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their Punishment. It in this Life Punishments cannot be imposed with sufficient Se. verity; how rigorous and terrible, how much exceeding all the Calamities of this World must be the Torments prepared hereafter? If the highest and most admired Enjoyments here, are not worthy to be conferred as a reward to a Pious Christian; we may conclude the Joys of Heaven to be inconceivable, and ought to be powerfully influenced by the hopes of them. If the Final Judgment of Men was not to be executed upon Earth, because inconsistent with the exercise of all more Noble and Christian Vertues; we may be then convinced how necessary they are to fit us for the Judgment hereafter. Lastly, if God would not inflict the deserved Punishments on Sinners here, least he should reprefent a Hell on Earth, and affright even Good Men with so dismal a Spectacle, how dreadful must the Torments of Hell be, which inay in some measure even make the Spectators miserable?
Such powerful and forcing Arguments have we to oblige us to a careful practice of our Duty; and yet all this can scarce induce us even to a serious Consideration of it. Neither the certain assurance of Death can move, nor the Terrours of Hell afright us, nor the Hopes of Heaven allure us, nor the dread of future Judgment arrest us: And then what if none of all these had been; if neither Hcaven nor Hell, Death or Judgment had
attended us? If God had not appointed Men once to Die, and we had been permitted to live Immortal Sinners ? What Sins hould we then liave fcrupled at, what Violence should we not then have committed ? So that even the Final Decree of Death upon all Men is no small benefit to Mankind, and, far from being repined at, ought to be gratefully received by us. At least let us take care to improve the knowledge of this Decree to a real Advantage, by continually pre, serving it in our Minds, opposing it to all Temptations, and acting under a constant Sense of it. So shall we not need to fear the Judgment which shall follow it; but shall patiently await it, boldly encounter it, and joyfully receive it: Which God of his infinite Mercy grant, for the Sake and Merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I Tim. I. 17. Now unto the King, eternal, im
mortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen.
HE Consideration of the Divine At,
tributes is of such excellent use to all Christians, and tendeth so highly to beget and preserve true Notions of Religion in us; that the Spirit of God liath chosen frequently and upon all occasions to inculcate it in Holy Writ, St. Paul in this place breaks out in Admiration of the Divine Mercy to himself, which he had described in the foregoing Verses; and then returneth Praise and Thanklgiving to him įn these Words: Words so ad, mirably framed, that they express not only the extreme Gratitude of the Apostle; but
powers powerfully intice us also to joyn in the same Doxology to God, by representing and briefly. enumerating his infinite Perfections, upon account of which he deserveth to be adored by us.
And indeed in this chiefly consists the difference between true and false Religions; that in the one, right Notions of the Divine Attributes are entertained, and Worship founded upon them; in the other, erroneous and mean Conceptions of the Deity are taken up, and religious Adoration paid upon Reasons which will not warrant it.
Religion is the Perfection of Man, and therefore ought to be placed upon fucli Foundations, as may secure the Honour of it, and convince the Consciences of Men of the necessity and reasonableness of it. God hath indeed, out of his abundant Mercy and Love to Mankind, provided many other Arguments, whereby we may be induced to fear him, to love him, to obey his Com. mands, and yield Submillion to him. He hath sent his Son into the World to save Sina ners, as we are told in the 15th Verse of this Chapter, that the Sense of so wonderful a Benefit might engage us to Gratitude; he sheweth forth his Long-suffering to them which believe ; and to them which do both believe and act agreeably to their Belief, he promiseth everlasting Life, as it follows in the next Verse.
The confideration of these Matters will indeed strike us with a lively Concern, we cannot but love the Author of these signal Benefits, admire his Goodness, and fear to displease him, least by his displeasure we forteit the Reward proposed by him. These are indeed powerful Arguments to us to be Religious; but yet we find nothing whereon to place the most essential Act of Religion, Worship and Adoration; we know not how to Form it, nor to whom to give it, till we proceed to consider the Perfections and Attributes of God; till we begin to reflect with the Apostle, that he is a King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only wise God; and then we cannot but conclude with the Apostle also; to him be Honour, and Glory, for ever and ever, Amen. .
The Words therefore present us with these two Considerations, of which I intend to Discourse.
1. The Reasons, why Religious Worship and Adoration ought to be referred and paid to God by us, namely, because he is our King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only wise God.
II. The Nature of this Religious Wor, ship to be paid to him; to bim be Honour and Glory, for ever and ever, Amen.
First then, the Reasons why Worship and Adoration ought to be paid to God,