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the things to be believed; the duties to be practifed by us; and the arguments and encouragements to the practice of thofe duties. Now, I fhall briefly fhew, that the defign of every part, both of the difpenfation and doctrine of the gospel, is to reform the minds and manners of men, and to engage them to the practice of all virtue and goodnefs. And,

I. For the difpenfation of the gofpel, by which I mean the gracious method which the wifdom of God hath pitched upon for the falvation and recovery of mankind, by fending his only begotten Son into the world, in our nature, to live among us, and to die for us. So that the principal parts of this difpenfation are thefe three:

I. His incarnation, or appearing in our nature. 2. His life.

3. His death and fufferings for us. And I fhall fhew that the great defign of all this was to reform mankind, and make them better.

1. For his incarnation. The great defign of his coming into the world, and appearing in our nature, was this; and this was the reafon of the name Jefus, given him at his birth, as the angel tells us, Mat. i. 21. His name fhall be called Fefus, for he hail fave his people from their fins. Matth. ix. 13. he himself tells us, that he came to call finners to repentance; that is, to reclaim them to a better and more virtuous course of life;

and chap. xviii. 11. The Son of man is come to fave that which was loft, that is, to recover mankind from a ftate of fin and mifery, to a state of holiness and happinefs. And St. Peter, exhorting the Jews to repentance, ufeth this argument, that for this very end God fent him among them, Acts iii. 26. Unto you firft God fent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquity. Heb. ix. 26. But now once in the end of the world he hath appeared to abolish sin, that is, to destroy both the guilt and power of fin. 1 John iii. 5. re know that he was manifefted to take away our fins. And ver. 8. For this purpose the Son of God was manifefted to deftroy the works of the devil.

2. This likewife was the great defign of his life, of his dwelling and converfing with us fo long, to teach us by

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his doctrine in all holiness and virtue, and to give us the perfect pattern and example of it in his life. For his doctrine, I have fpoke of that by itfelf: but befides that, one principal end of his living among us, was, that in the courfe of his life, and all the actions of it, he might give us a perfect and familiar example of all holinefs and virtue, and therefore we are commanded to take him for our great pattern. Learn of me, faith he, for I am meek and lowly of fpirit, Matth. xi. 29. John xiii. 15. after that great inftance of his humility, in washing his difciples feet, he adds, For I have given you an example, that ye fhould do as I have done to you.

3. This alfo was the great defign of his death and fufferings. So the Apostles every where teach: Gal. i. 4. fpeaking of Chrift, Who gave himself for our fins, that he might deliver us from this prefent evil world, that is, that he might refcue us from the vitious cuftoms and practices of the world. 1 Pet i. 18. Forafmuch as ye know, that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as filver and gold, from your vain converfation; but with the pretious blood of Chrift, as of a lamb without blemish and without fpot. The death and fufferings of Chrift did not only make expiation for our fins, but are proposed to us as a pattern of mortification to fin, and refurrection to a new life, and a most powerful argument thereto. Rom. vi. 1. 2. 3. &c. and 2 Cor. v. 14. 15. fpeaking of the love of Chrift in laying down his life for us, For the love of Chrift, faith he, conftraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them. From whence he infers, ver. 17. Therefore if any man be in Chrift, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And, ver. 21. For he hath made him to be fin for us, who knew no fin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; that is, he hath made him who was without fin, a facrifice for our fins, which fhould be a strong motive and argument to us, to endeavour after the righteousness of God.

II. As the whole difpenfation of the gospel tends to this end, fo more particularly does the doctrine of the


gofpel, and every part of it. Now the whole doctrine of the gospel may be referred to thefe three heads : 1. The things to be believed by us.

2. The duties to be practifed. And,

3. The arguments and encouragements to the practice of thefe duties. And all these have a moft direct and proper tendency to reform mankind, and effectually to engage us to the practice of holiness and virtue.

1. The matters of faith propofed in the gospel have a direct tendency to a good life, and immediate influence upon it. All the articles of our creed, and whatever the Christian religion proposeth to our belief concerning God the Father, the Creator and Governor of all things; and concerning Jefus Chrift our Lord and Saviour; and concerning the Holy Spirit of grace; the catholick church; the communion of faints; the refurrection of the dead, and everlasting life after death: all and each of thefe are fo many arguments and reafons, motives and encouragements to a good life. In general, our hearts are faid to be purified by faith, A&ts xv. 9. 1 Tim. i. 5. Faith is there reckoned among the princi pal fources and fountains of a good life: The end of the commandment, (the word is apaferías) the end of the gofpel declaration is charity, out of a pure heart, and a good confcience, and of faith unfeigned. So that a fincere faith is the great principle of charity, which is the fulfilling of the law, and comprehends in it the duties of both tables. And here I might particularly fhew, what influence the feveral articles of the Chriftian faith have upon the practice of holiness and virtue in our lives; but this would be too large a field of difcourfe; and the thing is very plain and obvious to every man's confideration; and therefore I fhall content myfelf with what I have faid in general concerning the influence of faith upon a good life.

2. The duties enjoined by the Chriftian religion do likewife tend more immediately to the fame end and defign; I mean the laws and precepts of the gospel, which are nothing elfe but fo many rules of good life, and in the main fubftance of them are the laws of nature cleared and perfected. For Chrift came not to deftroy the law, which was in force before; but to explain

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and clear it, where, through the corruption and degeneracy of mankind, it was grown obfcure and doubtful, and to perfect it by fuperadding fome rules and precepts of greater goodness and perfection, than feem to have been enjoined by it: as to abftain from all kind of revenge, to love our enemies, and not only to be ready to forgive them the greatest injuries they have done us, but to do them the greatest good, and even to be perfectly reconciled to them after the highest provocations, when ever they are in a meet capacity and difpofition for it. So that the precepts of the Chriftian religion are a plain and perfect rule of all virtue and goodnefs, and the best and most abfolute fyftem of moral philofophy that ever was in the world, containing all the rules of virtue and a good life, which are fcattered and difperfed in the writings of the philofophers, and the wife men of all ages, and delivering them to us with greater clearness and certainty; in a more fimple and unaffected manner, with greater authority, force and efficacy upon their minds, than any philofopher and lawgiver ever did; teaching us how to worship God in the beft manner, and most fuitable to his nature and perfetions; how to demean ourselves towards others with all meeknefs and humility, juftice and integrity, kindnefs and charity; and how to govern ourselves and our own unruly appetites and paffions, and to bring them within the bounds of reafon, much better than any law or institution that ever was in the world; and all these duties and virtues ftrictly commanded and enjoined in the name and authority of God, by one evidently empowered and commiffioned by him, and fent from heaven on purpose to inftruct us in the nature and practice of them. So that the doctrine of the gospel, in refpect of the laws and precepts of it, is a plain and perfect rule of a good life. And then,

3. The Chriftian religion contains the most powerful arguments and encouragements to this purpofe : and thefe are the threatenings and promifes of the gofpel.

(1.) The terrible threatenings of eternal mifery and punishments to all the workers of iniquity, and wilful and impenitent tranfgreffors of thefe laws. And this is an argument which taketh the fastest and fureft hold


upon hnman nature, and will many times move and affect, when no other confiderations will work upon us. Many men that could not be wrought upon by the love of God and goodness, nor by the hopes of everlasting happiness, have been affrighted and reclaimed from an evil course by the fear of hell and damnation, and the awe of a judgment to come. To think of lying under the terrible wrath and difpleasure of almighty God to eternal ages, of being extremely and for ever miferable without intermiffion and without end, muft needs be a very difinal confideration to any man that can think and confider: For who knows the power of God's anger? who can dwell with everlasting burnings? And yet to this horrible danger, to this intolerable mifery, do all the workers of iniquity, every one that lives in the wilful contempt and difobedience of the laws of the gofpel, expofe themselves; and this as exprefly revealed and declared to us, as it is poffible for words to declare any thing. Matth. xiii. 40. 41. 42. So fhall it be in the end of the world. The Son of Man fhall fend forth his angels, and they fhall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and fall caft them into a furnace of fire; there fhall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matth. xxv. 41. there you have the very fentence recorded, which fhall be pronounced upon finners at the great day; Then fhall the King fay to them on his left hand, that is, to the wicked, depart, ye curfed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And ver. 46. Thefe fhall go into everlasting punishment. And this is that which St. Paul tells us, renders the doctrine of the gofpel fo powerful for the converfion and falvation of finners, Rom. i. 16. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God to falvation, to every one that believeth. And ver. 18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungod linefs and unrighteousness of men. And chap. ii. 8. 9. To them that obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguifh, upon every foul of man that doth evil. Ephef. v. 6. Let no man deceive you with vain words, for because of thefe things, viz. the fins he had mentioned before, cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 2 Thef. i. 7.

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