« AnteriorContinuar »
which remains ; rescue it out of the huckster's hands, ; vindicate it to the noblest purposes, that the remainder of it through true improvement, may answer the account of the whole.
Nothing will lie heavier upon our minds,, when.. we come to die, than that we have neglected the day of grace, been wanting to ourselves in preparations for eternity, by bad use of time ; depraved our minds, so as to go out of the world in far worse ftate and condition than we entred into it..
The persuasives hereunto are,
1. That here is hearts-ease and satisfaction in-the motion of repentance ; in that we have revokedy and morally voided that which should not have been done. The first best is not to have done ill; the fee.. cond, is to condemn it : this is all we can do in the case, all elfe must be left to God ; and this makes the case compassionable ; and when the case is such, there is nothing to hinder God to shew mercy.
2. Entrance into eternity, mainly depends upon the immediate disposition of the mind ; wherefore we are to take all care to depart hence in renunciation of the guise of this mad world ; in reconciliation with the rule of righteousness ; in agreeable... ness of temper with the heavenly state. ; 3. We have done a great deal of harm in the world, by bad example, strengthning the hands of the wicked : let us take it off by renunciation of its by condemning ourselves in it, by giving testimony to truth and right ; this is the least that can be done: in all reason ; else we may be said to be alive to da mischief in the world, when we are dead and gone..
DISCOURSE IV. The Joy which the Righteous have
in GOD. Preached in the New Chapel, December 7. 1668.
PSALM. xxxiii. 1. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praise is come
: ly for the upright. AND can we meet in this new strutture and 1 fabrick, raised out of its former ruins, and not.
perform the duty of the text ? If I be not. mistaken, this is the first that is again employed in. sacred use, since the dismal and fatal fire. Let those that are here present, give a good example to all that. fhall follow after ; and let us now, as the text calls upon us, rejoice and triumph in the divine goodness, for praise is comely for the good and upright man. The remarkable providences, and happier disperssations of God, call upon us to be glad in the Lord, and thankful for his benefits. God hath not only given us leave to rebuild our ruins, and repair our. waste places, but he hath been with us, and given us encouragement to this good undertaking. We read that the Jews when they returned out of captivity, and had but rebuilt their walls, they had meetings of joy and triumph ; as you find it among
other places, Ezra iii. 11. and vi. 16. and Nehem.. xii. 27. And this is not only pious, but a tranfcendant act of faith, and confidence in God; upon Tuch occasions to bless him, to rejoice in him, and to praise him. And they are of the basest, and most fordid temper, that are not affected with the expressions of the divine goodness and kindness. And truly if we do not do the former duty of the text, we shall fail in the latter ; if we be not gład and rejoice in the Lord, we shall never be thankful nor bless his holy name. For pray what thankfulness when the heart is poffest with melancholy, and the spirit full of heaviness ? but besides this, it is the general direction of wisdom, to acknowledge God in all our ways; therefore in things remarkable, so much the more ; and 'tis the effect of religion to do it ; for what is religion, but a participation, imitation, and resemblance of the divine goodness, both in the temper of the subject, and in its expressions of gratitude, ingenuity, acknowledgment, and the like. I know no other result of religion but this. And surely were religion estimated by this, we should endeavour after it, and be all good friends, and he would be accounted the best man, that is most free and ingenuous in the sense of divine goodness. At least let us sot neglect to make acknowledgments to God up-, on those eminent advantages that the course of his providence doth afford ; fuch as are eminent successes in our undertakings, and happy recoveries out of any trouble and calamity ; and giving us to see light after darkness. Such opportunities as these, pious fouls have been wont to close withal. And it
is noted of one, a very good person, a king of great fame, as a thing that was very unnatural and unbea coming him, and very ill resented by God, that he did not render unto the Lord according to the great bea nefits that was bestowed upon him. Thus it is reports ed of Hezekiah, 2 Chron, xxxii. 21. But his heart was. lifted up. Now pride is opposite to the acknowledge ment of God, and giving thanks to him. He that hath his heart lifted up, will arrogate and assume to himself, and this seems to have been his fault ; for which wrath was upon him, and the Israel of God, Now let such failings as these were, though in fore. mer ages, be for our admonition, as the apostle tells us, that things before us were for our example, upon whom the ends of the world are come, 1 Cor. x. II. If God had not taken pleasure in us, and in this great undertaking, to restore and rebuild thiş anci ent city, he might have obstructed and prohibited. the same ; as Joshua did curse any one that undertook rebuilding of Jericho. You shall find the curse, Foua vi. 26. and in effect, 1 Kings xvi. 34. Therefore we have cause, both to be sensible of the divine goodness, in that his good hand of providence hath been over us, and given success to our endeavours ; and scattered our fears and fad apprehenfions, and given us to see so much of restoration as at this day, and as this place gives testimony of.
In the text we have two things.
1. The duty is expressed in two words, rejoice in the Lord, and praise him : and the reason in these words, for it is comely so to do.
Rejoice in the Lord. Then certainly religion iş not fuch a thing as 'tis represented to the world by many men. For it is looked upon as a doleful, troublesome, melancholy thing ; hurtful to the body and disquieting to the souls of men, But see whether this be true. Look upon religion in its actions and employment : and what are they? rejoice and give thanks. Are not these actions that are grateful and delightful ? what doth transcend divine joy and ingenuous acknowledgments ? But then.
II. The reason. It is comely. Whatsoever is the true product of religion, is graceful, beautiful, and lovely. There is nothing in religion that is difhonourable, felfish ; that is particular, and narrowfpirited. No, it is a principle of the greatest nobleness, and generousness in the world. They are worldly spirits, that are low, narrow, and contracted: the truly religious are most noble and genere ous ; and are the freest from narrowness, discontent and selfishness. There is the most solid peace, and most grounded satisfaction found in it. Job. x. 5. The triumph of the wicked is port, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment. But for the good man and the righteous, Psal. iv. 7. Thou hast put more gladness into my heart, than when their corn, and wine, and oil encreased. And Ifa. xiv. 16. I will glory in the holy One of Israel, And Ifa. Ixi. 10. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my faul shall be joyful in my God. Nay, in the greatest straits and exigency,