Page images

human Learning, who are Men of ex-SERM. cellent Parts and untainted Morals, and VI. have made it the Business of their Lives to fit themselves for this Holy Office, find themselves so unequal to their Duty; what hall we think of thofe Αυθήμεροι οι άγιοι, Saints of a Day's Growth (as St. Bafil calls them) who intrude into God's Vineyard without any legal Call, or due Preparation ?

Lastly, We may learn not to be difheartened, though we thould not find Success and Encouragement answerable to our Expectations in this world. For the Success of our Ministry doth not depend wholly upon our Endeavours, but upon the Grace and Affistance of God, giving his Blessing to them ; for Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, but it is God that gives the Increase : There is required not only a skilful Dispenser of the Seed of the Word, but a fruitful Soil, and temperate Seasons, to produce a plentiful Crop. Even our Blessed Saviour himself could do no mighty Works amongst his faithless Hearers, because of their Unbelief ; and, if we expect the Reward of our Labours in this World, it is probable we shall fall short of it ; for the Minister's Dues are seldom paid according to the


Serm. Shekle of the Sanctuary; Sacrilege is VI. hardly looked upon as

a Crime, and Tythes, which were formerly thought, when duly paid, to be the Hedges of Men's Estates, lie most exposed to every pilfering Hand. But, Thanks be to God, we have a good Master, who, one Time or other will make us Amends, for what we suffer in this World: He will assist us, whilst we are about his Work, and reward us,

when it is done ; and the poorest, the meanest of God's Ministers, has this to comfort him, that, though he is not posfeffed of Riches and Preferments, though he has not so much as to enable him to extend his charitable Help to the Wants of others, or hardly to supply his own ; yet he has many precious Opportunities put into his Hands of doing Good to the Souls of Men; and, though he may undergo Contempt and Poverty in this World, yet, at the Last-day, he will shine like a Star in the Firmament, and great will be his Reward in Heaven, This is our Comfort ; this is our Hope : But, that our Comfort may

be real, and our Hope well-grounded, we must behave ourselves as it becomes us in the Discharge of the Duties of our Calling. We must live unblameably, preach the Word constantly, and adminifter the S:


craments duly ; instruct the Ignorant, visit SERM, the Sick, relieve the Poor, bind up the VI. Broken-hearted, and fubmit ourselves to our lawful Governors, and teach others so to do; and then we may rest assured, that he, who set us on Work, will not let us want our Wages ; we shall enjoy Content and Satisfaction of Mind and a good Conscience in this World, and in the World to come a Crown that fadeth not, and an eternal Weight of Glory: Which God of bis Mercy grant may be our Lot and Pořa tion for Jesus Christ bis Sake, to whose most blessed Name let us render, as is most due, all Honour, Glory, Praise, Power, and Dominion, both now and evermore.

[merged small][ocr errors]


Of the Duty, Right use, and Abuse

of hearing God's Word.

JAMES i. 22.
Be ye doers of the Word, and not

Hearers only, deceiving your own

[ocr errors]

SERM, T has been a great Mistake, which

has been fatal to the Welfare of
many well-disposed Persons, the rest-

ing in the external Peformance of the
Duties of Religion. Men are apt to fancy
that if they live in external Communion
with the Church, if they frequent the
public Worship of God, and mingle now
and then a few pious Expressions with
their Conversation, they have no Reason
to question the good Condition of their
Souls; though their Lives and Conversa-


tions are not directed according to the Will Serm, of God, it is of this Sort of Men that God VII. complains : And they come unto thee as thy People cometh, and they fit before thee as my xzxli 31 People, and they hear thy Words, but they will not do them for with their Mouth they Thew much Love, but their Heart goeth after their Covetousness

. And indeed, Religion is quite another Thing than many Men take it to be; it is not feated so much in the Head or Tongue, as in the Hand and Heart; it doth not consist so much in curious Notions and towering Speculations, or external Rites, as in Sincerity of Heart and solid Virtue, and Holiness of Life and Conversation. In short, he is the best Christian, not who talks the most eloquently, prays the most devoutly, or performs the Offices of Religion most frequently, or is the most learned Man in Scripture Knowledge ; but he that doth most Good; who is most useful in his Generation, who is the most obedient Subject, the most loving Neighbour, the most careful Father, the most dutiful Child, the most prudent Master, or the most faithful Servant; and behaves himself best in that Calling and Station, in which God has placed him in the World. For even the

very Duties of Religion, such as VOL. II. L



« PreviousContinue »