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Religion better understood by actions than by

words. When we have said all that we can, the secret mys.. teries of a new nature and divine life can never be sufficiently expressed; language and words cannot reach them: nor can they be truly understood but by those souls that are enkindled within, and awakened unto the sense and relish of spiritual things. There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding. The power and life of religion may be better expressed in actions than in words; because actions are more lively things, and do better represent the inward principle whence they proceed; and therefore we may take the best measure of those gracious endowments from the deportment of those in whom they reside; especially as they are perfectly exemplified in the holy life of our blessed Saviour; a main part of whose business in this world, was, to teach by his practice what he did require of others, and to make his own conversation an exact resemblance of those unparalleled rules which he prescribed: so that if ever true goodness was visible to mortal eyes, it was then when his presence did beautify and illustrate this lower world. Divine love exemplified in our Saviour:-His dili

gence in doing God's will, and His patience in bearing it.

That sincere and devout affection wherewith his blessed soul did constantly burn towards his heavenly Father, did express itself in an entire resignation to his will. It was his very meat, to do the will, and finish the work of him that sent him. This was the exercise of his childhood, and the constant employment of his riper age. He spared no travail or pains while he was about his Father's business, but took such infinite content and satisfaction in the performance of it, that when, being faint and weary with his journey, he rested himself on Jacob's well, and entreated water of the Samaritan woman; the success of his conference with her,

and the accession that was made to the kingdom of God, filled his mind with such delight, as seemed to have redounded to his very body, refreshing his spirits, and making him forget the thirst whereof he complained before, and refuse the meat which he had sent his disciples to buy. Nor was he less patient and submissive in suffering the will of God, than diligent in doing of it. He endured the sharpest afflictions and extremest miseries that ever were inflicted on any mortal, without a repining thought, or discontented word. For though he was far from a stupid insensibility, or a fantastic or Stoical obstinacy, and had as quick a sense of pain as other men, and the deepest apprehension of what he was to suffer in his soul, (as his bloody sweat, and the sore amazement and sorrow which he professed, do abundantly declare); yet did he entirely submit to that severe dispensation of providence, and willingly acquiesced in it.

And he prayed to God, that if it were possible, (or, as one of the Evangelists hath it, if he were willing,) that cup might be removed; yet he gently added, Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. Of what strange importance are the expressions, John xii. 27, where he first acknowledgeth the anguish of his spirit, Now is my soul troubled; which would seem to produce a kjod of demur, And what shall I say? and then he goes on to deprecate his sufferings, Father, save me from this hour; which he had no sooner uttered, but he doth, as it were, on second thoughts, recall it, in these words, But for this cause came I into the world; and concludes, Father, glorify thy пате. Now, we must not look on this as any levity, or blameable weakness in the blessed Jesus. He knew all along what he was to suffer, and did most resolutely undergo it. But it whows us the inconceivable weight and pressure that he was to bear; which, being so afflicting, and contrary to nature, he could not think of without terror; yet, considering the will of God, and the glory which was to redound to him from thence, he was not only content but desirous to suffer it.


Our Saviour's constant devotion. Another instance of his love to God, was, his delight in conversing with him by prayer; which made him frequently retire from the world, and with the greatest devotion and pleasure spend whole nights in that heavenly exercise, though he had no sins to confess, and but few secular interests to pray for; which, alas! are alınost the only things that are wont to drive us to our devotions. Nay, we may say his whole life was a kind of prayer, a constant course of communion with God; if the sacrifice was not always offering, yet was the fire still kept alive: nor was ever the blessed Jesus surprised with that dulness or tepidity of spirit which we must many times wrestle with, before we can be fit for the exercise of devotion.

Our Saviour's charity to men. In the second place, I should speak of his love and charity towards all men. But he who would express it, must transcribe the history of the gospel, and comment upon it: for scarce any thing is recorded to have been done or spoken by him, which was not designed for the good and advantage of some one or other. All his miraculous works vere instances of his goodness, as well as his power; and they benefited those on whom they were wrought, as well as they amazed the beholders. His charity was not confined to his kindred or relations; nor was all his kindness swallowed up in the endearments of that peculiar friendship which he carried towards the beloved disciple, but every one was his friend whọ obeyed his holy commands, John xv. 14; and whosoever did the will of his Father, the same was " to him as his brother, and sister, and mother.

Never was any unwelcome to him who came with an honest intention; nor did he deny any request which tended to the good of those that asked it. So that what

oken of that Roman Emperor, whom for his goodness they called the darling of mankind, was really performed by him; that never any departed from


him with a heavy countenance, except that rich yoath, Mark x. who was sorry to hear that the kingdom of heaven stood at so high a rate, and that he could not save his soul and his money too. And certainly it troubled our Saviour, to see that when a price was in his hand to get wisdom, yet he had no heart to it. The ingenuity that appeared in his first address, had already procured some kindness for him; for it is said, and Jesus heholding him, loved him. But must he for his sake cut out a new way to heaven, and alter the nature of things, which make it impossible that a covetous man should be happy?

And what shall I speak of his meekness, who could encounter the monstrous ingratitude and dissimulation of that miscreant who betrayed him, in no harsher terms than these, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? What further evidence could we desire of his fervent and unbounded charity, than that he willingly laid down his life even for his most bitter enemies; and, mingling his prayers with his blood, besought the Father that his death might not be laid to their charge, but might become the means of eternal life to those very persons who procured it?

Our Saviour's purity. The third branch of the divine life is purity; which, as I said, consists in a neglect of worldly enjoyments and accommodations, and a resolute enduring of all such troubles as we meet with in the doing of our duty. Now, surely, if ever any person was wholly dead to all the pleasures of the natural life, it was the blessed Jesus, who seldom tasted them when they came in his way; but never stepped out of his road to seek them. Though he allowed others the comforts of wedlock, and honoured marriage with his presence; yet he chose the severity of a virgin life, and never knew the nuptial bed; and though at the same time he supplied the want of wine with a miracle, yet he would not work one for the relief of his own hunger in the wilderness: 90 gracious and divine was the temper of his soul, in allowing to oth

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ers such lawful gratifications as himself thought good to abstain from, and supplying not only their more extreme and pressing necessities, but also their smaller and less considerable wants. We many times hear of our Saviour's sighs, and groans, and tears; but never that he laughed, and but once that he rejoiced in spirit; so that through his whole life he did exactly answer that character given of him by the prophet of old, that he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Nor were the troubles and disaccommodations of his life other than matters of choice. For never did there any appear on the stage of the world with greater advantage to have raised himself to the highest secular felicity. He who could bring together such a prodigious number of fishes into his disciples' net, and, at another time, receive that tribute from a fish which he was to pay to the temple, might easily have made himself the richest person in the world. Nay, without any money he could have maintained an army powerful enough to have jostled Cesar out of his throne; having oftener than once fed several thousands with a few loaves and small fishes. But, to show how small esteem he had of all the enjoyments in the world, he chose to live in so poor and mean a condition, that though the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, yet he who was lord and heir of all things, had not whereon to lay his head. He did not frequent the courts of princes, nor affect the acquaintance or converse of great ones; but, being reputed the son of a carpenter, he had fishermen and such other poor people for his companions, and lived at such a rate as suited with the meanness of that condition,

Our Saviour's humility. And thus I am brought unawares to speak of his humility, the last branch of the divine life; wherein he was a most eminent pattern to us, that we might learn of him to be meek and lowly in heart.

I shall not now speak of that infinite condescension of the eternal Son of God, in taking our nature upon him; but only reflect on our Saviour's lowly and humble deportment

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