תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

canft not understand from whence chec! eive the Procession of the Holy Ghost, Wind comes, and whither it goes, or which Eye bath not seen, nor Ear beard, how thine own Spirits beat in thy Veins, nor barb it entred into tbe Heart of what is the Production of them, and what Man to consider it? their Morions; how can we then con.

SERMON II.

1 John i. 1. That which was from the Beginning, &c.

ΤΗ
HINGS are commended fome before all imaginable Beginnings. He, ,

times, because they are ancient, of whom he speaks, Christ Jesus, tbe especially Doctrines in Religion, because Father's Word, was with tbe Father, Truch is before Error, and Fallhood is from tbe Beginning, witb tbe Ancient but an Aberration from Truth; and of Days, who infinitely, and unmeafira therefore there is fo much Plea and Con- frably, antidates all Antiquity, to whose tention among Men, about Antiquity, as Endurance, all Antiquity that is renown. if it were the fufficient Rule of Verity; ed among Men, is bur Novelty ; to whom but the Abuse is, that Men go pot far e- the World is but as of fix Days standing, nough backward in the Steps of An- for but as of yefterday, if we congder tiquity, that is, to the most ancient Rule, chat infinite, beginningless, immenfurable and Profellion, and Practice of Truth in Endurance of God, before this World : Scripture, to Christ and his Apoftles, but what a Boddom or Clew is that, that hale in their Grand-fathers Tombs. But can never be untwined by, the Imagina -fometimes Things are cominended, be- tions of Men and Angels; to all Etercause new ; the Nature of Man being in nicy they should never unwind it, and clined to Change and Variety, and ready come so the End of that Threed of the tv forfeit and loath accustomed Things : Age of the Father, and the Son, who Even as the stomach finds Appetite for new pofeled one another before the Hills and unusual Diets, so the Mind of Man were, and before the Foundauiens of the bath a secret Longing after new Doctrines, Mountains : This is it that maketh Reand Things. Now we have both these ligion the richest and most transcendanc combined together in this Subject, which Subject in the World, shat it presents usmakes it the more excellent and won with a twofold Eternity, and invirons, derful; Antiquiry, and Novelty: For An the Soul before and behind with an Ecer-rquity, it is that which was from the Be- nity without Beginning, only proper to ginning, and wbicb was witbtbe Father, God, and an Eternity without End, com. and that is before all Antiquity, even municated to Angels and Men, from from Eternity ; not only from the Be- God. That which was froin the Be ginning of Time, but before all Time, ginning, and before all Beginning, either

real

real, or imagined, how much Moment framed by infinite Wisdom,

to the and Weight is in that, to perswade a End that we may have strong Consola. Soul, and compose it, beyond all the fpe: tion? Do you not see the infinite Evil cious and painted Appearances of the and Hainousness of Sin, in the giring of World? To consider that such a Savi- such a precious Ransom for it? O how our is holden out unto us, to come unto, is the black Visage of Sin pourtrayed in and lean upon, that is the Rock of Age!, the Beauty and Glory of the Mediator's upon whose Word this huge Frame is Person? How is it painted, even to botcomed, and stands firm ; one who Horrour in his Death? Again, what infinitely exceeds and prevents all Divinity and Worth is put upon the imThings vifible or invisible, all their mortal Soul of Man, that is but of yesterMutations and Changes ; one who was day, lince the Beginning; when he poflefled of the Father, as his Delights, that was the Delight of God, before all before the Foundation of the World, and Beginning, is weigbed in the Ballance. fo most likely to reconcile him to us, as it were with it, and no other Thing and prevail with him ; yea, most certain found fufficient for Exchange and Com ly, they must have one Will, and one pensation, that the Soul may be redeemDelight, who were undivided from all led? And doth not this answer all the Eternity; and they then Rejoycing in Jealousies and suspicious Thoughts, and the babitable Parts of the Earth, taking fearful Apprehensions, arising from the Complacency in their own Thoughts of Consideration of our own Weakness and Peace and Good-will they had towards Infirmity; when such an one is offered, us, afterwards to break forth.

And if | as is able to save to the utmost? both delighted in their very Projects and would delire you may believe, that the Plots upon the Business, what may we Father is as well minded to the Salvation think the Accomplishment of the whole of Sinners, as the Son ; for they were Design will add, if it were possible to sweet Company together from all Eterfuperadd to their Delight? I would have nity, and, as it were, contrived this Plot you upon this, to gather two Considerati- | and Design between them, to save and ons, for your Edification : One, to think redeem Mankind. Some entertain harwhat an incomparably excellent Saviour ther Thoughts of the Father, as if Chrift we have, one with God, equal to him, were more accessible, and exorable; but yea, one with him from all Eternity ; and the Truth is, he hath given his Son this to how strong a Foundation there is for Command, and therefore he profeffed, Faith and Confidence? What a Rock to that it was not so much his Will, as his establish a tossed Soul upon ? Mans Mi Father's he was about: Therefore corlery and Curse being for all Eternity, rect your Apprehensions, do not stand there is one to deliver from that, who aback from the Father, as it were, till was from all Eternity. And who could you have prevailed with Christ; no, that purchase unto us such absolute Blessedness is not the Way; come in your first Adthroughout all Eternity, who was not dress to the Father, in the Son, for lo he himself from all Eternity? What mar- wills you ; not because he must be overvellous Congruity and Beauty is in the come by his Son's Perswasion, but because Ways of God? How is all fitted and he would have his Love to run in that

A a az

Chap

Then I

Channel, through Christ to us: And in- | lately cloathed with Flesh, that made him deed our Saviour was much in holding both visible, and capable of being handout the Love of the Father, and laboured led Now truly these are the two Poles, to perswade the World of it. Withal, 1 about which the Myttery, Glory, and with you to consider whom ye neglect Wonder of Christianity turns: The Anand despise, who hear this Gospel tiquity of his real Existence, as God; daily, and the Word of Life holden out and the Lateness or Novelty of his Apunto you; and yet fuffer not your Hearts pearance in the Flesh, as Man ; nothing to be moved, or ftirred after him. Alas, fo old, for he hath the infinite Fore-ftari. my Beloved, to forsake fo great a Mercy, of the oldest and most ancient Creatures. as the eternal Word of Life, as the in- Take those Angels, the Sons of God, finite Wisdom of tbe Father, and to let who sung together in the first Morning of the Offer of this every Day run by us, the Creation, yet their Generation can and never to find Leisure and Vacancy foon be told, and their Years numbered ; from the Multitude of Businesses, and it is easy to calculate all Antiquity, and we Throng of the Thoughts and Lufts of the should not reach fix thousand Years, when World, never to fart so far backward, it is taken at the largeft Measure ; and as to look beyond this World, to God, what are fix thousand Years in his Sight, and his Son Jesus Cbrift, never to mind but as lix Days, when they are paft? feriously, either him that was before all And if we would run backward, as far

Things visible, or our own Souls, that before that Point of Beginning, and calmuft survive and out-live all this visible culate other six thousand, yet we are neFrame. This, I say, is the great Misery ver a Jot nearer the Age of the Son of and Condemnation of the World, that God. Suppose a Mountain of Sand, as this eternal Light hath shined, and you big as the Earth, and an Angel to take love your own Darkness better : But be from it one Grain every Year, your Imaperswaded, that one Day ye will think gination would weary it self, ere ye reckone Offer of this Word of Life, better oned in what Space this Mountain should than Life, better, infinitely better than the be diminished, or removed: It would most absolute Life that the Attendance and certainly trouble the Arithmetick of the Concurrence of all the Creatures could wifest Mathematician. Now imagine as yield you.

O then that ye would incline many Years, or Ages of Years, to have your Ears and Hearts to this that is de- run out betore the World took its Be. clared unto you, to receive this Word ginning, as the Years in which the Angel of Life, ibat was from the Beginning, would exhaust this Mountain ; yet we and ye may be perswaded, ye fall enjoy have not come a whit nearer the Endur. a Blessedness without End.

ance of our Lord and Saviour, whose But there is withal a Newness in this Being is like a Circle, without Beginning Subje&t, which both increases Admiration, or End. Bebold be is great, and we and may the more engage our Affe&tion ; know bim not, and the Number of bis for the Life was manifefted (faith he) Years cannot be searched out, Job xxxvi. Perse 2. and he is such a Word of Lifé, | 26. And who can tell his Generation? as though he was invisible, and untouch- The Age of this Word is such a Labyable from the Beginning, yet he was rioch, with innumerable Turnings and

Windings in it, which will always lead ly manifested, and made visible ; for, in them round that enter in it ; and fo they the first, the Creator_made Creatures to are, after the longest Progress and Search, start out of nothing, at his Command; but juft where they were, always Begin. but in this, the Creator is made a Crea. ning, and never coming nearer the Be- ture : He once gave a Beginning of Being ginning of his Duration, because it is the to Things that were not: Being before Beginning of all Things that have a Be all Beginning himself, he now takes a Beginning, but hath none it self. Now he ginning, and becomes Flesh, that he was that was thus blessed from everlasting, nor. And what is it in which he was wobo dwelt in inaccellible Light and manifested? Is it the spiritual Nature of Glory, wbicb no Man bath Jeen, nor Angels? But though shat far excel ours, can see, infinitely removed from all hu. yet it is no Manifestation of him to us ; mane Capacities and Senses; he, I say, for he should still be as unknown as ebegins to be manifested in the Fulness of ver. Is it in the Glory, Perfection, and Time ; and to make himself visible, he Flower of the visible World, as in the takes on our Flesh; and all for this pur- Sun, and Lights of Heaven? But though pose, that he who was the substantial Life that have more Shew of Glory, than the in himself, and the eternal · Life, in an ef. Ple of Man; yet it makes not much to sential and necessary Way, might become our Comfort ; there would not be fo. Life to poor dead Sinners, and commu much Consolation in that Manifeftation. nicate to them eternal Life: And truly it Therefore, o how wisely and wonderwas no wonder that all Ages were in fully is it contrived, for the Good of lost. Expectation of this, from the Beginning Man? That the Son of God sball be of the World, since it was first promised, made of a Woman, that the Father of that the Inhabitants of Heaven were in a Spirits shall be manifefted in the lower longing Expectation to see, and look into Habit of our Flesh : And the lower and this Myftery, for there is something in it baser that be, in which he appears, the more wonderful than the Creation of this higher the Mystery is, and the richer the huge Frame of Heaven and Earth : God Comfort is; suppose the Manifestation of made himself in a manner visible, by Glory should not be so great, yet the Mamaking the vifible World: His Power, nifestation of Love is so much the greaGoodness, and Wildcm, are every where ter; and this is the great Design, God imprinted in great Chara&ters on the whole, fe loved, &c. John iii. Nay, I may say, and all the Parts of it: Tbe Light, how even the Glory of tbe only begotten Son glorious a Garment is it, with which of God, was the more visibly manifefhe is, as it were, cloathed? The Hea- ted, that he appeared in to low and un.. vens, how majestick a Throne ? the equal a Shape; for Power to thew is Earth, how ftarely a Foor-ftool? the self in Weakness, for Glory to appear. Thunder, how glorious and terrible a in Baseness, for Divinity to kythe in Voice? In a Word, the Being, the Beau- Humanity, and such glorious Rays to ty, the Harmony, and Proportion of this break forth from under such a dark Cloud; huge Frame, is but a visible Appearance this was greater Glory, and more Ma. of the invisible God. But in taking on jesty, than if he had only Dhewed himself our Flesh, tbe Werd is more wonderful- in the Perfection of the Creatures. Now

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

it is easy to diftinguish the Vail, from Clouds. O then, let us open our Hearts that it covers ; to separate Infirmity from to him, and entertain these new and fresh Divinity : But then it had been more dif- Tidings, with new Delights: Though ficult

, if his outward Appearance had these be now more than sixteen hundred been so glorious, to give unto God what Years old, yet they are still recent to a was God's, and to give the Creatures believing Heart ; there is an everlasting what was the Creatures : The more near Spring in them, thas sends out every Day his outward Shape had been to his divine frelh Consolation to Souls, as refreshing Nature, the less able had we been to as the first Day this Spring was opened. see the Glory of his Divinity through This is the new Wine that never grows

old, nay, it is rather every Generation Now, my Beloved, when both these renewed, with the Accession of some new are laid together, the Ancientness of our Manifestation of the Love of God. Christ's Saviour, and withal the Newness of his Incarnation was the first Manifeftation of Appearnce in the Flesh, by which he hath the Sun, che very Morning of Light and come so near us, acd, as it were, brought Life, the Day-spring visiting the World, his own Majesty within our Sphere, to that was buried in an hellith Darkness be apprehended by us ; and for no other of Heathen-idolatry : And even the End, but to make Life and Immortality Church of God, in the Grave of Superto shine forth, as Beams from him, to stition, and Corruption of Doctrine and the quickning of dead Souls, o how Manners: Then did that Sun of Righ. Ahould this Conjunction endear him to us : teousness first set up his Head above the That the everlasting Father should be. Horizon : but it is but one Day ftill, he come a Child for us ; that is one Won- hath been but coming by Degrees to the der. The next Wonder is, That we Meridian, and joining more and more wbo are Enemies, sbould be made tbe to the perfect Day; That Sun hath not Children of God by bim: When the dark set since, but made a Course, and gone a and obscure prophesying of this, when. round about the World, in the preaching the Twilight of Jewis Types and Sha of the Gospel, and brought Life and dows did create so much Joy in the Hearts Light about, by Succession, from one Na. of Believers, in so much that they long tion to another, and one Generation to ed for, and rejoyced to see afar off that another; and therefore we ought to enDay; when such a dark Representation of tertain it this Day with Acclamations and this Word of Life, was the very Life of Jubilation of Heart, as the People that ly the Godly in the World for four thou under the North, do welcome the Sun sand Years; O how much is the Cause of when it comes once a Year to them. Af Joy increased, by the rising of the Sun of ter that the Kindness and Love of Righteousness himself, and appearing in God our Saviour toward Man appearthe very darkest Night of Superftition and ed, Tit. ïi. 4. Qirar@potia, his kindly and Idolatry that was ever over the World? affectionate Love to Mankind, that is it When the true Life hath arisen himself, that shines so brightly ; the Beams of and brought to open Light that Life that Grace and Love to Men, are the Rays was obscurely couched up in Prophecies that are scattered from this Sun of Righand Ceremonies, as hid under so many teousness. O the Hardness of Mens

Hearts,

« הקודםהמשך »