תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

1

XIII.

[ocr errors]

ing in the Ways of Wickedness : But, by S er m.
a ferious Recollection, and Application to
Divine Mercy, we may yet find a Lantern
to our Feet, and a Light' unto our Paths,
Our evil Habits, those Cords that hold us
in Captivity to Sin, though we may not be
able at once to cast them away from us, yet
we may infenfibly weaken, and at last break
asunder, by gradually unravelling the fmaller
Lines of their Contexture. Our Inclina.
tions, that may have taken a wrong Bent;
we may counteract, and by Degrees re-
cover to their original Rectitude. Where
our Nature favours a particular Virtue,
there we may second it, and graft upon it;
under the Branches whereof other hopeful
Seeds may

take Root, spring up, and prof-
per. After this we may ftill be looking
into the Culture of the Soul, and studying
daily Improvements; by calling forth Vir-
tues, or several Degrees of Virtue, that
have not yet made their Appearance; by
cherishing and bringing to Perfection those
that have. Thus will our Minds resemble
thofe Fruit-Trees, in which, while feveral
of the Productions are come to Maturity,
others are blossoming, and giving Pro-
mises of reaching the fame Degrees of
Excellence.

No Man knows what he can do, till he is firmly resolved to do whatever he can. When Men have thought themselves ob

liged

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

SE R M. liged to set about any Business in good
XIII.

Earnest, they have done that which their
Indolence made them suppose impossible.
There are several Abilities unknown to the
Poffeffors, which lie hid in the Mind for
Want of an Occasion to call them forth.

Instead of arming themselves with holy Resolutions, instead of summoning all the Courage that ought to inspire every faithful Soldier of Christ; how apt are Men to frighten and intimidate themselves by imaginary Difficulties and Dangers ? In their View of the heavenly Canaan they act as those who went to spy out the earthly: They look upon themselves to be no more than Grashoppers, in Comparison of the Enemies they are to encounter; and thereby check and controul that honest Ambition, which it is their special Interest to cherish; to animate and incite : The Ambition of standing foremost in the Rank of good Men.

One can scarce have too high an Opinion of the Powers of the human Soul, especially in the Affair of our Salvation; and scarce too low an Opinion of Men's Inclination to exert those Powers in that most important Cafe.

But farther, though God does not dispense a Measure of Grace equal in itself to every Individual, because foine Men may have greater Difficulties from the Force of

Constitution

[ocr errors]

XIII.

[ocr errors]

Constitution to struggle with than others, or ser m.
for other Reasons unknown to us; yet he has
dispensed to every one a Measure of Grace
equal to the Duty he demands from him,
equal to the Reward he intends for him.
God hath given to no Man irresistible Grace;
for when he had done all that could be done
to his Vineyard, yet it brought forth wild
Grapes : But he has given to every Man
effečtual Grace; such Grace, I mean, as in
Reason may, and in Fact will, produce the
intended Effect, if the Receiver uses his
utmost Endeavours; that is, if he takes all
the Carc that Men customarily and ordina-
rily do in all other Points, though of less
Concern, when they set their Hearts upon
them. For God hath promised in Scrip-
ture, that he will deal with us in bestowing
Grace as an affectionate Parent does in giv-
ing his Child a Sustenance. He will not
give him so sparing a Provision as may
barely keep him alive ; but such a Sushi-
ciency as may make Life easy and comfort-
able to him: Even fo will our heavenly
Father bestow the Riches of his Grace to
facilitate the Election of those, whose
Hearts are set upon their eternal Interest,
with as much Earnestness as they sometimes
are upon their temporal; and who use the
same Industry and Application in the At-
tainment of the former, as they do in the
latter.

[ocr errors]

SE R M..
XIII.

liged to fet about any Business in good
Earnest, they have done that which their
Indolence made them suppose impossible.
There are several Abilities unknown to the
Possessors, which lie hid in the Mind for
Want of an Occafion to call them forth.

Instead of arming themselves with holy Resolutions, instead of summoning all the Courage that ought to inspire every faithful Soldier of Christ ; how apt are Men to frighten and intimidate themselves by imaginary Difficulties and Dangers ? In their View of the heavenly Canaan they act as those who went to spy out the earthly: They look upon themselves to be no more than Grashoppers, in Comparison of the Enemies they are to encounter; and thereby check and controul that honest Ambition, which it is their special Interest to cherish, to animate and incite : The Ambition of standing foremost in the Rank of good Men.

One can scarce have too high an Opinion of the Powers of the human Soul, especially in the Affair of our Salvation; and scarce too low an Opinion of Men's Inclination to exert those Powers in that most important Case.

But farther, though God does not dist pense a Meafure of Grace equal in itself to every Individual, because fome Men may have greater Difficulties from the Force of

Constitution

1

Constitution to struggle with than others, or ser m.
for other Reasons unknown to us; yet he has XIII.
dispensed to every one a Measure of Grace
equal to the Duty he demands from him,
equal to the Reward he intends for him.
God hath given to no Man irresistible Grace;
for when he had done all that could be done
to his Vineyard, yet it brought forth wild
Grapes: But he has given to every Man
effettual Grace; such Grace, I mean, as in
Reason may, and in Fact will, produce the
intended Effect, if the Receiver uses his
utmost Endeavours; that is, if he takes all
the Care that Men customarily and ordina-
rily do in all other Points, though of less
Concern, when they set their Hearts upon
them. For God hath promised in Scrip-
ture, that he will deal with us in bestowing
Grace as an affectionate Parent does in giv-
ing his Child a Sustenance. He will not
give him so sparing a Provision as may
barely keep him alive ; but such a Suífi-
ciency as may make Life easy and comfort-
able to him : Even so will our heavenly
Father bestow the Riches of his Grace to
facilitate the Election of those, whose
Hearts are set upon their eternal Interest,
with as much Earnestness as they sometimes
are upon their temporal; and who use the
fame Industry and Application in the At-
tainment of the former, as they do in the
latter

« הקודםהמשך »