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is so great,
you can, yet fom.e crofs' accident, fome failure in gratifying their unreasonable expectations, may suddenly turn all your honours into disgrace, and leave you to complain, as Cardinal Wolfey did, “ Had i • ferved God as faithfully as man, he would & not thus have forsaken me in my old age.' Nay, the perverfeness of many
; that they require contradictions ere they will be pleased. If John come fafting, they say, “ he hath a devil :" If Christ come eating and drinking, they say, “ Behold a man “ gluttonous and a wine-bibber, a friend of “ publicans and sinners.” If your judgement and practice be accommodated to your superiors, fome will call you supple and temporising: if it be otherwise, you will perhaps be reproached as discontented and sec ditious.
Thus, you see, that it is impossible to please all men, or even any considerable number of them at one time. Nor have we cause to wonder at this, when we consider, that our bleffed Saviour himself; notwithstanding his perfect innocence and wisdom, was more reviled than any man.
do more to deserve the favour of men than Christ did? or can you expect to please those who are displeased with God himself? For is not God daily displeasing men in the course of his providence ? and what is there that they quarrel with more bitterly than with his word ? In fine, how can we expect to please any number of our fellow-cream tures, when we cannot even please ourselves constantly? And for the truth of this, I appeal to your own experience. You must be singular indeed, if you never fall out with yourselves; I mean fingularly inattentive, (to give it no harsher name), for with the best I am fure there is too often just cause for it. If then we are not able to preserve our own esteem at all times, how can we expect to preserve the approbation of other men?
And now what is your judgement upon the whole? Is not man-pleasing both a mean and fruitless attempt? Is it wise to have for your aim a thing so disquieting, and so very precarious ? Is it not by far the wiser course to seek the approbation of God, who trieth your hearts, whom you please VOL. III. С
fouls above every mean and sordid view, and enable us always fo to speak and act, “ not
as pleasing men, but God, who trieth our “ hearts.”—Then the peace of God, which pafseth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus : and amidst all the changing scenes of life, we shall have this for our rejoicing, even the testimony of a good conscience, that: in fimplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our con- , versation in the world.
Ś Ë R M O N II.
Acts xi. 23.
----And exhorted them all, that with purpose of
beart they would cleave unto the Lord.
IT is not only conceive a more complete
T is not easy to conceive a more complete
given of Barnabas in the following verse: “ He was a good man, and full of the Holy “ Ghost, and of faith.” And as a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things ; so this faithful minister of Christ, who had been fent by the church in Jerusalem to visit the new converts at Antioch, having seen those real effects of the grace of God among them, of which he had formerly heard the agreeable report, was filled with joy; and, like a true “ son of consolation,” which his name fignifies, 'he.“ exhorted them all, that with “ purpose of heart. they would cleave unto
“ the Lord.”—My design in discoursing from these words is,
If, To explain the exhortation contained in them ; 2dly, To enforce it by some motives and arguments; and, 3dly, To offer fome directions which, through the blessing of God, may be useful to those who are desirous of complying with it.
I Begin with explaining the exhortation contained in the text. -And,
ist, It is obvious, that it supposeth those to whom it is directed to be already entered upon a religious course of life. Barnabas addressed his discourse to persons who were real converts to Chriftianity. It appears from the 21st and 22d verses, that the tidings which had come to Jerusalem concerning them, expressly affirmed, that a
great number had believed and turned
unto the Lord :" and Barnabas, soon after his arrival at Antioch, received full conviction that this report was true;. for he “ saw the grace of God, and was glad.” The form of his exhortation indeed suffi ciently distinguisheth the character of those