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K^OD glorified in Heaven for the Works 
of Creation a^id Providence. 



God works not for our Sakes only, but 
for his Names Sake, 



The fame SubjeEl, continued. 



The Work of Redemption marvellous, but 



The fame Subject, improved. 



Shepherds glorifying God, for the Birth 
of a Saviour. 



John leaning on Jefus's Bofom. ^^ 


VIII. The SpeBators of the Crucifxion fmit- 

ing their Breafls. 112 

IX. God's Works, as King of Saints, great 

and marvellous, 126 

X. The fame SubjeEl^ continued, 140 

XI. God 


Sermon Page 

XI. God glorified in the Punijhment of 

Sinners, 156 

XIJ. , The fame SubjeH, improved, 173 

XIII. Jejiis rifmg early for Jeer et Prayer. 192 

XIV. Family Prayer, 209 

XV. The fame SuhjeEl, continued J 224 

XVI. A Chriflian Family helping their 

Minfter, 240 

XVII. Children in the Temple praifing the 

Redeemer. 256 

XVIII. The Neceffity of early Religion. 272 

XIX. The Youth affifled in forming his 

religious Sentiments. 289 

XX. Samfonfhorn of his Locks, 305 

XXI. Reflexions on Abraham's Artifice with 

Abimelech. 320 

XXII. The Kingdom of God without Obfer- 

vation. 335 

XX W. The fame SubjeH, improved, ' 347 

XXIV. Innumerable gone to the Grave, and 

every Man drawing after them, 359 

XXV. ReflcElions on Harvefl, 374 


of (^'zeaiioTi and J "^ovia&Ttce, 

Revelation 4, xi. 

'thou art -worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, 
and power ; for thou hajl created all things, and 
for thy pkafare they arc and were created. 

T. John, in this chapter, defcribes 
a vifion which he had of the 
heavenly worfliip. He faw a 
throne placed in heaven, with 
the appearance of divine glory 
upon it ; and feats difpofed a-* 
round, on which fat the elders, clothed in white 
raiment, with golden crowns on their hes^ ; and 
in the midft, and round about the throne, were 
the principal angels. Thefe began the worfhip 
with celebrating the infinite purity of the divine 
nature, and afcnbing all glory to him, who fat 
on the throne ; and then the elders joined their 
fi, voices. 


. L 

voices, falling before the throne, caRing down 
their crowns, and faying, Thou art worthy to re- 
ceive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou hajl 
,created all things, and for thy pkafure they are and 
were created. 

In thefe words w-e may obferve, 

I. That all things were created by God. 

II. That they were created, and are upheld /or 
his plcafitre. 

III. That all rational beings are to glorify hiin 
for his creation and providence. 

I. The heavenly church acknowledge that God 
treated all things. 

If the world was created, there was a time when' 
it did not exift. Though it received its prefent 
form from preexifting matter, yet this matter muil, 
at fome time or other, have received its exiftencc 
from the fame hand which moulded it into this 
wondrous form. The worlds were framed by the. 
word of God ; fo that things zvhich are fcen, were not 
made of things which do appear. If the world were 
eternal and felf exiflent, it would be immutable ; 
for that which exifls neceflarily, is neceffarily what 
it is, and not liable to change or diifolution. But 
we feetllpfe material things continually fubjed to 
alteration and decay ; we may therefore conclude 
that they are the creatures of time. 

As all creation had a beginning, fo this part of 
it had a late beginning. The fcriptural account, 
which dates it but a few thoufand years back, is 



in fomc meafure confirmed by obfervation. The 
iatenefs of our moft ancient hiftories, the impcr- 
fedion of arts and fcicnces, and even of the geog-- 
raphy of the world, and the vaft trads, which ftill 
remain unpopulated, or but fperfely mhabited, 
though mankind have, in general, bccii in a ftate 
of increafe, make it credible, that the world can- 
not have exifted much longer thati the Mofaick 
account reprefents* 

" But, I Can we fuppofe, that the Deity, who is 
eternal, would fufFer fuch along duration topafs 
away, before he employed his power, wifdom, and 
goodnefs, or made beings to know, enjoy ^ and 
praife him ?" 

This queftion has been afked, and urged as an 
obje6lion againfl the Iatenefs of creation. 

But the objedion, if it may be called one, can 
refpe6i: only that part of creation of which Mofes 
has given an account. Space is boundlefs, as 
well as duration endlefs. Beyond our fyftem- — 
beyond thefe vifible heavens, there is room for 
innumerable worlds to have exifted, millions of 
ages before this part of the univerfe rofe into be- 
ing. Befides, the objedion itfelf, when it is ex- 
amined, vanifties into nothing. If the wprld was 
created, there was a time when it be^n. And 
if, for its origin, you go back as many millions 
of ages as there are funbeams in the heavens, 
ftill there was a time, when it had not exifted fix 
thoufand years. And this objection might then 
A 2 be 

8 Serxvi. L 

be made, as well as now ; for it was then as true^ 
as it is now. that there had pafifed a duration with- 
out beginning. The difficulty in fuch Cafes is, we 
attempt by time to meafure eternity ; and the 
meafure is not adequate to the obje6l. 

From the things which exift, we know there is 
a God. The invifible things of God, from the crea- 
tion of the world, are clearly fe en, being underflood by 
the things which are made, even his eternal power and 

If God created all things, then a creating power 
belongs not to creatures. It is a power, which 
we may fuppofe them incapable of receiving ; for 
creation is the higheft a6l of Divinity that we can 
conceive of; probably there can be none higher. 

"EiY human ability and ingenuity many things 
have been done, which to the unexperienced appear 
i'urprizing. The combined (kill and power of a 
number have produced works far greater ftill. But 
all their works are only giving a new form to 
things which already exift. They cannot originate 
matter, nor animate it when it is made. There 
are bemgs above us endued with fuperiour powers ; 
but to none of thefe does the fcripture afcribe the 
power of^reation. On the contrary, it exprefsly 
tells us, all things were created by God. But our 
apoftle, inhisgofpel, fays, *' All things were made 
by Jefus Chrift, and without him was not any thing 
made, that was made." Hence thenwemuft con- 
clude, that he is not merely an exalted creature, 


Serm. I. 9 

but properly divine, poircfTcd of divine power, 
and entitled to divine honour. 

How vafl is creation ! Even this world, when 
we view it in compariibn with the little creatures 
which inhabit it, appears a mighty thing. But, 
what is this, with all its innumerable inhabitants, 
to the univerfe ! When we ftep abroad, and call 
our eyes up to the heavens, what an aftonifh- 
ina; fcene do we behold ! What multitudes of 
worlds do we there fee fcattered around, and funk 
in the depths of fpace ! At what an amazing 
diftance are they placed from us, and from one 
another! How fmall is the fpot which our fight 
commands, compared with unlimited fpace ! 
How inconfiderable the number of bodie;s which 
we fee, compared with thofe which may be fup- 
pofed to exift ! After imagination has taken its 
moll diftant flight, flill, How far is it from hav- 
ing reached the bounds of creation ! And yet all 
thefe things were created and are upheld by one 
almighty, omniprefent, eternal Being. ^ Hefpake, 
and they were made ; he commanded, and they 
flood fa ft. By his word the heavens and the 
earth were created, and all the hoft of them by 
the breath of his mouth. He ftill upholds them 
all by the word of his power. The thunder of 
his power, who can underftand ! 

We proceed to our fecond obfervation. 

n. All things are and were created for God'spkaf- 
ure ; or for his willi as the word properly fignifies. 


lO SjtRM. I. 

If you allc, why God made the world, and up- 
holds it ; why he framed the univerfe, and form- 
ed this globe, in fuch time and manner, as he has ; 
this fong of angels gives the proper anfwer. " All 
things were made for his pleafure." The apoflle 
Paul expreffes the fame fentiment : He works all 
things acco7'ding to the counfel of his own will. 

There has been much inquirj^, and fome con- 
troverfy among Chriflians, concerning God's ulti- 
mate end in the work of creation; whether it was 
his own glory, or the exercife of his goodnefs in the 
communication of happinefs. But the apoflle, in 
the text, cuts the matter fliort. He introduces the 
fpirits in heaven as celebrating the wonders of cre- 
ation, and afcribing them all to God's will. Here 
is a plain intimation, that thefe fpeculations on the 
fupreme and ultimate end of an infinite and all 
perfe6l Being, in the formation of all his w^orks, 
are too high for mortals. Angels, with greater 
modefly, bow down and adore unfearchable wif- 
dom. Wife ends he certainly has in all his works. 
But, farther than he has given us an account of his 
matters, his counfels are too deep for us. 

Creation is a vaft and ftupendous work. It is 
but a fm^tll part of it which comes within our ob- 
fervation ; and even this we know but imperfe6l- 
ly. And jf we know not the work itfelf, much 
lefs can we know all the purpofes for which it 
was intended. For us it is enough to know, that 
all things were made by a moft perfe6l Being, 


Serm. I. 11 

and that for his pleafure they are and were 

But though we cannot comprehend the works 
of God, nor determine that they were made for 
this Or that purpofe folely or Supremely, yet there 
are certain ufes to which we fee many of them a- 
dapted ; and theft it becomes us to obferve. 

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the 
Armament fhcweth his handy work. The earth 
alfo is full of his riches. His power and good- 
nefs" every where appear. Manifold are his 
works ; in wifdom he has made them all. 

As the works which we behold, difplay his 
perfeQions, and manifefl, in a particular manner, 
his wifdom, power and benevolence ; fo it is cer- 
tainly his will, that intelligent creatures fhould 
attend to the difplays and manifeftations which 
he has made of himfelf, and exercife toward him 
correfpondent affedions and regards. Though 
we cannot affirm, that this, that, or the other, was 
the only or ultimate end of all creation, yet we 
know that God made rational creatures to ferve 
him ; difcovers to them his character, that they 
may love him ; bellows on them his goodnefs, that 
they may truft him ; and calls them to himfelf, 
that they may enjoy him. The language of 
angels, is the voice of reafon. Thou, art worthy to 
receive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou haft 
created' all things, and for thy pleafure they are and 
were created. 


12 §EaM. I. 

This brings us to our lafl obfervation, 

III. That all intelligent beings are bound to 
glorify God for his works of creation and provi- 

1 . Thefe works fhould lead us to the knowl- 
edge and contemplation of their great and glo- 
rious Author. 

God's works are wonderful, fought out by theni 
who have pleafure in them. While the philofo- 
pher explores them for the enlargement of his 
mind, the amufement of his fancy, and the invef- 
tigation of their ufes in common life, the good 
Chriflian will regard them in a higher view. He 
will look into them, that he may gain a jufter 
knowledge, and raife a nobler conception of the 
Creator. He will behold God in them, and con- 
template the wifdom, goodnefs, and pov/er which 
they difplay. When he fees the works, he will 
fee God working. He will confider himfelf as 
furrounded by the Deity ; animated by his breath ; 
infpired with reafon by his fpirit ; fuftained by 
his hand ; fupplied by his goodnefs ; guided by 
his counfel ; and prote6led by his power. 

Of the wicked it is faid, God is not in all their 
thoughts. What flupidity is this ! i Is God al- 
ways with them, and working before them ? 
I Does he manifeft himfelf in the heavens, in the 
earth, in rain and funfliine, in winds and ftorms, 
in fucceeding their labours, andblefling the works 
of their hands ? And, i Can they banifh him 


Serm. I. 13 

from their thoughts ? If we live without God 
in a world, which is every where fo full of him, 
I What are we better than the heathen ? We 
know God, but we glorify him not as God, nei- 
ther are thankful. ^ Better than the heathen ? 
Nay, we are infcriour to the mere animal. " The 
ox knows his owner, and the afs his mailer's crib." 

2. Wefhould glorify God in his works, by im- 
proving them to awaken in our fouls pious affec- 
tions to him. 

The Being who made and upholds fo vail a 
fyflem ; who fupplies fuch innumerable multi- 
tudes ; w^ho has given underflanding to many ; 
who has provided for their fubfiftence in this 
ftate, and their happinefs through eternity, mull 
be great, and wife, and good. To him then are 
due our highefl regards. We fhould tremble at 
his prefence, reverence his majefty, fubmit to his 
pleafure, trull his care, admire his chara6ler, 
thank him for his benefits, and acknowledg.e him 
in all our ways. 

In tracing the connexions, and invefligating 
the caufes of things, the philofopher is led up 
to the Deity as the grand firfl caufe of all. But 
if he introduces into his fcheme the agency of a 
God, only as he admits the power of attra6lion, 
magnetifm and ele6lricity, to folve the phenomena 
of nature, he Hops far ftiort of the proper end of 
his refearches. The Chriflian will contemplate 


14 Serm, I. 

the Deity, not merely as a power producing great 
efFeds ; but as a Being, whofe power is guided 
by wifdom, juftice and benevolence. While he 
admires the works, he will love and fear, trufl 
and adore the God who made them. 

3. The works of God fhould invite us to him 
in the humble exercifcs of devotion. He who 
offers praife, glorifies God. The Being who made 
all things, muft himfelf be independent. The 
thmgs which are mademuflbedependent on him. 
When we look up to this glorious Being, we 
fhould fmk down mto the moft humble thoughts 
of ourfelves. What are we amidft this vaft 
creation ! How wonderful is his condefcenfion, 
that he attends to our wants, and vifits us every 
moment 1 "WHien we confider ^he heavens, the 
work of his fingers, the moon and ftars, which he 
has ordained, ^ How juft is the refledion, What 
is man that he Ihould be mindful of him ? — i Does 
it not become fuch dependent and indebted cr< a- 
tures daily to call on God for what they want, 
and daily to thank him for what they receive ? 
He is not indifferent to us : i Shall we be indif- 
ferent to him ? We daily fland in his prefence, 
and receive bounties from his hand : i Shall we 
pay no reverence to his charafler, and make no 
returns for his beneficence ? From juft apprehen- 
fions of God, and of ourfelves/ a fptrit of devo- 
tion muft arife. 

4. We 

SiRM. I. 15 

4. We are to glorify God for our own cxiflcncc. 

If we arc to praife him for creation in general, 
furely fomc gratitude is due for our diRinguiflicd 
rank in the creation. I will praifcthee, for I am 
fearfully and xuonderfully made. Hoiv precious are 
thy thoughts to me ! How great is the fum of them J 

(jod has given us a rational exidence ; made 
known to us his will ; taken us under his partic- 
ular care ; furniflied us with the means of virtue 
in this Rate, and eternal happinefs in the next ; 
and all along the paflage through this to the fu- 
ture world, the blefhngs of his goodnefs attend us. 
I Is not rxiflence, under thefe circumftances, to 
be regarded as a privilege ? If a happy exillence 
is to be valued, an exillence accompanied with 
prefent enjoyments, and with the means of ob- 
raining higher enjoyments hereafter, is to be con- 
templated with gratitude and joy. 

Perhaps, in the gloom of a difcontented mind, 
you complain of life as a burthen. 

Impatience may undoubtedly draw up a long 
lift of grievances. But from this lift, let your 
fober reafon make proper deduftions. 

In the firft place, ftnke out your imaginary 
troubles — thofe which arife from pride, vanity, 
avarice, habit, irregular paflion, and extravagant 
cxpedation. Strike out next the troubles which 
are merely negative, confiftmg only in the remov- 
al of bleffings which you have enjoyed for a while, 
and which, if you had never enjoyed them, you 


i6 Serm. I. 

never would have defired. Strike out alfo your 
comparative evils, which owe their exiflence to an 
apprehenfion, that your neighbours poflefs bene- 
fits denied to you — benefits, which you would not 
have thought of, if you had not feen them in pof- 
feflion of others. Make thefe deduftions, and 
your lift of grievances will be much reduced. 
Call gratitude to make the eftimate, and your blef- 
fmgs will be found to exceed your troubles. 

You have more days of health and comfort, 
than of ficknefs and pain. In a courfe of reg- 
ular induilry, you have more fuccefs than difap- 
pointment. In your connexions, you have many 
friends ; few enemies — perhaps none. Remem- 
ber alfo, that your real troubles, rightly regarded, 
are preparatives for a ftate of pure enjoyment ; 
and that death, which of all things here you moft 
dread, is your pafTage to that ftate. Confider 
thefe things, and then fay, Our light afflidiions, which 
are but for a moment^ will work Jor us a Jar more 
exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 

But ftill perhaps fome will conclude, that their 
exiftence is to be regretted : " For revelation in- 
forms us, that a great part, yea much the great- 
er part of the human race will be miferable for- 
ever. It is then, with refpe6l to each one who 
comes on this ftage, more probable that he will 
be miferable than happy. And if this is his 
ftate, I What ground is there to be thankful for 

exiftence ?" 


5>ERM. I. 17 

Now, without entering on the queflion, wheth- 
er the proportion of the faved will be great or 
Imall, a queftion not fubjed to human calcula- 
tion, wc are to confider, v/hether we have the 
means and offers of happinefs, and whether we 
have them from a Being who may be trufted. 
If wc have, then there is caufe of thankfulnefs for 
our exiflence ; for we may be happy, if we will 
be wife. It is only the abufe of divine goodnefs, 
that makes us mifer^ble. Happinefs is propofed 
to our choice ; and whether we accept or reject 
it, ftill God is good. Our folly alters not the 
nature of goodnefs, nor diminifhes the obligation 
of gratitude. 

You are not to confider the plan of thegofpel, 
as the fcheme of a lottery, in which each man's 
chance for fuccefs is according to the proportion 
of prizes to blanks ; but as a moral and rational 
plan, in which each one's fuccefs will be deter- 
mined by his own choice. Be the number of the 
faved ever fo fmall, this diminifhes not the prob- 
ability in favour of thofe, who feek for glory by 
a patient continuance in well doing. Be it eve^ 
fo great, this gives no additional hope to thofe 
who negleft their falvation. To determine the 
probability of your fuccefs, you need not inquire 
how many, or how few will be faved : You are 
only to inquire, what you yourfelves are doing. 
In the deftruftion of the old world, Noah and his 
houfehold, though few, only eight fouls, were 


i8 StRy.. I- 

prefervcd. At the wedding fupper. tlie one un- 
worthy gueft was call into utter darknefs. What- 
ever may be the number of the righteous, or of 
the wicked, the Lord knOweth how to deliver the 
godly out of temptation, and how to referve the 
unjufl unto the day of judgment to be punilhed. 

The apoilie fays to the Corinthians, They zuho 
run in a race, run all ; but cne receiveih the prize. 
So 7'un, that ye may ohlain. I Jo run, not as wicer- 
tainly. In a race, there is only one prize ; and 
whatever exertions the combatants make, it is on- 
ly the foremoft who wins. In the Chriftian race- 
it is otherwife. Here is a prize propofed to each ; 
and all may obtain, if they will run well. There- 
fore the apoflle fays. So run, that ye may Gbtam. 
Ye may all obtain, who enter on the race, and 
finifli the courfe. Your fuccefs will not be in- 
fluenced by the good or ill fuccefs of others : It 
will be determined by your own fincerity, aftivity 
and perfeverance. Ifo run, not as wicertainly ; fo 
Jight /, not as one who beaieih the air ; but I keep 
under my body to bring it into fubjeB^ion, left by any 
means, when I have preached to others, I viyfeJf 
Jhould be a cajlaway. 

5. If creation deferves our praife, redemption 
deferves it Hill more, for this is our hope. 

Creation difplays God's wifdom, power and 
goodnefs ; redemption difplays his holinefs, jullice 
and grace. If it is matter of gratitude, that we were 
called from nothing into rational exiftence ; it is 


Serm. I. 19 

matter of higher gratitude, that we are recovered 
from darknefs, bondage and fear, to a liatc of light, 
liberty and hope. If we are to give thanks, tliat, 
when we were nothing, God called us ^nto being, to 
behold and contemplate his works ; much rather 
fhould we give thanks that when, by perverting the 
defignof our creation, we had ruined our felves, in 
lain was our help ; that when we were without, in due time Chrifl died for the ungodly. 

Finally, we are to glorify God for the profpeds 
which are opened before us. 

Here we niay know fomethingof God's works ; 
for creation is all around us, and providence is 
working before us. Angels and faints above 
know more of God's works than can be known here. 
They have a ftronger fight, and can look to more 
diflant objcfts. They are raifed to higher ground, 
and can command a more extcnfive view. Their 
fight is not bounded by the circle of our horizon, 
nor their profpe6l terminated by the canopy of 
our fkies. They fee more than we can fee, and 
they admire and love more than we can do. But 
delightful is the hope, that we fhall one day be 
with them, and be like them ; fee as they fee, and 
praife as they praife. 

We behold many wonders of God's wifdom 
and goodnefs in this earth, and in thofe heavens. 
But, I What are thefe compared with the wonders 
which will crowd upon our fight, when we fhali 
tread the new earth, and contemplate the new 

heavens ? 

20 S'FRM. I, 

heavens ? At the opening of thefe new fcenes, all 
former glories will be extinguifiied, like a lamp 
before the rifing fun. Behold, fays the God of 
glory, / create ntw heavens, and a new earth ; and 
the former fticil not be remembered, nor co7ne into 
mind. Be glad and rejoice forever in that zohich / 
create. Behold, I create J'e'rvfalem a rejoicing, and 
her people a joy. 

The new heavens and earth will need ho fun 
or moon to fhine upon them. The glory of the 
Lord fhall lighten them, and the nations of them 
who are faved Ihall walk in the light thereof, and 
there fhall be no night there. 

While we dwell in this lower creation, let us 
raife our thoughts to the fuperiour world, and 
here begin the devout and holy exercifes which 
are to employ us there. 

If all things were created for God's pleafure, 
let us remember, that for his pleafure we were 
created too. We are to live, not to ourfelves, 
but to him — to make, not our own, but his will, 
the rule of our aftions — to pleafe, not ourfelves, 
but him whofe will is perfeft — and to expe6l 
happinefs, not in the world, but in his favour. 

Be not then conformed to this world, but be ye 
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that 
ye may prove what is the good, acceptable and 
perfe6l will of God. 



H^od TvoT^k^ , ozot pr otv'r> ifake^ onCu, 
utii ]ox> nu Ji a/m&4 i/akc, 

E z E K I E L 36, xxxii. 
Not for your fakes do I this, faith the Lord God, ie 

it known unto you ; 

1 O the Jews, now in captivity at Bab-i 
ylon, the prophet, in this chapter, communicates 
God's gracious promife of their reftoration to their 
own land ; and defcribes the happy circumftances 
which fhould attend it. They fhould be reinftat- 
ed in their former privileges — fhould receive plen- 
tiful efFufions of the Holy Spirit — fhould be blefT- 
ed with all temporal and fpiritual good things — • 
in a word, the Lord would be their God, and they 
fhould be his people. But left, on hearing fuch 
rich and gracious promifes, their hearts fliould be 
lifted up in pride and felfconfidence, the caution 
in the text is fubjoined — Not for your fakes do I 
this, faith the Lord God, be it known unto you ; be 
afhamcd and confounded for your own ways. The 
fame caution is before given in the 2 2d verfe; 
% Thus 

22 S£RM. IL 

Thus faith the Lord I do not this J or your Jakes, 
hoiife of Ijrael ; but for my holy name s fake, which ye 
had prof aned among the heathens, -whither ye went, I 
have had pity for my holy name. I willfantlify iny great 
oiamc, which ye had profaned. The heathen fhall 
know that I am the Lord, when I fhall be fandified 
in you before their eyes. 

The reafon of God's granting to the captive Jews, 
a refloration to their country, and fo many attend- 
ing privileges, was founded, not in their worthinefs, 
but his own mercy — not in a partial regard to them, 
but in a general regard to the human race. 

We will illuflrate our text — 

Firfl, As it refpeds the cafe of the Jews in par- 

II. In its more general application to others. 

I. We will confider the text as it immediate- 
ly refpefts the cafe of the Jews. 

Their deliverance from Babylon was eminently 
the work of God. — It was He, who did this. Tak- 
en in all its circumftances, it evidently appears to 
have been wrought by a divine hand. 

The duration of their captivity was exa6lly fore- 
told, before it began ; and Cyrus, the prince who 
granted their rtleafe, was exprefsly named in 
prophecy, before he was born. During a period 
of feventy years, they were preferved a di[tin6l 
people in the land of their enemies, while other 
nations were fwal lowed up and loft. They en- 
joyed fome peculiar privileges in their captivity, 
cfpecially the privilege of exeicifmg their own 


Serm. II. 23 

religion, and attending the miniflratiotis of their 
prophets. Some of their prophets and priefts, 
men of diflinguifhed abilities, gifts and virtues, 
were, by a wonderful concurrence of circum- 
flances, admitted to great honour and influence in 
the court of Babylon, where, uncorrupted by their 
preferment, they retained their zeal for the relig- 
ion, and concern for the interefl of their nation, 
for whom they procured fome fignal favours. In 
this period Cyrus the Per fian is born. Under him 
are united the Perfian and Median powers. He 
proves a wife and virtuous, as well as a warlike 
and viftorious prince. A little before the time 
predifted for the deliverance of the Jews, he makes 
a conqueft, and obtains the government of the 
Chaldean empire. He favours thefe captives, and 
grants them liberty to return to their ov/n land^ 
Under the authority of the decree palfed in his 
reign, his fucceffors continue to them this indul- 
gence, and afTift them in refettling their country, 
and rebuilding their city and temple. Some of 
their countrymen, now in honour and affluence at 
Babylon, facrifice all their worldly poffeffions and 
profpe6]:s to the interefl of this defpifed people, and 
not only aid, but accompany them in their return. 
Here, under the fmiles of Providence, they incrcafe 
in number, flrength and importance, and foon be- 
come refpe6lable among the nations around them. 
In this great event, utterly improbable to hu- 
man forefight, fo confpicuous was the divine hand, 
that when God turned again the captivity of Zion, 
B z^ it 

24 Serm. IL 

it was faid among the heathen, The Lord hath 
done great things for them, 

God would have them confider, that all this was 
done, not for their fakes, but for his name's fake. 

It was done, not on account of their worlhinefs, 
but from pure 7nercy. 

They had been lent into captivity for the fms 
which they committed in their own land ; and 
tliefe fms they carried with them and ftili retained 
in the land of their captivity. Thus God com- 
plains of them in the precedmg part of this chap- 
ter. " When the houfe of Ifrael dwelt in their 
own land, they defiled it by their own way, and 
hy their doings ; wherefore I poured out my fury 
upon them, and I fcattered them among the hea- 
then.-— And when they entered unto the heathen, 
whither they went, they profaned my holy nam.c, 
when it was faid unto them, Thefe are the people 
of the Lord, and they are gone forth out of his 
land." As if it had been faid, " By their evil 
pradicCvS they have brought a reproach on my 
name, and given occafion to the heathen to fay, 
See what profligate and impious wretches thefe 
Jews are, who call themfelves the fen^ants of a 
holy God ! No wonder he has expelled them out 
of the countrv, which he ^ave them." When God 
promifes their reft oration, he calls upon them, to 
remember all that they had done, and to be 
afhamed and confounded for their own ways. 

This deliverance was not intended principally 
for their benefit ; but for a more general and ex- 
ten five 

Serm. IL 25 

tenfive good. " I do this," fays the Ahnighty, 
'' for my name's fake, and that the lieathen may 
know that I am the Lord." 

In this work God glorified his great name. He 
gave a (Iriking difplay of his pozocr, by refcuing 
thefe feeble captives irom the hands of fuperiour 
enemies — of his wifdom, in fo dilpofing events as 
to accomplifh this mighty purpofe — of his fore- 
knowledge, in pointing out the time, manner and 
circumilances of their deliverance — oHih faithful- 
nefs, in fuIGling the promifes, which had long be- 
fore been made in their favour — of his goodnefs, 
in watching over this unworthy people, and par- 
doning their numerous provocations — of his holi- 
nefs, in chaflifmg their iniquities — o^ Yns jiflice, in 
punifhing the opprejGTions of their enemies — of his 
fovereignty, in calling down a fuperiour nation to 
make way for their deliverance — and of the truth 
of the religion inflituted among them, by accom- 
plifhing the predi6lions of his prophets. 

God did not at firft fet his love upon them, be- 
caufe they were more in number than any people ; 
for they were then the feweft of all people. Nei- 
ther did he overturn the empire of Babylon in 
order to their deliverance, bacaufe they were the 
greatcll nation in the world ; for they were but 
an inconfiderable company, compared with the 
nation now conquered. He mufl have had fome 
higher end than merely the advancement of this 
fmall number of captives, fcarcely amounting to 
fifty thoufands. 

B 3 God's 

26 Serm. II. 

God's ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts 
as our thoughts. It is by a variety of means, and 
by a laboured procefs, that we efFed a fingle pur- 
pofc. A variety of vaft and wonderful purpofes 
God accompli (lies by the fame means. There is 
a connexion which runs through his works. The 
end, which feems firfl intended, is one flep in the 
procefs, in order to bring about fome diftant and 
mor^ important defign. 

1. The captivity and deliverance of the Jews 
were the means of fpreading in the world the 
knowledge of God, and of the true religion. 

The heathen were thus made to know that he 
was the Lord. 

The benefits of the revelation, which God gave 
to the Jews, were not wholly confined to them. 
They reached to other nations. The frequent 
captivities and difperfions of this enlightened peo- 
ple, as well as the travels of their prophets, con- 
tributed to difTeminate far and wide the knowledge 
of the truth. Babylon was the mod celebrated 
city, and the capital of the mo ft powerful empire 
in the world ; fo that by means of this long cap- 
tivity, the knowledge of the true God was more 
ext:nfively fpread, than it would have been, had 
his profefted worlhippers been fuITered to continue 
in their own land. By various other calamities, 
as famines, plagues, ftorms and earthquakes, God 
could have punifhed thdr manifold iniquities ; 
but judgments of this kind were not fo well adap- 
ted to difFufe the knowledge of his name. 


Serm. II. 27 

The means made ufeof in Providence fortheiv 
deliverance, conduced to the Tame great end. To 
make way for this event, the empire of Babylon is 
fubdued by the Medes and Perfians, who of courfe 
now become acquainted with the Jews, with the 
religion which they profefs, and with the God 
whom they worfhip. The information which 
Cyrus received concerning the predi6lions of the 
prophets, and the convidion which he felt of their 
truth and divinity, were doubtlefs the motives 
which firfl: prompted him to releafe thefe captives. 
It is evident that he, as well as fome preceding 
and following kings of Babylon, acknowledged 
the God of Ifrael to be the true and fupreme 
God. If they acknowledged him, many of their 
fubjcds would follow their example. So that the 
Jewifli revelation was, infa6i;, moreextenfive than 
fome imagine. That which at firfl looks like par- 
tiality in their favour, was, in its effecls, the ex- 
€rcife of general goodnefs. 

2. The return of the Jews was a flrong con- 
firmation of the truth of their religion, adapted to 
give convi61;ion to all who were witneffes of it. 

The wonderful fleps of Providence in accom- 
plifhing this event, and the exad fulfilment of the 
many predi6lions and promifes which had been 
made concerning it, were undeniable proofs, that 
the God whom they worfhipped, was the only true 

3. God preferved this people, becaufe to them 
were committed his facred oracles, 

B 4 Though 

28 Serm. II, 

Though they were a fmful nation, yet as the on- 
ly inftituted church, and the only written revela- 
tion, were among them, he would not utterly de- 
flroy them. He fpared them, becaufe a bleffing 
for mankind was in them. As the fcriptures, 
which they enjoyed, were ultimately dehgned for 
general benefit, God would preferve the nation to 
whofe care he had committed them. Had thefe 
facred wntings been extinguifhed by the deflruc- 
tion of the prefent poffeffors of them, the world 
would have fuftained a lofs, which could, by no 
human means, have been repaired. 

4. God reftored and preferved this people, be- 
caufe from them was to proceed the great Saviour 
of the world. 

To Abraham was a promife made, that among 
his defcendants, the Redeemer fliouldbe born, and 
in his feed all nations fhould be bleffed. As the 
time was not yet come for the appearance of the 
promifed Saviour, the nation from whom he was 
to fpring, and who were firft to be bleifed with his 
prefence. mufl: be preferved. Accordingly we find, 
that until the time of his coming, this nation was 
God's peculiar care ; though he often chaflifed 
them, he forfook them not utterly; though he de- 
livered them up to captivity, he dilfolved not 
their national flat^e. But this fmgular care of them 
was not for their fakes ; it was for the fake of 
mankind in general, that the bleffing promifed to 
Abraham might come on the Gentiles. And there- 


Serm. II. tg 

fore, after the Saviour's death, this fpecial care tor 
them is withdrawn. 

They are foon given up to the power of the Ro- 
•mans, by whom they are completely fubdued, and 
fcattered over the face of the earth ; and even to 
this day they no where fubfifl in a national ca- 

5. The captivity and deliverance of this people, 
were events which conduced much to prepare the 
world for the reception of the Saviour. 

By thefe means, many learned men, in the mod 
refpe6lable nations of the earth, were brought to 
the knowledge and belief of the Jewifh fcriptures, 
and of the prophecies concerning the MefTiah. The 
prophecy of Daniel, which was delivered toward 
the end of the captivity, exprefsly pointed out the 
time of his appearance. This mufl have been 
known to many befides the Jews ; and from hence 
probably arofe the prevailing expe6lation in thofe 
parts of the world, that fome extraordinary per- 
fon would appear, who fhould have a general 
dominion. Hence he is called the defire, or ex- 
pedation, of all nations. And doubtlefs the great 
fuccefs, which the apoilles found in preaching the 
gofpel among the Gentiles, was, in fome meafure, 
owing to thefe preparatory means. 

The time is coming when the knowledge of God 
fhall cover the earth, and all nations iliall fee his 
faivation. The gofpel will not always be confin- 
ed to a fmall part of the human race. It will 
have a univerfal fpread, Thofe means which 


30 Serm. IL 

iiave introduced, and hitherto maintained it, were 
defigned for the benefit of generations to come, as 
well as of thofe which are pad. God's particular 
favour to the Jews, will eventually prove a bleif- 
ing to all nations. 


1. This paffage, in its connexion, teaches us, 
what is intended by the phrafe, fo often ufed in 
fcripture, of God's working ybr his own fake^ and 
for his name s fake. It is working, that his name 
may be more extenlively known and regarded 
among men. 

This is evidently the fenfe, in which it is ufed 
in this chapter. / do this for my names fake, and 
J will fauElify my great name ; and the heathen fliall 
Inow, that I am the Lord, So it is repeatedly ufed 
in the 20th chapter- / tor ought for my name s fake y 
that it fhould not be polluttd among the heathen, in 
tuhofe fight I made myfelf known. 

When we meet with fuch phrafes, we muftnot 
underfland them, as if the independent, allperfe6l, 
felfsufficient God, had fome defign diverfe from, 
and oppofite to, the good of his creatures. For 
as he is completely happy in himfelf ; and as 
norhing can increafe, or diminifti his felicity and 
felfenjoyment, foit is impoffible, that, in this fenfe, 
he fhould do any thing for his own fake. But 
his a6ting ybr his name s fake, is a6ling for the fake 
of making his name, or character, known among 


Serm. II. gt 

his rational creatures, and bringing them to ac- 
knowledge, fear and obey him. What he does 
for his own fake, has refpeft to their good, and is 
fuited to render them virtuous and happy. So 
that the phrafe, in the ftrongeft manner, expreffes 
his free and difinterefted goodnefs. 

When a man is faid to do any thing for his own 
fake, we confider him as a6ling felfifhly, and with- 
out regard to the interefl of others. But the 
phrafe is, in fcripture, applied to the Deity in a 
higher and nobler fenfe, as imparting his kind 
and gracious intentions toward moral beings. 
When he makes his name known, it is, not that 
he himfelf, but that his creatures, may be better 
and happier. 

In like manner we are to underfland the fimilar 
phrafe of God's dicing for his own glory. This is 
not to make himfelf more glorious ; for he is in- 
finitely glorious in his nature : His glorioufnefs 
confifls in his unlimited and immutable perfec- 
tion : But it is to manifell and difplay among 
his creatures his glorious character, that they may 
know and love him, adore and ferve him. And 
he requires them to admire and worfhip him, not 
becaufe he is benefited by their aflFe6lions or 
praifes ; for he is not worlliipped by men's hand, 
as though he needed any thing from them — their 
goodnefs cannot extend to him ; but becaufe thefe 
regards are due from them as rational creatures, 
and are neceifary to their own happinefs. 


3« SiRM. ir. 

In a fenfe con fi (lent with this, we muft under- 
ftand the command, to do all things to the glory of 
God, We muft not imagine, that our righteouf- 
nt{s is gain to him — that our fervices turn to his 
real benefit — that our praifes add any thing to his 
excellency. Such ideas of him would be impious. 
Eut we then a6i; to his glory, when we imitate his 
goodnefs by doing good to mankmd — when we 
obey his commands on the motives which he pro- 
pofes — and when we fhew forth the glory of his 
€hara6ler, in fuch a manner as to promote the 
virtueandhappinefsof our fellow creatures. Here- 
m is our heavenly Father glorified, that we bring forth 
much fruit. We are to abound in the fruits of right- 
eoifnefs, which are by Jefus Chrifl, to the praife and 
glory of God. Our light is tofhine before men, that, 
feeing our good works, they may glorify God. We 
are to give glory to God, by exercifmg repentence and 
making confeffion of our fms. Whatever we do, we 
are to do it to his glory, giving no offence to any man, 
mid not feeking our own prof t, but the prof t of many , 
that they may be faved. 

2. Our fubjed leads us to admire the grand 
fcheme of God's providence. 

His difpenfations, both of mercy and corredion 
toward particular perfons and nations, look be- 
yond thofe who are the immediate objeds of 
them ; and produce efiFeds more diftant than we 
can trace — more extenfive than we can compre- 
hend — more numerous than we can conceive. 
The mercies granted to the Jews, were not for their 


Serm. II. 53 

fakes only, but for his name's fake, that it might 
be known among the heathen. When we con- 
template the hiftoiy of his dealings toward thein, 
we fee confquences of great and general impor- 
tance produced by means, which feemed at firll 
to refpeft them only. The ways of his providence 
are ftill as wife and gracious — ftill as complex 
and interefting, as thole which are the fubje6l of 
facred hiflory. 

. When we review thofe difpenfations, which 
more immediately concern ourfelves, we often 
find great effe6ls produced by caufes which to us 
feemed fmall — happy confequences following, at 
a dillance, from events which, in the time of them, 
promifed nothing — fubftantial good iffuing froni 
occurrences, which had a contrary afpedl — and 
trouble growing out of meafures, which we fondly- 
adopted and eagerly purfued. And befides this 
connexion of things, which we are able to difcov- 
er, there is doubtlefs a more remote and important 
connexion, which, in the prefent ftate, we never 
difcern. '' What God does we know not now, 
but fhall know hereafter." 

We fee, or think we fee, worldly good and evil 
diflributed with great inequality. Some are rich, 
and others poor. Health of body and fuccefs in 
bufinefs, attend one man ; (icknefs, difappointment 
and perplexity, are the painful lot of another. Wc 
wonder why there is this difference. Impatience 
complains, that God's ways are not equal. But 
thefc arc matters concerning which we are not 


34 S£RM. II* 

capable of judging. We fee but in part. The 
inward pains which corrupt the rich man's enjoy- 
ments, and the hidden confolalions which refrefli 
the fpirits of the poor and aillicled, may effentially 
alter the balance. The external difference which 
we obferve, may be more owing to men's different 
tempers, aims and manner of condu61;, than we 
imagine. And even fo far as this difference is 
properly and dire6lly providential, it is the effe6l, 
not of partiality in the Supreme Difpofer, but of 
his general goodnefs. The circumflances of a par- 
ticular perfon are ordered, not for his fake only, 
but for the fake of others. Thefe circumflances 
may be produdive of confequences which we can- 
not forefee, and do not even fufpecl. Until v/e 
can comprehend the various relations and con- 
nexions of things, and difcern how one man's con- 
dition will afFe61: another, and what confequences 
will iffue from particular events, wx are incompe- 
tent judges of the wifdom and equity of Provi- 
dence. He who governs the world, is a God of 
truth, and without iniquity. He is a rock, his way 
is perfed ; jufl and right is he. Let us never fuf- 
pe6l his ways are unequal. Let us never indulge 
an impatient, murmuring fpirit ; but learn in 
every flateto be content. 

3. We fee the proper foundation of fubmiflion 
and gratitude under all the dealings of God. It is 
a humble fenfe of our unworthinefs. Be ajhamei 
and confounded for all pur zt;^jj'i, fays the prophet. 


Serm. ir. 35 

If you enjoy profperity, imagine not, that heav- 
en gives itybrji'our/tz/^^, either for your worthinels, 
or folely for your ufe ; but remember that Goddif- 
tributes the bounties of his providence, with a 
fovereign hand, to the juft and unjuft, as his wil- 
dom fees beR — that his bounty is the fource of all 
your enjoyments — that you are not worthy of the 
Ipafl of all the mercies which he has fhewedyou — ' 
and that you are to glorify him by an imitation of 
his goodnefs, in promoting virtue and happinefs 
among your fellow mortals. 

If you fuffer adverfity, utter no complaints — 
indulge no impatience; but be confounded for all 
your iniquities. Thefe have forfeited the bleffings 
which you have loft ; and merited the pains which 
you feel. Every good is undeferved — every af- 
fliction is lefs than you deferve. The more hum- 
ble thoughts you entertain of yourfelves, themore 
contented and thankful you will be, and the lefs 
difpofed to complain of Providence, and to envy 
or defpife your fellow men. 

Humility in the heart, is the groundwork of re- 
ligion. Till we know ourfelves, we fhall neither 
love God, nor our duty. When we know our- 
felves, we (hall be humble, for we can find noth- 
ing within us — nothing done by us, which will 
juftify a fpirit of pride. The more clearly we fee 
our own unworthinefs, the more highly we fhall 
admire God's goodnefs. The deeper fenfe we have 
of our own ignorance, the more we fhall confide 
in his wifdom — the more fenfibly we realize our 


3^ Serm. II. 

impotence and dependence, the more readily we 
fhall fubmit to his lovereignty. 

The proper efFeQ of God's mercies, is to melt 
us into a godly foiTOw for our fms. Not for our 
fakes does he grant them, but that we may be a- 
fliamed and confounded for all our ways. His 
goodnefs will lead an ingenuous mind to repent- 
ance. The humble penitent takes ferious notice 
of the ways of God, and fees mercy in thofe dif- 
penfations, of which he once complained. He 
examines himfelf, and difcovers iniquity in thofe 
works of his own, in which once he gloried. He 
was formerly alive without the law ; but when the 
commandment comes, fm revives, and he dies. 
When the law enters, the offence abounds. He 
fees that his remedy is not in himfelf — he repairs 
to the mercy of God. He remembers, and is con- 
founded, and never opens his mouth any more 
becaufe of his fliame, when God is pacified to- 
ward him for all that he has done. Let us con- 
fider and know ourfelves, and contemplate the 
the ways of God's providence and grace, and we 
fhall admire his wifdom and love, and fhall con- 
demn our own folly and ingratitude. Not unto us, 
Lord, not unto us ; but unto thy name be glory, f 07^ 
thy mercy ^ and for thy truth's fake. 



^od Tvow^ , "not for otoiif kJ akc^ onlu, 
ulU foz hid Ji a^m& d uahc, 

E z E K I E L 36, xxxii. 
Not for your fakes do I this, faith the Lord God, be 

it known unto you ; ' 

The deliverance of the Jews fram their 
captivity in Babylon is the work of God here re- 
ferred to. This was attended with fuch circumr- 
ilances, as proved it to be eminently his work. 
When the captivity of Sion was turned, then faid 
they among the heathen, " The Lord hath done 
great things for them." Under fuch a fuddenand 
furprifing change of condition, there was danger, 
that, being lifted up with pride, they would vain- 
ly imagine, their own virtue had entitled them to 
fo great a favour, and Ood had too high a regard 
for them to punifh them any more. This caution 
is therefore repeatedly given them, Not for your 
Jakes do I this, be it known unto you, but for my holy 
name s fdke, which ye had prof aned among the heathen. 
BeaJJiamed and confounded for all your ways. Thefe 

C words, 

38 Serm. III. 

words, as they refpedthe cafe of the Jews, import 
two things : Fiift that God delivered them, not for 
their own worthincfs, but in meve goodjiefs^aiid mer- 
cy. And, Secondly, that he reflored them, not with 
a primary view to their national benefit and im- 
portance, but rather m order to the general good 
of mankind, and that his great name might be more 
extenfively known. 

The fame may, with equal tinith, be faid of every 
favour which God grants, either to particular per- 
Jons — ^to communities — or to the hmnan race. 

I. The benefits which God beftows upon us per- 

fonal/y, are thefi-uits of his benevolence, not of our de- 

fert ; and intended, not merely for our advantage. 

but for the glory oihis name, by rendering us more 

ufeful in our fphere. 

The apoflle fays, " None of us liveth to him- 
felf, and no man dieth to himfelf ; for whether 
we live, we live to the Lord ; and whether we 
die, we die to the Lord ; whether we live there- 
fore, or die, wq are the Lord's.*' As we were not 
made merely for ourfelves, fo we ought not to 
live folely to our own ends. We are the fervants 
of him who made us at firft, and who preferves 
us ftill : And -by his will, not by our own hu- 
mour, are our lives to be governed. We then do 
his will the beft, and advance his glory the moft, 
when wx dire6l our abilities and opportunities to 
the promotion of virtue and happinefs among his 
rational creatures. 

No man dieth to himfelf, God orders the time, 


S£RM. III. S9 

manner and circumftances of each man*s death, 
to lerve the great and benevolent purpofes of his 
providence. The good man's death brings him 
indeed to that happinefs, which is the reward of 
his virtuous life. In this fenfe, as he lived, fo he 
dies, to himfelf. But his death, at the fame time, 
anfwers other more general ends. It may imprefs 
on furvivors thofe ferious fentiments, which he 
taught and inculcated in the courfe of his life. 
And in the other world, where he enjoys the 
fruits of his piety and goodnefs, he may flill, in 
ways unknown to us, do much to advance the fe- 
licity of moral beings — may perhaps do more than 
he ever did, or could do, here below. As he lived 
to the Lord, fo he dies to the Lord, 

" Ye are not your own," fays theApoflle, **for 
ye are bought with a price : Wherefore glorify 
God in your body, and in your fpirit, which are 
God's.'* — " The love of Chrifl conftraineth us, be- 
caufe we thus judge, that if one died for all, then 
were all dead ; and that he died for all, that they 
who live fliould not henceforth live to them- 
felves, but to him who died for them, and rofe 

If we are wholly God's property, then fuch is 
every thing that we pofTefs. If our life and death are 
not for our fakes only, but for his name's fake, then 
all his particular gifts are to be regarded in the 
fame light, and improved to nobler purpofes than 
our own immediate intereft. 

Thus we are to regard all the gifts of Nature, 
C 2 As 

40 Serm. III. 

As God hath made different orders of intelli- 
gences, fo in each order there is a gradation ; and 
all to promote the general happinefs. The lingu- 
lar genius of a Ncivion was given, not merely that 
he might amufe and gratify himfeif in flating the 
tides, mcafuring the diftances of planets, aad trac- 
ing the paths of comets ; but that he might explore 
the vaft fields of fcience, and coUeci: treafures for 
the general benefit of mankind. 

^ IVho is a zuife man, fays St. James, and endued 
zvith knowledge? Lethimjhcw oiUof agoo(i conver fa- 
lion his zuorks with Tneekncfs of wifdony—4nd ih^wij- 
dom, ivhich is from above^ is full of mercy and 
good fruits. 

You have nothing, but what you received; and 
if you received it, i Why fhouid you glory, as if 
it were your own ? Confider it as bellowed not 
merely for your benefit, but for the benefit of oth- 
ers ; and ufe it accordingly. To w^om much is 
given, of him much is required. Every man is 
bound to be ufeful according to his ability ; and 
the greater thp al)ility given, the greater the ufeful- 
nefs demanded. 

Thus alfo we are to view the gifts of Provi- 
dence, And thus we all view the gifts which others 

When nitn are exalted to an eminent flation, 
we at once fee, thi>t not for their fakes God has 
done this, but for his name's fake. The civil ruler 
is prom.oted, not that he may liye ateafe, wallow- 
in luxury, acquire bouudlefs wealth, and pride 


Serm. hi; 4* 

himfelf in honour; but t^at lie ma;^ do good to 
mankind. As the minifter of God for their good, 
he is fo attend continually on this very thing. A 
teacher in the church is to watch for fouls — to 
trfke heed to the flock over which he is made an 
overfeer — to feed them whom ChrifE has purchaf- 
ed with his blood. Pic is Chrifl's fervant for their 
fafces, and mufl feek not theirs, but them — not 
his own profit, but the profit of many, that they 
rriay be faved. 

But, I Are rulers and minifters the only men 
who are bound to a6i on difmterefted principles ? 
I May every body elfe be felfifh ? No : The fame 
obhgation which lies on them, extends to all. If 
you have a larger portion of worldly goods than' 
thofe around you, rernember you received it from 
God. If you acquired it by your induflry, it is 
his providence, that fucceededyou. It is he who 
giveth power to get riches. And not for your fake 
hath he done this ; but for his name's fake, that 
you might imitate his goodnefs in works of benef- 
icence to mankind. " Charge them, who are rich 
in this world," fays Paul to Timothy, "that they 
be not hicrh minded, neither truft in uncertain 
riches ; but in the living God, who giveth us rich^ 
ly all things to enjoy ; that they do good ; that 
they be rich in good works, ready to diflribute, 
wilUng to communicate, laying up for themfelves 
a good foundation againft the time to come, that 
they may lay hold on eternal life/* 


4 2 Sl;!iM. III. 

If we are to live, not to ourf elves, but to God ; 
we are to ufe our property, not to our own ends, 
but to his glory. To his glory we apply it, when 
we improve it for the benefit of our fellow men. 
'• He who hath pity on the poor," fays Solomon, 
*' lendeth to the Lord.'* The words of our Saviour 
are to the fame purpofe. " What ye have given 
to my brethren, ye have given to me." What we 
thus give to God, we give him. out of his own. 
So David acknowledges. " i Who am I ? and, 
^ What is my people, that we fhould be able to 
offer io willingly after this fort ? For all things 
come of thee, and of thine own have we given 
thee. All this (lore that we have prepared for thy 
name, cometh of thine hand ; it is all thine own.** 
The poor man feels the juftnefs of thefe obfer- 
vations, and liewifhes the ruler, theminifter, and 
the rich man would apply them. But, i Is there 
nothing for which you are indebted to God ? 
I Nothing which you owe to mankmd ? If you 
have health or ftrength, or fkill, this is alfo the 
gift of heaven, and you are under the fame obli- 
gation as others to do good according to your abil- 
ity. To you the Apoflle fays, ''Labour with your 
hands the thing which is good." ^ Why ? — i For 
yourfelf only ? No ; but " that you may have to 
give to them who need ;" i. e. to them who can- 
not work with their hands as you can. If you have 
been delivered from ficknefs, or from death ; it is 
not merely for your own fake ; but that you may 
glorify God in the improvement of life and health. 


Serm. III. 43 

If the head of a family is fpared; it is that he 
may guide and in(lru61: his children, train them 
up in piety, and afTifl them in their preparation 
for ufefulnefs in this world, and happinefs in 
the next. 

If a youth is pre ferved from death; it is for the 
comfort of his parents in the dechning period of 
life, or for the more extenfive benefit of mankind, 
in the prefent and fucceeding generation. 

Every inflance of divine mercy fhould be re- 
garded as a new obligation, and a frefh call to a 
virtuous and ufeful life. We are not to imagine, 
that God keeps us night and day, guides our ileps 
and prote6ls our {lumbers, merely for our own ends, 
that we may eat and drink, and fport and fleep ; 
or that we may acquire wealth to be thrown into 
a ufelefs heap while we live, and wafted as foon 
as we are dead. It is for the nobler purpofes of 
his goodnefs and benevolence to mankind. 

We may add farther — The gifts of Divine Grace^ 
as well as thofe of Nature and' Providence, are for 
more general purpofes, than the benefit of thofe, 
on whom they are immediately beftow^ed. 

It is not owing to ourfelves, but to the felfmov- 
ing love of the independent God, that a Redeem- 
er was fent into our guilty world. It is not ow- 
ing to our ptrevious choice, but to the merciful 
difpofal of his fovereign providence, that we are 
placed under the advantages of the gofpel. ^ Why 
has he given us thefe advantages ? One reafon 
indeed is, that in the diligent improvement oF 

C 4 them, 

44 Serm. IIL 

them, we may work oufc our own falvation. But this 
is not all — we are alfo to affifl others in the fame 
work. The parent is to communicate to his chil- 
dren that divine and all important knowledge^ 
which he has received from the gofpel of Chrift. 
Chriftians are to confider one another, and pro- 
voke unto love and good works. They are to ex- 
hort one another, left any be hardened through 
the deceitfulnefs of fm. They are to take heed, 
left there be among them any profane perfon, 
wh >fe evil communications ftiall corrupt good 
manners — left any root of bitternefs fpringing up, 
trouble them, and thereby many be defiled. 

We of the prefent generation enjoy the gofpel, 
not for our fakes only, but for the fake of fuc- 
ceeding generations. We are to tranfmit it to 
our children, and make fuch provifion for its 
continuance, that they who come after us may en- 
joy it as amply as we have done before them. It 
is committed into our hands, as a facred depofit, 
for the benefit of thofe around us^ and thofe who 
Ihall fucceed us. While we are working out our 
own falvation, we are to remember that this is 
but a part of our work. As it is not folely for 
our owp fakes, that God has given us the means 
of falvation ; fo it is not fingly on our own ac- 
count, that we are to value and ufe them. 

The Chriftianis to attend on the inftituted wor- 
fhipof God, both for his own edification, and for 
the encouragement of others. He is to live in 
-the practice of all good works, both that he may 


SfiftM. IIL 45 

©btain the reward of lightcoufnefs, and that oth- 
ers, beholding his example, may glorify God. 

The cQnverfionof afmner is, in thcwifdomand 
goodnefs of God, intended to the benefit of oth- 
ers, as well as for the falvationof him, who is the 
immediate fubjed of this grace. St. Paul fays of 
himfelf, ''I, who was a blafphemer, a perfecutor 
and injurious, obtained mercy — and the grace of 
our Lord was exceedingly abundant. Howbeit 
for this caufe I obtained mercy, that in me firft 
Jefus Chrift might fliew forth all longfufFering 
for a pattern to them, who fhould afterward be- 
lieve on him to life everlailing." 

You wonder perhaps why fome great finners 
are, by the uncommon grace of God, recovered, 
while others, lefs guilty than they, are fuffered to 
go on (till in their trefpaffes. 

We are not, indeed, very competent judges, who 
are the greateft finners, and who have done mofl 
to abufe divine grace : But admitting this to be 
the cafe, as doubtlefs it may be, we mufl remcAn* 
ber, that grace is free, and an undeferved benefit 
conferred on one, is no injury to another. Be^ 
fides, when great finners are thus mercifully dif- 
tinguiihed, it is not merely for their fakes, but 
for God's name's fake. As it could not be at all 
for their worthinefs, fo neither is it altogether for 
their benefit ; it is alfo that they may be influen- 
tial in encouraging the repentance of others* 

The converfion of one may be the means or 
the oc<:afion of the converfion of many. So it 


46 Serm. III. 

evidently was in the cafe of Paul, i Who could 
be more injurious to the caufe of truth, than he 
was, while he continued a Pharifee ? — ^i Who more 
ufeful than he, after he became a Chriftian ? 
I How much evil was prevented — how much good 
was done, by the converfion of this one man ? 
I What an encouragement to fmners under a fenfe 
of guilt, is this example of divine mercy ? — i How 
many were converted by Paul's preaching in the 
courfe of his miniftry ? — i What lafting and ex- 
tenfive benefit have mankind received from the 
writings which he has left ? He was a chofen vef- 
fel to Chrift to bear his name among the Gentiles, 
as well as the Jews. His natural abilities, his 
education and accomplifhments, when his heart 
was fan6lified by grace, eminently qualified him 
for fo great a work. 

The converfion of every finner has its ufes, 
within a narrower fphere . Every convert is bound 
to improve, for the benefit of others, the grace of 
G6d toward him. '* When thou art converted, 
flrengthen thy brethren ;'' is Chi ill's command to 
Peter. This was David's prayer and refolution, 
*' Create in me a clean heart — uphold me with 
thy free fpirit ; then will I teach tranfgreffors thy 
ways, and finners fhall be converted unto thee." 

I proceed to obferve, 

n. As perfonal bleflings are defigned for the 
benefit of many, fo bleflings granted to focietics 
are intended for the general good of mankind. 


Serm. III. 47 

The national deliverance of the Jews from the 
Eo^yptian fervitude, and afterward from the Bab- 
ylonian captivity, was vouchfafed, not fo much 
to render them important, as to difplay the glory 
of God's name among the heathen. Thepublick 
inftitutionsof religion enjoyedby them, were mad« 
fubfervient to the happinefs of many other nations. 
Revolutions in favour of liberty, in a particular 
country, may be produ6live of interefting confe- 
quences in lands far remote, and in ages long to 

The revolution, which has taken place in A- 
merica, is operating to great, and we hope, happy 
events elfewhere. What God has done for us, 
was not only for our fakes, but for the benefit of 
mankind in other regions of the globe, and in 
other periods of time. And though Liberty in 
her progrefs, will meet with violent oppofition, 
and, in her confli61:s, will fufFer dirc calamities, 
yet we cannot doubt, butfhe will finally triumph. 
We truft alfo, that this revolution will prove 
friendly to the intereft of pure religion. 

It is indeed complained, that infidelity much 
prevails. But perhaps its prevalence is more in 
appearance, than in reality ; and it rather throws 
off its former difguife, than gains additional* 
ftrength. There is greater freedom of inquiry, 
and more liberality of fentiment, than in years 
paft : Learning is alfo more cultivated, and knowl- 
edge more generally diffufed. Thatfpiritof lib- 
erty, which fprang up here, and is now fpreading 

' in 

4« Sei«m. hi; 

in the world, will pirobably render the civil gov- 
ernmenes of nations more tolerant to free religion, 
*& well AS more congenial to the rights of man^ 
kind. As learning becomes more common in the 
body of the people, it will of courfe be deemed a 
more requifite qualification in the publick teachers 
of religion ; and ignorant pretenders, anddefign- 
ing impoftors, will be more ealily difcerned, and 
more effe^'tually difcountenanced. As the light 
of ti-uth beams on mankind, fuperftition and en- 
thufiafm will retire to their primeval darknefs ; 
2Lnd rational, fubflantial religion will ftand forth 
confefTed in all its divine beaxities. The truth 
will bear the fy-idefl inquiry. And though, in 
^n inquilitive age, fome novel opinions may be 
ftart^d and purfued for a while, yet truth will 
eventually be more extenfively known, and more 
•firmly believed. 

The changes, which we have feen, pi'obably 
will never anfwer all the purpofes, which worldly 
wifdom has contemplated ; but they will anfwer 
the greater and better purpofes of divine wifdom. 
They have already contributed much, anddoubt- 
Icfs will contribute more to the advancement of 
ufcful "knowledge, liberality of fentiment, and the 
intercourfe of nations : And as thefe are advanc- 
ed, there will be mOre room for religion to have 
fr6e courfe and be glorified. 

We are apt to contemplate events on the par- 
tial fcale of felf interell. The Deity views them 
on the extended fcale of benevolence. Our felf- 


Serm. III. 4^ 

ith expectations are ufually difappointed. The 
purposes of divine goodjiels will beuccompliflied. 
If we regard events only la reference to our pri- 
vate intercft, we Ihall never find them agiceablc 
to our wiflies. But if we believe that the divine 
government is good, and will extend to all nations 
and ages, looks forward to the moll diftant con- 
nexions of things, and moves the whole chai« of 
events, then we may acqiiiefce in its difpenfationvS, 
however unfavourable to our private views. Be- 
nevolence will rejoice in the belief of God's gen- 
eral goodnefs, when felfifhnefs murmurs at the 
dilappointment of its own grovelling defigns. 

Farther — The gofpel, which is given to a par- 
ticular people, is given them for the benefit of 
other nations^-not merely for their own. 

The Apoftle obferves, that the preaching and 
reception of it in Theffalonica, proved themeaws 
of its general diffufion ; for from thence founded 
out the word of God, through Macedonia and 
Achaia ; yea, in every place the faith of the Thef- 
falonians was fpread abroad. He fays to the 
Ephefians, " God who is rich in mercy — hath 
quickened us together with Chrift, that in the 
ages to come, he might fhew forth the exceeding 
•riches of his grace in his kindnefs to us by Jefus 
Chrift." " He hath made known unto us the 
myftery of his will, according to the good pleaf- 
ure which he purpofed in himfelf, that in the 
difpenfation of the fulnefs of times, he might 
gather together jn one M things in Chrift, both 


50 Serm. III. 

which are in heaven, and which are in eartli/* 
*ro the Romans, he fays, '' The fall of the Jews," 
who rejeded the Saviour, " was the riches of the 
Gentiles." The perfecutions which the Apoftles 
fufFered from the Jews, drove them to other na- 
tions, and thus proved the occafion of the general 
fpread of the gofpel. " But, ^ How much more 
their fulnefs ?" The final converfion of the Jews 
fhall conduce to the ingathering of the fulnefs of 
the Gentiles. " As in time pad the Gentiles have 
not believed God, but now have obtained mercy 
through the unbelief of the Jews," which has oc- 
cafioned the diffufion of knowledge among them. 
'* even fo alfo have thefe not believed, that they 
through God's mercy to the Gentiles, may finally 
obtain mercy." The gofpel, which, through the 
infidelity of the Jews, is come to the Gentiles, will 
be preferved in the world, and one day be commu- 
nicated from the Gentiles to the Jews. " Behold, 
the depth of the riches both of the wifdom and 
knowledge of God ! How unfearchable are Iils 
judgments, and his ways pafl finding out ! But, 

HI. We may rife flill higher in our contempla- 
tion of this wonderful connexion of God's works. 

As favours to particular perfons may be pub- 
lick bleffings ; and national bleflings may extend 
their influence to mankind in general ; fo God's 
mercies to the human race may operate to the bene- 
fit of other intelligences ; as the fun beams, which 
enlighten the earth, are refleaed back to the fkies. 

When God fent hxs Son from heaven to redeem 


Sl-RM. III. 51 

US from guilt and ruin, it was not for our fakes 
only, but for his name's fake, that the glory of 
his wifdom, grace and holinefs might be difplay- 
ed throughout the whole intelledual world. The 
angels in heaven praife God for the wonders of 
his redeeming love to matikind. They give glory 
to him, that there is on earth peace, good will to 
men. They defire to look into this aftonilhing 
fcheme, which, by the publication of the gofpel 
is opened to their view, as well as ours. Paul was 
fent to preach among the Gentiles the unfearch- 
able riches of Chrift, not only to make men fee 
what is the fellow Ihip of the my fiery, which had 
been hidden from ages ; but alfo to the intent, 
that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly 
places might be known by the church the mani- 
fold wifdom of God. Angels now join with 
faints in the new fong to him who was flain, and 
has redeemed us by his blood : And every intel- 
leftual and virtuous being, through the creation 
of God, afcribes, and will afcribe, riches and 
blefling, and glory and honour to him who (its on 
the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever. 


1 . Our fubje6l teaches us, that God's moral govern- 
ment is a fcheme of moft aftonifhing benevolence. 

The calamities, which he fends among men, 
are defignedto promote that virtue and righteouf- 
nefs, on which the happinefs of rational beings 
depends. His mercies to particular perfons ter- 

5^ Skrm. III. 

minate not with the immediate receivers ; but, in 
their operation, run on and fpread around, be- 
yond the reach of imagination. Yea, bleffings 
beflovv^ed on the human race, contribute to the 
improvement and joy of angels. 

Under fudh a govertfment, ^ Who fhall com- 
plain ? In obedience to it, ^ Who can but be hap- 
py ? The Lord reigns ; let the earth rejoice, and 
the multitude of the ifles be glad. This is the 
united voice of the myriads which furround his 
throne ; ^' Fraife our Cod, all ye his fcrvants ; 
and ye who fear him, botli fraall and great. Give 
praife, for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. Be 
glad and rejoice and give honour to him. 

2. We learn that benevolence is an effential 
part of true religion. If the bleffings which God 
beftows on us, are not for our fakes only, but for 
the fake of others, then we fliould apply them to 
the benefit of others, as well as our own. To the 
nature and intention of God's government we no 
farther conform, than we a6t with a regard to his 
name, in imitation of his goodnefs, and with a 
view to t^ic happinefs of our fellow creatures, in 
conjun6lion with our own. All injuflice, avarice, 
arabition,^ cruelty, fraud and felfifhnefs, are con- 
trary to the defign of God's government, and to 
the nature of pure religion. The kingdom of 
God is righteoufnefs and peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghoft ; and he who in thefe things ferveth 
Chrift, is accepted of God, and approved of men. 

3, We learn farther, that under all the adver- 


SeRM. III. rr* 

fities of life, we have reafon to confide in God's 
care, and fubmit to his will. 

There is, in the works of God, an extenlive 
connexion, which we cannot comprehend, but 
which his wifdom perfe6];ly underflands. Events, 
which appear to us adverfe, may, in their opera- 
tion and defign, be bleiTmgs. Difpenfations, 
which feem to be againft us, may be intended for 
us. No good thing will God withhold from them, 
who walk uprightly. All things are working to- 
gether for their good. To know God's will, and 
Hand approved in his fight Ihould be cur only fo- 
licitude. Secure of his favour, we have nothing to 
fear. Let us truft in him and do good, and no evil 
will happen to us. He careth for us ; we may cafl 
our cares upon him. He is a faithful Creator, un- 
to him we may commit ourfelves in well doing. 

4. We learn from our fubjecl the folly and 
impiety of Q.vivy and difcontent. 

I Do you envy the man who polTeflTes a larger 
portion of earthly good, than yourfelf ? Remem- 
ber, it is given him, not for his own fake, but for 
a more general purpofe. If he has a larger por- 
tion, he has alfo.a greater ti*ufl committed to 
him, and a more difficult part to a61:. There is 
more required of him, and he will have a greater 
account to render, i Is this an enviable fituation ? 
You wifh for his honour, or his wealth, ^i Do you 
wifh too for his obligations to difcharge, his duties to 
perform, his accounts to fettle, when he fhall clofc 
his ftcwardfhip? No: But fUUyou defiiehisworld- 
b ly 

54 Si:rm. in. 

iy condition. You de fire then to have riches and 
honours for your own fake — to have them without 
an obligation to do good with them, or render an 
account for them. ^ What is this, but to dcfire 
the fchane of God's government were changed, or 
you were made independent of it ?— ^i Do you wifh 
that others were free from their obligations to man- 
kind, or their accountablenefs to God ? — If not, 
I Why fhould you covet fuch a fituation for your- 
felf ? — I What advantage is there in earthly things, 
but as they are means hy which you may fupply. 
your real v/ants, relieve the miferies and promote 
the happinefs of thofe around you, and provide for 
yourfelves treafures unfailing in the heavens ? 

You look on the fuperiour condition of anoth- 
er, and are difcontented with your own. But 
why difcontented ? The abundance given him is 
not for his fake only : It is for 3^our fake alfo, 
if you need it, and Providence fees beft that you 
fhould receive it. The riches of one are a benefit 
to many. If he has not that benevolence, which 
becomes his ability, yet heaven is wife and good. 
Things arefo conftitu'ced, that even from the mi- 
fer's fountain fome involuntary llreams will run, 
at which others may drink and be refrefhed. 
AVhatever the rich man's heart may be, the God 
v/ho gave him riches is as kind to others as to him. 
This man is as really dependent on his fellow men, 
as the poorefl of his neighbours, and can, no more 
than they, fubfi ft without aid. The variety which 
we fee in men's outward circumflances, is intend- 

Serm. III. 55 

ed for general good. A perfe6l equality would be 
inconfiftent with human happinefs. It would put 
a (lop to mutual fuccour and afliftance ; to the 
reciprocation of benefits. It would weaken the 
fprings of induflry, and check the fpirit of enter- 
prife and invention. It would tend to poverty, 
rudenefs and mifery. The bounties of Provi- 
dence are difpenfed with wifdom ; and all, though 
poffefTed by the fons of men in different meaf- 
ures, tend to the general good. Every virtuous 
and induflrious man draws from the common treaf- 
ury a fhare according to his wants . The poor have 
this ; the rich can have no more. Let every man 
ftudy to be quiet, to do his own bufmefs, and to 
be content with fuch things as he has. 

To conclude : How glorious will God's prov- 
idential government appear, in the refult, when 
all its defigns, connexions and effects fliall be 
unfolded to our view ! 

Now we fee through a glafs darkly ; then we 
fhall fee with open face. Then we fhall rejoice 
in that, which now is matter of complaint, and 
difcern wifdom in that, which now looks like 
confufion. Let us acquiefce in the ways of God's 
providence, and fubmit to the terms of his gofpel, 
and then all things are ours. Whether the world, 
or life, or death, or things prefent, or things to 
come, all are ours, for we are Chrift's, and Chrift 
is God's, To him be glory. Amen. 




fj nc ^vo%k of ^&ci&mhiio7i ^narveuou^^^ 

bat CCCVL7i.6. 

Matthew 21, xlii. 

This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our 

1 HE work here pronounced mai-vellotis 
in the eyes of men, is the Redemption of our fall- 
en race by the Son of God, fent down from heav- 
en, appearing in human flefh, dying on the crofs, 
exalted aftenvard to glory, and exalting believers 
with him. 

This work, faintly exhibited in prophecy, was 
a fubje6t of admiration ; difplayed in the a6lual 
execution, it" was a fubje6l of higher admiration; 
but its final refult in the falvation of believers, 
will raife to greater height, and fpread to wider 
extent, the admiration of God's manifold wifdom, 
and unfearchable grace. 

However the Redeemer may be defpifed and re- 
jedled now, the day is coming, when he will be 
glorified in his faints, and admired in ail them 
who believe. The flone, which has been fet at 


Serm. IV. 5y 

nought by the builders, is madCj and will appear 
to have been made, the head of the corner. God 
has laid in Sion a chief corner Hone, chofen and 
precious ; and he who buildeth thereon fhall not 
be confounded. But to many it is a ftone of 
flumbling, and a rock of offence. They who fall 
on this flone fliall be broken ; but on whomfoev- 
er it fliall fall, it will grind him to powder. 

The Apoftle obferves, that the do6lrine of Chrifl 
crucified for the fms of men, to fome is foolilh- 
nefs ; but to others it appears to be the power and 
the wifdom of God. 

The fcheme of falvation opened in the gofpel, 
all who contemplate it, mufl acknowledge to be 
wonderful. And fome have thought the wonder 
too great to be believed. " Mankind," they fay, 
*' are an inconfiderable race of beings — probably 
the loweflin the rational fcale. God is perfeQly 
happy and glorious in himfelf, and cannot be made 
more or lefs fo by the conduft or the condition 
of his creatures. ^ Gan it then be thought, that 
he would take all that concern for men which the 
gofpel repreients him to have done ; that he would 
fo pity them in their guilt, as to fend a Divine Re- 
deemer, in a human form too, yea, in the lowed 
condition of men — would fubje6lhim to an infa- 
mous death, number him with tranfgreffors, and 
appoint him a grave with the wicked — would af^ 
terward raife him to heaven in this fame human 
body, and there place him at the head of his king- 
dom to manage the affairs of it for the benefit of 
D 3 believers ? 

5^ Serm. IV. 

believers ? — ^ Is there in man any dignity or im- 
portance which deferves fuch a fingular interpo- 
fition ? — I Are not the means out of proportion 
to the end ? — i Can we fee any thing in the whole 
economy of Providence at all refembling this ?" 

Thus the mercy, which appears in the gofpel, 
and which furely ought to recommend it to guil- 
ty creatures, has been urged as an obje6lion againft 
the truth of it. 

The examination of this matter will lead us to 
fome profitable meditations, and prepare the way 
for fome ferious reflexions, 

1 . The wonderfulnefs of the fcheme of redemp- 
tion, exhibited in the gofpel, is a prefumptive evi- 
dence of its divinity. 

The farther it lies beyond the reach of human 
invention, the more reafon is there to believe that 
it came from God. If it is quite a fmgular plan, 
and there is nothing in the whole fyftem of na- 
ture that bears a refemblance to it, then there is 
nothing that could fuggeft it to the wit of men, 
or give a hint from which to frame it in the imag- 
ination ; confequently it mull be wholly the con- 
trivance of divine wifdom, and the difcovery of 
divine revelation. 

That men are guilty and impotent, is obvious 
to experience. This has ever been their acknow- 
ledgment and complaint. To inform them of 
this unhappy ftate, they have not needed revela- 
tion. How they may be recovered, is a natural in- 
quiry. But, I Could itj without any intimation, 


Stku, IV. 59 

have entered into the heart of man; to imagine fuch 
a fcheme as thegofpel lays before us ? — ^ilf any 
had been difpofed to frame a fcheme for the a- 
mufement, or deception of their fellow creatures, 
Could they pofTibly have conceived fo great, 
fo fnicrular a fcheme, as the incarnation, crucifix- 
ion, and refurredion of the Son of God ? Man 
is indeed an inventive creature ; but his invention 
appears rath«r in improving on fuggeflions alrea- 
dy made, than in originating things entirely new. 
The greatefl difcoveries, which have been made 
in arts and fciences, are the fruits of fome fortu- 
nate accident, from which a hint was firfl taken, 
and afterward ripened by experiment. But as 
there could be nothing in nature to fuggeft the 
idea of the death of the Son of God for the fms 
of men, fo it is abfurd to fuppofe it a human in- 
vention. It can rationally be afcribed only to the 
wifdom of God. 

2. Though, in the works of nature, we fee noth- 
ing fimilar to the redemption of man, yet we fee 
great preparation made for him, and great good- 
nefs exercifed toward him ; and hence we may 
conclude, that he is an objed of God's fpecial care. 

The provifion made for our prefent accommo- 
dation, might as well be faid to be difproportion- 
ed to the end, as that which is made for our fu- 
ture happinefs ; for there is at lea ft as much dif- 
icrence in the ends, as there is in the means. 

I If we confider man in relation to the prefent 
life, What is he ? Pie is born, grows up, eats 
D 4 and 

6o Serm. IV. 

and drinks, labours and fleeps, provides him a 
fucceffor, and foon retires to be feen on earth no 
more. Yet behold what God has done for him* 
Here is a fpacious world for his habitation ; nu- 
merous tribes of animals fubje6led to his domin- 
ion ; a mighty fun kindled up in the heavens to 
enlighten and warm him ; a vaft firmament ftretch- 
ed over his head, and thoufands of luminaries feat- 
tered through it for his comfort and convenience ; 
the clouds depofite their treafures, and the fun 
emits its beams to fruQify the earth for his fup- 
port. I Is it not ftrange that fuch mighty prepara- 
tion fhould be made for fo inconfiderable and tran- 
fient a creature as man ? Strange it would feem 
indeed, if his exiftence ended with his life. But 
we fee, :hat ail this is done for him. Other pur- 
pofes may probably be anfwered by thefe works ; 
but the good of man is one purpofe which they 
evidently anfwer, and one pui-pofe for which they 
were certainly defigned. When I confider ihy heav- 
ens, fays the Pfalmift, the work of thy fingers ; the 
moon andfiars which thou haft ordained ; ^ What is 
man, that thou art mindful of him ; and the fon of 
man, that thou vifiteft him ? For thou hafi made him 
little lower than the angels, and hafi crowned him with 
glory and honour ; thou madefi him to have dominion 
over the works of thy hands ; thou hafi put all things 
under his feet, the beafis of the field, the fowls of the 
air, and the fifii of the fa. Lord, our Lord, horn 
excellent is thy name in all the earth I 

Xhis vaft preparation for fo fmall and unwor- 

Serm. IV. 6t 

thy a creature, the Pfalmifl confiders, not as au 
obje6tion agaiiift the wifdom of Providence, but 
as an evidence of its boundlcfs goodnefs. 

Now if God has done all this to accommodate 
man, during the prefent fliort term of his exift- 
ence, ,i Is it incredible that he fliould do much 
more for his happinefs in the future, eternal Hate 
of exillence ? — i Is the work of redemption more 
difproportioned to man's importance, as an im- 
mortal creature, than the works of providence 
feem to be, when we confider him only as a mor- 
tal creature ? The works both of providence and 
of grace, are marvellous. When we trace them, 
we meet wonders, which afionifti us. But let us 
remember, they are the works of God. While we 
admire the works, let us adore the author, and 
rejoice in his wifdom and goodnefs. 

3. Though man confidered in relation to this 
world, may feem but a contemptible creature, yet, 
confidered in relation to another world, he is a 
creature of vail importance. 

Let us contemplate him in this light, andfurely 
it will not appear (Irange, that a God of infinite 
wifdom and benevolence fhould do great things 
for his redemption. 

Here is a creature formed hy God's own hand, 
infpircd with his breath, and endued by him with 
an intclledual mind. This mind, made for im- 
mortality, is capable of continual improvement 
through all the ages of eternity. Though this 
creature is now fmall, yet who can conceive the 


62 Serm. IV» 

extent to which his capacity may be enlarged ; 
the dignity to which his nature may be raifed ; 
and the degree to which his virtue and happinefs 
may be improved, in fome diflant period of his 
exiftence ? Man, confidered as a rational and im- 
mortal creature, rifmg and continuing to rife, in 
the fcale of being, for ever, and for ever, has a 
kind of infinity annexed to him. 

I If one rational and immortal foul is fo impor- 
tant, What fhall we fay of the human race at 
large ? When we view men as mortal, they appear 
in a diminutive figure ; but this mortality, which 
feems to leffen the importance of the individual, 
increafes the importance of the race ; becaufe the 
race is multiplied by this quick fuccefTion. Con- 
template the vafl number, which compofes one 
generation — confider how foon one generation 
paffes away, and another comes — refled how 
•many fuch fucceflions muft already have pafled — 
look forward, and think how many more will fol- 
low in the unknown ages, that the world will con- 
tinue — realize that all thefe beings will exift for- 
ever in happinefs or mifery — that eternal mifery 
is the natural confequence of incurable vice, and 
that happinefs can refult only from a holy and 
virtuous temper — contemplate thefe things, and 
then fay, i Whether the redemption of mankind was 
a bufmefs too fmall to be undertaken by the Son 
of God ? — I Is not the end to be accomplifhed fo 
amazingly great, that we may believe a divme 
Saviour would be employed in the work ? — i Is 


Serm. IV. 63 

not the work too great and arduous to be under- 
taken by a feebler hand ? 

When we confider the Saviour as dying for the 
redemption of a mortal creature, thtre feems to 
be a difparity between the means and the end. 
But when we confider this mortal creature as 
having an immortal foul, which will exift through 
eternity in happinefs or mifery ; and coniider al- 
fo, that there are innumerable millions of fuch 
creatures, and will be innumerable more of the 
fame kind, and in the fame condition ; then our 
views muft be altered. It can no longer feem a 
thing incredible, that God fhould redeem the 
world by his Son. 

4. We know not but the human race is effen- 
tially connefted with other parts of the moral 
world ; and their redemption produ6tive of inter- 
efting confequences to other beings. And doubt- 
lefs it is fo. 

In that part of the creation which falls within 
our notice, we fee a dependence of one thing upon 
another. If one part was llruck out, confufion 
would immediately follow. We fee an eafy gra- 
dation from the lower creatures to higher, until 
we come up to man. We are told, that, above 
man, there are intelligent beings, and that among 
thefe there are orders and degrees. The grada- 
tion may probably be continued beyond all 
our conceptions. However we may view the hu- 
man race, when we confider it by itfelf, yet if we 
confider it in its relation to other beings, and to 


64 Serm. IV. 

the creation of God, we mufl think it to be of in- 
finite importance. Should this link, in the chain 
of God's works, be broken, the whole order of the 
fyflem might be deflroyed. 

God certainly had fome wife and great end in 
making fuch a race : The prefervation of the race, 
when made, and the redemption of it, when fall- 
en, might, in the plan of God's government, be 
as necelTary as its creation. 

We are affured from fcripture, that the redemp- 
tion, though it immediately relates to man, is a 
work in which other intelligences have fome con- 
cern. Our great Redeemer has all power given 
him in heaven and earth ; principalities and pow- 
ers are made fubje6t to him ; the multitude of 
the heavenly hofl rejoiced and fang praife at his 
birth ; angels, on divers occafions, miniflered to 
him ; they aided him in his perfecutions — ■ 
llrengthened him in his temptations — attended 
him at his refurre6lion and afcenfion — and are 
fubjecl to him in his kingdom ; they learn from 
the gofpel difpenfation the manifold wifdom of 
God ; they join with thofe who are redeemed from 
the earth, in fongs of praife to him who fitteth 
on the throne, and to the Lamb who was flain. 
The work of redemption is far more important 
than we are apt to conceive it, when we confider 
it only in relation to ourfelves. Though it pri- 
marily relates to us, yet we have reafon to believe, 
that it is adapted to anfwer other great purpofes 
in the moral world. And until we know how 


Serm. IV, 65 

many and how great thefe purpofes are, let us not 
pretend to fay, The means are unfuitable or dif- 
proportioned to the end. When we enter into 
another ft ate, new fcenes will open ; new difplays 
of divine wifdom and goodnefs will be made. 
Then we fhall fee and admire that proportion in 
the works of God, which now lies beyond our fearch. 

5. When we confider the works of God we 
fhould remember what a being he is. 

I Does it feem ft range, that fo great a Being 
ftiould do fo much for fo fmall a creature as man ? 
To an Infinite Being all things are alike eafy ; and 
the exercifes of his power will always be guided 
by his perfe6l wifdom. But how perfeft wifdom 
will judge, we can no more determine, than we 
can comprehend what infinite power can do. 
Man, fmall as he is, was formed by God's hand; 
and a creature which was not too fmall for him 
to make, is not too infignificant for him to pre- 
ferve. There are innumerable creatures below 
us. Thefe are alfo the obje6ls of his care. A 
fparrow falls not to the ground without him. We 
are of more value than many fparrows. The 
hairs of our head are numbered, i Will our fouls 
be neglefted ? A rational foul is of more value 
than the world. 

When we confider the greatnefs of God, we 
muft remember, that goodnefs belongs to greatnefs. 
In the contemplation of human greatnefs, we oft- 
en leave out the idea of goodnefs, becaufe we fee 
that the thmg itfelf is often wanting. Men of 


66 Serm. IV, 

great wealth and power defpiie thofe who are 
placed below them. If we fee much condefcen- 
fion joined with earthly dignity, we admire it as 
fomething rare. But thefe partial conceptions of 
greatnefs we muft not apply to the Deity. Good- 
nefs is his glory, and theexercife of it is his delight. 

That man is unworthy of fuch a work as has 
been done for him, is undeniable ; yea, he is un- 
worthy of the daily bounties of Providence. But 
if the goodnefs of God is equal to the work, then 
we may believe, that it has been done. As God 
is an infinite and allperfe6l being, his goodnefs 
muft exceed all our thoughts . However our guilt 
may abound, his grace much more abounds. 

We fee and know that God has made kind pro- 
vifion for our prefent fupport : — i May we not 
from hence reafonabiy hope, that he has done 
more for our future happinefs ? We feel that we 
are weak, and need the care of his Providence, and 
we perceive that we enjoy it. We are confcious 
too, that we are guilty, and dependent on his 
grace : — i May we not hope for this ? The gofpel 
tells us, that he has fent his Son to redeem and 
fave us, and given his fpirit to fan6lify and pre- 
ferve us : — i Is it not a faithful faying, and wor- 
thy of all acceptation ? We are fmners, but ftill 
God loads us with his benefits : — ^i May not his 
daily bounty encourage our hope in his everlaft- 
ing mercy ? We cannot have too humble thoughts 
of ourfelves. noj: can we have too exalted thoughts 
©f God. 


Serm. IV. e^ 

If he had never revealed his mercy to fave us, 
we could never have been aflurcd how he would 
deal with us. Mere}' is free ; it may do for fm- 
ners more or lefs, as wifdom fhall dire6l. The 
hopes of nature are doubtful hopes. At mofl 
they can only fay, i Who can tell, if God will be 
gracious ? If human reafon, without revelation, 
could not gain affurance of pardon, much lefs 
could it conceive fuch a method of difpenfmg 
pardon, as the gofpel difcovers. But fmce the 
difcovery is made, and fully attefled by figns and 
miracles, we have good reafon to receive it ; and 
we ought to receive it with gratitude and joy. 
It is the Lord's doing; let it be marvellous in 
our eyes. 

How great foever the work of redemption is, 
it is not too great for perfe6l wifdom to contrive, 
boundlefs mercy to adopt, and mfinite power to 
execute. Man, however fmall, is the creature of 
God, a rational and immortal creature ; and his 
race is an innumerable multitude. God, whofe 
goodnefs extends to the brutal tribes, which exift 
but a few days, may well be fuppofed to regard 
fuch a race as the human, created to exill forever. 
We fee the race to be important ; and, in its con- 
nexion with other beings, it may be vaftly more 
important than we can conceive ; and the work 
of redemption, though it immediately relates to 
man, may anfwer other grand purpofes in God's 
moral government. The works of grace then, 
though marvellous beyond conception, are ra- 


68 Seiim. IV. 

tional and credible — rational, as fmtcd to the 
wants of man, and agreeably to the goodnefs of 
God — credible, as revealed in his word, and at- 
tefted by figns and wonders, and gifts of the 
Holy Ghoft. 

It becomes us then ferioufly to contemplate, 
and devoutly to admire thefe works of God ; and 
with thankfulnefs and joy to take the benefit of 
them. For our falvation God has marvel lou fly 
interpofed. i Shall we defpife his grace, and 
negleft our falvation ? — i How then fliall we 
efcape ? Jefus has oflFered himfelf a facrifice. 
If we rejed this, there remaineth no more facri- 
fice for fin. 



bat atvme. 

Matthew 21, xlii. 

This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our 

Among all the works of God which 
have come to our knowledge, the redemption of 
fallen men by Jefus Chrifl, is by far the molt 
man'ellous. Into this the angels defire to look, and 
from this they learn the manifold wifdom of God. 

When we behold the glorious Creator and 
Governour of the univerfc, giving his own Son to 
death, that through him we might live — when 
we behold this divine Saviour compailed with 
our infirmities, bearing our forrows, and dying 
in our caufe — when we behold him, for the fuf- 
fering of death, crowned with glory, and bring- 
ing many to glory with him — we cannot but fay, 
This is mar Villous in our eyes. 

In the contemplation of this work, fome have 
thought it too marvellous to be believed, and 

E have 

70 Serm. V< 

have made thegreatnefsof it an obje6lion agairill 
its credibility. 

This objeclion we have examined ; and our 
examination, while it removes the objection, and 
confirms our faith in the great and admirable 
plan of the gofpel, fuggefls to our minds various 
ufcful and important reflexions. 

1. The fcheme of our redemption is a fubjedt 
worthy of our frequent contemplation. 

The Icheme is wonderful ; the more we view 
it, the more wonderful it appears ; and the more 
wonderful, the more evidently divine ; and if it 
is divine, it demands our attention and regard. 

A defign fo grand in itfelf, fo gracioufly a- 
dapted to human weaknefTes and wants, and fo 
clearly manifefting the glories of the Divine Char- 
after, will acknowledge no author lefs than God* 
All the works of the Lord are great, fought out 
by them who have pleafure in them. This work 
is peculiarly honourable and glorious. In this 
he appears gracious and full of compafTion. In 
this he has abounded toward us in all wifdom 
and prudence. Let this be forever remembered* 

Meditation is a rational exercife, and the prop- 
er employment of an intelligent being. We 
have intelleftual, as well as animal faculties, and 
the former as well as the latter ought to be appli- 
ed to their proper objefts. The contemplation of 
grand and noble fubjefts fwells the foul, enlarges 
its capacity, exalts its powers, and purifies its affec- 
tions. No fubj e6l can fo ufefully or agreeably em- 

Serm. v. 71 

ploy our thoughts, as the work of our redemption ; 
for there is none fo great and wonderful, fo fol- 
emn and awful ; none in which we are fo deeply 
interefted, and in which the glories and perfeftions 
of the Deity are fo clearly difplayed. If the an- 
gels, who need no redemption, defire to look in- 
to the plan of ours, how much fhould it engage 
our attention, for whofe benefit it was immediate- 
ly defigned ! 

That we may have more admiring apprehen- 
fions of this great work, we muft become ac- 
quainted with ourfelves. The reafon why many 
think of it fo feldom, or fo indifferently, and dif- 
cern in it fo little wifdom and grace, is their ig- 
norance of their own character, and their infenfi- 
bility of their own condition. Chrifl came to 
feek and to fave them who are loft. Had not 
men been loft, they would have needed no re- 
demption. Until they feel themfelves loft, they 
Will not value nor accept redemption. To them, 
who realize their ruined and helplefs ftate, a 
Saviour will be precious. 

Humility is a neceftary preparative for the 
kingdom of God. The knowledge of ourfelves 
is the ground work of humility. Convinced that 
we are guilty before God, and condemned by his 
juftice ; that we can make no fatisfaclion to his 
juftice, nor refiftance to his power, we ftiall adore 
his wifdom and grace in giving a Saviour for us, 
and layincr our he^p on one, who is mighty to 
hvc : we ftiall admire the compaflion of tiic Sav- 
E s iour 

72 Serm. V, 


ioLir in bearing our lins on the crofs, that we 
might live through him; we fhall rejoice, that he 
was delivered for our oflPences and railed for our 
juftification ; that he is gone into heaven to pre- 
pare a place for us, and has fent down his Spirit 
to prepare us for a place with himfelf. 

Men's different apprehenfions of the gofpel 
fcheme, are chiefly owing to their different views 
of themfelves. The fclf confident and carelefs 
finner will not fubmit to it, for he feels no need 
of it, and fees no excellency in it. The convinc- 
ed and humbled fmner, realizing his own impo- 
tence and unworthinefs, admires the falvation of 
the gofpel, andearneflly defires to become a fliar- 
erin it. To him the invitations, calls and prom- 
ifes of the gofpel, come with peculiar accepta- 

That we may be better prepared for meditation 
on this marvellous work of God, we mufl be con- 
verfant with ourfelves, fearch our hearts, try our 
ways, know our guilt, and learn our weaknefs. 
The weary, the hungry, the thirfty, the poor, and 
the fick, are called to the Saviour, that they may 
. receive relief, comforts and fupplies. They who 
fancy themfelves to be full, and in want of noth- 
ing, will dcfpifethe call : To men of an oppofite 
chara6ler it will come as tidings of great joy. 

2. Our fubje6l opens to us mofl glorious and 
alloniihing profpefts. 

What a marvellous work God has wrought 
for the redemption of men ! The end was certain- 

Serm. V. 73 

\y worthy of the means. The redemption then 
contains in it fomcthing far beyond all our con* 
ceptions. How vaft mufl be that happmefs, 
which was purchafed by the death of the Son of 
God! It mufl be more than eye hath feen, or ear 
hath heard, or human heart conceived. 

Our worldly profpe6ls are low, confined and 
precarious. This life is fliort ; the good which 
the world affords is but fmall, and only fuitcd to 
the body. To obtain this, our endeavours are of 
uncertain fuccefs ; and the little which we obtain 
is of uncertain continuance. Soon we mufl relin- 
quifliall, and lie down in the dull. Had ration- 
al beings nothing more to expe6l than what this 
world can give, deplorable would be their condi- 

But the gofpel opens to us brighter profpe^ls. 
It affures us, that there is a future life ; that the 
life to come is eternal, and the happinefs of it 
complete. It does not yet appear what we fhall 
be. But to raife our hopes and expeftations, let 
us remember, that we are not redeemed with cor- 
ruptible things, fuch as fiiver and gold, but with 
the precious blood of Jcfus the Son of God. 
More than this cannot be faid. Contemplate the 
greatnefs of the price, and you will have fome idea 
of the value of thepurchafc. A^icw yourfclves as 
rational beings, defigned for immortality — as foon 
i.0 mingle with angels, in theprefence of God and 
the Redeemer — as there continually to grow in 
knowledge, improve in virtue, rife in dignity, and 
E 3 ' advance 

74 $£RM. V. 

advance in glory and happinefs, through endlefs 
ages — as, by and by, to become equal to angels, 
and, in the remoter periods of your exiftence, to 
be raifed above the prefent perfection of angels — 
view yourfelves in this light, and, i Will you not 
be tranfported with the profpecl before you ? 
I Will you not feel yourfelves already on the 
wing, and elevated far above this earth ? — i Will 
you not, from this exalted height, look down with 
indifference on all the little and leffening glories 
of the w^orld; and, like the eagle, with ftrong and 
fteady pinion, bear through this terreflrial atmof- 
phere,fullon the fun; rifmg, and rifmg, until you 
reach that glorious reft, which awaits you in 
yonder w^orld ? 

3. What a firm and immoveable foundation 
has the Chriftian for his faith and hope ! 

When w^e confider ourfelves as guilty, and the 
Almighty God as perfe6];ly juft and holy, we 
tremble in his prefence. i If thou. Lord, ftiouldfl 
mark iniquity, O Lord, Who can ftand ? If thou 
fhouldft contend w^ith us, we cannot anfwer thee. 
When our iniquities take hold on us, ^ How fliall 
we look up ? — Bui: we will turn our eyes to the 
work of redemption. Here we fee, that God is 
gracious and merciful, as well as holy and right- 
eous. Here we fee pardon and life purchafed by 
the blood of his Son, for fallen and guilty men. 
There is forgivencfs with him. V\^e will wait for 
the Lord, and in his word we will hope, for with 
him is mercy and plenteous redemption. He wiM 


Serm. V. 75 

redeem us from all our Iniquities. He who fpared 
not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, 
^ How fhall he not with him alio freely give us all 
things ? He who has fcnt hts only begotten Son, 
that we might live through him, will give eternal 
life to as many as believe in him. His mercy is 
unto all, and upon all who believe in Jcfus, and 
there is no difference. We cannot imagine, that 
the all wife and unchangeable God, who, for the 
falvation of fmners, has performed a work, mar- 
vellous in the eyes of all holy beings, will drop his 
great defign, throw afide all that he has done, and 
leave repenting, believing, hoping fuiners, to per- 
ifh. We cannot imagine, that the God, who has 
difplayed fuch aflonifhing mercy in laying the 
ground work of our happinefs, will fruflrate the 
humble expe6lations of thofe, who build on this 
foundation. Thus reafons the Apoftle : — '' God 
commended his love toward us, in that, while we 
were yet fmners, Chrift died for us. Much more, 
then, being nowjuftified by his blood, wefiiallbe 
faved from wrath by him. For if, when we were 
enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of 
his Son, much more, being reconciled, we fhall be 
faved by his life.'' Impreifed with a fenfe of guilt, 
we may confidently repair to that God, who gave 
his Son to expiate our fins by his death, and who 
raifed him from the dead, and gave him glory, that 
through him our faith and hope might be in God. 
There is laid in Sion a corner flone, cle6l and pre- 
cious. He who believcth, will not be confounded. 

4. Our 

76 SiRM. W 

4. Oar fubje6l: reminds us of the great evil of 
fin, and teaches us the utter inconfiftency of a vi- 
cious temper with the happinefs of rational beings. 

What a work God has done for the recovery 
and falvation of apoftate men ! Having revolted 
from him, they could not be reftored to the hope 
and profpeft of happinefs, without fuch a divine 
work, as fills heaven with wonder. The Son of 
God came down from heaven, took part of our 
flefti and blood, and offered himfelf on the crofs 
a facrifice to God for human guilt. ^ Could any 
thing give fo flriking a demonflration of the con- 
trariety of fin to the will of God, and to the de- 
fign of his moral government ? — We can think of 
nothing — i Had it not been oppofite to the nature 
of God, inconfiflent with the happinefs of man, 
and deflru6live of the beauty and order of the ra- 
tional world, Can we fuppofe, any thing like this 
would have been done ? 

If you think lightly of fin, look to Jefus fuffer- 
ing on the crofs to expiate your guilt, and be con- 
vinced of your miflake. 

If fm is of fuch a deteftable nature, and ruin- 
ous tendency, then entertain not the hope of fal- 
vation without repentance. 

Thegofpel tells us, God would not that any Jhould 
jjerifh. At the fame time, it tells us. He would 
that all Jhould come to repentance. Without repent- 
ance, there can be no falvation. CJiriJl bare our 
fins in his own body on the crofs, that we, being dead 
to fm, Jhould live to righteoufiefs. He flied his blood, 


Serm. V. 77 

that he might redeem us from our vain converfalion. 
He gave himfelf for us, that he might purify us to 
himfelf, apeculiar people, zealous of good works. He 
came to call fnners to repentance^ and thus to favc 
them who are lofl. The gofpel difplaj^s the purity^ 
as well as the mercy of God ; and, while it brings 
us the hope of pardon, it fhews the neceffity of a 
renovation of our nature. Chrifl died to deliver 
us from the wrath to come ; but he delivers us 
from wrath only in a way of holinefs. Notwith- 
flanding all that has been done, ftill cometh the 
wrath of God on the children of difobedicnce. 

5. We are taught our obligation to univerfal 

The gofpel is a plan of benevolence. Here we 
fee the independent Creator exercifing his com- 
paffion to fallen creatures. Here we fee the Sav« 
iour coming down from heaven, to accomplifh, 
by his labours and fufFerings, the wonderful de- 
fign which divine wifdom and goodnefs had 
formed. Here we fee angels rejoicing and giving 
glory to God, that there is peace on earth, and 
good will to men. Here we fee the richefl bleif- 
ings held forth to the moft unworthy creatures. 
Here wc fee heaven expanding its gates to receive 
us, and an eternal weight of glory there prepared 
for us. The whole fcheme of the gofpel is good- 
nefs and love ; and it is perfedly adapted to teach 
us our obligation, and infpirc us with a difpofi- 
tioia, to do good, as we have opportunity. 


78 Serm. v. 

Whoever really falls in with the gofpel, par- 
takes of that fpirit of benevolence, which it ex- 
emplifies and inculcates. The man of an envious^ 
malicious, haughty, unforgiving temper, whatever 
regard he may profefs, is, in heart, an enemy to 
the gofpel of Chrift. To receive the gofpel, is to 
receive the genius and fpirit of it, which is love 
and good will. That regeneration, which is our 
preparative for the happinefs revealed, is a tranf- 
formation of our fouls into the temper required 
in the gofpel ; and of this temper, an eminent and 
diflinguifhing partis love. " Be ready," fays the 
Apollle, " to every good work ; fpeak evil of no 
man ; be gentle, fhewing all meeknefs to all men. 
For we were fometimes foolifh, difobedient, living 
in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one an- 
other ; but after the kindnefs and love of God our 
Saviour toward man appeared, he, according to 
his mercy, faved us by the wafhing of regenera- 
tion, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghoft. — 
Thus we are made heirs according to the hope of 
eternal life." The change, which the gofpel pro- 
duces, where it takes efFe6l, is a change from a 
temper of envy, malice and hatred, to a temper of 
gentlenefs, meeknefs, and good will toward all 
men. This change is efiFeded by the kindnefs and 
love of God our Saviour ; not by works of right- 
eoufnefs which we had done, but according to the 
mercy of God, who through Jefus Chrift hath ftied 
forth his fpirit abundantly. By this change we 
become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 


They who have feen fuch an example of love 
in the Saviour of the world, and have felt the 
power of his love on their own hearts, will put on, 
as the clc<^ of God, bowels of mercies, kindnefs, 
humblenefs of mind, meeknefs and longfuflFering. 
They will rejoice in the happinefs, and fympa- 
thize in the miferies of their fellow creatures. 
They will look with concern on ftubborn finners, 
who appear to be hallening their own deftruc- 
tion, in contempt of all the grace of the gofpel. 
They will wifh the univerfal fpread of true relig- 
ion, and rejoice in the hope of its future power 
and prevalence among the nations of the earth. 
They will pray for all men, knowing, that this 
is acceptable in the fight of God our Saviour, who 
will have all men to be faved, and come to the 
knowledge of the truth. 

If the benevolence of the gofpel infpires our 
hearts, we Ihall not only defire and pray that 
others may Ihare with us in its bleffings, but en- 
deavour, within our fphere, to promote its influ- 
ence. We fliall openly profefs it before men, and, 
by a converfation agreeable to it, Ihall recommend 
it to all around us. We fhall encourage an at- 
tendance on its inflitutions, not forfaking the af- 
fembling of ourfelves together, but confidering 
one another, to provoke unto love and good works. 
We fhall regard, with particular attention, the 
young who are placed under our care ; fhall lead 
their tender minds to fome jufl apprehenfions of 
the gofpel ; fhall inculcate on them the tempers 


80 Serm. V. 

and duties which it enjoins, and aid their prepa- 
ration for that glorious ftate which it reveals ; and 
great will be our joy, when we fee them walking 
in the truth. 

Did the kind and friendly fpirit of the gofpel gen- 
erally prevail, how greatly would it diminifh the 
miferies, and advance the happinefs of the world ! 
It is the nature of true religion to make men hap- 
py. Its work is peace, and its efFed is quietnefs 
and affurance forever. 

6. Awful is the danger of thofe who reje61; the 

A way of falvation fo marvellous, as this, which 
the gofpel reveals, we may be alfured is the only 
way. They who refufe it, muft perifh ; and 
marvellous will be their deftruclion. Hear the 
Apoftle's warning to the contemptuous, unbeliev- 
ing Jews: — " Know ye, that through Jefus Chrifl 
is preached to you the forgivenefs of fms ; and 
by him, all who believe, are juflified from all 
things, from which they could not be juflified by 
the law of Mofes. Beware therefore left that come 
upon you, which is fpoken of in the prophets : — ■ 
*' Behold, ye defpife7-s,*and wonder , and per iJJi." — Ye 
fhall perifh wonderfully — " fori work a work in 
your days, which ye will in no wife believe, though 
a man declare it to you.'' As the way of falva- 
tion is wonderful, fo will be the deftruftion of 
thofe, who defpife it. It will be wonderful, as 
it will come upon them by furprife — will exceed 
all human apprehenfion — will be inconceivably 


Seku, V. 81 

aggravated by their abufe of God's grace — will 
be dillinguifhed, by its feverity, from thepunifti- 
ment of other finners. 

A like warning follows our text. Our Saviour 
tells the Jewifli rulers, that in them would be 
fulfilled the prophecy of the Pfalmift : — " The 
flone, which is rejefted of the builders, is made the 
head of the corner." Though they defpifed him, 
and would foon put him to death, yet he was 
to be exalted to glory, and made the Head of God's 
moral kingdom. " Whofoever Ihall fall on this 
(lone, {hall be broken.'' Whoever, through ig- 
norance, prejudice, or an implicit confidence in 
falfe leaders, fhall ftumble at the gofpel, will be 
grievoufly wounded by his fall, and unlefs he re- 
covers himfelf, will finally perifh. " But on 
whomfoever this ftone fhall fall," after its eleva- 
tion in the building, as vengeance will hereafter 
fall, with accumulated weight, on thofewho con- 
tinue in unbelief, " it fhall giind him to powder." 
Chrill, you fee, here makes a diftindion between 
different kinds of finners ; between thofe who 
ftumble at the flone, and thofe who defpife and 
rejeft it. And he makes an anfwerable diflindion. 
in their punifhnient : The former are wounded 
by their fall ; the latter arc ground to powder. 
There arc fome heedlefs, inattentive creatures, 
who walk on in the wMy in which they chance to 
be led, and feldom confider whither they are go- 
ing, or where their courfe will end. Thefe are 
like men. who ftumble at the flone. There are 


82 Serm. v. 

others, who hate the truth and will not come to 
it ; who defpife the gofpel, and labour to infufe 
their own prejudices into the minds of others. 
Thefe are the mad builders, who pufh away the 
chief corner ilone and fet it at nought. The 
former will meet a punifliment proportionable to 
their guilt : On the latter, wrath will come to the 
uttermoft. The ftone, which in contempt, they 
roll afide, will fall back upon them, and crulh 
ihem into ruins. Awful will be the doom of the 
Carelefs — more fo that of the avowed enemies of 
truth. Since God has wrought fo great a work 
for the falvation of guilty men, to them who 
negleft this falvation there can be no efcape. 
But a ftill forer punifhment awaits thofe who 
tread under foot the Son of God. To them who 
fin wilfully, after they have received the knowl- 
edge of the truth, there remaineth no more facri- 
iice for fin, but a fearful looking for of judgment, 
and fiery indignation, which ftiall devour the ad- 

Let finners, invited by the grace, and warned 
by the terrors of the gofpel, flee from the wrath 
to come, and lay hold on eternal life, ^j If you 
reje61: the Saviour, To whom will you go ? — i If 
you refufe the falvation propofed. What other 
will you find ? — As finn?rs, you are dependent 
on mercy. The mtrcy of God is revealed — the 
terms of it are ftated — affidance is offered — pa- 
tience is waiting — the Spirit of Grace is driving — 
the day of your probation is haflening to a clofe. 


Serm. V. 


Know, in this your day, the things which belong to 
your peace, b.efore they are hidden from your eyes. 
Marvellous is the work which Jelus has done 
for you. — Let it not be faid of you, as was faid 
of the contemptuous Jews — He marvelled, be- 
caufe of their unbelief. 



CI fJ aViOlLT, 


Luke 2, xx. 

And the JJiepherds returned, glorifying and praifing 
God for all the things that they had heard and 
Jeen, as it was told them. 

1 HE birth of Jefus Chrift was attended 
with circumftances of folemn majefly and gran- 
deur, as well as of fmgular poverty and mean- 
nefs. His parents were in a low condition, but 
of royal defcent. The place of his birth was a 
fmall village, but worthy of notice in ancient 
prophecy. The apartment was a liable, but at- 
tended by angels. The firft who received intel- 
ligence of his birth, were Ihephv^rds in the field ; 
but the heralds, who announced the event, were 
SI multitude of the heavenly hod. 

Jufl before the Saviour's birth, an order from the 
Roman Emperour, that the whole empire fhould 


Serm. VI. 85 

be numbered and enrolled, obliged all the people 
to repair to their refpe6livc cities. Jofcph and 
Mary, the parents of Jefus, being of the lineage 
of David, went, on this occafion, to Bethhhem, 
which is called the city of David. So great was 
the concourfe of people, that perfons, in the poor 
condition of this happy pair, could find no ac- 
commodation in the publick lioufes. They wera 
therefore compelled to feek a fhelter in a liable . 
Here was born that glorious perfon, who was to 
redeem a guilty world. 

In the neighbouring country, were ihepherds 
attending their flocks : While in their turns they 
kept the watches of the night, they were fuddeniy 
furprifed with a light which blazed around them, 
and the prefence of a fuperiour being ftanding 
near them. 

The heavenly melTenger foon calmed their fears. 
Behold, fays he, / bj'ing you good tidings of great joy, 
-which Jhall be to all people ;for unto you is born, this day^ 
in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Ch7'ijl the Lord. 
And this is thejign by which ye Jhall know him, He is 
wrapt in fwaddling clothes, and lies in a manger. 

Scarcely had he delivered his meflage, when he 
was joined by a multitude of the heavenly hoft^ 
who celebrated the wonderful event in an anthem 
ofpraife — Glory to God in thehighejl; and en ear ill 
peace ; good will to men. Having finifbed their 
hymn, they difappeared ; they became again in- 
vifible ; the glory, which fhone around, vaiiiihed 
away, and Nature refumed her nightly afpeft. 
F The 

gg Serm. VL 

The wondering fwains confer together on the 
unufiial fcene. They fay one to another, Let u^ 
go to Bethlehem, and fee the things which are come to 
pafs, and which God has made known to us. -They 
believed the heavenly mefLige, but to confinn their 
faith, they went with hafte to the place where the 
infant lay. Here they found the parents, and 
here they beheld the peifon of the newborn Re- 
deemer. They faw him \yirig in a manger, as 
the angel had defcribed him. The correfpondence 
of circumilances, with the defcription, put it be- 
yond a doubt that this was the promifed Meffiah. 
They returned, publifhing the joyful news, and 
glorifying and praifmg God for all that they had 
heard andfeen. 

We will contemplate the things for which, and 
the manner in which, they glorified God, and 
will intermingle fome pra6tical reflections. 

I. We will confider the matters for which 
they glorified and praifed God. Thefe were the 
things, which they had heard andfeen. 

1 . They glorified God, that the promifed Sav- 
iour was now born. 

They feem to have been fome of thofe pious 
people, who looked for redemption in Ifrael. In 
their rural occupation they enjoyed leifure for 
fpiritual contemplation, and for con verfe with the 
book of prophecy, ilence they learned, 'that a 
Redeemer was promifed to Ifrael and to the world. 
Free from that pride and ambition, which poflelf- 
cd the minds of the opulent and great men of the 


Serm. VI. 87 

nation, they formed more jufl ideas of the defign 
and manner of his appearance. That he fhould 
be born in fuch humble circumflances, fhocked 
not their faith, for they were looking, not for tem- 
poral grandeur, but for fpiritual falvation. 

Worldly affe6lions are oppofite to the genius 
of Chrift's religion. ^ How can ye believe, fays he to 
the Pharifees, who receive honour one of another, and 
feek not the honour which cojneth only from God ? 
They who receive Chrifl as their Redeemer and 
Lord, muft crucify the flefti, and renounce the 
world. The fimple manners and humble views 
of the fhepherds, were better fuited to the fpirit 
of the gofpel, than the profpe6ls and refinements 
of the great. 

2. They rejoiced that this Saviour was bom 
for them. The angel fays, Unto you is horn this 
day a Saviour, 

Confcious of their impotence and unworthinefs, 
they felt their need of a Saviour, and efteemed it 
matter of great joy, that he was come to bring 
falvation to them. 

They doubtlefs admired the diflinguifhing 
grace of God, in vifiting them firfl of all with the 
glorious tidmgs. While the rich and great were 
paffedby, humble fliepherds were regarded. Not 
many mighty, not many noble, are called. Things 
which are hidden from the wife, are revealed to 
babes. The pride and parade of courts, are the 
contempt of angels ; but the cottage of the fhcp- 
herd is honoured with their prefence. Let no 
F 3 man 

88 Skrm. VI. 

man repine at the mcannefs of his own condition, 
or envy the luperiour circumflances of another. 
God dwells with humble fouls. He has chofen 
the poor m this world, rich in faith, to be heirs 
of his kingdom. He fills the hungry with good 
things, but the rich he fends empty away. 

How joyous the melTage to thefe humble fwains, 
A Saviour is horn to you ! Every penitent foul may- 
apply the gracious declaration. ^ Do you per- 
ceive your own guilty, helplefs condition ? — i Are 
you anxious for deliverance ? — ^ Do you feel 
your incapacity to effc61: your own falvation ? 
Here are tidings of great joy : A Saviour is born — 
and born to you. His gofpel is come to you, and 
the invitations and promifes of it are dire6led to 
you. He came to {2iyefinners — the chief o^ finners ; 
to comfort them who mourn; to bind up the brok- 
en hearted ; to ranfom the prifoners ; to give fight 
to the blind; to bring falvation to the poor. The 
weary, the.thirfty, the naked, deflitute and forlorn, 
he calls to himfelf, that they may receive reft, re- 
frefhment, and every needed fupply ; and receive 
them freely, without money, and without price. 
Be of good comfort, arife, he calleth thee. 

3. The fhepherds rejoiced that the Saviour was 
bom for others, as w^ell as themfelves. 

I bring you good tidings, fays the angel, which 
Jh,all he to all people. The heavenly hoft fub- 
join, Peace on earth, good will to men. 

When the good man looks around, he fees the 
world lying in wickednefs. In the hours of feri- 


S£RM. VI. 89 

ous contemplation, he feels a painful folicitude 
for his felloiv mortals. He conhders, that they, 
as well as he. are foon to quit this tranhtory 
fcenc, and enter on a ftate of everlaRins^ retribu- 
tion. He is deeply afFe61;ed witli the thought of 
that dreadful end, to which muhitudcs, with lit- 
tle concern for themfelves, appear to be haflen- 
ing. It is, however, a joyful confideration, that 
a Saviour has been born, and has lived and died 
for mankind, and that the benefits of his death 
are of extenfive defign ; that through him pardon 
is offered without diflindion of nation, age or 
chara6ler ; through faith of him, the mercy of 
God is unto all, and upon all who believe, and 
there is no difference. While he laments that fo 
many nations of the earth are flrangers to the Sav- 
iour, and among thofe who have heard of him, 
fo many live regardlefs of him, he rejoices in the 
perfuafion, that a time is coming, when falvation 
fliall be proclaimed through the v/orld, and meet 
with general acceptance among a fallen race. In 
the mean time, he is folicitous to work out his own 
falvation, and by his example and converfation, to 
awaken to fo important an objecl, the attention of all 
around him. By his daily prayers he implores di^ 
vine grace for thofe at a diflance. whom he has nev- 
er feen ; for his country ; for the church of God ; 
for all mankind m the prefent, and infucceeding 


4. The fhepherds glorified God for what they 
hadyjv??, as well as what they had heard. 

F 3 They 

go Serm. VL 

They had feen the Saviour — feen him in the 
very place, and condition in which the angel had 
defcribed him. They had feen full evidence, that 
this was indeed the promifed MefTiah, They had 
feen in him the accomplifhment of the ancient 
prophecies, which foretold, that he fhouldbeborn 
of a virgin, of the lineage of David, in the city of 
Bethlehem, and in an obfcure condition ; fhould 
grow up as a tender plant, ahd as a root out of 
dry ground. The manner of his birth, and the 
circumflances which preceded it, they doubtlefs 
learned in converfation with Jofeph and Mary. 
When they faw the predi6lions of fcripture, and 
the information of the angel, fo exadly verified, 
they could no longer doubt but this mufl be the 
Saviour, who was come to accomplifti the great 
and good things foretold of him. 

Happy were they, that they Ihouldlive in a time, 
when the Saviour was born, and in a place near the 
city, which was honoured with his birth — that they 
fhould be notified by angels concerniiig this glori- 
ous event — that they fhould have an opportunity 
to behold him, pay their honours to him, fee the 
prophecies fulfilled in him, and confirm their faith, 
by a fight of this wondrous babe, now wrapt in 
fwaddling clothes, and lying in a manger; but or- 
dained to be the Saviour and Lord of the world. 

Thefe were the things for which they glorified 
God. Let us now, 

IL Confider the manner in which they glorified 

1. They 

SjiRM. VI. 91 

1. They glorified God by fdith in the Saviour, 
whom he had font. 

They believed the heavenly meUage, that a Sav- 
iour was born ; they fought him in the place point- 
ed out to them ; and when they law him, they re- 
ceived him with joy. 

"Qy faith in the Redeemer, we give glory to God. 
His firfl appearance was attended with evidence 
of his heavenly dcfcvfnt. When he entered on his 
pubiick miniftry, more full demon flration was 
given of his miflion from God. We have not 
feen him in the tlefh, but his gofpel is come to 
us, in a manner, under circum fiances, and with 
charaders, which prove it divine. We have as 
full evidence for the ground of our faith, as they 
who lived when Jefus was on earth — much fuller 
evidence than thofe ftiepherds who had only feen 
him in his infant Hate, i If they, on the firfl no- 
tice of his birth, fo readily fought him, and be- 
lieved in him, How inexcufable are w^ to re- 
je6l the great falvation, which began to be fpoken 
by the Lord, and was confirmed by the teilimony 
of thofe who heard him, by the figns and won- 
ders which were wrought in his name, and by the 
completion of a feries of prophecies uttered from 
his own mouth and the mouth of his Apoflles ? 
If, after all the light which we have received, we 
rejeQ; this Saviour, difbelieve his gofpel, and de- 
fpife the falvation purchafed with his blood, we 
make God a liar, and judge ourfelves unworthy 
of eternal life. 

F 4 2. They 

Q2 Serm. VI. 

2. The)' glorified God by a ready obedience. 
Being informed by a heavenly meffenger, where 

the Saviour lay, they came io him with hajle. They 
made no delay, but immediately obeyed the di- 
vine intimation. 

Faith operates in a way of cheerful obedience. 
I If thc'fe ihepherds had refufed to repair to Beth- 
lehem, Would you have thought that theybdiev- 
ed the tidings fent them ? — ^ If the care of their 
flocks had nov/ detained them from the Saviour, 
Would you have imagined that they regarded him 
more than thefe ? — The faith which produces no 
obedience, is unprofitable and vain. How many 
praQicaliy deny the Saviour, whom they profefs to 
honour ! You fay, you believe that the Son of God 
has come into the world, been manifefted in our 
fiefli, died on the crofs, rifen from the dead, and af- 
cended to heaven ; that he is able to fave to the ut- 
termoil;, and that there is falvation in no other. 
Thefe indeed are important truths. But, i Do 
you really believe them ? — ^ Have you repaired 
to Jefus for falvation ? — ^; Have you received him 
in all his characters ? — ^ Have you renounced 
fm a^id the world ? — ^ Have you chofen his re- 
ligion, and given yourfelves up to the diredion 
of his gofpel ? Then you believe indeed ; but if 
TiOt, your iailh is but mere pretence. 

3. They glorified Godhy confejjing ^rxAfprcading 
the Saviour's name. " AVhen they had feen him, 
they made known abroad what had been told them 

concerning the child. 


Serm. VI. 9y 

■ They were not alliamed to own him as the Mel- 
fiah, even in his infant ftate. They waited not 
to fee what would be the Current opinion ; they 
confefifed him early ; they were the firft who 
acknowledged him in his high chara6ler. 

You fee, that true faith will prompt you to 
honour Chrifl before men. i Do you believe 
that he came to fave a loft world, and ftill do 
you decline, or negle6l to confefs him in this 
chara6i:er, to dedicate yourfelf to him, and to at- 
tend his ordinances ? — i Where is your confiftency ? 
I Do you delay to profefs your faith in him, be- 
caufe others are in a different pra6tice ? — i Do 
you wait to fee what they will do ? — i Are you 
reftrained by the apprehenfion of contempt ? 
^ Where is your fincerity ? Thefe humble, honefl 
fhepherds, waited not for example : They only 
waited for time to confirm their faith. They 
would not confefs him implicitly, nor fully rely 
on the word of an angel. They firft fought the 
token, by which the angel's information was to be 
verified ; and when they had found it, they fpread 
abroad the tidings. 

4. They glorified God by an attendance on 
the means of faith. 

The angel who announced the Saviour's birth, 
gave them a token by which they might knov/ 
him. Tliisjhallbe afign toyou, Ye fliall Jind the 
babe -wrapt in jw addling clothes, lying in a manger, 
— And they came zviih Iwjle, and found as he had 
told them, 


94 ' Serm. VI. 

God gave them a particular fign for the con- 
firmation of their faith ; and he has appointed 
{landing means to ftrengthen and enliven ours. 
Jefus Chrift is exhibited to us in his word, in his 
fan61:uary, and at his table. Here we are to feek 
him, and converfe with him, that we may in- 
creafe our faith and warm our loves. ^ Had the 
fhepherds refufed to fee the newborn Saviour in 
Bethlehem, and to accept the offered confirmation 
of the angel's word, What would you have thought 
of them ? — I Would not fuch a condud have 
been marked with ingratitude, unbelief and con- 
tempt ? — I Will you negle6l the more eafy means 
of awakening into exercife, your faith in, and 
love to, the crucified and afcended Saviour ? 
I Shall his gofpel lie by you unread and unre- 
garded ?— <i Shall the doors of his houfe in vain 
be thrown open for you to enter ? — ^ Shall his ta- 
ble, from time to time, be fpread, and this King 
of Glory take his feat there, and will you turn a- 
way your faces, and retire with cold indifference ? 
How unlike are you to thefe pious fwains ! 
I Would you have ran with them from a neigh- 
bouring field to Bethlehem, to fee your Redeemer 
in his manger, wrapt in his infant robes ? And, 
I Will you not come to his table to behold him 
dreffed in all the bright ornaments of grace and 
love — to behold him offering himfelf a facrifice 
to God for your falvation, and flretching forth 
the arms of his mercy to invite you to his affec- 
tionate embraces ? The fame faith and love, which 


Serm. VL 95 

winged the feet of the (hepherds on their way to 
Bethlehem, would waft you to the houfe, where 
lelus has appointed to meet you, and place you 
down at the altar, where he exhibits himfelf cru- 
cified for you. 

5. They glorified God with the voice cf praife. 

It is faid, They returned — returned to their 
fields and flocks, to the bufinefs of their calling : 
But they returned praifing God. Their rural occu- 
pation could not engrofs their thoughts. While 
they attended the duties of their fecular calling, 
their thoughts ran on higher themes. The fight 
of the Saviour left their minds replete with fen- 
timents of gratitude, admiration and praife. Pi- 
ous affeclions and devout contemplations fweetly 
mingled with their worldly employment. They 
converfed together on the things which had paffed, 
and they praifed God for the wonders they had 
feen. The main fubjecls of their private medi- 
tation and mutual difcourfe, were Jefus, and his 

When you have beheld the Lord at his table, 
return not to the world with unafFeQed hearts. 
Suffer not the devout thoughts fuggefled here, to 
languifb into indifference, or to be loft in earthly 
cares ; nor the warm affedions kindled at the altar, 
to die away as foon as you retire. Continue to 
glorify and praife the God of wifdom and grace, 
for the wonders, which you have feen and heard. 

Great was God's condefcenfion to the fhepherds, 
in fending them a mefl'age by angels : Greater is 


9^ Serm. VL 

his condefcenfion to our fallen race, in fending 
them falvation by his Son. This is grace, which 
angels contemplate with aftonifhment. ^j Shall we 
be unaffeded ? When the Redeemer was born, 
joy and admiration llrung their harps and tuned 
their voices : On wings of benevolence they flew 
to bear the happy tidings, and teach mortals how 
to praife. The multitude of the heavenly hoft 
fang, Glory to God in the highejl ; and on earth 
peace ; good will to men. Thefe miniftering fpirits 
ftill vifit the churches, and hover around the 
worftiippingaffemblies of Chriflians, though invifi- 
ble to mortal eyes, i If when the Saviour came, 
they, tranfported with joy, flew in eager hafl:e to 
proclaim the news, as what, above all things, 
fhould be welcome to guilty mortals, What 
think you ? — i Are they not aftoniflied to fee our 
ingratitude and indiff'erence ? — j To fee in a Chrifl:- 
ian land the number of prof effing Chrifl:ians fo 
fmall ? — I To fee the afl'emblies in Chrift's houfe 
fo thin ? — I To fee fo few gathermg round his 
table ? — I To hear our fongs of praife to the Re- 
deemer rife with fo partial, and fo faint a found ? 
I If mere benevolence fo deeply interefled them 
in this great event, What mufl: they think, when 
they fee us, whofe eternal falvation depends up- 
onit, fo indifiFerent to it — fo negligent to fecure 
to ourfelves its infinite and everlafling benefits ? 
£ Shall the air ring with angelick praifes for 
man's redemption, and earth not catch the found ? 
— The Ihepherds in tke field heard the voice, 


Serm. VI 


and felt the devotion — ^ Shall we, under advan- 
tages for fuperiour knowledge and ilronger faith, 
be dead to all fenfe of gratitude ? — i Shall we nev- 
er learn the fong of thofe who are redeemed from 
the earth ? — .; Shall the fields and cottacres of If- 
rael's fhepherds be more vocal in the Redeemer's 
praife, than the churches of Chriflians ? 





John 13, xxiii. 

Now there was leaning on Jcfuss bofom one of his dif- 
ciples, whom jfefus loved. 

vJUR blefled Lord, having nearly finifh- 
ed his work on earth, and knov/ing that the time 
of his death was juft at hand, cxprefTed an earned 
defire to celebrate the pafTover once more with 
his difciples. Preparation being made, accord- 
ing to his inftrudions, he fat down with them to 
the feafl. This precious feafon he employed in 
fuch difcourfe as was adapted to their prefent 
circumftances. When the firft meal wc.s made 
ready, he, to teach them condefcenfion and love, 
went round among thera, and wafhed their feet ; 
giving them notice, at the fame time, that he 
fhould foon be delivered into the hands of his 
enemies, and be betrayed by one of them. This he 
knew would be furprifing intelligence ; he there- 

Serm. VIL 99 

fore communicated it with caution. When he 
had wafhed their feet, he faid, Now ye are clean, 
but not all. An intimation this, that there was 
among them one who was not clean, and who 
had no part in him. He had reference to the 
traitor ; but the difciples did not fully compre* 
hend his meaning. He therefore, a little after, 
fpeaks more plainly. If ye know thefe things^ 
which I have done, happy are ye, if ye do them, I 
Jpeak not of you all ; I know whom I have chofen : 
But that the fcripticre may be fulfilled, He that eateih 
bread with me, iiath lift up his heel againfl me. Now 
I tell you before it come, that when it is come to pafs, ye 
May believe that I am he. This premonition put 
them on thinking. But that one of his own fam- 
ily fhould join his enemies, feemed fo incredible, 
that they fcarcely yet underftood him. While 
he dwelt on the melancholy fubjeft, his fpiritwas 
greatly troubled : But painful as it was, he at length 
fpeaks not the matter fully — Verily I fay unto yoii, 
that one ofyoufhall betray me. Struck dumb with 
horror, the difciples fat, and looked on one another, 
doubting of whom he f pake. 

Now there was leaning on Jefus bofom one of his 
difciples, whom he loved. This, as we learn from 
the laft chapter in this gofpel, was John himfelf. 
He is often called the beloved dfciple. At fuppcr 
he fat next to Jefus, and reclined on his bofom. Pe- 
ter, feeing John in this attitude, beckoned to him, 
that he fhould afk Jefus, which was the difciple 
of whom he fpake, John then lying on Jefus's 


100 Serm. VII. 

breaft, fays to him. probably in a low voice, 
^ Lord, Who is it ? Jefus, in the fame manner, an- 
fwered, It is he, to whom I Jhall give the fop ^ when 
J have dipped it. — And he dipped the fop and gave it 
to Judas. That this converfation between Jefus 
and John was unheard by the other difciples, is 
evident ; for they knew not that Judas was the 
traitor, until afterward, when Jefus pointed him 
out by his dipping his hand with him in the difh. 

The circumftance of John's leaning on his Lord's 
bofom at fupper, is feveral times mentioned, and 
may be fuppofed to import fomething worthy of 
our notice. Surely it was not by accident that he 
fat in that pofture, nor without defign that it is fo 
often marked in the hiflory. 

It will doubtlefs fuggeft to us fome thoughts 
pertinent to the fimilar occafion now before us : 
And happy the difciple, who, at this fupper, fhall 
by faith and love, lean on the breaft of his Re- 

1. Chrift, by admitting this difciple to lean on 
his bofom, fhewedajj^^cz^/and peculiar affeBion for 

It is obferved in the text, that he who leaned 
on his breaft, was the one whom he loved. He lov- 
ed the others ; but this he loved with fuperiour 
affe6lion. In the temper and behaviour of John, 
there was fomething which recommended him to 
his Lord's particular efteem, and entitled him to 
this endearing appellation, the difciple whom Jefus 



Serm. VII. idt 

The writings of this Apoftle ftiew him to have 
been a man of a warm and afFetlionate turn of 
mind. This fenfibility of his heart, and his con- 
flancy and fidelity in duty, pointed him out as a 
perfon capable of the ftritleft and moft endearing 
friendfhip. None of the facred writers dwell fo 
much on benevolence and brotherly love ; intro- 
duce the fubjed fo often, or urge the temper with 
fo much earneftnefs. The argument from which 
he principally deduces our obligation to love one 
another, is the wonderful example of love exhib- 
ited by Jefus Chrift, in giving himfelf for our fms. 
As this argument feems ever to be uppermoft in his 
mind, we may conclude, that he felt it to an un- 
common degree. None were more ftrongly afFe61:- 
ed with a fenfe of the love of Chrift, or had more 
of the fame mind which was in him. That benevo- 
lence which operated fo powerfully in his own breaft, 
he wifhedtofee transfufed through the hearts of alL 

As he was diftinguifhed by a kind and friendly 
difpofition,fo he (hared largely in the love of Chrift, 
and was admitted to fpecial intimacy with him. He 
was one of the three difciples, who accompanied 
Jefus, when he went to heal the ruler's daughter — 
when he afcended into the mountain todifplay the 
glory of his transfiguration — when he retired to the 
garden for prayer, juft before his crucifixion. This 
was the difciple to whom he, on the crofs, com- 
mitted the care of his aged mother. He placed 
particular confidence in John, as one who would 
faithfully execute the tender charge. 

tC2 SlRM. VIL 

Every fnicere Chriftian is an objeQ of the 
Redeemer's love. But lome are admitted nearer 
to him than others. His love is not, like human 
affe6lion. arbitrary and capricious ; it is guided by 
a clear difcernment of the comparative degrees of 
holinefs in his different difciples. As the graces 
of religion, efpecially the more amiable graces of 
humility, meeknefs, condefcenfion, conftancy, fi- 
delity and benevolence, abound in them, they fhare 
more largely in his approbation and regard. We 
are often attached to perfons by things foreign to 
their charadler ; by the comelinefs of their form, 
the dignity of their ftation, the politenefs of their 
n^anners, the brilliancy of their wit, the pleafant- 
nefs of their natural temper, or the elegance of 
their drefs and appearance. But thefe arecircum- 
flances on which the love of Chrifl will never 
turn. It is real virtue and righteoufnefs, redi- 
tude of heart, and purity of life, which entitle us 
to his ^fleem. The more we have of that mind 
which was in him, the greater and ilronger inter- 
eil have we in his friendlhip and regard. 

John was highly honoured in being the difciple 
whom Jefus Joyed. But let us remember, that 
the fame temper which was fo pleafmg to Jefus 
in this difciple, will equally meet his approba- 
tion wherever it is found. 

2. John's leaning on Jefus's bofom, denotes m- 
imacy and faviiliarity. 

Between Chrifl: and his other difciples there was 
an endearing friendfhip. He allowed them near 


Serm. VIL i03 

accefs to him, and communicated to them many 
things, which he imparted not to the world. He 
fays, I call you not jtrv ants, for thejervant knoiocth not 
what his Lord doth ; but I have called you friends, for all 
things which I have heard of my Father, I have made 
known unto you. To them he expounded in pri- 
vate many things, which he had publickly deliver- 
ed in parables. To them he foretold many events, 
of which he gave no general notice. To them he 
opened the my lleries of the kingdom of God, before 
he faw fit to reveal them to the multitude. He ad- 
mitted them to join with him in his prayers. He 
often retired with them for devotion, and they well 
knew the place whither he ufually reforted. With 
them he celebrated the laft paffover, and the firfl 
fupper. He converfed with them freely, attended 
to their inquiries, and refolved their doubts. Thus 
familiar was he with them all. But John enjoyed a 
peculiar intimacy. While they fat at the palfover, 
he took his feat by Jefus's fide, and reclined on his 
bofom : And in this nearnefs to his Lord, he 
enjoyed a converfe which was unknown to his 

When Chrifl teftified to them, faying, One of 
you fhall betray me, they knew not whom he 
meant, Peter beckoned to John, to a(k him who 
the traitor was. His beckoning to John on this 
occafion, is an evidence that John had, before 
now, enjoyed fpecial intimacy and freedom with 
his mafler. John alked him, of whom he fpake 
this. Jefus faid, It is he to whom I fhall give the 

G z [op, 

iQi Serm. VII. 

Jhp, zvhen I have dippeS. it. This converfation was not 
Beard by the other difciples. John was the lirft 
who knew Judas to be the traitor — the firfl who 
was relieved from the torturing anxiety, left he 
himlelf were the unhippy man. When Chrift 
had given Judas the fop, he faid to him. What 
thou dojl, do quickly. To what intent he fpakc 
this, none at the table knew, except John. Some 
of them thought, that, becaufe Judas had the bag, 
Chrift meant that he ftiould go and buy the things 
which were neceflary for the fcven enfuing days 
of the feaft ; or that he ftiould give fomething to 
the poor, as was cuftomary at the time of the 
pafTover. As Chrift's general premonition had 
pointed out no particular perfon, they were ex- 
ceeding forrowful, and began, each for himfelf, to 
inquire. ^ Lord, Is it I ? — j Lord, Is it I ? Jefus now 
diftinguifties the traitor. Judas's hand was in the 
fame difti, out of which Jefus was eating : At this 
inftant Chrift fays, It is he, who is dipping his hand 
xoith me in the dijh. This was the firft fign, by 
which they knew who ftiould betray their Lord. 
John only knew this before, by the token of the fop. 
We fee, that Chrift's beloved difciples enjoy 
the privilege of intimate communion with him. 
All fmcere Chriftians have this privilege ; but 
fome have it in a more fenftble manner than oth- 
ers. John, in this refped, was privileged above 
his brethren. The greater is our love and fideli- 
ty to Chrift, the nearer accefs may we find. How 
happy is the devout, humble, fervent Chriftian ! 


SliRM. VII. 105 

Whatever are his burdens, he may lean on Chrift's 
bofom — may whifper to him his inward forrows 
and fecret defires, and may receive from liim kind 
and feafonable anfwers, in a manner unobferved 
by others. This intimacy with the Saviour de- 
pends much on our likenefs to him. If we have 
in us that temper of love and goodnefs, humility 
and meeknefs, devotion and heavenlinefs, which 
was in him, we fhall know where to find him — 
we may come even to his feat — we may exprefs 
our defires in groans and afpirations, which can- 
not be uttered — we may hear his ftill fmall voice, 
and feel the gentle illapfes of his grace ; while 
thofe around us, know not what is palling between 
us and our heavenly friend. 

We think John was highly privileged in being 
admitted fo near to Chrift. But our Lord can 
hear us, as eafily as he heard him. From his 
throne in the heavens, he bends down his gra- 
cious ear to receive our prayers. He attends to 
the fincere, though filent language of the heart. 
His love to pious fouls he manifefts by the fecret 
communications of comfort, flrength and peace. 
The fecret of the Lord is with them who fear him, 
and he will fhew them his covenant. 

3. John, by leaning on Jefu^'s bofom, exprcffed 
his love to his Saviour. He chofe to be as near him 
as pofTible ; not only to take a feat by his fide, 
but to recline on his bread. 

In the writings of this Apoflle. love to Chrifl 
is charadGriftiek of a fincerc difciplc. Saint Pe- 
G 3 tcr, 

io6 Serm. VII. 

ter, writing to believers, many of whom had not 
feen Chrifl in the flefh, fays, Though ye have not 
Jeen him, yet ye love him; and though now ye fee him 
not, yet believing, ye rejoice in him, Thofe who love 
our Lord Jejus Chrijl in fincerity, are, by Saint 
Paul , pronounced thefuhjeBs of his grace. 

This love is not a fenfitive paffion, awakened 
by the imaginary view of a beautiful form, or of 
fome refplendent external glory. It is a calm, ra- 
tional approbation of that holy charader in which 
the gofpel reprefents the Redeemer — It is a delib- 
erate choice of his do6lrines, precepts and exam- 
ple — a grateful fenfe of his goodnefs and compaf- 
fion to a perifhing world — an efleem of him, and 
complacence in him, as the image of the invifible 
God, the only Mediator, an allfufficient and moft 
fuitable Saviour. 

This love to Chrifl will exprefs itfelf in obedi- 
ence to his commands — in an imitation of his ex- 
ample — in doing good to his friends — ^in acknowl- 
edgments of his love — in promoting the intereft 
of his kingdom — infrequent converfe with him — 
and efpecially in a ready attendance on thofe or- 
dinances, which are the appointed means of com- 
munion with him. It was at the ordinance of 
the paflover, which immediately preceded the in- 
IHtution of the fupper, that John was feen lean- 
ing on his Saviour. The pafchal fupper prefig- 
ured, and the facramental fupper commemorates, 
the death of Chrifl. They both had the fame 
general defign, with this difference only ; one 


Sjerm. VII. lOjr 

looked forward to a future cvetM, the other re* 
fpeds that event already pad. The gofpei fup- 
per is appointed in remembrance of Chrift's dy- 
ing love. The Chrifiian, under the influence of 
love to his Saviour, delights to attend on this in- 
llitution, that he may have a more lively view of 
this once fufFering, and now exalted friend — may 
ftir up in his heart warmer afFc6lions to him, and 
more firmly fix his refolutions of obedience. 

A carelefs neglc6l of fo kind an infl:itution, in- 
dicates a heart dead to pious and grateful fenti- 
ments. True love may indeed be attended with 
fuch felfdiilruft, as will deter fome timorous and 
tender minds from this ordinance. But a carelefs 
negle6l of, and habitual indifference to this gra- 
cious and dying inllitution of Chrifl, proves the 
intire w^ant of love to him. 

4. John's pofture at fupper, befpoke a grief of 
heart under the apprehenfion of approaching tri- 
als. Leaning on the bofom of a friend, is an at- 
titude expreflive oiforrow and langidfhment, 

Jefus had often warned his difciples, that he 
mufl fuffer death at Jerufalem. As the time drew 
near, his warnings were more frequent and ex- 
plicit. He had juil intimated to them, that this 
was the lafl paffover which he fhould celebrate 
with them. With defire, fays he, have I defred to 
eat this pojfover with you, before I fiffer. The 
thought of the approaching trial deeply affeded 
thsm all, and efpecially the beloved dilciplc. 
His trouble was increafedby the premonition, that 
G 4 Jcfus 

io8 Serm. VII. 

Jefus would be betrayed by one of his own fami- 
ly ; and he knew not yet but himfelf might be 
the man. Contemplating the fad fcene which 
was before him ; compaflionating his dearell 
friend who was foon to fufFer in an unexampled 
manner ; and, at the fame time, anticipating the 
folitary and dangerous condition, in which he and 
his brethren would be left, he funk into his Sav- 
iour's arms, unable to fuftain the weight of his 

As his heart was more afFe6lionate, and his love 
to Jefus more ardent, than that of his brethren, fo 
his grief under prefent apprehenfions, bore, with 
peculiai" weight on his fpirits. This might be one 
reafon, why Chrifl faw fit to fatisfy him before 
the reft, that he would not be the traitor. 

The fmcere believer is affefted at the confide-* 
ration of Chrift'sfuflFerings. But what efpecially 
aflFeds hmi, in the contemplation of this fubje6l, 
is, that Jefus fufFered for the hns of men, and 
that he, by his own fins, has crucified the Son of 
God afrefh. When he views the Redeemer dy- 
ing on the crofs, he reflefts, *' Jefus was wound- 
ed for my tranigreflions, and bruifed for my in- 
iquities. He has borne my fins, in his own body, 
on the tree, that with his flripes I might be heal- 
ed/' The contemplation of Chrifl's death, awak- 
ens in him an abhorrence of fin. While he med- 
itates on this fad fcene, his great confolation is 
a confcioufnefs of his fmcere repentance, a hope 
pf his interell in the purchafed falvation, and a 


Serm. VII. 109 

vigorous refolution, that he will not offend any 

5. John's leaning on Chriil's bofom, expreffed 
Jaith and conjidence in him. Leaning on another 
is a pofture of reliance. The bride, in the Can- 
ticles, is defcribed, as coming up from the wilder- 
nefs, leaning on her beloved. 

This was a time of great anxiety and diflrefs. 
The difciples were foon to fee their Lord in the 
hands of his enemies. But John gives not up his 
hope. Still he refts on his Saviour's arm, cafts 
his burden on him, and trufts that he will fuftaia 

Here is the Chriflian's refuge. Preffed with 
affliction, confcious of weaknefs, burdened with 
a fenfe of guilt, he repairs to the Saviour for par- 
don, confolation and fupport. In the fufferings 
of Chrift, he fees the great evil of fm, and fees 
alfo ground of hope. The fame blood, which 
difplays the wrath of God againft fmners, mani- 
fefts alfo the mercy of God to pardon the believer. 
While he beholds the fuffering Saviour, he re- 
fleds — ^ If ihefe things were done in a green tree. 
What will be done in the dry ? But at the fame 
time, his foul gathers hope and confidence froni 
this thought — He who fpared not his own Son, but 
delivered him up for us all ^ How fhall he not with 
him alfo freely give us all things ? — ^ Who is he that 
condemneth ? It is Chrifi who died. He glories 
in Chrifi Jefus, and has no confidence in the. 

6. The 

110 Serm. VII. 

6. The particular time, when John leaned on 
Jefus's bofom, deferves to be remarked. It was 
while he was fitting with him, at the pafchal /upper. 

His attendance with him, at this folemnity, 
awakened thofe fentiments of love, faith, grati- 
tude and hope, which he expreffed by leaning on 
his bread. 

While he looked back to that great national 
falvation. which was reprefented in the paflbver, 
we may fuppofe, his thoughts reached forward 
to the fpiritual falvation typified therein. He 
faw, at the table, the Lamb of God, who, by his 
blood, was to take away the fm of the world, and 
who was prefigured in the pafchal lamb. While 
he ate at this table, his eyes, his faith, and his af- 
fedion, were fixed on the Redeemer by his fide, 
who was now giving his flefh to be meat indeed, 
and his blood to be drink indeed, for hungry and 
thirfty fouls. 

Such exercifes were certainly proper in a dif- 
ciple, who fat by his Saviour, and ate with him 
at the fame table, in the evening before he gave 
himfelf a facrifice for the fins of the world. 

W^e fee then with what meditations and affec- 
tions we fhould approach this table now fpread 
before us. This ordinance was inflituted in the 
fame evening, when Chrifl celebrated the lafl 
paffover with his difciples. It was defigned as 
a memorial of his fufferinffs. Herein we fhew 


forth his death. We are to attend it in remem- 
brance of him. He fat with his difciples in the 


Serm, VIL 111 

firft fupper. He is now on his throne in the 
heavens ; but his eyes look down on us ; his ears 
are attentive to hear what we i'peak — what is the 
voice of our lips, and the language of our hearts. 
We may here view him as near us. When we 
take our feats at this table, let us confider, that 
our Saviour is by our fide. Here is his fpiritual 
and gracious prefence. Let us fit down, leaning 
on his bofom. He admits the humble believer 
near to himfelf ; allows him to fpeak in his ear — • 
to whifper the complaints and delires of his foul. 
While we fit by him, let us converfe with him, 
confefs to him our fins, lament our unbelief and 
hardnefs of heart, feek the fupports of his grace, 
and the pardoning efficacy of his blood. Let our 
fouls go forth toward him in love of his divine 
excellencies, in thankfulnefs for his wonderful 
goodnefs, and in defiresof a nearer conformity to 
him, and of a clearer interefl in his falvation. 
Under a humble fenfe of our fins, and of the im- 
perfedlion of our beft works, let us lean on his 
bofom ; for in him we have righteoufnefs and 
ftrength. By thus leaning on him, let us gain a 
more familiar acquaintance with him, and grow 
in our preparation to be received into his bofom 
in heaven, and to eat bread with him in the king- 
dom of his Father. 



dnc ifh&ciato^^ of ike k^t^wcluccioti pni tinct 
in&tr- Jo%6aU^. 


Luke 23, xlviii. 
And all the people, that came together to that fight, 
beholding the things which were done, fmote their 
breajls and returned. 

Plow exceedingly changeable were the 
afFeftions and fentiments of the Jews with regard 
to Jefus of Nazareth ! In the courfe of his min- 
iftry, they had exprefled the highell efleem of 
him. They had followed him to the remotefl 
corners of the country, to hear his dotlrines and 
fee his works. When he entered into Jerufalem 
on a publick occafion, they received him with 
loud acclamations. There was a time, when they 
intended to take him by force and make him their 
king. But after they perceived, that his king- 
dom was not of this world, and that their earthly 
views were likely to be difappointed, their affec- 
tion foon turned to refentment and hatred. Now 


Serm. VIII. 113 

they joined in the attempts to deftroy him, and 
were inflant with loud voices to have him crucified. 
When the governour declared him innocent, and 
propofed to releafe him, they fpurned the pro- 
pofal, and repeated their demand. Crucify him ! 
Ci'ucify him I 

Their clamours prevail. He is fentenced to 
death, and carried to execution. As he hangs 
on the crofs, they feaft their eyes, for a time, with 
the difmal fpe6lacle. They pafs by him, wag- 
ging their heads, and faying, *' Ah ! Thou, who 
deflroyefl the temple, and buildeft it in three 
days, fave thyfelf, and come down from the crofs." 
They call on him a fcornful eye, and fay, *' He 
faved others ; himfelf he cannot fave. Let him 
fave himfelf, if he is a king." 

But foon the fcene changes. The fun with- 
draws his beams, and the heavens, at noon day, 
are wrapt in darknefs ; the earth trembles ; the 
rocks are rent afunder ; the repofitories of the 
dead are difclofed ; and the infulted Saviour, 
commending his fpirit to God, bows his head, 
and, in exclamations of anguifli, expires.^ — Look 
on the multitude now — fee how they appear — 
They, who before had triumphed in his mifery, 
are ftruck with deep aftonifhment. One fays, 
** Surely this was a righteous man." Another 
fays, " This is the Son of God." And all the peo- 
pie, -who came together to that fight, feeing what had 
pafl, fmote their breafls and returned. They came 
to the execution with eager hafle, and bitter zeal. 


114 Serm. VIIL 

They retired flow, filent, and penfive, with down- 
cafl looks and labouring thoughts. 

Their fmiting their breafts indicated fome pain- 
ful fenfations within. 

1. It exprefied their conviction of the innocence 
and divinity of this wonderful fufferer. 

Whatever fentiments they had entertained in 
the morning, they had now feen enough to ex- 
tort from them an acknowledgment, that this was 
a righteous man — this was the Son of God. 

This charaQer Jefus had openly affumed ; and 
with unwavering conflancy he maintained it to 
the lad. Through all his trials he never once 
difTembled it ; nor, in the lead degree, departed 
from it, to prevent danger, or avoid death. 

Obferve his calmnefs. Amidfl the rudefl and 
mofl provoking infults, he difcovered no malice or 
refentment toward his enemies ; but all his lan- 
guage and behaviour was mild and gentle. When 
he was reviled, he reviled not again ; but com- 
mitted himfelf to him who judgeth righteouily. 

See his benevolence. He attended to the cafe of 
his afflidled mother, and commended her to the 
care of his beloved difciple. He wrought a mir- 
acle to heal an enemy wounded in the attempt 
to feize him. He extended mercy to a malefactor, 
who was fufFering by his fide. He implored par- 
don for thofe, who were torturing him to death, 
and urged in their behalf, the only excufe which 
their cafe could admit — They know not what they do, 


Serm. VllL 115. 

Confider his humble pie ly. He maintained his 
confidence in God ; called him his God and hii 
Father ; and into his hands committed his fpirit. 

Such dillinguifhed piety, benevolence and con- 
ftancy, under trials like his, fhewed him to be a 
righteous man — to be more than man. 

And heaven itfelf bare folemn teftimony in his 

The darknefs, which overfpread the land, was 
evidently Tupernatural. It happened at the full 
moon, when there could be no natural eclipfe of 
the fun. The total darknefs, which, in a natural 
eclipfe, can laft but a few minutes, here continued 
for the fpace of three hours. At the time of his 
death, the great curtain of the temple, which fep- 
arated the mofl holy place from the common 
fanQuary, was torn from top to bottom. The 
earth was thrown into convulfions. The rocks 
were rent in pieces, and the graves, made in the 
rocks, were of courfe laid open. The dead bodies 
there depofited were expofcd to view, and many 
of them rofe after his refurre6i;ion. 

The concurrence of fo many miraculous events 
at the time of his death, forced on the minds of 
the fpedlators a full convi6Uon, that he was the 
Son of God. 

2. Their fmiting their breads was expreffiveof 
their compajfion for this innocent and glorious 

Their rage, which had been wrought up to the 
highefl drain, now began to fublide, and give 


ii6 Serm. VIIL 

way to the tender feelings of humanity. They 
had difcharged their malice, they had feen Jefus 
bow his head in death, and heard him groan his 
lad ; and their pity could fleep no longer. It 
was natural ior them to refleQ, how barbaroufly 
he had been ufed, and how ferene he appeared — ■ 
how horridly he had been injured, and how meek 
was his temper — how cruelly they had mocked 
him, and how fervently he prayed for them— ^ 
how confidently they had declared him guilty, 
and demanded his death ; and yet how innocent, 
how worthy of life. Here was the malicious ex- 
ecution of an innocent man. — Here was goodnefs 
in its real perfedion, fuffering death in all its 

Amidfl thefe refle6lions, which mufl now rufh 
into their minds, no wonder if compafFion fwell- 
ed too big for utterance — no wonder if, in the an- 
guifh of pity, they fmote their breads and returned. 

3. This a6lion expreifed a deep remorfe of con- 

When they had feen fuch convincing demon- 
flration of the innocence of Jefus, and felt the re- 
turn of natural compaffion, they could not well 
avoidfomerefieftionslike thefe : — ^i Why did we 
foclamoroufly demand his death ? — ^i Why fo rafh- 
ly and refolutely urge his crucifixion ? — i Why 
did we not confider and examine, before we afted ? 
I Why did we not move for his deliverance ; at 
leaft accept it, when it was offered ? — ,1 How 
could we prefer an infamous robber to this holy 


Serm. VIII. 117 

and juft one ? — ^ How ihall we forgive ouifelves 
in being fo a6live to procure the death of one in 
whom no fault could be found ? 

With fuch felfupbraiding thoughts, they with- 
drew from the execution. The declaration of 
the foldiery, that he was the Son of God, and 
the deep fenfe of anguifh which the fpe6lators 
cxpreffed in fmiting their breads^ may jullly lead 
us to conclude, that convi6lion5 compaffion, and 
remorfe, now laboured in their minds. 

We fee what a mighty effe^l the fight of Chrifl's 
fufFerings had on the multitude : Whether it 
operated in any of them to a real repentance, we 
are not informed. But from the great fuccefs, 
which the preaching of the Apoftles foon after had 
among the Jews, it is probable, that what they 
faw, heard and felt, on the day of the crucifixion, 
prepared the minds of many for a more ready 
reception of the gofpel. 

'* A proper view of the fufFerings of Ch rift, in 
their circumftances and defign, has a powerful 
tendency to move and aflPeQ the mind, and dif- 
pofe it to religion.'* 

To behold this divine Saviour in the flefh, and 
to fee him expire on the crofs, was the lot only of 
thofe, who lived in his day. But the frequent 
contemplation of his death, is a matter of fomuch 
importance, that he was pleafed, juft before he 
fuff^ered, to appoint an ordinance for the purpofe 
of exhibiting his death to our view^ and bringing 
it to our remembrance. 

H ilf 

ii8 Serm. VIIL 

^ If Chrifl were now to fuffcr, in a place near at 
hand, Should we' not choofe to attend thefcene, 
fad and mournful as it would be ? — i Should we 
not wifhto be near him, in his lad hours, that we 
might teftify our regard to him, obtain a blefling 
from him, hear his departing counfels, receive new 
confirmation of our faith, and feel frefh motives 
to obedience ? — i If we would attend his fuffer- 
ings, Why not attend an ordinance inO.ituted to 
reprefent his fufFerings ? — ^ If it would have been 
ufeful to fee him on the crofs, Why may it not be 
ufeful to behold him in this folemnity ? — Here he 
is fet forth crucified before our eyes. — ^ Do we 
turn awa)' from this ordinance ? We have little 
reafon to think we fhould have attended the cru- 
cifixion on any higher motive than mere curiofi- 
ty. If a rcal regard to him would have invited 
us to follow hirn to the crofs, the fame regard will 
invite us to come and fee him at his table. 

This table fome of us are now approaching. 
Let us come with the fame ferioufnefs and collec- 
tion of thought, as if we were coming to the crofs 
itfelf. Let us attend to the defign of this inftitu- 
tion, that our minds may be duly afFe6led, and 
that proper convi6lions, defires and refolutions, 
may be awakened. 

1. I Have any of you entertained indifferent 
notions of Chrift and his religion ? — Come here, 
and refle61; on thofe characters of divinity, which 
he exhibited. 


Si^M. VIII. H9 

Whenyouconfider the purity of his life — the vari- 
ety of his miracles — the beneficence of his works — 
his patience under fufferings — his meeknefs un- 
der injuries — what wonders attended his death — 
how glorioufly he was raifed from the dead, 
and exalted to heaven — and what plentiful efFu- 
fions of the Divine Spirit foon followed his afcen- 
fion — you mufl confefs, that he proceeded and 
came forth from God. 

When farther you confider how excellent are 
the precepts which he gave — how fublime the 
doftrines which he taught — how perfeQ the whole 
fyflem of religion which he left to his difciples — 
how full of benevolence this religion is — how 
adapted to enlarge the underftanding, exalt the 
thoughts, elevate the afFedions, give peace to the 
confcience, and infpire with cheerful hopes — and 
how happy mankind will be in a conformity to 
his example, in a fubjeftion to his commands, 
and under the influence of his doftrines, you 
cannot doubt, but his religion is all divine, and 
infinitely important. If you have before indulg- 
ed different thoughts, fmite your breafts with con- 
vi61ion, and return with jufter fentiments, and 
better refolutions. 

2. Here meditate on the worth of your fouls. 

I Have you, in the eager purfuit of earthly de- 
figns, forgotten your eternal intereft, and negleQ- 
ed the falvation of your fouls ? — Here fee what 
falvation is, what it coft, and how it ought to be 
valued. You are not redeemed with corruptible 
H 2 things, 

120 SeRM. Vlll. 

things, but wjtjiythe precious blood of Chrift. 
Think how the ; Son of God came down from 
heaven, alTumed iiuman fiefh, dwelt among men, 
laboured, fufferedand died. ^ For what end was 
^^11 this ? — To procure falvation for fuch as you. 
How precious is the foul, which could be redeem- 
ed by a price no lefs than this ! How criminal 
to neglect your own fouls, for the redemption of 
which Jefus was willing to die ! How jufl, how 
: aggravated the condemnation of thofe, who dcf- 
pife a iiilvation fo dearly purchafed ! You cen- 
fure the Jews, who. when Pilate offered to releafe 
to them Jefus, prefered a murderer before him. 
^ Hoiv then will you excufe yourf elves, in prefer- 
ing the pleafures of fin, before that falvation 
which he has bought with his blood ? 

^ Does not their fin become yours ? — ^ Does 
not your cenfure upon them fall upon your- 
felvcs ? — -Look upon your fuffering Saviour. 
.Smite your breafts with conviction of the worth 
of your fouls — «return with new refolutions — work 
out your falvation with fear and trembling. 

3. Here behold the great evil of fm. 

I Have you beendifpofed to excufe it — to make 
light of it — to flatter yourfelves that God will not 
remember it — that he will admit you to happi- 
nefs without repentance ? — Look here, and learn 
another fcntiment. Jefus, the Son of God, once 
iuffered and died, i Why ? — It was for fin — not 
his own, but ours. He was wounded for our 
tranfgreiTions, that by his wounds we might be 


SeiSim. VIII, r2i 

healed. He was made fm for us, that we might 
be made the rightt^oufncfs of God in him. ^ Could 
not fm be forgiven without fo vail a facrifice ? It 
is then exceeding fmful — odious to God, and dan- 
gerous to us. It mufl be forfaken, or we cannot 
be accepted. The death of Chrift has opened a way 
for our pardon, but it has not changed tlie nature 
of fm. We can no more be happy in the love 
and indulgence of it, than if Chrill had not died. 
He bare our fms, that we, being dead to fm, 
Ihouldlivetorighteoufnefs.^If Jefus thus fuffer- 
ed, when our iniquities were hiid upon him ; 
Whatmuil they fuflPer, who, continuing impenitent, 
finally bear their own iniquities ?--^ If thefe things 
were done in a green tree, What will be done in 
the dry ? Look on a dying Saviour ; confider how, 
and why, he fuflFered ; fmite your breads under a 
fenfe of guilt ; implore forgiving mercy ; return 
with penitent hearts, and refolutions of new 

4. Here itieditateon the zoo7id erf id mercy of God, 
You fee the goodnefs of God in his daily prov- 
idence. You feel his kindnefs in fupplying your 
wants, healing your infirmities, refcuing you from 
dangers, and relieving your paiss. Great are 
thefe mercies in themfelves, but fmall in com- 
parifon with this which you now fee. 

Here you behold his own Son given to hc^ your 

Saviour. Here you {tc this S^lyiouy crucified for 

you, fuffcriu^ \n your ftead, dying for your fins, that 

yOH might obtain pardon, life and glory. God 

H 3 fent 

122 Serm. VIII. 

fent his Son to be a propitiation for your fins, 
that you might live through him. 

Here then is a fure foundation for your faith 
and hope. ^ He who fpared, not his own Son, but 
delivered him up for us all, How ftiall he not 
with him alfo freely give us all things ? Go to 
God with deep repentance, and beafTured, he will 
not call you away. The blood, which has been 
ihed, is fufficient to expiate, and the mercy which 
has been difplayed, is fufficient to pardon the moil 
accumulated guilt. Look unto Chrift, and be ye 
faved. Behold him fuffering for fmners like you, 
fmite your breafts in deep contrition, and fay, God 
be merciful to us finners. Thus may you return 
juftified, while they, who trufl in their own 
righteoufnefs, and commit iniquity, will be fur- 
prifed with aggravated condemnation. 

5. Look here, and behold an inftru6live ex- 
ample of patience and refignation. 

We live in a world full of adverfity. i Do 
we cenfure the ways of God, and think our lot 
undefervedly fevere ? Let us turn our eyes to the 
fuflPering Saviour — i How calm, how patient 
was he, under trials far greater than ours ? He 
was brought as a lamb to the flaughter ; as a fheep 
before her ihearers is dumb, fo he opened not his 
mouth. Yet he fuffered, not for his own fms, or 
for his own benefit, but for ours. We are corre6l- 
ed for our own profit. It is only, if need be, 
that we are in heavinefs through manifold temp- 
tations. Let us learn of him, who was meek and 


Serm. VIII. 123 

lowly. When we confider the patience of^ our 
Redeemer, let us reBukc our own complaints, and 
chide* our fretful fpirits ; let us fmite our breafls 
in fliame, and learn to be like him. 

6. Look to Chrift and learn to defpife the worliL 
I Are your afFe6lions fet on things below ? 

I Are you anxious for future fupplies ? — i Do 
you diflruft the care of Providence under your 
worldly flraits and embarrallments, ? — Confider 
him, who gave himfelf for you, that he might 
deliver you from this prefent evil world. Think 
how he lived above it ; how contented he was in 
the mod humble condition ; how he fhewed the 
Vanity of the world, by dying on the crofs ; what 
bleffings his death has purchafed for believers ; 
and whither he is gone to prepare for them a 
place with himfelf. Confider thefe things, and 
fmite on your breafls, and fay, We are crucified 
to the world, and the world is crucified to us, by 
the crofs of Chrifl. 

7. Look to Chrifl, and learn meeknefs and for- 

I When you meet with injuries, Do your paf- 
fions rife ? — i Do malice, and revenge, kindle and 
glow in your breafls ? Think how different was 
the mind that was in Chrift. How calm and 
gentle was he under the greatefl provocations ! 
Far from the thoughts of revenge, he prayed for 
thofe who fhed his blood. In fervent intercefhons 
for them he employed his dying breath, i Can 
you, with this example before you, fuffer anger 

H 4 ta 

124 Serm. VIIL 

to reft in your bofoms ? — Gome here, behold the 
moft wonderful pattern of goodnefs and philan- 
throphy, that ever was exhibited on earth, and then 
bid every refentful pafTion be ftill. — Come here, 
and forgive your enemies, and pray for them, who 
defpitefully ufe you. — Come here, with a fpirit 
of peace and love. Be like minded one toward 
another according to Chrift Jefus. 

Finally, look to Chrift on the crofs, and learn 
how to die. 

ffe died with full rcfignation. When nature re- 
coiled, and wiftied, if it were poffible, to be faved 
from the dreadful hour, he thought on the caufe 
for which he came to that hour — he thought on 
his Father's will, and faid, " Thy will be done — 
Father, glorify thy name.'' He died in the exer- 
cife of benevolence, in love to mankind, in the for- 
givenefs of, and in interceflionsfor his enemies. He 
died, committing his fpint into the hands of the 
God of truth, and contemplating the joy that was 
let before him.— As we fhould live like him, fo 
like him we ftiould die, with refignation to God — 
with benevolence to men — with forgivenefs of in- 
juries — with prayers for our enemies — with faith 
in God's promifes, and with heaven full in our 

Thanks to our gracious Redeemer, who has 
givqn us fuch an example to €ondu6l us through 
the paths of life, and to guide us thiough the val- 
ley of death. O lend thy good Spirit into our 
hearts, to form us according to thine amiable pat- 
tern — 

S#RM. VIII. _^ 

tern— to direa us in the wa^ of peace— to com- 
fort us ui all our troubles— and to ftrengthen us 
in our laft conflia.— And when it ftiall be thy 
will to call us hence, enable us to die like thy f elf, 
and receive us to thyfelf in glory. 


J he rVo^k^oi^od, a^ik& J Lino, of OaiTiid, 
a^'CCLi and ^ma'mjeliaio^ . 

Revelation 15, iii. 
Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God AL 
mighty ; jufl and true are thy ways, thou King of 

i HIS is a part of the fong of thofe, 
who, having adhered to the purity of religion, in 
times of great perfecution, are now brought forth 
from their fufferings into a flate of fecurity and 
peace. Taking a review of God's difpenfations 
toward his church, and his judgments upon her 
enemies, and contemplating the happy, but unex- 
pected refult of all, in the advancement of true 
religion, they are filled with admiration of his 
wifdcm and goodnefs, and efpecially of his prov- 
idence toward his faints, which had long been 
myfterious, but was now opening to their view. 
And, in the gratitude of their hearts, they break 
forth into this hymn of praifc, a part of which 
has been read — Great and marvellous are thy 
%uorks — thou King of faints — ^ Who fhall not fear 


Serm. IX. 127 

and glorify thy name ? For thou art worthy. All na- 
tions Jhall come and worjhip- before thee ; for thy judg- 
ments are made manijejl, 

God is here acknowledged in the character of 
King of faints. 

His providential kingdom is univerfal andever- 
lafting. His dominion^ is without bounds, and 
without end. All creatures are under his care ; 
all events under his direction. Even ungodly 
men and apoftate fpirits, are in fome fenfe, his 
fubjefts. Though they obey not the laws of his 
kingdom, they are under the reftraints of his pow- 
er ; and their a6lions and defigns, though tend- 
ing to mifchief and ccnfufion, are overruled to 
ferve the great purpofes of his government. " The 
wrath of man will praife him, and the remaindeu 
of it he will reflrain." In this fenfe wicked men 
are called his fervants. They are ufed, in his 
providence, as inilruments to accomplifh the pur- 
pofes of his wifdom. 

But he is King of faints in a more fpecial and 
peculiar fenfe. 

They yield a voluntary oht6\^x\ct to his govern- 
ment : And he adminiflers his government in an 
immediate reference to their interefl. They are 
the objeds of his peculiar care, and he caufes all 
things to work for their good. 

And his works, as King of faints, are great and 
marvellous. Such indeed are all his works ; but 
more eminently fuch, are the works which refpe^l 
his faints. 


1-28 Serm. IX. 

-We will illuflrate this important and pleafing 

I. The work by which the faints art redeemed, i& 
great and marvellous. 

I For the human race, fallen into guilt and ruin, 
and lying under a fentence of everlafting death, 
What remedy can created wifdom find? — ^i Who 
can expiate their guilt ? — i Who can reverfe the 
fentence of God's law ? — ^i Who can ranfom them 
from mifeiy, and re (lore them to forfeited life ? 
In the view of all wifdom, but the divine, their 
cafe muft appear defperate; be fur e, when it is 
conhdered, that a fuperiour order of beings, hav- 
ing rebelled againft their Sovereign, are call down 
to hell, andreferved, in everlafting chains, under 
darknefs, to the judgment of the great day. 

When we behold the glorious Majefly of heav- 
en, whofe juftice fpared not offending angels, now 
moved with compafTion to fallen men — providing 
for their recovery — appointing his Son to be their 
Redeemer — fending him into the world clothed in 
their flefii — laying on him their iniquities — fub- 
je6ling him to death as a facrifice for them, and 
raifing him from the dead to be their advocate ; 
we cannot but adopt the language of the infpired 
PAilmift — This is the Lord's doing, and it is mar- 
vellous in our eyes. 

Every flep in this divine workincreafes our ad- 
miration. It is wonderful that we fhould be re- 
deemed, when apoilate fpirits were left unregard- 
ed — that a divine perfon fhould be conftituted the 

Redeemer — 

Serm. IX. 129 

Redeemeiv-^tliat he fhould aflume humanity and 
dwell on earth — that, inftead of appearing in 
worldly dignity and power, he fhould make him- 
felf of no reputation — that he fhould fubmit to all 
the pains and dilhonours of a mofl infamous and 
cruel death — that he fhould fufFer death from the 
hands, as well as for the fins, of men — that he 
fhould make his grave with the wicked in his 
death — that he fhould afcend to heaven with the 
body in which he fufFered, and with this body 
fhould appear in the prefence of God, as a con- 
tinual advocate for us ! 

This is a fcheme which angels behold with won- 
der, and which men fhould contemplate witi;i 
grateful allonifhment. 

You will afk, perhaps, i Why did God choofe 
fuch a method for the redemption of men ? Bu|; 
tell me firft, why he chofe to redeem them at all. 
You will fay, He redeemed them becaufe he i^ 
merciful. I will add, Ho redeenied them in this 
method, becaufe he is wife. If we cannot difcern 
the particular reafons of this difpenfation, then 
let us acknowledge, that the counfels of infinite 
wifdom are too deep to be fathomed by the line 
of human underftanding. The Apoflle fays. 
Chrijl crucified is to the Greeks foolijhnefs ; but to 
them who are called^ he is the wifdom of God ; be- 
caufe the foolifhnefs of God is wifer thanmen,and the 
weaknefs of God isflronger than men. 

The humble faint, convinced of his fallen fl ate, 
feels his need of mercy ; and the mercy oflFered, 


13C> Serm. IX. 

he gratefully reccii'cs. He waits not to explore 
all the reafons of the gofpel plan of grace, before 
he confents to take the benefit of it. He thinks 
it enough for him, that mercy is offered to unwor- 
thy men. He efteems it a faithful faying, and 
worthy of all acceptation, that Jefus Chrift came 
into the world to fave fmners. He adores that 
wifdom which has devifed fo marvellous a plan 
of falvation, a plan which human wifdom could 
not have devifed, nor can fully comprehend, even 
now when it is revealed. 

Some will afk, ^ How can we place our depend- 
ence on a fcheme of redemption, which is to us in- 
comprehenfible ? But, let me allc, ^ How can you 
depend on any thing elfe, which is beyond your 
comprehenfion ? — ^ Can you tell, how your 
clothes warm you, or how your food fuftains you ? 
£ Can yo'u tell, how the grain, which you fow 
in your field, fprings up and bears fruit ? — Will 
you negleft your hufbandry, or abftain from the 
ufe of food and raiment, until you can unfold thefe 
natural myfleries ? If not, then go, and, with 
humble gratitude, fubmit to the terms of the gof- 
pel — go accept of, and rejoice in, that great falva- 
tion which is offered you through the Redeemer, 
Tvhofe name, as well as work, is called Wonderful. 

If we were to believe nothing, but what we per- 
fedlly comprehend, our creed would bevery fhort. 
If we were to do nothing, until we had difcovered 
all the connexions between caufes and effe61:s, 
our circle of adlion would be extremely contra6led. 


SeAm. IX. 13 1 

God governs us as rational creatures. In com- 
mon life, we a6l rationally, when we rely on the 
providence of God, in that courfe of condu6l, 
which experience fhews to be fuccefsful. In the 
religious life, we a6t rationally, when we receive 
divine revelation on competent evidence, and 
truft in God for glory and immortality, in that 
courfe of humble obedience, which his facred 
word prefcribes. 

However unfearchable the reafons of the great 
fcheme of our redemption may be, the way in 
which we are to obtain the benefit of it, is plain 
and obvious. Repentance toward God, and faith 
toward our Lord Jefus Chrift, are the conditions 
of falvation propofed in the gofpel ; and thefe 
we find no difficulty to underftand. The only 
difficulty is, the evil heart of unbelief, which de- 
parts from God — the hard and impenitent heart, 
which treafures up wrath againftthe day of wrath. 

The plan of redemption, though great and mar- 
vellous, is not fo dark and myflerious, but that 
we difcern in it much of the wifdom of him, who 
formed it. The fufFerings of a Saviour for the 
fins of men, difplay, in the ftrongefl light, the ho- 
linefs and juftice, the mercy and goodnefs of God. 
Nor can wc conceive, how the danger of fin, and 
the encouragement to repentance and virtue, 
could, in any other way, be fo flrongly exhibit- 
ed to fmners. i If God fparcd not his own Son, 
but delivered him up for us all, Plow fhallhenot 
with him alfo freely give us all things ? But if 


13^ ^KtM, IX. 

we fin wilfully, after we have received th^. kiiowl- 
edge pf the .truth, which, through this Saviour, 
offers p^rcjgnta repenting finners, there remain- 
cth no mo-re facAfice for fin. 

II. .Great and marvellous are thofe works of 
the King of faints, hy which he has communicated 
the knowledge ,o^ this plan of falvation. 

It. was the manifeft purpofe of God, to bring 
his fubjeds to glory in a way of obedience. Man, 
in his firft creation, was placed under a law ; 
obedience to this law was the condition of happi- 
nefs ; by tranfgrelTion he incurred the penalty of 
death. It is neither agreeable to the chara6ter of 
God, nor to the nature of intelligent creatures*, 
that they fhould enjoy happinefs in a way of fm; 
for fin is contrary to the defign of God's moral 
government ; and, in its dire61; tendency, produc- 
tive of mifery. 

When man had offended, it was neceffary to 
his repentance, that hope fliould be fet before 
him; for without the hope of pardon, there can 
be no fufficient motive to repentance. This hope 
cannot arife from the law ; for law, as fuch, makes 
no provilion for pardon. It cannot be the refult 
ofreafon; for reafon, uninftru6led, cannot con- 
clude that God will forgive. At mod, it can but 
fay, as the Ninevites, ^ Wko can iell, if God will be 
merciful ? And perhaps, without fome divine in- 
timation, it would not proceed fo far as this. 
The hope of the Ninevites, feeble as it was, prob- 
ably might be rather the effefl; of revelation, than 


Serm. IX. 13J 

of mere reafon ; for they had intercourfe with the 
Jews, and vifits from the prophets of God. A 
dired, pofitive hope of pardon, mufl come in a 
way of revelation ; for if the offender deferves 
puniftiment, juftice may inflid it ; and whether 
mercy will interpofe to remit the punifhment, 
and on what terms it may be remitted, if at all, 
none but God himfelf can determine. God has 
therefore, in all ages, favoured mankind, at leafl 
a part of them, with revelation* And though, in 
fome periods, it has been obfcure, it has fo far 
difcovered the mercy of God to pardon repenting 
fmners, as to encourage their humble application 
to him. 

The promife made to the parents of our race, 
immediately after their lapfe, gave a general afTur- 
ance, that their lives (hould be fpared for a fea- 
fon — that they fhould have poflerity — and that, 
in fome future period, one of their pofterity, and 
this, in a peculiar fenfe, the feed of the woman, 
fhould in a way of fufFering, conquer that ene- 
my who had brought fm and death into the world. 
This promife was, from time to time, renewed in 
terms more clear and explicit ; particularly to 
Enoch, Lamech and Noah, before, and to the pa- 
triarchs, after, the flood. As the term of human 
life was contrafted, revelations became more fre- 
quent, becaufe the conveyance of religious know- 
ledge by tradition, grew more uncertain. Repeat- 
ed communications from heaven were made to 
Abraham, ai*d th^ mofl exprefs ajQTurance given 

I him. 

104 Serm. IX. 

him, tliat in his family a Saviour would ai-ile^ 
who fhould blefs all the nations of the earth. la 
this family, th-e knowledge of the true God, and of a 
Saviour to come, wa& preferved, partly by iiiftruc- 
tion, and partly by immediate revelations, until 
the time of Mofes, when a general fyflem of laws 
and inHitutions was given from heaven, and com- 
mitted to writing, for the benefit of the Jewifh 
nation, and others, who wouldcome and join them- 
feives to them. Of thefe mftitutions a confider- 
ablemimber were dehgned to prefigure th^ Sav- 
iour, a»d point out the way of faiva:tion through 

In addition to this revelation, God continued 
among th^ Jews a fuccefTionof prophets, who be- 
ing divinely tnilrudted, often inculcated on them 
their duty, reproved them for their fms, warned 
them G^ jiadgments, and called them to repent- 
ance. And forae of them in very plain and ex- 
plicit term^, foretold the JRxdeemcr, the time and 
ma-nner of kis^ appeara»ce, his death and refurrec- 
tion. and the way in whi/ch he would bring fal- 
vation to a guilty world. The word of prophecy 
wasa-ligh-t ihw^n^inadark place, until the dayilar 
arofe ; and a^ it approached nearer to the grand 
object, to which it pointed, it^rew more bright 
and clear. 

Though the Jewifh nation were favoured be- 
yond others, the benefits of revelation were not 
corrfined-tG them. In the -patriarchal age, Mel- 
chifedek, Abimeiecb, Job, and feveral others^, 


Serm. IX. 135 

w^re honoured with immediate difcoveries of 
God's will, and fome of them employed in com- 
municating to mankind the difcoveries, which 
they had received. 

Many of the divine difpenfations toward the 
Jews, were of fuch a nature, as might awaken the 
attention of all around them, and give general 
conviction of thefupremacy of the great Jehovah. 
The annual folemnities inilituted in their law, 
were adapted, and probably defigned, to excite 
the inquiry of their neighbours, and difFufe among 
them the knowledge of religion. The travels of 
the prophets, and the frequent difperfions of the 
Jews, contributed much to diifeminate this knowl- 
edge among thofe who were remote from the land 
of Judea. So that revelation was not fo much 
confined to this one nation, as fome have feemed 
to imagine. At the time of Chrifl's appearance, 
there was a general expedation of fome ex:traor- 
dinary teacher and reformer to arife in Judea. 

Though this divine perfon confined his m_in- 
iftry chiefly to the Jews, yet he commilTioned his 
Apo files to go forth and teach all nations. 

He came not only to redeem mankind by his 
death, but to teach divine truths more fully, and 
confirm them more flrongly, than had been done 
before. After he had finifhed his peribnal min- 
iftry, and returned to the heavenly world, hij? 
Apoflles, under the guidance of his Spirit, T^ent 
forth preaching the kingdom of God, and proving 
their Qominiffion and dodrine by figns and won- 
I 2 ders, 

136 Serm. IX. 

ders, which none could perform, unlefsGod were 
with them. 

The Gafpel Revelation flands now eftablifhed 
on the firm bafis of divine teftimony. As it was 
communicated by infpiration, fo it was confirmed 
by miracles evidently divine. And notwithftand- 
ing all the perfecutions and changes, which the 
church has fufFered, this revelation, by the won- 
derful providence of God, is flill preferved. By 
this we may fully learn all, which concerns us to 
know, relating to the grand fcheme of our re- 
demption, and the way to eternal glory. By this, 
not only are difplayed to men the unfearchable 
riches of Chrift, but is alfo made known to prin- 
cipalities and powers in heaven, the manifold wif- 
dom of God. 

Great and wonderful are thefe works of the 
King of faints. 

When we confider the allglorious God Hoop- 
ing from his throne to converfe with hnful men, 
infpiring fome with the knowledge of his will, and 
the forefight of futurity, empowering thevi to con- 
vey this knowledge to others, and endowing them 
with miraculous gifts to confirm the heavenly 
origin of their do6lrine — when we behold him 
working wonders to awaken the attention of ftu- 
pid mortals, and bring them to a belief of the 
truth — when we fee not only men, but angels ; 
not only angels, but the Son of Godhimfelf, em- 
ployed in miniftering to our fallen race — when 
we trace the gradujil progrefs of Revelation from 


Serm. IX. 137 

the apoftacy to the appearance of the Redeemer — ^ 
when we oblcrve how Revelation, granted to par- 
ticular perfons or nations, was made fubfervient 
to the inftru6;ion of numbers befides, in diftant 
nations, and remote ages — when we reflect how 
the knowledge of religion has been preferved, and 
its total extin6lion prevented, even in times of 
great ignorance and fuperftition — we muR ad- 
mire the divine wifdom and goodnefs, and fay, 
Marvellous are thy works, O King of faints. 

But if God has done fo many marvellous works 
to make knovvm his will to men, fome will afk, 
^ Why has he not made it known univerfally ? — 
I If revelation is fo important, as from thefe works 
it feems to be, Why has it, in all ages, been fo 
partial ? 

But, I What is that to you ? God has granted 
you this privilege ; fee that you improve it. If 
others are not favoured as highly, this cannoc 
juftify your negleft. Adopt the language and 
fentiment of the bleffed Redeemer, when he re- 
joiced in fpirit, and faid, / thank thee, Father, 
Lord of heaven and earth, that, though thou haft hid- 
den thefe things from the wfe and prudent, thou hafl 
revealed them to babes, 

^ Is Revelation lefs'ufeful toyou, becaufe there 
are many who have not known it ? Or, i Will 
you be excufable in your contempt of it, becaufe 
you have been preferred to them ? No : He who 
knows his Lord's will, and docs it not, will be 
beaten with many flripes. 

' I 3 ^Will 

138 Serm. IX. 

I Will ybu queftion the truth of Revelation, be- 
caufe it is confined to but a part of our fallen 
race ? As well might you queftion the reality of 
human reafon, becaufefome are deftitute of this ; 
and among thofe who enjoy it, fome poffefs it in 
a much higher degree than others. Remember 
that God is fovereign in the diftribution of his fa- 
vours, and divides them among his creatures fev* 
erally as he will. His works are marvellous and 
unfearchable. Infinite wifdom doubtlefs fees fuf- 
ficient reafons, why fome, rather than others, en- 
joy Revelation, though thefe reafons are not ob- 
vious to us. 

Perhaps the partiality of Revelation is more 
owing to men's own fault, than is generally im- 
agined. There are few nations, but what have 
heard of the gofpel. Were there among man- 
kind the fame folicitude to acquire, andtofpread 
the knowledge of religion, as to improve arts and 
Commerce, the gofpel would be far more gene- 
rally known. Many nations, now in a ftate of 
ignorance, once enjoyed Revelation, but have put 
it from them ; and the infidelity of one genera- 
tion has entailed ignorance on thofe which fuc- 
ceeded ; as we fee, in a Chriflian land, the im- 
piety of the father often corrupts and deftroys 
the children. 

After all, it mufl be remembered, that God will 
finally judge all men according to the talents 
which they have received. To whom he has com- 
mitted much, of them he will afk the more. 


Serm. IX, . . , t • ' ' '3^ 

Seine pel IinpVtWrnDecuiioitstO- know, ^ Wheth- 
er they, who enjoy nqt ti^e gorpcl,,^an l)e favcd ? 
But fiich curious queflions need no anfwer, be- 
caufe they, in no rcfpeff,'''coii'cei'n usr The Judge 
of all the earth >\iil do right. \That t>(3d who 
has given a RevcLuion, can, in fu'ch ways as he 
pleafes, cojmmUilicate himfelt to thofe who feek 
after him ; for great and marvellous are his works. 
There is another queflion more important, and 
more eahly anf\Yered,,(i Whether we who enjoy 
the gofpcl, can be faved, if we live in oppofition 
to it ? This is a queflion which the gofpcl has 
decided. They who put the word of Cod from 
them, judge themfelves unworthy of eternal life. 
Behold, yedefpifers, and wonder and periffi. To 
fuch a queftion the fame anfwer is to be given, 
as our Saviour gave to one who afked him a fun- 
liar queflion — i Whether few fhould he faved ? 
Strive to enter in at the Jir ait gate. Be not curious 
to know, how it will fare with others. Befolicit- 
ous for yourfelves. Work out your own faiva- 
tion ; for many w^ho enjoy the offers and mean^ 
of falvation, will, through their own ncgkft, per- 
iili. and be lofl forever. 



,^^j[^\^.^^.et\^my H^s>4:^£^j;&jJr^^''^- 


'T&cvt amd nncu^vulowa . 

Revelation 15, iii. 

Great and, marvellous are thy works. Lord God AU 
-mighty ; jujl and true are thy ways, thou King of 

vO'OD is here acknowledged in the 
chara£ler of King of Saints. And his works, as 
King of Saints, are called great and marvellous. 

Thefe works of God we are humbly attempt- 
ing to illuftrate. 

We have Ihewn, 

I. That the work of redemption, which God 
has wrought, and in which the faints are pecu- 
liarly interefted, is a marvellous work. 

II. That the various revelations, by which God 
has brought the faints, in the feveral ages of the 
world, to the knowledge of this redemption, are 
alfo marvellous. 

I proceed now to a farther illuftration of this 
grand and folemn theme. 

III. The difpenfations of God's providence 
toward the church, in correding and punilhing 


Serm. X. Mt 

her for her declenfions, and in delivering her out of 
dangers and affliaions, are great and marvellous. 
Thel'e are the works, to which our text efpec- 
ially refers. When John faw the feven angels, 
having the feven vials of plagues, which were 
la ft to be poured on the earth, before the com- 
mencement of the glorious ftate of the church, 
then he heard the faints, who had gotten the vic- 
tory over their enemies, finging this fong — Jujl 
and true are thy ways-— great and marvellous are thy 
works, thou King of faints. ^ Who /hall not fear 
and glorify thy name ? For thou only art holy. All 
nations jfhall worfhip before thee ; for thy judgments 
are made manifefl. 

The church has, in all ages, been the objeft of 
God's peculiar care, Amidft all the revolutions, 
and all the corruptions, which have been in 
the world, this has been fupported, and in it the 
knowledge of the true religion has been preferved. 
When all flefti had corrupted God's way on 
the earth, Noah was found righteous ; and he, 
with his houfehold, was faved in that general 
deluge, which deftroyed the reft of the human race. 
Afterward, when idolatry had almoft overfpread 
the world, Abraham was called forth from among 
his kindred, that in his family the worfliip of the 
true God might be maintained. His pofterity, 
when they were expofed to extinftion by a fam- 
ine, were miraculoufly preferved by a call to fet- 
tle in Egypt. Here, for feveral generations, they 
were kept a diftin6l people, and then delivered 


142 SCP.M. X, 

by a mipflity hand, and formed itito a fiational 
and ecclefiaflical ftate in the land of Canaan. 
. Witii a \iew to the maintenance of religion. 
Cod,, for feveral hundreds of years, fupported 
and defended this people, to whom he had com- 
mitted his oracles ; while other nations were de- 
flroyed, and the remembrance of them blotted out 
from under heaven. 

When their iniquities were grown fo great, that 
God gave tliem up to the power of the king of 
Babylon, dill they were the objects of his provi- 
dential care. While other captivated nations were 
loll among their conquering Cfiemies, the Jews 
remained diflind ; and, after a captivity of feven- 
iy years, wcrereflored to their country, and rein- 
Hated in their privileges. : 

To make way for their return, a furprifing rev- 
olution takes place in Babylon. This monarchyj 
which had long been the fcourge and terror of 
other nations, becomes fubjed to the Perfian pow- 
er; and Cyrus, a juft and benevolent prince, be- 
ing exalted to the throne, proclaims liberty to the 
Jews, and encourages and afFifts them in rebuild- 
ing their ancient city and temple. Amidfl all the 
changes of the great empires of the world, this 
ftnall people were flrangely preferved. And though 
they were always hated, and often conquered, 
they were never totally deftroyed. 

No reafon can be afligned, why they were thus 
diftmguifhed, but becaufe God would not blot 
out the knowledge of the true religion from the 


Serm. X. 14^ 

world, nor take from them his kingdom, uiuil the 
time was come, when it fhould be given to other 

No iefs remarkable have been-the dealings of 
Providence toward the Chriflian church. 

The religion of Jefus was firfl preached by a 
fmall number of Apoilles, who had nothing to 
recommend them, but the fimplicity of their 
manners, the reafonablenels of their do6lrines, and 
the evidence of their miracles ; while they were 
every where oppofed by all the prejudices and 
powers of the world. But yet, under their min- 
iftry, the word of God mightily grew and pre-* 
Vailed. In a few years it fpread over a great part 
of the then known world. Chriflian churches 
were planted in almoll every province of the Ro- 
man empire : Yea, in the city of Rome itfelf, the 
feat of the empire, there was a church of Chrift ; 
and there were faints even in Cefar's houfehold. 

The Chrillian church, without worldly wealth, 
or fecular power, lived and gained flrength 
through ten violent perfecutions, which under the 
heathen Roman empire, continued, with fome in- 
termifTions, for thefpace of two hundred and for- 
ty years. 

In the time of Conflantine the Great, thefe 
bloody perfecutions ceafed, and the church en- 
joyed fecurity and peace. It now mightily flour- 
iflied and profpered. But its profperity was only 
for a feaTon. In a few years, grofs corruptions 
of dodrine and difcipline crept into it ; and even 

w idolatrv 

144 Serm. X. 

idolatry itfelf began to rear its head. When idol- 
atry appeared, the fpirit of perfecution returned 
with all its former virulence and malignity. 
They who preferved the primitive purity of relig- 
ion, were now perfecuted by antichriftian Rome, 
as Chriflianity itfelf had before been perfecuted by 
pagan Rome. But flill there was a number of 
brave and pious fouls, who, in contempt of 
worldly dangers and fufferings, invariably ad- 
hered to the true religion of Chriil. 

When vice, fuperilition and ignorance, had 
widely fpread, and nearly eflablilhed their gloomy 
dominion in the Chriftian world, God, by a won- 
derful providence, raifed up fome extraordinary 
men, who, animated with primitive fortitude and 
zeal, flood forth in the caufe of truth, oppofed 
the errors and corruptions of the age, braved the 
thunders of the Roman pontiff, and the terrors 
of the civil power, and in a few years carried their 
preformation to fuch a furprifmg extent, that even 
princes and potentates embraced it, and lent their 
aid in its fupport and defence. 

Had half the power, which has been employed 
to fubvert the Chriflian church, been direfted 
againfl any other people, it would foon have 
fwallowed them up, or worn them out. The 
greatell and mofl formidable empires of the world 
have been overturned from their bafis, and utter- 
ly demolifhed. i Where is now the Aflyrian em- 
pire, once fo terrible to other nations ? — ^i Where 
is the Perfian empire, which extended from India 


Serm. X. 14^ 

to Ethiopia ? — ,; Where is the Grecian empire, 
which boa fled the conqueil of the world ? 
^ Where is the Roman empire, which fucceeded, 
and was the mighticft of them all ? — They have 
all loft their ancient figure and importance. The 
three former have fcarcely a r-ime : The laft but 
little more. But amidft all the convulfions of 
kingdoms, and changes of empire, the church ftill 
lives. It has fometimes been brought low, but 
never has it wholly ceafed. God remembers his 
ancient promife. — Though I make a full end of all 
nations, I will not make a full end of thee — Though I 
correB thee^ it fiall he in meafure. He has often 
punifhed her fjDr her declenfions, but has not ut- 
terly forfaken her. He has removed her from 
place to place, but has never removed her from 
the earth. Great and inarvellous are thy works, Lord 
God Almighty : Jujl and true are thy ways, thou 
King of faints. 

I How manifeft is it to obfervation, that there 
is a holy, juft and v/ife Providence, which gov- 
erns the world ? 

I How evident is the divine original of the 
facred fcriptures,whofe predictions and prophecies 
are continually fulfilling before our eyes, as in 
other inflances, fo very remarkably in the pre- 
fervation of the church ? 

How confpicuous is God's care for his church 
in all ages ! — And how dangerous muft it be to 
oppofe her intereft, corrupt her purity, and dif- 


14^ Serm. X. 

turb her peace! He zuho iouckcih iha, fays her 
God, toucheth the apple of mine eye. 

How deplorable muft be the ftate of a peoplq, 
who, having enjoyed the difpenfation of the gof- 
peJ, fufFcr it to be loft in their hands ! 

Plow carefully fliould a people, profeffing the 
gofpel, guard againft declenfions in religion? 
Remember from whence thou art fallen, fays Chrift 
to his churches in Afia, and repent ajid do the frfl 
works. BezuatchfuL and flreng then the things which 
remain. Reme^nber hoio thou hafi received and heard, 
and hold f aft and repent. If thou fialt not watch, 
I vjill come quickly, and remove thy candleftick out of 
its place. 

From the gracious promifes of fcripture, and 
from the marvellous works of Providence, we 
may be affured, that the King of faints will mam- 
tain his kingdom in the world, as long as the fun- 
and moon fhall endure. But of its continuance 
ivith us we can no longer be ailured, than while 
we fubmit to its laws, and attend on its inftitutions. 
And if it fhould bs continued, we can on no other 
conditions obtain a perfonal fhare in its eternal 
blelRngs. We are warned, that many of the chiU 
dren of the kingdom will be caft into utter darknefs, 
becaufe they have been workers of iniquity ; 
while other fubjecls from unknown nations, and 
from all quarters of the globe, fhall come and fit 
down in the kingdom of God. 

I With what joyful aifurance may we look for- 
ward to the happy period foretold in fcripture, 


when the kingdoms of this world fhall fubrait*to 
the government of Jeius Chrifl, the fulnefs of the 
Gentiles {hall come in, and all Krael fliall be faved ? 

Th€ great and marvellous works of God, in 
behalf of his church, arefure pledges and earnefts 
of the accompli ihment of thofe prpmifes, which 
rrfperl; her glory and extent in the latter days. 

The prefent condition of the Jcwilh nation, is a 
flriking evidence botli of the truth of the gofpel, 
and of their future incorporation with the Chrifl- 
ian church. Though they are difpcrfed among 
all nations; hated and defpifed of all mankind; 
often banifiied from one place to another, and 
oppreffed where they are ; though they no where 
fubfifl in a national capacity, and few of then> 
poiTcfs lands of their own ; yet they remain every 
where diftinct, in refpe6l both of their nation and 
religion, and have never mingled with their neigh- 
bours. They have had every motive, which 3^ 
people could have, to drop their national and 
religious diftmdion ; for, on account of both, they 
have often been opprcffed, and alvv^ays defpifed ; 
and yet of both they are fondly tenacious. A hmi' 
larinftance never was known. The gofpel which 
has exprefsly foretold fo fnigular and inaprobabiie 
an event, mufl be divine. The defign of Providence, 
concerning this people, cannot be doubtful. The 
titme is coming, when they Ihall turn to the Lord, 
and be grafted again into his church, from wheng^ 
they were broken off by unbelief. 

We proceed to obferye farther, 

IV, That 

148 Serm. X* 

IV. That work, by which God fits and prepares 
the faints for glory, is great and marvellous. 

Mankind, in their fallen llate, are reprefented 
as dead in trefpa (Tes and fins. While they are 
under the power of a vicious and corrupt heart, 
they are incapable of enjoying the felicities of 
God's heavenly kingdom. That change, by 
which they are made meet for this kingdom, is 
in fcripture called a work of God. He begins, 
and he performs it. Not only the external means 
of this change are from him, but there is alfo a 
kindly operation of his Spirit, which accompanies 
them, and gives them their efficacy. The Apoflle 
fays. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, 
hut mighty through God to the pulling down offlrong 

To exprefs the greatnefs of this work, the gof- 
pel compares it to a new creation, a heavenly birth, 
a refurreBion from the dead. *' If any man be in 
Chrift, he is a new creature." *' Except one be 
horn from above, he cannot fee the kingdom of 
God." " You hath he quickened — " '' Ye are 
rifen with Chrift, through the faith of the opera- 
tion of God." 

I^The converfion of a fmner, is a great work, as 
it makes in him a mighty change. 

He is formed to a new temper — is made par- 
taker of a divine nature — has the fame mind in 
him, as was in Chrift. He walks in newnefs of 
life. Once he walked according to the courfe af 
the world, and yielded himfelf a fervant to un- 


Serm. X. 149 

cleannefs, adding iniquity uiito iniquity : No\^^ 
he yields himlelf to God, as one who is alive from 
the dead, and his members inftruments of right- 
coufnefs to God. Once he placed his affections 
on earthly things ; now they afcend to things 
above. He was once under guilt and condemna- 
tion ; now he is brought into a ilate of peace 
with God, and is made an heir of the heavenly 

This is a marvellous work, as it is a work of 
marvellom grace. 

By grace areyefaved, fays St. Paul, and that not 
of yourf elves ; it is the gift of Gad. With refpecb 
to himfelf, he fays, / obtained mercy ; and th& 
grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant. When 
the faint reviews his former guilty life, his ftu- 
pidity, hardnefs of heart, unbelief, abufe of priv- 
ileges, refiflance of the Spirit, and oppofition ta 
the fentiments and conviftions of his own con- 
fcience, he admires that grace, which effedually 
wrought in him to awaken him, and bring him. 
to repentance and newnefs of life. Ke fays, By 
the gract of God I am what I am. And, God haik 
fhewn the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindnefs 
io me by Jefus Chrifl. 

This is a marvellous work, as it is wrought in 
a marvellous 7nanner. Our Lord fays to Nicode- 
mus, The wind bloweth ivhere it lifleth, and thou hear^ 
tfi the found thereof ; hut canft not tell, whence it 
cometh, nor whither it goeth. So is every one, who is 
born of the Spirits 

K The 

i^O Serm, X, 

The nature of the change itfclf is very plain. 
It is the turning of the heart from the love of fm, 
to the love of holinefs : The efFetls of it are alfo 
eafy to be underftood. Thefe are putting oft the 
old man v/ith his deeds, and putting on the new- 
man, which is created after God in righteoufnefs 
and true holinefs. But the m-anncr m wdiich the 
Spirit operates to effe6l this change, is, like other 
divine operations, wonderful, and, in a great meaf- 
ure, inexplicable. We know not how our own 
fpirits move and a6iuate our bodies ; much lefs can 
we explain, how the Divine Spirit influences and 
direds our minds. But we mud believe, that 
that immcnfe Being, who is above all, through all, 
and in us all ; who compafTes us around, and 
pofTeffes our hearts and our reins, is able to ex- 
cite in us pious thoughts and refolutions, to w^ork 
in us holy and fpiritual difpofitions, to guide and 
affifl us in a virtuous and heavenly courfe, 
without* fufpending the exercife of our rational 
faculties, or controlling our moral freedom. 
This is a great work, as it is effected by divuis 


A foul habituated to vice, and oppofed to holi- 
nefs, is called enmity to God. To fubdue this en- 
mity and oppofition, muflbe a divine work. The 
gofpel is mighty, through God, to the pulling down 
of ilrong holds. The word, as the fword of the 
Spirit, becomes quick and powerful. Sinners are 
made willing fubjeas to God, in the day of his 
povrcr. But though the Spirit works powerfully, it 



StRM. X. 151 

works not mechanically or compulfivdy, but 
kindly and rationally, and in a manner adapt d to 
the intellc6lual mind. We are to work out our I'al- 
vation, becauIeGod works inus. It may be added. 

This is a great and marvellous work, as it is m- 
Jinitely important. 

The unrighteous cannot inherit the kingdom of 
God. They mull be waihcd and fan6tified by the 
Spirit of the Lord. To be carnally minded is 
death : To be fpiritually minded is life and peace. 

I How folicitous fhould we be to become the 
fubjeds of this great work ; and to know whether 
we are the fubje6i;s of it ? 

Let none imagine converfion to be a fmall 
and trifling change ; 9r religion to be a carelefs 
and fuperficial bufinefs. 

Let none be fatisfiedwith any evidence of their 
converfion, fhort of an habitual temper of holi- 
nefs, difcovering itfelf in a fteady courfe of obe- 
dience to the gofpel of Chrift. 

Let none delay the work of repentance, under an 
apprehenfion, that to accomplifhit will always be 
at their own option, whenever they find occafion* 
If It is a work in which they are dependent on the 
grace of God, let them apply themfelves to it now, 
when they have mod reafon to hope for this grace. 
There is fuch a thing as total hardnefs of heart. 
The longer the finner negle6ls the concerns of relig- 
ion, the greater is his danger of falling into this aw- 
ful flate. Therefore , feek the Lord, while he may- 
be found, and call upon him while he is near. 
K 2 V. The 

15^ Serm. X, 

V. The difpenfations of God's providence to- 
ward j^^r^za</i?ry^m/5, in bringing them to glory, 
are great and wonderful. 

All things work together for good to them who 
love God. The eyes of the Lord are upon them, 
and his ears are open to their cry. He not only 
hears their prayers, but does for them exceeding 
abundantly above all that they afk or think. 

He anfwers their prayers in ways unknown to 
them — grants them many favours beyond whatthey 
afked. or could even imagine — caufes thofe events 
to operate for their fpi ritual good, which feemed to 
wear a different afpeft, and to have a contrary tend- 
ency — condu6ls them along through dangers,which 
they thought it impoffible to efcape, and delivers 
them from many hidden evils of which they had no 
apprehenfion, until after they had paft them. 

He employs his angels as miniftringfpirits to the 
heirs of falvation, anddirefts all the methods of his 
providence to their ultimate fafety and happinefs. 
When the faints, once arrived to the heavenly 
world, fhall from thence take a review of paft 
fcenes. I queflion not, but they will be filled with 
thankful admiration of God's great and marvel- 
lous works towards them, while they dwelt below. 
They will then fee, how they were delivered from 
fuch a danger, refcued from fuch a temptation, 
and earned fafely above fuch a fnare. They 
will then fee, how fuch an adverfity roofed them 
to a fenfe of duty, fuch a difappointment prevent- 
ed fome fatal tranfgrefrion, fuch a prayer was an- 


Skrm. X. 153 

fwercd, which they thought hftd been loH in air, 
fuch a defire was in mercy denied, and fuch an 
event, though flrongly deprecated, was produc- 
tive of fubllantial good. They will then fee, how 
they have been myllerioufiy conducted along 
through this dangerous and enfnaring world, and 
brought at lad to the realms of fecurity and joy. 
They will find the truth of the Saviour's promife— - 
What I do thou knoxvcjl not now ; but thou Jlialt 
know hereafter. It will be no inconfiderable part 
of their felicity, to fee the myfteries of Providence 
unfolded, and the intricate fcenes, which once 
perplexed their reafon, and tried their faith, all 
unravelled, and made plain to their view. They 
will then admire the order of thofe providences, 
which once looked like confufion ; the wifdom 
of thofe difpenfations, which once appeared un- 
accountable; and the kind intention of thofe di- 
vine works, which once, they thought, were againft 
them. They will then tune their harps to the 
heavenly fong — Great and marvellous are thy works. 
Lord God Almighty, juji and true are thy ways^ thou 
King of faints. 

But the mofl furprizing fcene cf all, is the 
glory and felicity of the heavenly flate into which 
they have entered. 

While they dwell on earth, faith looks up to 
the fuperiour world, with high and lively expeda- 
tion. It meditates with pleafure on the image of 
heaven drawn in the facred pages, and anticipates 
a fmall portion of the good which is there. It 
K 3 believes, 

15*4 Serm. X* 

believes, that the boldefl dcfcription of lan- 
guage — yea, the loftiefl flight of imagination falls 
far fhort of the glorious reality. But when 
they a6lually arrive to yonder world, How will 
they be furprifed to find the vaft difparity between 
former conceptions and prefent enjoyments? 
When they perceive themfelves in the immediate 
prefence of the all glorious Jehovah, in th^ com- 
pany of the bleffed Jefus, and furrounded by 
congratulating angels and fellow faints : When 
they feel themfelves difcharged from their con- 
flicts with fin and temptation, and freed from 
every perverfe and unlowardly motion : When 
they find every virtuous difpofition fuddenly rip- 
ened to its proper perfedlion ; thAv minds ex- 
panding to admit new and vail ideas of God and 
the works of God ; and their fpiritual affedions 
now purged from the foul dregs of fenfuality and 
worldly care, and rifing aloft in the purefl and 
warmeft devotion — ^ What will they fay ? — ^ With 
what fongs will they exprefs the rapture of their 
joy ? They will know the truth of the Apoflle's 
fentiment — a fentiment, which, under fevere tri- 
als below, they could fcarcely realize. / reckon 
that all the fiifferings of the prefent time, are not wor- 
thy to be compared loilh the glory which fiall be reveal- 
ed. Thefc light affiiclions, zohich arc but for a mo- 
ment, ivork for vs a far more exceeding and eternal 
Toeighi of glory. Then the great Redeemer will 
be forever glorified in his faints, and eternally ad- 
mired in them who belie^-e. 


Serm. X. 155 

Come then, ye faints, commit all your cares to 
God. I Why your anxiety about the events of 
time ? — I Why your fears of af?li(5lion, poverty 
and death ? — ^ Why fails your courage, when 
dangers feem to awail you ? — i Why hnk )'Our 
fpirits, when adverfity prefixes upon you ? — Your 
God is King of faints. Juft and true are his 
ways — great and mar^'ellous are his works. ^ Who 
ftiall not fear and glorify his name ? Trull your 
God, and he will fuflain )'Ou ; call on him, and 
he will hear you ; fcek him, and he will deliver you 
in all your troubles. His grace is with you — his 
pi-ovidencc watches over you — his angels encamp 
around you. O tafle and fee that he is good. BleiT- 
cd is the man, who trufteth in him. Fear him, ye 
his faints; for thereis no want to them whofcarhim. 

This troubled fcene of things will foon be clofed. 
Glory and joy await you in a purer and brighter 
world. There you will give praife to God for 
all his works; yea, for many of thofe works which 
now caufe anguifh and grief. 

Let it be your only folicitude to walk worthy 
of him, who has called you to his kingdom and 
glory. You have fet your faces toward heaven ; go 
on with conftancy and courage in the path of right- 
eoufnefs and truth, looking forw^ard to the glory 
which will foon be revealed. Under every afflic- 
tion and temptation, maintain your confidence and 
hope ; for light is fown for the righteous, and 
gladnefs for the upnght in heart. 




Hod aio7^iU&d 171 ike J anijk'Tneni of 

Revelation 19. i, ii, iii. 

An^ after thefe things I heard the voice of 7}iuch peo^ 
pie in heaven, faying. Allehijah, falvatwn, and glo- 
ry, and honour, and power, unto the Lo7'd our God, 
For true and righteous are his judgments, for he 
hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt 
the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged 
the blood of his fervants at her hand. And again 
iheyfaid, Allelujah ; and her fmoke rofe up forev- 
er and ever. 

1 HIS great whore, which corrupted the 
earth with her fornication, and which, in the 17th 
chapter, is called Babylon the Great, the Mother of 
Harlots, is fuppofed, by interpreters, to be the 
Church of Rome. She had been the chief yromcter 
of idolatry and fuperftition, which, in the lan- 
guage of fcripture, are often ftiled fornication and 
adultery. The 18th chapter defcribes the de- 
ftrudion of this idolatrous power, and the general 


Serm. XL 157 

lamentation, which, on that occafion, fiiould be 
heard among the nations connctted with her. But 
while thofe nations mourned, the church of God 
Ihould give thanks, and heaven itfell fiiould join 
in the praife. In our text the heavenly church 
is introduced, as uniting with the church on earth, 
in a hymn of adoration and thanks to the great 
Ruler of the world, for the happy revolution 
w^hich he had made in favour of true religion — ► 
for the great falvation which he had granted to 
his fuffering fervants — and for the righteous pun- 
ifhment which he had inflitled on their implaca* 
ble enemies. 

We will make fomeobfervations on this feraph- 
ick hymn which has now been read. 

I. The number of the heavenly inhabitants is 
vaflly great. John heard the voice of much people 
in heaven. 

' The angels, who kept their firfi:" ftate, are an ?«- 
numerable company. The faints, who caine out 
of great tribulation, are called a multitude, w^hich 
no man can number. There are nations of them 
who are faved. 

^ If in that period of Chriflianity, when idolatry 
and fuperfiition moll prevailed, and when the vi- 
olence of perfecution obftru6led the influence of 
r<;ligion, there were fuch multitudes brought to 
glory, How inconceivably great mufl be the fi- 
nal number of happy btings, when all who were 
faved before that period, all who have been fav- 
ed (ince, and all who fliall be faved in the un- 

158 Serm. XL 

known fucceffionof future ages, fliall becolleQed 
in the heavenly world ? 

The time marked in the text, is "when Babylon 
the great, or the antichriftian church, is totally 
dellroyed. After this Satan is bound a thoufand 
years, pure religion fpreads without oppofition, 
the nations walk in the light of God's church, 
and into it the kings of the earth bring their rich- 
es and their glory. If there are much people in 
heaven at the time pointed out in the vifion, how 
amazing will be the number at the confummation 
of all things ! 

It mufl be pleafmg to a benevolent mind to 
look forward, and contemplate the vaft fum of 
human happinefs, which Ihall ultimately refult 
from the gofpel. When we look around, and 
fee errour and vice abounding — many nations def- 
titute of the gofpel — among thofe who enjoy it-, 
many living in dire6l oppofition to it, and more 
treating it with utter negle6l ; we feel a melan- 
choly pity for our fellow fmners, who appear to 
be in great danger for want of the gofpel, or in 
danger ilill greater by their abufe of it. But our 
minds are much relieved in contemplating the 
blighter fide of the fcene, which exhibits to our view 
fuch numbers of the human race, who fhall event- 
ually become partakers of the offered falvation. 
Delightful is the thought, that truth will finally 
prevail againfl errour, and virtue triumph over 
vice. God will gather out of his kingdom all 
liings which offend, and them who do iniquity, 


Serm. XI. T59 

and will cafl them into a furnace of fire ; and 
then the righteous fhall fliine forth in the king- 
dom of their Father, numerous as the ftars, and 
glorious as the fun fhining in his flrength. 

II. The people in heaven are much employed 
in the focial exerciles of devotion. John heard 
them calling on one another to " praife God," 
and afcribe to his name " falva<tion, honour, glo- 
ry and power." 

The faints on earth are not entire ftrangers to 
this employment. They fee much of God's glo- 
ry difplayed in his works. They behold bright dif-- 
coveries of his purity, goodnefs and wifdom, in his 
word. They experience the power of his grace, 
and the riches of his mercy toward themfelves* 
And in the contemplation, their hearts are often 
warmed with gratitude, and their lips are tuned 
to praife. But, compared with the heavenly Hate, 
this is a fcene of darknefs, forrow and fin : Hence 
prayer, humiliation, repentance and watchful- 
nefs, make a great part of their work. In heaven 
it will be otherwife. Joy and gratitude will fill 
every foul ; thankfgiving and praife will found 
through the vafl affembly. They will have clear 
and dillin6i; views of the divine glories and works. 
The myfteries which here perplex them, will be 
unfolded to their underflanding. They will fee 
juflicc, wifdom and goodnefs, in thofe difpenfa- 
tions which now are wrapt in clouds and dark- 
nefs. They will be delivered from the incum- 
brance of the flcih, and from the diver fions of 


iBq Serm. XL 

fenfible things. They will animate and warm 
each other by mutual zeal and love. In that 
numerous affembly there will be no interfering 
defigns, jarring afFedlions, and difcordant voices. 
John heard the voice of much people, and their 
voice was one. Praife God — Salvation and glory 
to him. I How rarely do we find much people on 
earth joined together inthe fame mind, and fpeak- 
ing the fame things ? In civil fociety, men have 
their different worldly views ; in religious focie- 
ty, Chriftians have their various fentiments, for 
which they contend with too bitter zeal, and too 
unyielding obftinacy. How often do we fee thofe 
who have covenanted to walk and worfhip togeth- 
er, dividing into parties, withdrawing from each 
other's communion, and judging one another, in- 
ftead of provoking to love and good works ! — 
I Will it be fo in heaven ? — No ; if it were fo, 
heaven would ceafe to be itfelf. Love is there 
made perfe6l : It is the life and foul of happinefs. 
There will be different degrees of perfeftion and 
glory ; but there will be no envy on the one part, 
or pride and infolence on the other ; no unfocial 
paffions, or malignant tongues. All voices will 
fweetly mingle in the praife of the common Cre- 
ator and Redeemer ;, the voices of that innumera- 
ble multitude will be as one. 

We fee then how the worfliip of God on earth 
muil be performed, that it may rife with accept- 
ance to heaven. It mufl be performed, as it is 
in heaven, with focial and benevolent affe6lions. 


Serm. XI. 161 

There can be no complete happinefs without fo- 
ciety. Even heaven, if we were to be there in a 
flate of folitude, would lofe much of its delight. 
In fociety there can be no happinefs without 
union. The faints in glory, are defcribed, as 
ading with one defign, and praifing God with 
one voice. There is no acceptable worfhip with- 
out a fpirit of peace and love. We muft be like 
minded one toward another, that we may with 
one mind and one mouth glorify God. By a 
temper of love we are to prepare for heaven; and 
by union in divine worfhip we are to improve 
our love. This temper we muft ever aim to car- 
ry with us into the worfhip of God ; and with a 
view to ftrengthen and exalt it, all the parts of 
worfhip mufl be conduced. So capital in the 
Chriflian fcheme is this grace, that we are dire6i;- 
ed, above all things, to put on charity — to have 
fervent charity among ourfelves — to love one 
Another with a pure heart fervently. It is by the 
love of the brethren, that we are to prove to our- 
felves that we have paffed from death to life, and 
manifeft to others that we are the difciples of 
Chrift. While we worfhip God together in peace 
and love, we are preparing for the world of love. 
When we make the worfhip of God an occafion 
of difunion and contention, we pervert it to a 
contrary efFed. To them who are contentious 
and obey not the truth, will be rendered indigna- 
tion and wrath, 

III. Here 

i62 Serm. XL 

III. Here is pointed out to us one principal 
fubjedl of the heavenly devotion. — " Salvation, 
and glory, and honour, arid power, unto the Lord 
our God, for true and righteous are his judgments." 
This hymn of praife is fung to God, in confe- 
quence of his judging that idolatrous power, which 
had corrupted the earth. 

The angels and faints in heaven are attentive to 
the ftaie of the church on earth. They obferve 
the dealings of Providence toward her, give thanks 
for every interpofition in her favour, and from the 
judgments which God executes, learn more of his 
ri^hteoufnefs and truth. Heaven is a flate of im- 
provement. Knowledge increafes there. Every 
frefti difplay of divine glory is celebrated in new 
fongs of praife. 

Religion on earth is a matter which interefls the 
bled above. Thofe benevolent fpirits rejoice in 
the diffufion of truth, virtue and happinefs, among 
our race of mortals. They love to fee frefh accef- 
fionsto their own number. There is joy in heav- 
en, when one finner repents ; and greater joy, 
when religion generally prevails, and multitudes 
are continually rifmg to join their happy affem- 
bly. When the hundred and forty and four 
thoufand, fealed out of the tribes of Ifrael, were 
followed by a great multitude, which no man could 
number, out of all nations of the earth, John fayS, 
he obferved, and immediately thefe fhouted — 6"^/- 
vation to God and the Lamb ; and then all the an- 
gels, elders, and cherubs fell on their faces before 


S£RM. XI. 163 

the throne, and worfliippcd God, faying, Blcjing, 
and glory, andivifdom, and thank/giving, and pozoer, 
be unto our God forever. Such a mighty increale of 
the church was recognifed by a general fong of 
praile in heaven. 

The faints crive thanks for their own falvation. 


They admire and adore the love of God, who has 
called theni by his grace, and the love of the 
Saviour, who has redeemed them by his blood. 

They give thanks for each other's falvation ; 
for the converfion of fmners, the profpcrity of the 
church, and the increafe of its members. 

They praife God for his judgments on the 
enemies of truth. They ^re reprefented in our 
text, not only as afcribing falvation to God, but 
alfo as celebrating the yeditude of his government, 
in judging them, who had corrupted the earth. 

Thefe pure minds are incapable of malice and 
revenge. They rejoice in the deflru6]:ion of cor- 
rupt and perfecuting powers, only as by this the 
great obftacles in the way of truth are removed, 
and a more efFeftual door opened for its general 
fpread and increafe. Their joy fprings from be- 
nevolence. The fuppr.fTion of thofe who have 
corrupted the earth, is the fuppreffion of corrup- 
tion itfelf, and the means of advancing the vir- 
tue and happinefs of the world. 

We may obferve farther, 

IV. The punifhment of the wicked in the future 
world, will be eternal. Her fmoke rofe up forever 
and ever. There is notl:^ng more plainly declar- 

164 SZRM. XI. 

ed in the gofpel, thrrfi a fufure judgment, and 
the diftribution of rewards and punifhments. The 
declarations of the gofpel, on this fubje6>, are 
fully agreeable to the dictates of human reafon. 
There is an obvious di (Terence between virtue and 
vice; and according to this diiference we muft 
fuppofe the righteous Governour of the World 
will finally treat his fubjeds. As there is no 
viiible diilin6lion at prefent made between the 
good and the bad, a diflin6lion doubtlefs will 
be made in a futji^e Rate. 

Experience teaches us, that virtue tends to hap- 
pinefs, and vice tomifery. This is evidently the 
divine conPdtTj.tion. To fuppofe that the latter 
Ihould be made happy, as well as the former, is 
to fuppofe, that there is an inconfiftency in the 
divine government, and that the future diftribu- 
tion of good and evil will contradi61: the fettled 
courfe of things in the prefent world. 

Reafon teaches us to exped a difference. How 
great the diflPerence will be, reafon cannot conjec- 
ture — Revelation only can inform us. This 
opens to our vievvr moft aftonifhing fcenes. On 
the one hand, thrones and kingdoms, honour and 
immortality, fulnefs of joy, and an inconceivable 
weight of glory, arc the rewards neferved for the 
juft ; and, on the other, darkncfs, horrour and def- 
pair, the agonies of corroding guilt, and the tor- 
ments of devouring fire, are the portion of a wick- 

ed man, from God. 


Serm. XL 1^5 

And thefe diflFerent flates arc always, in fcrip- 
ture, reprefented as eternal. The righteous fhall 
go into everlajling life ; the ungodly into cvcrlajl- 
ing punifliment. 

The former we readily believe ; for, as we flat- 
ter ourfelves with the idea of happinefs after death, 
we are willing to believe the happinefs will nev- 
er end. The latter we receive with relu6tance, 
and fometimes with diftruft. Every man enter- 
tains a fecret hope, that if he is to exift, he fliall 
be happy. The confcious finner intends to re- 
pent ; he hopes divine mercy will be extended 
to him at death ; and he is willing to believe, 
that if he fhould mifcarry, there may be an after 

To guard us againfl fuch prefumption and 
felfflattery, the fcripture has expreifed the endlefs 
duration of the punifhment of the wicked in a 
great variety of unequivocal terms. Language 
affords not an expreflion more ftrong and em- 
phatical than this in the text. Her fmokc rofe up 
Jor EVER and ever. Correfpondent to this is 
the current language of infpiration — They who 
obey not the gofpel will be punifhed with ever- 
lajling deJlruElion. — Their worm dieih not, and the 
fire is not quenched, — When God gathers the wheat 
into his barn, he will burn the chaff with unr- 
qiienchablejire. — The unbelieving and abominable 
ihall have their part in the lake which burns 
with fire and briraftone. which is the fecond death i 
* L the 

J 66 Serm. XL 

the la ft ftate of punifhment. There is no inii- 
rtiation of another probation, and a third death 
for them who abufe their new trial. To prevent 
all expeftations of this kind, God has Iworn in 
his wrath concerning the impenitent and unbe- 
lievincr, that thev Ihall not enter into his reft. 
For the,fon of perdition, it had been good that 
he had never been born. Thefe exprefhons pre- 
clude all hope of an eternal happinefs to fucceed a 
temporary puniftiment in the future world. Were 
this to be the cafe, unbelievers would finally enter 
into reft ; and it would, on the whole, be good for 
them, that they were born. 

You will fay, " An eternal punifhment is vaftly 
difproportioned to temporary crimes.'' — But, 
I How do you know, that crimes are temporary ? 
The a61: indeed is tranfient ; but the eff'eft may 
be perpetual, i Can you tell, how many you 
have corrupted by your w^ickednefs ? — i How long 
the corruption will continue ? — i To what num- 
ber of generations it will reach ? — i How many 
will carry with them into the other world, the 
corruptions infufcd into them by your example 
in this world ? — If we are to judge of the dura- 
tion of the puniftiment by that of thewickednefs, 
we can fet no bounds to it. The ftiort contin- 
uance of the adion can be no ftandard for the 
puniftiment. It is not fo in human judgments : 
I Why fliould it be fo in the divine ? We never 
think a criminal the more cxcufable, becaufe he 
accompliftied his villany with difpatch ; nor 


Serm. XI. 167 

will this circumftancc be an excufc at the bar of 

Some would perfuade themfelves, that an end- 
lefs puniihment is not confident with the good- 
nefs and mercy ot God. But the fame argument 
might as well prove, that there will be no puniih- 
ment at all ; and if no punifhment, then certain- 
ly no mifery — no unhappinefs among any of his 
creatures. And yet mifery, we fee, there is in 
this world. The goodnefs of God does not pre- 
vent all mifery ; and therefore, merely from his 
goodnefs, we cannot conclude that, in another 
world, bounds will be fet to the mifery of the 
incorrigible, or that any abatement will be made 
from the due reward of their deeds. 

If you fuppofe it is inconfiflent with the char- 
acter of God to make finners forever miferable, 
let me afk you, i Whether it is inconfiflent with 
his character to make rational creatures — endue 
them with moral agency — place them in a ftate 
of probation — allow them only one probation — . 
and fix a period for this ? If thefe things can be 
reconciled to the divine charafter, you may fup- 
pofe, that a final abufe of the limited trial will 
be followed with unlimited punifhment. If no 
other probation is granted, the punifhment which 
follows is endlefs. 

Befides ; <: Is it inconfiflent with God's good- 
nefs, to eflablifh a connexion between wickednefs 
and mifery ? This will not be pretended ; for a 
connexion we fee there is, i If vice, without a 
L 2. mixture 

%6B Serm,. XL 

mixture of virtue, univerfally prevailed in 
this world. Would human life be tolerable ? 
Only fuppofe, then, that wicked men cany with 
them into another world the vicious difpofitions 
contraQed in this, and you fee, they will of courfe 
be raifcrable there. And if th^y are immortal, 
their milery v/ill be endlefs. The queftion then 
is {imply this, i Whether the jaflice and goodnef& 
of God require him to annihilate fmners, in order 
to put a period to that mifery. which grows out 
of the inveterate wickednefs of their heaits ? 

At the clofe of this probationary ftate, we are 
told, he who is unjufl;, will be unjufl ftill ; and 
he who is filthy, will be filthy ftilL i If, under all 
the means of goodnefs and corre£lion — under all 
the mxOtives of hope and fear- — under the allure- 
m.ent of promifes, and terrour of threatenings, he 
remains perverfe, and dies in his fins, What room 
is there to imagine, that in a ftate, where thefe 
means are to be enjoyed no more, he will acquire 
a new temper, or feel the love of God fpringing 
up fpontaneoufly withm him ? And if his fin re- 
mains, his mifery muft. continue. 

This is then the fituation, in which we are 
placed. Made for immortality, endued with rca- 
fon and moral a^rcncv. and fuUv inftruded in 
our duty, we Rand accountable to the great Crea- 
tor. Happincfs and mifery are fet before us — 
the. terms of happinefs are ftated, with every mo- 
tive to urge our compliance — tiie path which 
tends to mifery is ftrongly marked, with every 

Serm. XL i^g 

warning to avoid it — all necclTary helps are of- 
fered us in the purfuit of glory — and awful guards 
are placed Mgainll our entrance on the path of 
deilruibtion ; or, when we have madly entered, 
the mod importunate calls purfue us to remand 
us back. (I What would we more ? Our choice 
mufl decide our fat€. If we choofe the way of 
death, we deliroy ourfflves, and our mouths will 
be Hopped. To us, with peculiar force, may be 
applied the words of Mofes to the people of Ifrael, 
*' I call heaven and earth to record againft you 
this day, that I have fet before you life and death, 
bleifing and curfing ; therefore choofe life." 

V. Our text plainly inflrufts us, that the faints 
in heaven will glorify God for the eternal pun- 
ilhment of the wicked. They faid, AlUluja/i ; and 
her Jmokt rofe up for ever and ever. 

This voice of jubilation fprings not from joy 
m the mifery of the wicked, abfoluteiy conhder- 
ed ; but from a view of the re6litude of the di- 
vine government difplayed in their punifliment, 
and a view of the important ends which it will 
promote. There is no malevolence in heaven ; 
none of the upbraidings of malice, the infults of 
pride, or trmmphs of revenge ; but there is a per- 
fe6l approbation of the w^ays of God, and joy in 
the glorious conicquences Avhich follow from his 
righteous judgments. Particularly, 

1. The bleft above glorify the holincfs, truth 
and jullice of God, manifelled in tlie puniflinicni 
L 3 of 

170 Serm. XI, 

of irreclaimable (inners. They fay — Praije God, 
for true and 7'ighteous are his judg^nents. 

The day of God's wrath on the children of dif- 
obedience, is called a day of the revelation of his 
righteous judgment. Saints and angels adore 
his juflice in the dellru6lion ot the ungodly, as 
well as admire his nurcy in the falvation of be- 
lievers. They fee it to be a righteous thing with 
him to recompenfe tribulation to the former, and 
reft and peace to the latter. He will then be 
clorified in his faints, and admired in all them 
who believe. The faints will judge the world — ap- 
prove the judgment_of God againfh a guilty world. 
They will fay, " Great and marvellous are thy 
works. Lord God Almighty ; juft and true are 
thy ways, thou King of faints, i Who fhall not 
fear thee, and glorify thy name ? for thou artholy." 
2 . The punifhmL:nt of the wicked gives the faints 
occafion to admire God's grace in their own fal- 
vation. They fing — Salvation and glory to God ; 
for true and righteous are his judgments. They af- 
cribe their falvation to God ; not to themfelves. 
They take not the glory into their own hands, 
but render it to him. When they behold finners 
in the regions of mifery, and fee the fmoke of 
their torment arifmg, they offer the incenfe of 
praife to the Saviour, who has redeemed them by 
his blood out of every people and nation, and 
has made them kings and priefts unto God. 
Their falvation appears more glorious, when they 
tehold it in contrail with the mifery of the guilty ; 


Serm. XI. 171 

as, on the other hand, the nilfery of the latter is 
aucrtnentcd, in feeincr the risihleous afar off in the 
kingdom of God, and themfelves thruil out. 

3. They glorify God for the great and impor- 
tant ends, which are anfwered by the puniihment 
of the wicked. 

We are not to conceive that the merciful God 
punifhes finners from a delight in their mifery. 
He has declared the contrary. — / have no pleafitre 
in ihc death of the wicked, but that he turn from his 
way and live. Punifhment in the hands of God 
is always ju (I, and always defigned for a reafon- 
able end. The judgments, which he executes on 
Tinners in this world, are not merely becaufe their 
fms deferve them, but becaufe the wife and be- 
nevolent purpofes of his government require 
them. And we may rationally fuppofe, that 
there will always be, in the divine government, 
fome great ends to be promoted in this way. We 
are not to imagine, that when our globe fhall be 
difpeopled, God's moral government will be finifh- 
ed. There are other worlds, and, for aught we 
know, other probationary beings. We know not 
how wide the intelligence of the dreadful doom 
of guilty men may fpread through the creation of 
God, nor how far it may be made a warning 
to other moral beings. The apoflacy and pun- 
ifliment of the angels who kept not their firfl 
flate are communicated to us, and applied for 
our warning ; and perhaps, in diflant periods of 
duration, the apoflacy of the human race, and 
L 4 the 

172 Serm. XI. 

the punifhment of thofe who refufed the falvation 
offered them, may be communicated to other be- 
ings, and applied for their warning. We know- 
not how far the general happinefs may be ad- 
vanced by the exemplary punifhment of the im- 
penitent part of our race. There can be no doubt, 
that the ufes and ends of their awful doom 
are better known in heaven, than they can be 
known on earth. Saints and angels certainly fee 
reafon to glorify God for his righteous judgments 
on the guilty. The glorious way of falvation, 
and the tremendous confequences of negle6ling it, 
are enough for us to know at prefent. So much 
we are taught. Let us be wife and improve the 



^od aicniAied in ik& J uTiijnmiCTit of 

Revelation 19. i, ii, Hi. 

And, after thefe things, I heard a great voice of much 
people in heaven^ f^y^'^'^'S^ Allelujah, falvation, and 
glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our 
God, for true and righteous are his judgments ; for 
he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt 
the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged 
the blood of his fervants at her hand. And again 
theyfaid, Allelujahy and hcrfmoke rofe up for ev^T 
and ever, 

1 HIS is a hymn of praife, fung by 
the church in heaven, on occaiion of the down- 
fal of that idolatrous and perfecuting power, 
which had long corrupted the earth, and oppreff- 
ed the fervants of God* 

In our meditations on this hymn, we have 
obferved ; 

That there is much people in heaven. 

That the people there are employed in praif- 
ing God. 


374 Serm. XII. 

That one grand theme of their fongs, is God's 
judgments in this world. 

That the)^ glorified God, not only for his judg- 
ments in this world, but alfo for the punifliment 
of finners in the future world. 

A (late of future punilhment for the impeni- 
tent is here plainly fuppofed, and the eternal 
duration of it ftrongly expreiTed. And when the 
fmoke of their torment arifes, the faints and an- 
gels are reprefented as faying — Hallelujah ; falva- 
tion and. glory to the Lord our God. We mufl not 
conceive them as rejoicing in the mifery of others 
from malice or revenge ; there are no fuch paf- 
lions in heaven. They rejoice not in the punifh- 
mentof the ungodly, confidered fimply as mife- 
ry : But they adore the holinefs, truth and juf- 
tice of God difplayed in their fulFerings. The 
light of this awful fcene raifes their admiration 
of, and gratitude for, the falvation bellowed on 
themfelves. And as the punifliment of the wick- 
ed muR be fuppofed to anfwer fome great pur- 
pofes in God's moral government, fo thefe pur- 
pofes are better underftood in heaven, than they 
can be here on earth. 

On thefe thoughts, we enlarged in a former 
difcourfe. It is proper that we now attend to the 
pra6lical and inflrudive ufes of a fubje6l fo fol- 
emn and interefling. 

1. It appears that the happinefs of the faints 
in glory will fuffer no interruption from a fight 
of thofe in mifery, who were once dear to them 


Serm. XII. 175 

on earth. They juftify God in the puniftiment 
of thefe, as well as of others. 

In the prefcnt life there is a natural, and a 
civil connexion between faints and finners. They 
dwell together in the fame fociety — in the fame 
vicinity — and often too in the fame family. They 
are united in their worldly interefts, and in their 
natural, orcontrafted relations. 

Children are dependent on the parent, and he, 
in his turn, may be dependent on them. The 
hufband and the wife, have a common concern 
in the family, and there ufually is, and always 
there ought to be, a ftrift union between them. 
The brethren of the fame houfehold, mutually 
related, and growing up m familiarity, flrongly 
feel for each other. Neighbours and friends, by 
long acquaintance, free converfation, and ]fecipro- 
cal kindnefs, form a nearnefs little inferiour to 
brotherhood. In the prefent flate, it is necelfary 
it fhould be fo. No man can fubfift alone. None 
of our defigns can be carried into efFedl without 
the concurrence of others. In the feeble Hate of 
infancy, the impotence of ficknefs, and the de- 
crepitude of age, we mufl foon perifti, without 
the fupport of thofe around us. That we may, 
with greater facility and promptitude, perform all 
necelfary offices to each other, the author of our 
nature has either implanted in us an affedion for 
our relatives and dependents ; or fo framed us, 
that we naturally acquire an afFe6lion for thofe, 


tjB StKM. XII. 

who are cafl on our care, and to whom we daily 

It is painful to us to behold a child, a brother, 
or friend in danger and diftrefs ; and we haften 
to his relief. It gives great anxiety to the godly, 
when they fee one, for whom they have an im- 
mediate care, purfiiing a courfe which leads to 
mifery ; and they wifh to reclaim him. While 
we live together in the prefent connexion and de- 
pendence, this reciprocal affedion is of great util- 
ity. Without it we could not fubfifl. But in the 
heavenly world, it will be otherwife. Society 
fubfifts there; but fubfifts in a flate of perfec- 
tion. They neither marry, nor are given in mar- 
riage, but are as the angels of God. They neither 
hunger nor third any more — are no more fubje6l 
to pain or danger — and no more need thofe kinds 
of fervice xvhich are fo necefTary here. There is 
no more to be done for thofe in a Hate of mifery ; 
for their flate is eternally fixed by God's immutable 
juftice. There is therefore no more ufe for our 
partial regards to particular relatives and friends. 
We fhall there fubfill in a manner quite different 
from the prefent — not by families and feparate 
connexions, but in one grand and glorious com- 
munity, through which is difFufed a univerfal 
love. Natural and partial afFedions are fwallow- 
cd up in benevolence to all holy beings, and in 
fuprcme love to God, the mofl glorious of all be- 
ings. The fight then of a child, a brother, or 
companion, under punilhment, will give no more 


SeRm. XII. f-jj 

anguifh to tlic faint in glory, than if the former 
relation had never fubfifled. They are now no 
nearer to him than others of the human race. And 
he has fuch clear views of God's wifdom, truth, and 
juftice, difplayed in the punifhment of the obfti- 
natc, that he feels a perfe6t approbation of it. 
His benevolence is not confined to thofe, whom 
once he called by the endearing name of friends — 
it extends to all the virtuous and good — to all 
whom he fees to be the objects of God's benevo- 
lence. Though he rejoices not in the milery of 
the wicked, confidered fimply as mifery, yet he 
rejoices in the great ends for which this mifery is 
intended ; to difplay the glory of God, and pro- 
mote the happinefs of the moral creation. It 
gives him no diflurbanee to fee the gloiy of God 
advanced in thofe who once were his relatives^ 
more than in others. He is fully convinced that 
God has laid upon them no more than is right — 
that tbe conftitution of his government is wife and 
good^ — that the world is judged in righteoufnefs, 
and the moft glorious purpofes are carrying on 
in all the divine works. He joins in this fong^, 
The Lord reigns — Let us rejoice and give hoiwun ta him, 

2. It appears from our fubjc6l, that God will 
get glory to his name from all his creatures. Even 
fmners, however ufelefs they may be in tlieir life, 
will be made ufeful in their death. 

God is glorified in the irrational and inanimate 
parts of the creation. Ths heavens declare his 
glory ; the firmament Ihcweth his handy work— 


178 Serm. XII. 

the earth is full of liis riches — all his works praife 
him in the difplay of his wifdom, goodiiefs and 
power. Rational creatures are to glorify him, 
not merely as the irrational, by the filent difplay 
of his perfections in their wonderful frame ; but 
by contemplating him in his works — entertaining 
exalted thoughts of him, and pious afiFeft ions to 
him — employing their intellectual powers in his 
fervice — proclaiming his praife with their tongues 
— and by imitating his chara6ler in works of 
righteoufnefs and beneficence to one another. It 
is in this manner, that they are to glorify him. 

But, I How great a part of the rational crea- 
tion deny him this tribute of glory ? Vail num- 
bers of the angelick hod ha\'e revolted from his 
government, and are purfuing a rebellion againfl 
it. The human race have apoflatized too. And 
though he has fent a divine Saviour to recov- 
er them, How many refufe to return ! How 
many live without regard to God in the world, 
infult his authority, and profane his name ! How 
many negleft the great falvation, which is offered 
them, and trample on the precious blood, by 
which it was purchafed ! How many difbelieve, 
or difregard the gofpel of God, fpurn his invita- 
tions, mock his warnings, abufe his patience, and 
grieve his Spirit ! 

If the h athens, who are vain in their imagina- 
tions, and change the glory of God into an image 
made like to corruptible man, glorify him not as 
God ; much more do they, who know his will 


Serm. XIL 17^ 

and yetdelpifeit, tlirongh breaking the command- 
ment, difhonour him. The wicked lives of fin- 
Ti'jrs are an infult on the Divine Majefty. If they 
profefs to know him, yet in works they deny him. 
They were made to do good ; but the imagina- 
tion of their hearts, and the courfe of their lives is 
evil continually. Inflead of promoting virtue 
and happinefs, they are fpreading vice and mife- 
ry. It is laid in our text, concerning Babylon — 
She corrupted the earth with her Jornication. Every 
man, who openly avows errour, and boldly prac- 
tifes vice, is corrupting the earth, ^y one root 
of bitternels manv are defiled. 

Sinners are now called to repent and give glory 
to God. If they defpife the call of God's grace, 
his juftice will exad glory from them in their 
punifhmcnt. If they will not ferve the interell 
of his kingdom by a voluntary obedience, they 
will be made fubfervient to it by involuntary fuf- 
ferings. If they will not hear, nor lay it to heart, 
to give glory to his name, he will fend a curfe 
upon them, that the world may difcern between 
the righteous and the wicked. 

Rational beings muft be ufeful in fome way or 
other. They muft anfv/er fome end in God's ex- 
tenfive government. If they refufe to honour 
him, and to promote the intereft of thofe around 
them, in their probationary ftate, he will, in the 
ftatc of final retribution, fo difpofe of them, that 
honour will refult from them to his great and 
dreadful name^ and important ends will be an- 


i8o Serm. XII. 

fwered in them by his awful power. When they 
Ihall be fet forth as an example fufFering the ven- 
geance of eternal fire, a voice of much people will 
found through heaven — True and righteous are thy 
judgments, Lord, for thou haft judged them who 
did cori'upt the earth. 

This thought fhould deeply imprefs every 
heart. Our exiftence is not an indifferent and 
triffing matter. It will certainly anfwer fome 
great purpofe in the grand fcheme of God's gov- 
ernment. The Creator allows us the opportunity 
and the means of making it forever happy. He 
affigns us a part to a61: in the v/orld. In afting 
this part, we give glory to him, and contribute to 
the happinefs of his creatures. If we rebel againft 
his authority, we mufl abide the confequence. 
God will maintain his government, and accom- 
plifti the purpofes of his wifdom. Though men 
difobey his laws, he will be glorious in his per- 
fe6lions, and appear righteous in his works. 

3. How inconfolable will be the condition of 
finners in the future world ! They will be exclud- 
ed from all relief — from all compaflion. 

Their punifhment will appear to all virtuous 
beings to be entirely juft ; and the wifdom, right- 
eoufnefs, and truth of God. manifefted in it, will 
Be a fubjetl of the fongs of heaven. 

Many of the troubles of the prefent life vf oui4 
be infupportable, if they were not alleviated by 
the compaflion and fuccour of our friends. Then- 
condolence and pity afford us fome refrefhment 


Serm. XII. 181 

under affli6lions which they cannot remove. But 
this fmall confolation will never reach thofe who 
are confined in the regions of darknefs. They 
are fuffering under an immutable fentence, and 
though they call, there will be none to anfwer. 
God will fhew them no favour. He is a being 
of infinite goodnefs, flow to anger — rich in mercy — 
wailing to be gracious — forward to forgive. But 
when juftice fliall take the place of goodnefs and 
patience, he will not pity, nor fpare, nor have 
mercy. His anger will fmoke againft them, and 
he will feparate them unto all evil. 

Jefus Chrill will no more appear as their in- 

The grace of the Redeemer brought him 
down from heaven to die for guilty mortals. He 
has fuffered, the juftfor the unjuit, that he might 
bring them to God. He now offers them his 
falvation with affeftionate tendernefs, and urges 
their acceptance of it with an importunity that 
would take no denial. But when the day of their 
probation fhall expire, the overtures of his love 
wall ceafe. He will fliut up his tender mercies* 
When once he has rifen and fhut the door, he will 
no more regard their calls. Though they plead, 
Lord, Lord, open to us ; he will anfwer, " I 
know you not, whence ye are. Depart from me, 
all workers of iniquity." Becaufe he has called, 
and they have refufed — has flretched out his hand, 
and tlfey have not regarded, but have fet at 
nought his counfels and reproofs ; he will mock, 
M when 

i82 Serm. Xli. 

when their fear conies. They fhall call, but he 
will not anfwer — fhall feek, and fhall not find 
him. Thc)^ fhall eat the fruit of their doings, and 
be filled with their own devices. 

The faints will Ihewnopity. What was fpok- 
cn to Jerufalem, when for her impenitence fhe was 
given over to deflrudion, may here be applied— 
^ Who Jliall have pity upon thee ? — ^ Whojhall bemoan 
thee ? — J Or, Whojhall turn afide to ajk, how thoudoji ? 
Thou haji forjaken the Lord, and art gone backward. 
He has been weary of repenting. His hand isjiretched 
out againjl thee. Their hopelefs, unpitied mifery, 
is moll afFe6tingly reprefented by the Saviour, 
in the parable of the rich man, who died in im- 
penitence and infidelity. In hell he lifted up his 
eyes, being in torments, and f aw Abraham ajar ojj, 
and Lazarus, who had in vain fought relief at his 
gate, lying in the patriarch's boJo7n. And he cried 
cndjaid. Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and Jend 
Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his Jinger in 
water and cool my tongue, Jor I am tormented in this 
Jlame. But Abraham faid, Son, remember, that thoUj 
in thy lije tiine, receivedjl thy good things, and likewije 
Lazarus evil things ; but nozu he is comjoried, and thou 
art tormented. And bejides all this, between us and you 
there is a great gulph Jxed, which cannot be pajfed. 
As obvious reafons why no mercy could be ex- 
tended to him, Abraham refers him to thejuflice 
of God in his punifhment, and to the immutable 
decree, which had made his punifhment perpet- 
ual. The rich man eould not have afked lefs, 


Serm. XII. 18^ 

and yet this little was denied. There is no room 
for pity, when the final fentence is paffed. Abra- 
ham bade him confider, that in his life time he 
defpifed heaven, valuing and leeking only the 
pleafures of fenie, which havir*g enjoyed to the 
full, he could not think it unjufl, tiiat by the 
fentence of God, whofe laws he had dared to vio- 
late, he was now excluded from thofe bleft abodes, 
which he had utterly defpifed. On the other 
hand, Lazarus had borne the miferies of life with 
patience, had trufled in God with humble aflur- 
ance, and had looked forward, with fteady hope, 
to a better ftate ; and therefore his temporary 
afiii6lions were now rewarded with everlafling 
confolations. And as for fending Lazarus to 
mitigate the feverity of his torment, this was im« 
poTible, for the different dates of the blelTed, and 
the wretched, though in light of each other, were 
fo divided, as to admit no intercourfe. 

In the prefent world, many praj^ers are made, 
and many means are ufed, for the recovery of 
finners ; and blefTmgs are often granted them in. 
confequence of the fervent petitions, and kind 
offices of their pious friends : But in the future 
world, they will enjoy fuch advantages no more. 

The godly parent now warns, exhorts, and coun- 
fels his children with affectionate concern. If 
he fees them (liil bent on their wicked courfe, he 
weeps over them, and fupplicates the powerful 
interpofition of divine grace for their recovery. 
The thought of their eternal deflrutlion is too 
M 2 paiiiful 

1^4 Si:rm. XIL 

painful for him to realize. But the godly parent, 
in heaven, no more mourns over, or intercedes 
for, his children fuffering fjr their fms. He 
juftifies the fentonce of God by which they are 

Good ChriPtians lament the perverfenefs, and 
are grieved for the madnefs of Tinners, whofe hearts 
are full of evil while they live, and who, with 
thoughtlefs prefumption, are haftcning down to 
the dead. But in heaven they glorify God for 
his righteous judgment on them, who refufed the 
overtures of his mercy. 

How wretch d will be their condition, when 
all their fms, in full weight, fall upon them, and 
their prefumptuous hopes fmk under them — when 
they are call forth from the prefence of God into 
utter darknefs, and there are none to pity them ! 
O that they were wife, that they underflood this ; 
that they would confider their latter end ! 

4. Hov\^ carefully ought Tinners now to apply 
the aiTiftances which they have, in order to their 
preparation for future glory. The time is com- 
ing, when there will be none to help them. 

It is the duty and concern of good men, in this 
world, to reclaim the wicked from their deilruc- 
tive ways, and Tave their Touls from death. 

Minifters are to watch for fouls, warning every 
man, and teaching every man in all wifdom, that 
they may prefent every man perfe6l in Chrifl Jc- 
fus. They are to take heed to themfelves and to 


Serm. XII. iS)- 

their dodrine, that they maj Tavc thcmfclves, and 
thofe who hear them. 

Parents are to bring up their children in the nur- 
ture and admonition of the Lord, to teach them 
found wifdom and difcretion, guard them againft 
dangerous temptations, and reflrain them when 
they make themfelves vile. They can have no 
greater joy than to fee their children walk in the 
truth, and to look forward, with flrongand lively 
hope, to that glorious day, when they fhall appear 
among the blelfedof the Lord, and their children 
with them. 

The aged, by their holy example, and heavenly 
converfation, are to teach the young to be fober- 

Chiiftians are to exhort one another daily, 
while it is called today, left any be hardened 
through the deceitfulnefs of fin. 

Thefe duties, though too much neglefted, yet 
are, in fome degree, performed in the Chriftian 
world, (i Where is the fmner, who can fay, he 
has had none of thefe advantages — no publick in- 
ftrudions, or private counfels ? — ^ Where is the 
youth, who can fay, he has had no parental ad- 
monitions and rebukes ? 

You are now under the ftated means of falva- 
tion ; and there are thofe near you, who w^ould 
rejoice to affift you in the great work of prepar- 
ing for another world. There are thofe, who 
fometimes offer you their alh (lance. Confidcr, 
that thefe means can be enjoyed only in this world. 
M 3 They 

i86 Serm. XII. 

They will ceafe in another. None will appear to 
help you there. Advantages, on which your eter- 
nal happinefs depends, and which can be had on- 
ly jiow, ought to be improved with diligence and 
care. It is the voice of wifdom — Heai' inJlruHion, 
and be wife, and rej.uje it not. Blejfed is the 7nan^ 
ivho ■ heareth 77ie, watching daily at my gate, and 
waiting at the pofis of tny doors. Whofo find- 
eth me, findeth life ; but whofo finncth againfi me, 
Tvrongeth his own foul. 

Ye who ciefpife inftru6lion and hate reproof — 
ye who negle6l the publick inftilutions of God's 
houfe, or attend them in a carelefs and indiffer- 
ent manner — ye who difobey the counfeis, and 
contemn the warnings of parents, and break loofe 
from the kind reflraints, which they lay upon 
you — ye who give indulgence to every evil incli- 
nation, and treat religion as a matter of no con- 
cern — ^e who refolve that you will rejoice in your 
youth, and that your hearts fhall cheer you in the 
days of health, that you will walk in the w^ay of 
your own heart, and the fight of your own eyes — 
know ye, that for ail thefe things, God will bring 
you into judgment, i Can your heart endure, or 
your hands be flrong, when God fhall deal w^th 
you ? He has fpoken it, and will do it. And 
you will mourn at the laft, when your flefh, and 
your body are confumed, and will fay, ^ How 
have we haled inflruBion, and our hearts defpifed re- 
proof ? We have not obeyed the voice of our teachers^ 
nor inclined our ears to them, who inflruHed us. We 


Serm. XIL 187 

zvere in almojl all evil in the midjlof the congregation 
and ajfemhly. 

5. We fee thelnadiiefs of finners, who, for a 
tranfientpleafure, expofe themfelves to permanent 

The wife man looks forward to futurity. He 
confiders what will make him happy on the whole. 
It is not the enjoyment of today, or tomorrow, of 
this year, or this life only ; it is the happinefs of 
his whole exiftence, which determines his conduft. 
He will not purfue a prefent pleafure, at the haz- 
ard of incurring future mifery, greater in degree, 
and longer in duration. For mifery, though fu- 
ture now, will be real when it comes. How 
contrary to this di6i;ate of wifdom is the conduct 
of wicked men ! Some prefent intereft or gratifi- 
cation is the motive which draws them into iniqui- 
ty ; and yet they know full well, that the advantage 
is momentary, and the pleafure tranfient ; but 
the confequence of fm, indulged through life, is 
permanent as their exiftence, and more dreadful 
than their imagination can paint. What infatua- 
tion is here ! Ye men of reafon, be aft.onifhed at 
this ! 

Efau ftands marked in fcripture, as an exam- 
ple of folly and profanenefs. He for one mor- 
fel of meat fold his birthright. The indulgence 
was a fmgle meal — The lofs was his birthright. 
The birthright, once alienated, was gone forever, 
and the blefling with it, and could never be re- 
gained. Afterward, when he would have inher- 

M 4 ited 

i88 S£RM. xir. 

ited the blefling, lie was reje^led, though he fought 
it carefully with tears. Take heed, left there be 
among you any profane perfon like him. 

6. We fee the peculiar guilt and danger of thofe 
finners, who feduce and corrupt others. The 
people in heaven glorify God for his righteous 
judgments on that idolatrous church, which had 
corrupted the earth with her fornication. 

Zealots in a falfe religion will be condemned 
with diftinguiftied feverity; for the greater the 
zeal, the more extenfive the mifchief. 

It is vain to imagine, that the holy God will 
approve and accept all, who, as fome exprefs it, 
are lincere in their way ; i. e. zealous and engaged 
in the religion which they have adopted, whether 
true or falfe. ^ Who more zealous in their way, 
than that corrupt body, which, in the text, is 
charafterifedby an infamous name ? — i Who have 
ever taken more pains, ufed more arts, and ap- 
plied more force, to fpread their do61rines in the 
world ? And yet we find, that their zeal and en- 
gagednefs are urged, not as an excufe for, but as 
an aggravation of, their crimes — not as a reafon 
for a reward, or for the extenuation of their pun- 
iftiment, but as a reafon why they fliould be pun- 
iffied with greater feverity. They had corrupted 
the earth. And when their fmoke arofe, the peo- 
ple in heaven fang, Allelujah. It is mentioned 
in fcripture, as a mark of confummate wicked- 
nefs, when men not only do evil, but have 
pleafure in them who do it. The woes denounced 


Serm. XIL 189 

by the Saviour againft the Pharifees, are chiefly 
grounded on that falfe zeal, by which they prop- 
agated their corrupt opinions, and obftrucled the 
progrefs of truth. — " Woe unto you, for ye Ihut 
up the kingdom of heaven againft men — ye nei- 
ther go in yourfelves, nor fuffer thofe, who are 
entering, to go in — Woe unto you, for ye com- 
pafs fea and land to make one profelyte ; and 
when he is made, ye make him twofold more the 
child of hell than yourfelves." 

How dangerous is it then to corrupt the eflen- 
tial principles of religion ! God has taught us, 
what religion is. His gofpel is plain. If we err 
from the truth, it is through the corruption of 
the heart. Think not that miftakes will excufe you, 
when the miftakes themfelves proceed from the 
love of fm, not from the want of light. They 
who fall into ftrong delufion to believe a lie, 
becaufe they love not the truth, but have pleaf- 
ure in unrighteoufnefs, will receive a diftinguifh- 
ed condemnation. 

How dangerous is it to deceive and feduce oth- 
ers ! To become partakers of their fins ! How 
careful ought we to be, who are teachers of re- 
ligion, to underftand for ourfelves, and declare to 
you, the whole counfel of God ! How cautious 
fhould the parent be, that he give to his children 
only good do6trinc — found wifdom — not the in- 
llru6lions which caufe to err from the words of 
knowledge ! How watchful fliould every Chriftian 
be, that he feduce none into crrour or vice — that 


igo Serm. XIL 

by no evil communication he corrupt good man- 
ners ! 

Finally, Kow glorious is that falvation, which 
the gofpel reveals ! 

It is a deliverance from that awful flate, which 
we have been contemplating. It is a great fal- 
vation, purchafed at an infinite price. It is an 
eternal falvation — a falvation which faints and 
angels celebrate in perpetual fongs. Since Chrift 
has died to procure it for us, let us be folicitous 
to obtain a (hare in it. By a neglect of it, our 
future mifery will be mightily augmented. Im- 
agine not that your attention to fuch an obje6l 
may fafely be fufpended. When the happinefs, 
on the one hand, is fo vaft ; and the danger, on 
the other, fo amazing, every day's neglecl is pre- 
fumption and madnefs — every day's neglecl adds 
guilt to guilt, and danger to danger. 

Come now, every foul who has heard the 
warning of God this day— come to an immediate 
refolution, that you will renounce the guilty path, 
which leads down to the chambers of death ; and 
with diligence and perfeverance will flrive to en- 
ter in at the ftrait gate, left the mafter of the 
houfe foon arife and fliut to the door, and ye 
be excluded in eternal darknefs and horrour. 
Now is the accepted time, and day of falvation. 
Know, in this your day, the things which belong 
to your peace. Delay not, left they foon be hid- 
den from your eyes. 


Serm. XIL 


Now our Lord Jefus Chrifl himfelf, and God, 
even our Father, who hath loved us, and fent us 
the word of falvation, give us evcrlafting confo- 
lation, and good hope through grace — cdablifh our 
hearts in eveiy good word and work, and grant 
us to obtain the falvation, which is of Chrifl, with 
exceeding joy. 



TefiOd "tidiTia ccir-li^ ioX' {&ord JzcLucy^, 

Mark i, xxxv. 

Awl in the morning, rifmg up a great while before 
day, he went out, and departed into a foUtary place, 
and there prayed, 

1 HE morning here mentioned fol- 

low^ed a Jewifli fabbath, on which Jefus had been 

very diligently employed in the duties of his 

publick miniftry. It is faid, verfe 2iil, that Jefus, 

with fome of his difciples, whom he had lately 

called to attend him, went into Capernaum ; and 

Jiraightzuay, on the fabbath day, he entered into the 

fynagogue, and taught. He carefully obferved all 

divine inftitutions. It was his cuflom to repair 

to the fynagogue on the fabbath, and there in- 

llrucl the people, who were aflembled for divine 

worfhip. His example reproves the carelefsnefs 

of thofe, who forfake the aflembling of themfclves 

together; and inftead of entering into the houfe 

of God, do their own ways, ancF find their own 

pleafure, on his holy day. 

Jefus, feeing in the fynagogue a man poITeflfed 

with an unclean fpirit, immediately healed him, 

to the aftonilliment of all who were prefent. 


SiRM. XIIL 193 

He has taught us, that we may do good on the 
fabbath day. Though we are to ceafe from the 
common labours of life, yet we are allowed to 
perform works of mercy to our fellow mortals. 

This miracle, fo great in its nature, and per- 
formed in fo publick a manner, was immediately 
fpread around through all the region. The peo- 
ple, who attended the fynagogue worfhip, car- 
ried the intelligence of this furprifing work, when 
they returned to their refpedive homes. And at 
even, when the fun was Jet, they brought unto him all 
who were difeafed, and them who were pojfejfed with 
devils. And all the city was gathered together at the 
door of the hotife where he was. The Jews thought 
it not lawful to bring their fick to be healed on 
the fabbath ; but when the fun was fet, and the 
fabbath was ended, they brought to him their fick 
from all parts of the city, and he healed them. 

After fpending the evening in this important 
work, he retired to reft. But he allowed him- 
felf only a ftiort repofe. In the morning, rifing 
up a great while before day, he departed to afolitary 
place, and there prayed. 

You will remark, 

I. How diligent the Saviour was in the im- 
provement of his time. 

Many great and important works had he to dp, 
and he would not loofe the feafon of doing them. 

As he took part of our flefti and blood, and 
was compaffed with our infirmities, he needed 
reft and refreftiment as well as we. But he fpent 


194 Serm. XIII. 

no more time in flecp by night, than was confift- 
ent with his bufinefs by day. Wh en his work 
called with urgency, he fhortened the hours of 
his repofe. He fays, / mujl work the works of him 
whofent me, while it is day ; the night comelh, when 
no man can work. 

But, I What was the work, which called him 
fo early from his bed, and^o conftantly employ- 
ed his wakeful hours ? — i Was it the acquifition 
of wealth, honour or dominion ? — i Was it the 
defl:ru6lion, or fubjugation of hoflile nations? 
^ Was it fettling the form and eftablifhing the 
foundation of a temporal kingdom ? — Thefe 
things were remote from his thoughts. He had 
neither houfes, nor lands, nor any kind of world- 
ly property ; nor fought he any. More deflitute 
than the birds of the wcod, and the foxes of the 
mountain, he had not where to lay his head. So 
diftant was he from all ambitious views, that 
when the people, flruck with admiration of his 
power, would have taken him by force and made 
him their king, he refufed the offer, and hid him- 
felf from their fearch. i What work was it then, 
which fo mightily urged his diligence ? — It was 
the falvation of fallen men. The prefent occa- 
fion feemed exceedingly favourable to this great 
defign. There was a moft encouraging appear- 
ance, which he would by*all means improve. His 
preaching and miracles, on the preceding day, 
had fpread the fame of his v/ifdom and power, 
and awsikened a general inquiry after him. When 


Serm. XIII. 195 

he aiore and went out, his difciples followed him, 
and as ibon as they had found him, th^y faid to 
him — All menfeekfor iJiee. He anfwered — Let us go 
into the next tozvns, that 1 7nay preach there alfo ; for 
to this end came I forth. And he preached in the 
fynagogues throughout all Galilee. The circum- 
llances of mankind called for his inftrudions. 
The prefent attentive difpofition of the people 
promifed an opportunity to do them much good. 
The time allotted for his miniflry was but {hort; 
no more than three or four years. He therefore 
refolved to fill up his time with diligence, and to 
improve with particular attention, a feafon fo in- 
viting as the prefent. He would not waife in 
ufelefs flumber the morning of a day, which was 
opening with fo fine a profpeft. 

I Shall not his example awaken us from our 
flambers, and call up all our powers to diligence 
and adivity in the work of our own falvation ? 
I When we fee him rifmg fo early, and labouring 
fo diligently in our caufe, Shall we fmk away 
into indolence ? He judged the time precious, 
which might be employed to the benefit of man- 
kind : I Shall we wafte our time in vanity and 
vice ? 

He taught on the fabbath, that men might learn 
the truths, which concern their falvation : How 
inexcufable then is our negle6l of the appointed 
means of religious inftrudion ! He improved 
thofe favourable opportunities, when men appear- 
ed mofl ferious, inquifitive and thoughtful : How- 

196 S£RM. XIII, 

attenlive then fliould we be to thofe foft and ten- 
der feafons, when our own hearts are fenfibly im- 
prelTed with the importance of religion ! 

By the zeal and adivity of the Redeemer in 
the work of men's falvation, ^ How many (land 
reproved and condemned ? In their worldly de- 
figns they are warmly engaged ; but on the one 
thing needful they fcarcely beilow a thought. 
They rife up early, and fit up late, and eat the 
bread of careful nefs, that they may obtain the 
meat which perifhes ; but for that meat which 
endures to eternal life they difcover little concern. 
Ijlow prepofterous is their conduft ! How con- 
trary to the example of Jefus Chrift ! His labours'^ 
were dire6led, not to make us rich in this world; 
but rich in knowledge, faith, and good works. 
If we purfue the interefls of this world, in the 
negleft of the greater interefl of the future, we 
contradid the will of our Redeemer, declared, 
not only by his doctrines, but more emphatically 
by his works and fufferings. 

There are certain feafons, which demand un- 
common diligence. Seed time and harveft are 
the mod bufy and important parts of the year. 
On thefe principally depends the life of man. 
He who will not plough hy reafon of the cold, JJiall beg 
in harvejl, and have nothing. He who Jleeps in har^ 
vejl, is a Jon that caufethjhame. We all condemn 
the man, who, in thefe feafons, will yield to lloth, 
or give himfelf to pleafure. But let us remem- 
ber, that our whole life is feed time. And ac- 



Serm. XIIL 197 

cording to our fowing will be our harvefl. He 
who Ibweth to the flefh, fhall of the fleih reap 
corruption ; and he who foweth to the fpirit, 
(hall of the fpirit reap life everlafling. The feed 
time allowed us is fhort and uncertain. Thefea- 
fon, once pad, cannot be recalled. What our 
hands find to do, let us do it with our might. 

Worldly diligence, however commendable, 
mufl never be allowed to exclude the concerns of 
futurity. Thefe demand our attention every day, 
amidfl the mod urgent calls of our fecular bufi- 
neis. If in our immoderate labour and careful- 
nefs for the world, we deny ourfelves leifure, or 
deprive ourfelves of capacity, for the daily exer- 
cifes of piety, and for an attendance on the pub- 
lick inflitutions of religion, we invert the order 
of things, and make our greater concerns give way 
to the fmaller. 

The Chriftian is to fill up his time in a ufeful 
manner. Worldly bufinefs juftly claims its prop- 
er place ; but claims no more. It mufl ever leave 
room for the vafter concerns of immortality* 
Whatever thought we may take for th.e body, we 
mufl feek firfl the kingdom of God. 

We may remark, 

II. That no crowd of company, or calls of 
bufmefs, could divert Jefus from his daily, flated 
devotions. He rofe up before day, and retired to 
a lolitary place for prayer. 

While Chrifl dwelt on earth, his thoughts were 
much in heaven. He maintained a conflant in- 
N tercourfe 

igS Serm. Xin. 

tercourfc vritli the world above ; and God heard 
him always. As a man he was, like others, de- 
pendent on God. As a man of .ibrrow and afflic- 
tion, he had more occafion than others for that 
relief which comes by prayer. The Apoftle fays, 
that Chrijl, in the days oj his Jlefli, offered up prayers 
and Jup plications, xvith Jlrong crying and tears, un- 
to htm who was able to fave him from death ; and 
xvas heard in that he feared. And though he was a 
fon, yet he learned obedience by the things which he 

One end of his appearing in the flefh, was, that 
he might exhibit to mortals a complete example 
of that religion which is adapted to- their nature 
and condition. He was made in all things like 
tmto us, that he might in all things fhew us v/hat 
we ought to be, and how we ought to walk. He 
became a man, that he might teach men how to 
glorify God ;^and he was placed in a flate of 
afFliftion, that he might teach the alFiicied how 
to draw confolation from the fountain of mercy. 

By withdiawing with his difciples from the 
multitude for focial devotion, he has recommend- 
ed family prayer. By retiring to folitude for his 
own perfonal devotion, he has recommended ie- 
crct prayer. On fome occafions, he fpent whole 
nights in prayer to God ; on others, he retired oft- 
en, in a ihort time, to repeat the fame petitions. 
In our text it is faid, that he rofe up a great while 
before day^ and departed to a folitary place, and 


Serm. XIIL tgg 

The circumflances of his retirement, on this 
particular morning, fhew that fecret prayer was 
a flated morning exercife ; an exercife which he 
was careful never to omit. It does not appear, 
that he always rofe fo early for prayer; but his 
rihng fo early this morning, fhews that he made 
morning prayer his daily pra6tice. 

The tranfa6lions of the preceding day had 
drawn together a vafl concourfe around the houfc 
w^here he lodged. The evening he had fpent in 
healing the fick, who had been brought to him in 
great numbers. When he retired to reft, the 
multitude were waiting in the neighbourhood to 
fee him in the morning. The difciples obferve 
to him, that all men were feeking him. He knew, 
that, by morning light, he fhould again be throng- 
ed by the admiring multitude, whofe clofe attend- 
ance would prevent his retirement. Left, there- 
fore, he ftiould find himfelf under a neceftity of 
omitting the fecret devotions of the morning, he 
rofe earlier than ufual, and before the people 
could have time to colle6f. Had fecret prayer 
been only an occafional, not a daily exercife, he 
would not have taken this precaution to prevent 
the omiflion of it. If he had thought proper to 
difpenfe with it at any time, he would doubtlefs 
have excufed himfelf from it at fuch a time as 
this, when he could not attend it withouf the felf- 
denial of rifmg long before day, and the labour of 
retiring to afolitary place. 

N a His 

200 Serm. XIII. 

His example then clearly iiiftru6^s us, that fe- 
cret converfo with God, is a duty which we fhouid 
daily attend, and from which we fhouid fiot be 
eafily diverted. Jeras could find a time and 
place for retirement, even when the duties of his 
miniftry were vnoll urgent, and when the multitude 
were impatiently waiting to hear him. That he 
miglit not omit his retirement, nor difappoint his 
hearers, he rofe the earlier, i Shall we then ex- 
cufe ourfelves from fticret prayer, or run it over 
with precipitancy and indevotion, becaufe our 
worldly affairs foiicit our attention, or company 
is waiting around us ? — ^ Can we not fufpend our 
fecular cares, or our ordinary pleafures and amufe- 
ments, long enough to converfe with God, and 
implore his favour and bleffing ? How different 
is our fpirit from^ the mind which was in Chrift I 
I v/ill not fay, there is no occafion which can 
jufl-ify theomiffjon of a formal retirement. But 
this I may fay ; a man, whofe heart is much w^ith 
Cod, will feldom find fuch an occafion. An in- 
devout heart creates occafions for the omidion, 
much oftener than real occafions render theomiffion 
neceffary. The flothful man fays. There is a lion 
in the way. Objeclions eafily arife againft a du- 
ty, which we have no heart to perform. But 
vrhcn the heart is warmly engaged, difficulties are 
not felt, or are eafily furmoiinted. 

Secret prayer is a ufeful and important exer- 
cife. It is by this, that we kindle and keep alive 
tke flame of piety. Whik I was inufin^, fays Da- 

Serm. XIII, 201 

vid, ihejire hurried ; my heart xvaxeci hot ; I fpake 
with my tongue. Hear my prayer, Lord, and give 
ear to my cry. It is by this that we place God al- 
ways before us, and view him always as prelent 
with us. This leads us to contemplate him in all 
our ways, to regard his goodnefs in all our en- 
joyments, and to feel his juftice in all our afflic- 
tions. This infpires us with refolution to duty,. 
and with fortitude in danger. It elevates the foul 
above the influence of earthly things, and, in the 
troubles of life, it opens a thoufand fprings of 
confolation and joy. To humble and hoping 
Chriftians, hotv refrefhingmuft it be, to retire alone, 
and converfe familiarly with their God — to tell 
him all their wants and all their forrows — to con- 
fefs before him their temptations and their fins, 
and receive the tokens of his forgiving love — to 
fupplicate the fupports of his arm under the pref- 
fure of their burdens, and the afliftance of his 
grace, under a fenfe of their weaknefs ! And if 
they can find, that they have really been with 
God — have come even to his feat — have rifen to 
an unufual elevation above the world — they will 
fay, It is good to be there, i Will the man, who 
has repeatedly experienced the pleafure and ad- 
vantage of communion with God, need other mo- 
tives to the duty ? Or, ^i Will he feek excufes for 
the omiflion of it ? — From experience, he will fay, 
*' It is good for me to draw near unto God. I 
have put my trufl in him, that I m^y declare all 
his works." 

N Q That 

202 Serm. XIII. 

That we may enjoy the benefit and delight of 
heavenly communion, we muft make it 2ijlated ex- 
ercire. If we yield to fmall div^erfions, we fhall 
foon find them multiplying, until they entirely 
draw us av/ay from God. And they who are far 
from him, will perifh. 

The prudent Chriftian eafily finds opportuni- 
ty for retirement. He difpofes his affairs with 
difcretion, lives by rule, arranges his bufinefs in 
due order, poRpones his temporal concerns to 
his eternal interefl, confiders religion as his high 
calling, and involves himfelf in no fuch multi- 
plicity of earthly cares, as fhall be inconfiflent 
with a regular attention to this great work, this 
one thing needful. By a wife adjuftment of his 
affairs, and a diligent improvemcni of his time, 
he finds opportunity for the difcharge both of 
his fpirirual, and his fecular duties, and prevents 
their interference. He can attend on the duties 
of devotion, witli as much fervour and con (Ian cy, 
as if he had retired from the world to a cloifler. 
He can purfue his worldly calling with as much 
iiiduflry and fuccefs, as if he had fhut up his clof- 
et door and thrown by his Bible. There will be 
no inconfiilency between the duties which relate 
to this world, and thofe which relate to another, 
as long as v/e affign them their proper places, and 
keep our hearts in a proper frame. If they in- 
terfere with, and crowd upon, one another, it is 
ijecaufe they are jollied out of order. 


S£RM. XIIL 203 

Wc may remark, 

III. What care our Lord took to find a place 
of folitude for his prayers, that he might neither 
meet with dillurbance, nor fecm oflcntatious. 
He rofe while it was yet dark, and retired, unreen 
by the multitude, to a folitary place. 

Agreeable to this example, is the precept which 

he gave to his dilciples — When thou pray eft, thou 

Jlialt not be as the hypocrites ; for they love to pray 

Jlanding in the fynagogues, and in the corners of the 

Jlreets, that they may he feen of men. But thou, 

when thou praycjl, enter into thy clofet ; and, lohen 

thou hajljhut thy door,-pray to thy Father, who is in 

fecret ; and thy Father, whofeeth infecret, Jhall re- 

zvard thee openly, 

1 . One reafon why we ihould retire to a fecret 
place for folitary prayer, is, that we may avoid 
the appearance of oflentation. 

All our religion muft be without hypocrify. 
Whatever w^e do, we mud do it heartily, as to 
God, and not to man. A fupreme regard to the 
applaufe of the world, mars the virtue of oui^ 
beft a6tions. 

There are fome duties, which, in their nature, 
are open and publick. In thefe we mud care- 
fully attend to the workings of our hearts, and 
guard againft the influence of vain and unworthy 
motives. We are not to ne?le6l the duties from 
a falfe and affeded humility, as if we had better 
not do them, than be feen in them. We are to 
perform them, though we are feen of men ; but 
N 4 not 

204 Serm. XIIL 

not to perform them for the fake of being feen. 
There are other duties which are to be performed 
in a fecret manner, and in which we mufl not 
only fupprefs the unworthy aiin to be feen ; but, 
as far as circumflances allow, mufl avoid being 
feen. Chrifl condemns the hypocrify of thcfe, 
who, when they faded, disfigured their faces ; 
when they gave alms, founded a trumpet ; and 
when they prayed by themfelves, chofe the cor- 
ners of the flreets and other confpicuous places, 
that they might receive praife from men. Of 
the Hmie hypocrify are they guilty, who, retiring 
to fields, or groves, or other folitary places, there 
pray with an elevated voice, that they may be 
heard at a diftance, and deemed uncommonly 
fervent and devout. Secrecy is a circumftance 
exprefsly enjoined. And to pray with loud vo- 
ciferations in a field or wood, is as inconfiflent 
with fecrecy, and with fmcerity, as to pray in the 
corner of a flreet. A needlefs oft entation of our 
xiety and devotion is hypocrify, in whatever man- 
ner this oflentation is made. 

2. Another reafon for fecrecy in our perfonal 
or folitary prayers, is, that we may be undifturbed. 

Too eafily are our pious thoughts diverted by 
objefts, w^hich prefent themfelves in our way. 
The noife and tumult of the world will mterrupt 
our devouteft frames. Even in retirement the 
fpirit of devotion will often languifh ; and im- 
pertinent thoughts will infenfibly fteal in upon 
us. Prudence will therefore dire6l us, as far as. 


Serm. XIII. 205 

pofTible, to Ihun external divcrfions. When we 
fhut the door of our clofet againft the inti-ufion 
of worldly obje6ls, we mufl: fliut the door of our 
hearts agaiiiil the entrance of worldly thoughts. 
We may often be furprifed with them before we 
are aware ; but we mufl not invite them. On 
the contrary, as foon as we difcovcr them, we 
mufl banifh them to a diflance, and call in de- 
vout meditations to fill our minds. The more 
vacant the foul is of pious and heavenly afFe6lions, 
the more room is there for evil thoughts to enter. 
When the houfe is empty and fwept, unclean fpir- 
its come in and dwell there. To fhut the door 
of the clofet, is the means of preventing diilurb- 
ance from abroad. But in vain is this door fhut, 
if the door of the foul is thrown wide open for 
every irregular palTion and earthly care to rufh in 
and occupy the place, i V/ho is he that engageth 
his heart to approach unto God ? Plim God will 
caufe to draw near to himfelf. 

3. A farther reafon for fccrecy and folitude, is, 
that our minds may enjoy greater freedom in com- 
munion with God. 

In our focial prayers, the fpecial and peculiar 
cafes of each worfhipper cannot always be diftin6l- 
ly and fully exprelfed. He who fpcaksin behalf 
of others, accommodates the matter and manner 
of his prayer to the capacities and circumflanccs 
of his fellow worfhippers m general. They who 
join v/ith him, employ their minds in adopting 
and appropriating his petitions. Every Chrifl- 


noG Serm. XIIL 

ian finds in himfelf wants and deHres, which it 
is not poffible, nor indeed proper, that others 
ihould know ; and which, if they knew them^ 
they could not fo well exprefs, as he may him- 
felf from the feelings of his own heart. Be fure^ 
there are many things, in the cafe of every Chrifl- 
ian, which, though proper to be laid before God, 
could not, with propriety and common edifica- 
tion, be introduced into a publick prayer. 

But in the clofet we are under no reflraints of this 
kind. There we may open our bofoms, utter all 
ourdefires, and pour out our whole fouls. There 
we may confefs thofe fecret fins, lament thofe fecret 
infirmities, and mourn thofe fecret temptations 
which we never have difclofed, and choofe not to 
difclofe, to the mod intimate friend on earth. There 
we need not be confined to method or order, nor be 
folicitous in the choice of our expreffions. We may 
addrefs the throne of God on matters which lie 
heaviefl; on our hearts, and in language which our 
feelings dictate. We may there fpeak in defires 
and groans, which cannot be uttered : And he 
who Jearcheih the heart, knoweth what is the mind of 
thefpirit. He who polfeffes our reins, knows our 
thoughts afar off. He who is prefent with our fpir- 
its, knows our feelings and defires, before they are 
expreffed in words. While wc are fpeaking, he 
hears ; before we call, heanfwers. The forward 
motions of his love, David joyfully experienced. — 
I faid, I will confefs my tranfgrejfiom unto thee ; and 
thouforgavcf the iniquity of my fin » For this fiall 


Serm. Xllf. 207 

every cue that is godly pray lo ihct in a time, when 
thou viayejl he found. 

This example of our gracious Redeemer may- 
be applied for the reproof of the irreligious, and 
the encouragement of the godly. 

They who wholly negled, or often intermit, 
the duty of fecret prayer, are reproved by this 
example. Chrifl; made it fo much his conftant 
exercife, that, rather than once omit it, he would 
rife before day, in a morning too which followed 
a laborious evening. Awakened and encouraged 
by this example, let us daily draw near to God. 
Let us never yield to trifling diverfions, norfuffer 
the cares of the world to extinguifli the fpirit of 

They who plead the want of leifure, or the want 
of place, for retirement, fhould confider, that when 
labours crowded, Jefus found leifure by rifmg 
the earlier, and when company thronged, he found 
a folitary place, by departing the farther. 

Let thofe, who negleft the care of their fouls, 
remember how laborious Jefus was in the work 
of men's falvation. i Was that a trifling objeft for 
which he was fo ardently engaged ? — Or. i Can you 
be fafe ifi nc2[le6i;incr a work in which he Avas fo 
affiduoufly employed ? 

Great was that falvation which the Son of God 
came to procure for hnful men. Great were his 
labours, and greater his fufrerings, in this dcfign. 
Great was the price which he paid for cur rc- 


2o8 Serm. XIIL 

demption. i How Hiall we efcape, if we ncg- 
le6l this great falvation ? 

What mighty encouragement have we to feek 
it ! The Saviour, who was fo laborious in our 
caufe, will approve and aid our labours. He, who 
was fo much in prayer for men while he was on 
earth, will regard our humble prayers now he is 
in heaven. He is able to fave to the uttermofl: 
them who come to God by him, feeing he ever lives 
to makeinterceffion. He has departed from this 
world, andafcended into heaven, to appear in the 
prefence of God for us. Let all men feek after 
him. They who feek fhall find. Them who 
come to him, he will in no wife caft out. He has 
commanded us to feek him ; and he has not faid 
to us, Seek ye me in vain. 



u^annilu J 'x^au&)i,. 

Ephesians 6, xviii. 

Praying always with all prayer and. fiipplication in 
thefpirit^ and watchm^ thereunto with all perjc-- 

v_JUR text might naturally lead us to 
confider the duty of prayer at large : But what I 
have more efpecially in view, is the duty o^ fami^ 
ly prayer. This is one kind of prayer, and there- 
fore one thing intended by the Apoftle, when he 
dire6ls us to pray always with all prayer. 

If family prayer was pradifed by pious men, 
under the old teftament, and in the time of our 
Saviour and his Apoilles, as I fhall fhew that it 
was ; and if the exprelTion, pray always, is gene- 
rally ufed to fignify daily prayer, as I think will 
appear m its proper place, then we muft fuppofe, 
that in this exhortation, family worihip is includ- 
ed, and principally defigned. 
I fhall therefore, 

I. Shew our obligation to family prayer. 

II. Inquire what reafons there are for flated 
morning and evening prayer. 

III. Reprefent 

2io Serm. XIV. 

■ - ^ 

III. Repreicnt the manner in which family 

worfhip ought to be performed. 

I. I fhallflicwour obligation to family prayer. 

The fcripture, in giving us rules of condu6l, 
has not dcfcended to every minute cafe, nor dat- 
ed the precife limits of duty in every pofTible cir- 
cumftance; for had it done fo, ii would have 
been too voluminous for common ufe. All that 
we can expeft from it, is, that it fhould lay down 
fuch general rules, as common reafon, wi:h an 
honeft heart, may eafily apply to all particular 
cafes ; and fhould illuftrate thefe rules by fuch fa- 
miliar examples, as will, on all occafions, dire6b 
us to ajufl application of them. And this is what it 
has done. It has, for inftance, explained and in- 
culcated the duties of juft ice and charity ; but has 
left it to human reafon to apply the general pre- 
cepts to particular cafes. So it has urged the duty 
of prayer, pointed out many of the occahons of 
it, and fhewn the temper with which it fhould be 
performed. But it has not dillin6lly fpecified all 
the poffible occafions or matters of prayer. To 
have done this, would have been not only endlefs, 
but necdlefs, as wifdom, accompanied with a de- 
vout heart, will be fufHcient to direct. It has 
inculcated prayer in general, and diftinclly rec- 
ommended fecrei and facial prayer, as well as 
enjoined us to pray alzvavs with all prayer; and 
family prayer is fo evidently included in the gen- 
eral precepts, and comprehended within the gen- 
eral reafons o^ fecial prayer, that no devout and 


SeRM. XIV. * 211 

ferious heart can doubt, but this is as much in- 
tended as any kind of prayer ; and he who at- 
tempts to difprove his obligation to it, muft, at 
the fame time, deny his obligation to pray at all. 
And he who denies this, muft not only renounce 
Revelation, but difcard natural religion, and even 
the government of Providence. 

The obligation to fecial prayer is fo plain, and 
fo generally acknowledged, that I fhall here take 
it to be conceded. 

If this is a duty, ^ Who are the perfons to af- 
fociate for the performance of it ? Certainly they 
who are in a capacity to meet together — they who 
are conne6ted by common intereft — they who 
fhare in the fame wants and the fame favours — > 
they who are united in affeftion, and can make 
each other's cafes their own. — ^ Who then are un- 
der fo ftrong obligations to this duty, as the mem^ 
bers of a family ? They dwell in the fame houfe-— 
they naturally care for each other — their afflic- 
tions and mercies are in common — if one mem- 
ber fuffers, the reft fuffer with him — if one be 
honoured, all rejoice. A family then is fuch a 
fociety, as is under the firft obligation to focial 
worfhip. If you can find any precept in the Bi- 
ble, which enjoins focial worfhip, you need look 
no farther : You have found one for family 

You will not deny, that it is your duty, as the 
mafter of a family, to bring up your children and 
domefticks in the nurture and admonition of the 


212 SeRM. XlVi 

Lord. But, ji Can you do this without the main- 
tenance of family worihip ? — i Will the younger 
members of your houfehold a61: under a fenfe of 
God and religion, when they fee you regardlefs 
of him, and of the honour which you owe him ? 

To imprefs or* tender minds devout and pious- 
fentiments, nothing can be better adapted, than 
family worfhip ; in which they daily hear a God 
acknowledged, his perfe6lions adored, fm and 
guilt confefTed, pardon and grace entreated, their 
dependence recognized, and every needed bleffing 

If prayer belongs to religion you arc to inflru6l 
your children in this, as well as other parts of re- 
ligion. And, I Is not example the moft familiar 
and fuccefsful method of communicating to the 
young, religious in{tru6lion ? — i Without this, 
will other means avail ? Prayer was one thing, 
in which Jefus and John inftruded their difci- 
ples : And, i Is there not the fame reafon why 
you flrould inPiruQ your children in prayer ? 
And, ^ How. can you fo eafily teach them to 
pray, fupply them with matter for prayer, and 
imprefs their minds with a fenfe of its impor* 
tance, as by requiring their daily attendance, when 
you addrefs the common Father, in your own and 
their behalf ? 

In moft families there are fome, who have not 
capacity diflinclly to apprehend, and pi-operly to 
exprefs their ov\^n wants. Thefe netd the affift- 
ance of others. Nov/, as children can underftand 

a language, 

Serm. XIV. 213 

a language, before they can fpeak it with proprie- 
ty ; fo they can join in a prayer, before they can 
frame one for themfelves. If then it is your du- 
ty to aflift your younger domeflicks in prayer, it 
is your duty to lead them in fuch petitions, as 
you would offer to God for them, and wifh them 
to offer for themfelves. 

I Does not family worfhip appear to you rea- 
fonable ? I am lure, it cannot appear otherwife. 
But you will afk, perhaps, for fome commands, 
Thefe are not wanting. There are examples, 
which have the force of commands : And there 
are commands, too, fome more implicit, and oth- 
ers full and exprefs. 

We will firft attend to the examples, which have 
the force of commands. 

^ What is a command ? It is any fignification 
of the divine will concerning our condu6l. God, 
by approving a thing which is done, fhews it to 
be his will, that it ihould be done. By approv- 
ing the examples of pious men in maintaining 
family religion, he has given thefe examples, with 
refped to us, all the authority of precepts ; for 
he has fhewn it to be his will, that we fhould do 
the fame. 

The firft example, to which I would refer you, 
is that of Abraham. He, at the command of God, 
left his native country, his kindred, and his fa- 
ther's houfe, on account of the idolatry and irre- 
ligion which prevailed there, and came with his 
family into the land of Canaan^ for the fake of 
O enjoying 

£14 Serm. XIV. 

fcnjoying the pure worfhip of the one true God. 
In his pilgrimage he made various removes ; but 
wherever he chofe a refidence, we find that he im- 
mediately built an altar to the Lord, and there 
called on his name. How highly God approved 
his piety in maintaining religion in his family, 
you learn from the commendation given of him 
in the xviiithchapterof Genefis : — I know Abraham, 
that he will comviand his children, and his hoiifehold 
ffter him, and theyjhall keep the way of ihe Lord, to 
do jujlice and judgment, that ihe Lord viay bring up- 
on Abraham that zuhich he hath fpoken of him. 

The example of Jofliua, in the xxivth chapter 
of his hiftory. is pertinent to our purpofe. He 
fays to the people of Ifrael — Fear the Lord and 
Jcrve him, and put away the Jlrange gods, -which your 
fathers ferved, on the other fide of the food, meaning 
Abraham's idolatrous anceflors, and in Egypt, 
where their anceftors had been corrupted, and 
ferve ye ihe Lord. And if it feem evil to you to ferve 
the Lord, choofe ye, this day, whom ye will ferve: But 
as for 7ne and ray houfe, we will ferve the Lord. To 
ferve the Lord, in the language of the old tella- 
mcnt, ufually fignifies, to worfhip him. This 
mufl be the meaning of the phrafe in this place, 
becaufe it Hands oppofed to the worfliip o^ f range 
gcis. But, I How could Jolhua refolve for his 
family, as well as for himfelf, that they fhould 
worihip the Lord ? Mod certainly he maintained 
flatcd forms of focial worfhip in his houfe, and 
required their attendance. In this manner you 


5^RM. XIV. 215 

may make and execute the fame refolution. 
When he commands the people to fear the Lord 
and ferve him, doubtlels he meant, that they 
(houid ferve him in the fame manner, in which 
he ferved him himfelf. If Jofliua then fpake un- 
der divine dirc6lion, here is an exprefs command, 
binding all heads of families to maintain the wor- 
fliip of God in their houfes. 

The next example, which I fhall mention, is 
that of Job, chapter ill. When his children, ac- 
cording to the family cuftom, were holding a feafl 
on each one's birth day, he fcnt and fanBiJied tJuTrif 
and rofe up early in the morning, and offered J acrijice 
according to the number of them all ; for he f aid, It 
may be that my fans have finned, and curfcd God in 
their heart. Sacrifice, which was accompanied 
with prayer, often fignifies divine worfhip in gen- 
eral. ]ohfent and fan^lified his children. Recall- 
ed upon them to prepare for, and join in, the re- 
ligious folemnity, wdiich he was about to per- 
form. He offered facrifice according to the number 
of them all. He prefided in the folemnity, and 
addreffed the Deity in a manner adapted to the 
feveral cafes of his children. It is added. Thus 
did Job continually — every day of the feaft, or at 
every fed.ival folemnity. 

This example, which is recorded asaninftance 
of Job's piety and uprightnefs, is a virtual com- 
mand to all heads of families, to worfhip God in 
their houfes continually. You will fay, perhaps, 
*' Job's children were now fettled in di ft incl fam- 
O 2 ilies. 

2i6 Serm. XIV. 

iiies, and therefore this is rather an inflance of 
cccafional, than an example of Jlated family wor- 
fhip/' But confidcr — Job and his fons lived in 
a vicinity ; in thofe early times the father offici- 
ated as a prieft among his children ; and facrifices 
were open a61s of religion accompanied with 
prayer, i Now if Job, after his children were re- 
moved to their rcfpe6live houfes, ftill embraced 
every opportunity, when they were occafionally 
together, to lead and engage them in focial wor- 
ihip, Can it be thought, that there was no fuch 
thing as family devotion, while his children were 
about him, in his own houfe, and under his im- 
mediate care ? In this view, the example comes 
with additional force. 

We have alfo the example of David, 2 Samuel, 
vi. The king had brought the ark of God and 
fet it in its place, had bleired the people in the 
name of the Lord, and diftributed among them 
his royal bounty. And when thefe things were 
done, all the people departed, every man to his houfe ; 
then David returned to blefs his houfehold — to blefs 
them, as he had before blefled the people. To, 
hlefs another in the name of the Lord, is to pray 
for a bleffing upon him. Thus Aaron and his 
fons are direcled to hlefs the people, faying. The Lord 
hlefs thee, and keep thee, and make his face to fhinz 
upon thee, David's bleffing his houfehold, muft 
then mean his praying for the bleffing of God to 
attend them. And that this was an a61: of focial 
worffiip, at which his family were prefent, is evi- 

Serm. XIV. 217 

dent from the circum fiance of his returning to 
blefs them. Had it been only a fecret prayer for 
them, it might as well have been made elfewhere, 
as at home. 

Our bleffed Saviour, whofe life was filled up 
with religious fervices, often took his difciples 
apart for prayer, and other a6l:s of worftiip. We 
read of his going up with them into a mountain to 
pray ; and of his being alone praying, and his dif- 
ciples with him. He was alone in relation to the 
multitude, whom he had juft before difmilTed ; but 
in the company of his difciples, who were his 
family. They were with him, while he prayed. 

You remember the high commendation given 
of the centurion Cornelius, in the xth chapter of 
the Ads, He was a devout man, and one who j ear ^ 
ed God with all his houfe — and prayed to God alzuay ; 
or daily, at the dated hours of prayer, which were 
morning and evening, i Can it be thought that 
this devout Gentile had no prayers in his houfe ? 
Or, ^ That the attendance of his domeflicks, at 
the hours of prayer, was not required ? — ^i How- 
then could he be faid to pray alway, and to fear 
God with all his houfe ? The happy confequencc 
of his family devotion, you well know. God 
heard his prayers, directed him, in a vifion, to 
fend for Peter, who, at the fame time, was di- 
vinely inftrufted to go with the centurion's mef- 
fengers, and tell him words, by which he and all 
his houfe Ihould be faved. The Apoflle went 
and preached to them. They believed, were bap- 
O 3 tized 

ai8 Serm. XIV, 

tized and received the Holy Ghoft. Salvation, 
you fee, came to his houfe, in confequence of 
that devout fpirit, by which he worfhipped God, 
gave alms, and prayed alway. 

In the apoflolick times, frequent mention is 
made of churches in particular houfes. To fuch 
en one and the church in his houfe, is a common fal- 
utation. On the other hand, we meet with fal- 
ut3.tioTiSy from fuch an one and the church in his houfe. 
This phrafe cannot import, that all the Chriftians, 
in fuch a city or place, affembled in that houfe 
for worfhip ; for then the falutation to, or from , 
fuch a perfon and the church in his houfe, would 
be a falutation to, or from, all the Chriftians in 
that city where the houfe was ; and the Apoftle 
would not be fo particular, as he ufually is, in 
mentioning falutations to, and from, families and 
perfons, in the fame city. The meaning there- 
fore muft be, Salute fuch an one, and his Chrijiian 
family. Now, ^ In what fenfe is a family called 
a church ? A church, you know, is a fociety of 
Chriftians united for the worftiip of God. A 
family then can in no other fenfe be called a 
church, than as the members of it agree in a6ls 
of Xocial worfhip, and thus form the refemblance 
of a church. Family worftiip, you fee, was prac- 
tifed by the primitive Chriftians, and approved 
by the Apoftles. Surely we need not more ex- 

I Do you call for exprefs precepts ? — Our text 
is oije. Pray alxvays with all prayer. The word 
, always, 

Seum. XIV. 219 

always, applied to prayer, is an alliifion to the 
morning and evening facrifice, which" was called, 
the continual facrifxe, and therefore plainly direds 
us to morning :ind evening prayer ; as I fhall have 
occafion to ihew under the next head. And all 
prayer muft include family prayer. Indeed if no 
fuch thing as family worfhip had ever been known, 
and the Apoflle had been about to introduce a 
kind of worfhip entirely new, he would probably 
have been more explicit. But as it was then, 
and long had been known and pradifed in relig- 
ious families ; had been a ufage among the pa- 
triarchs and the Jews, and was continued among 
Chriilians, it mud neceilarily be included in this 
univerfal injundion. 

The Lord's prayer is an exprefs command for 
daily family prayer. It is introduced in the form 
of a precept. After this manner pray ye. That 
focial prayer is intended, cannot be doubted, for 
the form runs wholly in the plural number. In 
the preceding verfes, our Lord gives dire6lions for 
folitary prayer. In treating of this, he ufes the 
fmgular number. When thou prayejl enter into 
thy clojet, jhut thy door, and pray to thy 'Father in 
Jecret. He then pallcs to focial prayer, and, as 
his fubject naturally led him, he changes the 
number. But when ye pray, vfe not vain repeti- 
tions — after this manner pray ye, Our Father who 
art in heaven. Not only the change of number, 
but the dila]lo?/anceof repetitions and rduchfpeak' 
ing, fhews that focial praver is the fiibje/I ; for 
O ^ thefc, 

220 Serm. XIV. 

thefe, though improper in joint prayer, for very 
obvious reafons, may be admitted in folitary 
prayer, where we may breathe the feelings of the 
heart with lefs reg^ard to order, time or didion, 
than when we are fpeaking in behalf of others. 
Our Saviour continued all night in folitary prayer. 
He prayed three times, faying the fame words. I 
would obferve farther : This form is intended to 
dire61; us in daily, as well as focial prayer : as ap- 
pears from the fourth petition, Give us this day, 
our daily bread. Family prayer muft here be 
principally intended ; for a family is the only 
fociety that can meet for da?ly prayer. 

You will alfo find an exprefs command in the 
ivth chapter of the epiftle to the Coloffians. The 
Apoftle is here, and in the preceding chapter, 
treating of domeftick and relative duties, as the 
duties between hufbands and wives, parents 
and children, mafters and fervants ; and to 
thefe he immediately fubjoins a precept con- 
cerning prayer. Continue injlant in prayer^ 
and watch in the fame with thankfgiving. As 
the duties incumbent on families are his fub- 
jed, it is natural to fuppofe that family prayer 
is here intended. 

I ftiall mention but one authority more, which 
is that of the Apoftle Peter in the iiid chapter of 
his ift Epiftle. He there in the firft place points 
out to wives their duty to their hufbands, fuch 
as obedience, chaftity, modefty andpeaceablenefs. 
He next ftiews the duty of huft)ands to their 


Serm. XIV« 221 

wives, as dwelling with them, giving them hon- 
our, and treating them with kindnefs. In a 
word, he direfts them to regard each other, as 
being heirs together of the grace of life. And the 
general reafon which he afligns, is this, that their 
prayers be not hindered. You will here obferve, 
that the neceflity of a fuitable performance of the 
duty of prayer, is made an argument for other 
domeflick duties. An argument ufed to prove 
the obligation, or urge the pra6tice of any duty, 
is always fuppofed to be m.ore plain, if poffible, 
than the duty recommended. When therefore 
the Apoftle, from the danger of the interruption 
of their prayers, urges the wife to be fubje6l to 
her hufband, and him to give honour to her, he 
fuppofes it to be more obvious, that they ftiould 
live together in focial prayer, than that flie fbould 
be obedient to him, or that he Ihould give hon- 
our to her. 

I will only remark farther, that in this pafTage 
the Apoftle confiders joint prayer as incumbent 
on fmall families, fuch as confift only of the huf- 
band and wife. He urges a fuitable treatment of 
each other in the conjugal relation, that their 
prayers may not be interrupted. Let this be con- 
fidered by thofe, who have newly entered into a 
family ft ate. 

I have the more largely ftated tlie arguments 
for this duty, becaufe fame have pretended, that 
there is no warrant for it in the word of God. 
Such infmuations are as groundlcfs, as they are 


222 SeRM. XIV* 

dangerous. The very perfons who make them, 
will, under certain circumftances, fhew that they 
do not believe them. If they fhould hear of 
fome officer in the church, or of fome Chriftian 
profeffor, who negletled family worfhip, they 
would not fail to cenfure and reproach him. 
But, ^ Is this a duty incumbent only on certain 
characters ? In a time of family diftrefs, they 
will defire that prayer may be made in their 
houfes. But, I Are they dependent on God only 
when they are fick, or when one lies dead by their 
wall ? Live under a fenfe of your continual de- 
pendence, and you will pray always with all 

Let heads of families ftand within their houfes, 
as priefts of God, offering the facrifice of prayer 
and praife continually. Let the younger mem- 
bers give a ferious attendance, realizing the di- 
vine prefence, and approaching it with godly fear. 
Let your houfes become as churches of God ; and 
the churches will become more glorious. Let 
them be the places, where prayer is wont to be 
made, where God's word is read, and where fuit- 
able inftru6iions are given, and the fervices of 
th^ fanduary will be more edifying. Happy is 
thti family, which, with united hearts, ferve God 
and pray always — happy the man, who is the 
head of fuch a family — happy the members of 
a houfe, which is bleffed becaufe of the ark of 
Cod — happy the church, v/hich confifts of fuch 


Serm. XIV, 


families. Such a church is one greater family, 
whofe members are purfuing one common de- 
fign ; and the families are fo many fmaller 
churches, all builded together for an habitation 
of God, through the Spirit, and growing unto an 
holy temple in the Lord, 



■■ a »» »»>»->»^^><^ Cg€L.'< la . ■ 

Ephesians 6, xviii. 

Fraying always, with all prayer and fupplication in 
the fpirit, and watching thereunto with all perjt- 

IN our former difcourfe, on this tt^t, 
we confidered our obligations to maintain the 
worfhip of God in our houfes. 

We will now, as was propofed, 

II. Inquire, whether there is any thing in rea- 
fon, or fcripture, leading us to fix on morning 
and evening, as the ftated feafons of family 

1. Our prayers, certainly ought to ht frequent 
and conjlant. 

So much, at lead, mud be intended by our 
Apoflle, when he dire6ls us to pray always. What- 
ever reafons oblige us to pray at all, bind us to 
pray often. 

We are continually dependent on God, and in- 
debted to him. We daily feel new wants, or the 
return of former ones, and receive frelh favours, 
or the repetition of pad ones. We often commit 


S£RM. XV, 


offences againft God, and contract new guilt. If 
then it becomes us at all, it becomes us often to 
repair to the throne of grace with earneft petitions 
for the blefiTings which we need, and thankful 
praifes for thofe which we have received ; with 
humble confefTion of confcious guilt, and penitent 
fupplication of God's gracious pardon. 

If prayer is vSt^uX, frequency in it will make it 
more ufeful. One ufeof prayer is to cheriih and 
ftrengthen our ferious fentiments and refolutions, 
which, through the infirmity of the flefh and the 
influence of worldly objefts, are too apt to lan- 
guifli and decay. It is by frequent communion 
with God, that our fouls, which fo naturally 
cleave to the duft, are railed above the world. en-» 
livened in duty, and made to feel the power, and 
talle the pleafure of religion. If our converfe 
with him fliould be but feldom, our holy affec- 
tions and purpofes, in the long intervals, would 
die away ; and this deceitful world would get fuch 
ftrong poffe lion of our hearts, that the rare exer- 
cifes of devotion would be too feeble to difpoffefs 
it, or turn our hearts to better obje6i;s. 

Family worfhip, if but feldom attended, will 
be of little ufe to the younger members of our 
houfes. The frequent, unneceffary omiffions of 
it, indicate fuch an indifference in us, that our 
children will eafily be led to view it as a matter 
of trifling confequence. If we pray in our fami-i 
lies only on the fabbath, or in a time of family 
affliiStion, taught by our example, they will natur- 

226 Serm. XV. 

ally give the bufinefs of the world a preference to 
the duties of piety, and to the care of their fouls. 
If now and then we fuggeft to them a different 
thought, it will but feebly imprefs their minds, 
while they fee it fo plainly contradidled by our 
daily condu6l. 

Frequency in prayer is as exprefsly, and almofl 
as often, inculcated in fcripture, as prayer itfelf. 
We are to pray always with all prayer — to pray 
without ceajing — to coiitinue injlant in prayer — to 
watch ther eunto with all p erf ever ance — to pray always 
and not faint — in every thing to make known our re^ 
qiiefls. I What lefs can thefe expreiTions import, 
than fuch frequency in devotion as to keep alive 
a devout, fpiritual and heavenly temper ? 

2. If we are to pray frequently, then there 
mud be {omt fated feafons of prayer ; for other- 
wife it cannot be attended with decency and order. 

As it is necefTary that certain days fhould be 
flated, by divine appointment, or by mutual 
agreement, for piiblick worfiip, that the whole 
church may come together into one place, and 
at the fame time; fo it is neceiTary, that certain 
hours of the day fliould be flated for family wor- 
fliip, that all the members may with one mind, 
and one mouth, glorify God. Accordingly we 
find in fcripture, that there were periodical times, 
called the hours of prayer, which pious men ufed 
conftantly to obferve. Peter and John went up 
into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth 
hour, I What lefs can we underlland by the di- 


Serm. XV. 227 

regions, to pray always, and without ceafmg, than 
that we ftiould have {omc fixed 2indfiated feafons 
of prayer ? When we pray at all proper leafons, 
and keep alive the fpirit of piety, then we maybe 
faid to pray always. Prayer has a jufl proportion 
of our time and attention. 

3. It is evident, that prayer ought to be a dai- 
ly exercife. 

Our Saviour inRru6ts us to pray after this man- 
ner — Our Father, who art in heaven, give us this day 
our daily bread. The Pfalmift fays, every day 
will I praife thee — / will daily perjorm my vows — - 
/ cry unto thee daily — / have called daily upon thee, 
and fir etched out mine hand unto thee. It is the 
voice of wifdom — Blc[[ed is the man who heareth me, 
zuatching daily at jny gates, waiting at the pofis ofi my 
doors. The primitive Chriftians continued daily 
with one accord in the temple. They daily attend- 
ed the ftated hours of prayer. 

4. If prayer is to be made daily and fiatedly, 
then there is a fpecial propriety in fixing on moyii- 
ing and evening for the performance of it. Rea- 
fon itfelf points out thefe, as fuitable hours for 
family worfhip. 

In the morning, when we arife from our beds, 
and are returning to the labours of our calling, 
how juft and reafonable it is, that our thoughts 
fhould be with God ; that we fhould acknowledge 
his care, who has made us to dwell in fafety, and 
at the fame time fliould commit ourfelves to him, 
imploring the prote^ion of his providence, the 


228 Serm. XV. 

reftraints of his grace, the guidance of his coun- 
fel, and his bleffing on the works of our hands ! 

In the evening, when we have finifhed the work 
of the day, how decent and proper it is, that 
we Hiould gratefully recoiled the benefits which 
we have received, penitently confefs the evils 
which we have done, and commit ourfelves to 
that Almighty Keeper who never flumbers nor 
fleeps ; and thus lay ourfelves down in peace ! 

At thefe hours our minds are more free from 
worldly cares, and our families more at liberty 
from worldly occupations, than at other feafons. 
We can therefore more readily unite in the wor- 
Ihip of God, and more eafily attend upon it with- 
out diftradion. 

And as reafon, fo fcripture points out thefe for 
the flated hours of prayer. The prophet fays, 
Wilh my foul I have dejired thee in the night, and 
ivith -my Jpirit within me I will Jeek thee early. This 
was the pradice of the devout Pfalmifl, and he 
commends it as a good and ufeful pra6lice for 
others. It is a good thing to giv-c thanks to the Lord, 
to fing praifes to thy name, Mojl High, to JJiew 
forth thy loving kindnefs in the morning, and thy 
faiihfulnefs every night. He is fpeaking, not of 
ftcret, but of focial prayer. By the former wc 
may offer our praifes and petitions to God ; but 
it is by the latter only that we Jhew forth, and de- 
clare his loving kindnefs and faithfulnefs. This, 
he fays, ought to be done, in the morning and in 
the evening f not only on fpecial occafions, but 


Serm. XV. 225 

conjl.anily every night. And he mufl have particu- 
lar regard to family worfhip, for families are the 
only focieties, which can every morning and night 
alTociate for divine worfhip. 

We find that devout men, under fome peculiar 
circumflances, obferved other hours of folitary or 
private prayer. Daniel, in his captivity, prayed 
three times a day, David fays, morning, noon, and 
night, will I pray. And again, Seven times a day 
will I praife thee. But the more common hours 
of prayer, efpecially of focial prayer, mentioned 
in fcripture, are morning and evening. 

Job rofe up early in the morning and offered fa-^ 
crifcce for his family. David fays, My voice /halt 
thou hear in the morning, Lord ; in the morning 
Tjoill I direB my prayer unto thee, I will fmo- aloud 
of thy mercy in the morning, I prevented the dawn- 
ing of the morning, and cried. Heman fays, In the 
morning my prayer fJiall prevent thee. 

We have many examples of evening prayer. 
David, having fpent the day in publick devo- 
tions, returned home to blefs his houfehold. Let my 
prayer, fays he, he fet forth as incenfe, and the lift- 
ing up of my hands as the twining facr if ce. Cora- 
mune with your ozun heart on your bed — offer the. 
facrifces of right eoufnefs. — / will lay me doiun and 
flecp, for thou, Lord, makef me to dwell infafety. 

It was the duty of the Levites to ftand every 

morning to thank and praife God, and likewife at 

evening. When David had replaced the ark, he 

kfc before it fome of the priefts, to minifter con- 

F dnually. 

aotO Serm. XV. 

tinually, as every days work required, and to o^- 
fci burnt ofFerings to ih^ Lord continually, morning 
and evening, and to do according to all that is 
written in the laio of the Lord. The law of Moles 
inllituted a particular facrifice to be offered daily, 
half in the morning, and half in the evening. This 
was calkd tht continual facrifice. And as this was 
accompanied with prayer, here is an exprefs initi- 
tution of morning and evening prayer. 

This facrifice. after the temple was built, was 
offered there — and there, fuch as dwelt near, ufu- 
ally attended at the hour of facrifice. To this inffi- 
lution our Lord alludes in the payable of the 
pharifee and publican, lolio went up to the tcfnpk 
to pray. When Zacharias entered into the tem- 
ple to burn incenfe, the whole multitude of the 
people were without, praying at the time of incenje. 
They who, by reafon of diftance, or other cir- 
cumftances, could not attend at the temple, ufcd 
to pray, at the hour of facrifice, -with their faces 
ioward the ie7nple. Jonah, when he w^as caff out 
of God's prefence, refolved, that he would look 
ag.ain toward God's holy, temple. Solomon, in his 
dedication prayer, fays, " If thy people be car- 
ried av/ay captive, and in the land of their cap- 
tivity return unto thee, and pray toivard this houfe, 
then hear thou and forgive/' Daniel prayed at 
4he time of the evening facrijice, and with his face 
toward Jerufalcun. 

After the abolition of the legal facrifices, the 

Apoflles and primitive Chriflians ftill obferved 


8erm. XV. 231 

thefe dated hours of morning and evening 
prayer. Luke tell us, that after Chrift's afcenfion^ 
*' they were continually, and daily, in the temple, 
praifing and bleffing God." They reforted thither 
at the third and ninth hours. To thefe ftated 
hours the Apoftle evidently alludes, when he di- 
reds us to pray alto ays — to pray without ceajing — > 
to offer the facrifice of praife continually. And 
thus we are to underfland, what is Giid of Anna 
the prophetefs, that Jhe departed not from the tern- 
fie, hutferved God with prayers night and day. 

Thus from the inftitution of the morning and 
evening facrifice, which was accompanied with 
prayer; from the practice of pious men under the 
old teftament, and of the Apoflles and early 
Chriflians under the new ; from the frequent di- 
redions to pray akvays, v/hich plainly allude to 
the continual facrifice, and from the exprefs 
words of the Pfalmift, who recommends it, as a 
good thing, to fhew forth God's loving kindnefs 
in the morning, and his faithfulnefs every night, 
it fully appears to be the indifpenfable duty o£ 
every Chriftian family to maintain the flatdd 
worfhip of God, and to attend upon it, ordinarily, 
every morning and evening. 
I proceed now to fhew, 

III. In what manner our family worfhip ought 
to be performed. 

1 . In this, as in all other religious exercifes, 
there mufl be an attention and en^a^ednefs of mind, 
P a W« 

232 Serm. XV. 

We are dirccled to pi'-ay in thefpirit — to watch 
unto prayer — to lift up our hearts, with our hands, 
iLuio God in the heavens. It is the inxorought and 
Jcrvcntpi'Siycr, which avails much. If while we 
drav/ near to God with our mouths, our hearts 
are far from him, we worfhip him in vain. Our 
prayers mud be the exprefhons of real, heartfelt 
defires, not the tinkling of an unmeaning cymbal. 
God hears the dejire of the humble. Without 
the concurrence of the heart, bodily exercife prof- 
its little. We mull draw near to the throne of 
grace, with a ferious, colle6ted and devout fpirit. 
This is alike the duty of him who leads, and of 
them who join in prayer; for unlefs thefe adopt 
iht petitions which are made, and, with the words 
of the fpeaker, fend up their own hearts to God, 
with no propriety can they be faid to join with 
him in prayer, 

2. There is an external decemy 2ind folemnity, 
which ought always to be regarded in our family 

• The pcrfo-n, H'ho conducts them, is to confule 
Rot merely his own, but the common edification .- 
His manner fliouid be grave, his expreflions per- 
tinent, his utterance deliberate, that others may 
underiland the nature, and feel the weight of 
what he oflFers ; and that, " feeing him alFedcd 
with a fenfe ©f what he is doing, proportionally 
to its importance, they may catch the flame of 
his devotion, and feel their own hearts burn with, 
the fame pious ardour." 

3. Some 

Serm. XV. 23J 

3. Some preparation is ordinarily expedient, 
that, difpoirelling our minds of worldly thoughts 
and cares, we may attend upon God wiiliout 

Job font and fanUified his children' — called upon 
them to prepare for the family facrifice. The 
prophet inquires, ^ Who is he that engageth his 
heart to approach unto God ? The heart mufl be 
engaged, that the approach may be acceptable. 
For thofe who attended the paifover without op- 
portunity for the legal purification, Hezekiah 
prayed, faying, " The good Lord pardon every- 
one, who prcpareth his heart to feck God, though 
he be not cleanfed according to the purification of 
the fan6luary/' On a like occafion Joliah com- 
manded the Levites to prepare zmd JcinHify them- 
felves, and their brethren. Thefe example^ teach 
us, that feme preparation is requifitc for a fuita- 
ble performance of focial woriliip. The pradice 
of reading a portion of fcripture, previous to fam- 
ily prayer, is very commendable, and highly ufe- 
ful. It not Only difpofes the mind for devotion, 
but begets a reverence for the word of God. The 
mailer of a houfehold ftiould require his domef- 
ticks to give a ferious and orderly attendance, 
and fhould choofe thofe fcafons, which will belt 
admit of it, and moll eafily comport with it. 

4. Family worfhip fliould he m^inVdined Jieadi- 
ly, without unnecejfary omijfions. 

It is the Apollle's diredion to fimilies, that 
they continue in prayer, and ivaich in the fame 
P J with 

234 Serm. XV« 

with thankfgiving. The morning and evening 
facrifice was offered continually. The Apoflles 
were daily, with one accord, in the temple. There 
is ordinarily the fame reafon for prayer and 
praife, every day, as any day ; for we daily need, 
and daily receive new favours from God. Our 
Saviour has taught us to pray, Give us this day 
our daily bread. We mud not admit little trif- 
iina; excufes for the omiffion of this duty. Too 
great an indifference to this important exercife 
appears in thofe, who are frequently abroad 
themfelves, and allow their children alfo to be 
abroad, at fuch unfeafonable hours., that it mufl ei- 
ther be of ten neglected, or performed at a time, when 
few of the family are prefent, and none of them 
in a fuitable frame and preparation to attend it. 
5. The matter of our addreffes fhouldbe taken 
from the common concerns, and the 7nanner of them 
adapted to the common capacities of the family. 

Job offered burnt offerings for his children ac-^ 
cording to the nufuher of thc7n all. He accomnr.o- 
dated his prayers to the Hate of his houfehoid ; 
and fo oughi: every parent. 

There are many wants, and many mercies, 
which are common to all. Thefe are always 
proper matter of our joint devotions. Some 
members may be under peculiar circumflances of 
joy or forrow. If one member fuffers, all are to 
fuffer with him. If one be honoured, all fhould 
rejoice. The Hate of each rnember, fo far as it is 

a common 

Serm. XV. 235 

a common concern, and Wortliy of fo ferious no- 
tice, ought tobc introduced into our family worfliip. 

In mod families, there are fome, whofe minds 
are tender, and whofe capacities are but fmali : 
He therefore who fpcaks in prayer, fliouid utter 
with the tongue, things eafy to be underflood ; 
and while he prays in the fpirit, he fliould pray 
with the underftanding alfo ; clfe, ^ How will 
they who occupy the room of the unlearned, fay, 
Amen, at his petitions and giving of thanks, fee- 
ing they underfland not what he fays ? 

6. In our daily worfhip, tedwufncfs Ihould be 

" For want of prudence in this matter, it is 
pofTible, fome young perfons, in religious fami- 
lies, have been led to difrelifh religion, more than 
they would otherwife have done." Youthful 
minds cannot long be fixed in clofe attention, 
without pain and wearinefs. When the fervice 
becomes burdenfome, it is no longer edifying.. 
If family worfhip is cuflomarily drawn out to 
undue lengJ,h, the young, inftead of attending on 
it with pleafure, will feek occafions to fhun it. 
Our Saviour cautions us not to imitate thofe, 
who ufe vain repetitions, and think they fliall be 
heard for their much fpeaking. In our clofets, , 
we may give full vent to the fervour of our own 
devotion : But in our family prayers, to which 
Chrift's inllrudions efpecially relate, we fliould 
confult the devotion of our fellow worlhippers. 
And the model, which he has given us, (hews, 
r 4 , that 

*i^6 Serm. XV, 

that thefe fliould be compendious, plain and fa* 

7. Every mafter of a family fhould be careful 
that the manner of his life correfponds with his 

He fhould maintain the worfhip of God, not 
as a fubllitute for hoiinefs of life, but as a mean 
of promoting it. And in this light he fhould 
teach his children to regard it. If, while he is 
flri6l in his prayers, he is loofe in his morals, 
or if, while he requires their attendance on the 
forms of devotion, he indulges them in the prac- 
tice of iniquity, he reprefents religion as a felf- 
contradidion, and teaches them to view it with ut- 
ter contempt. When Jacob was about to erc6i an 
altar to God at Bethel, where God had ordered him 
to dwell, he faid to his houfehold, and to all who 
-were with him, Put away the Jlrange gods which arc 
among you, and be clean, and change your garments^ 
and let us arife, and go up to Bethel, and I will make 
there an altar unto God, The Apoftle Peter urges 
hufbands and wives to a virtuous behaviour in 
that relation, that their prayers be not hindered. 
He teaches them, that they cannot pray together 
to their own, and the family's edification, unlefs 
they live together, as heirs of the grace of Ufe, Da- 
vid contented not himfelf with bleiTing liis houfe- 
hold, but refolved, that he would behave himfelf 
wifely in a perfeB way — that he would walk within 
his houfe with a perfect heart — and thai he would noL 
countenance in his family a wicked perfon, 


SzRM. XV. $37 

I fliallnow clofe this difcourfc with two remarks. 

1. Union between the heads of a family ap- 
pears to be a matter of great importance. 

The maintenance of focial worfliip, and the 
tranfmiffion of rehgion, by a pious education of 
children, is evidently one end for which families 
are formed. Where prayer is hindered, one great 
defign of the domeflick relation is defeated. So- 
cial worfliip can be acceptable only when it is 
offered with humility, meeknefs and love. Fel- 
low worfhippers muft be like minded one toward 
another, lift up holy hands without wrath, and 
forgive, if they have aught againfl one another, 
or againfl any man. Wrath, clamour and con- 
tention, are palpably contrary to the fpirit of 
prayer, i If the heads of a family, who ought to 
be one fpirit, as well as one flefh, live in eternal 
brawls, wrangles and contradi6lions. What is their 
houfe but a Babel ? — i Amidft fuch a tumultuous 
fcene. Can the members unite their hearts and 
voices in the daily worfliip of their Creator ? Or, 
^ Will God regard their offering, or accept it with 
good will at their hands ? God is not the author 
of confuhon, but of peace. Let all things bs 
done decently and in order. 

2. If focial worftiip, and the religious education 
of children, are duties incumbent on all heads of 
families, then there ought to be a knowledsre of 
the nature, a belief of the principles, and a regard 
to the duties of reliction, in all who enterintothe 
married ft ate. The ignorant; the unprincipled. 

238 Serm. XV, 

the profane, when they unite to become the heads 
of a houfehold, are often the guilty inftruments 
of bringing forward a family for ruin. Let none 
think themfelves qualified for fo important a truft, 
until they have acquired fuch a knowledge of re- 
ligion, and pofTefs fuch a fenfe of its importance, 
as to be able and difpofed to maintain thofe du- 
ties of piety, government and in(lru61;ion, which 
are exprefsly enjoined on all who are placed in 
that llation. ^ What, then, you will afk, Are 
none but the^o^/yallov/ed to marry ? Know, my 
pert young friend, none who marry are allowed 
to be ungodly. Remember, religion is of impor- 
tance to you now in your fmgle capacity ; and 
its importance will be vaftly increafed, when you 
become the head of a f.imily ; for then you will 
fland in a connexion with others, whole virtue 
and happinefs will much depend on your condu6l. 
And you, m.y brethren, who have children 
growing up under your care, realize your obliga- 
tion to bring them forward on the flage of life, 
furnifhed with fuch religious knowledge and fen- 
timents, that when they, in their turn, fhall be- 
come heads of families, they may tranfmit relig- 
ion to another generation. For this purpofe, you 
mull maintain the worfhip of God in yourhoufes, 
in the manner which has been recommended. 
Perhaps there are fome who lludy evafions and 
excufes, and determine to continue in their neg- 
left. But after all you can fay, I dare appeal to 
your confcience, whether there is not fuch evi- 

Serm, XV. 239 

dence of the indifpcnfable obligation of this duty, 
as would be more than enough to fatisfy you in 
any cafe, where your mind Hood previoufly in- 
different. I dare appeal to your confcicnce, 
whether you are reftrained from praying in your 
family, by a perfuafion that it is an unfcriptural 
and unwarrantable practice ; or by an apprehen- 
fion that it will bring guilt on your foul, and 
mifery on your family. I dare appeal to your 
confcience, whether your negle61;' of family wor- 
fliip is not owing more to a fpirit of indifference, 
than to any real fcruplcs in the matter. Bring 
the queflion home, for once, to your confcience, 
I Whether you did not firft omit it through dif- 
inclination, and then feek reafons to juftify the 
omiflion ? It was not a fenfe of duty that dilat- 
ed the negleft ; but previous negle61: that fug- 
gelled your evafions of the duty. However eaf)^ 
it may be, in the days of profperity, to recon- 
cile your minds to a prayerlefs life, yet in the 
day of family adverfity, when your children arc 
by death torn from your embraces, or when you 
feel yourfelves under his arreff, ihe reflection on 
fuch a life will pierce you through and through. 
Encouraged by God's gracious promifes in favour 
of the godly and their houfes, and awed by the 
threatenings of his wrath againft the families which 
call not on his name, adopt the refolution of the 
pious captain of Ifracl. As for me, and my houfe, 
we willfcrve the Lord. 



^6 K^ kzijticiit u^aonilu nclluozch ttiet^ 

Romans i6. iii, iv, v. 

Qrtet Prifcilla and Aquila, m.y helpers m Chrijt 
Jejus ; who for my fake have laid down their own 
necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but alfo 
all the churches of the Gentiles, Likexuife greet 
the church that is in their houfe, 

AOUILA, and his wife Prifcilla, the 
two perfons whom Paul here falutes, are feveral 
tinges named in his epiftles, and always mention- 
ed with particular marks of friendfhip and ef- 
teem. Kis firfi: acquaintance with them, was at 
Corinth. It is faid in the i8th chapter of the 
A6ls, Paul came to Corinth, and found a certain Jew 
named Aquila, horn in Pontics, lately come from Italy, 
with his wife Prifcilla, becaufe that Claudius had com- 
mandedall Jews to depart from Rome. Aquila was 
hy nation a Jev7 ; the place of his birth was Pon- 
tus, aprovincein leffer Afia, where great numbers 
of Jews inhabited ; and he had lately made his 
refidence in Rome, But a company of thieves, 


Serm. XVI. 241 

in Judea, having fallen on one Stephanas, a Ter- 
vant of the emperour, robbed his baggage, and 
(lain the foldiers who guarded it, an edi6l ^v^as 
palled, requiring all Jews to leave that city. In 
confequence of this edi6i:, Aquila, with his wife, 
came to Corinth, and there wrought in his occu- 
pation, which was that of a tent maker. 

He is faid, by the ancients, to have been a man 
of great learning. St. Jerorrr makes mention of 
him and of his writings. He fays, the books of 
the prophets were, by this learned Jew, tran dated 
from the Hebrew into the Greek language, for 
the benefit of the Greeks. From this tranflation^ 
which was extant in his time, he makes frequent 

Paul, coming from Athens to Corinth, meets 
with Aquila, takes lodging in his houfe, and 
abides there for fome time, working with him in 
his occupation, as he had leifure ; but preaching 
every fabbath, in the fynagogue, to Jews and 
Greeks, who reforted thither to hear him. It was 
probably at this time, that Aquila and his wife 
firft gained the knowledge and profeffed the faith 
of the gofpel. As they enjoyed Paul's company 
for fome tune in their own houfe, as well as heard 
him preach ftatedly in the fynagogue, they doubt- 
lefs became well inftru6ledin the nature and evi- 
dence of the Chriftian religion. Accordingly we 
find, that they were able to expound to ApoJlos 
the way of God more perfectly, than he had be- 
fore underftood it. 


242 Serm. XVL 

Paul's refidence with them laid a foundation 
for a clofe and intimate friendihip, which we find 
remaining until the time of his death. In his 
fecond epiilie to Timothy, which he wrote in his 
lad bonds, when he was ready to be offered, he 
remembers them in his falutations. 

How worthy they were of his affedion and ef- 
teem, we learn from the character given of them 
in the words which we have chofen for our text. 
With united attention they had helped Paul in 
his labours for Chrifl. With the hazard of their 
own lives they had preferved his for the fervice 
of the churches. And while they promoted the 
general intereil of religion, they were careful to 
maintain it in their own family. They had a 
church in their houfe. 

The contemplation of the character and exam- 
ple of thefe pious perfons, will bring home to us 
fome inflru6lions in our own duty. 

L This godly couple appear to have been hap- 
pily united in all their concerns, and efpecially 
in the great concerns of religion. 

On all occaiions they are both mentioned to- 
gether ; neither of them is once named without 
the other. They were one flefti, and one fpirit. 
They appear as patterns of conjugal union. They 
dwelt together in days of tranquillity, and jointly 
iharcd in the calamities of banifhment. With 
united hands they laboured in the occupation by 
which their houfehold was fupported. Where- 
ever one went or refided^ the other attended; 


Serm. XVI. 243 

whatever bufmcfs employed one, the other alhil- 
ed ; andin^/iezrfalutations to the churches, both 
unite. When Paul falutes one, he l^ilutes the 
other ; he fpeaks of both as his helpers in Chrill ; 
he acknowledges both, as having laid down their 
necks for him ; and he commends both as pre- 
fiding in their houfe, and rendering it a church 
of Chrift. Aquila had fuch underllanding in 
the things of religion, that he was able to inftrucl 
Apollos, a man mighty in the fcriptures of the 
old teflament. And Prifcilla had made fuch 
proficiency in Chriflian knowledge, that fhe was 
able to afTifl him in expounding the way of the 

Thus cemented by love, fharing together in 
all changes of condition, uniting in the labours 
of life, and cooperating in the duties of religion, 
they mud have enjoyed all the felicities, which 
can fpring from the conjugal relation. 

As this is one of the mod important relations 
in life, to the parties themfelves, to fociety, and 
to poflerity, they who fullain it, ought, above all 
things, to (ludy mutual peace. This wall render 
the relation a bleffing ; without this it will be- 
come a vexation and a curfe. 

The Chriflian pair, confidering themfelves as 
having one common interelt, and feeling them- 
felves animated by one foul, will readily partic- 
ipate in each other's labours and forrows, and 
will cheerfully communicate to each other their 
own pleafures and joys, The rougher paths of 


244 Serm. XVL 

life they will tread hand in hand, and, by recip- 
rocal fmiles of content, will beguile the tirefome 
walk. The pains of life they will lighten by 
bearing each other's burdens, and heighten every 
enjoyment by fliaring it in common. In the ed- 
ucation and government of the family, they will 
ftrengthen each other's hands ; and, inllead of 
contending for an idle fuperiority, will combine 
their influence for the good of the houfehold^ 
Little differences of opinion will be compofedby 
mutual condefcenlion. Accidental miftakes and 
trivial faults will be overlooked, or viewed with 
the eye of candour. More feriaus errours will be 
mentioned with tcndernefs, and corrected with 
meeknefs. Real virtues and worthy a6tions will 
meet the cheering fmiles of approbation ; and 
worthy defigns will be encouraged by a prompt, 
unfolicited concurrence. Unavoidable infirmities 
will be viewed with the comforting eye of pity, 
not with the infulting eye of difdain. Real fail- 
ings will not be matter of keen reproach, but of 
kind expoftulation. Under trilling inconve- 
niences they will not teafe and vex each other by 
eternal complaints ; nor under fevere misfortunes 
will they imbitter each other's fpirits by mutual 
upbraidings. But on the contrary, by examples 
of patience, cheerfulnefs and heavenly minded- 
nefs, they will elevate their own and each other's 
minds above the fmailer, and fortify them to bear 
the greater troubles of this changing world. 




III the important concerns of religion, they will 
walk, as being heirs together of the grace of life, 
that their daily prayers be not hindered, their vir- 
tuous reiolutions weakened, nor their good works 
obftrutfed. While he leads in the devotion of 
the family, (he will encourage him by her per- 
ional attendance, by calling the attendance of her 
houfehold, and by fuch a prudent difpofition of 
her domeilick affairs, as may give feafonable op- 
portunity for the folemnity. When he adminif- 
ters inftrudion or reproof to thofe under their 
care, (he will prudently fecond it ; or, if Ihe 
thinks it mifapplied or illtimed, fhe will not de- 
feat his honeft intention, by open, petulent con- 
tradi61:ion ; but rather, by private advice, prevent 
future miftakes. In their fpiritual walk, they 
will be fellow helpers to the kingdom of God, an- 
imating each other by mutual counfel and exam- 
ple, and confidering each other to provoke unto 
love and good works. 

Such a condu61; in the domeftick relation is 
recommended by the example of this amiable 
pair, and enjoined by the precepts of the gofpel 
of Chrift. 

Paul, in his epifllcs to the Ephefians and Co- 
loflians, direds, that this relation be diftinguifhed 
by mutual affection, tendernefs, fidelity and fub- 
mifhon ; and that every thing which is bitter, be 
far removed from it — that the love, on the one 
hand, be like that which Chriil Ihewed to the 
church ; and the fubmijiion, on the other, like 
Q that 

2J[5 SzRM. XVI. 

thai; which the diurch owes, to him. The in- 
ftniclians of the Apoflle Fcter, on this fubjeft, 
arc to the iame purpufc. Their cotiverfatioa 
miifl: be chiifle and pure ; their adorning, a meek 
and quiet fpirit ; their language and manners, e5c- 
prelTive of mutual honour and elleem ; and all 
their conduQ, (uch as tends to engage afPeQion, 
encourage a virtuous life, and alTifl in the neccf- 
fary preparation For the world of glory. 

A family, educated under the care of heads 
thus united in all the duties of the fecular, do- 
meflick and religious life, will, by the fmiles of 
heaven, grow up in knowledge and piety, and, 
like the houfehold of Aquiia, become a little 
church of Jefus Chrift. 

II. The next thing obfervable in the characler 
of thefe perfons, is, that the Apoftle calls them his 
helpers in Chnji J ejus » 

Convinced of the truth, and feeling the impor- 
tance of the gofpel, they wifhed its prevalence 
and fuccefs among their perifhing fellow morlais. 
When they looked around on the ignorant Oen- 
tiles and deluded Jews, they pitied their deplora- 
ble ftate, rejoiced that the gofpel was proclaimed, 
and defircd its univerfal fpread. As Paul was 
lent to preach the way of falvation, fo out of 
1 )ve, not merely to him, but to mankind in gen- 
ercd, they becam.e his helpers in Chrift Jefus. 

There are various ways, in v*'hich private Chrift- 
ians may help their mi miter, and in v/hich thefe 


Serm. XVI. 


godly peifons may be fuppofed to have helped 
the Apoflle, in the work of Chrift. 

1. They helped him by their hofpitality. 

For a confiderable part of the time that he 
preached in Corinth, he abode in their houfe. 

Baniflied from Rome, they had but lately come 
hither. Their prefent condition could not be 
the mofl eafy and plentiful. In the opulent city 
of Corinth, there were doubtlefs many more 
wealthy than they ; but none fo ready to open 
their doors to an Apoftle of Jefus, who came to 
bring the gofpel of falvation. l^y induflry in 
their calling, they had acquired not only a com- 
petence for themfelves, but ability to contribute 
fomething to the caufe of religion. Paul, how- 
ever, that he might not be burdenfome to his lib- 
eral friends, laboured with them in their occupa- 
tion. Though he claimed a right to live of the 
gofpel, he ufed not this right in Corinth, left the 
fuccefs of his preaching ftiould be obftru6i;ed. 
He fays to the Corinthians — Now ye are full, ye. 
are rich, ye have reigned as kings — but we are weak 
and defpifed ; xoe hunger and thirjl, and are naked,, 
having no certain dwelling place ; and zve labour, 
working with our hands — / have kept 'rfiyjelj from 
being burdenfome to you, and fo will I keep myfelf. 

Every Chriftian is bound to make his worldly 
fubftance, in fome way or other, fubfervient to 
the intereft of religion. The minifter is to preach 
the gofpel, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready 
mind, But, then, they who are taught in the 
Q a word, 

248 SeRm. XVI. 

word, mufl communicate to Iiim who teacheth, 
in Tuch meal'ure, that he may wait on his teach- 
ing, and attend to it without diflraclion. 

2. This Chriflian pair helped the Apoflle by 
2i faithful attendance on his miniflry. 

Paul reafoned in the fynagogue every fabbath, 
perfuading the Jews and Greeks ; and doubtlefs 
thefe pious perfons, who entertained the preacher 
in their houfe, accompanied him to the fynagogue. 
Heads of families, by an exemplary attendance 
on the preaching of the word, greatly alTifl: their 
minifler. There is no way in which they can 
more eiFeflually fecond his labours. They thus 
Ihew to their children, to youth in general, and 
to all around thiem, that they elteem the gofpel 
divinely excellent, and infinitely important — that 
they regard the preaching of it, as an inftitution 
of God, and honour the preachers of it, as the 
nieffengers of Jefus Chrill. Their attendance in- 
vites others to accompany them, anmiates their 
minifter, gives an elevalion to his fpirits, and an 
ardour to his zeal. It raifes his hopes of fuccefs 
among his people, and particularly among the 

But if, on the contrary, they treat the preach- 
insr of the word with cold indifference, and con- 
teinptuous negle6i:, feldom attending on it, ex- 
cept whru the feafon is remarkably inviting, or 
the occafion gives an expedation of fomething 
new ; far from helping, they rather hinder their 
miniRer. He can hardly forbear to fay to them, 

^' 1 would, 

Serm. XVI^ 249 

*' I would, that ye were cold or hot/' Their de- 
clared indifFerence to the miniftry, leads others, 
efpecially the young, to view it as a ufelefs in- 
vention, and to regard it rather as matter of a- 
mufement, than a mean of falvation. 

My brethren, if you expeft from yourminifter 
no help to youi' own fouls — if your Chriflian at- 
tainments raife you above fuch means of edifica- 
tion, as his preaching ; yet you will permit him 
to afk your attendance, that you may be his help- 
ers in Chrifl Jefus — that you may contribute to 
the efficacy of his preaching among your children. 
He will thank you for this favour ; for he would 
by all means fave fome. He ardently de fires 
that Chrifl may be formed in the youth, and that 
they may grow up in all things into him, who is 
the head. They are not yet fuperiour to religious 
inftrudlion. You will help them, when you help 
your minifler, by your conllant attendance at the 

But then let your attendance be grave and de- 
vout ; and on what you hear, let your remarks 
be candid and ferious. Ludicrous or captious 
animadverfions, defeat the proper influence of the 
word on youthful minds. What is pertinent to 
your cafe, take home to yourfeives, and afifiR your 
youths in applying what is pertinent to theirs. 
Retain and improve what is good. If you meet 
with any thing, which appears otherwile, let pru- 
dence point out the proper time and place to 
mention it, 

Q 3 3- Thefc 

Q^o Serm. XVI. 

3. Thefe perfons helped Paul by their conver- 
Jation and example. 

From a particular inftance, mentioned in the 
xviiith chapter of the Ads, we learn, how aflidu- 
ous they were, by their private converfation, to 
promote the interefl: of the gofpel. When Paul 
went from Corinth to Jei-ufaiem, they accompa- 
nied him as far as Ephefus. Here they met with 
ApoUos, who was an eloquent and zealous man^ 
and mighty in the fcriptures of the old teftament, 
and had been inftru6led in the way of the Lord ; 
but being a Jew, and having lived in Alexandria, 
he had not yet gained a complete knowledge of 
the gofpel. Aquila and his wife heard Apollos 
fpeak in the Jewifh fynagogue, and teach the 
things of the Lord. But finding, that he needed 
farther information, they took him and expound- 
ed to him the way of the Lord more perfe6lly. 
After this Apollos helped thofe much, who 
through grace had believed. Their attention, in 
this cafe, fhews their pious concern to be ufeful 
hy private inftru6lion. 

My Chriflian friends, you may greatly help 
your minifler, by inculcating on your families the 
truths which you hear from him — by adding your 
own to his reproofs and exhortations — by feafon- 
able admonitions to the young members of other 
families — and often, too, by your advice to him, 
as well as by applying for his advice in your fpir- 
itual concerns. Apollos, after he began to teach 
the things of the Lord, was more perfectly in- 


Serm. xvr. , ijf 

fliu6led in thofe things, by converfation with pri- 
vate Chriflians. 

You may be efpecially helpful by your holy 
example. This, as far as it is feen, will be a 
(landing exhortation to virtue, and reproof to 
vice. Let your light fo fliine, that all around 
you may fee your good vv^orks, and glorify God. 

4. They were doubtlefs helpful by thcir^?7zv€r5. 
Paul groatly valued the prayers of Chriflians ; 

and, from a perfuafion of his continual remem- 
brance in them, was mightily encouraged in his 
work. lie fays to the Corinthians, " God has 
delivered us from death, and we truft he will yet 
deliver us, you alfo helping together by prayer 
for us." — He cntreals the brethren, for the Lord 
Jefus's (iike, and for the love of the Spirit, that they 
would " llrive together with him in their prayers 
to God for him, that he might be delivered from 
them, who believe not : that his own feivice might 
be accepted of the faints ; that utterance might be 
given him ; and that he might fpeak the word, as 
he ought to fpeak." If the fervent prayers of the 
righteous avail much, they may, by their prayers, 
exceedingly help their minifler in his work ; and 
while they help him, they may help their own 
fouls, too, and the fouls of many around them. 

5. The Apoflle particularly rernarks, tJiat thefe 
perfons, J or his life, had laid down their ozun necks, 

for which fervice, not only he, hut all the churches of 
the Gentiles, gave them thanks. 

He here refers to fome cafe, in which they had 
Q 4 rcfcucd 

^52 Serm. XVL 

refcued his life with the hazard of their own. 
What the particular cafe was, we are not inform- 
ed ; but it was then in the churches a matter of 
pubiick notoriety, and general gratitude and praife. 
'Their motive, in this cafe, was not a partial 
aiFe6lion for Paul, but a regard to the general in- 
terell of religion. This Apoftle, in preaching 
the gofpel, ihewed the fame benevolence. He fays 
to the Philippiaas — If I be offered on the facrijice 
and fervice of your faith^ -^ PJ "^^^^ rejoice with you 
nil. And to the elders of Ephefus — In every city 
bonds and qffliciwns abide me ; but none of thefc 
ihings move me, neither count I my Ufe dear to my^ 
felf, fo that I may finifh my courfe with joy, and the 
miniftry, which I have received of the Lord Jefas, to 
iefify the gofpel of the grace of God. The Apoftle 
John fays — We ought to lay down our lives for the 
brethren. His meaning cannot be, that one man 
is fimply bound to die for another. This would 
be carrying the rule of benevolence beyond the 
limits which Chrift has ftated. " Love thy 
neighbour, as thyfelf." The precept, underftood 
in fo abfolute a fenfe, would come to nothing. 
For if I 3.m bound to take on myfelf my brother's 
danger, then he is bound immediately to take it 
back. But his intention muft be, that in fome 
extraordinary cafes, efpecially in cafes where the 
life and happinefs of numbers are depending, we 
ought to intcrpofe for the prefervation of our 
brethren, though it be with great danger to our- 
felves. On a principle of general benevolence, 


Serm. XVI. S53 

the Apoftle fought not his oum profit, but the 
profit of 7nany, that they might be favecl. He 
fuppofes itpoflible, that tor a good man, a man of 
extenfivc beneficence and ufefulnefs, in diftinc- 
tion from a man who is merely righteous, fome 
would dare to die ; becaufe with his life the hap- 
pinefs of numbers is conne6led. What the Apof- 
tle fo highly commends in Aquila and his wife, 
was their general benevolence ; their concern for 
the intereft of the churches, and their zeal for the 
extenfive fpread of the gofpel among the Gentiles. 
The fpirit which appeared in them, ought to op- 
erate in all Chiiftians, and fuch a fpirit, operat- 
ing in Chriflian profeffors, would greatly facili- 
tate and increafe the fuccefs of miniflers. 

III. There is one thing more to be obfervedirx 
the chara6ler of thefe perfons. They had a church 
in their houfe. Their family refembled a church. 

The honourable appellation, which the Apoflle 
beftows on their houfehold, fuggefts what a kind of 
family theirs was, and what every family ought to be. 

Tojuftify the application of fuch a nime, a 
family mufl be under wholefome difcipline and 
prudent government. There mufl be in it order 
and regularity. Each member mufl know his 
own Ration, and obfcrve his proper place. The 
heads mufl prefide with wifdom and dignity ; and 
the fubordinate members mufl obey with cheer- 
fulnefs, and fubmit with reverence. Slated wor- 
fliip mufl be maintarned, the fcriptures read, in- 
ftmtlions communicated, reproofs adminiflered, 


254 Serm. XVI. 

love diffiired through all the branches, and peace 
unite them in one body. Such is the proper ftate 
of a church, and fuch the ftate of a family which 
refemblcs a church. Such then was the houfe- 
hold of Aquila, which the Apoftle falutes by this 
honourable name, 

A houfe, in which there is no peace or order • 
no focial worfhip or religious inftru6lion ; but 
every one walks in his own way, and purfues his 
own inclination ; the heads contend with each 
other, and the children defpife both ; the former 
treat religion with ncgle6l, and the latter grow 
up in ignorance and vice ; fuch a houfe is not a 
church, but a Babel. 

We, then, who have the care of families, ought 
to make them churches. For this end we muft 
dedicate our children to God, and bring them up 
in his fear, inftru6t them in the doftrines of the 
gofpel, govern them with wifdom, lead them in 
prayer, encourage their attendance on the ordi- 
nances of the fan6luary, and inculcate on them 
the necefiity of a heart devoted to God. 

The Apoftle's commendation of the example 
under confideration, is a fevere reproof on thofe, 
who call not on God's name, nor train up their 
children in the way in which they fhould walk. 

The growth and profperity of the church of 
Chrift, depend much on family religion. As this 
is attended or negle6led, that will increafe or decline. 

Greater focieties are formed from fmaller ; 
churches grow out of families ; and the fpirit and 


Serm. XVI. 255 

complexion of the latter will be transfufed through 
the former. 

When family religion fmlcs into difufe and dif- 
credit, publick worfhip will be more and more 
negle6led, ordinances v/ili bcdoTpifed, the fabbath 
profaned, or but carelefsly obfervcd, and the 
number, or, at leaft, the proportion of open pro- 
fefTors, will diminifh more and more. 

But when families become little churches, real 
focieties of religion ; when prayer is maintained, 
inftrudion communicated, government exercifed, 
and order preferved, according to the commands 
of Chrift, then will the young, under thefc benign 
influences, fpring up as among the grafs, and as 
willows by the water courfes, and will yield the 
pleafant fruits of righteoufnefs, as plants which 
God has nourifhed. They will come and join 
themfelves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant. 
They will encourage one another, and fay, Come, 
let us turn to the Lord, let us go up to his houfe, 
and he will teach us of his ways, and we will 
walk in his paths. The church here below, thus 
growing out of godly families, will bear abeautiful 
refemblance to the church above. And the faints, 
tranflated to the fuperiour world, will find them- 
felves in the midft of that fociety, for which they 
were preparing on earth. The church will then 
be properly the gate of heaven, and eaf)^ will be 
the paiTage through this gate into the city of God. 



M A T T H E V/ 21. XV, Xvi. 

And when the chief priejls and fcribesfaw the zoon^ 
derjul things that he did, and the children crying 
in the teynple, and faying, Hofanna to the Son of 
David ; they were fore difpleafed, and faid unto 
him, ^ Hear eft thou what thefe fay ? And J^fui 
faith unto them, Yea ; ^ Have ye never read, Out of 
the mouth of babes and fucklings thou hafi perfeBed 
praife ? 

1 HE prophet Zechariah foretold, that 
the King of Sion would come to her, meek and 
lowly, fitting on an afs, on a colt, the foal of an afs. 
In this manner, the evangelifl tells us, Jefus once 
made his publick entry into Jerufalem. " In the 
eaflern countries, riding on horfes was anciently- 
reckoned the greateft oflentation of magnificence. 
It was therefore becoming the meeknefs of the 
lowly Jefus, that, in his eniry into the capital 
city, he chofe to ride on an afs. At the fame 


Serm. XVIL 257 

time, there was nothing mean or ridiculous in it, 
alles being the beafts, which the ea Herns common- 
ly made ufe of in riding." The particular reafon. 
of his riding into the city, might be the throng, 
which now, at the time of the pafTover, attended 
him, and which would have much incommoded 
him, had he walked on foot, as ufual. Befides ; 
as he was about to perform iome mighty works in 
the city, he might choofc, on this occafion, to be 
diftinaruiflied from the multitude. However, to 
avoid unneceffary oftentation, he rode in the hum- 
ble manner abovementioned. 

It was become a prevailing opinion, that he 
was the Meffiah, and would foon take the govern- 
ment into his hands. Many, probably, expe6led 
that he would do it at thi^ palfover. Some 
therefore fpread their garments in the way, and 
others cut down the boughs of trees, and ftrewed 
them along the road : A kind of honour, which 
was lometimes paid to kings when they entered 
into populous cities. When the front of the 
proceffion, which attended Jefus, had reached the 
" defcent of the mount of Olives, where the royal 
city role to view, they were met by a multitude 
coming from the city, to join them, with palm 
branches in their hands. As foon as thefe from 
the city met the proceffion, they exclaimed — Ho^ 
Janna, blejfed is the King of Jfrael, who comtth in the 
name of the Lord, The difciples attending Jefus, 
echoed back the {ixlnt^tion^-Hofanna to the Son of 
David ; blejfed is he who comcth in the name of ths 

Lord ; 

259 Serm. XVlI. 

Lord ; Hofanna in the higheji. When he came 
to Jemfalem, all the city was moved, faying, 
^ Who is this ? The multitude anfwered — This is 
Jefus the prophet of Nazareth. 

Jefus now enters the temple, purges it of the 
various articles of commerce whichhe found there, 
and reproves the traders for turning it into a houfe 
of merchandize. Awed by the acclamations of 
the multitude, they fubmitted to his authority. 

While he was in the temple, the blind, lame, 
and fick, in great numbers, were brought to him 
to be healed. The youth, v/ho attended the pafT- 
ovcr, as they ufually did from the age of twelve 
years, were afloniihed at the works whichhe per- 
formed. When they obferved, how the blind, 
who had been led groping along, now difmiffed 
their guides, and v/alked whither they would — 
how the cripples, v/ho had h<zzn laid down at 
his feet, rofe up and walked nimbly away — ^how 
the dumb, on a fudden, burll forth into praife; 
and the deaf, catching the fong, joined their joy- 
ful voice — they felt the power of convi6tion. and 
proclaimed him the promifed Meffiah. 

The fcribes and Pharifees, feeing his wonder- 
ful works, and hearing the acclamations of the 
children, were much difpleafed ; but being re- 
ftrained, by fear of the multitude, they m.ade no 
violent oppofition. They only expoftulated with 
him — ^ Heareji thou what ihefefay ? Infmuating, 
perhaps, that the children afcribed to him glo- 
ries, which he had no right to claim ; or that 


Serm. XVII. 259 

they uttered things which they did not under- 
iland. He anfwered them by a palFage from the 
eighth Pfalm. " i Have ye never read — Out of 
the mouth of babes and fucklings thou haft ordained 
praife .^" 

That Pi'alm was probably compofed by David, 
on the viflory whicli was obtained over the Phi- 
liflines, when he flew the giant of Gath. And 
the expreifion may be intended to celebrate the 
power of God, in accomplifliing fo great an event 
by fo feeble an inftrument. Or, it may allude 
to the fongs, in which the women, coming out of 
the cities with their children, celebrated this won- 
derful vidory. By applying to the prefent cafe 
thefe words of David, Jefus fignified, that the 
meaneft of God's works difplay his power ; and 
as the Father receives praife from the leaft of his 
creatures, fo the Son difdains not the honours of- 
fered him hy little children, In the prefent in- 
Ilance, their praife was peculiarly beautiful and 
pertinent, as it fliewed that Chrift's miracles v/erc 

fo illuftrious, as to flrike even youthful minds 
with wonder and conviction. The praife of the 

Redeemer, on this occaiion, might, with fmgular 

propriety, be faid, to be perfected out of the 

mouth of babes. 

From the paiTage nowillullrated, fomeinilruc- 

tions may bj collected efpecially pertinent to the 


1. We here fee, that real piety is not confined 

to men of years, or of learning. It fomctimes 


26o Serm. XVIL 

nyikes a lovely appearance in children and youth. 

While the Phaiifees and dodors of the law 
rcje6led the Rcdeemei:, praife to him was ordain- 
ed out of the mouth of 'babes. Thofe wonderful 
works, which the former perverfely imputed to 
the power of Satan, llruck the Jatter with con- 
viftion, that Jefus was the Chrift. Thofe doc- 
trines of grace, which awakened the indignation 
of the one, touched the hearts of the other with 
admiration, and tuned their lips to praife. The 
priefts and fcribes enjoyed the faireft opportuni- 
ties to hear the do61:rines, and behold the miracles 
of Jefus, and to obferve in him the fulfilment of 
the prophecies concerning the Meffiah. But their 
pride, ambition, and felfconfidence, rendered them 
blind to the evidence of truth, and infcnfible to 
the power of argument. Thefe tender minds, in 
which fuch perverfe atFeflions had not begun to 
operate, felt conviction, and embraced the truth, 
on the firft propofal of its evidence. 

Chriil crucified, was to the Jews a fiumbling 
block, and to the Greeks foolidmeis ;* but to them 
who were called, the power and the wifdom of 
God. Meek and humble minds difcern that wif- 
dom, and feel that power in religion, which the 
vain and feifrighteous will not confefs. Not 
many wife men after the flefli, not many mighty, 
not many noble, are called ; for God hath chofen 
the fooliih things of this world to confound the 
wife ; the weak things to confound the mighty ; 
and things which are not, to bring to nought 


Serm. XVIL 261 

things which are, that no flefh ftiould glory in 
his prefence. 

True religion in the heart depends not on fu- 
periour abilities, but on a teachable and humble 
fpirit. Our Saviour has inflru6led us, that if we 
would enter into his kingdom, we mud humble 
ourfelves, and become as little children. The 
Apoflles direft us, to receive with meeknefs the 
engrafted word, which is able to fave our fouls ; 
to lay apart all guile and hypocrify, and, like 
newborn babes, to defire the fincere milk of the 
word, that we may grow thereby. 

You fee, then, my young hearers, the wifdom 
of an early attention to religion. CertSiin natural 
qualities, favourable to religion, you have now ; 
but you will not carry them with you through 
life. In the firfl ftages of youth, there is a defire 
of knowledge, a fenfibility of mind, a modefty 
and docility of fpirit, which you will not retain 
after you have accuftomed yourfelves to the ways 
and manners of the world. When pride and 
hardnefs of heart fhall have fupplanted thefe 
natural difpofitions ; and when the perplexity of 
worldly cares and defigns fhall have banifhed all 
religious concern, you will, with greater difficul- 
ty and reludance, bow to the gofpel of Chrift, 
I If, before you can enter into the kingdom of God, 
you muft be brought to the tempers and difpofi- 
tions of children — muft, in a fenfe, come back to 
w^hat you are now, Is it not beft to enter into 
the kingdom now, while you are children, and 
R • before 

26:3 Serm. XVII. 

hefore you have outgrown the difpofitions which 
at prclent favour your entrance ? 

Your natural humility, tendernefs and teacha- 
blcnefs, are not real holinefs ; but they are cer- 
tainly more fc^vvourable than the oppofite tem- 
pers, to the introdudion of real holinefs. Tlie 
i^cripiure reprefents them fo, and urges you to 
take the benefit of them, while you may. 

2. We fee that religion, in its main fub dance, 
is adapted to the capacity of the young. 

The Jewifh children were eafily convinced, 
that Jefus of Nazareth was the promifed Meffiah. 
It required no laboured reafoning, or depth of 
learning, to fee, that no man could fpeak as he 
fpakc, oi' do the works which he did, except God 
were with him. 

The fyflem of religion contains, indeed, many 
things above thecomprehenfion, not only of chil- 
dren, but of mortals. Thefe, however, are not 
the moll, elfential things. What immediately re- 
lates to our duty, and concerns our falvation, is 
level to common capacities. The Apoflles, con- 
fidering theijifelves as debtors both to the wife and 
unwife, ufed great plainnefs of fpeech. They 
vf rote to young men and little children, as well 
as to aged men and fathers ; and >hey wrote with 

Think not, then, ye youths, that you may, for 
the prefent, poftpone religion, as a matter beyond 
yov}r capacity. In the Saviour's d^y, there were 
children, outof whofe niouthspraifewas perfected, 

I Does 

Serm. XVIl. 2^3 

I Does not every thing which you fee, teach 
you, that there is a God ; that he is powerful, 
wife and good ; and that you are daily depend- 
ent on him, and indebted to him ? — i Do you 
find any difficulty in underflanding good and 
evil, and in determining what you ought to do, 
and what you ought to avoid ? — ^ When you have 
finned, and doubtlefs you know that you fm 
often, Is it not a plain cafe, that God is diflion- 
cured and offended, and that you muft, hy re- 
pentance, apply to him for pardon ? The gof- 
pel teaches you, that God has fent his Son into 
the world to redeem fmners, by fuffering death 
for their fins, ^i Is not this an encouragement 
to your hope, and a motive to your repentance ?— 
I When you read the hiflory of your Redeemer's 
life, and obferve the meeknefs, humility, patience, 
goodnefs and benevolence, which appeared in 
him, Are you not pleafed with the example, 
and convinced that you ought to imitate it ? — 
^ When you are told, that you have immortal 
fouls, which mufl live in another world, and be 
happy or miferable there, according to the courfe 
which you now purfue, Are you in doubt to 
judge what is meant by all this, or what manner 
of perfons you ought to be ? 

Thefe are the great things, which immediately 
concern you ; and I queftion not, but you well 
underlland them. I am fure, that by attention, 
you may underfland them. The obligations of 
religion then lie on you, as well as on others. 
R 2 Think 

264 Serm. XVIL 

Think not to excufe yourfelves from it, as a mat- 
ter too high for you. Improve the advantages 
given you ; gain the knowledge which you may, 
and a6l according to the knowledge which you 
have, and you will doubtlefs meet the approba- 
tion of your God. 

3. From the example before us, we learn, that 
great benefit may accrue to youth, from a flated 
attendance on divine inflitutions. 

At the time of the paffover, thefe children met 
with Jefus in the temple. 

The paffover was inflituted in commemoration 
of the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt, and 
in prefiguration of the redemption of mankind 
by Jefus Chrift. One defign of thisfeftival was, 
that when children in time to come fhould in- 
quire, what was meant by this fervice, the parents 
fliould inflru6l them, how God, by a mighty 
hand, faved his people from bondage. As foon 
as children arrived to fuch an age, as to bring an 
offering in their hands, they were to appear with 
their parents at the temple, and there to celebrate 
the feafl. Luke tells us, It was the cuflom of 
the feafl for children to attend it, when they were 
twelve years old. 

The Jews, though much degenerated in our 
Saviour's time, generally obferved the publick 
forms of religion. They early brought their 
children to the paffover. Happy it was for many 
of them, that they were brought to this paffover. 
ilere they met with the Saviour. They faw his 


Serm. XVIL 26/5 


works, and heard his words ; their hearts were 
warmed with love to him, and their mouths were 
filled with his praife. What a lofs they might 
have fuflained, had they been abfent now ! Chrift, 
at appointed feafons, vifited the temple. He 
honoured divine inftitutions : They, who would 
receive his bleffing, muft honour them too. 

Publick worlhip is as much an ordinance of 
God under the gofpel, as was the palTover under 
the law. 

The example of the Jews, in bringing their 
children to the temple, reproves the negle6l of 
many Chriflians. ^ Do you imagine, that your 
children can receive no benefit from the fervices 
of the fanftuary ? You know not how early the 
grace of God may open the heart to attend to the 
things which are fpoken, and to receive the in- 
fluence of divine truths. By a regular and con- 
ftant attendance, they will be found in the way 
of God's bleffing. If they have not capacity to 
follow a train of thoughts through a fermon or 
prayer, yet their minds may be affeded with the 
general folemnity of the appearance. They will 
grow up with a fenfe that there is fomething im- 
portant in religion. They will be early habitu- 
ated to religious order. They will, now and 
then, imbibe a ufeful fentiment. They will grad- 
ually increafe in knowledge ; and, perhaps, fome 
leafonable admonition may leave an abiding im- 

R 3 Confider, 

266 Serm. XVII. 

Confider, ye youths, that there isnofmall haz- 
ard in an unnecceffary abfence from the place of 
ivorfhip, and in a carelefs behaviour there. You 
fee what certain youths obtained by an attend- 
ance at the paffover, and what they would have 
miffed, if they had refufed to repair to the tem- 
ple, when Jefus was there, or had been regardlefs 
of what they faw and heard. If you defire to 
know your Saviour, and to receive the bleffings 
of his love, come to the place, where he has ap- 
pointed to meet you. i Do you think lightly of 
the ftated worlhip of the Lord's day ? Let me 
afk you, ^ Is it not an inftitution of Chrift ; an 
inilitution, w^hich his difciples obferved, and 
which he himfelf honoured with his prefence ? — 
^ Is it a light matter to defpife the grace, the au- 
thority, and the example of your Redeemer ? — 
£ Do you not believe, that your falvation muft 
come from him ; that you mufl feek it in order 
to obtain it ; and feek it in the way, which he 
has prefcribed ? You thmk, perhaps, that a more 
private attendance upon him, will be fufficient. 
This indeed mufl b^ done ; but leave not the 
other undone. While you negle6l pubiick means, 
there is little room to hope for his blefling on 
private means, and littie reafon to believe, that 
you will regard them. Whatever you may pre- 
tend, as long as you are indifferent to the pub- 
Jick inflitutions of Chrill, you will pay no great 
attention to the more private cxercifes of piety. 

4. We 

Serm. XVII. \G7 

4. We arc here taught, that the young are un- 
der ibme fpecial obligations to acknowledge and 
praife the Redeemer. That which was chiefly 
comtnended iti thcfe Jewifh children, was, that they 
cried in the temple — Hofanna to iht Son of David, 
Their regard to the Saviour, led them openly to 
cbnfefs him in a publick afTembly. 

As Jefus is the author of falvation to finners, 
the mediator through whom they muft come to 
God, lo faith in him, love and gratitude to him, 
and an explicit acknowledgment of him, are ef- 
fential to real religion. Tlicfe regards and hon- 
ours to him, arc duenolefs from the young, than 
from others. 

True religion in you, my children, will operate 
in pious afFe6lions and exerciles of heart toward 
your Redeemer. You are a part of the fallen 
race, which he came to redeem. You have hn- 
ned and come fiiort of the glory of God ; and 
your falvation mufl come through him. He has 
expreffed a particular tendernefs and concern for 
fuch as you. He became a child, that he mighc 
leach you how children ought to walk, and to 
pleafe God. When he appeared in publick life, 
he never overlooked thofe of your age and (land- 
ing, lie gathered the lambs with his arms, and 
carried them in his bofom. Many of the mira- 
cles which he wrought, to confirm the tmth of 
his religion, were in healing the difeafes, and re- 
lieving the diflrelTes of the young. He dire6ied 
that children fhould be brought to him ; and 
R 4 thofe 

268 Serm.XVIL 

thofe who came he gracioufly received. He own- 
ed little ones as his difciples, and denounced his 
fevered wrath againft thofe who fhould dcfpife 
them, or lay Humbling blocks in their way. 
They had a particular fhare in his prayers on 
earth, nor can we think they are forgotten m his 
intercefTions above. Many declarations and prom- 
ifes he has made in their favour ; and has fol- 
emnly charged, not only parents, but miniflers, 
to feed his lambs. In them he encouraged the 
fmall beginnings of faith and piety. He was 
careful not to overburden the feeble, but to af- 
fift their virtuous refolutions. In his lafl fufFer- 
ings, he remembered children, and fpake of them 
with tender compaffion. And, i What think 
you ? — (4 Do you owe nothing to him ? — i Is he 
entitled to no regards and honours from you ? 
This Divine Benefa6lor had you much on his 
heart when he came from heaven, when he dwelt on 
earth, when he fufFered on the crofs, when he arofe 
and afcended to heaven : He has you on his heart 
Hill : And, ,3 Will you make him no returns ? Give 
him your hearts, and confecrate to him your lives : 
He has given his life for you. Renounce the vanitie* 
and vices of the world: He came to deliver you from 
this evil world. Confefs his name before men : He 
has not been alhamed to own and commend the 
youths who believed in him. In a word — by the 
mercies of Chrifl I befeech you, that you prefent 
yourfelves living facrifices holy and acceptable to 
him; which is your reafonable fervice. And be 


Serm. XVIL 269 

not conformed to this world, but be ye transform- 
ed by the renewing of your minds. 
■ We may obferve, once more, 

V. That youthful piety is peculiarly pleafmg 
to Chrift. 

When children fung praifes in the temple, Je- 
fus vindicated them from the obloquy of the im- 
pious fcribes, and applauded their faith and de- 
votion, as bringing glory to God. There were 
multitudes, who, on this occafion, fung the fame 
anthem of praife ; but the children he hngled out 
as obje6ls of his fpecial approbation and delight. 
Piety he loves in all ; but in none more than in 
the young. 

Fear not, ye ferious youths, that he will def- 
pife the day of fmall things — that he will difdain 
the praifes and prayers offered from your unin- 
flru6led tongues. He loves the undiffembled 
language of the penitent and believing heart, 
however incorre6l and imperfeft may be the lan- 
guage of the lips. He obferves your honefl refo- 
lutions, hears your humble prayers, and will af- 
fill your virtuous endeavours. He will not 
quench, but fan the fmoking flax. He will not 
break, but fupport the bruifed reed. The good 
work which he begins, he is ready to complete. 

Be encouraged, then, to commit your fouls to 
the care, and to devote your lives to the fervice, 
of your Redeemer. ^ W^hen you fee how plcafed 
he is with your obedience, Will you deny it to 
him ? — I When you obferve how he dchghts in 


270 Serm. XVIL 

your piaife, Will you be filent ? The prophet fays— 
He JJiallfee of the tra-vail tj his foul, and be fatisfied. 
Great were his fufFerings for the fins of men. 
But when he fees the fuccefs of them in bringing 
fmners to repentance and falvation, then he is 
fatisfied ; and peculiarly fo, when fuch as you are 
drawn to him. He has made a general declara- 
tion, that thofe who come to him, he will not 
cad out ; and a particular promife, that they who 
feek him early fhall find him. 

Go, my children, and feek him now. But 
think not at the fame time, to indulge the pleaf- 
ures of fin, and the vanities of the world. No ; 
if you feek him, let thefego their way. He bore 
your fms, that you, being dead to fm, fhould live 
unto righteoufnefs. 

Learn of him, and you will find that refl to 
your fouls, which is not to be found in the ways 
of the world. Take his yoke, for it is eafy. Sub- 
mit to the burden which he lays on you, for it 
is light, and his grace, in the time of need, will fuf- 
tain you. Trials you may meet with in his fervice, 
but he will not forfakeyou. He will proportion 
his grace to your temptations, or moderate them 
to your ftrength. He will lead you along by fuch 
gentle fleps, that you will not faint, nor be weary. 
He will flay his rough wind in the day of his eafl 
wind. He will gradually train you up to fuch 
ftrength and fortitude, that you may cheerfully 
meet every trial appointed you. Pleconfiders the 
weaknefs of your age, and the feeblenefs of your 

Serm. XVIL S71 

firfl virtuous purpofes. He knows your ftate, and 
remembers that you are babes. Wait on the Lord, 
and be of good courage, and he will flrength- 
en your heart. He givcth power to the faint ; 
and to them who have no might, he increafeth 
flrength. When the youths fhall faint and be 
weary, and the young men fhall utterly fall, they 
who wait on the Lord fhall renew their flrength. 
They fhall mount up with wings as eagles ; they 
fhall run, and not be weary ; they ftiall walk, and 
not faint. 



d n& tJy ccefsdu of earlu uL&uawn. 


Rcmemher now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, 

1 HIS advice of the preacher fuppofes 
the importance of the rifing generation. He con- 
fidered them as worthy of his particular atten- 
tion ; and furely they are worthy of their own. 
They fhould not view themfelves as infignificant 
beings, placed in the world only for amufement, 
pleafure and trifling, but remember, that their 
own happmefs, and the happinefs of multitudes 
around them, and of thoufands who are coming 
after them, much depends on the part which they 
fhall a6l in life. They can in no way anfwer 
the vaft defign of their intelledtual exiftence, nor 
fuflam the dignity of their rank in t^iii^ rational 
creation, without religion. The preacher, there- 
fore, in our text, earneftly admonifhes them — to 
remember now their Creator in the days oj their youth. 
We may obferve, 
I. God is here exhibited to them in the charac- 
ter of their Creator, 


Serm. XVIII. 273 

As creation is the firfl and moft obvious evi- 
dence, which they can have of the exiflence of the 
Deity, fo their firll apprehenfions of him, and re- 
gards to him, are in this chara6ler. In caUing 
them therefore to early religion, Solomon, with 
great propriety, exhorts them to remember their 

When they begin to refle£l, they find that they 
can look back but a few months or years ; that 
the other day they had not even an exiftence ; 
that very lately they rofe from nothing, and be- 
came fuch beings as they are. Hence they know, 
that there mud be fome invifible power, which 
made them. 

They find themfelves placed in a fpacious 
world, and furrounded with a thoufand wonders ; 
they behold the heavenly curtains flretched over 
their heads, and beautified with innumerable 
lights ; they fee the earth peopled with various 
kinds of creatures, and fpread with various boun- 
ties, for their fupply ; they obferve the rolling 
feafons, and the daily changes of light and dark- 
nefs. From hence they have fenfible evidence, 
that there is a fuperiour Being, who made and up- 
holds them, and all things around them. If they 
naturally conclude, that every houfe is builded by 
fome man ; the conclufion is as natural, that he wh& 
built all things, is God. 

Frora the inward powers of perception, thought 
and reafon, they know that the Creator mufl be 
perfectly wife, i For he who formed the eye. 


274 Serm. xviir. 

Shall not he fee ? — i He who planted the ear, 
Shall not he hear ? — ^i He who teacheth man 
knowledge, Shall not he know ? 

When they conhder the grandeur of the world, 
the mighty elFe6ls produced before their eyes, and 
the bountiful fupplies afforded to all living crea- 
tures, they are at once convinced, that their 
Creator is infinite in power, rich in goodnefs, and 
prefent in every place. 

Thefe fentiments of the Deity eafily arife in 
the mind of every ferious and contemplative 
youth. In the firfl openings of reafon, the young 
are more given to inquifitive fpeculation than 
perhaps fome are apt to imagine. The new ob- 
je6ls which continually meet their eyes, awaken 
thought and contemplation in their minds ; and 
if, in this early ftage, proper afliftance and en- 
couragement were afforded them, they would 
make eafy progrefs in the knowledge of moral 
and divine things, and deeply imbibe thofe fenti- 
ments of virtue and religion, which might abide 
with them through life, and preferve them from 
the fatal influence of temptation and vice. 
We may obferve, 

II. Solomon here expreffes the piety of the 
young by their remcinhering their Creator. 

It is ufual in fcripture to exprefs the whole of 
religion by fome leading temper or principle ; 
as the knowledge of God, faith in him, love to 
him, and the fear of him. When a particular 
virtue or duty is enjoined, as a condition of the 


Serm. XVIIL 275 

divine favour, vvc mud always underfland it, as 
including all thofe tempers and a6lions, which 
are naturally conne6i;ed with it, or flow from it. 
To know God, is to ferve him with an upright 
heart. To fear God, is to depart from evil. The 
love of God, is to keep his commandments. They 
who have believed in him, will be careful to main^ 
tain good works. 

In the fame latitude we mull; underftand the 
remembrance of God. This is not a tranlient 
thought, or occafional recoUedion, that there is 
a God; but an habitual, influential apprehenfion 
of him, and regard to him. It is fuch a firm be- 
lief of his exiflence, fuch a juft knowledge of his 
charaQer, fuch a lively and fleady fenfe of his 
prefence, as ihall awaken and preferve fuitable 
affedions to him, and produce a correfpondent 
life of humble obedience. 

Remembrance is not the learning of fomething 
new, but the recollefclion and retention of fome- 
thing already known. The young are here fup- 
pofed to have a knowledge of their Creator ; 
to have attended to the evidences of his exiflence ; 
and to have gained a general acquaintance with 
his chara6ter and will ; and they are dire6ted 
immediately to apply their knowledge to the pur- 
pofe of real, pradical piety. 

This is, then, the fpirit and meaning of Solo- 
mon's addrefs. 

" O youth, thou knoweft, that there is a God, 
who made thee, and who created the world, in 


276 Serm. XVIII. 

which thou art placed. And, i Wilt thou live 
unmindful of him ? Often coniider, what a be- 
ing he is. Remember that he is a being of in- 
finite power, wifdom, andrgoodncfs ; that he is 
always prefent with thee, obferving all thy 
thoughts, words, and adions, and that he will 
bring every work into judgment, with every lecret 
thing. Set him always before thine eyes, a6t un- 
der a fenfe of his prefence, call upon him for all 
that thou needed, give him thanks for all that 
thou enjoy eft, acknowledge him in all thy ways, 
approve thyfelf to him in all that thou doft, and 
feek his favour with thy whole heart." 
We may obferve, 

III. Solomon recommends to the young a di- 
reB and immediate application to religion. *' Re- 
member now thy Creator.*' 

There are few, perhaps, but who intend to de- 
vote themfelves to God. The young intend to 
ferve him in their youth. Though they procraf- 
tinate religion today, and think they may fafely 
do the fame tomorrow, yet they mean not to neg- 
left it through all the period of their youth. 
They have often been told, and they partly be- 
lieve, that youth is the moft favourable feafon to 
begin fo great a work. They know, that they 
are commanded to engage in it ; and they would 
not toholly difobey. But confider, my friends, 
the fame command, which enjoins you to remem- 
ber God mjj^owrjvoi^^A, enjoins you to remember 
him now. What part of youth you will take for 


Serm. XVIIL 277 

remembering God, is no more at your option, 
than what part of life you will take. You are 
as exprefsly required to ferve God in youth, as 
to ferve him at all ; ar^ to ferve him now, as to 
ferve him in youth. You have no more liberty 
to poftpone religion to the lafl: llage of youth, 
than to the lafl hour of life. 

Allow me then to inculcate upon you the ne- 
ceffity of early religion, and your obligation to 
apply yourfelves to it immediately, and without 

1. Let us refume the thought jufl now fuggeft- 
ed, that this is the exprefs command of your Cre^tor^ 

That religion is a matter of indifpenfable ne- 
cefiity, you will not deny ; for you believe, that 
there is an infinite, allperfeft God — that you are 
moral and accountable creatures — that yourhap- 
pinefs depends on his favour — and that you can. 
lecure his favour only by devoting yourfelves to 
his fervice. 

Now, while you acknowledge that religion is 
important to mankind in general, you muft ac- 
knowledge it to be equally important to your- 
felves in particular. For all the reafons in which, 
it is founded, take place with refpe61: to you ; 
and the divine command, which enjoins it in gen- 
eral, enjoins it exprefsly on you. If God had on- 
ly required his rational creatures to remember 
him, you muft have confidered yourfelves as com- 
ing within the intention of the command. But 
the matter is not left at large. You are exprefsly 
S and 

278 Serm. XVIII. 

and particularly pointed out as the fubjeQs of 
the command — Remember your Creator in the days 
of your youth. Begin a religious life with the firfl 
opening of your rcafon. , Devote to God your 
beft days, the flower of yoiir flrength. ^ Is there 
any room for evafion ? — -i Is there any fubter- 
fuge by which you can withdraw yourfelves from 
the authority of fo exprefs a command ? So long 
as you negle6t religion, you live in plain difobe- 
dience, not only to the command, which enjoins 
religion on all men, but to that alfo which en- 
joins it diftinftly and explicitly on you. And if 
repentance muft refped all known fm, it muft, 
whenever it takejs place, particularly refped this 
youthful delay of repentance. Paul laments, 
that he was born out of due time. He honours 
thofe who were in Chrift before him. 

2. To convince you farther of the neceflity of 
youthful religion, I would remind you of the 
means which God has required others toufewith 
you for this purpofe. 

Your Creator has brought you into exiflence 
in a manner favourable to your early nurture 
and education. He has placed you under the 
care of thofe who naturally feel for your welfare. 
Pie has, in moft exprefs terms, enjoined on 
them an attention to your moral condu^l; and re- 
ligious improvement. As you advance from 
childhood to youth, you become entitled to more 
publick inllruclions. The minifters of religion 
are to confider you as a part of their charge. 


Serm. XVIll. /jy^ 

While they intreat the aged to be grave, tem- 
perate, fober, and found in faith, they are to 
exhort the young to be foberniinded. 

If youthful religion was of little iqnportance, 
fuch orders would never have been given. If 
you had a right to live in the negle6l of religion, 
there could be no reafon, why they who go be- 
fore you, fhould teach you knowledge, make yoa 
to underftand do6lrine, and give you line upon 
line, and precept upon precept. The fuccefs of 
their labours depends on your concurrence. Ob- 
ftinacy and perverfenefs in you, will defeat their 
wifefl and bed endeavours. If they mufl inftru6l, 
warn and reprove, you muft hear, learn and 
obey. If they are to watch over you, you are to 
v/atch over yourfelves. If they are to commend 
you to the grace of God, you are to feek unto 
God betimes. Every precept which you find ia 
the Bible, requiring others to confult your fpirit- 
ual interefl, is an admonition to you of the ne- 
ceflity of early religion, and a call to remember 
your Creator in the days of your youth. 

3. The importance of youthful religion farther 
appears in the particular promifes of grace, which 
God has made to the young. 

The gofpel, which teaches us our native de-i 
pravity, and the neceflity of a moral change in 
our tempers, teaches us alfo, that to eflpeft this 
change a divine influence is neceffary. Sinners 
arc indeed required to make them a new heart. 
But whatever means they ufe for this purpofe, 
S z it 

s3o Serm. XVIIL 

it is the grace of God, which gives them fuccefs* 
And not only fo, but the firft convi6lions and 
awakenings, by which fniners are excited to the 
ufe of the appointed means of religion, are the 
eftefts of God's preventing grace. Behold, fays 
the Saviour, / /land at the door and knock ; if any 
man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in 
io him, and Jap with him. It i;^ not the fmner's 
towardiy difpofition, which firft invites the Sa- 
viour to knock ; but his knocking which firft 
awakens in the finner a difpofition to open. The 
firft motion is from the Saviour ; not from the 

Now it is to be remembered, that God has giv- 
en particular encouragement of fuccefs to them 
who feek him early. To them he will pour out 
his fpirit, and make known his words. To them 
he is peculiarly near, and of them he will be 
found. Wherever he fends his word, he fends 
the influence of his fpirit to accompany it. The 
gofpel is called the miniftration of the fpirit ; and 
men are faid to receive the fpirit in the hearing 
of faith. This gracious influence is efpecially 
promifed and vouchfafed to the young. This is 
God's promife to his covenant people— / will pour 
my fpirit on thy fed, aiid my bleffing on thine offspring. 
There is undoubtedly a time, when the fpirit of 
grace ftrives with them, to awaken ferious fenti- 
nients, convidions, and refolutions, and to excite 
their attention to their immortal intereft. He 
may ftrivc with finners in a more advanced age : 


Serm. XVIIL 281 

But in youth he fails not to flrivc often and earn- 
eflly. There are fome, whom God gives over to 
a reprobate mind. But thele arc fuch as have 
rebelled and vexed the Holy Spirit. There are 
fome, from whom the things of their peace are 
hidden. But there was firfl a day of yifitation. 

Remember, my young friends^ the peculiar ad- 
vantages which attend this early period of your 
life. You not only enjoy the external means of 
religion, but in addition to thefe, there are fome 
attendant influences of the Spirit, of which you 
are the fubje6ls. And let me alk you, i Have 
you not experienced them ? — ^ Can you not rec- 
olleti fome fenfible convidlions of confcience— 
fome deep remorfe for your youthful follies— 
fome fober refolutions for a virtuous life, which 
have been excited in your attendance on the ap- 
pointed means of religion ? — ^i Are not thefe the 
fruits of that promifeof the fpirit, which God has 
made to the young ? This is the voice of, divine 
wifdom ; and it is dire6led particularly to the 
young — If thou crieji after knowledge, and liftejl up 
thy voice for underfiaiiding ; if ihou fiekefl her as 
filver, and fear chef for her, as for hidden treafureSf 
tlh€ii flialt thou underftand the fear of the Lord, and 
find the knowledge of God. Turn ye at 7ny reproof - 
behold I will pour out my fpirit unto you. 

How precious is this opportunity ! You have 

not only the means of religion in common with 

others ; but calls and encouragements peculiar to 

yourfelves. Say not. There is nothing, which 

S 3 }'0U 

28^ Serm. XVIIL 

you can do. Impotent you are in yourfelves. 
But you are not left to yourfelves. Under the 
inftru6i:ions of the word, and the flrivings of the 
Spnit, there is fomething which you may do. 
Imagine not that all your prayers and endeavours 
are abomination to God. Thofe prayers and en- 
deavours, to which you are excited by the con- 
viftions and drivings of the fpirit of God, are 
not to be called by this name. God does not ab- 
hor the work of his own fpirit. I befeecH you, 
negle6l not this feafon. i When will you find 
another as good ? You may, perhaps, ftill enjoy 
fome of the fame means ; but you will not enjoy 
them all. Parental inftru6lions, admonitions, 
and reflraints, will foon ceafe. You will gradu- 
ally outgrow your native tendernefs and fenfibil- 
ity. Vicious indulgences will introduce ahard- 
nefs and obftinacy of heart. And, what is ef- 
pecially to be regarded, you will foon get beyond 
the encouragement arifmg from the promifes 
made peculiarly to the young. There is indeed 
always room for the awakened and thoughtful to 
hope in God's mercy. But the encouragements 
given efpecially to the young, you can apply no 
longer than while you are young. In a little 
time you will have no more right to them than 
your grandfires have now. You will have lofl 
the benefit of them. Your hope muft be drawn 
from more general declarations of God's mercy. 
^ Is it nothing to throw by an encouragement, 
which God has vouchfafed peculiarly to you ? — • 

Serm. XVIIL «8a 

I Is it not your wifdom to improve an opportuni- 
ty fo kind and favourable as this ? 

You cannot poflibly get forward to mature age, 
in a ftate of impenitence, without aggravated 
guilt. The guilt of abufmg youthful advantages, 
and of oppofing the fpirit of God, will purfue 
you through all the ftages of an ungodly life. 
If you believe that, in the work of your falvation, 
you are dependent on the grace of God, attend 
to it at this time, when you have the exprefs of- 
fers of his grace. You know not, but when this 
feafon is pail, his grace may be forever withdrawn. 

4. The various contingences, which attend fu- 
turity, prove the neceffity of early religion. 

If religion is neceffary to your eternal happi- 
nefs, it demands your immediate attention. Rafb 
adventures in matters of everlafting importance, 
ought never to be made. The frailty and un- 
certainty of human life are plain to your obfer- 
vation, and ought to befamiliar to your thoughts. 
The continuance of reafon depends on God's good 
pleafure ; not on your intentions. What changes 
of condition await you, and how foon you may 
be placed beyond the enjoyment of the means of 
falvation, you know not. Nor can you tell what 
temptations and inticements may meet you, when 
you ftep forward on the ftage, mingle in the af- 
fairs, and aflbciate with the men of the world. 
If the principles of virtue are not early fixed in 
your hearts, the dangers before you may be fatal. 
There is fuch a thing as the final withdrawmeni 
S 4 of 

ft84 Serm, XVIIL 

of God's grace, and a heart hardened through the 
deceitfulnefs of fin. We hope this not to be the 
cafe of the young. But the highminded and pre- 
fumptuous youth, knows not how foon it may be 
his cafe. 

You fee then, that you have no fecurity of any 
opportunity but the prefent. All before you is 
darknefs and uncertainty. If you confider re- 
ligion as neceffary, it is your wifdom to engage 
in it immediately. Remember now your Creator, 
before the evil day comes. Put not far from you 
this evil day. Give glory to God, before he caufe 
darknefs, and before your feet {tumble on the 
dark mountains ; left, while you look for light, 
it be turned into the fhadow of death. 

5. Befides thofe folemn arguments, which are 
taken from another world, the fcripture often 
urges youth to early religion by arguments taken 
from this world ; which, though far lefs import- 
ant in themfelves, are adapted to influence tender 
minds juft opening to worldly profpe6ls. 

Come, ye children, fays David, hearken unto me^ 
and I will teach you the fear of the Lord, ^ What 
man is he that defireth life, and loveth many days, 
that he may fee good ? Keep thy tongue from evil, and 
thy lips from [peaking guile. Depart from evil and 
do good ; feek peace and purfue it. In the writ- 
ings of Solomon, fimilar obfervations often oc- 
cur. — My fon, forget not my law, hut let thine heart 
keep my commandments ; for length of days, and long 
life, and peace fhall they add to thee. Honour the 


Serm. XVIII. 285 

Lord tuilh thy fuhjlance, and with the firjl fruits of 
all thine increafe ; fo fhall thy hams be filled -with 
plenty. — Happy is the man that findeth wifdom — 
Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left 
hand riches and honour ; her ways are ways of pleaf- 
antnefs, and all her paths. are peace. 

Virtue has her native charms, which, properly 
difplayed, will command efteem even from thofe 
who have noi chofen her for their companion. 
But her charms never appear to greater advantage, 
tlian when difplayed in the chara6ler of the young. 
I Did you ever fee a youth, who, impreffed with 
the fear of God, and a fenfe of futurity, carefully 
ihunned the follies and vices of the world, and 
ileadily purfued the path of wifdom — whofe nat- 
ural gaiety was tempered with a religious gravi- 
ty — whofe language, though cheerful, was always 
difcreetj and whofe manners, though focial, were 
ftri6lly chafle and puie — who had prudence to 
decline the known occafions of evil, refolution to 
withfland a bold temptation, and fortitude to re- 
jeQ a wicked inticement — who could, on proper 
occafions, mingle with his youthful companions, 
and yot have no fellowfliip with their unfruitful 
works, but rather reprove them — whofe govern- 
ing aim was to aQ right, without the vanity of 
human applaufe — and who, while lie maintained 
a virtuous chara6ter, ever preferved a modefty 
and humility becoming his age ? — i Did you ever 
fee fuch a youth ? Tell me, if you did not efleem 
him ; if you did not covet his reputation^ and al- 


ftSS Serm. XVIIL 

mofl envy his happinefs. -^ Have you ever feen 
a contrary chara6ler ? and, ^j Did you not def- 
pife and condemn it ? Believe then, that the vir- 
tuous youth has favour and good underftanding 
in the fight of God and men. 

As you are rational beings, you have a part to 
a6l in the world. You are to be members of fo- 
ciety, and to take a fhare in the common concerns 
of human life. It is not your wifh, nor was it 
the Creator's defign, that you fliould pafs through 
life folitary and unconnefted. No man lives 
merely to himfelf. Early piety will lay a foun- 
dation for your future dignity and ufefulnefs. Re- 
ligion has fomething to do in every ftation, and 
in every calling ; nor can you properly fill your 
circle without it. Whatever may be the bufinefs 
afligned you, truth, juftice and benevolence, are the 
principles which mufl govern you. Thefe you 
ought early to poffefs, that you may always feel 
their influence. A habit of duplicity, fraud and 
unrighteoufnefs, formed in youth, will operate 
in the concerns of manhood, and foon plunge 
you into infamy and ruin. If you now banifh 
religion from your thoughts, you banifh all rea- 
fonable hope of worldly reputation and profperi- 
ty, as well as of future glory. 

Think not, however, that the chief reward of 
piety is in this world. It will indeed bring you 
many blcfTings, and fecure you from many evils ; 
but ftill you are in a world of mortality 
^nd change. 


Serm. XVIII. 287 

Difappointment, pain, ficknefs, fovrow and 
death, await the faint in common with others : 
But he has confolations, to which the guilty can. 
make no claim. Peace of confcience, and hope in 
God, a pcrfuafion that all things are meant for 
his good, and the profpe6l of immortal glory be- 
yond the grave, are comforts which dehght his 
foul in the day of afflidion and in the approach 
of death. Since no man can efcape thefe events, 
it is every man's wifdom to be prepared for them. 
Rehgionis the only preparation ; religion in youth 
is feafonable preparation. If it would be defira- 
ble to efcape affliclions ; next to this, atleaft, it is 
defirable to be prepared for them. Your prepa- 
ration cannot be too foon, for the neceffity may 
be near. 

You will, I prefume, fet out in life with a de- 
fire of ufefulnefs. To crawl obfcurely through 
the world, like a mere reptile, only to eat and 
fleep, and breathe and die, is too defpicable an idea 
for a rational being. To live only that you may 
diflurb the peace, wound the feelings, injure the 
chara6lers, and corrupt the manners of mankind, 
is too near an imitation of infernal fpirits, not to 
be abhorred in your thoughts. <; Is it then your 
aim to fpend life with dignity to yourfelves, and 
ufefulnefs to others ; to enjoy peace of mind 
while you live, and good hopes when you die ; 
to be had in honourable remembrance among 
thofe who furvive you ; and to meet the fmiles of 
angels, and the approbation of the Judge of all ? 


£88 Serm. XVIII. 

Remember now your Creator in the days of your 
youth. Know the God who made and preferves 
you, whofe mercy is your hope, and whofe fa- 
vour is your happinels ; ferve him with a perfe6l 
heart, and with a willing mind. If you feek him, 
he will be found of you ; if you for fake him, he 
will call you off forever. 

However indifferent this advice may feem now, 
the day is coming, when you will feel its import- 
ance. As you are now climbing the hill, and 
rifmg to maturity, worldly profpe6ls open and 
expand to your view, and you promife your- 
felves a delightful and pro iperous journey through 
life. But, believe me, you will foon pafs the 
fummit, and find yourfelves treading the down- 
ward path : Then your worldly profpe61;s will 
fhorten and fhorten, and the fhadows will flretch 
over your heads ; and when you fink into the vale 
of old age, your worldly profpefts will difappear. 
Happy then, if you have better profpe61:s in God. 

Hear now the conclufion of the whole matter. 
Fear God, and keep his commandments ; for this is the 
xvhole duty of man. For God will bring every work 
i\ito judg7nent, with every fecret thing, whether it be 
good, or whether it be evil, 


^ ^1. 



Proverbs 2. x, xi, xii. 

When wifdom cntereth into thine heart, and knowledge 
is pleajant unto thy foul, difcretionjhall prefervc 
thee, and underjlanding Jliall keep thee ; to deliver 
thee from the way of the evil man ; from the man 
that fpeakeih froward things. 

Several of the firfl chapters of this 
book, and this in particular, where our text is, 
are exprefsly addreffed to the young : And the 
declared intention of them is, to give wifdom to 
the fimple, and tv the young man knowledge and dif 
cretion. That by wifdom and knowledge we are 
here to underftand the principles and di6lates of 
virtue and religion, is fo well known to all who 
are acquainted with the writings of Solomon, that 
there is no need of adducing in^ances to prove it. 
Religion is founded in knowledge, and there- 
fore it is called by this name. He who a6ts re- 
ligioufly, ads underflandingly. When knowl- 

290 SfiRM. XIX, 

edge is pleafant to his foul, uhderftanding will 
keep liim. 

Tlie young, however, are to confider; that there 
are inftrudions, which caufe to err from the words 
of knowledge. Solomon therefore urges the ne- 
cefiity of dijcretion and underjlanding, to deliver 
them from the way of the evil man, the man who 
fpeaketh froward things ; who leaves the paths of up^ 
rightnefs to walk in the way of darknefs ; who rejoices 
to do evil, and delights in thefrowardnefs of the wicked. 

The ferious youth will then inquire, ^j How he ftiall 
diftinguilh between truth and errour ; be(ween 
the path of uprightnefsand the way of darknefs ? 

My defign is to anfwer this inquiry. And I 
folicit the attention of my young hearers, while I 
lay before them fome plain rules for forming juil 
opinions in matters of religion. 

I. Let your minds be impreffed with this fenti- 
ment, that there is fuch a thing as religion ; and 
that it is oi ferious importance. 

While you are inquiring what religion is, re- 
folve to embrace it, and to walk agreeably to it. 
Wifdom muft enter into your heart ; knowledge mufl 
be pleaf ant to your foul, that it may deliver you from, 
the way of the evil man. 

If you confider religion merely as a matter of 
fpeculation and amufement, you will fail in with 
thofe opinions and ufages, which beft pleafe your 
humour and inclination ; or which are recom- 
mended by your favourite company and connex- 
ions ; or rather, you will receive no opinions 


Serm. XIX. 29^ 

heartily but thofe which relax the obligations 
of virtue. 

When you fee men trifling in religion, turning 
with every tide, and veering about with every 
wind of dodrine ; when you hear them talk light- 
ly about the concerns of futurity, and arguing in 
lupport of notions which favour a licentious life ; 
when you obfervc them pleafed in throwing ofF 
thofe principles, which are the greateft reflraints 
from vice, and the mod powerful incentives to 
virtue ; whatever degree of ingenuity, and what- 
ever tafte for reading they difcover, you may cer- 
tainly conclude, that they are not inquiring after 
truth; but are contriving to fatisfy their con- 
fcience in a courfe which they are determined 
to purfue. 

The reafon why many run into errours in re- 
ligion, is, becaufe knowledge is not pleafant to 
their fouls ; the love of wifdom has never enter- 
ed into their hearts. 

Religion, in its great and eflential truths and 
duties, is fo plain, that to underftand it, there 
n^eds only ferious inquiry, guided by a fenfe of 
its importance. 

Look around, and you will fee that there is a 
Deity daily prefent with you and working in 
your fight. Look into yourfelves, and you will 
perceive that you are free and accountable 
creatures. You muft then be under fome obli- 
gations to this fupreme Deity, And thefe obli- 

gations are religion, 


59^ '■ Serm. XIX, 

The obligations of creatures to their Creator, 
and the duties of moral beings dehgned for im- 
mortality, mull be infinitely importnnt ; and 
therefore allyour religious inquiries fliould be con- 
duced with the greateil ferioufnefs and integrity. 

II. Always remember, that religion is agreeably 
to the nature of God, As it is a fervice which you 
owe to him, your ideas of it mufl correfpond 
with his moral charader. 

Holinefs, juftice, truth, mercy, and goodnefs, 
are perfe6i;ions of the Deity ; and in an imita- 
tion of thefe perixiclions religion primarily confifls. 

The gofpel requires, that you become partakers 
of a divine nature — that you be renewed after the 
image of him who created you — that you be fol- 
lowers of God as dear children — that you be holy; 
as he is holy ; righteous, as he is righteous ; mer- 
ciful, as he is merciful : andperfeft, asheisper- 
feft. You mud then, in all your religious in- 
quiries, keep the divine character in your mind, 
and admit for truth nothing which evidently con- 
tradi61;s it, or refleds diflionour upon it. 

Purity in heart, reditude in your intentions, 
fincerity in your profefTions and in all your lan- 
guage, juftice and probity in youra6lions, mercy 
to the unhappy, forgivenefs and love of enemies, 
and good will to all men, are the principal linea- 
ments and features in a relisrion which God 
will accept. Other things are necelTary as aids 
to religion ; but thefe muil always be regarded 
as the great and Vv'eighty matters, 

III. To 

Serm. XIX. 


III. To judge what religion is, you mull al- 
ways confider, that it is a rational thing. 

As it is appointed by a God of wifdom, yoU 
may conclude, that it bears obvious marks of his 
wifdom ; and as it is defigned for intelligent 
creatures, you may be affured, that its do6lrines 
and precepts are adapted to your underftanding, 
judgment, and confciencc. There may be doc- 
trines in it beyond the difcovery, and above the 
comprehenfion of your reafon ; for even in the 
natural world you meet with a thoufand unfearch- 
able wonders ; but the do6lrines of religion, 
when they are once difcovered, and when the ev- 
idence of them is flated, will appear reafonable 
to be believed, and plain, as far as they concern 
your pradice. 

Religion, indeed, confifls much in the exer- 
cife of the affections ; as fear and hope, love and 
hatred, forrow and joy. But thefe affeftions can 
no farther bear a part in religion, than they are 
under the dirc6lion of the underftanding. They 
muft not be the fortuitous fallies of a blind and 
heated imagination ; but the calm and rational 
exercifes of an enlightened and well inftru6led 

The religious man knows why he is affeded in 
fuch a manner — why he hopes or fears — why he 
loves thefe obje6ls and hates the contrary — why 
he is grieved, and why he rejoices. Farther than 
there is a reafon for thefe affedlions, there can 
be no religion in them, 

T It 

5294 Serm. XIX. 

It is poflible, that one may be under painful 
apprehenfions of future punifliment, and yet have 
no difpofition to repentance. If his terrours 
arife, he knows not why, or from what ; if he 
has noide^a, what it is that expofes men to the 
wrath of God, and no fenfe of any thing in himfelf, 
that deferves it, there is nothing in all his terrours, 
which partakes of the nature of religious convic- 
tion, or that leads to real amendment. True 
convi6tion is a knowledge of fin by the law, a 
knowledge of one's own fin, by comparing himfelf 
with the lavv% and a knowledge of the exceeding 
j&nfulnefs of hn, as a tranfgreliion of the law. 

Religious hope is not a blind and hally confi- 
dence of future happinefs, but a rational and 
fcriptural expectation of it, founded in the gra- 
cious promifes of God, and appropriating thefe 
promifes by a fincere and deliberate fubmiffion 
to the terms of them. 

The pious man loves God, from a believing 
view of him, as a holy, jufl, good, and excellent 
being ; and he hates jm from a fenfe of its con- 
trariety to the will and chara6ler of God, and its 
inconfiilency with his own perfedlion and hap- 

Holy joy fprings not from an accidental flow 
of the animal fpirits, but from an experimental 
evidence of our fmcerity, and of our confequent 
intereft in the favour of God. 

True religion is devout, but not fupcrjlitious. 
It will excite you to frequent converfe with God, 


Serm. XIX. 295 

and to a diligent attendance on all the inflituted 
forms of vvorfhip ; but it will not allow you to 
reft in theie exercifes, as the great, or the only 
things required. It will regard them, notasfub- 
ftitutes for holinefs, or compenfations for the 
want of it, but as means to promote the exercife 
of it in the heart, and the pra6lice of it in the 
life. To attend on the inftitutions of God with 
engagednefs of afFeftion, and purity of intention, 
is devotion. To lay the principal weight on the 
ceremonial part of religion, or on devices and in- 
ventions of men, is fuperftition. 

True religion is affeElionate, but not enthiifiajlick. 
It is affedionate or fenfible, in oppofition to 
jlupidity I but not wild in oppofition to reafon. 
There may be a rational aflent to the truths of 
religion, without a heart to feel them, or be gov- 
erned by them. This is Jlupidity. True faith is 
accompanied with a fenfe of the importance of 
the things believed. Where this fenfible belief 
takes place, there will be virtuous refolutions 
and holy affedions — there will be forrow for fin, 
hope in God's mercy, gratitude to the Redeemer, 
admiring thoughts of the gofpel falvation, earneft 
defires of an intereft in it, and humble joy in the 
evidences of a title to it. Thefe are rational ex- 
ercifes of mind, and they belong to true piety. 

But then to make the whole of religion confift 
in inward emotions — to confider the occafional 
flow of pa [Ron as a fign of grace in the heart- 
to depend on our lively feelings as indications of 
T 2 the 

296 Serm. XIX. 

the divine will — to determine our duty, or our 
Hate, by impreflions made on the imagination — 
and implicitly to follow every powerful impulfe, 
or fudden fuggeflion, in oppofition to the dic- 
tates of reafon and the voice of revelation, this is 
to fupplant religion by enthufLofm. 

Though every degree of this fpirit may not be 
inconfiftent with integrity, yet the full dominion 
of it will exclude religion. 

Bear it then in your minds, that r-cligion is a 
reafonablefcrvice. Employ your reafon in judg- 
ing what is right ; and, that you may be furnifii- 
ed for judging, apply to the word of revelation. 

IV. Religion muft be a work fuited to the na- 
ture and condition of man. 

God treats ail creatures as they are ; and re- 
quires of them according to what he has given 
them. He requires not of men all the fame 
things w^hich he exa6ls of angels ; nor would he 
tolerate in angels the fame things which he par- 
dons in men ; for he knows our frame ; he re- 
members that we are dud. 

Man confifts of a material bod)^ and a ration- 
al mind. While he dwells in the body, he mull 
take care of its concerns, and provide for its fup- 
port. His religion therefore cannot luholly con- 
fid in the fpiritual exercifes of angels, or in fuck 
a rv.'finement and elevation of fpirit, as would en- 
tirely detach him from the world : For this would 
be inconfident with his prefent condition and 
connexions. As he is to confult the health and 


Serm. XIX. 297 

comfort of his body, and contribute to the hap- 
pinefs of thofe around him, fo induftry in his 
calling, prudence in his bufinefs, frugality in the 
ufe of his fubftance, temperance in the enjoyment 
of divine bounties, belong to religion in the pref- 
ent Hate. 

You mufl be weaned from the world by the 
moderation, not wholly abjflracled from it by the 
extinclion, of your earthly affe6tions. The former 
is necefTary to fit you for heaven. The latter 
would unfit you for the world before it is time 
to leave it. 

The mind, however, is far the fuperiour part. 
This will always claim your chief attention, that 
you may enlarge its capacity, furnifh it with 
knowledge, re6tify its miftakes, eradicate evil 
habits, introduce and improve virtuous princi- 
ples, reflrain the paflions, and prevent them from 
enflaving the nobler powers. 

The duties relating to the body, and the mind, 
though different in themfelves, are nearly con- 
ne6i:ed, and mutually fubfervient. You cannot 
complain, that worldly bufinefs calls you off 
from the care of your fouls ; nor under pretence 
of engagednefs in your falvation, can you excufe 
your negle6t of fecular duties. Every duty claims 
its place, and an attention to each, in its place, 
will facilitate the pra6lice of the others. 

You ought farther to confidcr your vicral con- 

T 3 You 

agS Serm. XIX. 

You are fallen creatures ; but placed under 
the hopes of pardon and life through a Mediator. 
And religion includes in it fuch tempers and du- 
ties, as correfpond with fuch a condition. 

The gofpel plan is founded on the fuppofition 
of a fa6i;, which experience and obfervation can- 
not but acknowledge ; that all have finned, and 
come fhort of the glory of God. Revelation 
teaches us, that God, in compaffion to our apof- 
tate race, has fent into the world a glorious Sav- 
iour, who, by aflTuming our nature, and fuflper- 
ing in our place, has opened a way for the exer- 
eife of pardoning mercy to repenting iinners. 

The religion of an innocent creature, confifls 
in a continued obedience to the will of God. 
But the religion of a fmner muft begin in repent- 
ance of fin, and return to God. Your firft care 
then, mull be to know yom-felves. and to obtain 
God's grace for the renovation of your fouls, and 
his mercy for the remiffion of your fins. Your 
acceptable application t6 God, can be only in the 
name of the Saviour, whom he has ordained, and 
by an attendance on the means, which he has ap- 
pointed. You muft compare yourfelves with his 
word, encourage ferious convi6tions and virtuous 
xefolutions, fliun known temptations and danger- 
ous connexions, attend on the inflitutions of the 
gofpel, frame your ways to turn to the Lord, and 
feek his favour, until you find. 

Viewing yourfelves as fallen creatures, you 
will fee thefe to be reafonable exercifes, and wec- 


Sjerm. XIX.. zg^ 

effarily belonging to religion. Every thing, there- 
fore, which tends to pride and felf confidence, 
and which encourages boafting and oflentation, 
is contrary to the nature of true religion. This 
will always be modell and humble. It will dif- 
pofe you to judge of yourfelves with caution ; 
to judge of others with candour. 

V. You mufl always remember that religion is 
a benevolent and ufe/ul thing ; and that, wherever 
it takes place, it makes men better than they were 

It confifls not in empty noife and vain fliow ; 
but in folid virtue and fubflantial goodnefs. That 
cannot be religion, which leaves men as they 
were, or makes them worfe, or which only fup- 
plants one vice by introducing another ; but that 
which makes them new creatures. Paul fays of 
Onefimus — Li time pad he was unproJiLable, but 
now profitable. The works of faith are good and 
profitable to men. 

Religion does not effentially confifl in little 
niceties and trifling diilinftions, which neither 
influence the heart, nor concern the praftice; nor 
in the obfervance or reje6lion of particular rites 
and forms, which a man may ufe or difufe with- 
out prejudice to real virtue in himfelf or others ; 
nor in a zealous attachment to, or angry abhor- 
rence of, this left, or that church, in which, as in 
mod other fields, there are fome tares and fome 
wheat : but in fomethincr more excellent and di- 
vine. That, in a word, is true religion, which 
T 4 makes 

3oa Serm. XIX; 

makes a good man — which renders one pious to- 
ward his God — conformed to the pattern of his 
Saviour — benevolent to his fellow men — humble 
in his temper and manners — peaceable m fociety — • 
juft in his treatment of all — condefcending in 
cafes of difference — ftri6l in the government of 
himfelf — patient in adverfity — and attentive to 
bis duty in all conditions and relations of life. 
When you fee fuch a character, you may believe, 
that religion is there.' When you find this to be 
jrour chara6ler, you may believe, that wifdom 
has entered into your heart. 

You are to diflinguifh between truth and er- 
rour, and to embrace the one and rejed the other. 
But never lay great wait on things, which have no 
relation to practice ; nor make light of great 
things, which are immediately conne6led with duty. 

If you fee a man meek, humble, peaceable, fo- 
ber and benevolent, careful to praftife piety him- 
felf, and to promote it among others, you may 
think him religious, though you fuppofe him to 
have adopted fome groundlefs opinions. If you 
fee one contentious about religion, condemning 
all who think not as he does, bufy in fowing the 
feeds of difcord, and in caufmg divifions among 
brethren, and more zealous to make profelytes to 
his own party and opinion, than to make good 
men of his profelytes ; whatever you may think of 
his heart, you will at leafl: conclude, that his zeal 
h not according to knowledge. 


Serm. XIX. " got 

Judge then of the truth and importance of 
do6lrines by their pra6tical tendency and obferva- 
ble efFe6ls. If an opinion is propofcd to you, in- 
quire, what influence it would naturally have. 
I Would it awaken in you a more ferious con- 
cern about futurity, give you a deeper fcnfe and 
ftronger abhorrence of fm, make you more care- 
ful in duty, and more watchful againft tempta- 
tions ? — Or, on the other hand, i Would it render 
you more thoughtlefs and fecure, more pliant to 
the cufloms of the world, and more rcgardlefs of 
moral obligations ? — An honcft anfwer to thefe 
inquiries will determine the truth and impor- 
tance of mofl do61;rincs, concerning which any 
doubts may arife. For as the defign and tenden- 
cy of the gofpel is to make men better, fo, if any 
do6lrine has a contrary influence, you may con- 
clude, either that it is not a do6lrine of the gof- 
pel, or that it meets with a temper exceedingly 

VI. Judge of things doubtful by things zuhich 
are plain. 

The great precepts and the leading do6i:rines of 
Revelation are eafy to be underftood. — The fcrip- 
lures are given by infpiration of God, and arc profi- 
table for doHrine, reproof corrcBion, and infruclion 
in right coy fnefs ; and they arc able to furnifi not on- 
ly the man of God, but tlie pious youth, unto every 
good work. Timothy, from a child, underflood the 
holy fcriplures. The way of holinefs, is a high way, 
?i path fo plainly 4i'awn in the chart of the divine 


30^ Serm. XIX. 

word, that the wayfaring man, though a fool,Jkall 
not err therein. 

There are alfo many obfcure paffages, which 
are difFerently underflood even by the learned ; 
and which, by the young, perhaps, cannot be un- 
derflood at all. But ever make plain things the 
rule by which to govern your conduft, and the 
ftandard by which to prove what is doubtful. 
Never interpret the latter in contradidion to the 
former ; but either underlland them in a fenfe 
agreeable to plain fcripture, or leave them as 
they are. You never will fufFer for want of the 
knowledge of a dark text, as long as you a6l in 
obedience to thofe which are plain. 

VII. If a matter propofed to you, in a way of 
in{lru£lion or advice, appears doubtful, Jufpeni 
your refolution, until you have made farther inquiry. 

When you feel a difpofition to receive, or to 
rejed the propofed advice, examine what is your 
view and defign. i Is it that you may (land ap- 
proved to God ? or, I That you may gratify fome 
humour and paffion of your own ? If you reje6l 
it, aflc yourfelves, whether you are rationally 
convinced, that it is wrOng in itfelf, injurious to 
your charafter, and dangerous to your virtue ; 
or whether you only view it as contradiQing fome 
favourite habit, pleafure or purfuit. If your in- 
clination is to adopt the inftrudion given you, 
examine from whence this inclination arifes. 
I Does it arife from convidion of the truth and 
importance of the matter in queflion ? or, i From 


Serm. XIX. 503 

its acrreeablenefs to that manner of life, which 
you choofe to follow, and from its tendency to 
fecure you againft the juft reproaches of your 
confciencc ? 

Informing your judgment concerning religious 
truth, and moral obligation, never fuffer lull, 
paffion, prejudice, or focial connexion, to have any 
influence. Examine and decide calmly and dif- 
pafTionately. Confidei-, what you approve, and 
what you condemn in others — what advice, in 
a ferious hour, you would give to a friend — if 
you were a parent, what counfel and in{lru6tion 
you would inculcate on a fon or daughter, whofe 
reputation andhappinefsyou was anxious to pro- 
mote — fuppofe yourfelf near the clofmg fcene, 
and think, what you would approve or condemn 
in fo folemn a period. Judge in this manner, 
and you will feldom judge wrong. A judgment 
and refolution, formed with thefe cautions, you 
may venture to follow. They will not lead 
you aftray. 

I would not forget to recommend, nor fhould 
you neglect to maintain a continual intercourfe 
with your Maker. 

As religi'on is the obligation, which you are 
under to him, folicit his grace to lead you into 
jufl fentiments of it, and to imprefs thefe fenti- 
ments deeply on your hearts. Aware of the dan- 
;7ers which attend the prefent ftage of your life — 
aware of the fedu6lions of a deceitful heart, and 
the temptations of a guilty world, feek wiidom 


§04 Serm. XIX. 

from the Father of lights — feek direftion from 

him, who teaches the meek his way — feek pro- 

te6lion from him, whofe eye beholds the flate, 

and whofe ear attends the prayer of the humble. 

If thou criejl after knowledge and Uftejl up thy 

voice for underflanding ; f thou feekefl her asfilver^ 

and fearchefl for her, as for hidden treafures^ then 

flialt thou underfand the fear of the Lord, andfnd 

the knozoledge of God. For God giveth wifdom ; out 

of his mouth cometh knowledge and underflanding ; 

he layeth up found wifdom for the righteous ; he is a 

luckier to them who walk uprightly ; he keepeth the 

path of judgment, and preferveth the way of the 

faints. Thus fhalt thou underfland righteoi fiefs, 

judgment and equity ; yea, and every good path. 




fj a^nijoTi jno%7i of hid Jlocht 

Judges, i6. xx. 
Tht FhiUJlines be upon thee, Samfon, 

And, I What then ?— ^ What can the 
Philiflines do to Samfon, the man of invincible 
ftrength ? He has proved himfelf more than a 
match for a thoufand of them. He once entered 
alone into one of their principal cities, flew thir- 
ty men, took their fpoil, and went off in fafety. 
He afterward, at another place, fpread among 
them a more extenfive flaughter. He, with only 
the contemptible weapon of a jaw bone, fmote to 
the ground a thoufand men, and laid them heaps 
upon heaps. The gate polls of Gaza he plucked 
up with his hands, and carried them ofF on his 
fhoulders, with the gate, bar and all. Confent- 
ing to be bound with fl;rong cords, green withes, 
and new ropes, in fucceflion, he fnapped them 
afundcr, as a thread of tow ; and when his ene- 
mies, thinking him in their power, fhoutedagainft 
him, he rcfe, and fell upon them with prodigious 
havcck. A.ud, i What can they do to him now ? 

Alas ! 

oo6 Serm. XX. 

Alas ! Samfon has flept in the lap of a harlot, 
and his (Irength is gone ! His enemies now feize 
him, put out his eyes, bind him in fetters of brafs, 
and make him grind in the prifon. Fatal change I 
The difmal efFecl of breaking the facred vow of 
Nazaritefhip, and yielding to the power of lull. 

Samfon's prodigious flrength was not a nat- 
ural endowment, always at his own command : 
It was an immediate gift, vouchfafed on fpecial 
cccafions, and, on thofe occafions, obtained by 
prayer to God. In his exertions, it is faid — The 
fpirit of God came upon him. When his ftrenglh 
failed, it is faid — The Lord departed from him. 

From his infancy, he had been dedicated to 
God, as a Nazarite forever. He was feparated 
to the fcrvice of God, under an obligation to ab- 
ftain from wine, and every fenfual indulgence, 
which might, in any degree, unfit him for the 
fervice to which he was devoted. He was raifed 
up to be the deliverer of the Jews, now under the 
opprefTion of the Phiiiflines, and to be their chief 
magiftrate in the adminiftration of their civil gov- 
ernment. That he might better difcharge the 
duties of his exalted ftation, he was required to 
be a Nazarite as long as he lived. The badge 
and token of his dedication, was his hair growing 
in its natural ftate. By the divine law, a Naza- 
rite was forbidden to cut his hair, or (have his 
head. Samfon's bodily flrength had no natural 
connexion with the growth of his hair : It was a 
privilege annexed to the religious obfervance of 


Serm. XX. 307 

his vow. When, in confequence of his violating 
this bond, he loll the badge, he loft alfo the ben- 
eht of his Nazaritefhip. God withdrew the fpec- 
ial aid which once he afforded him, and left him 
to his natural weaknefs. The lofs of his hair 
was followed with the lofs of his flrength, as a 
moral, not as a natural effe6l ; and only becaufc 
that was tlie fruit of his own guilty indulgence. 
Had his hair been taken from him by force or 
accident, without a previous fault of his own, 
and while he was in the llri6l obfervance of his 
vow, there is no reafon to conclude that the fame 
effed would have enfued. 

Whether Samfon was a man of real piety, is 
a que (lion which the hiftory of his life feems not 
clearly to decide. The flrongell argument in 
his favour, is the honour done him by the Apof- 
tle to the Hebrews, who has given him a place 
in his lift of believers. 

However this may be, he was evidently a man 
of a mixed character. 

He believed in the true God — regarded his 
governing providence — often addrelled him in 
prayer — received communications of fupernatural 
(Irength ; which he fenfibly acknowledged — and, 
until he was overcome by the inticements of an 
arLful woman, he carefully preierved the external 
token of his feparation to the fervice of God. 
But, on the other hand, we find him, early in life, 
feeking a marriage contrary to the advice of his 
parents, and io the lix\y of his God. This marriage 


3o8 Serm. XX. 

is indeed faid to be of the Lord — not command- 
ed, but permitted of the Lord in his wife provi- 
dence — but, though God was wife in his permif- 
fion, Samfon was not wife in his choice. Af- 
terward we find him in the company of a known 
proflitute — yi.:ilding to female charms-— making 
and attending feftivals, in which he would natur- 
ally meet with temptations to violate his vow af 
abftinence from wine. And it is probable, that 
he at length fell under the power of a depraved 
appetite ; for that he fliould fleep fo foundly, as 
not to be awakened by the operation of the razor 
on his head, can hardly be accounted for, but 
by fuppofmg a degree of inebriation, which Jo- 
fephus affirms to have been the cafe. 

Thefe flains we difcover in his chara6ler — not 
to mention his lafl: a61:, which perhaps may be 
juflified on the principle of regard to the liberties 
of his country ; for doubtlefs there are cafes, in 
which men may expofe themfelves to probable, 
if not to certain death, for the general fafety of 
their nation. 

But, though we fee in this hero, great and inex- 
cufable faults, dill it is to be remembered, that, 
while he lay in confinement, he had time for re- 
flexion and repentance. And the return of his 
llrcngth, with the future growth of his hair, af- 
fords a probable argument of the fmcerity of his 
humiliation, in that painful period. 

But whatever may be his religious chara6ler, 
the errours cf his life, and the calamities which 


Serm. XX. 


they brought on him, will fuggefl to us fome ufe- 
ful warnings and inftrudions. 

By a condu6l inconfiflent with his folemn ded- 
ication to God, he loll his ftrength — not only the 
flrength of his body, but, which was of more im- 
portance, the ftrength of his mind, and of his vir- 
tue ; and fuddenly, in the torpor of an artificial 
fleep, he fell under the power of his enemies. 
He lay down a freeman, and awoke a captive and 
a flave. While he thought his ftrength remain- 
ed, he attempted to exercife it for his deliver- 
ance — but in vain — he was weak as another man. 

I. We are here taught, that the young ftiould 
ever a6l under a fenfe of their religious dedica- 
tion to God. 

Samfon was, by his parents, confecrated as a 
Nazarite. Their a6l he confidered as bindnig 
on him, becaule it was in confequence of a di- 
vine command. 

It is fometimes afked, ^ How are children bound 
by an ad of their parents, to which they have 
never confented^ and of which they are not even 
confcious ? 

But, (5 Can you tell me, how Samfon was bound 
by the a 61 of his parents ? 

You will fay, "It was the authority of God, 
which obliged him to be a Nazarite, and which 
obliged his parents to fet him apart in this char- 

It is well anfwered. Remember, too, God re- 
quires the Chriftian parent to bring up his chiU 
U dren 

310 Serm. XX. 

"dren in the knowledge and pra6lice of the relig- 
ion of the gofpel ; and to make an early dedica- 
tion of them to him, in a particular inPtitutcd 
form, as an acknowledgement of his obligation 
thus to educate them ; and as a token of their 
future obligation, to walk worthy of their ChriR- 
ian education. To afk then, how a parent's a6l 
binds his children, is only to afk, i How they 
are bound by the command of God ? Aqueftion 
which furelv needs no anfwer. 

If you have been dedicated to God, it is be- 
caufe you are bound to live to him. Your ob- 
ligation to virtue does not originate from your 
baptifm ; but the reafon of your baptifm is 
founded in your obligation to virtue. If you 
live in oppofition to the will of God, you con- 
tradi6l the great defign, for which you have been 
confecrated to him. 

Samfon was much more concerned to keep the 
token of his Nazaritifm, than to obferve the diit'us 
of it. He never voluntarily parted with his 
locks ; but he often violated that purity of life, 
to which his parents had confecrated him, and 
which his locks denoted. An inconfiftency this, 
which is not uncommon. Few vv^ould, in a form- 
al manner, renounce their baptifm ; but thou- 
fands live contrary to it. While they choofe to 
be confidered in the chara61;er of baptifed Chrifl- 
ians — in the chara61: er of difciples of Chrifl, whofe 
name has been called on them, and on whofe 
name they call, they indulge thofe corruptions 


Serm. XX. 311 

of heart, and impurities of life, which his gofpel 
exprefsly forbids. But, i Will tlieir baptifm fave 
them, while in works they deny it ? It verily 
profiteth, if they obey the gofpel. Othcrwife, in 
efFe6l, it becomes no baptifm. He is not a 
Chrillian, who is only one outwardly, in name 
and form. He is a Chriflian, who is one inward- 
ly, in heart and fpirit, whofe praife is not of 
men, but of God. 

The parent is folicitous, that his children fhould 
be baptifed, and vifibly introduced into the church 
and kingdom of Chrifl. But if he is not as fo- 
licitous to furnifh their minds with religious 
knowledge, and form their lives to virtuous man- 
ners, he is no more confiftent with himfelf, than 
Samfon's parents would have been, to have con- 
fecrated him as a Nazarite, and then fed him with 
wine, and cut off his hair. 

n. We fee in the cafe of Samfon, the unhap- 
py effe6ls of fenfuality. 

By the law of Nazaritifm, he was bound to 
fpecial purity of life : From this purity he early 
began to depart : The confequence was, he fell 
into temptation and a fnare, and involved hira- 
felf in mifery and ruin. 

The youth (hould come forward into the world, 
with an apprehenfion of the various dangers to 
which his virtue is expofed. There are dangers 
arifmg from the gaiety of his fpirits, the warmth 
of his pafTions, the vivacity of his imagination, 
the flattering charms of outward objedls, the ex- 
U 2 amples 

312 Serm.XX, 

amples of the v/orld, the enticements of wicked men, 
and, perhaps, of thofe whom he makes his inti- 
mate friends. Senfihle of thefe dangers, he fliould 
arm himfelf with the flrongeft refolutions ; watch 
the firfl approach of temptation, and early repel 
it, before it has taken poiTellion of his mind. 
He fhould (land peculiarly on his guard againll 
the fafcir^ating influence of the pleafures of fenfe. 
Thefe, when they have gained dominion, will 
claim unlimited obedience, and induce an abfo- 
l.ute flavery. They take away the heart, ftupify 
tlie confciencs, obliterate the fentiments of hon- 
our, enfeeble every virtuous refolution, fubjugate 
the nobleft powers of the foul, and drown men 
in defhu8;ion and wretchednefs. 

Samfon, long celebrated for his fmgular flrength 
and courage, funk, at laft, by his criminal indul- 
gence, into the mofldefpicableweaknefs of mind, as 
well as body, and fell an impotent captive into the 
hands of his enemies : And they, who once trem- 
bled at his arm, now triumphed in his weaknefs. 

See the man, who rent a lion, as he would a 
kid — who plucked up the gates of Gaza — who, 
fubmitt-ing to be bound with cords, burft them, 
when his enemies fhouted, and, with a contempti- 
ble weapon, f'pread flaughter among them at his 
pleafure : fee him now liilening to the entice- 
ments of a lewd enchantrefs, betraying to her the 
moft important fecrets of his foul, yielding himfelf 
to her power, when fhchad given him full reafon 
to diflrull her fidelity; and thus deprived of his 


Serm. XX. 51 J 

flrengrh, and made the fport of his inveterate foes. 
Alluding to his cataflrophe, Solomon fays, 
*' Hearken to me, O ye children, and attend to 
the words of my mouth. Say unto wifdom, 
Thou art my filler, and call underllanding thy 
kinfwoman, that they may keep thee from the 
ftranger who flattereth with her words. Let not 
thine heart decline to her ways, go not aftray in 
her paths ; for (he hath cafl down many wound- 
ed ; many flrong men have been flain by her. 
Her houfe is the way to hell, going down to the 
chambers of death." 

In language equally flrong and expreflive, he 
warns the youth of the fatal effe6ls of intemper* 
ance. " Be not among wine bibbers ; among 
riotous eaters of flefh ; for fo fhalt thou come to 
poverty, and be clothed with rags. Thou flialt 
have woe, difeafe, forrow, contention, and wounds 
without caufe — thine heart fhall utter perverfe 
things — thou flialt be as he who lieth down in 
the midft of the fea, or fleepeth on the top of a 
maft. They have beaten me, flialt thou fay, 
and I felt it not : ^j When fhall I awake ? 1 will 
feek it yet again." 

ni. The cafe of Samfon fliews us the fatal con- 
fequences of criminal connexions. 

From this caufe the errours and calamities of 
his life took their rife. Our virtue, honour, and 
happinefs, depend on nothing more, than the char- 
acter of the friends whom we choofe, and the 
company which we keep. Senfible of this. Da- 
U 3 vid 


Serm. XX» 

vid refolved, that he would fay to evil doers, 
Depart from me ; and would be the companion 
of them who feared God, and obferved his com- 

The youth, who has enjoyed the benefit of a 
virtuous education, will form fome virtuous refo- 
lutions. While he hears parental infl;ru6lion, or 
while he indulges his ferious thoughts in foli- 
tude, he feels thefe refolutions operating power- 
fully in his mind. He thinks he fhall eafily re- 
tain them. When firft he happens into licen- 
tious company, the converfation which he hears, 
and the examples which he fees, fhock his mind. 
But. in the mean time, fome circumftance may 
occur to invite him again into fimilar company. 
He goes, however, with a refolution to keep him- 
felf clear of the vices which he fees. By degrees 
the fcene is familiarized. Vice feems to dived 
itfelf of fome part of its deformity, his watch is 
flackened, and his refolution droops. He fees, 
perhaps, in an ungodly companion, fome agreea- 
ble accomplifliments, which half conceal the de- 
formity of the chara6ler. As he attaches himfelf 
more clofely to the perfon, he has lefs power to 
refifl the influence of the example. He can now 
with patience, and by and by he will with pleaf- 
ure, hear thofe virtuous principles and manners 
bantered and ridiculed, which once he regarded 
with veneration. Thus gradually and infenfibly, 
he is drawn off from the virtuous courfe, which 
it was his early refolution to purfue. 


Serm. XX. 315 

The youth, who has not wifdom to fliun a vic- 
ious connexion, has feldom refolution enough to 
withfland the temptations which attend it. 
Though he may carry a good refolution into 
bad company, he will hardly be able to bring it 
ofF entire and unbroken. Thefirft llep to fecuri- 
ty, is to retreat from the path of danger. They 
who deliberately enter upon it, whatever good 
refolutions they form, are ufually beguiled along, 
until they have advanced fo far, and find their 
way fo much embarrafTed, that they have but lit- 
tle heart to return. '* Hear, O my fon," fays 
Solomon, " and receive my commandments, and 
the years of thy life fhall be many. I have 
taught thee in the way of wifdom, and led thee 
in right paths. When thou goeft, thy fteps fhall 
not be ftraitened ; when thou runnefl, thy feet 
fiiall not Humble. Enter not into the path of the 
wicked, go not in the way of evil men ; avoid it, 
pafs not by it, turn from it, and pafs away." 

IV. We fee the meannefs of vice, and in what 
a defpicable light it places the man who yields to it. 

While Samfon, v/ith the charafter of the hero, 
prefcrved that of the Nazarite, and employed his 
great flrength in vindicating the liberty of his 
country, and chaflifmg the infolence of her ene- 
mies, we view him with eReem and admiration. 
J3ut when we fee this tnighty man fmking away 
into the foftnefs of effeminacy, yielding himfelf 
a flave to lull and appetite, and putting that 
ftrength, which was the gift of God, unto the 
U 4 hands 

giS Serm. X^, 

hands of one, whofe only aim was to betray it to 
the common enemy ; when we fee him fliorn of 
his locks, and led off blind and impotent, what 
diflPerent fentiments we feel ! If we behold him 
with pit)^ it is pity mixed with contempt. 

Similar fpeftacies, however, are too often to be 
feen. If the man of fuperiour powers, and a vir- 
tuous education, yields himfelf a Have to paflTion 
and appetite ; if by criminal indulgences of any 
kind, he debilitates his body, and beclouds his in- 
telle6ls, deftroys his health, and waftes his fub- 
flance, and, from the dignity of a man, fmks 
down to the meannefs of an animal, he is like 
Samfon fliorn of his locks, while he flept in the 
arms of pleafure. If ever he awakes, he will feel 
with fliame and regret the difgraceful change. 

The youth, who aims at honour and reputa- 
tion, muft maintain his virtue. Let not mercy 
and truth, purity and fobriety, ever forfake thee ; 
bind them about thy neck, write them on the ta- 
ble of thine heart, take them with thee in all thy 
waifs, make them thy companions in all compa- 
nies, and thy guards in all temptations ; fo fhalt 
thou find favour and good underflanding in the 
fight of God and men. 

V. We fee how naturally fm brings trouble in 
this world, and what reafon there is to believe it 
will bring mifery in the next. 

There was fuch a natural connexion between 
Samfon's iniquity, and the calamities which en- 
fiied, tha^t he could not but afcribe them to him^ 

felf . 


felf. His unlawful commerce with a daughter of 
an idolatrous people (for fuch, undoubtedly, was 
the perfon with whom he was now connected) 
drew him, as the Jevvifli hiftorian fuppofes, into 
frequent violations of his vow of Nazaritefliip. 
Enticed and overcome by her deceitful arts and 
urgent folicitations, he difclofed the fecret of his 
flrength ; and, in a profound deep, the effcd of 
previous excefs, he loft the token of Nazaritifm, 
with which his flrength was conneded. With 
his flrength he lofl his freedom and his eyes ; and 
he, who lately was judge in Ifrael, is now a flavc 
in a Philifline dungeon. 

The man of flritleil; virtue, is, in this flate, lia- 
ble to advcrfity ; nor can we. from the calamities 
which a man fuffers, conclude him to be a tranf- 
greffor. But when calamities, by direft and nat- 
ural fleps, follow, after manifefl iniquity, we mull 
view the former as the proper fruit and punifh^ 
ment of the latter. 

Though rewards and punilhments are not ex- 
a6lly and conflantly difpenfed here, yet there arc 
many cafes, in which they take place in a degree, 
to awaken men's attention to the different confe- 
quences of virtue and vice, and to convince them 
that righteoufnefs tends to life, and that he who 
purfues evil, purfues it to his death. 

When they fee the connexion between fm and 
punilhment here, they ought to extend their 
views to the world of retribution, where, on the 
children of difobcdicnce, the wrath of God will 


Si8 Serm. XX. 

come to the uttermofl. He makes their fms to 
fall upon them in this world, to remind them, 
that thefe fins, indulged until death, will find 
them out in the next. If there is a natural con- 
nexion between vice and mifery, vifible in many 
inilances now, it is prefumption and madnefs for 
the finner to flatter himfelf that he can ever be 
fecure from mifery without renouncing his fins. 
It often proves a mercy to mankind, that vice 
is produ6live of prefent mifery, becaufe thus its 
progrefs is retarded, and in fome inftances, tranf- 
greffors are thus reclaimed. This feems to have 
been the cafe with our fallen hero. While he in- 
dulged, with profound fecurity, the luxuries of 
life, he forgot the vow w^hich fhould have bound 
him to the llri8:efl purity ; and to what depth he 
might have fallen, if nothing had diflurbed his 
guilty flumbers, we cannot tell. But awakened 
by the infulting alarm — The Philijlines be upon 
thee ; and, after a fruitlefs effort, finding himfelf 
in their power, and his former ftrength departed ; 
experiencing the fad change from a hero to a 
flave, and the fudden tranfition from a feat of 
judgment to a dungeon, he began, we may fup- 
pofe, to reflecl on the errours of his life, and ef- 
pecially on his late criminal condu6l;, which had 
produced fo di final a reverfe ; and in his darkfome 
folitudc, exercifcd that deep repentance, which 
entitled him to the divine favour, and to the re- 
turn of the fupernatural gift which had forfak- 
en him, 


Serm. XX. 319 

Affli6lion is the common means of repentance. 
When tranfgreflbrs are bound in fetters of iron, 
and holden in cords of afflidion. God fheweth 
them their works, openeth their ears to difcipline, 
and commandeth that they return from iniquity. 

It is happy for fome to be denied the means, 
and cut off from the opportunities of former in- 
dulgences. Samfon, in prifon, had it no longer 
in his power to purfue a habit, which was danger- 
oufly gaining influence upon him. He here re- 
newed his Nazaritefhip, which had been, for a 
time, interrupted ; and he returned to the purity 
which that required. Though he could not offer 
facrifice for the expiation of his guilt, as the law 
in this cafe enjoined, yet, no doubt, by repent- 
ance, prayer, and a frcfh dedication of himfelf, 
he fought and obtained pardon of God; and 
therefore, as the token of his Nazaritefhip return- 
ed, the privilege annexed to it, returned alfo. By 
fm we provoke God to withdraw his prefence ; by 
repentance we recover his favour. Reflecting 
therefore on the fatal effects of tranfgreiFion, let 
offenders dedicate themfelves to God with deep 
repentance, and flronger refoiutions of virtue and 
obedience. Thus God will have mercy on them, 
and abundantly pardon them. 



Tvdk tyCutmel&ck. 


Genesis, 20. x, xi, 

And> Abimelech faid imto Abraham, ^ What fawejl 
thou, that thou hajl done this thing ? And Abra- 
ham faid, becaufe I thought, fur ely the fear of God 
is not in this place ; and they will flay me for my 
wife's fake, 

Abraham, having occafion to re- 
move from Mam re toward the fouthern part of 
the land of Canaan, to a place called Gerar, of 
which Abimelech was king, adopted, for the fe- 
curity of his life, the fame expedient which he 
had once before ufed in Egypt. He defired his 
wife to difguife the relation between them, and 
to call him her brother, and he alfo agreed to call 
her his filler, left fome of the people, tempted by 
her beauty, fiiould kill him for her fake. 

From fo good a man, and one who had fo often 
experienced the divine protection, we Ihoiild not 


Serm. XXI. 32t 

have cxpe6led an artifice like this; efpecially as 
the refult, on a former trial, had taught him how 
unnecellary it was. But the heft men have their 
weakneffes ; and in men, whofe faith is ordinarily 
ftrong, fear will fometimes prevail. 

Abimelech, fuppofing Sarah to be only Abra- 
ham's fifler, fent and took her into his houfe, 
with an intention, not to difhonour her, but to 
make her his wife. 

Before he had accomplifhed this defign, God, 
hy a dream in the night, warned him of the dan- 
gerous (lep which he was meditating, and dire6l- 
ed him to reflore the woman to Abraham, whofe 
wife flie was. 

The king, after profefling the innocence of his 
intentions, calls for Abraham, and thus expoftu- 
iates with him on the unjuflifiable deceptioa 
which he had ufed. ^ " What hail thou done 
to us ? and, ^ What have I offended thee, that 
thou haft brought on me, and on my kingdom, a 
great fin ?" i. e. expofed us to a great fcandal and 
calamity. '- Thou haft done deeds to me, which 
ought not to be done, i What faweft thou, that 
thou haft done this thing ?" Abraham anfwers, I 
did this, " becaufe I thought, furely the fear of 
God is not in this place, and they will flay me 
for my wife's fake.'* However, he fays, the rela- 
tion which they had profeffed, was not altogeth- 
er fictitious ; for '' fhe was the daughter of his 
father, though not the daughter of his mother." 
She was his father's grand daughter ; and, in the 


322 Serm. XXI. 

language of fcripture, grandchildren are often 
called children. Sarai, who in the eleventh chapter 
is called Ifcah, was daughter to Haran, Abraham's 
elder brother. It feems, by this account, that 
Terah, Abraham's Father, had two wives, from 
one of whom was born Haran, the father of Lot 
and Sarai, or Ifcah, and from the other was born 
Abraham. So that fhe iv^as daughter to Abra- 
ham's half brother. And with luch a niece, it 
was, in thofe days, thought not unlawful to marry. 

But though Abraham's account of their rela- 
tion, was, according to the language of the times, 
literally true; yet his concealment of the more 
delicate and important relation, could not. on the 
reafon affigned, be juflified. For furely he ought 
not to have gone voluntarily among a people, 
where he apprehended no regard would be paid 
to the conjugal rights : Or, if he was called in 
providence to fojourn among them, he might 
have trufted to divine protedion. 

This incident, in the hiftory of Abraham s life, 
will afford us fome ufeful obfervations. 

I. The atrocious nature of the fm of addtery, 
which confifls in violating connubial rights, is 
here reprefcnted in a very flriking manner. 

Though Abraham fuppofed that there was no 
fenfe of God and religion among the people of 
Gerar, yet he feems not to have entertained the 
lead fufpicion that they would infult the honour 
of his family, either by rape or fedu6lion. His 
apprehenfion was, that they would kill him for 


Serm. XXI. 323 

his wife's fake. He imagined, that no man could 
be fo abandoned, as to take his wife from him, 
or debauch her, while he was alive ; but he was 
much afraid, there were men bad enough to mur- 
der him, that they might have liberty to enjoy her. 

Abraham evidently confiders adultery as a 
crime far more horrid in its nature, and far more 
contrary to (he diftates of natural reafon and con- 
fcience, than even murder itfelf. His whole con- 
du6l, in this, and the former inflance, is ground- 
ed on the fuppofition, that a rufBan, who is bloody 
enough to alFaffinate an innocent man, yet may 
not be fo brutal as to violate a married woman. 
The man who can do the latter, in a deliberate 
and cuftomary manner, is undoubtedly capable 
of any kind of wickednefs, to which he feels the 
fmallefl temptation. 

Murder is generally confidered as one of the 
blacked crimes of which a man can be guihy* 
But it is obfervable, that, by the divine law, the 
fame penalty is annexed to adultery, as to mur- 
der : And, perhaps, of the two, it is the greater 
crime. It certainly indicates a more depraved 
ftate of mind. Murder may be the efiFe6l of high 
provocation, or fudden paffion. The other pro- 
ceeds from a fettled, habitual viciofity of heart. 
And in its confequences no fpecies of viliany can 
be more mifchievous — more fatal. It is conlrary 
to the peace and order of fociety — both of par- 
ticular families, and of larger communities. It 
is an unprovoked; and irreparable injury to men, 


g24 Serm. XXI, 

in thofe rights of which they are mofl jealous. 
It robs them of that comfort and enjoyment, which 
they value no lefs than Jife, and without which 
life is hardly fupportable. It extends its bale- 
ful effecls to the innocent offspring, and dooms 
them, without their fault, to infamy and mifery. 
It is a violation of the mod facred and folemn 
vows. It tramples in the dull the honour and 
the Iiappinefs, not of a fingle perfon, or family 
only, but of many perfons, and of divers families. 
It awakens grief, anxiety, and perpetual jealoufy ; 
excites hatred, malice, and revenge ; fometimes 
leads to the deliberate murder of the tender ofF- 
fpring, and of the injured party ; and, on the 
Other hand, provokes to the violent alfaffmation 
of the infamous invader. In a word, it involves 
in it the guilt of injuflice, fraud, cruelty, and 
perjury ; yea, and murder too, if not in the im- 
mediate aft, yet in the remoter effefts, as it taints 
and poifons the fweeteft joys of life. 

Such is the horrid criminality of this evil, that 
every refolved offender mufl be viewed as thor- 
oughly depraved, and prefumptuoufly wicked, 
and be held in detellation and abhorrence by all 
the lovers of virtue, and friends of human fociety. 
His concern for the ricrhts of mankind is abforb- 
ed in his own lawlefs gratifications. His regard 
to the Deity is totally loft in fenfuality. His fo- 
cial and benevolent affedions are extinguilhed in 
-the polluted fink of brutal indulgence. 


Serm. XXI. 325 

Such a depraved libertine cannot be fuppofed 
to poffefs a fingle principle of virtue or honour ; 
oj to be fecure from any vice, if only a tempta- 
tion fhould offer itfelf. Jofeph, folicited to this 
crime, rejefted the propofal with the ftrongelt 
abhorrence. — " My mailer," fays he to the lewd 
enchantrefs, " knoweth not what is with me in 
the houfe, and hath committed all that he hath 
into mine hand, neither hath he kept back any- 
thing from me, but thee, becaufe thou art his 
wife, I How then can I do this great wickednefs^ 
and fm againfl God ?" His words import, that a 
man, who feels in his heart any fear of the pref-i 
ence of God, or any regard to the rights of his- 
fellow men, cannot deliberately perpetrate fo vile 
an a61;ion. 

David, in his penitent reflexions on this fin,' 
and the murder which followed, prays — " Create 
in me a clean heart — deliver me from blood, thoix 
God of my falvation. Thou defireft not facri- 
fice ; elfe would I give it. The facrificesof God 
are a broken heart." 

In the cafe of Abimelech, God fays, " The 
woman, whom thou haft taken, is a man's wife ; 
and unlefs thou reftore her, thou fhalt furely 
die." From this moment he indulged not a fm- 
gle thought of retaining her in his houfe. And 
fuch a fenfe had his people of the facrednefs of 
the conjugal relation, that, when they heard of 
the unhappy errour, into which their prince had 
fallen, they were in painful anxiety for the con-* 
W fcquences. 

326 "* Serm. XXL 

fequenccs. To wipe ofF, as far as pofTible, the 
reproach brought on the community by this trani- 
a6tion, the king avowed the innocence of his in- 
tentions, immediately reftored to Abraham his 
wife, made him a liberal donation of fervants, 
flocks, and herds, and gave him the fuUeft af- 
furance of future fecurity in his kingdom. The 
whole tranfadion fhews the utter abhorrence 
which this people had of the crime under con- 
lid eration. 

This crime has been held in deteftation by al- 
mofl all nations, in all ages of the world. By 
the ancient laws of Draco and Solon, the hufband 
of an adulterefs, if he detefted her in her guilt, 
might immediately kill both the criminals, or 
fligmatize them, or put out their eyes, or might 
exa£f of the adulterer a heavy fine. But, by the 
law of Mofes, they were both to be put to death 
with publick infamy ; and, in ordinary cafes, 

there was no difpenlation. 
I proceed to obferve, 
II. That a fenle of virtue and religion is fome- 

times found where we lea II expe6l it. 

I How different was the true charafter of the 

people in Gerar, from that which Abraham's 
jealoufy had drawn for them ? There was much 

of the fear of God among them, though he had 

imagined there was none at all. 

It appears, from this ihort hiflory, that the 

prince of the country was a man of great virtue. 

He was not an idolater, but a worihipper of the 


Serm. XXI. g27 

true God, as was alfo Melchizedek the pried. 
He wawS not a ftranger to divine Revelations, 
though favoured with them in a lower degree 
than Abraham. As God, on the occafion here 
mentioned, communicated to him his will in a 
dream, fo there is no doubt, but, on other occa- 
fions, he had been favoured with divine difcov- 
eries. He feems not to have been unacquainted 
with this manner of receiving intimations of the 
divine pleafure. He acknowledges a fupreme 
governour of the world, and regards him as a 
being of almightjr power, and of perfeft re6titude 
and goodnefs. He expreffes a benevolent care 
for the fafety of his people, and a juft concern, 
left they (hould fufFer by his miftake. He pro- 
felles an integrity of heart in what he had done, 
and God approves the profeffion. He readily 
obeys the divine command in reftoring the wom- 
an he had taken ; and while he reproves Abra- 
ham for the needlefs artifice which he had ufed, 
he gives back his wife uninjured, accepts his in- 
tercefhon for himfelf and his people, and, retain- 
ing no unfuitable refentment, difmiiTes him with 
generous prefents, and with full liberty to dwell 
in his territories. 

Though it is not probable, that all the people 
were equally virtuous with the prince, yet a fenfe 
of juftice, and a regard to the common rights of 
mankind, evidently belonged to their general 
charafter. Abimelech appeals to Abraham, 
ivhether he had feen, fince he had been in the 
W 2 country, 

328 S£RM. XXIr 

country, any thing, which could be matter of 
complaint, or could require fuch deception as had 
been ufed : Abraham pretends nothing more, 
than a previous jealoufy, that the fear of God was 
not in that place. 

We fee then, that to condemn fe6ls or commu- 
nities in the grofs— to cenfure and reprobate men 
on mere fufpicion — to conclude that there can 
be no religion among thofe who enjoy not ad- 
vantages equal to our own, is rafh and unjuRifi- 
able. Where external advantages are lefs, in- 
ternal alliilances may, for aught we know, in fome 
in fiances be greater. 

To fuppoie that they, who enjoy a Handing 
Revelation, ftiould receive immediate difcoveries 
from God, in the things of religion, would, in- 
deed, be abfurd ; for, on this fuppofition, the 
Handing Revelation becomes ufelels. God never 
communicates to men, in an immediate way, thofe 
things which they may learn by means already 
in their hands. 

Cornelius is favoured with a vifion from heav- 
en ; but this vifion gives hira no inftrudion in 
the vv^ay of falvation ; it only directs him to fend 
for an Apollle, who fliould teach him things, by 
which he might be faved. If we, who enjoy the 
gofpel revelation, laying this aiide, depend on 
difcoveries of truth made to us in another man- 
ner, we are guilty of the greateil infult on the 
authority of God, and the highcft affront to hi* 
goodnefs ; and we judge ourfelves unworthy of 


Serm. XXI. 3^9 

eternal life. Where God has given means, he 
requires the ufe of them, as the condition of his 

But we cannot hence determine, but that God, 
by his good fpirit, may fo affift, dire6l, and en- 
lighten the minds of fome who enjoy not our 
external means, that they will make improve- 
ments in knowledge and virtue far beyond the 
exertions of fimple nature. We fee, in the in- 
ftance under confid^ration, that a people, among 
whom Abraham imagined there was no knowl- 
edge or fear of God, were led to worthy concep- 
tions of his charafter and government, and to a 
jufl regard for the rights of mankind. 

Let us beware, left fome, who never have enjoy- 
ed means and advantages like ours, rife in the 
judgment againft us, and condemn us by their 
fuperiour attainments in virtue. The Jews, who 
rejeding the inftru6lions of heavenly wifdom, 
ftill continued in their fms, our Saviour warns, 
that the men of Nineveh, who repented at the 
preaching of Jonas, and the queen of the fouth, 
who came from far to hear the wifdom of Solo- 
mon, will ftand as witneffes againft them at the 
laft day. 

Jefus often found, among Gentiles and Samar- 
itans, thofe examples of faith, piety and goodnefs, 
which he found not among the Jews, the highly 
favoured, and highly profelhng people of God. 

Exemplary piety fometimes appears, where we- 
fhould laft have fought it : and the grofl'eft in- 
W 3 ftances 

330 Serm.XXL 

fiances of vice are too often feen in men, whofe 
education, advantages and profeflion, had given 
us quite different expe6lations. Many, who are 
lafl, fhall be firft : and the firft fhall be laft. Let 
us not condemn others for their want of privi- 
leges, but beware, left we be condemned for our 
abufe of them. How God will deal with thofe 
who enjoy not our light, it is not eafy for us to 
decide. But how he will deal with us, if we 
walk not in the light, there remains no doubt. 

III. The cafe, under confideration, teaches us 
that the indulgence of too bad an opinion of man- 
kind, is of dangerous confequence to ourfelves 
and others. 

Had Abraham entertained a jufl opinion of the 
prince and people of Gerar ; or taken pains to 
become acquainted with them, before he liftened 
to the fecret whifpers of jealoufy, he would have 
ftiunned fo dangerous an artifice, as to difguife 
his relation to his wife, and would have prevent- 
ed the mifchiefs which enfued, and the ftill §r€at- 
er mifchiefs, which threatened his own family 
and the houfe of Abimelech. It was a fpecial 
divine interpofition, which averted confequences 
of the moft ferious nature. 

Caution and circumfpe6tion in our intercourfe 
with mankind, are always prudent, and may oft- 
en be necelTary. An implicit, unguarded confi- 
dence, will expofe us to many inconveniences, 
and may involve us in ruin. The advice which 
our Saviour gave his difciples, deferves attention 


Serm. XXL 331 

in times lefs dangerous than thofe. Be wife as 
ferpcnts and harmlefs as doves. Beware of vien. Put 
not confidence in every one. Expofe not your- 
felves to unneceirary dangers. But ever main- 
tain your innocence. Injure no man ; and then, 
as far as prudence canfecure you, let no man in- 
jure you. 

But we mufl not carry our caution to a total 
diflruft of mankind, nor treat them with fuch ap- 
parent jealoufy, as would naturally provoke their 
refentment ; neither ought we, in our concern for 
our own fecurity, to purfue unwarrantable meaf- 
urcs, or negle8: the plain calls of duty. 

By extreme caution, men often run into the 
mifchiefs which they aim to avoid ; and by ex- 
cefFive jealoufy bring on themfelves injuries, 
which were not before intended. By indulging 
too ill an opinion of thofe around them, they 
contrail a fournefs of temper, a refervednefs of 
behaviour, an unfociablenefs of manners, which 
injure their own feelings, obftru61; their ufeful- 
nefs, and difgufl thofe with whom they converfe. 
Good Elijah, in an evil day, met with fo many 
obflru6lions and difcouragements in his endeav- 
ours to reform the nation, that he gave over his 
labours, and retired to a cave. While he was 
there, indulging a gloomy imagination, he con- 
cluded that there was no piety in the land, and 
no fafety for him. " Lord," fays he, " they have 
pulled down thine altars, and flain thy prophets, 
and 1 only am left, and they feek my life." But, 
\\ 4 I What 

33^ Serm. XXI. 

I What fays the divine anfwer ? " I have referved 
to myfelf feven thoufand men, who have not bow- 
ed the knee to Baal." — " i What dofl thou here, 
Ehjah ? 

His ill opinion of the world firfl uiged him 
into a cave ; and, in this retirement, the gloom 
increafed, until his jealoufy condemned man- 
kind without referve. 

While we mingle with the world, we fhould 
keep ourfelves unfpotted from it. But to fhun 
the pollutions of it, we mufl not withdraw from 
all intercourfe with it. The Chriflian is to keep 
himfelf from an untoward generation, and to be 
blamelefs and harmlefs, and without rebuke in the 
midfl of the ungodly and profane, holding forth 
the word of life, that others may be gained by his 
good converfation. 

IV. 1 1 is proper farther to remark, that, in the befl 
anen, there may be great infirmities and failings. 

None is more celebrated than Abraham for 
the eminence of his piety, and the flrength of his 
faith. He was ftrong in faith, giving glory to 
God. The greatnefs of his faith appeared, in his 
leaving his native land at the divine call, and go- 
ing forth to fojourn in a flrange country — in his 
Iteady obfervance of the worfhip of God, in all 
places where he fojourned — in his purfuing the 
enemies who had conquered and plundered the 
country of Sodom, recovering from them the 
fpoils which they had taken, and refloring them 
to the proper owners — in his reliance on the di- 

Serm. XXI. 333 

vine promife concerning bis feed, at a time of 
life, when, according to the courfe of nature, no 
iffue could be expe6led — in his obeying the pain- 
ful command, to offer up that fon in whom his 
feed was to be called ; and in his reafoning from 
paft experience that God v\ras able to raife him 
from the dead, from whence he had already re- 
ceived him in a fisrure. 

I Could we imagine that fuch a man as this 
would, on any occafion, betray fymptoms of ti- 
midity, or difcover a diflruft of God ? — But this 
fame patriarch, when he went to fojourn in Gerar, 
dared not own his relation to his wife, left the 
men of the place fhould kill him for her fake. 
^ Where is now the faith and fortitude, which, at 
other times, he difcovered, when difhculties prefF- 
ed, and dangers threatened him ? — His faith now 
languifhed ; his fear prevailed ; and, in a time of 
imaginary danger, he adopted a method of con- 
du6l which expofed him to the reproof of the 
very perfons, who, he imagined, had not the fear 
of God. 

Let him, who thinks that he ftands, take heed, 
left he fall. 

Even they whofe faith is ftrong, muft guard 
againft the prevailing influence of fear, and call 
into exercife that confidence in God which is the 
beft fecurity againft the terrours of the world. 

In times of apparent danger, and threatening 
temptation, they have need to be peculiarly 
watchful. Let them deliberately inquire, whither 


334 Serm. XXL 

Provridence calls them ; and, having found the 
line of their duty, purfue it with calm refolution, 
and fteady reliance on the divine proteQion. 

We are never fo fafe, as when we invariably 
follow the path of virtue and integrity. He who 
walks uprightly, walks furely ; but he who per- 
verts his way, fhall fall. Duplicity and artifice, 
to avoid an evil, will but embarrafs us the more. 
It was only a fpecial, gracious interpofition, 
which prevented mofl fatal ccnfequences, from 
the patriarch's unworthy device. 

While we aim to a8; with integrity ourfelves, 
let us remember the weaknefs of human nature, 
and treat with candour the failings of our fellow 
men. We fee weaknefs and errour in fo good a 
man as Abraham. We are to look for perfection 
in none. Nor ought we, for particular faults, to 
Tvithdraw our charity from men of general integ- 
rity and virtue. The candour of Abimelech was 
great and noble. While he reproved Abraham in 
one inftance, of unworthy condu6l, he acknowl- 
edged him as a good man and a prophet of God. 
He fought his prayers, and folicited his friend- 
Ihip, being perfuaded, that God was with him. 
We may reprove a good man's faults ; but for 
particular faults, which are an exception from a 
general chara6ter, w^e mufl condemn no man's 
perfon. Let us walk in that charity, which 
hopeth all things ; for this will cover a multitude 
of fins. 



jTic JLtncidoTn of Qod 'jvdiiotd Uufc^^ 
vat ton. 

Luke, 17. xx, xxi. 

And zuhen he was demanded of the Pharifees, When 
the kingdom of God fhould co?ne j he anfwered than 
and f aid. The kingdom of God cometh not with ob* 
fervation : Neither fhall they fay, Lo here ; or, 
lo there ; for behold, the kingdom of God is with' 
in you, > * 

1 HIS phrafe, the kingdom of God, is 
frequently ufed in the new teftament; and it 
fignifies either that (late of glory, to which good 
men will be exalted in the future world, or the 
gofpel difpenfation, and the church of God in 
this world. The latter is the more common ac- 
ceptation, and evidently intended in the text- 
The queftion of the Pharifees, ^ When fhall the 
kingdom of God appear ? manifeflly refpeded the 
kingdom of the MelTiah, or that difpcnfation 
which he was to introduce. Chrift, in his anfwer, 
ufes the phrafe in the fame fenfe, only cor- 


S3^ Serm. XXIL 

reeling their miflake concerning its nature, and 
the manner of its introdudion and eflablifliment. 

At the time of our Saviour's appearance, there 
prevailed a general expcdation of him. This ex- 
pe6lation was grounded on the prophecies, which 
had exprefsly foretold the certainty, and accu- 
rately flated the time of his coming. But the 
prophecies, which defcribed the 7nanner of his ap- 
pearance, were grofsly rnifapprehended by moft of 
the Jews, and efpecially by the Pharifees. The 
grand and lofty figures reprefenting the power of 
his do6lrines, they underftood as expreffing the 
majefty of his temporal dominion, and the fplen- 
dour of his earthly court. 

They' demanded of Jefus, when the kingdom of 
Godjhould come ; meaning, when would the Mef- 
fiah come to ere6]; his kingdom in Judea, and to 
deliver the Jews from the oppreffions of a foreign 
power. Jefus had declared himfelf to be the 
promifed MefFiah. But there was nothing in his 
condition, which anfwered to their ideas of his 
temporal reign. Inftead of that wealth and pow- 
er, that fplcndid court and numerous hofl, with 
which they expe6led he would be attended, they 
faw him poor and humble, and only accompani- 
ed with a few difciples of ordinary birth and char- 
ader. They therefore demand of him, " i When 
is that kingdom of God to be ere6led, which the 
fcripture foretels T' — i Are you the Mefliah ? — 
I Where is your kingdom ? — i Can you be the 
important perfon. who is the fubjecl of fo many 


Serm. XXII. 337 

notable predidions ? — i Was all that pomp of 
prophetick language wailed only to point out a 
man like you ? 

Jefus tells them, they wholly mirunderllood 
the intention of prophec)^ which was to foretel, 
not a temporal, but a fpiritual kingdom. The 
kingdom of God C07neth not with ohfervation, or with 
external parade and (how ; but with moral and 
internal power and influence. Neither fhall men 
have occafion to fay, Behold, it is here ; or behold^ 
it is there. It will not, as you imagine, be con- 
fined to Judea, or to any particular place : — For 
behold, the kingdom of God is within you, or among 
you : And it will be extended wherever my doc- 
trines are preached. It will reach from one part 
under heaven, unto the other part under heaven. So 
he adds, verfe 24. — This kingdom is already be- 
gun among you, being preached by me and my 
difciples, and confirmed by the evidence of my 
works ; and foon it will fpread around, and blefs 
other nations of the earth. Seek it not in this, 
or in that particular place ; know that it is come 
to you already : Submit now to its authority ; fe- 
cure its beflings, where ye are. 

The illuflration of thefe words — The kingdom 
of God Cometh not with obfervation, will lead us to 
lome important thoughts on the nature and de- 
fign of the gofpel, and prepare our way for fome 
ufeful rcflcftions. 

1 . The manner, in which the gofpel was firfl intrO' 
diicedj was without external fhow andoflentation. 


33^ Serm. XXII. 

Wordly kingdoms are ulually ere61;ed andfup- 
portcd by the power of arms. The princes of 
the world, the better to command the refpe6l and 
obedience of their fubjeds, are diftinguilhed by 
riches, fplendour and equipage. But the king- 
dom of Chrifl was introduced without any of 
thcfc forms of pomp and grandeur. 

He came, meek and lowly, publifhing peace, 
and bringing falvation to mankind. 

John, his forerunner, appeared in the wilder- 
nefs, preaching repentance, and warning men to 
flee from the wrath to come. His humble habit, 
and auflere manner of life, were fuited to the 
do^lrine which he preached. 

Jefus himfelf was born in an obfcure family, 
and educated in a manner below the common 
rank of people. He grew up as a root out of dry 
ground. There was in him no form or comelinefs 
to captivate the admiration of earthly pride. He 
entered on his publick miniftry with folemn fail- 
ing ; and was confecrated to his work by the 
waihing appointed for the priefts under the law. 
To prove his divine authority, he performed many 
miracles ; but thefe were of the mild and benevo- 
lent, not of the fhowy and oftentatious kind. He 
exerted his heavenly power, not, as a worldly 
conqueror would wifh to do, in overturning 
kingdoms, and fpreading deflrudion among his 
enemies ; but in relieving the diflrefTed, feeding 
the hungry, healing the fick, and giving fight to 
the blind. He was not attended with armed 


SeRM. XXII. g^g 

bands to defend his peiTon, but with a few difci- 
ples to affiftin fpreading his doctrines. He la- 
boured, not to raife himfelf to wealth and power, 
but to promote truth and righteoufnefs amonop 
our degenerate race. He difplayed his dignity, 
not in revenging injuries, but in continual exer- 
cifes of mercy and forgivenefs ; and gained fub- 
je6ts, not by the force and terrour of the fword, 
but by the perfuafive influence of reafon and 
goodnefs. He clofed the fcene, not by dealing 
death among his enemies, but by dying for their 
falvation. His laft prayer was, not for vengeance, 
but for pardon to thofe who compaffed his death. 
And when he afcended on high, the language of 
his lips was in bleflings of peace, not in impreca- 
tions of wrath. 

2. The external difpenfation of Chri ft 's kingdom 
is without oftentation. 

His laws are plain and eafy to be underftood, 
and delivered in language level to common ap- 
prehenfion. The motives, by which obedience 
is urged, are pure and fpiritual, taken not from 
this, but the future world. His inftitutions are 
few and fimple, adapted to our condition, and 
fuited to warm and engage the heart. 

When the law was given from Sinai, the peo- 
ple prayed — Let Mofes fpeak, and we will hear ; 
but let not God /peak, leji wc die. The pomp and 
majcfly, with which the law was proclaimed, 
ftruck them with terrour. They defired to re- 
ceive it in a gentle manner. In the gofpel dif- 

340 Serm. XXII. 

penfation, God has condefccnded to the weaknefs 
of our nature. In thefe lad days he has fpoken 
to us by his Son, who is indeed the brightnefs of 
his glory, but has veiled thk glory in human 
flefh, being made in all things like unto us, that 
he might be a merciful high prieft. And thofe 
whom he has appointed to adminifter the affairs 
of his government, are men of like paffions with 
ourfelves. The Apoftle fays, We are amhajfa^ 
dours of Chrljl, as though God did by us bcfeech you ; 
we pray you. in Chriji's fuad, he ye reconciled to God. 
In regard of the mildnefs of the gofpel difpenfa- 
tion, compared with the law, the Apoftle fays to 
the Hebrews — Ye are not come to the mount, which 
might he touched, the fenfible, tangible mount — 
and which burned with Jire, nor unto blachiefs, and 
darknefs, and tempejl, and the found of a trumpet^ and 
the voice of zuords, which they zvho heard could not 
endure ; but ye are come to mount Sion, and the city 
of the living God, the general affevihly and church of 
thefrfl born, to God the Judge of all, and to Jefus 
the mediator of the new covenant : We have received 
d kingdom, which cannot be moved. Let us therefore 
have grace, whereby we may fcrvc God acceptably 
with reverence and godly fear. 

3. The virtues, which the gofpel principally 
inculcates, are without obfervation, diftant from 
worldly fliow, and independent of worldly 

The kinsyjlom of God is righteovfnefs, and peace, 
and joy in ike Holy Ghofl, The religion of Chriil 


Serm. XXIL 841 


confifls not in thofe adions, which glare in the 
eyes of the world, and ftrike the minds of mea 
with admiration ; fuch as courage in war, con-J 
queft over enemies, acquiring territory and fpread- 
ing dominion ; but in fmcere piety, humble de- 
votion, lively faith, flriQ fobriety, patient felf- 
denial, extenfive charity, and contempt of the 
world. Thefe are modefl virtues, remote from 
oftentation. They feek not applaufe from men, 
but only the filent approbation of God and the 

The kingdom of God is received with faith. 
This is the great principle of obedience. This 
was the do6lrine with which Jefus began his min- 
iflry— TAe kingdom of God is at hand ; repent ye^ 
SLYid believe the gofpeL 

Faith is not only a perfuafion of the truth, 
but alfo a fubmiflion to the authority of the gof- 
pel. As it fuppofes a conviftion of perfonal 
guilt and unworthinefs, fo it implies a godly for- 
row for lin — a reliance on the rftercy of God, 
through the R^edeemcr, for pardon — a defire o£ 
kis fandifying and affifling grace — and a refolu- 
tion to walk in newnefs of life. It is accompa* 
nied with a hatred of lin, a watchfulnefs againlt 
it, and earned breathings after holinefs. Thefe 
operations of faith corme not A^ith obfervation. 
Though they are powerfully felt in the believing 
foul, they are not feen by others. They become 
vihble only in their effe6U. 

X Wher^ 

g42 Serm. XXil. 

Where the kingdom of God takes place, there 
is a great change in the temper dindi dijpofition of 
the mind. — // any man be in Ciiriji, he is a new 
creature ; and this is a humble creature. We 
muft receive the kingdom of God as little chil- 
dren— av^ new born babes. — Except ye be converted, 
fays the Saviour, and become as little children,- ye 
Jliall not enter into the kingdom of heaven ; butwhofo 
(hall humble himfelf as a little child, the fame is great- 
ejl in that kingdom. The gofpel, where it comes 
with power, mortifies the pride of the heart, hum- 
bles the foul at the foot of a fovereign God, cafls 
down imaginations, and every high thing which 
exalts itfelf againll the knowledge of God, and 
brings into captivity every thought to the obe- 
dience of Chrifl. 

The fubjecfs. of this kingdom exercifc a temper 
piJelJdcniaL Whofoever will co7ne after me, fays 
Chrift, let him deny hiwfelf, and take up his crofs, 
and follow me. — This felfdenial piincipally confifls 
ip. the denial of ungodlmefs and xoorldly lufls. Tht-y 
who are under the dominion of fm, make pro- 
yifion for the ileHi to fulfil the lufls thereof. 
They contrive the means of gratifying pride, am- 
bition, covetoufncfs, and fenfual defires. But 
when the kingdom of God takes place in them, 
they no longer live to the lulls of men, but to 
the will of God. They keep under the body to 
bring it into fubjcQion. They abftain from the 
appearance of evil, and efpecially watch againft 
their own iniquity. They maintain a warfare 


Serm. XXIL 046 

with themfelves, and with the world ; and leek 
grace that they may cleanfe themfelves from all 
filthinefs of the flelh and fpirit, and may perfe6l 
holmefs in the fear of God. 

The kingdom of God in the {o\x\ fub dues worldly 
offeElions. As it is not of this world, but from 
heaven, fo the fubje6ls of it feek the things which 
are above, not the things which are on the earth. 

Worldly afFedions, reigning in the foul, arc in- 
con fi (lent with the religion of Chrifl. He came to de- 
liver us from this evil world. Faith in him over- 
comes the world. They who trufl in riches cannot 
enter into his kingdom. He has chofen the poor iix 
this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the kingdom 
which he has promifed ; and he has declared, that 
only to the poor in fpirit the bleflings of it belong* 

The kingdom of God is a kingdom o^ peace and 
love. It not only calls men into a flate of peace 
with God, but requires them to live in peace with 
one another. Benevolence, condefcenfion, meek- 
ncfs, forbearance, and inofFeniivenefs, are dif- 
tinguifhing virtues of Chrift's difciples. A tem- 
per of charity is the grand qualification for a 
lubje6l of his kingdom. This is the end of the 
commandment, and the bond of perfe6lnefs. 
For this we are called into his kingdom ; and 
then only we walk worthy of our calling, when 
we walk in all lowlinefs, longfufFering, and 
meeknefs, forbear one another in love, and 
keep the unity of the fpirit in the bond of pea-ce. 
There is nothing more offenfive to the Prince of 
X 2 Peace, 

Ill Serm, XXII. 

Peace, than contentions, animbritles, and tumults 
among his fubjeds. There is no law of his king- 
dom more fully exprefFed, more frequently re- 
peated, and more folemnly ciiforced, than that 
which requires us to love one another, and to 
lludy the things which make for peace. We are 
commanded to mark and avoid them Who caufe 
divifions and offences. Mutual love and conde- 
fcenfion, are tfie marks by whicii Chrifl's difciples 
are to te known among men. 

Charity is a humble, modefl virtue. It makes 
no oflentatlon. Contentions and difputes are 
noify and tumultuous. They make upi'oar and 
confufion. But love is flill and filent. It does 
good without founding a trumpet. While it 
Icatters blefFings with one hand, the other fcarce- 
ly knows what is doing. It prays for, and for- 
gives olTenders in fecret, and makes no procla- 
mation. It bellows favours on little ones, on 
perfons of obfcure condition. Such favours fel- 
dom come to publick notice. They fall not un- 
der the obfervation of the world. 

4. As the temper of the gofpel, fo alfo the op- 
er alien of the divine fpirit, introducing this tem- 
per, is without obfervation. 

A divine influence is necelTary to form the 
hearts of fallen men to the love of religion. This 
influence is aff'orded, wherever the gofpel is dif- 
penfed. But this is a fecret influence : It comes 
not with obfervation. It is fomething, which the 
human eye cannot fee. They who are the fub- 


$^jaM. XXIL 345 

je6l:s of it, cannot dire6lly and immediately dil- 
tinguifli it from the rational operations of their 
own minds. X^ey know it rather by its holy 
fruits, than by lenfe and confcioufnefs. Our 
Saviour fays, It is as the wind, which bloweth where 
it lijleth, and zoe hear the found thereof, but cannot 
tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth. This 
influence, like the gofpel itfelf, is foft, mild, and 
gentle. It is not a tempeft, an earthquake, or 
fire ; but a fmall, ftill voice. It is a fpirit of 
power, but yet a fpirit of love, and of a found 
mind. The fruits of it, like its nature, are kind 
and benevolent. They are love, joy, peace, long- 
fuffering, gentlenefs, meeknefs, and goodnefs. 
The wifdom of the world is attended with flrife 
and confufion : But the wifdom from above, is 
pure, and peaceable, gentle, and eafy to be entreat- 
ed, full of mercy and good fruits. 

5. The hleffmgs of God's kingdom are chiefly 
invifible, and without obfervation. 

The rewards which the gofpel promifes arc 
not earthly and temporal, but heavenly and fpir- 
itual. They are not external power, wealth, and 
honour ; but inward peace, hope, and joy here, 
and everlafting felicity hereafter. In this world, 
the good Chriflian is fubjeft to the fame outward 
calamities which attend others. Buthehascon- 
folations, which fpring only from religion, and 
which a ftrangcr intermeddles not with. He re- 
joices in the approving tefllmony of his con- 
fcience ; in hope of the glory of God ; and in 
X '\ the 

346 Serm. XXII. 

the happy influence of his affli6lions, which work 
patience, give him experience, enliven his love 
to Gocl, and confirm his heavenly hope. The 
Apoftle fays — We are troubled on every fide, yet not 
dijlrejfcd ; perplexed, hut not indefpair ; asforrow- 
Jul, yet always rejoicing ; as poor, yet making many 
rich ; as having nothing, yet pojfejjing all things. It 
is the power of religion in the heart, which ena- 
bles the Chriflian, in all his trials, thus to triumph 
in Chrill Jefus. 

We fee in what refpeds, the kingdom of God 
comes without obfervation. How happy is the 
Hate of the fincere Chriflian ! He has a kingdom 
xvathin him. He may be poor and defpifed in 
this world. He may fuffer a variety of adverfity 
and diflrefs ; but he is a fubjetl of the King of 
faints. He receives continual fupplies and con- 
folations from heaven. He has pea,ce of mind, 
and hope toward God. He is an heir of ever- 
Jafting glory. Bleffed are the poor in fpirit, for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

|:nd of the twenty second sermon. 


<j/ze uLv7i(jydo7rt of (iocL ^vdhoiii (Jolt 


Luke, 17. xx, xxi. 

And when he -was demanded of the Pharifees, When 
the kingdom of Godjhould come ; he anfioered them 
andfaid, The kingdom of God cometh not with ob- 
fervation : Neither fJiall they fay, Lo here ; or, 
lo there ; for behold, the kingdom of God is with- 
in you. 

In what refpecls the kingdom of God, 
or the gofpel difpenfation, comes without obfcr- 
vation, we have (liewn in a preceding difcourfe. 
We will now attend to the reflexions and inflruc- 
tions which our fubje6l offers to us. 

1. If the kingdom of God is now among us, 
we are all, without exception, bound to acknowl- 
edge it, and fubmit to it. 

As Jefus declared himfelf to be the MefTiah, 
who, according to the prophecies of fci ipture, was 
to come into the world, the Pharifecs demanded 
X 4 of 

348 Serm. XXIII. 

of him, when his kingdom was to begin. He 
anfwered them, that it was begun already. He 
was now working miracles to prove his heavenly 
million. He was no^ preaching the way of fal- 
vation for fmners. He was no Wr^ proclaiming 
peace to them, and dating the terms of their ac- 
ceptance. The kingdom of Mefliah, foretold by 
the prophets, was now among them. It only re- 
rnained for them to bow down in humble fub- 
miflion to its laws, and fecure the happinefs which 
it promifed. 

Wherever God fends his gofpel, there he ere6ls 
his kingdom, and calls men to become the fub- 
je6ls of it. And it is at their peril, if they rejeft 
it. When Jefus came, preaching the gofpel of 
the kingdom of God, he faid to the people — The 
time is fulfilled, and the kingdovi of God is at hand : 
Repent ye, and believe the gofpeL 

We are not to fuppofe, that it is at our option, 
whether we will enter into this kingdom, or not. 
We are indifpenfably bound to receive it. Among 
the various forms of human government, we may 
choofe the one which pleafes us beft. A people 
may adopt that conftitution, in which they can 
agree and unite. If particular members of a com- 
munity difapprove the conftitution, which is chof- 
en and ratified, they have a natural right to re- 
pair to fome other fociety, whofe government 
fuits thexn better. But the kingdom of God is not 
to be viewed in this light. It is not a mere form, 
which men may take, or let alone at pleafure, and 


Serm. XXIIL 349 

which derives its authoiity merely frcmi human 
confent. It is a kingdom of righteoufnefs ; and 
its authority is abfolute and univerfal. 

God is the fupreme Lord of all worlds. He 
has a fovereign right to our obedience. His wif- 
dom has framed the order, his will has eftablifh- 
ed the authority, and his goodnefs has made to 
us the difcovery of his kingdom ; and it is a 
kingdom which cannot be moved. Our rejeQ;ion 
of It mufl be accompanied with the higheft guik, 
and our difobedience will be followed with the 
moft amazing punifhment. 

Some feem to imagine, that if they profefs them- 
felves the fubjeQ;s of this kingdom, they come 
under higher and ftrider obligations than others. ; 
and that there are then duties incumbent on them, 
in which before they had no concern. Under this 
delufive imagination, many, it is probable, de- 
cline to make any profeflion at all, that they 
may feel themfelves more at libertv to walk ac- 
cording to the courfe of the world. 

But the truth is, the kingdom of God is come 
nigh to us ; it is among us; and we are all bound 
to profefs obedience, and yield it too. We have 
no more right to reje6l God's kingdom, when it 
is offered, than we have to withhold obedience 
when we have promifed it. A profeffion is not 
the affumption of arbitrary obligations, but an 
acknowledgment of real ones. A profefhon of 
obedience is required ; and he who refufes it, is 
guilty of the fame contempt of di\ inc authority, 


350 Serm. XXIIL 

as he who refufes obedience after he has pro- 
felfed it. 

The gofpel difpenfation is fometimes called a 
covenant. Now, becaule the validity of covenants 
between man and man^ depends on mutual con- 
sent and agreement, we are apt inienfibly to fall 
into this conception of the divme covenant. But 
we ihould remember, that God is a fovereign ; that 
we ftand not on the ground of equality with him, 
as we do with men ; that his wifdom is perfect, 
and his authority fupremc ; and his covenant he 
commands us. Wherever he reveals and propofes 
it, the obligations of it; take place. Whether we 
confent or not, ftill w^e come within its authori- 
ty. Though our confent is neceffary to our en- 
joying the faving benefits of it, yet it is not necef- 
fary to our coming under its commanding power. 

Whatever excufes may be made for the hea- 
thens, who have never known the gofpel, thefe ex- 
cufes cannot be admitted in our cafe, becaufe 
God has placed us in a very different condition 
from theirs ; and we cannot put ourfeives in their 
condition, if we would. 

The wickednefs of thofe who profefs the gof- 
pel, is indeed highly aggravated. But the aggra- 
vation arifes from the enjoyment, rather than from 
the projeffion of the gofpel. This is the condemna- 
tion, thai light is come into the world, and they have 
loved darknefs rather than light, becaufe their deeds 
are evil. Their guilt is aggravated, not in com- 
parifon with the guilt of thofe who enjoy the gof- 

Serm. XXIII. §5? 

If >.l tf.frfj,- ^fTj r 

pel, and yet refufe to profefs it ; but rather in 
comparifon with the guilt of thofe, who have 
never known the gofpel, nor had an opportunity 
to profefs it. 

Our Saviour, alluding to the flate of the Jew- 
ifti nation, who receiyed their kings by an ap- 
pointment from Rome, illuflr'ates the kingdom of 
Cod. or the gofpel difpenfation, by a parable of 
a certain nobleman, who went into a far country, 
to receive to himfelf a kingdom, and to return. 
This nobleman, at his departure, committed to 
his fervants the care of his nioney, with a direc- 
tion to occupy it for him, until he came back. 
Thefe fervants had profeffed a regard for his per- 
fon, and an attachment to his interefl, and with 
them he trufls his riches. But there were fomc 
of his citi2;ens who hated him, and fent a melfage 
after him, faying — We will not have this man to 
reign over us. When he returned, having receiv- 
ed the kingdom, he firfl called his fervants to a 
reckoning, among whom was found one who had 
negle6led to improve his Lord's money. This 
negligent fervantfell under his fevere difpleafure. 
He faid to them who flood by, Take from him the 
pound — -for from him who hath not, or improveth 
not what is committed to him — fhall be taken 
away even that which he hath. But, ^i What be- 
came of thofe, who would not that he fhould 
reign over them ? — ^ Were they excufed ? or, ^i Was 
their puniflinient alleviated, becaufe they had 
pever profeiTed themfelves his fervants ? No : 


3$« $£RM. XXIIL 

Aftei- fentence on the unfaithful fervant, the king 
fays — But thofe ^nin^e enemies, who -would fiot that I 
Jhould rei^n over them^ bring hither, andjlay them 
before me. 

In the parable of the wedding feaft, there were 
fome who made light of the king's invitation, and 
injurioufly treated th^ T^ielTengers who broiight it. 
Among thofe who accepted the invitation, there 
was one found without a v/edding garment. This 
unworthy gueft was bound, and call into outer dark- 
nefs ; and againfl thofe \v'ho rejeded the^nvitatipji, 
andabufed his fervants, the king fent forth his ar- 
mies, and deflroyed them, and burnt up their city* 

You fee then the indifpenfable obligation of all, 
to whom the gofpel comes, to prpfefs their beliqf 
of, and fubjedion to it. i Do you decline to make 
a religious profefTion, from an apprehenfion, that 
after this, the guilt of your fms will be aggravat- 
ed ? Know, that whether you make a profeflion 
or not, the guilt of your fms is already aggravat- 
;€d, ^rorn the advantages under which the gofpel 
has placed you. — They who know their Lord's will, 
and do it not^Jliall be beaten with many Jiripes. It 
is vain to think of fecuring ypurfelves, by plead- 
ing that you are not of the number of profeflbrs ; 
for God has not left it to your choice, whether 
you ivill be of that number, any more than he 
has left it to your choice whether you will love 
and fear him. You have no more right to live 
at large, and unconnefted with the Chriflian 
church, than you have to be unjaft, profane, or in- 


SeRm. XXIII. 35^ 

tempferate. No caution of this kind can avail to al- 
leviate your guilt. Yea, the very pretence confutes 
itfelf ; for, while you deliberate how to fm tVith 
fafety, you difcover a heart fet in you to do eviL 

2. Wc learn, that it concerns every one, not 
only to fubmit to God's kingdom, but to fubmit 
to it immediately. There is no occafion for delay. 

Imagine not that the kingdom of God comes 
with fuch obfervation, that there are only partic- 
ular ti7ncs when you may enter into it. It is 
come nigh to you. Its laws are now flated, and 
its blelTmgs propofed ; and you may fubmit to 
thefe laws, and fecure thefe bleffings now, as well 
as hereafter. You are not to wait for a more fa- 
vourable opportunity ; but tO embrace the piefent. 
The Apoftle fays — Wt have received a kingdo7n, 
-which cannot be moved. It is a fleady, as well as 
a pei-petual kingdom. Its laws are alvv^ays the 

fame — its bleffings are continually offered its 

grace is ever free. — Lei us have grace, that we may 
ferve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fea:r. 

You are not to fuppofe, that God grants his 
fpirit only at certain feafons ; that then it comes as 
a violent fhower, with fuch obfervation, as dif- 
tinguifhes this from all other feafons; and that thefe 
are the only feafons of falvation. — He ftretches oUt 
his hand, all the day long, even to the difobedierit 
and gainfaying. His fpirit ftrives with finners, 
while his longfufFering waits. The ftifFnecked and 
perverfe,i3/ti;^^'5 refill the Holy Ghoft. He now 
commands all to repent, and invites all to receive 



Serm. XXllL 

the blellings of his grace. We are to hear his 
voice, while it is called today. Now is the day of 
falvatioiiy and the time of acceptance. We are not 
to delay, under an appreheuiion that God will be 
more gracious, the operations of the fpirit more 
powerful, or our. hearts better dilpofed, at another 
time, than this. We are to improve this time, 
this day, as the only feafon, which is ours ; re- 
membering, that God waits to be gracious, and 
exalts hlmfvilf that he may have mercy. 

We are h^re taught, that we have no occafion 
to run from place to place, in order to find the 
grace of God. for we may. obtain it in any place, 
vv^here his Providence calls us. 

We are not to imagine, that the fpirit of God 
is poured out in fuch, or fuch a place, and no 
where elie ; and that, in order to obtain a por- 
tion of the fpirit, we muft go to fuch a place, 
hear fuch a preacher, or join with fuch an all'em- 
bly. The kingdom of God comes not with ob- 
fervation ; neither fhall men have occafion to 
fay, Xo, it IS here ; or, lo, it is there: For the fpirit 
is not confined to certain places ; its influences 
are not at human difpofal, nor do its operations 
come with publick obferyation. The gofpel is 
a minidration of the fpirit. Where God fends 
\ the former, he fends alio the latter. You are to 
receive the fpirit in the hearing of faith. Its in- 
fluence on the heart is not like an overbearing 
ftorm, but as the gentle rain ou the tender herb, 
and the dew on the grafs. 


Serm. XXIIL 355 

We are to attend on the ordinances which God 
has appointed, m the place which his providence 
points out, hoping for a blefling in the way 
which his wildom has preicribed. Here we are 
to Hft up holy hands, not doubting of his readi- 
nefs to give his fpirit to them who alk him, in 
this place, as well as another. If they fay — Sec 
here, or, fee there ; go not after them, nor follow 
them, for the kingdom of God is among you. Goi 
grants his grace in his own way ; and when in 
his way we feek, we may be fure to find. 

4. We learn from our fubje6t, that true relig- 
ion is notfoflentaiious. It feeks not obfervation. 

The true Chriflian is exemplary, but not vain. 
He is careful to maintain good works, but aiTe6ls 
not an unnecefTary fhow of them. He does noth- 
ing through vam glory, but thinks and ads with 
lowiinefs of mind. He will not put himfelf for- 
ward, or take upon him to cenfure and ditlate, 
Confcious of his numerous imperfeftions, he 
hop^^s humbly, reproves gently, hears reproof 
patiently, judges charitably, and (hews out of a 
good converfation his works with meeknefs of 

Real religion begins in felfabafem.ent, in a con- 
vi6tion of fm, fenfe of unworthmefs, and reliance 
on free mercy. The fame humble temper, in 
which it begins, accompanies its future works. 
The Chriflian, after his higheft improvements, 
remembers what he was once, a guilty creature, 
expofed to wrath. He confiders, that from this 


356 Serm. XXin. 

deplorable condition he was recovered by the 
fovereigii grace of God. He reckons not himfelf 
tb have already attained, or to be already made 
perfe6l ; but he preffes toward the mark for the 
prize of the high calling. He glories not in his 
attainments, but laments his deficiencies. When 
he compares himfelf with other Chriflians, he is 
iticlitied to hope them better than himfelf. His 
language is not — God, I thank thee, that I am not 
as other men ; but, God be meixiful to me a fmncr. 
In the performance of duty he feeks not the ob- 
fervation of men, but the approbation of God. 
If he perceives a regard to human applaufe 
crceping in, and mingling itfelf with fpiritual 
duties, he abhors himfelf, laments the remaining 
cornaption of his heart, prays for grace to cleanfe 
him from it, and keeps his foul with greater dil- 
igence. If he fees reafon to rejoice in a con- 
fcioufnefs of his integrity, he acknowledges with 
the ApoRle — By the grace of God, I am -what lam, 

5. It appears, that they only are the true fub- 
jeSls of God's kingdom, who have experienced its 
power on their hearts. 

A religion, that is merely external, will carry 
Bone to the world of glory. Let us then in- 
quire, what influence the gofpel has within us. 

We profefs to believe its divinity and impor- 
tai^ce. ^Havewefelt its transforming power ? — 
I Ar't we governed by its dodrines, and conform- 
ed to its precepts ? — i Have we received the 
kiKgdom of God as little children, with, a meek, 


Serm. XXIIL 357 

humble, teachable, and obedient fpirit ? — i Have 
we been taught by the gra^e of God to deny 
ourfelves ? — i Are our wills fubje6led to God's 
authority, and our afFcdions railed to heavenly 
obje6ls ? — If we are (trangers to this internal op- 
eration of the gofpel, then it has only come near 
to us ; but we have not received it. — i How great 
is our guilt ? 

To us the word of falvation is fent ; and it will 
not return empty. It will not leave us, as ic 
found us. It will have fome mighty effe6l. If 
it is not a favour of life unto life, it will be a 
favour of « death unto death. If we treat with 
contempt the gofpel of the grace of God, our con- 
demnation will be more dreadful than if we nev- 
er had known it. We are then in a moft folemn 
fituation ; guilty, and worthy of death — under 
the offer of pardon — on trial whether we will ac- 
cept it. The ilTue of our probation will be an 
exceeding and eternal weight of glory, or ever- 
lafling m.ifery, aggravated beyond conception by 
a contempt of offered falvation. Behold, ye 
defpifers, and wonder, and perifii — God will per- 
form a work, which you will not believe, though, 
one declare it to you. 

6. As the kingdom of God comes not to the 
heart with oblervation, we are incompetent judges 
of the charaders of others. 

It is a great thing to know our own hearts ; 
impofTible for us to know the hearts of others. 
God only knows the hearts of all the children of 
y men. 

358 Sehm. XXIIL 

men. Therefore jud'ge nothing before the time, 
till the Lord comt, who will bring to light the 
bidden things of darkn-jis, and make man if eft 
the counfels of the heart. And happy they, who 
then ftiall have praife of God. In the mean 
time, let us not judge and condemn one another ; 
but judge this rather, that no man put a Hum- 
bling block, or occafion to fall, in his brother's 
way. I ^^'^y Should we judge and fet at nought 
our brother ? We mull all Hand before the judg- 
ment feat of Chrift. Since we cannot look into 
the hearts of our brethren, we mufl hope all 
things, and leave the dfecifion of their ilate to 
him, wholb judgment is according to truth. We 
are not to exclude men from our charity and fel- 
Lowfhip on: mere fufpicion> or for want of the 
higheft evidence of fincerity ; but wdioever pro- 
feiles fubjedion to the kingdom of Chrift, and 
contradi6ls not that profelTion by an ungodly 
life, him we muft receive as a fellow citizen with 
the faintS) and of the houfehold of God. Let us 
therefore be likeminded one toward another, ac- 
Gordmg to Chrift Jefus ; and receive one another 
Tis Chrift alfo received us, to the glory of God, 
Let us comfort and encourage one another, as 
fellow workers to the kingdom of God, unite 
our influence to increafe the number of his fub- 
jefts, and to enlarge the extent of his kingdom 
on earth, and, in all things w^alk worthy of him, 
v/ho has called us to his kingdom and glory; 




J/ 7imwme.^aI>lo aone to in& H^i^av&, and 

J o B, 21. xxxiii. 

Ani every man Jhall draw after him, as there arc 
innumerable before him, 

1 HE main purpofe of Job's difcouiTe 
in the preceding verfes, and indeed through a 
great part of this book, is to (hew, that no judg- 
ment can be formed of men's chara6ters by the 
prefent difpenfations of Providence toward them ; 
for good men often meet with great calamities in 
the courfe of their life ; and fome are early cut 
off by the hand of violence ; and wicked meit, 
on the other hand, as often profper in their world- 
ly defigns, live to old age, and go down to the 
grave by a natural death ; and confequently we 
mud look for another Hate, in which an equitable 
diilribution of rewards and punifhments may take 

He particularly obferves 'concerning death, 
which is the greateft of worldly evils, and the 
-Y 2 moft 

S^o Serm. XXIV* 

moft dreaded by die fons of men, that it is ap- 
pointed, not as a punirtiment merely for a few 
diftinguifhed offenders, but as the common lot 
of all ; and therefore from the time, manner, and 
circumflances of a man's death, we can conclude 
nothing concerning his chara6];er. 

When we fee one, by any means, or at any 
age,- brought to the grave, we may properly make 
the fame reffedion which Job makes in our 
text — Every man Jhall draw after hwi, as there have 
been immmerable before him. 

Such an event, however common, is very fol- 
^mn. it admonifhes us of the mortal condition 
of the human race, and of our own mortality in 

Job obferves, that innumerable have already 
been brought to the grave. This was true in his 
day : It is more emphatically true now. 

The numbers, which have mingled with the 
duff, fmce man was firft placed on the earth, ex- 
ceed all computation. The human race has ex- 
ifled almofl fix thoufand years. Before the flood 
the fucceffion was iefs rapid, and probably the 
world Iefs populous, than it is now. Procreation 
feems to have begun later in fome proportion to 
the greater length of life. In the antediluvian 
genealogy no mendon is made of a parent young- 
er than fixty five years. But ilill, as thelongev- 
ity of men, in that period, gave time for nume- 
rous families to fpring from each progenitor, we 
muil fuppofe, that the numbers, which were born 


Serm. XXIV. 361 

and died, in the fpace of fixteen hundred years, 
were vaftly great. 

For a few generations after the flood, human 
life was dill prolonged to a confiderable extent*. 
But it is now more than three thoufand years, 
fmce it has been reduced to its prefent fcanty 
meafure. The earth is fuppofed to change its 
inhabitants, at a medium, three times in a cen- 
tury. The change, in this part of the world, is 
not fo rapid ; but applied to the vv^orld in general, 
perhaps the eflimate is not far from the truth. 
The number of people on the globe, at any one 
time, cannot poffibly be afcertained to any de- 
gree of exadlnefs. But it muft doubtlefs amount 
to many hundrLds of millions. Some have reck- 
oned about nine hundred millions. Probably 
this calculation does not exceed the truth. Now 
fuppofe fo many fouls paffmg off this ftage, and 
as many coming on, thrice in the fpace of one 
hundred years, which will be nearly eighty thou- 
fand in a day ; and fuppofe this to have been the 
rate of fuccelfion for feveral thoufand years pail, 
and you will eafily conceive the propriety of the 
exprcifion — Innumerable have gone before us. The 
numbers, which have already lived and died, ut- 
terly furpafs our comprehenfion. 

The fate of pall generations will be the fate of 
the prefent, and the future. When we fee a man 
o;o down to the orrave, this is a natural thoug-ht — • 
Every man will draw after hiin. Had we no other 
evidence of our mortality, but v/hat arifcs from 
Y 3 the 

g62 Serm. XXIV. 

the multitudes which have died before us, this 
would be fufficient to put it beyond a doubt. 

Our knowledge of future events, in the natural 
world, chiefly depends on obfervation and expe- 
rience. That which has uniformly been the 
courfe of things, in former time, we expe6t will 
be their courfe in time to come. That the fun 
will rife again, after it has fet — that fummer will 
fucceed to winter — that harveft will follow feed- 
time — that fire will warm us, and our food will 
flrengthen us, we conclude with a fufficient de- 
gree of certainty, becaufe this has ever been the 
fleady courfe of nature. And experience gives 
us the fame evidence, that we muft go down to 
the grave, for innumerable have gone before us. 
For many thoufa.nd years there has not been an 
inflance of a man's living to any confiderable 
length of time, in this world. When we look 
around, we find but here and there one but who 
was born within feventy or eighty years ; and 
much the greater part within half that time. To 
expecl immortality here, would be as abfurd, and 
as contradidory to all human experience, as to 
cxped perpetual fummer, or unchanging fun- 
lliine. And to conduft as if we were never to 
die, is as irrational as it would be to order our 
affairs in fummer, on the prefumption that there 
is never to be another winter. 

Though no man needs L\idciice to con\ ince 
him, yet every man needs warnings to rc-v.ind 
liim; of his mortahty. Providence, thercloi-e, fo 


Serm. XXIV. 3<^ 

orders events as to give us continual admoni- 
tions of this lerious and mod interefling change. 
Every death which we fee, though it can hardly 
hG called a proof of what is already as evident as 
poITible, yet is a freili call from Qod to the fons 
of men, to think of, and prepare for, their own 
approaching death. 

Admonitions of this kind are of all the moll 
folemn and imprcffive, becaufe they not only tell 
us, hut Jhew us, that we mud die. And that they 
may be fuited to perfons of every age and con- 
dition, may come with greater power, may ftrike 
the mind with fome folemnity, and may not lole 
their effc<0: by growing too familiar, God is pleaf- 
ed to fend men to the grave by different means, 
in a variety of ways, in every period of life, 
and under the greateft imaginable diverfity of 
circumflances. In almofl every death, there is 
fomething new and affecting. Job obferves in 
the preceding verfes — Onediethin his full Jlrengih, 
being toholly at eafe and quiet, his hreaflsare full of 
milk, and his bones moifiened with marrow : Another 
dieth in the bitternefs of his foul, and never eateth 
with pleafure. They fliall lie down alike in the dufl, 
and the worms fliall cover them. 

To dwell on the proof of fo obvious a truth, 
ivould be a mifpenie of time. More ufeful will 
it be to entertain and apply the inllrudions and 
reflections, which it fuggetis to us. 

1. In the mortality of the human race, we 
have a clear demonllration of a future (late. 

Y 4 The 

3^4 Serm. XXIVa 

The frame of our bodies, and the powers of 
our minds, fpeak forth the wifdom of the Crea- 
tor ; for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Perfefl: wifdom has fome worthy end in all that 
it does, fome good defign in every thing which it 
makes. But, ^ For what purpofe could man be 
be made, if death terminates his exiftence ? Here 
is a numerous race of creatures, which, in the 
prefent (late, anfwer no end equal to the dignity, 
or fuitabie to the capacity of their nature. They 
have reafon, memory, forethought, and refle6lion. 
They can look within and around, can contem- 
plate the earth, and the heavens, can conceive 
immortal defires, and form eternal defigns. They 
have fears of future evil, and hopes of future 
good. They can difcern between right and wrong, 
approve the one, and condemn the other. By 
iludy and application, they can improve their 
knowledge, enlarge their powers, and extend their 
-profpeds. But, i To what purpofe is all this, if 
they have no exiftence beyond this poor, mortal 
flate ? — I Are their dehres and hopes, their fears 
and apprehenfions, merely imaginary ? — i Are 
they made with a fenfe of good and evil, and 
with the powers of refle6lion and forethought, 
only to vex and torment them ? — i Are they to 
be ftruck out of exiftence almoft as foon as they 
come into it, without opportunity for their minds 
to open, fpread, and reach their juft perfection ? — 
I Can it be fufpe6led, that an allwife Creator 
would make a race of intelligent, moral beings, 


Serm. XXIV. 365 

to come on this ftage, and pafs oflF again by mill- 
ions, in fuch rapid fucceflion, for agts and ages 
together, when there is no rational or moral pur- 
pofe to be anfwered ? — i Would he give an in- 
telle6tual exiftence to creatures merely for an an- 
imal and momentary life ; merely to fport for a 
day, like thofe fwarms of infe6i;s, which play in 
a fummer's fun, and then vanifli into eternal non- 
exiflence ? This is a fuppofition fo contradidory to 
our ideas of creating wifdom, that we at once re- 
je6l it. Let us then accuflom ourfelves to regard 
and improve this flate as preparatory to another. 
Let every death, which we behold, remind us of 
a future w^orld, and awaken us to make efFe6lual 
provifion for the important hour, when we muft 
take our departure hence for an everlafting flate. 

2. What an evil and bitter thing is fm, which 
has brought into the world innumerable deaths ! 

Revelation teaches us, that by one man fin enter- 
ed into the world, and death by fin, and fo death pajfes 
upon all men, for that all have finned, 

Man w^as originally made for immortality. 
And though we cannot fuppofe, that, in cafe of 
innocence, he would always have lived in this 
world, in a (late of continual increafe, becaufe then 
the earth muft, in time, have been furcharged 
with inhabitants ; yet his remove from this to a 
more perfeft ftate, would certainly have been in a 
manner very different from death ; perhaps by 
fuch an eafy tranflation as that of Enoch and 
Elijah. It was by fm, that death made its gloomy 


S66 Sehm. XXIV. 

entrance into the warld, and gained its dread- 
ful dominion over the human race. And the 
fin, by which it entered, was the firft offence of 
the firfl human pair. It is not each man's per- 
fonal tranfgreffion th^it fubjeds him to death ; 
for death is common to all — to good and. bad — 
to young and old — to them who have finned, 
and to them who have not fnined by actual dif- 
obedLence. Every man mud go down to the 
grave, whither innumerable have gone aheady. 
It is then only one fmgle fin, which has made 
this awful havock. — By one offence, death reigns. — 
By one offence judgment is come on all men. One 
tranfgreffion has filled the world with deaths, in 
ages paft ; nor is its baleful influence fpe?it. 

I Shall we then, like fools, make a mock of 
(in ? — I Shall we think it a light and trifling mat- 
ter to qffend the great and holy God, to tranf- 
grefs his laws, and run in the face of his warnings 
and threatenings ? — i Shall we dare any longer to 
continue under the guilt of all our perfonal fins ? 
Think what innumerable deaths one fin has pro- 
duced, and then fay, whether it be fafe to live 
^ny longer expofed to the punifliment, which our 
innumerable fins deferve. 

How infinitely it concerns every fon of Adam 
now to take the benefit of the glorious redemption 
purchafed by the death of a Saviour ! 

The Son of God has come down to our world, 
and taken our nature, that he might fuffer death 
for our redemption. It was not the intention of 


Serm. XXIV,. "367 

his death to exempt us from dying ; die we muft 
lliU ; but to deliver us from the awful confe- 
quences of death — from eternal death. Let the 
confideration of the great evil of fm, manifefled 
in the univerfal mortality of the human race, ex- 
cite us immediatly to fly from fm by repentance, 
and to the Saviour by faith, that wc may obtain 
a difcharge from our guilt, and a title to that 
glorious refurre6liou and happy immortality, by 
which death is fwallowedup in victory. 

If a fingle fm deferves fuch numberlefs deaths, 
how amazing mull be the defert of all our fins, 
and how amazingly will this defert be increafed, 
if, to all our other lins, we add this the greateft of 
all lins, an obllinate and contemptuous rejection 
of the Saviour ! His death is an atonement for 
other (ins ; but, ^ What other atonement will 
you find for the lin of finally refufing this ? If 
we fin wilfully after we have received the knowl- 
edge of the truth, there remaineth no more facri- 
fice for fin ; but a fearful looking for of judgment. 

3. Our fubje6l may give us fome faint ideas of 
the grandeur of the final judgment. 

The fcripture alTures us, that, as there will be 
a righteous judgment, fo it will be univerfal, ex- 
tending to all — to quick and dead^ — to bond and 
free — to great and fmall. That earth and fea will 
give up their dea^i — that all who are in their 
graves fhall come forth, and tliofc who are alive, 
and remain, will be collcfted with them before 
the throne of the Son of God, who will render to 


^68 Serm. XXIV. 

every one according to the deeds done in the 
body. On that great day, what an amazing mul- 
titude will be aiTembled ! Not merely the people 
of a particular country — not only the numerous 
millions, which now fwarm on the globe — not 
only the countlefs myriads, which have peopled 
it for nearly fix thoufand years pail ; but'all who 
fhall be called on this flage, in the unknown fuc- 
cefTion of future generations, till time fhall be 
no more. Thefe, all thefe fhall be collefted >n one 
grand afifembly, to attend their final trial, hear 
. their righteous fentence, and receive their eternal 
deflination. Yea, not only the human race, but 
thofe legions of evil fpirits, which left their firft 
habitation, and are now referved in chains, under 
darknefs, to the judgment of the great day, will 
then be brought forth, and adjudged to the full 
meafure of their torments. And to add to the 
majefly and folemnity of the fcene, thoufands of 
thoufands, ten thoufand times ten thoufand, an 
innumerable company of angels, will give their 
attendance, and wait around the fiery throne, as 
liiiniflering fpirits, to teftify their approbation of 
the equity of the procefs, and carry into execu- 
tion the orders of the Judge. 

The contemplation of this great and awful 
judgment, at which we muft afTuredly make our 
appearance, and in which we fhall have an infi- 
nite concern, may juflly fill us with amazement, 
awaken our mofl folemn attention, and make us 
careful v/hjt manner of perfons we are. 


Serm. XXIV. ' 369 

Beware of Iiypocri fy ; for there is nothing cover- 
ed, which fhall not be revealed. Be afraid of fecret 
fins, for thefe will be brought into judgment. 
The hidden things of darknefs will be expofedin 
the light, and the counfels of all hearts made 
manifelL before the alfembled world. 

4. How vain and trifling are our earthly inter- 
efts and poifeffions ! 

We are only pilgrims, palfengers, tranfient, fugi- 
tive mortals. The generations of men are paffing 
in quick fucceflibn, and there is no abiding. 
I What have we in this world, that can be worth 
the name of property ? — ^i What folly to be anxious 
about our worldly condition ; or to take much 
thought what we have, or what we want, what 
we get, or what we lofe ? 

How many millions have lived in this world, 
each of whom had fomething which he called his 
own ! What ftruggles and contefts have there been 
about this tra6l of territory, and that fpot of 
ground — this lump of ore, and that glittering 
ftone ! The fame worldly and contentious fpirit 
remains. We have our refpeQive claims, right 
or wrong. One boafts of his fuperiority ; anoth- 
er complains of his want : OiiQ defpifes a poor 
neighbour ; another envies a rich one : One fa- 
crifices eafe and confcience to gain more wealth; 
another, to gratify vanity and lufts, fpends what 
his father sramed. 


How bufy are mankind ; and yet Iiow trifling 
their defigns and purfuits ! But foon death breaks 


370 Serm. XXIV. 

all their purpofes, and fruRrates the thoughts of 
their heart. In a few days, we who now live, 
ftiall have as little concern v/ith the world, as 
thofe who lived before the flood. What one calls 
his, and another calls hii, foon will belong nei- 
ther to the one, nor the other, but to fome fuc- 
cefTor, as mortal as himfelf, who muft again leave 
it to the man v/ho comes after him ; and he ftill 
is mortal. Thus it pafTes from mortal to mortal, 
till it fhall be loft in the wreck of nature. 

Learn then to moderate your worldly aflpec- 
tions. Be patient in want, beneficent in fulnefs, 
contented whether in fulnefs or want. Place your 
afFedions on diings above, and lay up durable 
riches in the heavenly world, where, on your ar- 
rival, you will find them fecure, and ready for 

5. Our fubje6l teaches us, what reafon we have 
to pity, confole and fuccour the afflifted. 

A iv^orld of mortality muft be a world of for- 
row. Here is not only pain and diftrefs of body ; 
but, that which is often more painful and dif- 
trefting, the lofs of moft pleafant and intimate 
friends, on whom the bigger half of life's joys 
depended. When a mortal, in the midft of his 
expected days, is torn from his near connexions, 
how many hearts bleed with the wound. There 
you will fee a folitary companion, and here dif- 
appointed parents ; hclplefs offspring on one 
hand, and weeping brethren on the other. The 
fall of fuch a man, like the fall of an uprooted 


Serm. XXIV. gyt 

tree, fpreads wide ruin around, and rifles the 
bloam ol all who are near. 

When we fee, what we often fee, numbers dif- 
ti'effed by the death of one, let us refle6t, that 
their diftrels may foon be ours. The man, wha 
died laft, was not the only one who was mortal. 
Every nnan muft draw after him, as there are in- 
no-Tnerable before him. We have not a friend on 
earth, who is not as mortal as he was — not a 
friend on earth, but may foon leave us in forrow 
and anguiih. Let us then bring home to our 
hearts the forrow of our neighbours, take a fenfi- 
bie fhare in it, and remember thofe who are in 
bonds, asbound with them ; and thofe who fufFer 
adverfity, as being ourfelves alfo in the body. 

6. We are taught the danger which, attends too^ 
llrong a reliance on earthly friends. 

Every man muft go down to the grave. Ceafe^ 
then from man, whofe breath is in his noftrils ; 
for wherein h he to be accounted of. Truft in 
the Lord forever, for with him is everlafting 

The lofs of friends, is a call from heaven to 
raife our thoughts and aflFe61:ions there. Wheni 
our earthly dependence finks under us, we muH 
lean more fully on the power and wifdom, thcf 
mercy and faithfulnefs of God. In him we muft 
feek our comfort in every adverfity. Theworldy 
which is itfelf fo full of trouble, cannot be a 
fource of comfort in trouble. Our comfort we 
muft feek in another place ; our rcfrefliments we 


372 Serm. XXIV: 

mufl draw from another fountain. A fettled per- 
fuafion, that a God of infinite wifdom, power 
and goodnefs, governs the world ; that he orders 
all events, and extends his care to all creatures ; 
that we are interefted in his favour ; and, all 
things, under his direction, will work for our 
good ; that heavenly joys will foon recompenfe 
all our earthly forrows ; this is the only fure 
principle of comfort, hope and courage, in our 
worldly affii6hons. 

Let us then be quickened to a life of undiffem- 
bled religion, which is necelTary to our comforta- 
ble pailage through this world, and our happy 
entrance into a better. 

Religion exempts no from affli6i:ion, or 
from death ; but it does more ; it gives him fub- 
flantial comfort in afflidion, and fure preparation 
for death, and thus turns both to his advantage. 

Since religion is fo fupremely necelTary, life 
fo precarious, and death fo furely approaching, let 
us call off our thoughts from this world, and di- 
re6l them to our future and everlafting concerns. 
This is the dictate of reafon, of fcripture, and of 
providence. Let us realize human frailty, p'ity 
thofe in adverfity, and ft and prepared for fimilar 
trials. Let not the profperous flatter themfeives, 
that they never ftiall be moved, nor the young 
and vigorous imagine, that their mountain ftands 
ftrong. The day is haftening, when the ftrong 
muft bow themfeives. Health, ftrength, youth, and 
vigour, v/hen death approaches; can make no re- 


Serm. XXIV. 373 

fiftance. Virtue, ufefulnefs, helplefs dependents, 
and weeping, praying friends, cannot procure an 
exemption from the grave. 

Whatever your hands find to do, do it with 
your might ; there is no work in the grave, whith- 
er ye are going. Let your repentance be fpeedy, 
that death may not prevent it ; let your hope be 
well founded, that death may not difappoint it ; 
and let it be improved, and confirmed by the con- 
itant exercife of piety, that your departure may 
be comfortable, your entrance into heaven abun- 
dant, and your reward rich and glorious. 



tJt&fl&ciioTid oTi tyCci^veM. 

Jeremiah, 5. xxiv. 

J^either fay they in their heart, Let us now fear tJie 
Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former 
and the latter rain in his feafon : He referveth 
unto us the appointed weeks of the harvefl. 

Among the many inftances of the 
great corrupliou and degeneracy of the Jews, 
enumerated in this chapter, one of the plained, is 
their inattention to, and difregardof, theconflant 
government of God's providence, when there were 
the moft obvious and familiar proofs of it daily 
before their eyes. They paid their devotions to 
inanimate idols and imaginary divinities, and re- 
nounced the worfhip and fervice of that almighty 
and moft glorious Being, whofe hand created, 
and ftiil fuftains, the whole frame of nature, 
and whofe goodnefs fupplies the wants of every 
living creature. 

" Hear this, O foolifti people,'' fays God by his 
prophet, " a people without underftanding, who 
have eyes, and fee not ; who have ears, and hear 
not : — I Fear ye not me ? — i Will ye not tremble 


Serm. XXV. 375 

at my prefence, who have placed the fand for the 
bound of the fea, by a perpetual decree, that it 
cannot pafs it ; and though the waves thereof 
tofs themfelves, yet can they not prevail ; and 
though they roar, yet can they not pafs over it ?" 

The reftraint of the ocean, that tumultuous 
body of waters, which the Jews, living near the 
Mediterranean, had frequent opportunities to ob- 
ferve, is often mentioned in fcripture, as an effect 
of God's watchful providence, and an e^idence 
of his mighty power. This is fele6led from 
among the numerous proofs of God's government, 
not becaufe it is more immediately his work, but 
becaufe the grandeur and majefty of the fcene 
ftrikes the mind with a deeper and more awful 
fenfe of his continual fuperintending influence, 
than moil other appearances in the natural world. 

The dire6lion of the feafons, the interchansres 
of rain and funfhine, and the timely returns of 
harveft, are, if not fo grand, yet as plain and 
convincing proofs of God's providence, as the 
control of the ocean. To this God appeals in 
the text, and complains, that while his people 
partook of his bounty, they regarded not his 
hand. " But this people hath a revolting and a 
rebellious heart : They are revolted and gone ; 
neither fay they in their heart, Let us now fear 
the Lord, who giveth us rain, the former and lat- 
ter rain in his feafon, and referveth to us the ap- 
pointed weeks of the harveft." 

Z 2 Thtrc 

376 Serm. XXV. 

There is frequent mention of the former, and 
the latter rain. The one came on jufl after feed 
time ; the other, not long before harveft, and is 
called, *' the latter rain of the firft month," or 
the month in which harveft began. The fruit- 
fulnefs of the feafon depended much on thefe 
rains, which feem to have been periodical in that 
country. If either of them failed, the harveft 
was fmall. 

The meftage contained in this chapter, was 
probably delivered to the people about the time 
of harveft. In forae preceding years, the crops 
had been cut fliort by unfavourable weather, as 
well as by the incurfions of enemies. It is faid, 
in the third and fourth chapters, that for the wick- 
ednefs of the people, " the fhowers had been 
withheld, and there had been no latter rain— all 
t\it birds of heaven were fled, and the fruitful 
field was become a wildernefs.'' The failure of 
the harvefts, in feafons pafl, had given them anx- 
ious apprehenfions for the next. But having, 
beyond all expe6lation, received timely rains, 
they beheld their fields covered with corn, and 
their paftures clothed with flocks. And yet they 
remained as regardlefs of the divine government 
as before ; Neither, faid they, let us now fear the 
Lord, who gives us rain in feafon, and beftows 
upon us the rich, but unexpeded bleflings of 

There are two obfer\^ations fuggefted to us in 
our text, 

I. That 

Serm. XXV. ^yf 

I. That the regular return of har^'efl is a dem- 
onflration of the exiflence and providence of God. 

II. That the time of harvefl naturally calls us 
to pious meditations and refledions. 

I. The regular return of harveft is an obvious 
proof of the exiflence and providence of God. 

The Jews, who, with this evidence before their 
eyes, feared not God, are called " a foolifh peo- 
ple, and without underftanding. 

The fruits of the earth, fo necefTary to the fup- 
port of animal life, depend on caufes beyond the 
reach of human power. Our labour in the cul- 
ture of the foil, is ufelefs and vain without a 
friendly difpofition of the feafons. But in the 
direftion of the feafons, we can have no more in- 
fluence than in the creation of worlds. There is 
nothing within the fphere of human agency, that 
in the leafl contributes to haften or reftrain the 
Ihowers of heaven, to increafe or moderate the 
heat of the fun, to continue or change the courfe 
of the winds. The whole management of the 
natural world is in hands fuperiour to ours — in 
the hands of an invifible, almighty Being. The 
invifible things of God are not more clearly feen 
from the creation of the world, than from the 
produ6lions of nature. Had we been prefent, 
when God laid the foundation of the earth, we 
could not have had more convincing evidence, 
than what we now have in the ftated returns of 
feed time and harvefl, that there is a Being who 
Z 3 fills. 

378 Serm.XXV^ 

fills, fuflains, and rules the univerfe — who is 
above all, through all, and in us all. 

The prophet remarks, that God referves to us 
the appointed weeks of harveft. 

That we may order our affairs with difcretion, 
the world is governed by general, eflablifhed laws. 
If the feafons fhould be thrown into confufion, 
Or their regular fucceiTion frequently interrupted, 
tliere would be an end of human prudence and 
adivity : We could never judge how to plan and 
purfue our bufinefs ; when to fow our feed, or 
look for a harveft ; and what provifion to make, 
in one feafon, for our fupport till the return 
of the next. But as the fyftem of God's govcrn- 
men is uniform and fteady, or fubjeQ only to 
fmall and occafional variations, we are able to 
form and profecute our neceffary defigns with 

We fee that the feafons are ordered with wif- 
dom faperiour to ours. If we had power to in- 
fluence them, yet we have notfkill to guide them. 
Experience convinces us, how erroneoufly we 
have judged : But all our experience has not 
enabled us to judge perfedly for the future. A 
pkntiful harveft often follov/s feafons, which to 
us appeared unfavourable ; and the fruits of the 
earth as often are cut fhort after promifmg prof- 
pe6ls. There are many things in the natural 
world, fo entirely out of our fight, that it is im- 
poffible for us to determine the manner in which 
it is beft the feafons fhould be ordered. The 


SeRM. XXV. ^^>jg 

weather, which we think unkind, may be necef- 
faiy to the removal or prevention of evils, un- 
known to us, which might be fatal to the fruits 
of the earth : — That which is unfriendly to par- 
ticular foils, may be adapted to general fertility : — ■ 
That which produces a fcanty harvefl, in one fea- 
fon, may conduce to the fruitfulnefs of fucceed- 
ing years. 

Harveft, in its appointed weeks, teaches us the 
goodnefs of God. 

" He has not left himfelf without witnefs, in 
that he does good, gives us rain from heaven, and 
fruitful feafons, and fills our hearts with food and 
gladnefs." We learn God's goodnefs from the 
effefts of it, which we behold ; and the bleffings 
of it, which we enjoy. When we fee a man of 
wealth difperfing abroad his charities among the 
indigent, we admire the goodnefs of his hearty 
and rejoice in his ability. Much greater evidence 
have we of the goodnefs of God, " who caufes 
the grafs to grow for the cattle, and herb for the 
fervice of man ; who gives to the bead his food, 
and to man wine which cheers, and bread which 
ftrengthens his heart ; who crowns the year with 
bleffings, and whofe paths drop fatnefs." 

God has made us dependent on his care for 
all our fupplies ; and our necelfary fupplies he 
gives us, while we trufl his care in the exercife of 
prudence and induftry. " Truft in the Lord and 
do good : So (halt thou dwell in the land, and 
fhalt be furely fed." 

Z 4 That 

gSo Serm. XXV. 

That divine promifc, delivered to (he Wotld 
four thoufand years ago, that " feed time and har- 
veft, cold and neat, funimer and winter, fhall not 
ceafe," we fee continually verified ; and hence 
we learn, that the God who governs the world, 
is conflant to liis word. If particular countries 
have, at times, felt the diflrelfes of famitie, yet 
of feed time and harvefh there has never been fuch 
a general failure, as looked lilce an infra6ti6n on 
the truth of this ancient promife. Every harvefl 
is a new inflance of God's faithfulnefs, a new 
performance of his promife, arid at new encour- 
agement to our faith in his providence and word. 

As the return of harvefl gives us fuch imme- 
diate fcnfible evidence of the exiflerice, providence, 
wifdom, bounty, and faithfulnefs of God : fo, 

II. It naturally calls us to pious meditations 
and reflections. 

it was an inftance of great flupidity in the 
Jews, that they Taid not, " Let us now fear the 
Lord, who referveth to iis the appointed weeks 
of the harvefl." 

1. The feafon's are fo ordered, as to remind us 
of the Jhort7iefs of human for efight. 

From pafl experience we expecl a harvefl iri 
its appointed weeks : And rarely is our expeda- 
tion fruflrated. But the event is not always ad- 
juflcd to the meafure of our hopes. It often fails 
ihort, and often exceeds thism. That rain and 
funfliine are necefTary to the fruitfulnefs of the 
earthj we know by conflant obfcrvation. But 


S^RM. XXV. 3^i 

what proporticm of drought and moifture, of 
heat and cold, is moil friendly to Vegetation, and 
itioft conducive to plenty, is a matter in which 
we often misjudge. The management of the 
feafons, howei^er, is in unerring hands. Ration- 
al beings, in the care of infinite wifdom and good- 
nefs, are always fafe, while they .proceed in th* 
line of their duty ; and never ought they to in- 
dulge anxiety. With him who governs futurity, 
they may calmly truft all events. '• Take no 
thought for your life," fays the divine Saviour, 
*' what ye Ihall cat. or drink, or put on. Be- 
hold the fowls of the air ; they neither fow, nor 
reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly 
Father feedeth them. — i Are ye not much better 
than they ? Your Father knoweth that ye have 
need of thefe things. Seek ye firft the kingdom 
of God, and thefe things fhall be added." 

2. Our dependence is apparent, as in many 
other things, fo efpecially in the return of harveft. 

Now we fee the fruits of the earth brought to 
maturity, and provifion made for our fupport 
through the fucc edmg y:ar. This is not the 
work of man, but of the great Governour of Na- 
ture, whofe bountiful defigns nothing can de- 
feat. Our induilry and prudence mufl do their 
part ; but it is God alone who fucceeds our 
labours. The friendly Ihowers, and the quick- 
ening funbeams are not under our command-. 
Hail florms, mildews, and devouring in feels, arte 
not fubjed to our will. If God fend his blelfing, 


382 Serm. XXV* 

none can revoke it. If he withhold his fmiles, 
our toil is fruitlefs. If he commiflions florms 
or winds, frofts or infeds, to lay wafle our fields, 
our hopes are cut ofF. *' Thefe things are turn- 
ed about by his counfels, that they may do what- 
foever he commandeth them upon the face of the 

At the time of harvefh, it becomes us to refle6l 
how infuflicient we are to perfe6l our own de- 
figns, or to prevent the evils which may defeat 
them ; and thus learn, in all our ways, to ac- 
knowledge God. 

3. The fcripture fpeaks of harvefl as a feafon 
oi gratitude 2ind joy. 

To exprefs the happinefs of mankind under 
the kingdom of the Meffiah, the prophet fays — - 
*' They joy before thee, as the joy of harvefl.*' 
By the fame allufion the Pfalmill defcribes the 
felicity of the Jews in their national deliverance 
ftpm captivity.—" They that fow in tears, fhall 
reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, 
bearing precious feed, fhall doubtlefs come again 
with rejoicing, bringing his fheaves with him/' 
Particular feflivals were inllituted in the divine 
law, to be obferved as teftimonies of gratitude 
for the bielTrngs of harveft. " Thou fhalt keep 
the feafl of harvefl, the firfl fruits of thy labours, 
which thou hafl fown in thy field, and the feafl 
of ingathering in the end of the year, when thou 
hafl slathered in thy labours out of the field — ■ 
none iliall appear before me empty. The firft 


Serm. XXV. 383 

fruits of thy land thou (halt bring into the houfe 
of God." 

We are daily loaded with benefits, which call 
for daily returns of gratitude. But harvefl is fuch 
a rich and plentiful blelFing, as we cannot every 
day receive. This is given only in the appoint^ 
ed weeks. If it Ihould then fail, famine, didrefs, 
and mortality, mufl enfue ; for according to the 
fettled courfe of nature, it can no more be pro- 
cured, till the dated period returns. No wif- 
dom or power of man can ha den it. Such a 
blefling, fo evidently from a divine hand, fo nee- 
elTary to human fupport, and fo abfolutely be- 
yond our command, ought to be received with 
fervent fentiments, and lively exprellions o£ 
thankfgiving and joy. With what a flow of grat- 
itude the Pfalmid comes before God on fuch an 
occafion as this ! " Praife waiteth for thee, O God, 
in Zion. Unto thee fhall the vow be perform- 
ed — Thou maked the outgoings of the morning 
and of the evening to rejoice. Thou viiited the 
earth, and watered it. Thou prepared them 
corn, when thou had fo provided for it. Thou 
watered the ridges thereof abundantly. Thou 
fettled the furrows thereof, and maked them foft 
with fhowers. Thou bleffed the fp ringing there- 
of. Thou crowned the year with thy goodnefs, 
and thy paths drop fatnefs. They drop upon the 
padures of the wildernefs, and the little hills re- 
joice on every fide. Tke padures are clothed 


384 SeIrm. XXV. 

with floclcs ; the valleys alfb ^rc covered ovei* 
with corn ; they fhout for joy ; they alfo fing." 

4. Harveft teaches us diligence 2ind frugality. 

This is heaven's rev/ard to human induflry, 
'* The earth, by the biefling of God, brings forth 
herbs meet for them by whom it is drefled." 

Cod fupplies our v/ants, not by an immediate 
providence, but by fucceeding our prudent la- 
bours. According to the ordinary courfe of his 
providence, " hebecometh poor, who dealeth with 
a flack hand, but the hand of the diligent maketh 
rich." — " He who will not plow by reafon of the 
cold, fhall beg in harveft, arid have nothing." 

Every returning harveft is a frelh reward of 
the hufbandman's laboul:-s, and a new encourage- 
irteht to future induftry. 

Various are the circumfbancejJ under which 
God places mankind ; but in regard of his blefT- 
ing on their prudent labours, he treats them 
with an equal hand. This is what no man caii 
engrofs to the prejudice of another ; but all may 
alike enjoy. There are fome lefs important 
things, which God permits men to appropriate. 
One may pofTefs a more extenfive trad of foil 
than his neighbours : He may call diftant lands 
his own, which he has never feen, and which his 
fons will not fee after him : He may claim more 
numerous herds and flocks, or count over larger 
parcels of fhining m.etal, than mofl others can ac- 
quire, or than he himfelf can ufe. But the grand 
things on which life and happinefs depend, God 


Serm. XXV. 385 

has not traded to human difpofal. He keeps 
them in his own hands, and diftiibutes them with 
equal bounty. Rain, air, and funfliine, are ahke 
free to all. The rain falls in as bountiful ftiow- 
ers, and the fun (hines with as lively beams on 
the poor man's garden, as the rich man'^s manor. 
The air as fweetly refreflies, and the winds as 
kindly fan the peafant, as the prince. How poor 
foever one may be in regard of thofe trifles, iji 
which property confifls, he has as ample a (hare 
in the great bounties of Providence, as fure a 
profped of God's bleffing on his labours, as high 
encouragement to induftry in his calling, as the 
wealthieft pofTelTor on the globe. 

Harveft calls to frugality, as well as induftry. 

Blefhngs beftowed by a divine hand, are to be 
ufed according to the divine will. Thofe precr 
ious fruits of the earth, which are dealt out only 
at certain feafons, and which, by no art or induf- 
try of man, can at other feafons be obtained, 
Jhould be applied to honed and virtuous pur- 
pofes ; not waftefully confumed in criminal in- 
dulgences. ^ What would you think of a beggar, 
who immediately perverts to intemperance the 
charitable allowance made him for his neceifary 
fubfiftence ? Th: fame mull you think of thofe, 
who by a prodigal mifpenfe of the blelTmgs of 
one harveft, reduce themfelves to want before the 
return of another. 

5. Harveft inculcates benevolence. 


386 Serm. XXV. 

Religion confifts in an imitation of God's mor- 
al character, efpecially of his diflFufive and dif- 
interefledgoodnefs. Fruitful feafons are inilances 
of his goodnefs, and calls to imitate him by do- 
ing good to thofe around us. " Give to him who 
aflceth of thee," fays our Saviour, " and from him 
who would borrow of thee, turn not thou aw^ay — 
Do good, that ye may be the children of your 
Father, who is in heaven ; for he maketh his fun 
to rife on the evil and on the good, and fendeth 
rain on the juft and the unjuft/' 

The fyflem of nature gives us daily le£lures on 
benevolence. The world fubfifls by a reciproca- 
tion of benefits, and interchange of kindneffes. 
The clouds fend down, in fliowers, the water, 
which by gentle exhalations they receive from 
the earth. By the medium of rains, the fea re- 
mits, to recruit the ftreams, that water which they 
had poured into hisbofom. The air, by its con- 
llant motion, agitates the herbs and flowers of the 
field, and thus quickens the circulation of their 
fluids, and contributes to their growth. The flow- 
ers and herbs, thus moved and enlivened, emit 
their balfamick fweets to perfume and enrich the 
air. The fun flieds his beams on the earth and 
other revolving worlds ; thefe reflect his beams, 
which, after various repercuffions from globe to 
globe, may return back to their fource, and yield 
their afliflance to repair his perpetual waftes. 
Man beftows his labour on the foil ; and, the foil 
repays his labour by thefuflcnance which it gives 


Serm. XXV. 38/ 

him. He employs the beads in his fervice, and, 
in his turn, he ferves the beafts with that food, 
which they alone could not procure for them- 
felves. This is the conilitution of nature ; and, 
I What can be its moral defign, but to teach men 
their obligation to promote each other's happi- 
nefs, the happinefs of fociety, and of the race, by 
mutual offices of kindnefs ? The bodies of the 
fyftem tend toward each other, and move in their 
orbits, by the great law of attradion. The mem- 
bers of fociety fhould be dire6led in their courfes, 
and drawn to one common centre, the general 
happinefs, by the grand law of benevolence. 

6. Harveft reminds us of the Jhortnefs of life, 
and calls us to the diligent improvement of our time. 

How fall one harveft rolls on after another ! — » 
How fwiftly the intervening months have flown 
away ! A few harvefts more, and time will have 
reaped the earth of all its prefent growth, and a 
new one will fucceed. As one harveft follows 
another, fo paffes one generation of mortals, and 
another comes. Let harveft then awaken our at- 
tention to the future world, and excite our fpeedy 
preparation for that happy clime, where feafons no 
more walk their rounds, and age no more fucceeds 
to age — where the bleft inhabitants abide fecure, 
and whatever numbers enter, ftill there is room — 
where one perpetual fummer fmiles, immortality 
glides in a conftant ftream, the trees of life are 
always verdant, and yield their fruits every 
month — where will be no more toilfome labour, 


888 Sejim. XXV. 

poifonous curfe, nor wnding difeafe; but life, 
without decay — fulnefs, without fear of want — reft, 
without interruption — and joy, without mixture 
of grief. 

HarveH is an induftrious feafon. When this 
calls, time is precious. It is always precious. 
We have a bufinefs before us which loudly de- 
mands our diligence. Hairveft is the time to pro- 
-vide for approaching winter. Life is the time to 
prepare for the eternal world. Lay up for your- 
£elv£s a good treafure againfl; the time to come. 
Provide for yourfelves bags which wax not old, a 
treafure in heaven, where neither moths corrupt, 
nor thieves break through and ileal. How induf- 
trioufly you labour for the meat which periflies ! 
ll9W anxious you appear to fuflain a body, which, 
after all you can do, is mortal Hill ! Rather la- 
bom* for the meat, which endures to eternal life, 
the meat which alone can nourifh the immortal 
fouL Food and raiment are needful for the 
body ; feek them you may ; but rather feek the 
kingdom of God, and thefe things will be added. 



7, Harvefl fhould be a {ca-^on of felfexamination. 

We are God's hulbandry. Much has he done 
for us. — I What could he have done more ? — 
I Have we anfwered his coll ? When we fee our 
fields fruitful under our culture, it is proper to 
inquire — ^Whether we areas fruitful under the cul- 
ture of the divine hand ? — ^ Whether we have a- 
bounded in the fruits of righteoufnefs, in propor- 
tion 10 the bleflinscs which we have received from 

heaven ? 

Serm. XXV. 389 

heaven. If we bear no fruit, we fhall foon be 
rejefted. God has let us alone this year. But 
behold, the ax is laid to the root of the trees ; 
every tree that beareth not good fruit, will be 
hewn down and caft into the fire. The field, 
which bringeth forth herbs, meet for him by 
whom it is dreflfed, receiveth blefling from God. 
But that which beareth thorns and briars, is nigh 
unto curfmg, whofe end is to be burned. 

Lajtly. Harveft reminds us of our obligation 
to faith and patience. 

We have a kind of natural faith, which, (land- 
ing on the ground of pall experience, looks for- 
ward with expe6lation of a future harveft. Let 
Chriftians, enlightened by Revelation, look be- 
yond this world to things unfeen ; and, relying 
on the promife, truth, and grace of God, anticipate 
the bleflings of the heavenly ftate. In full per- 
fuafion of the glory revealed, let them patiently 
endure the trials, and cheerfully perform the du- 
ties, allotted them in the prefent world. Let them 
not be weary in welldoing, but abound in the 
work of the Lord, knowing, that in due time, they 
fhall reap, if they faint not ; and if they fow 
bountifully, they fhall reap alfo bountifully. 

They have need of patience, that, after they 
have done the will of God, they may inherit the 
promifes. Behold, the hufbandman waiteth for 
the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long 
patience for it, till he receive the early and the 
latter rain. Be ye alfo patient, ftabhfh your 
A a hearts. 



hearts, for the coming of the Lord drawreth nigh. 
God is not unrighteous to forget your work of 
faith, your labour of love, and your patience of 
hope : Give diligence, therefore, to the full affur- 
ance of hope to the end ; and be not flothful, but 
followers of them, who through faith and pa- 
tience, inherit the promifes. 





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