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lofs and dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of Chrift Jefus his Lord. And indeed, there is no more proportion between our best performances and eternal life, than there is between a crown and a dungbill: Yea, he reckoned, that his fufferings for Chrift, which were the greatest as well as the purest part of his fervice for him, were not worthy to be compared with the glory which hall be revealed: So little reafon had Mr Harrifon, from the apoftle's mouth, to conclude, that he had been viewing a crown, the luftre of which was to bear a proportion to his attainments and labours. But no more of this.
I go on to confider another faulty paragraph of his, which you will find in page 20, it runs thus, "Should it not then raise our wonder, to the highest pitch, that he will recompenfe us for these short services which are very imperfect, with an incorruptible crown? That he will fend his only begotten Son "from his throne in heaven, to meet us, and conduct us to everlasting man"fions? well might St John fay God is love." The fame Spirit of error appears in this as in the former paragraph; but if any thing, it appears here more barefaced: He acknowledges that our services are bort, and very im perfect; and yet says, that God will recompenfe us for them, and that with an incorruptible crown. Alas! what profit and advantage can our fhort and inperfect services be to God, that he fhould recompenfe us for them after this manner! Who bath first given to him, and it shall be recompenfed unto him again? Verily, there is a reward for the righteous; but not for his own righteousness fake, but for the righteousness of Chrift imputed to him, which only can truly and properly denominate him a righteous man. " In keeping of the commandments of God, there is great reward even in this world, but not for keeping of them; much less in that which is to come. God indeed does reward his own grace which he has beftowed upon his people, and therefore faith, hope, confidence, &c. have a great recompence of reward even now, and will be found unto praife, and honour, and glory, at the appearing. of Chrift; but God never rewards his people for their fervices, though he rewards them in his fervice; for when they have done all they can, they have done but their duty, and must acknowledge themselves unprofitable servants. Heaven is indeed called the reward of the inheritance', and the recompense of the reward; but as the apostle Paul fays, the reward is not reckoned of debt, but of grace.
Give me leave, Sir, to transcribe one paragraph more, which is in page 21, "Let me therefore, fays he, recommend this to you with the greatest earnest"nefs, that you would now fecure the favour of your judge: if you think "feriously on the fubject, you will confefs, that it deferves your best regards, "whatever the language of your practice has been." If by the favour of the judge, he means the love of Jefus Chrift to finners, that is not to be fecured now, nor does it need any fecurity from creatures. Chrift fixed his love upon his people before the world began: When there was no depth, no: fountains abounding with water, while as yet God had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world, Christ was rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth, and his delights were with the fons of men; and these have continued with them ever fince; for having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end. There is no danger of lofing his love and favour where it is once fixed, for it is like himself, the fame yesterday, to-day, and for ever. There can be no alteration made in it, nor any separation from it, for who, or what shall feparate us from the love of Chrift? But if by securing it, he means getting an evidence, a manifestation, a knowledge of intereft in his love, why muft the Spirit of God be neglected as useless? And why is the creature fet to work for it alone, without any hint of gracious affiftance from him, especially when it is his peculiar work to take of the things of Chrift, and shew them to us; the love of Christ, and shed it abroad in us; and fo' to direct our hearts into it, that we may be able to comprehend with all faints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Chrift which palleth knowledge. Again, if by the favour of the judge, he means the favourable regards of Chrift, confidered in that character to criminals, and that thofe favourable regards are to be fecured by their application to him, it is a vile reflection on him, as the judge of the whole earth, who always will do right; whofe judgment is, and ever will be, according to truth, not to be governed by favour and affection to any. He is of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, he will not judge after the fight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears, but with righteousness will be judge the poor, and reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth. He is not to be bribed with any of the gifts, prefents, or fervices, that any of his creatures are capable of bringing him; his favour is not to be fecured by any method of theirs: Will be efteem their riches? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.
* Heb. xiii. 8. 2 Theff. iii. 5.
y Rom. viii. 35
Eph. iii, 18, 19.
ON THE Could they give him thousands of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil, thefe would not ingratiate them into his favour: all their repentings, cries, and tears, can never work upon his affections; nor can all their fervices and formances recommend them to his regard: nothing fhort of a perfect righteoufnefs, answerable to the righteous law by which all fhall be judged, will be taken notice of by him. If he of his own grace and favour, as a Saviour, does not fecure them by cloathing them with his own righteousness, they can never fecure his favour, as a judge, by any thing they can do. The faints themfelves will be admitted into heaven, not by the favour of the Judge, but by the righteousness of the Redeemer; their acquittance before men and angels will not be an act of favour but of righteoufnefs. The fame degree of strict justice will appear in the awful procedure with them, as with others; for we must all appear before the judgment feat of Chrift, that every one may receive the things done in bis body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad: and at this bar, their only fecurity will be the righteousness of the Son of God, which will be fufficient, according to the ftrict rules of juftice, to answer for them. If therefore Mr Harrison has any regard to the falvation of the fouls of men to whom he preaches, he ought to direct them, not to feek the favour of the Judge, but the grace and, righteousness of the Redeemer.
I fhall not, Sir, trouble you any longer with remarks of this kind. I can not but observe, that this is the usual strain of Funeral Sermons published to the world; for which reason I cannot have the greatest opinion of them. I must confefs there are fome exceptions from this obfervation, and I take Mr Richardfon's fermon to be one, which was preached upon the same subject, and for the fame purpose as this. There are many things in it, which I perfuade myself will be grateful and pleasing to you. I will just give you some few hints, which fhew his regard to the doctrines of the Gospel.
In page 18, he gives a plain intimation of his faith in the doctrine of election; a doctrine that has always been a burthenfome ftone, an immoveable rock to all its adverfaries, where, fpeaking of the glories of heaven, he has these words, "There, fays he, the whole elect of Jefus, who have lived in the "different ages, and dwelt in the feveral corners of the world, fhall make ❝ one glorious body, one triumphant affembly."
In page 14, he expreffes himself on the head of Chrift's furetyfhip engagements, and undertakings for his people, and his compleat performance of them, after this manner: "As the Redeemer failed not in any part of his “undertakings
f 2 Cor, v. 10,
"undertakings for his people, agreeable to his own engagements, fo the Fa"ther has obliged himfelf to beftow all the glory and felicity upon his feed, "which he has purchased for them." Which is a brief fummary of the covenant of grace.
Again, page 12, fpeaking of the righteousness of Chrift, he has expressed his fentiments very judicially, "When, fays he, the Christian hath made the "greatest advances in holiness, he cannot but reflect upon the whole of his "conduct with fhame and blushing: it is in the righteousness of the Redeemer only, we can appear fpotlefs at the throne of God; this is the Chriftian's "fole dependence, this his joy, this his comfort, under a view of his own imperfections, even this, that he has a righteousness to truft to, and depend upon, which is equal to all that the law has demanded." This one fingle paragraph, I will venture to fay, is worth Mr Harrifon's whole fermon
In page 22, he afcribes the work of grace in its implantation and exercife, to the Spirit of God, and afferts the abfolute necessity of it, to the performance of good works with acceptance; where, fpeaking of the meetnefs or fitnefs of faints for Chrift's appearance, he fays; "This, divines call either "habitual or actual; by the former, they understand those graces that accompany falvation, and are implanted in the foul by the Holy Spirit, whereby they are turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. "And by the latter, a lively exercise of thofe graces implanted by the Spirit; "for grace in the foul is an active principle, and the best teacher of good "works, without which indeed, none can be performed acceptable unto God." And, in page 11, he fays, that "God carries on this work, notwithstanding "all difficulties and oppofitions, with victorious efficacy." He afferts, in page 10, the neceffity of "receiving ftrength from Chrift for performing the “several parts of evangelical obedience." And in page 9, gives his thoughts of the final perfeverance of the faints, in these words; "Many frares are laid "in the Chriftian's way to hinder his progrefs towards heaven; yet is he "enabled to walk agreeable to the rules which Chrift has prescribed, without being led away with the error of the wicked, or falling from his own ftedfaftnefs."
Thefe, Sir, I prefume, are the reafons why this difcourfe was flighted and difcouraged, and defigned to be ftifled in the embryo, never to have seen the light; the above doctrines not being agreeable to the taste of the polite part of the town; but fure I am, they are fo to every one that has tafted that the Lord is gracious: And I am very glad to observe, that they were to the lady
deceased. I think that part of her character, which Mr Richardson has given, adds a glory to the whole of it, when he tells us: "Her hopes of everlasting life, as fhe declared to him, were entirely placed on Christ and his righ"teousness, ufing thefe words, There we are safe."
But, Sir, before I conclude, I must beg leave to return again to Mr Harrifon. He has been pleased to favour us with the oration which he delivered at the grave. I fhall not trouble you with remarking his unguarded sentences, his low thoughts, and mean compliance to a certain fet of men, which are too vifible in it: I only think, it is pity he had not published his own prayer, and the Lord's prayer, with the benediction at the end of it, which it seems were alfo delivered at the time of interment, and then we should have had a compleat form of fervice for the burial of the dead. He obferves to us, that "The fervice frequently performed amongst the Diffenters, at the burial of "the dead," is in this form, whereas there are but very few Diffenters in the nation that use any fervice at all, at the burial of their dead, but in this city of London; where the greatest part alfo make no orations at fuch times, and fome of those that do, make no prayer at all, and ftill fewer use the Lord's prayer: But perhaps, our Orator, is in expectation of making this practice, in time, more common by his example.
He has also published an ode, facred to the memory of the deceased lady: I confefs, Sir, I have but little judgment in poetry, yet I am ready to conclude, it is the best of these his performances.
In the dedication of his fermon to the worthy gentleman and lady there addreffed, he appeals to their fenfes, that it was compofed at their request, though in order to be preached by another; and therefore it is very cautiously expreffed: "A request, says he, which was contrary to my expectation,” and, indeed, an unheard of one, and which a man of any honour would never have complied with; though he has the vanity to add, "but founded on reasons "which both to you and to me (fine language!) appear to be capable of the “fullest vindication." And pray now, What were these reasons? Why, fufpicions of Mr Richardfon's ability to compofe, preach, and publish a fermon, which might be acceptable. What little reafon there was for those fufpicions, the world is now capable of judging, feeing the difcourfe is made public; and you, Sir, may eafily conclude, from the few hints I have extracted out of it, Mr Harrifon tells them, "A very fmall time was allotted "him for finishing the difcourfe;" time enough, unless it had been better performed. He goes on with compliments upon Sir and Madam, and concludes with praying for them, that they might long "enjoy together the "bleffings
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