Page images
PDF
EPUB

but with the tenth. God is to be eyed and served in all that you do: and this is that I drive at, that we may not divide ourselves be. tween God and the world, between his service and our own ends, and so put him off with a partial services but that we may do all in obedience to him, and we may be entirely the Lord's; that be in all things may be glorified by us, and that we may not lose our reward,

2dly, Some holy principles must be received and retained : as,

Principle 1. That the pleasing of God is our only business, and our highest blessed.

First, Our only business. What is it that we call or count our business?

ness.

1. That is a man's business which his livelihood and subsistence depends upon. The lawyer counts his law his business, and the tradesman counts his trade his business, be. cause upon this their livelihood and subsist: ence depends. Brethren, our whole depends upon the pleasing of God. Do this, and do all; miss in this, and you mar all; please him, and you are made up forever ; if he be not pleased, you are undone for ever. How careful is the selfish courtier to please his prince? How will he crouch and flatter ? and if he can but divine what will gratify and please him, he thinks himself happy. And why ? but because all his dependence is upon his prince's favor: much more du we de: pend upon the favor of God. Blessed is the man whom he chooseth, Ps. Ixv. 4. In his fa. vor is life, Ps. xxx, 5. But wo to them that

have God against them, these are perfectly miserable. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them, Jér. vi. 30. If the Lord do but say to a man, as he did to Moses, Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name, happy is that man. But if he thussay, I have no pleasure in thee, you may cover the face of that man, as they did Haman's, and carry him away: miserable must his end be, if he continue.

2. That is a man's business which he hath his stock and talents for. If a man be entrusted as a steward or a factor, his business is to buy in the commodities that are useful. Beloved, all our times, parts, interest, food, raiment, and whatever mercies, spiritual or temporal, are the stock wherewith God hath entrusted us, and all for his own use and ser. vice. And is it not a sad and fearful case that God should have so great a stock going, as lies in the hands of all the sons of men, and yet have (if I may so speak) so little profit of it? I mean, so little glory by it: that he should sow so much, and reap so little ; stów so much, and gather so little ? Is it not sad that men should have so much in vain ? Hast thou health and wealth, and dost not use it for God? It is all in vain. Hast thou understanding, and yet improvest it bat for contriving thine own affairs and worldly designs ? Thy reason and understandiug are become vain. Oh! how wilt thou answer it, that thou hast had so great a stock in thine hands, and made so little improvement of it? It had

Z

been good for some men that they had never had a foot of land, or an hour's ease, if they had never had the understanding of men, be. cause they have not used their talents for God, and for the ends for which they were put into their hands.

3. Tbat is a man's business which his capacities do call for. It is a man's business, if in the capacity of a judge, to do justice, or of a servant, to do his master's will. Breth. ren, all your capacities do evidence it to be your business to please God; you are his friends, you are his servants, therefore you must please him well in all things, Tit. ii. 9, his children, and therefore must set yourselves to honor him, Mal. i. 6, his spouse, and therefore it is your business to please your busbanıl, 1 Cor. vii. 31.

4. That is a man's business which he hath his maintenance for. If a man be maintained in the place of a school-master, it is his business to teach ; if of a soldier, it is his business to fight. Beloved, do you not know at whose feeding you are anti do you think God keeps so many servants to be idle, or to mind their own designs and pleasures ? God hath cut you out every one bis work, every man his hands full : so much work is to be done within doors, and so much without doors : so much towards God, towards your neighbour, towards your own selves, that you have no time to be idle in. And you shall dearly reckon for it, if you will cat his bread, and will not do his work. And as pleasing God is our chiefest business,

Secondly, So it is also our highest blessed ness : for man's happiness lies in God's fa. vor, Ps. iv. 6. Our happiness is in attaining the end of our being, and therefore the great query amongst the philosophers - still was, What was the end or happiness of man?Now the true end of our being is that we may please God; for his pleasure we are and were created, Rev. iv. 11. And for this end also we are new

created, that we should yield ourselves unto God, Rom. vi. 14, and being built up a spiritual house, should offer up to him spiritual sacrifice, acceptable through Christ, 1 Pet. iii. 5. This is the end of our redemption, that we should not serve our. selves, but him, in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives, Luke i. 75, and that we should not henceforth live to ourselves, but to him that died for us, Rom. v. 15. 'Tis the end likewise of our justification, that, our consciences being purged, we should acceptably serve the living God. In a word, 'tis the end of our glorification, that being translated into heaven, we should perfectly please God, and serve him night and day in his temple, Rev. vii. 15, and xxii. 3, so that the pleasing of God is the whole end, or whole happiness of man, Ecel. xii. 13. And this will be elear ; because we do then promote ourselves most when we please God best. For by this you shall have this two-fold advantage.

(1.) You shall be the favourites of God. O glorious promotion ! Haman thought him. self no little man, when he was on Ahasueras?

right hand, and yet he was at length but preferred to the gallows, Est. v. 11, and yii. 10. But what shall be done to the man whom God delights to honor ? O blessed is that man ! wo be to him that toucheth him ; it had been better for him that a millstone had been hanged about his neck, and he drowned in the midst of the sea, than that he should offend such an one, Luke xvii. 2. God is infinitely careful of his favorites. The apple of his eye is touched when they are injured, Zech. ii. 8. Whosoever toucheth them shall not be inno. eent, Ps. ev. 15. God hath a blessing for those that shew them kindness, Gen. xii. 3. He will render vengeance upon the ungodly; for every hard speech they utter against

them, Jude 15.

O man, doth not thy soul say, Happy is the people that is in such a case ? Will not thy condition be most blessed, when God shall be thus infinitely tender of thee, to take all the kindnesses done to thee, as done to himself? Matt. xxv. 40, and all the injuries done to thee, as affronts to himself, Acts ix. 4. This is the happy case of his favorites.

(2.) Every thing you do shall be found upon your account with God. Brethren, are you believers, or are you not? Do you believe the immortality of the soul, and the life to comes or do you not? The ways of the most do de clare them to be real infidels, though profess.

ed Christians. If you think there be an eter• pal state to come, will it not be your highest

wisdom to be providing for it, and laying up what possibly you can, that you may inherit

« PreviousContinue »