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CHIEF HEADS OF THE SERMONS.
SERMONS XVII. XVIII.
OF THE HEINOUS GUILT OF TAKING PLEASURE IN OTHER MEN’S SINS.
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Pp. 1. 28.
The sin of taking pleasure in other men’s sins is not only distinct from, but also much greater than all those others mentioned in the foregoing catalogue, 1. To arrive at which pitch of sinning there is a considerable difficulty, 6. because every man has naturally a distinguishing sense of good and evil, and an inward satisfaction or dissatisfaction after the doing of either, and cannot quickly or easily extinguish this principle, but by another inferior principle gratified with objects contrary to the former, 3. And consequently no man is quickly or easily brought to take pleasure in his own, much less in other men’s sins, 5. Of which sin,
I. The causes are, 1. The commission of the same sins in one’s own person, 7. 2. The commission of them against the full conviction of conscience, 9. 3. The continuance in them, 12. 4. The inseparable poor-spiritedness of guilt, which is less uneasy in company, 14. 5. A peculiar unaccountable malignity of nature, 17.
II. The reasons why the guilt of that sin is so great, are, 1. That there is naturally no motive to tempt men to it, 21 . 2. That the nature of this sin is boundless and unlimited, iv24. 3. That this sin includes in it the guilt of many preceding ones, 26.
III. The persons guilty of that sin are generally such as draw others to it, 29; particularly, 1. who teach doctrines, 29. which represent sinful actions either as not sinful, 30. or as less sinful than they really are, 32. Censure of some modern casuists, 34. 2. Who allure men to sin through formal persuasion or inflaming objects, 36. 3. Who affect the company of vicious persons, 38. 4. Who encourage others in their sins by commendation, 39. or preferment, 41.
Lastly, the effects of this sin are, 1. Upon particular persons; that it quite depraves the natural frame of the heart, 42: it indisposes a man to repent of it, 44; it grows the more as a man lives longer, 45; it will damn more surely, because many are damned who never arrived to this pitch, 47. 2. Upon communities of men; that it propagates the practice of any sin till it becomes national, 48; especially where great sinners make their dependents their proselytes, 49. and the follies of the young carry with them the approbation of the old, 50. This the reason of the late increase of vice, 51 .
NATURAL RELIGION WITHOUT REVELATION, SUFFICIENT TO RENDER A SINNER INEXCUSABLE.
So that they are without excuse. P. 53.
The apostle in this epistle addresses himself chiefly to the Jews; but in this first chapter he deals with the Greeks and Gentiles, 53. whom he charges with an inexcusable sinfulness, 53. And the charge contains in this, and in the precedent and subsequent verses,
I. The sin; [that knowing God, they did not glorify him as God, ver. 21.] idolatry; not that kind of one which worships that for God which is not God; but the other, which worships the true God by the mediation of corporeal resemblances, 54.
II. The persons guilty of this sin; [such as professed v themselves wise, ver. 22.] not the gnostics, but the old heathen philosophers, 57.
III. The cause of that sin, [holding the truth in unrighteousness, ver. 18.] 59. that the truths which they were accountable for, viz. 1. The being of a God, 60. 2. That he is the maker and governor of the world, 60. 3. That he is to be worshipped, 61. 4. That he is to be worshipped by pious practices, 61. 5. That every deviation from duty is to be repented of, 61. 6. That every guilty person is obnoxious to punishment, 62.
Were by them held in unrighteousness, 1 . By not acting up to what they knew, 62. 2. By not improving those known principles into proper consequences, 64. 3. By concealing what they knew, 66.
IV. The judgment passed upon them, [that they were without excuse, ver. 20,] 70. that they were unfit not only for a pardon, but even for a plea, 71. Because,
1. The freedom of the will, which they generally asserted, excluded them from the plea of unwillingness, 72. 2. The knowledge of their understanding excluded them from the plea of ignorance, 73.
From all these we may consider,
1. The great mercy of God in the revelation of the gospel, 75.
2. The deplorable condition of obstinate sinners under it, 77.
OF SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION.
And he saith unto him, Friend, how earnest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? P. 80.
The design of this parable, under the circumstantial passages of a wedding’s royal solemnity, is to set forth the free offer of the gospel to the Jews first, and upon their refusal, to the Gentiles, 80. But it may be more peculiarly applied to the holy eucharist; which not only by analogy, but with propriety of speech, and from the very ceremony of breaking bread, may very well be called a wedding supper, vi82; to the worthy participation whereof there is indispensably required a suitable and sufficient preparation, 84. In which these conditions are required;
I. That the preparation be habitual, 90.
II. That it be also actual, 93; of which the principal ingredients are, 1. Self-examination, 96. 2. Repentance, 98. 3. Prayer, 100. 4. Fasting, 101. 5. Alms-giving, 103. 6. Charitable temper of mind, 104. 7. Reading and meditation, 106.
The reverend author seemed to have designed another discourse upon this text, because in this sermon he only despatches the first part, viz. the necessity of preparation; but proceeds not to the second, viz. that God is a severe animadverter upon such as partake without such a preparation, 84.
OF THE FATAL IMPOSTURE AND FORCE OF WORDS.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil. P. 108.
[Vol. iv. p. 203. 235. 265.]
Here a woe is denounced against those, not only in particular, who judicially pronounce the guilty innocent, and the innocent guilty; but in general, who by abusing men’s minds with false notions, make evil pass for good, and good for evil, 108. And in the examination of this vile practice it will be necessary,
I. To examine the nature of good and evil, what they are, and upon what they are founded, viz. upon the conformity or unconformity to right reason, 111. Not upon the opinion, 113, or laws of men, 114; because then, 1. The same action under the same circumstances might be both morally good and morally evil, 117. 2. The laws could neither be morally good nor evil, 117. The same action might be in respect of the divine law commanding it, morally good; and of an human, forbidding it, morally evil, 118.
But that the nature of good and evil is founded upon a vii jus naturale, antecedent to all jus positivum, may be exemplified in those two moral duties, towards God and towards one’s neighbour, 118.
II. To shew the way how good and evil operate upon men’s minds, viz. by their respective names or appellations, 121.
III. To shew the mischief arising from the misapplication of names, 122. For since, 1. the generality of men are absolutely governed by words and names, 122. and 2. chiefly in matters of good and evil, 128. which are commonly taken upon trust, by reason of the frequent affinity between vice and virtue, 129. and of most men’s inability to judge exactly of things, 130. Thence may be inferred the comprehensive mischief of this misapplication, by which man is either, 1. deceived, 133. or 2. misrepresented, 135.
Lastly, to assign several instances, wherein those mischievous effects do actually shew themselves. [Vol. iv. p. 203.]
I. In religion and church, 205. such as calling, 1. The religion of the church of England, popery, 206. which calumny is confuted from the carriage of the church of Rome towards the church of England, 208. and from the church of England’s denying the chief articles of the church of Rome, 209. 2. Schismatics, true protestants, 215. against whom it is proved, that they and the papists are not such irreconcileable enemies as they pretend to be, 215. 3. The last subversion of the church, reformation, 220. which mistaken word turned the monarchy into an anarchy, 220. 4. The execution of the laws, persecution, 222. by which sophistry the great disturbers of our church pass for innocent, and the laws are made the only malefactors, 223. 5. Base compliance and half-conformity, moderation, 224. both in church governors, 226. and civil magistrates, 227.
A terrible instance of pulpit impostors seducing the minds of men, 232.
II. In the civil government, 236, 241. (with an apology for a clergyman’s treating upon this subject, 236.) such as calling, 1. Monarchy, arbitrary power, 243. 2. The prince’s friends, evil counsellors, 247. 3. The enemies both of viiiprince and people, public spirits, 251. Malicious and ambitious designs, liberty and property, and the rights of the subject, 255. Together with a discovery of the several fallacies couched under those words, 245. 250. 252. 257.
The necessity of reflecting frequently upon the great long rebellion, 260.
III. In private interests of particular persons, 268. such as calling, 1. Revenge, a sense of honour, 269. 2. Bodily abstinence, with a demure, affected countenance, piety and mortification, 273. 3. Unalterable malice, constancy, 274. 4. A temper of mind resolved not to cringe and fawn, pride, and morosity, and ill nature, 276. and, on the contrary, flattery and easy simplicity, and good-fellowship, good nature, 280. 5. Pragmatical meddling with other men’s matters, fitness for business, 281. Add to these, the calling covetousness, good husbandry, 284. prodigality, liberality, 285. justice, cruelty; and cowardice, mercy, 285.
A general survey and recollection of all that has been said on this immense subject, 285,
PREVENTION OF SIN AN UNVALUABLE MERCY.
And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand. P. 139.
This is David’s retractation of his revenge resolved upon an insolent wealthy rustic, who had most unthankfully rejected his request with railing at his person and messengers, 139. From which we may,
I. Observe the greatness of sin-preventing mercy, 141. Which appears, 1. From the deplorable condition of the sinner, before that mercy prevents him, 142. 2. From the cause of that mercy, which is God’s free grace, 147. 3. From the danger of sin unprevented, which will then be certainly ixcommitted; and in such deliberate commission, there is a greater probability that it will not, than that it will be pardoned, 148. because every commission hardens the soul in that sin, and disposes the soul to proceed further, and it is not in the sinner’s power to repent, 149. 4. From the ad vantages of the prevention of sin above those of the pardon of it, 151. which are the clearness of a man’s condition, 151. and the satisfaction of his mind, 154.
II. Make several useful applications, 155. As, l. To learn how vastly greater the pleasure is upon the forbearance, than in the commission of sin, 155. 2. To find out the disposition of one’s heart by this sure criterion, with what ecstasy he receives a spiritual blessing, 156. 3. To be content, and thankfully to acquiesce in any condition, and under the severest passages of Providence, 158. with relation to health, 158. reputation, 159. and wealth, 160.
SERMONS XXIII. XXIV.
OF THE NATURE AND MEASURES OF CONSCIENCE.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have confidence toward God. Pp. 163. 194.
It is of great moment and difficulty to be rationally satisfied about the estate of one’s soul, 163: in which weighty concern we ought not to rely upon such uncertain rules, 164. as these: 1. The general esteem of the world, 164. 2. The judgment of any casuist, 166. 3. The absolution of any priest, 168. 4. The external profession even of a true religion, 170.
But a man’s own heart and conscience, above all other things, is able to give him confidence towards God, 173. In order to which we must know,
I. How the heart or conscience ought to be informed, 174. viz. by right reason and scripture, 175. and endeavouring to employ the utmost of our ability to get the clearest knowledge of our duty; and thus to come to that confidence, xwhich, though it amounts not to an infallible demonstration, yet is a rational, well-grounded hope, 176.
II. By what means we may get our heart thus informed, 179. viz. 1. By a careful attention to the dictates of reason and natural morality, 179. 2. By a tender regard to every pious motion of God’s Spirit, 181. 3. By a study of the revealed word of God, 184. 4. By keeping a frequent and impartial account with our conscience, 187.
With this caution, lest either, on the one side, every doubting may overthrow our confidence, 190. or, on the other, a bare silence of conscience raise it too much, 191.
III. Whence the testimony of conscience is so authentic, 195. viz. 1. Because it is commissioned to this office by God himself, 197. And there is examined the absurdity and impertinence, 199. the impudence and impiety of false pretences of conscience, 206; such particularly as those of schismatical dissenters, 201, 209. who oppose the solemn usages of our church; the necessity of which is founded upon sound reason, 204. 2. Because it is quicksighted, 211. tender and sensible, 213. exactly and severely impartial, 215.
IV. Some particular instances, wherein this confidence suggested by conscience exerts itself, 217. viz. 1. In our addresses to God by prayer, 217. 2. At the time of some notable sharp trial, 219. as poverty, 220. calumny and disgrace, 221. 3. Above all others at the time of death, 222.
THE DOCTRINE OF MERIT STATED, AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF MAN’S MERITING OF GOD.
Can a man be profitable to God? P. 231.
It is an impossible thing for man to merit of God, 231. And although,
I. Men are naturally prone to persuade themselves they can merit, 234. because,xi
1. They naturally place too high a value upon themselves and performances, 235.
2. They measure their apprehensions of God by what they observe of worldly princes, 236. yet,
II. Such a persuasion is false and absurd, 238. because the conditions required in merit are wanting; viz.
1. That the action be not due, 239. But man lies under an indispensable obligation of duty to God by the law of nature, as God’s creature, 240. and servant, 241. and by God’s positive law, 244.
2. That the action may add to the state of the person of whom it is to merit, 244. But God is a perfect being, wanting no supply, 245. and man is an inconsiderable creature, beholden for every thing to every part of the creation, 245.
3. That the action and reward may be of an equal value, 248. which cannot be in the best of our religious performances, 248. notwithstanding the popish distinction between merit of condignity and congruity, 249.
4. That the action be done by the man’s sole power, with out the help of him of whom he is to merit, 252. But God worketh in us not only to do, but also to will, 252. And,
III. This persuasion hath been the foundation of great corruptions in religion, 254. viz. Pelagianism, 256. and popery, 257.
But though we are not able to merit, yet,
IV. This ought not to discourage our obedience, 258. Since,
1. A beggar may ask an alms, which he cannot claim as his due, 259.
2. God’s immutable veracity and promise will oblige him to reward our sincere obedience, 259.
OF THE LIGHT WITHIN US.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. P. 261.
The light within us, or right reason, is our conscience, xiiwhose duties are to inform and to oblige; which is capable of being turned into darkness; a very considerable evil, and a great danger of falling into it, 261. The cause of this light’s being darkened, is,
I. In general; every thing which either defiles the conscience, 268. or weakens it by putting a bias upon its judging faculty, 271.
II. In particular; every kind and degree of sin, considered,
1. In the act, 273. And thus every commission of any great sin darkens the conscience, 273.
2. In the habit, 272. And thus the repeated practice of sin puts out its light, 275.
3. In the principle, 272. And thus every vicious affection perverts the judging, and darkens the discerning power of conscience, 277. Such as, 1. Sensuality, 279. by the false pleasures of lust, 281. of intemperance, 283. 2. Covetousness, 285. 3. Ambition or pride, 286. And many others besides, 289.
Thence a man may learn what he is to avoid, that he may have a clear, impartial, and right-judging conscience, 290.
OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES.
But I say unto you. Love your enemies. P. 293.
The duty here enjoined by Christ is not opposed to the Mosaic law, but to the doctrine of the scribes and pharisees, 293. For the matter of all the commandments, except the fourth, is of natural, moral right, 293. and there is no addition of any new precepts, but only of some particular instances of duty, 295. with an answer to some objections concerning the commands of loving God with all our heart, 298. and laying down our life for our brother, 299. Then it is proved, that Christ opposed not Moses’s law as faulty or imperfect, but only the comments of the scribes and pharisees upon or rather against it, 300. Among xiiithe duties here enjoined by Christ, is to love our enemies, 302. by which,
I. Negatively, 302. is not meant,
1. A fair deportment and amicable language, 302.
2. Fair promises, 305.
3. A few kind offices, 307. But,
II. Positively, 309. is meant,
1. A discharging the mind of all the leaven of malice, 309.
2. The doing all real offices of kindness, that opportunity shall lay in the way, 310.
3. The praying for them, 312.
All which are not inconsistent with a due care of defending and securing ourselves against them, 314.
III. This love of enemies may be enforced by many arguments drawn from,
1. Their condition; as they are joined with us in the community of the same nature, 315. or (as it may happen) of the same religion, 316. or as they may be capable, if not of being made friends, yet of being shamed and rendered in excusable, 317.
2. The excellency of the duty itself, 318.
3. The great example of our Saviour, 319. and that of a king, upon the commemoration of whose nativity and return this sermon was preached, 320.
Lastly, because this duty is so difficult, we ought to beg God’s assistance against the opposition which flesh and blood will make to it, 321.
FALSE FOUNDATIONS REMOVED, AND TRUE ONES LAID.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. P. 324.
Our Saviour teaches us not to build upon a deceitful xivbottom, in the great business of our eternal happiness, 325. but only upon practice and obedience: because,
I. That is the best and surest foundation, 326. being,
1. The only thing that can mend our corrupt nature, 326.
2. The highest perfection of our nature, 328.
3. The main end of religion, 329. as the designs of it in this world are the honour of God, 329. and the advantage of society, 330.
II. All other foundations are false, 331. such as
1. A naked, unoperative faith, 332.
2. The goodness of the heart and honesty of intention,
3. Party and singularity, 335. because the piety of no party can sanctify its proselytes, 336. and such an adhesion to a party carries with it much of spiritual pride in men, who naturally have a desire of preeminence, and a spirit of opposition to such as are not of their own way, 337.
III. Such false foundations, upon trial, will be sure to fall, 338. which is shewed from,
1. The Devil’s force and opposition, 338. which is sudden and unexpected, 339. furious and impetuous, 340. restless and importunate, 341.
2. The impotence and non-resistance of the soul, 342. which is frequently unprepared, weak, and inconstant, 342.
IV. The fall will be very great, 344. being scandalous and diffusive, 344. hardly and very rarely recoverable, 345.
Therefore no man must venture to build his salvation upon false and sinking grounds, 346. but only upon such terms as God will deal with him, viz. a perfect obedience, 348.
A TRUE STATE AND ACCOUNT OF THE PLEA OF A TENDER CONSCIENCE.
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. P. 350.
The apostle treateth of a weak conscience in new converts xvfrom Judaism [in the 14th of Rom.] and from heathenism [here] 350. in these words; towards the understanding of which we must know,
I. What a weak conscience is, 353. not that which is improperly called tender, 353. but the weakness here spoken of is opposed to faith, 354. and implies,
1. The ignorance of some action’s lawfulness, 356. not wilful, but such a one as is excusable, and the object of pity, 367. arising from the natural weakness of the under standing, or from the want of opportunity or means of knowledge, 357.
2. The suspicion of some action’s unlawfulness, 358.
3. A religious abstinence from the use of that thing, of the unlawfulness whereof it is ignorant or suspicious, 359.
II. How such a weak conscience is wounded, 360. viz.
1. By being grieved and robbed of its peace, 360.
2. By being emboldened to act against its present persuasion, 361. either through example, 361. or through a command, with the conjunction of some reward or penalty, 362. descending from a private or a public person, 363.
III. We may thence infer,
1. That none having been brought up and long continued in the communion of a true church, having withal the use of his reason, can justly plead weakness of conscience, 365.
2. That such a weakness can upon no sufficient ground be continued in, 369.
3. That the plea of it ought not to be admitted in prejudice of the laws, which are framed for the good, not of any particular persons, but of the community, 371. For the ill consequences would be, that there could be no limits as signed to this plea, 371. nor any evidence of its sincerity, 372. and this would absolutely bind the magistrate’s hands, 373.
Besides, such pleas are usually accompanied with partiality? 374. and hypocrisy, such as those of the dissenters, 375. which upon the foregoing reasons ought not to be al lowed, 376.xvi
CHRISTIANITY MYSTERIOUS, AND THE WISDOM OF GOD IN MAKING IT SO.
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery. P. 378.
The apostle’s design here is to set forth the transcendent worth of the gospel by two qualifications eminently be longing to it, 378. viz.
I. That it is the wisdom of God, 379. a wisdom respecting speculation, and here principally relating to practice, 379. a wisdom as irresistibly powerful as it is infallible, 380.
II. That this wisdom is in a mystery, 381.
1. In the nature of the things treated of in the Christian religion, 381. which are of difficult apprehension for their greatness, 382. spirituality, 384. strangeness, 385. as may be exemplified in two principal articles of it, regeneration, 387. and the resurrection, 387.
2. In the ends of it, 388. It is as much the design of religion to oblige men to believe the credenda as to practise the agenda; and there is as clear a reason for the belief of the one, as for the practice of the other, 389. But their mysteriousness, 1. Makes a greater impression of awe, 391. 2. Humbles the pride of men’s reason, 394. 3. Engages us in a more diligent search, 396. 4. Will, when fully revealed, make part of our happiness hereafter, 399.
Thence we may learn in such important points of religion,
1. To submit to the judgment of the whole church in general, and of our spiritual guides in particular, 401.
2. Not to conclude every thing impossible, which to our reason is unintelligible, 404.
3. Nor by a vain presumption to pretend to clear up all mysteries in religion, 405.xvii
THE LINEAL DESCENT OF JESUS OF NAZARETH FROM DAVID BY HIS BLESSED MOTHER THE VIRGIN MARY.
I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. P. 410.
In this book of mysteries, nothing is more mysterious than what is contained in these words, the union of the divinity and humanity in our Saviour’s person, 410. He is,
I. In his divinity, the root of David, having a being before him, 411. a being which had no beginning, equal to his Father: though his divinity is denied by the Arians: and his preexistence to his humanity by the Socinians, 411.
II. In his humanity, the offspring of David, 417. being in St. Matthew’s genealogy, naturally the son of David; and in that of St. Luke, legally the king of the Jews, 418.
III. The bright and morning star, 428. with relation,
1. To the nature of its substance; he was pure, without the least imperfection, 428.
2. To the manner of its appearance; he appeared small in his humanity, though he was the great almighty God. 430.
3. To the quality of its operation, 431. open and visible by his light, chasing away the heathenish false worship, the imperfect one of the Jews, and all pretended Messiahs, 431. secret and invisible by his influence, illuminating our judgment, bending our will, and at last changing the whole man, 435.
JESUS OF NAZARETH PROVED THE TRUE AND ONLY PROMISED MESSIAH.
He came to his own, and his own received him not. P. 437.
No scripture has so directly and immoveably stood in the way of the several opposers of the divinity of our Saviour, xviiias this chapter, 438. whereof this text is a part: in which we have,
I. Christ’s coming into the world, 439. who,
1. Was the second Person in the glorious Trinity, the ever blessed and eternal Son of God, 440.
2. Came from the bosom of his Father, and the incomprehensible glories of the Godhead, 444.
3. Came to the Jews, who were his own by right of consanguinity, 445.
4. When they were in their lowest estate, 448. national, 448. and ecclesiastical, 449. In which we may consider the invincible strength and the immoveable veracity of God’s promise, 450.
II. Christ rejected by his own, 452. For the Jews’
1. Exceptions were, 1. That he came not as a temporal prince, 453. 2. That he set himself against Moses’s law, 454.
2. The unreasonableness of which exceptions appears from this: 1. That the Messiah’s blessings were not to be temporal, 455. and he himself, according to all the prophecies of scripture, was to be of a low, despised estate, 457. 2. That Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil and abrogate Moses’s law, 459.
3. The Jews had great reasons to induce them to receive him. For, 1. All the marks of the Messiah did most eminently appear in him, 460. 2. His whole behaviour among them was a continued act of mercy and charity, 462.
Lastly, the Jews are not the only persons concerned in this guilt, but also all vitious Christians, 463.
THE MESSIAH’S SUFFERINGS FOR THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE.
For the transgression of my people was he stricken. P. 468.
There are several opinions concerning the person here spoken of by the prophet, 469. But setting aside those of later interpreters, who differ even among themselves, 470. we xixmay safely with all the ancients affirm him to be the Messiah, 474. and this Messiah to be no other than Jesus of Nazareth, 474. In these words we may consider,
I. That he was stricken; his suffering, 474. in its latitude and extent, 475. in its intenseness and sharpness, 479. and in its author, which was God, 481.
II. That he was stricken for transgression; the quality of his suffering was penal and expiatory; he was punished for sins past, not to prevent sins for the future, 484. He bore our sins, his soul was made an offering for sin, 486. He was qualified to pay an equivalent compensation to the divine justice, by the infinite dignity and the perfect innocence of his person, 487.
III. That he was stricken for God’s people; the cause of his suffering, 488. Man’s redemption proceeds upon a twofold covenant; one of suretyship, the other of grace, 489. and, without any violation of the divine justice, Christ suffered for men; upon the account of his voluntary consent; and because of his relation to them, as he was their king and head, and their surety, 491.
Thence we should learn also to suffer for Christ,
1. By self-denial and mortification, 492.
2. By cheerfully undergoing troubles and afflictions in this world, 493.
UPON THE RESURRECTION.
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. P. 496.
The necessary belief of a future state has been confirmed by revelation and exemplification, 497. chiefly in that of the resurrection of Christ, 499. whom
I. God hath raised up; such an action proclaiming an omnipotent cause, 500. And,
II. The manner of his being raised was by having loosed the pains of death, 501. with an explication of the word pains, 501. And,xx
III. The ground of his resurrection was the impossibility of his being holden of it, 505. which impossibility was founded upon,
1. The hypostatical union of Christ’s human nature to his divine, 505.
2. The immutability of God, in respect of his eternal decree, 507. and of his promise, 509.
3. The justice of God, 511.
4. The necessity of Christ’s being believed in as a Saviour, 512.
5. The nature of Christ’s priesthood, 51 4. The belief of Christ’s resurrection affords us,
1. The strongest dehortation from sin, 516.
2. The most sovereign consolation against death, 516.
THE CHRISTIAN PENTECOST, OR THE SOLEMN
EFFUSION OF THE HOLY GHOST, IN THE
SEVERAL MIRACULOUS GIFTS CONFERRED
BY HIM UPON THE APOSTLES
AND FIRST CHRISTIANS.
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. P. 518.
The Holy Ghost, the design of whose mission was to confirm Christianity, did it by an effusion of miraculous gifts upon the first messengers of it, 518. In which we consider,
I. What those gifts were, 520. either,
1. Ordinary, conveyed to us by the mediation of our own endeavours, 520. or,
2. Extraordinary, immediately from God alone, 521. such as the gift of tongues, of healing the sick and raising the dead, of prophecy, 522. the continuation of which miraculous gifts in the church was but for a time, 523.
II. The diversity of those gifts, 528. which consisted,
1. In variety, 528.
2. Not in contrariety, 536.
III. The consequences of their emanation from one and the same Spirit, 537. which are,xxi
1. That this Spirit is God, and hath a personal subsistence, 537.
2. That every one of us may learn humility under, and content with his own abilities, 539.
3. That it affords a touchstone for the trial of spirits, 541. as in the gift of prophecy, 541. of healing, 542. of discerning of spirits, 542. of divers tongues, 542. of interpreting, 543. By which trial we may discover some men’s false pretences to gifts of the Spirit, 543.
4. That knowledge and learning are not opposite to grace, 545.
THE PECULIAR CARE AND CONCERN OF PROVIDENCE FOR THE PROTECTION AND DEFENCE OF KINGS.
It is he that giveth salvation unto kings. P. 547.
The relation between prince and subject involves in it obedience and protection; and the same relation is between princes and God, who gives salvation unto kings, 547. whose providence over them,
I. Is peculiar and extraordinary, 548. besides the usual operation of causes, 549. contrary to the design of expert persons, 550. beyond the power of the cause employed, 551.
II. Making use of extraordinary means, 552. as,
1. By endowing them with a more than ordinary sagacity, 552.
2. By giving them a singular courage and resolution, 554.
3. By a strange disposition of events for their preservation, 556.
4. By inclining the hearts of their people towards them, 558.
5. By rescuing them from unseen and unknown mischiefs, 560.
6. By imprinting an awe of their authority on the minds of their subjects, 562.xxii
7. By disposing their hearts to virtue and piety, 564.
III. The reason of this particular providence is,
1. Because they are the greatest instruments to support government; to the ends of which monarchy is best adapted; and the greatness of which most depends upon their personal qualifications, 567.
2. Because they have the most powerful influence upon the concerns of religion, 571 .
IV. Hence, 1. Princes may learn their duty towards God, 573. And, 2. Subjects may learn theirs towards their prince, 573.1
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