תמונות בעמוד

ruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved SERM. in heaven for us, who are kept by the power of God through XLIII. faith unto salvation, (which hope therefore can never be dashed or defeated,) breed a most cheerful satisfaction, far tranfcending all other pleasures, which spring from the most desirable fruitions here; according to that admonition of our Lord, Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that Luke x. 20. the Spirits are subject unto you ; but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

III. We should evermore rejoice in the performing the duty of charity; both that which we owe to God, and that which is due to our neighbour.

Love is the sweetest and most delectable of all passions; and when, by the conduct of wisdom, it is directed in a rational way toward a worthy, congruous, attainable object, it cannot otherwise than fill the heart with ravishing delight.

And such (in all respects superlatively such) an object is God: he infinitely beyond all other things deferveth our affection, as most perfe&ly amiable and desirable, as having obliged us by innumerable and inestimable benefits, all the good that we have ever enjoyed, or that we can ever expect, being derived from his pure bounty; all things in the world, in competition with him, being pitifully mean, ugly, and loathsome; all things, without him, being vain, unprofitable, and hurtful to us; so that the

Psalmist might well say, Who in heaven can be compared Pf. lxxxix. | unto the Lord? who among the fons of the mighty can be 6.

likened unto the Lord ? Whom have I in heaven but thee? Pfal. Ixxiii. and there is none upon earth that I can depre befde thee. 25. He is the most proper object of our love; for we chiefly were framed, and it is the prime law of our nature, to love Matt. xxii. him; our foul from original instinct vergeth toward him 38. as its centre, and can have no rest till it be fixed on him ; he alone can satisfy the vast capacity of our minds, and fill our boundless defires.

He, of all lovely things, most certainly and easily may be attained; for whereas commonly men are crossed in their affection, and their love is embittered from their

2 Cor. v. 20. John xiv. 21, 23.

1 John iv,


SERM. affecting things imaginary, which they cannot reach, or XLIII.

coy things, which disdain and reject their affection; it is

concerning God quite otherwise: for, John vi. 37. He is most ready to impart himself, and will not reject Psal. lxx. 4.

any that cometh unto him; he most earneftly desireth and wooeth our love; he is not only most willing to corre

spond in affection, but doth prevent us therein, for we love Apoc. iii. him, faith the Apostle, because he first loved us.

He doth cherish and encourage our love by sweetest influences and most comfortable embraces, by kindest ex

pressions of favour, by most beneficial returns, ordering Rom. viii. that all things shall work together for good to those who 1 Cor. ii. 9. love him : and whereas all other objects do in the enjoy

ment much fail our expectation, he doth ever far exceed it.

Wherefore, in all affectionate motions of our hearts toward God, in defiring him, or seeking his favour and friendship; in embracing him, or setting our esteem, our good-will, our confidence on him; in enjoying him by devotional meditations and addresses to him; in a reflexive sense of our interest and propriety in him; in that myfte

rious union of spirit, hereby we do closely adhere to him, 1 Cor. vi. and are, as it were, inserted in him; in a hearty complaAets xi. 23. cence in his benignity, a grateful resentment of his kind

ness, and a zealous desire of yielding some requital for it, John xv. 4, we cannot but feel very pleafant transports, assuring to

us the truth of that saying in the Psalm, They that love thy

name shall be joyful in thee; and disposing us to cry out Pfal. xxxvi. with the Pfalmift, How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O P'fal, Ixiii. Lord! Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my

lips shall praise thee.

Indeed that celestial flame (kindled in our hearts by the spirit of love) cannot be void of warmth; we cannot fix our eyes upon infinite beauty, we cannot taste infinite sweetness, we cannot cleave to infinite felicity, without we should also perpetually rejoice in the first daughter of love to God, charity toward men; the which in complexion and cheerful dispofition doth most resemble its mother: for it doth rid all those gloomy, keen, turbulent imaginations and passions, which cloud our mind, which fret our


Deut. x. 20.

Psal. v. 12.


Rom. xii. 8.

heart, which discompose the frame of our foul, (from SERM. burning anger, from storming contention, from gnaw- XLIII. ing envy, from rankling fpite, from racking suspicion, from distracting ambition and avarice.) It consequently doth settle our mind in an even temper, in a sedate humour, in an harmonious order, in that pleasant state of tranquillity, which naturally doth result from the voidance of irregular passions.

And who can enumerate or express the pleasures which do await on every kind, on each act of charity?

How triumphant a joy is there in anywise doing good! whereby we feed good humour, and gratify our best inclinations; whereby we oblige our brethren, and endear ourselves to them; whereby we most resemble the divine goodness, and attract the divine favour.

St. Paul telleth us, that God loveth a cheerful giver ; 2 Cor. ix. and he prescribeth, that he who sheweth mercy, should do it év inapóryti, with merriness; and in the Law it is com

manded, Thine heart shall not grieve, when thou gives to Deut. xv. · thy poor brother : and who indeed can out of charity give

almıs or shew mercy without cheerfulness? seeing that he xxxv. 10. thereby doth satisfy his own mind, and doth ease his own bowels; confidering that in doing good to his neighbour he receiveth far more good to himself; that he then doth put forth his stock to very great and most certain advantage; that he dischargeth an office very acceptable to God, doth much oblige him, and render him a debtor, doth engage him abundantly to requite and reward that beneficence.

What satisfaction is there in forgiving offences! whereby we discharge our souls from vexatious inmates, (black thoughts and rancorous animosities ;) whereby we clear ourselves from the troubles attending feuds and strifes; whereby we imitate our most gracious Creator, and transcribe the pattern of our meek Redeemer; whereby we render ourselves capable of divine mercy, and acquire a good title to the pardon of our own fins; according to that divine word, if you forgive men their trespases, your Matt. xi. heavenly Father will forgive you.

10. Ecclus.

23. XXV. 35

15. i Cor. xiii. 6.


are Te

vii. 7.

nananvas. Rom. i. 12.

SERM. How unconfinedly and inexhaustibly vast is that delight, XLIII. which a charitable complacence in the good of our neighRom. xii.

bour (à rejoicing with those that rejoice) may afford! a man thence engrossing all the good in the world, and appropriating to himself all the prosperous successes, all the

pleasant entertainments, all the comfortable satisfactions Rom. xii. of his neighbour. Even a charitable sympathy, or con

dolency, in the adversities of our neighbour, is not deftitute of content; for the soul is thereby melted into a ger

tle temper, susceptive of the best impressions; we share in 2 Cor. i. 6. the comfort which we minister to others; we

freshed in that kindly submission to the good pleasure of Lvuragz- God, in that lightsome contemplation of God's mercy, in

those comfortable hopes of a happy issue, which we suggest to the afflicted; we thence are disposed to a grateful sense of God's goodness, in preserving ourselves from those calamities, and in qualifying us to comfort our brethren; we feel fatisfaction in reflecting upon this very practice, and observing that we do act conformably to good-nature, to the dictates of reason, to the will of God, therein discharging a good conscience, and enjoying a portion of that continual feaft.

I should, if the time would permit, farther declare how we should find delight in the contemplation of all God's attributes, of his works, of his word; in thankful refentment of all God's benefits; in willing obedience to all God's laws; how joy is a proper fruit growing on the practice of humility, of justice, of temperance, of devotion, of every virtue and grace: more particularly I should have evidenced how, from a patient submission to God's affiaing hand, from penitential contrition of heart for our fins, from a pious fear and folicitude in working out our salvation, most sweet consolations (so tempering those ingredients as to render their bitterness very favoury) may spring: but in recommending joy I would not produce grief; and therefore shall not farther annoy your patience.



PROV. iv. 23.


Keep thy heart with all diligence, &c. BEFORE we do apply ourselves to inculcate this precept, SERM. it is requisite that we should somewhat explain the terms, XLIV. and settle the meaning thereof; in doing that, we begin with the last words, which qualify the action enjoined as to its degree, or extent; with all diligence: the words (opwp-yon) answering to these in the Hebrew, do, according to the various use or force of the particle admit a threefold acception. They may (1.) denote abfolutely the intenseness in degree, or extension in kind, of the performance required in this precept: πάση φυλακή τήρει στην xapdías, Omni custodia serva cor tuum ; keep thy heart with all custody; that is, with all sorts or with all degrees of care and diligence; so the LXX. Interpreters, and the vulgar Latin following them, render those words. They may, (2.) taking the particle for a Mem excellentiæ, as they call it, fignifying comparatively, præ omni cuftodia serva cor tuum; keep thy heart above all keeping; that is, especially and more than thou keepest any other thing; so doth Pagnin understand them, not without cause, both for the reason subjoined here, because from it are the isues of life; that is, because it is the principal part and fountain of all vital operations, and therefore deserveth the best custody; as also for that in what follows, and in

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