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Eafiness of Religion.
MATT, xi. 29, 30.
for I am meek and lowly in beart; and
UR blessed Saviour came to break
off from our necks two great
yokes; the one, of fin, by which we were fettered and imprisoned in the condition of Naves and miserable persons ; the other of Moses' law, by which we were kept in pupilage and a state of imperfection ; and asserted us into the glorious liberty of the sons of God,
The empire of fin was the government of a tyrant: the discipline of Moses' law was as that of a schoolmaster, it was strict and severe, but in order to a farther good,
yet nothing pleasant in the sufferance and load.
And now Christ, having taken off these two, hath put on a third. He quits us of our burden, but not of our duty; and hath changed the former tyranny, and the less perfect difcipline, into the sweetness of paternal government, and the excellency of such an institution, whose every precept carries. part of its reward in hand, and assurances of after glories...
Moses' law was like sharp and unpleafant phyfick, certainly painful, but' uncertainly healthful. For it was not then communicated to them by promise and universal revelations, that the end of their obedience should be life eternal; but they were full of hopes it might be fo, as we are of health when we have a learned and wisc physician. · But as yet the reward was in a cloud, and the hopes in fetters and confinement. But the law of Christ is like Christ's healing of diseases; he doth it easily, and he doth it infallibly. The event is certainly consequent, and the manner of cure is by a touch of his hand,
or a word of his mouth, without pain and vexatious instruments. That is to say, Christianity, by the affıstance of Christ's fpirit, which he promised and gave to us in the gospel, is made very easy to us; and yet a reward so great is promised, as would be enough to make us endure the greatest burden; a reward fo excellent, as to make us willing to do vivlence to all our inclinations and affections. The holy Spirit is given to enable us, and heaven is promised to encourage us; the one makes us able, and the other makes us willing: and when we have power and affections, we cannot complain of pressure.
And this is the meaning of our blessed Saviour's invitation : Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Which St. John also observed : This is the love of God, says he, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous: For what. Joever is born of God, overcometh the world; and this is the vi&tory that over
cometh the world, even our faith ; that is, our belief of God's promises, the promise of the Spirit for present aid, and of heaven for the future reward, is strength enough to overcome all the world..
But besides that God hath made his yoke easy by exterior supports, more than ever was in any other religion ; Christianity is of itself, according to human estimate, a religion more easy and desirable by our natural and reasonable appetites, than sin in the midst of all its pleasures and imaginary felicities. Virtue hath more pleasure in it than fin, and hath all fatisfactions to every desire of man, in order to reasonable and prudent ends. Which I shall represent in the confideration of these partiçulars : :
I. I propose to thew, That to live according to the laws of Christ, is in some things the most natural to us.
II. That it is most reasonable.
III. That there is in it less trouble than in fin, And,
IV. That it conduceth infinitely to the content and satisfaction of our lives.
AND all this, besides the consideration of a glorious and happy eternity.
I. To live according to the laws of Christ, is, in some things the most natural to us. We do very ill, when instead of making our natural infirmity an instrument of humility, and of recourse to the grace of God, we pretend the fame as an excuse for our sins. The evils that we feel in this respect, are from the rebellion of our appetite against reason, or against any religion that puts restraint upon qur desires. And therefore in carnal and Sensual instances, accidentally we find the more natural averseness, because God's laws have put our faculties in fetters and restraints; yet in matters of duty, which are of spiritual concernment, all our natural reason is a perfect enemy and contradiction to vice. . · It is natural for us to love our parents; and they who do not, are unnatural: they do violence to those dispositions, which