you to neglect your callings or families; that your worldly bufinefs fucceeds worfe; or that, upon the whole, you are fufferers for having concerned yourselves in these charities?

One may be fure it is quite otherwife, because that neither the number nor the importunity of those that expect relief, nor the disappointments you must needs meet with in carrying on a work of this nature, have yet been able to discourage you after so many years' experience-I was going to say, after so many years' trouble; but when I confider who it is that has faid, It is more blessed to give than to receive; that there is more fatisfaction and happiness in doing good to others, than in receiving kindneffes ourselves; I forbear calling it a trouble, and I know you will pardon me.

And if those that are afraid of engaging in thefe works of charity, for fear of the trouble

This Sermon was preached before the Societies for the education of Poor Children, at St. Lawrence Jewry 1710, and at St. Dunstan's in the Eaft 1711.

that

that attends them, or left their worldly bufinefs might fuffer by their lofs of time; if fuch perfons would but confider, how many hours they have to fpare,-how many they trifle away,-how many they spend in vanity, and fome, it is to be feared, in worse than vanity; one would hope that there would never want a number of men to form Societies of this kind, to countenance, to affift, and to fupport one another, in promoting the glory of God, and the intereft of his kingdom.

II. And this brings us to the fecond obfervation;-That in promoting the kingdom of God, we ought to be fatisfied with the ordinances of Chrift, (who beft knew how to promote his Father's glory;) and not to be looking for, or depending upon, extraordinary appearances in our favour, left we tempt God to leave us to ourselves, and the ways of our own devifing.

And this indeed feems to be the main defign of this parable; to fhew us, that Jefus Christ, having established his kingdom amongst men, hath left it, until his coming again, to fubfift, and increase, and profper, by the means of grace which he has appointed, and by the ordinary affiftances of the Holy Spirit.

That he came forth from God, and declared unto us the true will of God; it was neceffary we should be convinced of this by fome way extraordinary. This he did, by plain and undoubted miracles, by fulfilling the many prophecies which exprefsly foretold-his birth,

his condition, and his fufferings; and efpecially, by his refurrection from the dead, he was (as the apoftle obferves) declared to be the Son of God, with power.

Having thus fown the feed of the kingdom by his own hand, he afcended into heaven, and fitteth on the right hand of God, there to reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet; or, in the words of the parable, till the harvest Shall come.

But before he left the world, that he might not lose the travail of his foul, the fruits of his labour, he appointed a Standing Miniftry, and other means of grace, as pledges of his truth and love, until his coming again.

Amongst other means, that of inftructing the ignorant is the foundation of all the reft, a method which has been very happily chofen, and heartily pursued of late, in order to bring men from the power of Satan unto God. For thus men are dealt with as reasonable creatures; they are fhewed their duty, and the danger of neglecting it; they have the hopes and fears of the world to come truly reprefented to them; they have the means of grace freely offered them; and they are left without excufe, if they defpife or neglect their own falvation.

And if this method of inftruction ever come to be flighted or difufed, the confequence would, no doubt of it, be very fatal to Christianity.

To

b I Cor. xv. 25.

To be dealt with as reasonable creatures, we must be informed,-What our condition is; in what relation we stand to God; what it is he expects from us; what we have to fear if we neglect his commands; and what we may hope for, if we live in obedience to his laws; how we may overcome the corruption of our nature; what Jefus Chrift has done for us, and what we must do ourselves, towards working out our own falvation. When this is done after a plain and easy way, and fuited to the capacities of those we inftruct, it is hardly poffible to say what can be done more towards bettering the world.

The great and plaufible objection to this way of inftruction has always been this:That wickedness is at a great height; that the work of reformation goes but flowly on by these ordinary methods; that it were to be wifhed God would appear in some extraordinary manner, to awaken, to convince, and

to convert men.

From withing this, people of warm heads have often come to attempt it; and there has fcarce been any age, in which fome or other have not appeared with these pretences, and new commiffions from God, for reforming the world, never confidering, that the kingdom of God is fo often compared by our Saviour to corn fown in the earth, to a grain of mustardfeed fet in the ground, to leaven hid in meal, to fignify to us, that the gospel is to be pro

pagated,

-

pagated, and piety increased, by the usual methods of Providence, and the filent influences of God's good Spirit; not with noife, and strange appearances.

pomp, and

It is true, the giddy world is very apt to be taken with, and impofed upon, by new and furprising pretenders to reformation; and there are never wanting men of evil defigns, who, mixing with the ignorant and wellmeaning, do not fail of gaining profelytes. But in the mean time religion fuffers by these pretenders, and the world has not at all been mended by their preaching.

For bad as the world is, men in general are not fo mad yet as to lay by their regular teachers, and despise the ordinances of God, at the inftance of fuch perfons as bring no warrant for what they affirm befides their own testimony.

I mention thefe inftances, to convince YOU of the Societies, that the methods you take for the instruction of children, deftitute of help and learning, are most agreeable to the ways of God's appointment, and moft likely (by the bleffing of God) to promote his glory, and a reformation of manners, fo much wifhed for by all good men.

III. From this then we proceed to the third obfervation, That fuch as are engaged in the good work of promoting the kingdom of God, ought not to be difcouraged because they do not fee immediately the fruit of their labours. The feed

VOL. II.

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