« PreviousContinue »
feet must have this Love also in Preparation of Mind,
each of them love him with all their Powers and Capacities.
2. But the greater State of Love is the Zeal of Love, which runs out into Excrefcences and Suckers like a fruitful and pleasant Tree, or bursting into Gums, and producing Fruits, not of a monstrous, but of an extraordinary and heroical Greatness. Concerne ing which, these Cautions are to be observed.
Cautions and Rules concerning Zeal.
1. If Zeal be in the Beginnings of our Spiritual
Cause but after a long Growth of a temperate
and well-regulated Love, it is to be suspected for Gal. 4. 14. Passion and Frowardness, rather than the vertical
Point of Love.
2. That Zcal only is good which in a fervent Love hath temperate Expressions. For let the Affection boil as high as it can, yet if it boil over to irregular and strange Actions, it will have but few, but will need many Excufes. Elijah was zealous for the Lord of Hosts, and yet he was so transported with it, that he could not receive Answer from God, till by Mufick he was recomposed and tamed: And Moles broke both the Tables of the Law by being passionately zealous against them that brake the firit.
3. Zeal inuft spend its greatest Hear principally in those things that concern ourselves : But with great Care and Restraint in those that concern others.
Remember that Zeal, being an Excresence of Divine Love, muft in no Sense contradict any Action of Love ; Love to God includes Love to our Neighbour, and therefore no Pretence of Zeal for God's Phil, 3: 66 Glory must make us uncharitable to our Brother; for that is just to pleafing to God, as Hatred is an Act of Love.
5. That Zeal that concerns others, can spend itself in nothing but Arts and Actions and charitable Inftruments for their Good: And when it concerns the Good of many that one should suffer, it must be done by Persons of a competent Authority, and in great Neceflity, in seldom Instances, according to the Law of God or Man; but never by private Right, or for trifling Accidents, or in mistaken Propositions. The Zealots in the Old Law had Authority to tranfix and ftab some certain Persons ; but God
them Warrant ; it was in the Case of Idolatry, or such notorious huge Crimes, the Danger of which was insupportable, and the Cognizance of which was infallible : And yet that Warrant expired with the Synagogue.
6. 'Zeal in the Instances of our own Duty and perfonal Deportment is more safe than in Matters of Counfel, and Actions besides our juft Duty, and tending towards Perfection. Though in these Instances there is not a direct Sin, even where the Zeal is less wary, yet there is much Trouble and some Danger: (As if it be spent in the too forward Vows of Chastity, and Restraints of natural and innocent Liberties.)
7. Zeal may be let loose in the Instances of internal, perfonal and spiritual Actions that are Matters of direct Duty; as in Prayers, and Acts of Adoration, and Thanksgiving, and frequent Addresses: Provided that no dire& Ad pass upon them to defile them; such as Complacency and Opinions of Sanctity, censuring others, Scruples and Opinions of Necessity, unnecessary Fears, superstitious Numbrings of Times and Hours: But let the Zeal be as forward as it will, as de. vout as it will, as seraphical as it will, in the directAddress and Entercourse with God, there is no Danger, no Transgression. Do all the parts of your Duty, as
Lavoracome carnestly as if the Salvation of all the world, and the le tu haveili whole Glory of God, and the Confusion of all Devils, a compar og. and all that you hope or desire did depend upon ni hora : Adora-come fe every one Action. tu havefli a 8. Let Zeal be feated in the Will and Choice, and morir al bora. regulated with Prudence and a fober Understanding, Rom. 10. 2.
not in the Fancies and Affections; for these will make it full of Noife and empty of Profit, but that will make it deep and smooth, material and devout.
The Sum is this: That Zeal is not a direct Dury, Titus 2. 14. no where commanded for itfelf, and is nothing but a Rev. 3. 16. Forwardness and Circumstance of another Duty, and
therefore is then only acceptable when it advances the
yourZeal (if it must be expreffed in Anger) be always 2. Cor. 7.11; more severe against thyself than againit others.
$ The other part of Love to God, is Love to our
Neighbour, for which I have reserved the PAragraph of Aims.
of the External Actions of Religion. Religion teaches us to present to God our Bodies as well as our Souls: For God is the Lord of both : And if the Body serves the Soul in Actions natural and civil and intellectual, it must not be eased in the
only Offices of Religion, unlefs the Body shall expect no Portion of the Rewards of Religion, such as are Refurrection, Re-union, and Glorification. Our Bodies are to God a living Sacrifice, and to present them Rom. 12. to God is holy and acceptable.
The Actions of the Body as it ferves to Religion, and as it is distinguished from Sobriety and Justice, either relate to the Word of God, or to Prayer, or to Repentance, and make these Kinds of external Actions of Religion : 1. Reading and Hearing the Word of God; 2. Fasting and Corporal Austerities, called by St. Paul, Bodily Exercise; 3. Feasting or keeping Days of Publick Joy and Thanksgiving.
Of Reading or Hearing the Word of God. REading and Hearing the Word of God are but
the several Circumftances of the same Duty; inftrumental especially to Faith, but consequently, to all other Graces of the Spirit. It is all one to us whether by the Eye or by the Ear the Spirit conveighs his Precepts to us. If we hear St. Paul saying to us, that [Whoremongers
and Adulterers God will judge] or read it in one of his Epistles; in either of them we are equally and fufficiently infructed. The Scriptures read are the fame Thing to us which the fame DoEtrine was when it was preached by the Disciples of our bleffed Lord; and we are to learn of either with the same Difpofitions. There are many that cannot read the Word, and they must take it in by the Ear and they that can read find the same Word of God by the Eye. It is necessary that all Men learn it in some Way or other, and it is fufficient in Order to their Praétice that they learn it any Way. The Word of God is all those Ćommandments and Revelations, those Promises and Threatnings, the Stories and Sermons recorded in the Bible : Nothing else is the Word of God, that we know of by any certain
Instrument. The good Books and spiritual Discourses, the Sermons or Homilies written or spoken by Men, are but the Words of Men, or rather Explications of, and Exhortations according to the
Word of God : But of themselves they are not the Word of God. In a Sermon the Text only is in a proper Sence to be called God's Word : And yet good Sermons are of great Use and Convenience for the Advantages of Religion. He that preaches an Hour together against Drunkenness with the Tongue of Men or Angels hath spoken no other Word of God but this, [Be not drunk with Wine wherein there is Excess :) And he that writes that Sermon in a Book, and publishes that Book, hath preached to all that read it a louder Sermon than could be spoken in a Church. _This I say to this Purpose, that we may separate Truth from Error, popular Opinions from substantial Truths. For God preaches to us in the Scripture, and by his fecret Affiftances and spiritual Thoughts, and holy Motions : Good Men preach to us when they by popular Arguments and humane Arts and Compliances
expound and press any of those Doctrines which God hath preached unto us in his Holy Word. But,
1. 'The Holy Ghost is certainly the best Preacher in the World, and the Words of Scripture the best Sermons.
2. All the Doctrine of Salvation is plainly fet down there, that the most unlearned Person, by hearing it read, may understand all his Duty. What can be plainer fpoken than this, [Thou shalt not kill. Be not drunk with Wine. Husbands love your Wives
. Whatsoever ye would that Men should do to you, do ge fo to them.] The Wit of Man cannot more plainly tell us our Duty, or more fully, than the Holy Ghost hath done already
3. Good Sermons and good Books are of excellent Ule: But yet they can serve no other End but that we practise the plain Doctrines of Scripture.
4. What Abraham in the Parable faid concerning the Luke 16,29. Brethren of the Rich Man, is here very proper : They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them: But if