« PreviousContinue »
Spittal-Sermon. 119 asmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me !" let us carry this consideration always in our view, anderdeavour to affectour minds with a lively and vigourous sense of it. We are apt sometimes to wish that it had been our lot, to live and converse with Chrift, to hear his divine discourses, and to observe his spotless behaviour; and we please ourselves perhaps with thinking, how ready a reception we should have given to him and his doctrine how forward we thould have been in doing all public honours and private services, ard in abounding in all the offices of humanity towards him. The opportunity we wish for, we have: For, behold, he is “ with us to the end of the world,” in the persons of the poor and misera able. They are his representatives, his substitutes; deputed by him to receive our bounty in his name and in his name and in his stead : And we may rest assured (for “he is faithful who promiso ed”) that comforts and supports, which we ex. tend to these his poor brethren, shall be as kindly received, as highly valued, as mightily rewarded, as if he himself had been the object of our pious liberallity, and that we shall, on this account, be found, at the day of retribution, among those at his right-hand, to whom he will say; “ come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world : For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye cloathed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me."
God God grant, that every one of us may, by thús Thewing mercy, entitle ourselves to the mercy of. Jefus ! To him, with the Father, and blessed Spirit, be
Preached before the :DE EN
Datober 13, 1708.
An Acquaintance with God, the best Support under AMictions.
JOB xxii. 21. Acquaint now thifelf with Him, and be at peace.
THE exceeding corruption and folly of man
1 is in nothing more manifeft, than in his averfeness to entertain any friendship or familiarity with God; though he was framed for that very end, and endued with facultics fitting to arcain it ; cho' he stands, and cannot but be fenfible that he stands, in the utmost want of its tho' he be invited, and encouraged to it, free VOL. II.
quently, and earnestly, by God himself; and tho' it be his chief honour, advantage, and happiness, as well as his duty, to comply with those invitations.
In all cases, where the body is affected with pain or sickness, we are forward enough to look out for remedies, to listen greedily to every one that suggests them, and, upon the least hopes of success from the reports of others, immediately to apply them. And yet, notwithstanding that we find and feel our souls disordered and restless, toffed and disquieted by various passions, distrace ted between contrary ends and interests, ever seeking happiness in the enjoyments of this world, and ever nisling what they feek; notwithstanding that we are assured from other men's experience, and from our own inward convictions, that the only way of regulating these disorders is, to call off our minds from too close an attention to the things of sense, and to employ them often in a sweet intercourse of our Maker, the author of our being, and fountain of all our ease and hap. piness : yet are we strangely backward to lay hold of this safe, this only method of cure: We go on still nourishing the diftemper under which we groan, and choose rather to feel the pain than to apply the remedy. Excellent, therefore, was the advice of Eli: haz to Job, when, in the midst of his great troubles and pressures, he thus bespoke him, “ Acquaint thyself now with Him” (i.e.) with God, and be at peace :" Take this oppor. tunity of improving thy acquaintance with God, to which he always, but now especially, invites thee; Make the true use of those afflictions which
his hand, mercifully fevere, hath been pleased to lay upon thee ; and be led by the means of them, tho' thou hast endeavoured to know and serve him already, to know and serve him still better; to defire and love him more: Calm the disorders of thy mind by reflexions on his paternal goodness and tenderness; on the wisdom, and equity, and absolute rectitude of all his proceedings : Confort thyself with such thoughts at all times, but chiefly at that time, when all earthly comforts fail thee; Then do thou particularly retreat to these considerations, and shelter thyself under them ; - Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at 66 peace.”
The words therefore will suggest matter not unfit for our devout meditation, under the three following heads; wherein I shall consider,
I. What this scripture-phrase of “ acquainting « ourselves with God” implies, and wherein the duty recommended by it particularly consists.
II. How reasonable, neceffary, and desirable a duty it is, as on many other accounts, so especially on this, That it is the only true way towards atraining a perfect tranquillity and rest of mind, - Acquaint thyself with Him, AND BE AT 66 PEACE.” Which will lead me also to Thew, in the
IIId Place, That the most proper season for such a religious exercise of our thoughts is, when any trouble or calamity overtakes, “ Acquaint * thyself NOW with Him.'