« PreviousContinue »
Hour he tells them neither any Man, nor Angel knows, but God only, v.36. He warns them therefore to be always watchful and ready, both for that, and for every other coming of his. Every one's Death being the end of the VVorld to him, and Christ's coming to call him, and translate him into another everlasting state. Therefore, faith he, be ye also ready, because the Son of Man's coming, either to Judge the Nation of the
Fews, or to call you out of the World by Death, or to Judge the World, may be in such an Hour as you think not. v.44. And then, at that Hour, whenever it is, you will find true what now I tell you in this Parable.
Now let me beg of you to take notice what our Saviour faith, Luk. 18.8. When the Son of Man cometh, shall be find Faith on Earth? As much as to fay, there are but a few will be found so faithful to God, and their own Souls, as to be in a fit Preparation for the Hour of Christ's coming, and a happy deliverance out of the Miseries of this World. Too few believe God's word concerning Christ's coming to Judge the World. Too few trust so firmly to the Promises of God by Christ to the Faithful, that (for the Love and Defire they have to the things promised, and in a comfortable hope and expectation of living for ever happy with God) will have the patience and courage to deny themselves, to despise the Ri. ches, Pleasures and Vanities of the World, and the Flesh, to mortifie their Lusts, to want their carnal Wills and Defires, to resist Temptations, to restrain corrupt Inclinations and Affections, and to live in the practice of all Christian Vertues, and thereby prepare themselves for every coming of Christ. Few believe, and therefore few
will be ready when Christ calls, either to Death or Judgment.
But let me beseech every one here to consider of it in time before it be too late, for you know nor how soon it will be so. Consider, I say, what you know well enough, that Death will come very shortly. And how little soever any of you believe the things that Christ hath told you, concerning the necessity that there is of watchfulness and care to live a Christian and Religious Life, and of fo spending all your time, as co be every moment of it prepared for Death and Judgment, then when you are departing out of this World, and must, whether you will or no, leave all that ever you loved in ic behind you, you will find this true, which our gracious Jesus commends to your thoughes in this Parable, and with no worse Intent than to prevent our eternal Misery, by timely and fufficient warning to provide for our own safety, by walking ( as Sr. Paul exhorts ) circumfpeétly, not as Fools, but as wife. Eph. 5. 15, and as St. Peter. 2 Pet. 1. 10. Givįrig Diligence to make our Calling and Election sure, that so an Entrance may be Ministred to us abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Chrilt. v. 11.
. 2. Then shall the Kingdom of Heaven be likened to ten Virgins, &c. By the Kingdom of Heaven, called sometimes, the Kingdom only, without any addition, sometimes tbe Kingdom of God, or of Christ, we are here (as in many other places ) to understand the state and condition of Things under the Gospel, and 'tis áll one with the Church of Christ, wherein he reigns as King: For God hath put all Things under his Fect, and gave him to be Head over all things to the Churh,
fure, Fantly into the efus Chrifti a ven be likene cal
which is his Body or Kingdom. Epb. 1. 22. 23. And his Gospel is the Law whereby this Kingdom is to be govern'd,therefore called the Word of the Kingdom. Mat 13. 19. By the Ten Virgins, we are to understand all the Professors of the Christian Religion, such as having received the Gospel, or VVord of the Kingdom submit themselves to the Government of Christ and Covenant by Baptism, to live as his obedient Subjects, observing all his Laws and Ordinances, and hoping for his Protection, and the Reward which he hath promised. When therefore it is said, Iben the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened unto ten Virgins, the meaning is this, that Jesus Christ our King, shall, at his coming thus in like manner deal with all Christians, who profess themselves his Subjects in his Kingdom, as the Bridegroom is in chis Parable faid to deal with those ren Virgins, admitting as many as are always ready to enter with him into the Joy of him their Lord. v. 22. bue for ever disowning and excluding those that are not ready for hiin.
And hence we are to learn in the first place, that as we are Christians, we are the Subjects of Chrift in his Kingdom, This is a thing ihat we are apt to forget too much. It is here with us in relation to Christ, as it is with too many of us to our Earthly Kings. We are very well pleased to have Christ to be our Saviour and Deliverer, and enjoy the Privileges of his Kingdom, to have our Liberties preserved to us, but when this is done, we çare not for his Laws, nor to be restrained in our Wills by his Government, how easy his Yoke; or light foever his Burden be. But we must remember, that how impatient foever we are, and not without great reaton, of an
abso. absolute Monarchy of one Man over others; yet we must, if we will be Christians, and have Salvacion by Christ, take him for our absolute SoVeraign, and oběy him without reserve. Teach them (faith he) to observe all things that I have commanded you. Mat. 28. 20. Yea, and we must willingly part with every thing that he is pleased to take from us; Father and Mother, and Hours and Lands, and Life it felf. Lu. 14. 26. and bear paciently whatsoever he will lay upon us, deny our felves, and take up our Cross and follow him. Mat, 10. 38. Sell all, and give to the Poor when he commands it. Mat. 19. 21. Here must be no Dispute about our Liberties and Pro. perties, for we have none at all, but all are in his Soveraign Prerogative which the Father hath bestow'd upon him: Who hath given him all Power both in Heaven and on Earth, Mat. 28. 18. And hath given all things into his Hand, 7oh. 13. 3, We ourselves are not our own, for we are bought with a Price, 1 Cor. 6. 19. 20. and therefore are we to have no Will, but what is entirely resigned unto his Will. Every high thing that exalteth it self against the Knowledge of God must be cast down, and every Thought brought into Captivity to che Obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. 10. 15. None can be saved by Christ, but they only that are willing to be fubdued by him, and accoant it their glory and their happiness to be rų, led by him in all Things,
And indeed it is so, when we duly consider ir; for his Government can never degenerate into Tyranny, His Wisdom and Power and Goodnels are all alike infinite, and therefore we are yery sure that all his Commands are just, and all his Impositions reasonable, His Divine Perfecți.
ons exalt him above all Self Ends, and make it impossible for him to seek any advantage to himself, All his Design in the feverest Laws and Dispensations of Providence is our good. And this is the thing that he esteems his glory to make us happy. As an Earthly Prince can give us no better Security, that he seeks our good, and not his own advantage in his Government, than upon all occasions to hazard his Life, and expose himfelf to all Dangers in our Defence: So Christ hạch given us an Assurance of this beyond all Temptarions to doubt of it, having voluntarily laid down his Life for our Redemption, and shed his Blood to make Aronenient for our Sins, and to merit erernal Life for us. But this that he hath done and suffered for us will be of no advantage to us, if we submit not to his Government. For his Father will upon no other Terms forgive us, nor be reconciled unto us. God is willing to fave us by his only Beloved Son; and Jesús Christ his only Son, was willing to do any thing, to suffer any thing to save us, so as may contist with the Honour of his Father. God the Father is willing to abate of the strictness of his first. Law, and instead of a perfect , Will, accept, for his Son's Sake, of a sincere Obedience; and God the Son hath made Satisfaction to his Father's Justice for all our past Sins, and for all our future Sins of meer Infirmity, or which we will yet repent of, and forsake; but he should be very parcial to us, and very unfaithful to his Father, in the Office of a Mediator, if he should save us withour a ready and constant submission to his Government. For so he should thew himself content, that God should be dishonour'd, and his Authority slighted, so we might be saved ; which he can never be. . .
and forlake or which we all our future