Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

vanced above theirs, in the person of our Saviour : yet they are not aggrieved at it ; but rejoice, and bless God, for his goodness to mankind! - It is divine, heavenly, and angelical, to take delight in the good of others. Certainly, we are not well settled in our judgments, as to this point of religion; which makes us so negligent in our duty. It is too much the practice of the world ; every man to be for himself, and to leave God to be for us all. We generally practise fo weakly and uncertainly in this matter ; as if we had not considered the obligation that christia. nity lays upon us to this duty. Whereas, it is absolutely and indispensibly necessary, that whosoever

profeffeth the faith of the gospel, should live in universal love and good-will. And, if any man find himself averse hereto, and hard to be satisfied, in case of offence, and provocation ; I will get further supperadd three great mischiefs that will follow upon it,

First, We do not at all express our participation of the goodness of God, in Christ,

Secondly, If we carry in our breasts, any ill-will, malice, or displeasure, against any one ; it is an argument that we ourselves are not forgiven of God. For, did we believe that we ourselves were forgiven of God, we should afford to do the like, and to fora give our brother.

Thirdly, By this means, we do unqualify and indispose ourselves for forgiveness, and to believe the pardon of our fins at the hand of God. For, that which the psalmist faith, Pf. 1. 21. Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself, proves often among men. And that which a man approves and allows

If a man

in himself, he will attribute and ascribe unto God. No ill-natured people think well of God. allow himself to live in ill-will, and to entertain difpleasure, and thoughts and purposes of revenge ; he will think that God, having all power, and being more offended by us, than we are by one another, will certainly be avenged of us. And, I will never believe that an ill-natured man, one chat lives in malice and displeasure, one that hath thoughts of revenge, and one that aggravates injuries, can think that God will pardon him. For, if we do believe that God hath pardoned us ; it will engage us to pardon one another.

And, further : let it be considered, that we, that are sometimes prejudiced by others, may at other times do a prejudice ourselves ; accidentally, if not defignedly. And, as we would defire that a man should either wholly forgive, or sit down with moderate satisfaction ; in like manner, should we deal with our brother that hath offended us. For, who is it that hath not at some time or other transgress'd and given an offence ? Therefore, let us not too long insist upon an injury, nor too long remember it. The noble philosopher faith, “'Tis a more generous " thing to overlook and take no notice of an injury, " than to pardon it.” And, if we would secure ourselves; it is best so to do ; for, if we seem to resent an injury, we make a person our enemy; whereas, if we overlook it, or turn it off, by a candid construction, we shall win and engage him, and he will think that we are better-natured than himself.

Nay,

Nay, further yet : by candid construētion, or by overlooking an injury, we shall frustrate the ill design of him that intended us ill. Such a man must think with himself, how base a thing it is, to design harm towards so innocent, fo harmless, and worthy a perfon, that will by his ingenuity, and candour, interpret an injury into a kindness. Whereas, if we be too quick in our resentment, we may make that an injury, which was none ; and so disturb ourselves when we might have been quiet. For, certainly, if a man consult his own ease, quiet and satisfaction, and will keep himself in a God-like frame and temper ; he will not live in malice, and ill-will, nor continue displeasure.

And thus I have done with this great argument, let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, &c. be put as way; and, be ye kind, one to another, tender-hearted; forgiving one another, even as God, for Chriff's fake, bath forgiven you

DIS.

DISCOURSE LXXXIII.

The excellence of a meek and quiet

fpirit.

I

I PET. iii. 4. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the fight of God, of great price. Have spent a great deal of time, in erecting a fair and beautiful fabrick ; a superstructure of love, and good-will; of christian charity. That I may not lose my labour, I now return, and look a little after the better settlement of the foundation. For this purpose I have made choice of these words. All depends upon a good frame and temper of mind ; a meek and quiet fpirit, which is in the light of God, of great price ; a thing, highly pleasing and acceptable unto him.

We find, it is in vain for any one, to attempt to purge the stream, unless he first cleanse the fountain. You must begin at the spring-head. The heart is the principle of action. Life begins there ; and motion is from thence. It is that which first lives, and last dies. Our Saviour tells us that what proceeds out of the mouth, comes from the heart, and so defiles. a man. For, from thence come evil thoughts, murders, blafphemies, &c. Mat. xv. 18. And Mat. v. 28. our Saviour tells us of the adultery of the heart, And Mat.

xii. 34. Out of the abundance of the heart, &c. And verse 35. A good man, out of the good treasury of his heart, bringeth forth good things, &c. Men shew their fpirits by their words and actions : and these are as they are meant, and intended.

The greatest performance in the life of man, is the government of his Spirit. So Prov. xxv. 28. Prov. xvi. 32. He that is pow to anger, is better than the mighty : and he that ruleth his own spirit, than he that taketh a city. He that doth subdue the motion of irregular passion, doth a greater matter than he who conquers nations, or beats down walls and bulwarks. Therefore give me the man, of whom I may fay; this is the person, who in - the true use of reason, the perfection of human « nature) who, in the practice, and exercise of virtue, (its accomplishment) hath brought himself “ into such a temper as is con-natural to those prin" ciples, and warranted thereby." Of all other men, I may fay, that they have neglected their chief business; and have forgot the great work that was in their hand ; and what ought chiefly to be done in the world. For, the greatest thing that lies upon every one to do, is the regulating of his own mind, and spirit. And he that hath not done this, hath been in the world to little purpose. For, this is the business of life; to inform our understandings, to refine our spirits ; and, then, to regulate the actions of our lives : to settle, I say, such a temper of mind, as is agreeable to the dictates of fober reason : and constituted by the graces of the divine spirit.

Now that I may give you an account of this in the text, this meek and quiet spirit ; I must do it, by looking into the state and operation of it. Through

« FöregåendeFortsätt »