« הקודםהמשך »
med man, Airred up by obe Spirit of Cbrift, sbrough Fairb; and exercised in works of Pirty, Justice, Charity and Temperance, in order to tbe attainment of everlafting bappinejl, in the perfedt difron ord fruition of God. And
none bur ignorant or brain- fick Sc&aries, will be offended for the Preaching of any of this Morality. Luke 11.42. Wo to you Pbarisius ; for ye 1yrbe Mint and Rucmmand pass over. Judgment and tbe Love of God: Tbese rugbt ye to bave done, and not to leave the other undone.
С НА Р. Х.
The Predical Directions to live by-Fairl, a life of Holiness or
Fofus Chriftias a Teacher sent from Heaven ;
the best and furoft revealer of God and bis Will unto mankind.
All the Books of Philosophers are fapless and coapty, in comparison of the tcaching of Jesus Chrif; they are but enquiries inco the nature of the crcaturcs, and the lowest things, moft irapertinent to our happiness or duty: Or if they rise up to God, it is but with dark and unpredical conjc&urcs, for the moft part of them and the felt do but grope and fucoble in obscurily. And their lçarning is mostly but useless speculations; and Ariving about words and sciences fallly so called, which litele tend to godly edifying. It is Christ who is made wisdom, to us, as being himsell the wisdom of God. If you know but where to hcar an Angel, you would all prefer him biforc Ariftotle or Plato, or Cartefius, or Geffendwo ; how much more the Son himself. He is the truc Light, to lighten every man that will not ferve the Prince of darkness. Chriftians were. fird called Cbrifts Disciples; and therefore to learn of him the truc knowledge of God, is the work of cvery truc Belicver, Jobu 17. 3. Aus 3.23. fobn-8. 43, 47. &.10.3, 27. &.18. 47: & 14. 24. Mattb. 17.5.
Dircet. 2. Remember tbat Cbrifts way of Teaching is ; 1. By bis Word; 2. His Ministers ; 3. And bis Spirit conjund, and the place for bis Disciples is in his Church.
1. His Gospel writren is his Book which mult b: taughc us. 2. His Ministers office is to reach it us. 3. His Spint is Tawardly to illuminate us that we may und:ritand it. And he that will defpile or neglect ciihor the Scripture, Minijtry or Spirit, is never like to learn of Christ.
Dire&t. 3. Lookou obe Lrd Jesus, and she work of mans Ree demprion by him, as the great designed Revelation of obe Farbets Love and Goodness ; even as the fatrick of tbe world is fui xp so be the Glass or Revelwtion (eminently) of his Greatness.
Thereforc as you chuse your Book for the sake of the Science or subject which you would learn; fo let this b: the designed, itud:ed, conftant use which you make of Christ, so fee and admire in him the Farbers Love. When you read your Grammar, if one ask you, why? you will say it is to learn the language which it teachech; and he that readech Lsw-books, or Pbilosopby, or Medicine, it is so learn Law, Pbilosopby or Pbyfick: lo whenever you read the Gospel, meditate on Chrift, or hear his Word; if you are asko w by you do it? be able to fiy, I do it to learn the Love of God, o bich is no where else in the world to be learnt so wel. No wonder if Hypocrites have learned to mortific Scripturé, Sermons, Prayers, and all other means of grace ; yca all the world which should reach them God; and to learn the letters, and not the sense : But it is most pirtiful that they should thus mortific Cbrist bimhlf to them; and should gaze on the glass, and never take much notice of the face evcn of the Love of God which he is set up to dcclare. :- Dire&. 4. Therefore congeft al tbe great discoveries of this Love, and fet tbem all togetber in order; and make ebem your daily study, and abbor al doctrines or suggestions from menor devils,' wbicbtend 10 disgrace, diminish or bide tbis revealed Love of God in Cbrift.
Think of the grand design it felf; the reconciling and saving of loft mankind : Think of the gracious nature of Chrift; of his wonderful condescention in his incarnation in his life and doGrime, in his sufferings and dearb; in his miracles and gifts : Think of his mcrciful Covenant and Promises; of all his benefits given to his Church ; and all the priviledges of his Saints; of pardon and peace, of his Spirit of Holiness, of prefervation and
provifion, of refurrection and juftification, and of the life of glory which we shall live for ever. And if the Faith which lookech on all tbess, cannot yet warm your hearts with love, nor en-> gage them in thankful obedience to your Redecmer, certainly it is no true and lively Faith.
But you must not think narrowly and seldom of these mer-' cics; oor hcarken to the Devil or the doctrine of any miftaken Teachers, that would represent God's Love as valed cr 46. clipsed; or (how you nothing but wrath and flames. That which Chrift principally came to reveal, the D.vil principally ftriveth to conceal, cven the Love of God to lommers; that so that which Chrift principally came to work in us, the Devil mighi principally labour to deftroy; and that is, our love to bin that hath fo loved us.
Dirca. 5. Take beed of all tbe Antinomian Doctrines before recited, mobicb, to extol tbe empty Name and Image of Free Grace, do destroy the true principles and motives of boliness and obedience.
Dirca. 6. Exercise your Faith upon al tbe boly Scriptures, Precepis, Promises and Tbreatnings, and not on one of tbem alone. for when God hath appointed all conjunctly for this work, you are unlike to have his blefing, or the effia, if you will lay by most of his remcdics.
Direct. 7. Take not that for Holiness and Good Works, wbich is no such thing ; but citber mans inventions, or some common gifts of God.
Io greatly deludeth the world, to take up a wrong defcrip. tion or character of Holiness in their minds. As 1. The Papilts take it for Holiness, to be very oblervant in their adoration of the supposed transub&antiated Holtı; to use their reliques, pilgrimages, crossings, prayers to Saints and Angels, anointings, Candles, Images, observation of meats and daies, penancc, auricular confeffion, praying by numbers and hours on their beads, &c. They think their idle ccremonics arc holiness, and that their hurtful aulteritics, and felf-affliatings (by rifing in the night, when they might pray as long before they 80-10 bed) (and by whipping themselves) to be very meritorious parts of Rcligion. And their vows of renouncing marriage and proprięcy, and of absolute obediense, to be a ftate of perfection.
2. Others think that Holiness confiftcth much in being rebaptized, and in censuring the Pariña-Churches and Mini&ers as Nul, and in withdrawing from their communion ; and in avoiding forms of prayer, &c.
3. And others (or the fame) think that more of it conGAech in the gifts of utterance, in praying, and preaching, than indeed it doth ; and that thosc only arc godly, that can pray without book (in their families, or at other times) and that are most in private mectings; and nonc but they.
4. And some think that the greatest parts of Godliness, arc the spirit of bondage to fear; and the fhedding of tcurs for fin; or finding that they were under tcrrour, before they had any spiritual peace and comfort; or being able to tell at what Scro mon, or timc, or in what order,and by what means they were converted.
It is of exceeding great consequence, to have a right apprehension of the Nature of Holiness, and to escape all fallc conccits thereof. But I shall not now stand further to describe ir, because I have donc it in many Books, especially in my Reafons of the Cbritian Religion, and in my [A Saint, or a Bruit] and in a Trcatisc only of the subject called The character of a found Cbriftian.
Dirca. 8. Let all Gods Attributes be orderly and deeply prinied in your minds; (as I have dirc&ted in my book called, The Divine Life.) For it is that which must molt immediately form his Imige on you. To know God in Chrift is life cternal, Jobn 17.3.
Dirca 9. Never separate reward from duty, but in every religious or obedient action, Aid fec it as connext wirb Heaven. The means is no mcans but for the end; and must never be used but with special refpe&t unto thc cnd. Remember in scading, hearing, praying, meditating in the durics of your callings and relations, and in all ads of charity and obedience ; shat Al this is for Heaven. It will make you mend your past, if you think bclicvingly whither you are going, Heb, 11.
Dirca. 10. Tet watcb molt carefully against all proud felfeftreming ibanghts of proper merit as obliging God; or as if you were better than indeed you are. For Pride is the most pernicion vermine that can breed in gifts or in good works. And the
better you are indeed, the more humable you will be, and apr to think others better than your self.
Dirca. 11. So also in every temptation to fin, let Faith for Heaven open, and toke ebe semptation in its proper souse, 4.9 [Take tbio pleafure instead of God : fell tby part in Heaven fu sbis preferment or commodiry: caft away thy foul for Ibis fexsuai deligbt.] This is the true meaning of every temptation to lin, and only Faith can understand it. The Devil cafily prevaileth, when Heaven is forgotten and out of fight; and pleasure.commodity, credit und preferment, seem a great matter, and can do much, till Heaven be see in the ballance again them; and tbere they are nothing, and can do nothing, Pbil. 3. 7, 8, 9, Heb. 12. 1, 2, 3. 2 Cor. 4. 16, 17,
Dircat. 12. Let Faith also fee God alwaies prefeui. Men dare do any thing when they think they are behind his back; cven truants and cyc-fervants will do well under the Matters cye: Faith sucing him that is invisible (Heb. 11.) is it that fan&ificch heart and life. As the Attributes of God are the scal which must make his Image on us; fo the apprehension of his presence fetteth them on, and keepeth our faculties awake.
Dire&. 13. Be fure tbat Faith make Gods acceptance your full reward, and set yon above obe opinion of man.
Nor in felf-conceitedness, and pride of your self-fufficiency, to fet light by the judgment of other mer : (That is a heinous fin of it sell, and doubled when it is donc upon pretence of living upon God alonc.) But that rcally you live so much to God alonc, as that all men Coco as nothing to you, and their opinion of you, as a blast of wind, in regard of any felicity of your own, which might be placed in their love or praise: Though as a means to Gods fervice, and their own good, you mult please all men to their edification, and become all things to all men, to win toom to God, Gil, 1. 10, 11. Rom. 15.1, 3. Prov. 11. 30. 1 Cor. 9.22. & 10.33. you and ftudy to please your Governouts as your duty, Titus 2. 9. But as man-pleasing, is thc Hypogites work and wages'; fo muft the pleasing of God be ours, though all the world Thould be displealed, Mattb. 6. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, &c. 2 Tim. 3. 4. 1 Cor. 7: 32. 1 Tbef: 4.1.2 Cor. 56 8,9. i Thef.2. 4. 1 Jobn 3.22. Ati 2