|« Prev||Sermon XVII. The divine power of the gospel.…||Next »|
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” — Rom. i. 16.
The preceding verses of this chapter contain a declaration of the person who wrote this epistle, the apostolical authority wherewith it 218was wrote, and a gracious salutation of them to whom it was wrote. This verse makes an entrance upon the main subject-matter designed to be treated on in the whole epistle; so that it is the centre of this glorious part of the Scripture, wherein the first general part of it doth issue, and whereon the remaining part depends.
The church at Rome was planted some while before; but it is altogether uncertain by whom. The wisdom of God foreseeing what abuses would be made of the foundation of that church, hath hid it quite from us. There is nothing in Scripture, nothing in antiquity to intimate by whom the faith was there first preached. Probably it was by some believers of the Circumcision; whence those disputes arose and contentions about the observation of Judaical ceremonies, which the apostle handles and determines, chap. xiv., xv. of this epistle. Hearing of their faith, our apostle — upon whom, as he saith, “was the care of all the churches,” and to whom “the ministry of the Uncircumcision was in an especial manner committed,” Gal. ii. 7, 8 — writes this epistle to them, to instruct them in the mystery of the gospel, and confirm them in the faith thereof, and in the worship of God required therein.
To give weight to what he wrote, and commend it to their consideration, he acquaints them with that love and care he had for them, answerable to his duty, from whence it did proceed; telling them, verses 14, 15, that “he was debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So that as much as in him was, he was ready to preach the gospel to them that were at Rome also.” And hereby he prevented a prejudice and jealousy that might possess their minds, and answers an objection they might make to him about his writing. For they might say in themselves, “What makes him, a stranger, at so great a distance, interpose in our concerns? Doth he not ‘stretch himself beyond his measure,’ or ‘boast himself in another man’s line?’ ” — which he affirms in another place he did not; for he was charged with such things. His zeal carrying him out to act for the gospel in a peculiar manner, he was charged to “exceed his measure,” and “boast in another man’s line.” To obviate this, he tells them, “No; I do nothing but what becomes an honest man, discharging a debt the Lord Jesus Christ hath laid upon me by virtue of my call to my office, and my susception of it. ‘I am debtor to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; to the wise, and to the unwise.’ I am called,” saith he, “to preach the gospel to all sorts of people under heaven; my commission is to ‘go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ ” Mark xvi. 15, — that is, as expounded, Matt. xxviii. 19, “to all nations,” persons of all nations, — “as I have opportunity.” Our Lord Jesus Christ, out of his love and care unto them whom he had redeemed with his blood, that 219they might be saved, had given the apostles to be theirs, — “All things are yours; Paul is yours, Apollos is yours,” — and charged them to preach the gospel to them; so that, Acts xx. 26, 27, he saith, “Now I am free from the blood of all men.” How doth he prove it? “I have not shunned to declare to them the whole counsel of God.” He frees himself from any surmise that they might have that he had a design of his own, and sought some advantage to himself in thus interposing in the concerns of the gospel, by telling them he doth but discharge a debt. “I am a debtor,” saith he. And it is truly and really the wisdom of those who, in their several spheres, have the dispensation of the gospel committed unto them, to let the people know that they need not absolutely, whatsoever they do consequentially, count themselves beholden to them for preaching the word; but that, indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ hath engaged us in a debt: which if in his name we pay and discharge, we are sure of a reward; if not, he will require it at our hands. We owe the preaching of the gospel to them that are willing to hear it; and if, upon any account, we withhold it from them, we do defraud them. “I am debtor,” saith the apostle. And every one that receiveth the gift and call from Christ is a debtor, and so should esteem himself. “I have done nothing,” saith he, “but engaged in the discharge of the debt which I owe to the souls of men.”
But there might likewise arise another objection, “If he be so concerned in the publication of the gospel that he writes an epistle to Rome, the greatest theatre then upon the earth, the head of the empire, and most eminent place in the world, why did he not come himself and preach it?” He returns an answer thereunto, verse 15. “That,” saith he, “is not at present in my power. I am not my own; I am disposed of by a call of Christ, and guidance of his Spirit. But ‘I am ready to come to Rome;’ I have a readiness to preach the gospel wheresoever God calls me.”
Now, that he might not seem to have outbid himself, in speaking of going thither to preach the gospel, without considering what it might cost him, he gives them the reason and ground upon which he had so engaged himself to be ready to come to Rome, in the words of the text, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
In the words there are, —
First. A general assertion, laid down as the ground of what he had before affirmed; and that is in these words, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
Secondly. He gives a reason of that assertion, what made him say so, “I am not ashamed, because the gospel is the power of God.” To 220which reason he gives a threefold limitation:— First, As to the especial end of it, “The power of God.” Whereunto? — for this or that end in the world? No; “It is the power of God for salvation.” Secondly, He limits it in respect of the object, “The power of God unto salvation.” To all? No; but “to every one that believeth,” — to all believers, consider them either antecedently to their being made believers, or consequentially, having received the word. To others it is “foolishness;” but to us that believe, it is “the power and the wisdom of God.” Thirdly, It hath limits as to the manner of administration, “To the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The word “first” there, respects the order of dispensation, and not a priority of efficacy or excellency. The word was first to be preached to the Jews, as you know, in many places, and that for many ends not now to be insisted on. This is the design of the words.
I shall, for the opening of them, inquire into two things:— 1. What is intended by the “gospel”? 2. What is it to be “ashamed of the gospel”? After which the great reason will ensue of the apostle’s assertion, “Because it is the power of God unto salvation.”
1. What is intended by the “gospel”? The gospel is taken two ways:— (1.) Absolutely, as it is in itself; (2.) Relatively, with reference unto our practice and observance of it:—
(1.) Absolutely, and in itself; and so also it is taken two ways:—
[1.] Strictly, according to the signification of the word “good tidings,” for the good tidings of the accomplishment of the promise by the sending of Jesus Christ. The name is taken from Isa. lii. 7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that publisheth the good tidings of the gospel.” And in this sense the apostle gives us a description of the gospel, Acts xiii. 32, 33, “We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again;” — sent Christ according to the promise; the tidings of which is strictly the gospel.
[2.] The gospel is taken more largely for all things that were annexed to the accomplishment of the promise, the revelation of truths made there, with all the institutions and ordinances of worship that accompanied it, — the whole doctrine and worship of the gospel. The first is what God doth for us in giving Christ; the second is what God requireth of us, in faith and obedience, and in the whole worship of the gospel. And this is the common sense wherein this word “gospel” is taken.
(2.) The gospel may be considered relatively, with reference unto believers; and then it intends our profession of the gospel: which profession consists in the performance of all gospel duties, when and as they are to be performed by virtue of the command of Christ; — which 221I would desire you to consider and remember; for I can assure you all your concerns in the gospel will be found to depend upon it.
It is in reference unto the gospel in both these senses that the apostle here speaks; — as it contains the promise of Christ, the doctrine of the gospel, the worship of God, the institutions therein, and every man’s performance of his own duty, according to the rules and commands of Christ in the gospel. This is that which the apostle says he was “not ashamed” of.
2. What is it to be “ashamed of the gospel”? Shame in general is a grief, perturbation, and trouble of mind upon the account of things vile, foolish, or evil, rendering a man (as he thinks) liable to reproach and contempt, working a resolution in him to have no more to do with such things, if once delivered from them. As the prophet Jeremiah, chap. ii. 26, “A thief is ashamed when he is taken.” Two things befall such a person:— fear, which respects his punishment; and shame, which respects the vileness and reproach of the thing that he is taken in. And shame doth particularly respect honour, esteem, and repute. Hence, if you can by any means take off the disrepute of a thing in men’s judgment, they are no more ashamed of it. The world hath prevailed to take off among themselves, and within their own compass, the disrepute of as odious sins as can be committed in the world; and men cease thereupon to be ashamed of them. We meet with men that will not at all be ashamed of swearing, cursing, blaspheming, nay, of drunkenness, — scarce of uncleanness; the wickedness of the world hath taken off the disrepute of them within their own compass: yet take the same men in lying or theft, and it will fill them with shame; not but that the guilt and evil of other sins is as great, it may be greater than these, but these are under a disrepute, and therefore they are thus ashamed.
Now this shame may be considered two ways:—
(1.) Objectively, as to the things that in themselves are shameful, though men may be relieved against them, so as not to have any inward shame in their minds. So the apostle tells us, 1 Thess. ii. 2, that he was “shamefully entreated at Philippi;” he had all manner of shameful things done unto him. And, Acts v. 41, all the apostles together “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame.” “They suffered shame, but they were not ashamed,” Heb. vi. 6. It is said those apostate backsliders “put the Son of God to open shame.” They did those things unto him which in their own nature cast shame upon him; they deserted his worship and ways, as if he was not worthy to be followed. Now, our apostle was very far from thinking that nothing of this shame would befall him at Rome, that no shameful thing would befall him. He was led thither bound with a chain, and cast into prison. This is not the shame intended.
222(2.) There is shame in the person. And this also may be considered two ways:—
[1.] As it merely respects the affections of the mind, before mentioned; — when persons have a trouble and confusion of mind upon them for any thing wherein they are concerned, as that which is dishonourable, base, vile, or foolish.
[2.] When there are the effects of shame; — when men act as though they were ashamed, and will have no more to do with those things wherein they have been engaged, but leave them as if ashamed. It is said of David’s soldiers, who had done no shameful thing, but courageously acquitted themselves in the battle against Absalom, but because of David’s carriage upon that business, “They went every one away as men ashamed, that fly in battle.” It may be there is that light and conviction upon most concerning the gospel, that it is impossible for them to be brought into perfect trouble and confusion of mind about it, as though it were a shameful thing; but yet perhaps they will do like men that fly in battle and are ashamed. And in this sense the word is principally used; for saith Christ, Mark viii. 38, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of him.” How is that? What will the Lord do? He will not own him; which is called being ashamed of him.
Now this is that which the apostle intends. “For the doctrine,” saith he, “and worship of the gospel, and for my work in preaching and dispensing it, I have neither trouble of mind, nor will I desert it; ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.’ ”
But you will say, “What great matter is this? I am persuaded there is not one present but will be ready to think that they would be as forward as the apostle in this matter. Ashamed of the gospel of Christ! God forbid. What is there in it, that the apostle thus signally expresses it, that he would not be ashamed?” I answer, Pray consider these three things:—
1st. The apostle here expresses it with especial reference to his preaching and professing the gospel at Rome. “I will come to Rome also,” saith he; “for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Now, there was at that time at Rome a collection of all the great, wise, and inquiring men of the world. And how did they look upon the gospel, and the profession of it? Our apostle tells you, 1 Cor. i. 23; — as a foolish, weak, contemptible thing. How did they look upon them that professed it? — as the filth and offscouring of all things, 1 Cor. iv. 13. Here is a collection of the rulers of the greatest empire of the world, — of all the wise and learned men and great philosophers, princes of the world, — all looking upon this gospel, obedience to it, and the worship of God in it, to be as foolish a thing as ever men engaged in, — fit for none but contemptible 223persons. But saith the apostle, notwithstanding this, “I am not ashamed of it.”
And we may observe here, that there was not yet at Rome any actual persecution of the gospel, farther than shame and reproach. And the apostle declares by this word, that it is the duty of all men to gather up their spirits to confront present difficulties, whatsoever they be. It is loaded now with shame: “I am not ashamed.” It will come to blood: “I will not fear my blood.” He expresseth the whole in this which was his present duty. And for a person of those parts and that learning which he had, to come among all the wise men in the world, to be laughed at as a babbler, as one that came with a foolish thing in his mouth, and to say, “I am not ashamed;” — it was the presence of God with him, as well as a sense of duty, that enabled him hereunto.
2dly. To an ingenuous, gracious soul, in all sufferings nothing is more grievous than shame. Hence it is reckoned as a great part of the humiliation of Christ, that “he made himself of no reputation,” Phil. ii. 7, 8. He forewent all the esteem he might have in the world as the Son of God. And Isa. l. 6, “He hid not himself from shame.” So Heb. xii. 2, “He despised the shame.” To be dealt withal as a vile person, as the offscouring of all things, as the “filth and dung of the city” (as the word signifies), to be carried before the face of scorners, makes a deeper impression upon gracious and ingenuous spirits than any thing else which can well be thought of. Therefore it is a great thing that the apostle saith, — “I am not ashamed of the gospel.”
3dly. There is also a figure in the word, called Litotes, — wherein, by a negation of one, the contrary is affirmed, and that emphatically, — “I am not ashamed;” that is, “I am confident; it is a thing I glory in, that I make my boast of. I am ready to do and suffer any thing, according to the mind of God, for the gospel; willing to undergo whatsoever God calls me to, or to perform any thing he hath appointed, for the gospel.”
The opening of these two things will give us ground for our observation from the words; which is this:—
Observation. Not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but to own it, avow it, and profess it, as a thing holy and honourable, in all the duties it requires, against all reproaches and persecutions that are in the world, is the indispensable duty of every one who desires to be saved by the gospel.
I shall not produce many testimonies of Scripture to confirm this. But let us all be advised, in such a day as this, not to make darkness our refuge, and an unacquaintedness with our duty our relief; but let us search and see what Christ hath spoken concerning such a day where there is the profession of the gospel.
224I will give you one place, to which you may reduce all the rest: Luke ix. 26, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” The whole sum of the gospel is comprised in this, — the person of Christ and the words of Christ. The person of Christ takes up the whole work of the promise; and the words take up all the commands and institutions of Christ. We have heard before what it is to be ashamed of them. And what shall be the end of such? The Son of man shall be ashamed of them, when he shall come in his own glory, and his Father’s glory. There can be no greater weight put upon words, to strike awe and dread into the minds of men. The Son of man, who loved us, redeemed us, gave his life for us, shall come again, though now he be absent, and we think things are put off for a season; and then he will inquire into our deportment about the gospel: at which time he will appear in all his own glory, the glory given him upon the account of his doing his Father’s will, and the glory of his Father and the holy angels. Certainly we should be extremely troubled then to hear Christ say, “I am ashamed of you.” You have the same repeated, Mark viii. 38. Our apostle gives the same great rule, Rom. x. 10, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” “There is righteousness; let us rest there, — what need we do more?” Ay, but “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation;” — which confession comprises all the duties the gospel requires; and salvation as indispensably depends upon that as justification doth upon faith. We cannot be justified without faith, nor can we be saved without confession.
You will say, “How can this be?” To clear it to you, I shall do three things:— I. I shall show you what there is in the gospel that we are in danger to be ashamed of, if we look not well to it. II. How we may be ashamed of it. III. I shall give you the reasons why we ought not to be ashamed of it.
I. What is there in the gospel that we ought in an especial manner not to be ashamed of?
We ought not to be ashamed of whatever is in an especial manner exposed in the world to shame and contempt. The truth is, we do or have lived in days wherein it hath been so far from being a shame to be counted a Christian, that it hath been a shame for a man to be counted no Christian. It hath not been the especial duty of believers to profess the gospel in general, but the common custom of all. The profession of the gospel which many trust to in this world, is nothing but that conformity to the world which Christ curses. In this sense no man is ashamed of the gospel.
But there are some things that accompany the gospel which are 225exposed at all times to contempt and reproach, even where Christ and the gospel are publicly professed; and these we are to take heed not to be ashamed of. I will give you four instances:—
1. The special truths of the gospel; 2. The special worship of the gospel; 3. The professors of the gospel; 4. The profession of the gospel according to godliness. These are things men are very apt to be ashamed of, as being all exposed to shame and contempt:— 1. There are some especial truths of the gospel that in all seasons are exposed to especial contempt and reproach. Peter (2 Pet. i. 12) calls it “The present truth;” which in the primitive times was twofold. The apostle had to do with Jews and Gentiles; and there were two especial truths exposed to contempt and reproach that he principally insisted upon, and would never forego. With the Gentiles, this was exposed to contempt, reproach, and persecution, — that there should be salvation by the cross, 1 Cor. i. 23. “It is foolishness to all the Gentiles,” saith he, “that there should be salvation by the cross.” What doth the apostle do? — let go this doctrine, and preach some other? No; he tells you, chap. ii. 2, “he determined to know nothing among them, but Christ, and him crucified.” But when he had to do with Jews, where lay the difference? In addition of Judaical ceremonies unto the worship of God, and some place in justification. Thus, Gal. v. 11, “If I preach circumcision,” says he, “why am I persecuted?” — that is, “If I preach circumcision as they do, they would persecute me no more.” Will he do it, then? No; Gal. vi. 12: He will not give place; he will preach the cross of Christ, and nothing else; and preach against them, and encourage all to do so.
“How shall we know, then, what are the present truths of the gospel, that we may take care not to be ashamed of them?”
I answer, In two things:—
(1.) The first is, that we must shut our eyes very hard, or all the world will not suffer us to be unacquainted with them. A man must very much hide himself if he will not know what the truths of the gospel are that meet with contempt and reproach in the world; for he may hear of them everywhere.
(2.) For a general rule, take this: Consider the ways and methods God hath proceeded in for the manifestation and declaration of himself, and we shall find whereabouts, in the general, the truths lie that we are not to be ashamed of, if we will continue our testimony to God:—
[1.] God made a revelation of himself principally in and as the person of the Father, the unity of the divine essence acting in the authority and power of the Father in the creation of the world, in the giving of the law, and the promise of sending Christ. What was the opposition the world made unto that declaration of God? — for the world doth never make conjunct opposition to the being of God, but unto 226the declaration that God makes of himself. While God made that declaration under the Old Testament, what was the opposition that the world made? It was plainly in idolatry and polytheism. They would have many gods, or make gods, till he was grown among them an unknown God. The testimony, then, which the people of God were to bear, and not be ashamed to give, was the unity of the divine essence.
[2.] In the fulness of time God sent his Son; and he was immediately declared and manifested in the love and work of the Son, — the second person. Where lay the opposition of the world? It lay directly and immediately against the person of Christ, and against his cross; it would not believe that he was the Messiah, but called him “a glutton, a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” Wherein, then, consisted the testimony that believers were to give? Why, it was to the person of the Messiah, the Son of God incarnate, and to the work he had to do. God so revealing and glorifying himself in the incarnation and mediation of the Son, — the truths which concerned his person were those which men ought peculiarly not to be ashamed of, and which the world peculiarly opposed.
[3.] Where the gospel is preached, the whole work of glorifying God is committed to the Holy Ghost. Christ promised to send him to glorify him, to do the work of God in the world, and carry on all the concerns of the covenant. The Father laid the foundation of his own glory: the Son comes, and professes he came not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him; and promises to send the Holy Ghost to do his will, — to accomplish all the concerns of the covenant of grace. Wherein, then, lay the opposition of the world to God? It lay in opposition unto the person, doctrine, graces, gifts, and office of the Holy Ghost, as he supplies the room of Christ, to carry on his kingdom in the world. The great opposition that is made in the world against God at this day is immediately against the work of the Holy Ghost, as carrying on the kingdom of Christ in the world. These are the objects of reproach and contempt.
By the way observe, that the opposition which was made by the heathens in their idolatry against the Deity, against God, and that made by the Jews against the person of Christ, and that which is now made against the work of the Holy Ghost, is all the same; the nature of the opposition is not changed, but only the object. The opposition that was in Cain, and the profession in Abel, is the same still: the one embraces the revelation of God, the other opposes it; and that principle that acts against the Holy Ghost would act against God, and set up idolatry in the world.
And hence we may see, that whereas God has, in the days wherein we live, given a great and illustrious testimony unto the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost — it may be as great as in any age since the 227time he gave extraordinary gifts to the apostles, — and Satan had lost the advantage of managing an opposition by open blasphemies and reproaches of the Spirit, and being somewhat impatient till it returned into his hands again, he raises up another spirit, that should stand in competition with it, and do the same thing; a spirit which, like the unclean spirit that cast him into the fire and into the water in whom he was, threw those possessed by it into all difficulties, to manifest itself. But whatsoever glory it might have put upon it in some men, by enabling them to suffer and bear the rage of the world that was cast upon them, there are three things that will discover that it is not a spirit from God:—
1st. The place from whence it comes. It comes not from above, — it is not looked for, prayed for, to be the Spirit of Christ from heaven, which he hath promised; but is a mushroom that grows up in a night, — the gourd of a night, that springs up within themselves, and is called the light within them all. Now, the Spirit that doth the work of God is promised from above, is given by Christ, and is expected and received from thence.
2dly. It is known also by its company. The Spirit which beareth witness with Christ is always accompanied with the word. Isa. lix. 21, “This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth,” etc. Now, the work of this spirit is to cast the word of God out of the church, — to render it useless.
3dly. It is known by its work. The work of the Spirit of God is to glorify Christ; the work of this spirit is to glorify itself, — to resolve all into itself, for measure, rule, principle, and all abilities.
I could not but mention this by the way, because I put the great opposition that is made in the world in these days against the Spirit of God, his graces and gifts, and the worship which believers are enabled to perform by the Spirit, in this thing. And, therefore, let us try the spirits, and not believe every spirit that is gone forth.
This is the first thing we are not to be ashamed of, — namely, the truths of God that are reproached in the world, especially those concerning the Spirit, his graces and gifts, and the revelation of the mystery of the gospel, while a heathenish morality is advanced in their place. God forbid we should be ashamed of the gospel in this respect, — that every one of us should not bear his testimony, as God is pleased to call us!
2. There is the worship of the gospel, which is always exposed to reproach and contempt in the world in the due performance of it. I pray God to keep this always in our minds, that we have no other way to be ashamed of the gospel but by being ashamed of these things; and we have no other way to be ashamed of them than by neglecting 228the due performance of them, as the gospel commands. Men are ashamed of the worship of the gospel, — (1.) Upon the account of the worshippers; and, (2.) Upon the account of the worship itself:—
(1.) Upon the account of the worshippers, who are for the most part poor and contemptible in the world; for “not many great, not many noble, not many wise and learned are called.” Whatsoever work God hath to do by his, they are looked upon as the offscouring of all things, — such a company as those who are of gallant minds and spirits do despise. I wonder what thoughts they would have had of Christ himself, when followed by a company of fishermen, women, and children, crying “Hosanna;” and others, who said, “This people who knoweth not the law are cursed,” John vii. 49. Now, is not a man apt to be ashamed of such abjects as follow Christ? Shall a man leave the society of great, and wise, and learned men, to join with them? Let those think of it who are upon any account lifted up in the world above their brethren. Do not be ashamed of them; they are such as you must accompany, if ever you intend to come to glory. We must keep company with them here, if we intend it hereafter. And, therefore, be not ashamed of the worship of Christ because of the worshippers, though they can do nothing but love Christ and worship him; notwithstanding the suffrage that lies against them by great and learned men, such as were at Rome when Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
(2.) Upon the account of the worship itself. The world is, and ever was, in love with a gaudy worship, which some of them have called, being well painted, “The beauty of holiness.” The Jews and Samaritans, take them in all, — the one was for the temple, the other for the mountain. The gospel comes and calls them from them both, to worship God in spirit and in truth; — to a worship that hath no beauty but what is given by the Spirit of Christ; nor order, but what is given by the word. This is greatly despised in the world; and not only despised, but persecuted; — I mean, sometimes it was so, I am sure, formerly. Therefore the apostle gives that caution, Heb. x. 25, “If you would not be ashamed, ‘forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.’ ” There is a synecdoche in the word “assembling,” and it is put for the whole worship of Christ, because worship was performed in their assemblies; and he that forsakes the assemblies, forsakes the worship of Christ: as some of them did when exposed to danger; and it is the manner of some still to do so. When a fair day comes, then they will go to the assemblies; but in a storm they will absent themselves, as did the Samaritans. But what should move them to forsake their assembling? He tells you, verses 33, 34, “Ye were made a gazing-stock, by reproaches and afflictions, and the spoiling of your goods. But ye know in yourselves that ye have in 229heaven a better and an enduring substance.” This made some weary of assembling; but be not you ashamed of assembling, or of the worship of God. This is the second thing that is exposed to shame and reproach in the world; and which, in particular, we are bound by our profession not to be ashamed of.
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