« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
foregoing words; it is that which so affects the apostle in the very entry of this epistle, that there he must break forth into praise *; Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotton us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He begins there in praise, and here ends in it, and so incloses all within that divine circle. And as we should consider these things in general, so should we also reflect on his particular dealing with us; his good providence in spirituals and temporals. Would we search, oh! what a sur, charge of innumerable mercies should each of us find! and were we better acquainted with the holy scriptures, had we more our delight in them, they would acquaint us better with all these things, and give us light to see them, and warm our hearts, and excite them to his praises, who is the God of all our mercies.
Direct. III. The heart being somewhat disposed to praise, and then studying the matter of it, should be applied actually to render praise; and in order to this we must be careful, 1. To aim at God in all, which is continued praise, to eye his glory in every thing, and chiefly to desire that as the great end of all, that his name may be exalted. This is the ercellent way indeed; whereas most are either wholly for their self-ends, or often squinting out to them. That soul is most noble that singly and fixedly aims at exalting God, and seeks this stamp on all it speaks and does, and desires; all to the greater glory of my God. 2. To abound in the express and solemn return of praise this way. To him be glory, not a cus, tomary dead saying of it over, as is usual with us, but the heart offering it up. What is so pure and high as this exercise, the praises of the ever glorious Deity? What is heaven but these? and were ito not best as we can, to begin it here, and long to be there, where it shall never end? To him be glory, and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
chap. i. ver. 3.
Ver. 12. By Sylcanus, a faithful brother unto you, (-as I sup
pose), I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. 13. The Church that is at Babylon, elected together with
you, saluteth you ; and so doth Marcus my son. 14. Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace bo
with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
This is a kind of postcript, and contains its testimony of the bearer, and the apostolic form of saluting. Withal, he expresses the measure of his writing, that it was brief, and the end of it, that it was to testify the true grace of God. And this is, indeed, the end of our preaching; and we ought each to seek it by the word, and by mutual exhortations; and sometimes a few words may avail much to this purpose, to our hearty establishment in the faith; and not only are we to believe, but to remember that we have the best of it; that there is truth in our hopes, and they shall not deceive us. They are no fancy, as the world thinks, but the true grace of God; yea, when all things else shall vanish, their truth shall most appear in their full accomplishment.
The entertainment and increase of Christian love, of due esteem of one another, and affection one to another, is no matter of empty compliment, but is the very stamp and badge of Jesus Christ upon his followers: It is, therefore, most carefully to be preserved entire, and unhappy are they that do by any means willingly break it. Oh! let us beware of doing so, and follow peace, even when it seems to fly from us.
This peace that is the portion of those in Christ, is indeed within them, and with God; but through Him it is likwise one with another, and in that notion to be desired and wished jointly with the other.
They that are in Christ are the only children and heirs of true peace.
Others may dream of it, and have a false peace for a time, and wicked men may wish it to themselves and one another; but it is a most vain and insignificant hope: but to wish it to them that are in Christ, hath good ground; for all solid peace is founded in him, and flows from him. Now the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Amen.
ON PART OF THE
HAT which is needful and competent for us to
know concerning God, he hath been pleased to reveal, and our most excellent and happy employment in this world, is to learn it.
The third verse of this Psalm affords us clearly the doctrine of the creation. That part in the Psalmist's eye, the Heavens, being the highest and largest of the visible world, surrounding and containing all the rest, is mentioned;--the work of thy fingers, importing the curious embellishments of them; The moon and stars which thou hast ordained, placed them in their 'crbs, and set them a going, and appointed their periods and revolutions which they observe. So, the same hand hath fetched all other things out of the same nothing as we have it in the beginning of this Book. In the beginning God created; &c. And, therefore, to be believed, because we find it there.
Can the Worker, and his operation, be discovered by strength of reason? Certainly they that have been of most confest and famous ability that way, have been partly of another mind, and we see it reduced to its truest principle * ; By faith, fc. Yet this we may boldly affirm, that there is not only nothing in sound reason crossing it; but that all the
* Heb. xi. 4.
cavils alledged against it are most weak of themselves : and there be many things in nature that plead strongly for it, which we may, yea we should, take notice of.
The continual turnings and changes of things, the passing of one thing to another, the destruction of some things, and production of others, and the general decaying of all; the very Heavens waxing old as a garment, declare that the whole frame is mutable and corruptible, and therefore not from eternity, but terminable in their beginning.
There is in this a very strong appearance of the beginning of the world, and of time according to the sacred history we have of it, and which faith receives; that there are not any records nor memoirs or history of time, or things produceable in the world that go higher up, no nor any human histories, that go near so high. Now if there were thousands of ages before, whence is so deep a silence of what passed in them?
They that can conceive it may take this reason into consideration, that if the world had been from eternity, then certainly the number of revolutions would be infinite; now to that which is so, nothing can be added, so it were impossible there could be any new days or years, &c.
But above all dispute we believe it upon his word, who by his word gave all things a being. The whole Trinity as in all works without, they are together equally concerned, so in that first and great work of making all things. : As by the Father, so by the Word were all things madeb. And the Spirit moved upon the face of the deep, Barau ELOHIM;." Trinity, in unity, created."
It is most vain to enquire why not sooner, in tempore ; yea it is nonsense, for the same question might equally be moved whensoever the world had been made, though it lasted now millions of years; for still there would have been an eternity preceding, wherein it was not; and time itself was con
b Gen. i.