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SERM. 5. Thefe points do likewife ferve to excite and encourage our devotion: for having fuch a mediator in heaven, fo near God's prefence, so much in God's favour; having fo good and fure a friend at court, having such a Master of requests ever ready to prefent up, to recommend, and to further our petitions, what fhould deter, what should anywife withhold us from cheerfully, upon all occafions, by him addreffing ourselves to God? We may therefore, Heb. iv. 16. as we are exhorted by the Apoftle, come to the throne of grace with boldness, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for feafonable aid. We cannot, confidering this, anywife doubt of those promises being effectually made
Matt. xxi. good to us; Whatever ye fshall ask in prayer, believing, ye
22. vii. 8.
13. xv. 7.
Mark xi.24. Shall receive; whatfoever ye afk in my name, that will I do. 1John v.14. There is nothing which he, enjoying fuch power, cannot do for us; and there is nothing which he, our loving and merciful brother, will not do, that is good for us, if we do with humble confidence apply ourselves to him for it. And what greater incitement can there be to devotion, than an affurance fo firmly grounded of fair acceptance and happy fuccefs thereof? Yea, what an extreme folly, what a huge crime is it, not to make use of such an advantage, not by fo obliging an inducement to be moved to a conftant practice of this so beneficial and fweet kind of duties?
6. It may encourage us to all kind of obedience, to confider what a high pitch of eternal glory and dignity our Lord hath obtained, in regard to his obedience, and as a pledge of like recompenfe defigned to us, if we tread in his footsteps, running the race that is fet before us, and looking up unto Jefus, who for the joy that was fet before him endured the cross, and is fet at the right hand of the throne of God. As God, in refpect to what he should perform, did offer to him fo high a promotion; fo doth he likewise, upon condition of our obedience to his commandments, oblige himself to put us into a like excellent and happy ftate: fo our Lord himself declared, when he said, Luke xxii. I covenant to you a kingdom, as my Father covenanted to
me a kingdom: it goeth before, Ye are they which have
continued with me in my temptations: there is the condi- SERM. tion, faithful and constant adherence to Chrift in doing and XXXI. fuffering; upon performance of which condition our Lord Rev. i. 6. tendereth that glorious reward of an eternal kingdom: V. 10. and the divine covenant being thus effectually fulfilled unto him, doth ascertain us, that his overture will likewife be made good to us; It is, faith St. Paul, a faithful 2 Tim. ii. faying, (that is, a word, upon which we may confidently rely,) if we be dead with him, (dead to fin and vanity,) we fhall alfo live with him, (live with him in glory and joy ;) if we endure, (or persevere in obedience and patience after him,) we shall alfo reign with him: and, To him (faith our Rev. iii. Lord in the Revelation) that overcometh will I grant to fit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am fet down with my Father on his throne.
7. Lastly, the confideration of these points should elevate our thoughts and affections from these inferior things here (the vain and base things of this world) unto heavenly things; according to that of St. Paul; If ye be risen Col. iii. 1. with Chrift, feek the things above, where Chrift is fitting at the right hand of God. To the head of our body we fhould be joined; continually deriving sense and motion, direction and activity from him: where the mafter of our family is, there fhould our minds be, conftantly attentive to his pleasure, and ready to serve him; where the city is, whose denizens we are, and where our final rest must be, there fhould our thoughts be, careful to observe the laws and orders, that we may enjoy the immunities and Heb. xi. 16. privileges thereof; in that country, where only we have any good eftate, or valuable concernment, there our mind fhould be, ftudying to fecure and improve our interest therein our refolution fhould be conformable to that of
1 Tim. i. 1.
the holy Pfalmist; I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, from Pí. cxxi. 1. whence cometh my help. Chrift is our life, faith St. Paul; Col. iii. 4. and shall our fouls be parted from our life? Chrift, faith Gal. ii. 20. he again, is our hope; and fhall our mind and hope be Col. i. 27. afunder? Chrift is the principal object of our love, of our Animus truft, of our joy, of all our best affections; and fhall our eft, ubi affections be fevered from their best objects? By his being
SERM. in heaven all our treasure becometh there; and where our XXXI. treasure is, there (if we apprehend and believe rightly, there naturally) our hearts will be also: if they be not, it 2 Cor. v, 6. is a fign we take him not for our best treasure. We do in our bodies fojourn from the Lord, as St. Paul faith; but in our fpirits we may and should be ever present, ever converfant with him; contemplating him with an eye of faith, fastening our love upon him, repofing our confidence in him, directing our prayers and thanksgivings to him; meditating upon his good laws, his gracious promises, his holy life, and his merciful performances for us. We fhould not, by fixing our hearts and defires upon earthly things, (upon the vain delights, the fordid interests, thẻ fallacious and empty glories, the finful enjoyments here,) nor by a dull and careless neglect of heavenly things, avert, estrange, or feparate ourselves wholly from him, No, furfum corda, let us, unloofing our hearts from thefe things, and with them foaring upward, follow and adhere to our Lord; so shall we anticipate that bleffed future state, so fhall we affure to ourselves the poffeffion of heaven, fo here enjoying our Lord in affection, we shall hereafter obtain a perfect fruition of his glorious and blissful prefence; the which God of his mercy by his grace vouchfafe us, through the fame our ever bleffed Saviour; to whom be for ever all glory and praise. Amen.
O God the King of glory, who haft exalted thine own Son Jefus Chrift with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; we beseech thee leave us not comfortless, but fend thine Holy Ghoft to comfort us, and exalt us to the fame place, whither our Saviour Chrift is gone before; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghoft, one God, world without end. Amen.
From thence he shall come to judge the Duick and the Dead.
THE REASONABLENESS AND EQUITY OF A
ECCLES. iii. 17.
I said in my heart, God fhall judge the righteous and the wicked.
THESE words are the refult of a ferious contemplation SERM. upon the state of human affairs and common occurrences XXXII. in this world: the Royal Philofopher having, as he telleth us, given his heart to feek and search out by wisdom con- 13. cerning all things that were done under heaven; what was the proper nature, what the just price of each thing; what real benefit or folid comfort each did afford; how every perfon did fare in the purfuit and fuccefs of his defigns; did, after full examination and careful balancing all things refolve upon fuch conclufions as these :
8. ii. 11.
That no kind of undertaking here did in effect yield any Ecclef. i. confiderable profit or complete fatisfaction, but all in the iffue did prove vain and vexatious.
That no man from his care and industry, in any course Ecclef. ii. of life, could promife himself any certain fuccefs, or reap xi. 6. anfwerable reward.
11. ix. 11.
That although between wisdom and folly (or between goodnefs and wickednefs) there is fome intrinfic difference Ecclef. ii. of worth, (one excelling the other, as light doth excel darkness,) yet, as to external advantages, and as to final event here, there is no great odds difcernible; for that events (profperous and adverfe) did appear to fall out, not according to the qualifications or to the practices of men, but indifferently, according to the fwinge of time and chance; and for that death and oblivion alike do feize upon all; so that apparently, in that respect, a man hath no preeminence over a beaft.
That in common life nothing doth appear better, than v. 18. viii. for a man, with the best advantage he can, to enjoy ordi
24. iii. 12.
15. xi. 10.
nary fenfible delights and comforts, which his condition doth afford.
15. vii. 15. ix. 1, 11.
Ecclef. ii. 16. iii. 19.
Ecclef. iii. 11. viii. 17. zi. 5.
That in regard to the present things here, life were not defirable to any man, the inconveniences and troubles thereof outweighing its benefits; so that even the wisest, greatest, and happiest perfons (fuch as he himself was) had caufe to hate life, and all their labour which they had taken under the fun.
That the mind and affection of God toward men are very reserved; the course of Providence very abstruse, the reafon of events unfearchable to the wit or study of men; fo that we can hardly from appearances here defcry any confpicuous marks of God's favour or his displeasure.
9. xii. 14.
From these obfervations, as from fo many arguments, he doth both here and otherwhere in feveral places of Ecclef. xi. this Book infer, that there fhall be a divine judgment, v. 8. viii. paffing upon all men, both righteous and wicked; whereby 12. vii. 18. thefe feeming incongruities in the providential adminiftration of things fhall be falved; and in regard whereto our prefent opinions of things may be rectified: this he interpofeth here; I said in my heart, (that is, by the confideration of things I was perfuaded,) that God fhall judge the righteous and the wicked: this he ever now and then toucheth, as incident to his meditations: this he in the
clofe of all propofeth as the grand inducement to piety, Ecclef. xii. and obedience to God's commandments; For God fhall