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N second, which is like unto it d, and of every other human Obligation.
II. We are bound to observe the Precepts of revealed Religion, as well as natural. That God can make known to us many Truths, of which we were ignorant, though greatly interested in them, will not surely be doubted : for we can make known such
often one to another. And that from these Truths corresponding Rules of Behaviour may flow, is equally plain. Those Relations and Duties therefore to our Redeemer and to our Sanctifier, which the holy Scripture alone discovers to us, are not, on that Account, at all the less real, than those to our Creator, of which Reafon informs us. Further : as God is the Sovereign of the World, there is no more Room for Question, whether, under the general Laws of his moral Kingdom, he may not establish, from Time to Time, particular and different Institutions and 'Forms of Religion ;
than whether, under the general Laws of human Society, earthly Sovereigns may not establish particular and different Institutions and Forms of Government. And lastly : As God knowsperfectly well, both the Nature of our Circum
Matth. xxii. 37, &c.
stances, and the proper Method of treating us; that he may possibly have very important Motives for some of his Appointments, of which Motives we can discern scarce any thing, is much more certain, than that a wise Man, weli acquainted with any Affair, may perceive many Steps to be fitting in Relation to it, which a weak Man, uninstructed in it, doth not.
Whatever Precepts then are contained in Revelation, since none of them, rightly understood, are contrary to Reason, it is our indifpensable Duty to observe them, though ever so implicitly, walking in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the Lord blameless e.
We know not what we do, when we reject or slight any one of them : only this we know, that we disobey that Authority, which enjoins the Whole : a Consideration, worthy of being laid seriously to Heart by all those, (for too many there are,) who, either presumptuously, or thoughtlessly, neglect or depreciate some of. the Institutions of Christianity, while they profess to reverence others; and, as any Shadow of Argument, or groundless Imagination leads them, determine with themselves, that This they will do, That they will not ; This they Luke i. 6.
will look on as a Matter of Moment, That as a Trifle. It cannot be, that any of the Laws of Christ, our Lord and Master, are to be treated thus. And yet some of them are treated thus by such Numbers, (who, notwithstanding, call themselves by his Name,) that they must be mentioned in particular.
The Sacrament of Baptism, the leading Part of our Saviour's Commission in the Text, is not indeed thrown off, but frequently attended with scarce common Seriousness. The Obligation of Parents and Masters to bring up those under their Care in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord', is both cruelly and unwisely forgotten. The apostolical and very useful Ordinance of Confirmation, is too often omitted, and still oftener considered as an empty Form; private Devotion practised, it may be feared, by very few, at least with any Attention : pious Reading and Meditation by fewer still : Family Prayer almost intirely laid aside: and the pub. lic Service of God, by some avowedly scorned, by others, both thought and spoken of with a çontemptuous Indifference; as if it might well be left to Fancy and Chance, when and how often, or whether almost at all, they should f Eph. vi4.
condescend to join in that Worship of him who made them, which himself hath prescribed. The Day, which he hath directed to be kept holy, is lamentably, and in many Places openly, profaned, not only by the Omission just mentioned, but by neėdless worldly Business, improper Diversions, and what is yet worse, Intemperance and Debauchery. Nay, the far greater Part, even of such, as observe other Institutions with no small Appearance of Conscientiousness, astonishingly overlook, in Spite of continual Admonitions, their Saviour's Injunction of commemorating, at the Holy Table, his dying Love, delivered nearly with his dying Breath. Experience hath proved to a shocking Degree, that in Proportion as Disregard to Duties, peculiarly Christian, increases, Disregard to all Duty increases too: and what the End of it will be (unless through God's Grace our timely Reformation put a happy End to it) I know not how we can better judge, than by our blessed Lord's own Words, which he hath verified so dreadfully on those once shining Lights, the Churches of Aha, to whom they were primarily directed.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the
first Works : else I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy Candlestick out of its Place, except thou'repent 5.
III. Being bound to whatever Christ hath commanded us, we are bound to perform the most laborious and unwelcome, as well as the easiest, of his Commands. We may be sure, he hath enjoined us nothing, but what he will make possible, nothing but what he hath a Right, nothing but what he hath Cause, to enjoin. And therefore, the Difficulty of his Precepts can never be an Excuse for not obeying them. Sometimes this Difficulty is but imaginary : and what we apprehend that we cannot do at all, would we but try in a proper Manner, we should do with great Ease. Sometimes it is real indeed, but of our own creating. Slight Inclinations have grown, by Indulgence or Negligence, into settled Habits : wilful wrong Conduct hath
Conduct hath put Obstacles in the Way of acting right: and then we think it very grievous, that we must be at Pains to bring ourselves out of a Condition, that we needed never have brought ourselves into. Or, supposing any Virtue originally hard to practise, do we not often obey extremely hard In& Rev. ii. s.