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and Pharifees of the Benefit and Charity of his eating with Publicans and Sinners; and that the Freedom of his Converfation with them was rather a matter of Joy, than any. juft occafion of Offence..

This is the Scope and Defign of this Day's Gofpel; from which we may learn,


ift, The loft and undone Condition of Mankind in their natural and unregenerate State, whilft they continue in their Sins without Repentance: This is reprefented in the three Refemblances, of the loft Sheep, the loft Groat, and the loft Son; all which fet forth the Defperatenefs and Deplorableness of their Condition. The loft Sheep is never fafe or out of danger, till he be reftor'd again to the Flock: The loft Groat is of no ufe or value, till it be found and added to the other Treasure: The loft Son is in a helpless and remedilefs Condition without returning to his Father. And fuch are the miferable Circumftances of all straying and wandering Sinners; whilft they are addicted to Vice and Error, they are out of the way to all Happiness, and are going directly in the way to Hell and Destruction. If then they have any Senfe or Apprehenfion of their prefent Danger, or any Fears, as they well may, of worfe hereafter, let this awaken them out of their Security, and seriously confider their fad and defperate Condition. To which end we are here taught,

2dly, To ufe all poffible Means and Industry to get out of this miferable and forlorn Eftate; for this reafon the Shepherd fought his ftragling Sheep thro Defarts and Mountains, and could not reft till he found and brought them back to the Fold. The careful Woman lighted her Candle, fwept the House, and ceafed not her Search till fhe found the Piece that was miflaid. The loft Son could have no Eafe or Comfort till he went back again to his Father: even fo all wandering Sinners, that are gone out of the Way of God's Precepts and Protection, fhould ufe all poflible means to get in again, and never give themselves any Reft till they have found the Path of Life.

3dly, From the Joy that is in Heaven at the Converfion of Sinners, we may learn what Encouragement we have to the great Duty of Repentance; for hereby we not only promote our own Happiness, but in fome measure add to the Joy and Felicity of Heaven, by doing a thing fo delightful to God and his Holy Angels. Fulfil ye my Joy (faith


St. Paul to the Philippians, in being like-minded; Phil. 2. 2. How much more fhould we fulfil the Joy of the glori fy'd Spirits above, who are so zealously affected, and fo tenderly concern'd for our Happiness and Salvation?

Laftly, From our Saviour's Freedom of Converfation in the World, we may learn Humanity, Courtefy and Affability to Mankind. Nabal, for his Churlifhnefs, was ftil'd one of the Sons of Belial, and to bid others and off, come not nigh, for I am holier than thou, is rather the Language of a proud Pharifee, than the Guife of a good Chriftian. Our Bleffed Saviour fhew'd himself marvelously free and converfable with all forts of Men, in order to their Good; he fuffer'd the Publicans and Sinners to draw nigh to him, and to hear him, tho the Scribes and Pharifees blam'd this Familiarity: there was nothing auftere or fupercilious in him, but in the whole Course of his Life he was obliging and affable to all Men, and would have us learn that Leffon of him, to be meek and lowly in Heart, and that will keep us from defpifing any, and teach us to condefcend to all good Offices to one another; fo fhall we advance Peace, Goodwill and Happiness here on Earth, and add to the Joys and Hallelujahs of Heaven: Which God grant, for the Merits of Jefus Chrift. Amen.

Vol. IV. Part 2.




The EPISTLE for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity.

Rom. viii. 18-24.

I reckon that the Sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the Glory that fhall be revealed in us; for the earnest Expectation of the Creature waiteth for the Manifeftation of the Sons of God: for the Creature was made Jubject to Vanity, &c.


HE Collect for this Day teaches us to pray unto God, without whom nothing is ftrong, nothing is holy, to multiply upon us his Mercy, that he being our Ruler and Guide, we may fo pafs thro things temporal, that we finally lofe not the things eternal.

Now because nothing is fo apt to discourage and hinder us from feeking or attaining eternal good things, as the temporal Evils and Sufferings of this prefent Life; therefore the Epiftle for the Day heartens us under them, with the Expectation not only of a speedy Relief, but of an eternal Reward for them: for if we fuffer with Chrift (faith the foregoing Verfe) we shall also be glorify'd together. And then fetting them one against the other; I reckon (faith the Apoitle) that the Sufferings of this prefent time are not worthy to be compar'd with the Glory that jhall be reveal'd in us. Where we may obferve,

First, That Sufferings may and do befal the best Men here in this Life.

Secondly, That there is a future Glory that will be reveal'd in us to reward them.

Thirdly, That there is no Comparison between the one and the other.

First, I fay, That the best Men may and often do meet with Sufferings here in this Life. This is here plainly fuppos'd, for the Apoftle's reckoning the prefent Sufferings not fit to be compar'd with our future Glory, manifeftly implies, that he reckon'd upon them; and fo muft we too, while we live here, or elfe we fhall find our felves much out in our Reckoning: for this World is the Scene of Mifery and Trouble, and no Vertue or Goodness, how great foever, can exempt us from them; yea, fometimes the greater it is, the more it expofes to Envy and Trouble. Job, the richeft and beft Man in the Eaft, had a large fhare of them: David, a Man after God's own Heart, was more than ordinarily exercis'd with them: yea, the Son of God himself, the great Example of all Holiness and Vertue, could not have this bitter Cup pafs from him, and many of his Followers and Difciples have ever fince drank deep of the fame; which made the Apostle fay, All that will live godly in Chrift Jefus muft fuffer Perfecution. The Way to Heaven is not ftrew'd with Rofes, but befet with Thorns, and we are thro many Tribulations to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the Way that all the Saints and Martyrs have gone before us; they endur'd the Cross before they obtain'd the Crown, and 'twill be in vain for us to hope to arrive at it any other way.

Sufferings then must be reckon'd upon here in this Life; which are fent to us, to keep us humble, to try our Patience and Conftancy, to wean us from this World, and to prepare us for a better. And this will lead us,

Secondly, To the next thing fuppos'd or taken for granted in these words; to wit, That there is a future Glory referv'd as a Reward for our present Sufferings: for the Apoftle's mentioning here a Glory to be reveal'd in us to crown our prefent Sufferings, plainly fuppofeth the Truth of both; and that as we now feel the one, we fhall e'er long receive the other. This future Glory is exprefs'd in Scripture, fometimes by a Kingdom, fometimes by a Crown of Righteoufnefs, fometimes by an Inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, referved in Heaven for us: Which Happiness was only guefs'd at by the wifest Heathens, who from the Afflictions of good Men, and the Profperity of bad, concluded that there will be another Life, in which these things will be fet right, when Vice fhall re

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ceive its just Punishment, and Vertue its due Recompence of Reward.

But what they learn'd only by the faint Conjectures of natural Reason, we are better affur'd of by the clearer Difcoveries of Divine Revelation; Life and Immortality being brought to light unto us by the Gospel where we read the Words of eternal Life, and have a full Affurance of a bleffed Immortality.

'Twas this that fupported the Saints and Martyrs in all Ages under all their Sufferings, of whom we read, that they had an eye to this Recompence of Reward. Thofe famous Worthies, mention'd in the 11th Chapter to the Hebrews, did and fuffer'd the great things there rehears'd, by the Strength of their Faith, and the Hopes of Glory : Yea, our Bleffed Saviour himself is faid to have endur'd the Crofs for the Glory that was fet before him; Heb. 12. 2.

In short, Afflictions must be counted upon, and provided for whilft we are here, being not only expedient, but neceffary for many great and wife Ends; which if they attain, we may comfortably expect a happy and fpeedy Deliverance from them, and that they will fhortly end in unfpeakable Blifs and Glory: both which things are here plainly fuppos'd and taken for granted.

But is this future Glory a fufficient Ballance and Compenfation for the prefent Sufferings we here endure in hopes of it? Yes, and vaftly greater; for fo the Apoftle, in the

Third place, exprefly tells us; I reckon (faith he) that the Sufferings of this prefent time are not worthy to be compar'd with the Glory that shall be reveal'd in us. If they be put in the Ballance together, the former will be fo far outweigh'd by the latter, that there is indeed no Comparison to be made between them. For the fame Apostle elsewhere tells us, that thefe light Afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal Weight of Glory; 2 Cor. 4. 17. where the Apoftle, confidering these things together, obferves a vaft Difference and Disproportion between them; and that chiefly in these two things: It, In the Weight; they are but light Afflictions, but an exceeding Weight of Glory.

2dly, In the Duration; the Afflictions are but for a moment, but 'tis an eternal Weight of Glory. And what Comparison can there be between the Lightness of a Feather, and the Weight of a heavy and ponderous Body?


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