Images de page


Service and Subjection of the Heart: and therefore our Saviour adds, that 'tis the doing the Will of our Father in Heaven, that can alone bring us there. 'Tis a fincere, entire, and univerfal Obedience to God's Laws, that only intitles to the Kingdom of Heaven, without which neither Paftor nor People by any other Methods or Pretences fhall ever arrive thither.

Thus we fee who are the falfe Prophets or Teachers we are bid to beware of, what is the Manner and End of their coming, together with the Marks and Tokens to difcover or difcern them by.

It remains only to exhort you to use your greatest Caution and Circumfpection in this weighty Affair. Both Chrift and his Apoftles tell us, that many falfe Prophets are gone out into the World, and that they use all poffible Arts and Devices to impofe upon and deceive the People: 'tis therefore feasonable Advice, to watch and guard your felves against their Delufions. Remember that 'tis both eafy and dangerous to be deceiv'd by them; the SheepsClothing they put on makes it eafy, and the ravening Wolf that lies under it makes it dangerous. The Sheep, you know, may be easily betray'd, if the Wolf come in the habit and difguife of a Sheep: and 'tis no hard matter for the unthinking Vulgar to be impos'd upon, when the Seducer comes in the Appearance of a Saint. A plaufible Show of Zeal, a loud Cry of Reformation, of greater Purity of Worship, of better Means of Edification, and the like, have cheated, many into Schifm and Sedition. When these Impoftors have infinuated themselves into the Efteem and Affections of the People, and brought them to a fond Admiration of their Perfons, they then lead them where they pleafe, by an implicit Faith and blind Obedience; and the People become ready to receive and fwallow whatever they prepare for them."

And as the Deceit is eafy, fo is it exceeding dangerous; for falfe Teachers are faid in Scripture to have the Windings and Doublings of the Serpent, the Subtlety of the Fox, and the Rapacity of the Wolf, from all which there cannot but be great danger to the Flock of Chrift: which fhould make them take heed of wandring from the Fold, but keep together, as Sheep are wont to do, when any Danger feems to threaten or annoy them.


Laftly, From the Rule here given to know falfe Teachers by their Fruits, let us learn to bring their Doctrines and Practices to this Teft, and fee whether they tend to promote the Fruits of the Spirit, which are Love, Joy, Peace, Long-fuffering, Meeknefs, Patience, and the like; or whether they lead to the Works of the Flesh, which are Wrath, Strife, Hatred, Variance, Herefies and Divisions; and accordingly receive or reject them: fo fhall we avoid the Ways of Error and Diffenfion, and be kept in the Paths of Peace and Truth, which lead to eternal Life; to which God of his infinite Mercy bring us all, for the Merits of Jefus Chrift.



The EPISTLE for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity.

I Cor. x. I-14.

Brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our Fathers were under the Cloud, and all paffed through the Sea, and were all baptized unto Mofes, in the Cloud and in the Sea, and did all eat the fame Spiritual Meat, and did all drink the fame Spiritual Drink, &c. But with many of them God was not well pleased, &c.


HE Collect for this Day befeeches God to grant to us the Spirit, to think and do always fuch things as be rightful; that we who cannot do any thing that is good without him, may by him be enabled to live according to his Will. Accordingly,

The Epiftle for the Day teaches us to think aright concerning the Church, both under the Law and under the Gofpel; and likewife to do aright by the Directions of it under both Difpenfations.. And becaufe of our felves we can neither think or do as God would have us, we are to


implore the Affiftance of his Holy Spirit, to enable us to please him in both. Left Chriftians now fhould boast of higher and greater Privileges than the Jews had of old, and fo be exalted above measure by the Abundance of the GofpelRevelations; the Apostle tells them, that the Ifraelites of old were the People of God as well as we, and had the like Favours and miraculous Works vouchfafed to them under the Law, as are now afforded to us under the Gospel : and as they were punish'd for their Ingratitude and Abuse of God's Mercies, fo we may not hope to go unpunifh'd, if we run into the like Enormities.

This is the Drift of this Day's Epiftle, where the Apoftle, in the first Verfe, would not have us ignorant, how that all our Fathers were under the Cloud, and all paffed through the Sea. By our Fathers here are meant the antient I raelites, to whom we fucceed in the Covenant made with them, and in the Title of his Church. By these Fathers being under the Cloud, is meant their being under the particular Care and Conduct of the Divine Providence; that they had the Favour of a Cloud to overfhadow them, to keep them from the Scorchings of the Sun, and the Injuries of the Weather. The Expreffion refers to what is faid of the Ifraelites in their Paffage thro the Wilderness, viz. that God went before them by day in a Pillar of a Cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a Pillar of Fire, to give them Light to go by day and night; Exod. 13. 21. And the fame is affirm'd by the Pfalmift, Pfal. 78. 14. Where by the Pillar of a Cloud and of Fire, we are not to underftand any folid Body of a Pillar moving and leading the way before them, but of a hollow and luminous Body shining and hovering over their Heads like a Dove, at once directing and overfhadowing of them: to which the Pfalmift refers, faying, Under the shadow of thy Wings will I rejoice, and thou shalt hide me under the fhadow of thy Wings. So that the Expreffion here fignifies God Almighty's great Care in protecting and preferving the Ifraelites from all Dangers.

This the Apostle would have these Corinthians and all Chriftians to know concerning them; and likewife that they all paffed thro the Sea, meaning, that they went safe through the Red Sea, the Waters ftanding like a Wall on each fide to give them a fecure Paffage; which Pharaoh and his Hoft, who were then purfuing them, attempting to do, were overwhelm'd and drown'd in the Waters.

This the Apostle ftiles a fort of baptizing of them into the Belief of Mofes's Doctrine, in the next words; And were all baptized unto Mofes in the Cloud and in the Sea: meaning, that that Cloud and that Paffage thro the Red Sea, which were used as a means to confirm the Ministry of Mofes, was a Type of Baptifm; fignifying, that as the Ifraelites of old being faved from and by Water, were converted to the Belief of the Doctrine deliver'd by Mofes, fo we being born again of Water and the Holy Gholt, are thereby initiated and confirm'd in the Doctrine deliver'd by Chrift. To which 'tis added, in the next Verfe, that they did all eat the fame Spiritual Meat: meaning, that the Manna which fell down from Heaven, and was fed upon by the Ifraelites in the Wilderness, was a Type of the holy Sacrament inftituted by Chrift in the Gofpel; and their feeding on the former convey'd to them the fame fpiritual and heavenly Nourishment, that we now receive by the latter: for which reafon they are here faid to eat the fame Spiritual Meat.

And as the next words tell us, They did all drink of the fame Spiritual Drink, for they drank of that Spiritual Rock that follow'd them, and that Rock was Chrift: that is, as the Manna that was rain'd down on the Ifraelites in the Wildernefs afforded them fpiritual Meat, reprefenting the fpiritual Food we receive in the Lord's Supper, fo the Wa ter that iffu'd out of the Rock upon Mofes's fmiting of it, of which we read, Exod. 17. 6. afforded them fpiritual Drink; typifying the Blood of Chrift, which we drink in the Holy Sacrament. And this Rock is here faid to follow them, which cannot be meant of the Rock it felf, which was a fix'd unmovable Body, but of the Water that flow'd out of the Rock, and follow'd the Ifraelites many Years in their Journeying in the Wilderness: for in all their Change of Stations for almoft thirty eight Years, we never read of any want of Water, tho they travel'd all that while in a dry unwater'd Wilderness; of which no other reason can be given, but that the Water of the Rock like a River ran after them, and (as 'tis here affirm'd) follow'd them. And that this Water was fpiritual or facramental Drink, appears by the next words; And this Rock was Chrift: not materially, but fpiritually, for as the Sign is often put for the thing fignify'd by it, fo the Rock here is call'd Chrift, who is meant and fignify'd by it. The Refemblance whereof lies chiefly in these two things:

Ift, As

ift, As the Rock yielded no Water before it was fmitten with the Rod of Mofes, fo was Chrift fmitten upon the Crofs, and his Side pierc'd with a Spear, before there iffued from him that fovereign Stream of Water and Blood, of which he who drinketh fhall never thirst more. Again,

zdly, As this Rock yielded Water not only at the Place where it was broach'd, but follow'd the Ifraelites in all their Stations in the Wilderness; fo that Water which gufh'd from our Saviour's Side, ferv'd not only those that were prefent at his Sufferings, but hath follow'd Chrif tians from the Day of his Paffion to this Hour.

But how are the Ifraelites faid to eat the fame fpiritual Meat, and to drink the fame fpiritual Drink with us? Why, 'tis the fame, tho not in Sign, yet in Substance and Signifi cation unto both for they are Seals of the fame Čovenant, they reprefent the fame Sacraments, and convey the fame Promifes, Bleffings, and Graces to both.

So far the Apostle fets forth the many and great Privileges, which the People of the Jews enjoy'd in common with us. They had the fame Sacraments, tho reprefented by different Signs and Symbols, by their Manna in the Wilderness, and the Pafchal Lamb in the Paffover: They did eat the fame fpiritual Meat with us; and by the Water flowing out of the Rock, they drank the fame fpiritual Drink with us in the Holy Communion. And by both they had the fame Graces and Favours vouchfaf'd to them, tho couch'd and fhadow'd out to them in temporal Bleffings and Promifes. And this is what the Apoftle would have us know, or not be ignorant of, left we should think too highly of our felves, or too meanly of them.


But how did thefe Ifraelites ufe thefe fignal Favours and Bleffings? And what follow'd thereupon? Why, that the next words tell us: With many of them God was not wellpleas'd; for they were overthrown in the Wilderness. which it appears, that many of them made a very bad Ufe of thofe great Bleffings, and abus'd the Mercies of God to very evil Purpofes; as we fhall fee after. The fad Condition of thofe Perfons is here fet forth by two Expreffions:

(1.) That God was not well-pleas'd with them. And, (2.) That they were overthrown in the Wilderness. Both which fhew us the wretched and loft Condition of all unworthy Receivers of thefe Holy Myfteries.

(1.) The Mifery of their Condition is here fet forth by God's not being well-pleas'd with them, which Phrase implies

« PrécédentContinuer »