網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

CLVII.

SERM. the Lord did this and that, stirred up such an ene-
ta

my, brought such a judgment. And we shall find
that holy men in scripture make excellent use of this
consideration, to argue themselves into patience and
contentedness in every condition. So Eli, 1 Sam.
iii. 18. “ It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth
“ him good.” So Job, he did not so consider the
Sabeans and Chaldeans, who had carried away his
oxen and his camels, and sain his servants; nor the
wind which had thrown down his house, and killed
his sons and his daughters; but he looks up to
God, the great governor and disposer of all these
events;

“ The Lord giveth, and the Lord hath
<< taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD.”
So David, Pfal. xxxix. 9. “I was dumb, and spake
“ not a word, because thou LORD didst it.” So
our blessed Saviour, when he was ready to suffer,
he did not consider the malice of the Jews, which
was the cause of his death, but looks to a higher

“ the cup which my father gives me to is drink,. shall not I drink it ?”

He that looks upon all things as coming from second causes, and does not eye the first cause, the good and wife governor, will be apt to take offence at every cross and unwelcome accident. Men are apt to be angry, when one fings water upon them as they pass in the streets; but no man is offended if he is wet by rain from heaven. When we look upon evils as coming only from men, we are apt to be impatient, and know not how to bear them but we should look upon all things as under the government and disposal of the first cause, and the circumstances of every condition as allotted to us by the wise providence of God; this consideration,

that

hand;

1

[ocr errors]

that it is the hand of God, and that he hath done SERM. it, would still all the murmurings of our spirits. As CLVII. when a seditious multitude is in an uproar, the presence of a grave and venerable person will hush the noise, and quell the tumult ; so if we would but tepresent God as present to all actions, and governing and disposing all events, this would ftill and appease our spirits, when they are ready to riot and mutiny against any of his difpenfations.

Use the second. If God be the last end of all, let us make him our last end, and refer all our actions to his glory. This is that which is due to him, as he is the first cause, and therefore he does most reasonably require it of us.

And herein likewise the scripture doth excel all other books, that is, doth more frequently and exprelly mind us of this end, and calls upon us to propose it to ourselves as our ultimate ain and design. We should love him as our chief end, Marth.

. “ Thou shalt love the LORD thy God “ with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with « all thy mind.” Thus to love God is that which, in the language of the schools, is loving God as our chief end. So likewise the apostle requires, that we should refer all the actions of our lives to this end, i Cor. x. 31. “ Whether ye eat or drink, is do all to the glory of God;" that we should “ glorify him in our fouls, and in our bodies, which " are his." He is the author of all the

powers

that we have, and therefore we should use them for him; we do all by him, and therefore we should do all to him.

And that we may the better understand ourselves as to this duty, I shall endeavour to give satisfaction to a question or two which may arise about it.

First,

very much

SERM. First, whether an actual intention of God's glory CLVII. be necessary to make every action that we do good

and acceptable to God?

Answ. 1. It is necessary that the glory of God, either formally or virtually, should be the ultimate end and scope of our lives, and all our actions; otherwise they will be defective in that which in moral actions is most considerable, and that is the end. If a man should keep all the commandments of the gospel, this excepted, of making God's glory his supreme end, only with a design to gain reputation, or some other advantage in the world, this very thing would vitiate all, and render him unaccepto God.

2. It is very requisite and convenient, as a good sign, that we should very frequently, actually think upon, and intend this end; for if it be out of our thoughts, we have reason to be jealous of ourselves, that we do not intend it at all.

3. It is so far from being necessary, that we should in every action have this intention of God's glory, that it is not morally possible that we should, no more than it is possible, that a man that goes a journey of a thousand miles, should every step he takes have actual thoughts of his journey's end, nor is it more necessary; for consideration of the end is only so far necessary, as it is necessary to guide and quicken us in the use of means; as it is not necessary for a man to think of his journey's end, farther than to direct and excite him to go thither. pears farther by the contrary; it is not necessary to make a sinful action, that a man should formally, much less actually intend God's dishonour; it is enough to constitute a man a wicked man, if he willingly transgress God's law, the doing whereof

does

And this ap

CLVII.

does by consequence reflect a dishonour upon him: SERM. so, on the other hand, it is sufficient to make an action good and acceptable, if it be conformable to God's law, and such as by consequence redounds to God's glory.

Second question. Whether the glory of God may, or ought to be considered, as an end separate and distinct from our own happiness?

Answ. I shall speak but briefly to this, because I have elsewhere spoken to it; but in that little which I have to say for satisfaction to this question, I will proceed by these steps.

I. By the glory of God, we mean the domonstration, or illustration, or manifestation of some or of all his perfections, more especially his goodness, and mercy, and justice, and wisdom, and

power, and holiness.

II. It is plain, that the manifestation of some of these perfections is a thing that may be separated from the happiness of a creature; for his holiness, and justice, and power, may and shall be manifested in the final and eternal ruin of impenitent sinners.

III. The manifestation of any of God's perfections, ought many times to be propounded by us as an end distinct and separate from our respective happiness; such a happiness, as respects only some particulars, and some particular duration, in opposition to absolute and eternal happiness. In this sense our Saviour says, that he “ fought not his own glory, “ but the glory of him that sent him:" by which he does not mean, that he quitted everlasting glory and happiness; but that, in order to the glory of God, he did for a time lay aside his own glory, and divest himself of it while he was in this world; for the apostle tells us, that he was encouraged to do

this

CLVII.

SERM. this out of a respect to a greater glory, Heb. xii. 2.

" Who for the joy that was set before him, endur“ ed the cross, despising the shame, and is set down “ at the right hand of the throne of God.". And in this fenfe we are to understand the command of self-denial in the gospel, with reference to our particular or temporal, not our eternal interest; and that it is no more, iş plain from the argument our SAviour ufes to encourage this self-denial, the promise of a far greater happiness than that we deny; no man that “ forsakes father or mother for my “ fake,” but Mall “ have eternal life:" And proportionably we are to underitand those commands of loving Christ more than ourselves, that is, more than any temporal interest.

IV. The manifestation of any of God's perfections, neither ought, nor can reasonably be propounded by us, as an end separated from, or opposite to our eternal blessedness; that is, we cannot naturally or reasonably desire the glory of God should be advanced, though it were to our final ruin, either by annihilation, or eternal misery.

1. We cannot either naturally or reasonably defire Gop should be glorified by our annihilation.

(1.) Not naturally. Because such a desire would be directly contrary to the natural desire of self-prefervation, which God himself hath planted in us, and is most intimate and essential to our nature.

(2.) Not reasonably. Because it is utterly unimaginable how God can be glorified by the annihilation of a creature. All the attributes that we can imagine can be manifested herein, are power and sovereignty ; his power hath already been as much manifested in creating and making the creature out of nothing, as it can be by reducing it into nothing;

for

« 上一頁繼續 »