Page images

Diligence, and redeem the Time, becauseSerm. their Days have been evil; considering X. that the Day is far spent, and the Night is at Hand when no Man can work. But as for those who have entered uport an holy and religious Life, let them go on to perfet Holiness in the Fear of God, forgetting those Things which are behind, and presfing forward to those which are before ; let them endeavour to grow in Grace, and to increase in every Virtue, and God will not fail to work with them, and to bless their pious Endeavours with Success, that so their Labour may not be in vain in the Lord.






Of Sobriety and Vigilance.

1 PET. v. 8. Be sober, be vigilant ; because your Ad

versary the Devil, as a roaring Lion, walketh about seeking whom

he may devour.

[ocr errors]

SERM. N these Words, two Duties are comXI. manded us, to be fober and vigilant ;

and the Reason is added, because your

Adversary the Devil walketh about, like a roaring Lion, seeking whom he may devour.

In my following Discourse, I shall inquire, 1. Into the Extent and Meaning of these Words.


II. WHAT Obligations lie upon us to Serm,

perform the Duties enjoined in them. XI, III. WHAT are the chief Letts and Hin

derances which keep us from performing

these Duties. IV. What blessed Effects the Practising • of them would have upon our Lives

and Conversations.

I. I SHALL inquire into the Meaning and Extent of these Words, Be fober, be vigilant. Now,

1. By being sober, is chiefly and principally meant such a moderate Use of Meats and Drinks, as will support and refresh Nature, and render us more able to serve God, and to do our Duty in those several Callings and Stations, in which God has placed us. This is Sobriety, in the strict Sense of the Word; but this is not all, for Sobriety implies much more ; and to be sober, in the utmost Extent of the Word, denotes the Management of all our Passions and Affections, by the Rules of right Reason ; the Mortifying all inordinate Lusts and Desires, and the absolute Government of all the Appetites of our Soul : For a Man may be drunk with Anger, or Pride, or Ambition, or Envy, or Uncharitableness, as much as with R 2


Serm. Wine, and may be betrayed by these utiXI. governable Passions, into the same foolish

and ridiculous Actions, as another Person is, by being guilty of Intemperance in the Use of intoxicating Liquors. A passionate, proud, or malicious Person may be as litile capable of governing his Words and Actions, and living up to the Rules of right Reason, as he is, who is transported by the Fumes of Drink.

And this I the rather remark, because there seem to be few who acknowledge any other Kind of Intemperance, but what consists in the Excess of eating and drinking; or can hardly be brought to confess, that a Man who is overborne with Passion, blown up with Pride, elated with Ambition, or cankered with Envy and Malice, is guilty of the Breach of this Duty of Sobriety, and exposes himself to the fame fatal Consequences.

For, when these inordinate Affections and corrupt Inclinations have got the Dominion over a Man, they ferment the Blood and vitiate the Passions; they clap a false Biass upon his Words and Actions, and, whether he will or no, hurry him frequently into Sin and Folly; they lead him captive whither they please, and, in Effect, make him their Servant and Bondlave; and therefore, in Scripture, such


Men as are given up to their unruly Paf-SERM.
sions and Affections, are said to be fold XI,
to do Wickedness, and to be in Bondage
unto Sin; and when they return to God,
and lead an holy and religious Life, they
are said to be set at Liberty. From
whence it appears, that, when the Apostle
commands us to be fober, it is, as if he had
said, Keep your Bodies and Souls in such
an equal and even Temper, that your Ad-
versary the Devil may take no Advantage
either from your Intemperance in Meats
and Drinks, or from the Disorder of your
Affections, ie Irregularity of your

sions, to seduce you into Sin; but that
whenever he comes, and sets upon you by
his Allurements and Temptations, he may
find you upon your Guard, ready to resist

2. Next the Apostle adds, Be vigilant, Be not puffed up and secure, when you have got the Better of your Adversary, and withstood his first Affaults, and resisted the Temptations of the Devil

, and escaped those Snares which he laid for you ; be not filled with Pride and Vain-glory, and a Pharisaical Conceit of your own Righteousness, because you think you

have behaved yourself better than others have done ; but set a continual Watch over yourself, be constantly upon your Guard, at all Times,


[ocr errors]

R 3

« PreviousContinue »