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and the like cases, let every man who is concerned deal with justice, nobleness, and sincerity, with the simplicity of a Christian, and the wisdom of a man; without tricks and stratagems, to disadvantage the church by doing temporal advantages to his friend or family.
3. The blessed Master began his office with a sermon of repentance, as his decessor, John the Baptist, did in his ministration ; to tell the world that the new covenant, which was to be established by the mediation and office of the holy Jesus, was a covenant of grace and favour, not established upon works, but upon promises, and remission of right on God's part, and remission of sins on our part. The law was a covenant of works; and whoever prevaricated any of its sanctions in a considerable degree, he stood sentenced by it without any hopes of restitution supplied by the law. And therefore it was the covenant of works, not because good works were then required more than now, or because they had more efficacy than now; but because all our hopes did rely upon the perfection of works and innocence, without the suppletories of grace, pardon, and repentance. But the gospel is therefore a covenant of grace, not that works are excluded from our duty, or from co-operating to heaven, but that, because there is in it so much mercy, the imperfections of the works are made up
grace of Jesus, and the defects of innocence are supplied by the substitution of repentance. Abatements are made for the infirmities and miseries of humanity; and if we do our endeavour now, after the manner of men, the faith of Jesus Christ, that is, conformity to his laws, and submission to his doctrine, entitles us to the grace he hath pur
chased for us; that is, our sins for his sake shall be pardoned. So that the law and the gospel are not opposed barely upon the title of faith and works, but as the covenant of faith and the covenant of works. In the faith of a Christian works are the great ingredient and the chief of the constitution; but the gospel is not a covenant of works; that is, it is not an agreement upon the stock of innocence without allowances of repentance, requiring obedience in rigour and strictest estimate. But the gospel requires the holiness of a Christian, and yet after the manner of a man : for, always provided that we do not allow to ourselves a liberty, but endeavour with all our strength, and love with all our soul, that which, if it were upon our allowance, would be required at our hands, now that it is against our will, and highly contested against, is put upon the stock of Christ, and allowed to us by God in the accounts of pardon by the merits of Jesus, by the covenant of the gospel. And this is the repentance and remission of sins which John first preached upon the approximation of the kingdom, and Christ at the first manifestation of it, and the apostles afterward in the name of Jesus.
4. Jesus now having begun his preaching, began also to gather his family; and first called Simon and Andrew, then James and John; at whose vocation he wrought a miracle, which was a signification of their office, and the success of it; a draught of fishes so great and prodigious, that it convinced them that he was a person very extraordinary, whose voice the fishes heard, and came at his call : and since he designed them to become fishers of men, although themselves were as unlikely instruments to persuade men as the voice of the Son of man to command fishes, yet they should prevail in so great numbers, that the whole world should run after them, and upon their summons come into the net of the gospel, becoming disciples of the glorious Nazarene. St. Peter, the first time that he threw his net, at the descent of the Holy Ghost in Pentecost, catched three thousand men; and at one sermon sometimes the princes of a nation have been converted, and the whole land presently baptized; and the multitudes so great, that the apostles were forced to design some men to the ministration of baptism, by way of peculiar office; and it grew to be work enough, the easiness of the ministry being made busy and full of employment where a whole nation became disciples. And indeed the doctrine is so holy, the principle so divine, the instruments so supernatural, the promises so glorious, the revelation so admirable, the rites so mysterious, the whole fabric of the discipline so full of wisdom, persuasion, and energy, that the infinite numbers of the first conversions were not so great a wonder, as that there are so few now: every man calling himself Christian, but few having that power of godliness which distinguishes Christian from a word and an empty name. And the word is now the same, and the arguments greater, (for some have been growing ever since, as the prophecies have been fulfilled,) and the sermons more, and the spirit the same; and yet such diversity of operations, that we hear and read the sermons and dictates evangelical, as we do a romance, but that it is with less passion, but altogether as much unconcerned as. with a story of Salmanasar or Ibrahim Bassa. For we do not leave one vice, nor reject one lust, nor deny one impetuous temptation the more for the four gospels' sake, and all St. Paul's epistles mingled in the argument. And yet all think themselves fishes within Christ's net, and the prey of the gospel. And it is true they are so; for the kingdom is like unto a net, which inclosed fishes good and bad :' but this shall be of small advantage, when the net shall be drawn to the shore, and the separation made.
5. When Jesus called those disciples, they had been fishing all night and caught nothing;' but when Christ bade them ‘let down the net,' they took multitudes : to show to us that the success of our endeavours is not in proportion to our labours, but the divine assistance and benediction. It is not the excellency of the instrument, but the capacity of the subject, nor yet this alone, but the aptness of the application, nor that without an influence from heaven, can produce the fruits of a holy persuasion and conversion. · Paul may plant, and Apollos may water; but God gives the increase.' Indeed, when we let down the nets at the divine appointment, the success is the more probable, and certainly God will bring benefit to the place, or honour to himself, or salvation to them that will obey, or conviction to them that will not : but whatever the fruit be in respect of others, the reward shall be great to themselves. And therefore St. Paul did not say he had profited, but, ‘he had laboured more than they all, as knowing the divine acceptance would take its account in proportion to our endeavours and intendments ; not by commensuration to the effect, which being without us, depending upon God's blessing and the co-operation of the recipients, can be no ingredient into
our account. But this also may help to support the weariness of our hopes, and the protraction and deferring of our expectation, if a laborious prelate and an assiduous preacher bave but few returns to his many cares and greater labours. A whole night a man may labour, (the longest life is no other,) and yet catch nothing; and then the Lord may visit us with his special presence, and more forward assistance, and the harvest may grow up with the swiftness of a gourd, and the fruitfulness of olives, and the plaisance of the vine, and the strength of wheat ; and whole troops of penitents may arise from the darkness of their graves at the call of one sermon, even when he pleases : and till then we must be content that we do our duty, and lay the consideration of the effect at the feet of Jesus.
6. In the days of the patriarchs, the governors of the Lord's people were called shepherds ; so was Moses, and so was David. In the days of the gospel they are shepherds still, but with the addition of a new appellative, for now they are called fishers. Both the callings were honest, humble and laborious, watchful and full of trouble ; but now that both the titles are conjunct, we may observe the symbol of an implicit and folded duty. There is much simplicity and care in the shepherd's trade; there is much craft and labour in the fisher's : and a prelate is to be both full of piety to bis flock, and careful of their welfare; and, because in the political and spiritual sense too, feeding and governing are the same duty, it concerns them that have cure of souls to be discreet and wary, observant of advantages, laying such baits for the people as may entice them into the