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shine of prosperity is gone : brethren do alınost forget that they are brethren, stand aloof, and are loath to own the afflicted.
Secondly, Reasons why David was a companion of all the saints.
Ist, Our relation enforceth it: all that are in the church are of one kindred and lineage, descending from one common father, animated by one spirit, and knit together in the profession of one common faith in Christ; and, therefore, must be companions one to another. As natural relation enforceth natural love, so Christian relation Christian love. To make this evident, let me tell you, men may be considered in a twofold respect, as men, or as Christians and believers; and so there is a twofold love due to them, áyánn and qiladeApia, charity and brotherly kindness (2 Peter i. 7). Our common neighbour bath the same nature that we have, and is of the same stock; for all come of one blood, besides our particular relation to them; either natural, by kindred, consanguinity, or affinity; or political, as members of the same kingdom, or other various respects of benefit, vicinity, or familiarity. As Christians and believers : this is common to all of them, that they have a spiritual kindred; as they are partakers of the same divine nature, or image of God (2 Peter i. 4), which they have from the same stock and original, Christ, the second Adam : “ The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit (1 Cor. xv. 45); and as they make but one family: “Of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named” (Eph. iii. 15). Only this difference there is between Christ and Adam : we derive our original from Adam by the succession of many intervening generations: we are not his immediate children, as Cain and Abel were; but every believer doth immediately derive his life from Christ, hath it at the next hand : and, besides this, there is an immediate communion, by which every believer is joined to one another. There are several particular respects which do vary the degree of Christian love, as men are public and private persons ; some in remote churches, others in the same congregation; some excel in grace, others of a lower rank ; some more, some less, useful in advancing the kingdom of Christ. Thus you see the parallel between both these loves: Christian charity supposeth natural love as the foundation of it; for grace is built upon nature; but also it sublimateth it, and raiseth it to a higher degree of excellency than nature could reach; for the light of the Gospel doth not abolish the light of nature, but perfecteth it, as the reasonable soul compriseth the vegetative and sensitive. We have other objects, see clearer arguments and reasons for love: “ As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. vi. 10); “ And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter i. 7).
2ndly, The new nature inclineth us to it; and this love floweth from an inward propension and cordial inclination, needing no other outward allure. ment and provocation to procure it: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of himn" (1 John v. 1). The same love that inclineth us to love God, inclineth us to love the brethren also: “ As touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you; for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another” (1 Thes, iv. 9). God's teaching is by effectual impression, or inclining the heart : it must needs be so, because all believers live in the communion of the same spirit. As some
philosophers say there is an anima munili, which holdeth all the parts of it together, so there is a spirit of communion which uniteth all the members of Christ's mystical body, and inclineth them one to another.
3rdly, Gratitude to Christ maketh us to prize all that belong to him, and to own them, and to be companions with them in all conditions : “ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us : and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John üi. 16–18); “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John iv. 11). God loved us greatly, sent his Son to die for us : now, how shall we express our thankfulness, but by a dear and tender love to those who are Christ's? As David, when Jonathan was dead, inquired, 'Is there none of Jonathan's posterity to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan's sake?' at length he found lame Mephibosheth; so is there none upon earth to whom we may show kind. ness for Christ's sake, who is now in Heaven? Yes, there are the saints. Now, these should be dear and precious to us; and we should be companions with them in all conditions.
4thly, Because of the profit and utility redounding. A true friend is valuable, though in secular matters; much more a spiritual friend. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (Prov. xxvii. 17). When a man is dull, his friend puts an edge upon him : he is a mighty support and stay to us: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. xvii. 17); “ The ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel” (Prov. xxvii. 9); and in some cases, he telleth us, a friend is better than a brother. Now, if an ordinary true friend be so valuable, what is a Christian friend? A holy, heavenly, faithful friend is one of the greatest treasures upon earth ; therefore, we should seek out such and associate with them.
USE.—Let us see, then, whom we make our companions : let us avoid evil company, lest we be detiled by them; and frequent good company, that we may be mutually comforted and quickened. “ I am a companion of all them that fear thee :" interpreters suppose it was spoken in opposition to “the bands of the wicked” mentioned verse 61 : if they unite, so should we. This, then, is our business, the rejecting of evil company, and the choice of good companions. To enforce this, take these considerations:
1. Friendship is necessary, because man is Gữov politikov, a sociable creature. Man was not made to live alone, but in company with others, and for mutual society and fellowship ; and they that fly all company and live to and by themselves, are counted inhuman: Eccl. iv. 9-12, there the benefit of society is set forth : “ Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For, if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but wo to him that is alone when he falleth ; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat ; but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him.” Thus far Solomon. The Egyptians, in their hieroglyphics, expressed the unprofitableness of a solitary man by a single millstone, which alone grindeth no meal, but with his fellow is very serviceable for that purpose. The Lord appointed mankind to lire in society, that they might be mutually helpful to one another: he never made them to live in deserts, as wild beasts love to go, alone; but the tame, in flocks and herds. The Lord hath given variety of gifts to the sons of men; to all some, but to none all; that one might stand in need of another, and make use of one another; and the subordination of one gift to another is the great instrument of upholding the world. Man is weak, and needeth society; for every man is insufficient to himself, and wants the help of others : and man is inclined by the bent of his nature, we have a certain desire, to dwell together and live in society.
2. Though man affects society, yet in our company we may use choice; and the good must converse with the good, for these reasons:
(1.) Because like will sort with like. Friendship is very much founded in suitableness, and maintained by it: idem velle et nolle, est amicitia. The godly will have special love to the godly, and they that fear God will be a companion of those that fear him: they are more dear and precious to them than others; as a wicked man easily smelleth out a fit companion: “When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers” (Psalm 1. 18). Like will to like; and therefore the godly should be dear and precious to one another. Every man's company wherein he delighteth, showeth what manner of man he is himself. The fowls of Heaven flock together according to their several kinds. Ye shall not see doves flocking with the ravens, nor divers kinds intermixed. Every man is known by his company. They that delight in drinking, love swilling and drunken companions; in gaming, love such as make no con. science of their time; in hunting, love such as are addicted to such exer. cises ; in arms, love men of a soldierly and military spirit; they that delight in books, love scholars, and persons of a philosophical breeding, That which every man is taken withal, he loveth to do it with his friend ; so certainly they that love and fear God, delight in those that love him and fear him; and their company is a refreshing to one another.
(2.) If they be not like, intimacy and converse will make them like. Every man is wrought upon by his company. We imitate those whom we love, and with whom we often converse: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed" (Prov. xii. 20). As a man that walketh in the sunshine is tanned insensibly, and as Moses's face shined by conversing with God, ere we are aware, we adopt their manners and customs, and get a tincture from them: so, “ Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul" (Prov. xxii. 24, 25). A man would think that, of all sins, wrath and anger should not be propagated by company, the motions and furies of it are so uncomely to a beholder; yet, secretly, a liking of the person breedeth a liking of his ways, and a man getteth such a frame of spirit as those have whom he hath chosen for his companions. This should be the more regarded by us, because we are sooner made evil by evil company, than good by good company: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Cor. xv. 33); evil words, or ouliai rakai, evil converses, corrupt good manners. We convey a disease to others, but not our health. Oh! how careful should we be of our friendship, that we may converse with such as may go before us as examples of piety, and provoke us by their strictness, heavenly-mindedness, mortification, and self-denial, to more love to God, zeal for his glory, and care of our salvation. Especially doth this concern the young, who, by their weakness of judgment, the vehemency of their affections, and want of experience, may be easily drawn into a snare.
(3.) Our love to God should put us upon loving his people, and making them our intimates; for religion influenceth all things, our relations, common employments, friendship, and converses. It is a smart question that of the Prophet, “ Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord ?" (2 Chron. xix. 2.) Surely a gracious heart cannot take them into his bosom: he loveth all with a love of good-will, as seeking their good; but not with a love of complacency, as delighting in them. Our neighbour must be loved as ourselves : our natural neighbour as our natural self, with a love of benevolence; and our spiritual neighbour as our spiritual self, with a love of complacency. In opposition to complacency, we may bate our sinful neighbour, as we must ourselves. “An unjust man is an abomination to the just" (Prov. xxix. 27.): the hatred of abomination is opposite to the love of complacency, odium inimicitiæ to amor benevolentiæ. So David saith, “Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Psalm cxxxix. 21, 22): I cannot cry up a confederacy with them; they that have a kindness for God, will be thus affected.
3. There is a threefold friendship, sinful, civil, and religious.
(1.) Sinful: when men agree in evil, as drunkards with drunkards, or robbers with robbers: “Cast in thy lot among us, let us all have one purse" (Prov. i. 14). When men conspire against the truth and interest of Christ in the world, or league themselves against his people, as Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek (Psalm lxxxiii. 3), divided in interests, but united in hatred; as Herod and Pilate against Christ. This is unitas contra unitatem, as Austin; or consortium factionis, a bond of iniquity, or confederacy in evil. Again,
(2.) There is civil friendship, built on natural pleasure and profit, when men converse together for trade, or other civil ends: thus men are at liberty to choose their company, as their interests and course of their employments lead them. The Apostle saith a man must go out of the world, if he should altogether abstain from the company of the wicked: “I wrote unto you in an epistle, not to company with fornicators; yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1 Cor. v. 9, 10). But,
(3.) There is religious friendship, which is built on virtue and grace, and is called the unity of the spirit: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. iv. 3). Now, this is the firmest bond of all. Sinful societies are soon dissolved: drunkards and profane fellows, though they seem to unite and hold together, yet upon every cross word they fall out and break; and civil friendship, which is built on pleasure and profit, cannot be so firm as that which is built on honesty and godliness. This is among the good and holy, who are not so changeable as the bad and carnal; and the ground of it is more lasting. This is amicitia per se, the other per accidens ; from constitution of soul and likeness of spirits. The good we seek may be possessed without envy, the frients do not straiten and entrench upon one another. Self-love and envy soon break our friendship; but these seek the good of another as much as their own, delight in the graces of one another.
4. In religious friendship, we owe a love to all that fear God: “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Acts iv. 32). Love is called oúvõequoc tñS TEMELÓTITOS, “ the bond of perfectness” (Col. ii. 14): all things are bound together by a holy society, and preserved by it. There is in love a desire of union and fellowship with those whom we love: “The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (1 Sam. xviii. 1); and the Apostle biddeth all Christians to be “knit together in love" (Col. ii. 2). Without this, they are as a besom unbound; they fall all to pieces.
5. Though there must be a friendship to all, yet some are to be chosen for our intimacy: our Lord Christ had “ Peter, James, and John" (Matt. xvii. 1): “He took with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee" (Matt. xxvi. 37). When he raised Jairus's daughter, “ he suffered no man to go in save Peter, and James, and John” (Luke viii. 51), ÉKMÉKTWV ŠKREKTórePoi. This may be because of suitableness, or special inclination, or their excellency of grace, sicut sc habet simpliciter ad simpliciter, ita magis ad magis.
6. Our converse with these must be improved to the use of edifying, to do one another good, by reproof, advice, counsel : “ Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him” (Lev. xix. 17). This is kindness to his soul. “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established” (Rom. i. 11).
SERMON LXXII. VERSE 64.—The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy
statutes. In this verse, I observe, 1. David's petition, “Teach me thy statutes."
2. The argument or consideration which encourageth him to ask it of God, “ The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy.” The sum and substance of this verse will be comprised in these five propositions :
I. That saving knowledge is a benefit that must be asked of God.
II. That this benefit cannot be too often or sufficiently enough asked : it is his continual request.
III. In asking, we are encouraged by the bounty or mercy of God.
V. That his goodness to all his creatures should confirm us in hoping for saving grace or spiritual good things.
PROPOSITION I.—That saving knowledge is a benefit that must be asked of God, for three reasons:
1. God is the proper author of it.
1. God is the proper author of it. The fountain of wisdom is not in man himself; but God giveth it to whom he pleaseth. We were at first endowed by him with a reasonable soul and faculty of understanding : “In