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accord, we may take very innocent Satisfaction in them. But the misfortune is, that what we like and love, we are apt to court out of time, and covet out of measure. This is a Frailty, rooted in our Nature. And for that reason, I take it, our Blessed Lord does chufe to expose the Folly of Vain-glory ; by shewing, that the Men of this Principle destroy their own Pretensions, and, that the very Point they drive at, would be more effectually carried the contrary way. You desire this Rigour and severe Piety may be publickly known, and therefore you unseasonably proclaim it
felf: The best that can come of this is, to let a very few about you into the knowledge of it. But keep this to your self, and be content to stay a little longer, and then it shall be published to, and applauded by, a whole World. Thus would Concealment now, answer your End much better, than Oftentation. But that's not all. From whom do you conceal it? You cannot from Him, who is chiefy concerned to know it. It is from Such only, as have no part in, nor Power to reward you for it. Thus for the sake of Them, who cannot, you discharge him, who could, and otherwise would, but is not now obliged to, recompense those good Deeds, which so plainly appear not to have been done for His fake. So the Reward you might have had, is lost ; and the consideration you proposed to your self in lieu of it, is incomparably less, than you would have had in the same kind, added to that Reward. This is the Substance of our Saviour's Argument, a necessary caution to us all, at any time, at this time more particularly.
The Pious Severities whereof ihe God of all Mercy grant us Grace to attend upon, with a Sincerity fo unblameable, A Sorrow so godly, An Abstinence so mortifying, A Devotion fo fervent, A Charily so bountiful, and A Zeal fo unaffected; that, having
thus attained to new and contrite Hearts, we may wor-
The First Sunday in Lent.
Lord, who for our fake didit fast forty days and forty
Matth. iv. 2.
1 Cor. X. 27. may ever obey thy godly Motions in Righteousness and true Holiness, to thy Honour and Glory, who livest and Gal. v. 17, 24. reigneft with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, World without end. Amen,
The E PISTL E.
2 Cor. vi. I.
PARAPHR AS E.
E then, as workers togetber with bim, be- 1. Since therefore God feech you allo, shat ye receive not be hath vouchfated to adGrace of God in vain.
mit us, the Apostles and
Ministers of the Gospel, into a part of this great Work, reconciling mankind to Him by Christ. ( See Chap. v. 19, 20.) We, in discharge of tht weighty Trust, most carnestly intreat you to make a right Use and Profit of this Favour of God
2. For he faith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, 2. By that Paffage and in the day of Salvation have I fuccoured tbee ; behold, in Ijaiah (Crap. xlix. now is the accepted time, bebeld, now is the day of 8.) you may perceive, falvation.
that God hath particular
Times of saving and belping. This, when the Gospel is imparted to you, is your Time, which ye are concerned not to let llip.
3. Giving no offence in any :king, that the ministry be 3. To this we contrinot blamed.
bute, not by our Di
etrine only, but Example too, demeaning our felves fo, as to give no just Prejudice against our Perions, or our Function.
4. But in all things approving our felves as the mini- 4, 5. But answering Aters of God, in much parience, in ajlictions, in neceffities, our Character, both by in diftrefjes :
what we do, and by 5. In stripes, in imprifonments, in tumults, in warch- what we suffer in the ings, in faftings.
Exercise of it.
6. By Chastity, by 6. By pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by Knowledge of the My- kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, steries of God (or, as tome, by prudent Carriage) by bearing with those that do amiss, by gentle and engaging and courteous Behaviour to all, by the miraculous Gifts and Operations of the Holy Spirit.
7: By preaching the 7. By the word of truth, by the power of God, by Gospel pure and uncor- the armour of righteousness on i be right band and on the rupted ; By the Success left. and Efficacy given by God to that Preaching ; By arming our selves against all the Temptations both of Prosperity and Adversity,
8. Not moved from 8. By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good reour Duty by the diffe- port; as deceivers, and yet true; rent Treatment we meet with ; not exalted when others speak well, nor discouraged when they lpeak ill
Some call us Impostors, but we are true Men;
9. Some despise us as 9. As unknown, and yet well knorun ; as dying, and obscure, others know bebold we live, as chaftened, and not killed ; and value us ; We seem at the point of Death every day, but still God preserves us. Our Persecutions exercile, but they do not deftroy us.
10. Our Circumstan- 10. As forrocvful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, ces are thought very bad, yet making many ricb; as having notbing, and yet podej and yet the Testimony fing all things. of a good Conscience, and the spiritual Comforts we feel, give us perpetual Joy: We are reckoned poor, and yet we communicate to Multitudes, who are in want of the true Riches; and while we seem to have nothing, (by the Contentedness of our Mind, and the Favour, and Promises of God, which we know are sure to us ) we fiand potlest of all that is good and defirable.
Ver, 19, 20, 21.
T. Paul had, in the Close of the Fifth Chapter, magnified the Mercy of God by Jesus Christ, in
appointing Him, as a Sacrifice for the
Sins of Mankind: In thus reconciling to himself those Offenders and Rebels, who, but for this Condescension, must have perished everlastingly, in and for that Eninity they had finn'd themselves into ; And in sending the Ministers of his Gospel, as so many Ambassadors, commissioned in his Name to offer them Terms, to treat with, to importune them that they would come in, and accept Friendship with their injured Lord, and Happiness to their, otherwise inevitably ruined, Selves.
At the beginning of this Sixth Chapter, (the Epistle for the Day,) he gives an account, after what manner He and his Fellow-labourers behaved themselves in the Execution of this so important, so honourable Office. He, in Their Character, hath left every Minister of Christ a Model, on which to frame his Own: Hath admonished Us, (who have likewise the honour of being Workers together with God) how prefsing and diligent we ought to be in Doctrine and Exhortation, how blameless and Exemplary in our Lives. A proper portion of Scripture, at the approach of our Ember-Fast, and worthy the most attentive Consideration of All, who have been already, or are now about to be, or shall at any time hereafter be, sent forth upon the fame Embafly.
But, reflecting, that the main Design of this Treatise is not to teach Them, who are called and qualified to teach Others; I content my self with this Short Hint to my Brethren of the same Holy Funci ion ; and fix upon a Subject of larger Extent and Concern, contained in the First and Second Verses. In the former whereof the Apostle gives his Corinthians a very earnest Exhortation ; In the latter, a Reason enforcing it. These Two Particulars, and the Application of them, shall make the Matter of my present Discourse.
I. The Substance of the Exhortation is, That they would not receive the Grace of God in vain.
1. Grace, in the general Notion of Gen. xxxii. 15. it, denotes Favour and Kindness, such as does not only argue a Disposition to do good to the Person, on whom it is bestowed ; but such as is bestowed freely, and without any Obligation. In this respect it dif
xlvii. 25. Enther i. 174 Rom. v, II. -------xi. 6. Heb. ii, g.
Acts xiii. 43.
fers from Debt, or Reward, adequate, and strictly so called. And, in this sense, the Grace of God imports that Affection and Good-Will, which he bears to Men, and all those Benefits proceeding thence, which he is either under no Engagement to give, or which the very engaging himself to give was of his own mere Motion, and a free Act of Mercy. 2. The Grace of God, in a more restrained Sense,
is frequently set to signify the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So ftiled, because the Terms and Privileges of that Salvation tendred by it, are the effect of his infinite
and undeferved Goodness; The Knowledge and Publication of it isimparted, to whom,at what time, and in what measure he pleases ; And the Blessings and Rewards of it, when so imparted, (though to such indeed coveqanted Mercies, if they perform Their part) yet are still so vastly disproportionate in value to their
best Services, as to deserve the Name, not Rom. vi. 25.
of Wages, but of a Gift. Again, 3. The Grace of God does sometimes signify a certain inward Working of his Spirit, in, and with the Minds of Men; Which, by suggefting, and disposing them to comply with reasonable Arguments and good Motions, renders the outward Ministry of the Word, and other Means instituted for our Salvation, persuasive and successful. This is represented, as the Principle of Goodness and Spiritual Life. By this the Saints are what they are ;
This quickens those that were once dead in trespasses and Sins ; By this God works in us that which is acceptable in his fight, even to will and to do of his good pleasure ; And by growing in this we persevere in well
doing, and are kept from falling from cur ven stedfast nefs. Thus our being, and living, and moving, in a Spiritual Sense and Capacity, our begin
I Cor. xv. 10. Eph. ii. 5. Hebr. xiii. 2 Phil. ii. 12. 2 Pet. iii. 17, 18.