« EdellinenJatka »
we not then, above all things else, be sollicitous for the Eternal Welfare of our Children ? And, can it become us to engage them, for Term of Life, in such Practices, as, for a little Pomp and Plenty here, will render them for ever miserable hereafter? When St. Paul orders Servants to obey in the Lord, he means, that they should observe their Masters, so far as Their Directions agree with Christ's.
with Christ's. And when he exhorts the Brethren, all to abide in their Calling with God : He intends, that their Temporal Interests should be reconcileable with, should indeed be subservient to, their future everlasting one.
The Duty we owe our Neighbour, is, in our excellent Catechism said, ainong many other things, to consist in this, that we learn and labour truly to get our own living, and to do our Duty in that State of Life to which it shall please God to call us. Our Living must be got, but got truly, that is, juftly and honestly. We must answer the State of Life, to which God calls us; but God calls no Man to a State and Trade of Sin. And therefore, when a Calling engages any Man in Acts of Sin, or in provoking other People to Sin; When it drives him upon Methods of Falshood and Deceit, of Lewdness, or any manner of dissolute Conversation ; When the Profits propounded from it are not to be attained, so long as Innocency and a clear Conscience are preserv’d; Those Gains are the Wages of Iniquicy, the Price of Heaven and of Souls: That Calling is certainly unlawful, and no Advantages, no not all the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory of them, can render it fit for a prudent Man to chuse. If, as the Last Particular declared, the most commendable Professions and Practices may not go away with the Whole of us, but a great deal ought to be reserved for the Uses of God, and a better Life: How unreasonabie. how unnatural, how barbarous a Wickedness must it needs be, to bind our Children out to the De
vil ? And yet this in effect is done, when we train them up in such ways of getting Wealth, as lead directly to Hell ; and, that they may wear purple and fine linnen, and fare fum, tucusly, for a few dạys, expose them almost to the Certainty, the Likelihood at least, of cry. ing in vain for many Ages, for a drop of water to cool their Tongues, when they shall be tormented in that flame.
Farther yet. I cannot, in this Case, think it fufficieni, that our Children be not trained up in a direct neceffity of Sinning, but that, as much as in us lies, they be set at a distance, from all probable Occasions, and Allurements to it: That we consider the Infirmities of human Nature, and the frequency and strength of Temptations to do Evil. Hence it will follow, that such Professions, as manifestly lay Men open to danger, Where we have Instances of many, if not most People miscarrying, Where good Principles are apt to be unsettled, and hopeful Beginners generally harden and turn profligate ; that all such, I say, are much too hazardous, for them to be trusted with. A good and tender, a wise and religious, Father will not venture a Child in Methods of living, not only where he must, but where it is odds he may, and where very few do not, make Shipwreck of Faith and a good Conscience.
In short, we ought to bear in mind continually, that our Treasure is laid up in Heaven, that our continuing City is not here, but we seek one to come : that Virtue and Piety are the only expedient, for bringing us to, and settling us in, that blissful Place; that, consequently every Man's grand Affair is so to pass through things Temporal, that be finally lose not the things Eternal : All our Cares therefore, all our Prospects, should be govern’d by that One. All our Concerns so ordered, all the Fortunes and Posts of our Children fo laid out ; that they may not neglect the more valuable Advantages of their Souls; but so contrive to manage the
Business of the World, as at the same time faithfully to dispatch the Business of Their Father and Our Father, Their God and Our God.
One Word now of Advice to Children, and Servants, and all that are in a State of Subjection ; and then I have done.
Now here I desire all such very soberly to consider, from what Hand Parents, of every Sort, derive their Authority: even from God Above. Their Obedience then to These, in all lawful and honest Commands, is Obedience to God. It is an Act of Religion, and therefore to be performed, not only with Diligence and Fidelity, but also with Zeal and Chearfulness. They do their great Father's and Master's Business, and purchase to themselves a sure Reward in Heaven, while their Labours deserve the Approbation of their Superiors upon Earth. So very merciful is God, in accepting Men's lawful Industry ; so well pleased with their Care, in any Business they are intrusted with; that he places it to account, as an Instance of their Faithful. ness and Duty to himself.
'Tis true, if their Parents or Masters impose any Terms, which they ought not to comply with ; they must obey God, whatever be the Consequence. But yet even then, when they must disobey or displease their Governors, this is to be done, upon plain and sure Grounds, and always with Modesty and Meek-, ness, and good Manners. The Reasons of their Refusal, their own just Vindication, their real Concern, for all such unhappy Occasions, are to be represented, in the softest, the humblest, the most respectful Expoftulations, that can possibly be thought of. Their Libertymust never be used for a Cloak of Maliciousness and Obstinacy, but as becomes the Servants of God. And, because His Servants, therefore they are not in a Condition to do any thing, which they know the Great and Common Master of all ManC4
1 Pet. ii. 16.
kind disallows. I say, which they know he disallows; For, in order to preserve their Innocence, they should be very industrious to get their Judgments inform’d aright, lest otherwise they be insnared with frivolous and unnecefiary Scruples, pretend Points of Conscience where there is no room for them, and decline that Obedience ignorantly, which they ought to pay, and to understand the Limits of it better. In order hereunto, they will do well, most earnestly to beg the Directions and Asistance of God's enlightning Spirit ; For, though all have need enough, yet They who are young, and in Circumstances of Subjection, unexperienced generally, unlearned too often, These are more especially concerned, to come to God, in the Language
of the Collect for this Day, begging, that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, aud also may have Grace and Power faithfully to fulfil the fame, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
The Second Sunday after the Epiphany.
The COLLECT. Lmighty and everlasting God, who doft govern all things in Heaven and Earth : Mercifully hear
the Supplications of thy People, and grantus thy Peace all the Days of our Life, through Jesus Chrift our Lord, Amer.
John xiv, 27.
The EPIST L E.
Rom. xii. 6. 6, 7, 8. The confe- Aving then gifts differing according to the grace quence of that Union
that is given to us; Wberber Prophecy, let and mutual relation
us prophefie according to the proportion of I mentioned between Faith. the Members of one 7. Or Ministry, let us wait on our ministring; or be Body, is plainly this, that trac”etb, on teaching : that every Man ought 8. Or bé thut exborterb, on exhortation : be tbat
givetha every Fellow - member
givetb, let bim do it with fimplicity; be tbat ruleth, to consider the Abili
witb diligence ; be that fewerb Mercy, with chear- lities God hath given fulness.
him, and the Poft he
hath called him to in the Church : And, without envying them that have more, and are placed above him, or despising them that have less, and are below him, make it his bufiness to discharge his own part diligently and conscientiously, and reft contentedly in that.
9. Let love be witbout Dissimulation. Abbor that 9. Let your Love to wbicb is evil, cleave so that which is good.
be, not in pretence and outward shew only, but hearty and fincere. But let Virtue and Duty be the measure and ground of it. And do not only avoid, but hate and deteft all Wickedness, and let no consideration ever reconcile you to it: Do not only practise, but delight and persevere in Goodness, and let nothing be able to draw you off from it.
10. Be kindly affeftioned one toward another in bro
10. Consider your tberly love ; in bonour preferring one another.
selves as Brethren, and
let your Tenderness and good Ofices be as becomes such : pay all due Regards to one another, which either the different Stations or Virtues of Men require ; and let your Humility be seen in acknowledging the good Qualities of your Brethren, and respecting them above your own.
11. Not Norbful in business, fervent in Spirit, fer- 11. Let your Diliving the Lord.
gence and Zeal in your
Duty be such, as becomes Men who are doing God service, and (as Times and Circumstances will allow) can never do too much for such a Master.
12. Rejoycing in bope, patient in tribulation, consi- 12. When Adictions muing inftant in Prayer.
or Perfecutions are up
on you, let the hope of a Reward keep you chearful : Endure what God sends with Contentedness and Resolution ; and persevere in your Requests for his Grace and Mercy, though you hould not, for some time, obtain what you ask.
13. Difributing to the necessity of Saints: given to 13. Extend your Chabospitality.
rity for the Relief of
your Fellow-Christians; and be very forward and eager in entertaining Strangers, particularly those, who ase forced to flee from their own home for Religion.
14. Bless ebem obat persecute you, bless and curse not. 14. Pray for your
Persecutors, and let not their bittereft Malice provoke you to any return of angry Imprecations.
15. Rejoyce with them that rejoyce, and weep with 15. Be so affectionatetbem tbat weep.
ly concerned for all
Chriftians, as both to have, and how, a fellow-feeling and tender resentment of all the good or cvil that happens to them, especially that of their Souls.