صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

love the world as not to prefer it to Him who is the maker of it, and fo to regulate our affections and paffions, in the persuit whether of business or pleasure, as ever to keep them in a due fubordination to reason, and in fubferviency to the great end of our coming into the world, that is, of obeying the will of God in all things, and thereby promoting our own eternal happiness.

Let us then so endeavour to live in the world, that whilft we are discharging our duties in it with a becoming chearfulness, neither its cares nor pleasures may take off our thoughts from the contemplation of Him, in whom we live and move, or stifle thofe devout and pious refolutions of obedience to his will, which fuch an employment of our thoughts will naturally suggest to us. And whenever we hear the word of God, let it be with fuch attention and reverence, with fuch a freedom from incogitancy or distracting cares, that its doctrines may fink deep into our hearts, and that we may be found in the number of thofe, who in an honest and good heart having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Z 2

But

But if, with the infidel, we reject the word fpoken; or if, with the nominal Chriftian, we hear it with listless indifference; or, if, with the fpeculative Chriftian, we receive it with joy, but come not under the vital energy and influence of it; or lastly, if with the worldly Chriftian, we fuffer it to be choked with cares, and riches, and pleasures; we have much to fear from the juft judgments of God, who has vouchfafed to us peculiar advantages over all the nations of the world, with respect to the knowledge of his will: a church, I will not fay, infallible, or free from all corruptions; but I will fay, in the words of a wife and noble writer* more free from dangerous corruptions, than any other that profeffes a faith in Chrift: a miniftry, in the confeffion of its enemies, not unlearned, or unable to feed the flock of Chrift with wholefome doctrine; and, what is above all, a free and unfettered accefs to the facred volumes of truth, with an unreftrained liberty of exercising that reason and judgment, which are the birth-right and honour of every reasonable creature.

,

Should

[ocr errors]

See Lord Clarendon's Letter to his Children.

thefe

[ocr errors]

these seem to any inconfiderable advantages, let them for a moment compare their own fituation with that bondage of corruption, under which the greateft part of the known world. ftill groans, either from papal fuperftition or pagan ignorance; nay let them only look back to the difmal ftate of their forefathers in this kingdom, not many centuries ago, and they will foon fee just cause to blefs the kind providence of God, that their lot is fallen on fo fair a ground.

Whether our improvements in virtue keep pace with these advantages, and whether the purity of our lives correfponds with the purity of our faith, you all know, and it is no pleasure to me to repeat. But furely it is a fhocking difgrace to us to fay, and yet truth requires me to fay, that, wherever our fleets or armies have carried their conquests or their difcoveries, they have carried corruption and oppreffion at the fame time, have committed crimes unknown to untutored favages, and have left the innocent natives of every clime on the globe to curfe the pollution, which we falfely call the polifh, of European manners. May the great God of heaZ 3

ven

ven touch our hearts with a better fenfe of his bleffings; may we all fo clearly fee the error of our ways and amend them; that the uplifted bolts of divine vengeance may be fufpended, and that we may never experience those heavy calamities, which still continue to overwhelm a people, once favoured like ourselves, for their infidelity and unfruitfulnefs in the word of God spoken to them!

SER

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

I TIM. i. 8.

Godliness is profitable for all things; having a promife of the life that now is, and alfo of that which is to come.

TH

HE more we furvey the actions of man confidered as a moral being, the more fhall we have occafion to be furprized at a creature fo ftrange and inconfiftent in all his ways. Fickle and inconftant; wife, yet foolish; proud, yet mean and groveling; in understanding an angel, in practice a brute; his whole life is one continued riddle to himfelf and all around him. And in nothing is this inconsistency more evident and remarkable, than in what relates to his religious conduct and behaviour. Convinced as he

74

must

« السابقةمتابعة »