Images de page

Indeed the State of a Chriftian in this SERM.

, Life, is a State of Warfare. Christ is our XIV, Head, and we are to fight manfully under his Banner against Sin, the World, and the Devil, and to continue his faithful Soldiers and Servants unto our Lives end. Now the Apostle acquitted himself a faithful Soldier in these three respects.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

He fought

I. He fought a good Fight. From his
Conversion to Christianity he followed the
Example of his great Master, entered the
Lists, and bravely carried on the War with
the Prince of Darkness, which our blessed
Saviour had so gloriously begun. For the
Sake of the Gospel of Christ, he had been
in Weariness and Painfulness, in Watchings
often, in Hunger and Thirst, in Fastings of
ten, in Cold and Nakedness.
not only against Flesh and Blood, against
human Violence, and corrupt Nature, but
against Principalities, against Powers,
against the Rulers of the Darkness of
this World, against Spiritual Wicked
nefs in high Places.

He knew that
we must through much Tribulation enter
into the Kingdom of Heaven; and accord-
ingly he took up a Resolution to make all
Opposition fall before him, to take unto


SERM. him the whole Armour of God, that he

XIV: might be able to withstand in the evil Days uru and having done all, to stand. . !

II. He alfo finished his Course. And this he did both as a Chriftian and an Apoftle; as -a true Disciple, as well as a faithful Ambassador of Christ. He did not begin and then leave off, when he found the Burden grow heavy upon his Hands, but persevered unto the End; knowing that if he was faithful unto Death: he poould re. ceive a Crown of Life, : He was so far from being weary of running the Race that was set before him, that he went through it with Conftancy and Chearfulness; and, as he himself affures us, he took pleafure in Infirmities, in Rex proaches, in Necessities, in Diftreffes for Christ's Sake : For when I am weak, says he, i. l. as to his outward State, then am I strong, viz. by the Power of Christ.

He appeals to all the Churches, as well as to God, who were Witnesses of his Labours, to testify the Unblameableness of his Life and Converfation. Te are Witnejes, says he, and God also, how bolily, and justly, and unblameably we behaved qurselves among you that believe; as ye


know, how that we exhorted you, and com- Serne forted, and befought every one of you, as a XIV. Father his Children, that you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unta þis Kingdom and Glory.' ci

!; He went about preaching boldly in Seafare and out of Season, and counted all Thing's but Loss for the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus.

[ocr errors]

III. He also kept the Faith. And that he did pure and inviolable. He did not in troduce the Doctrines of Men in the Room of the Doctrines of Christ, but faithfully transmitted the Doctrine of his Master to the Churches without Alteration: For, says he, what I have received of the Lord Jer sus I have delivered unto you. And he re. ceived a Crown of Glory for his Pains. And indeed, if People will fight, and toil, and run the utmost Hazards to obtain a corruptible Crown, which they did in the Olympick Games, from whence this figurative Expres sion is taken, well might we join with the Apostle in doing greater things for an incorruptible one, that fadeth not away.

Thus have I explained the Text, and shewn how the Apostle has fulfilled it. I must now enter upon a melancholy Scene,


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Serm. and shew how the worthy Person deceas'd
XIV. has also made it appear, by a Life of good

and virtuous Actions, that he has fought a
good Fight, finished his Course, and kept the
Faith; and is gone where he will receive
that Crown of Righteousness which is laid
up in Heaven for him.

And here I am sensible of the great Difficulties I labour under, by endeavouring to do Justice to the Character of so good a Man, who is the Occasion of this melancholy Solemnity. As I shall certainly fail in paint ing that lively Image of him which is already fo well written in your Hearts, I must intreat you to supply the Defect.

I am satisfied how unequal I am to fo great a Task, and that you will now exPect greater things than I am able to say; and I must confess, that a very strong Afs fection for the Deceas’d, now with God, whose Memory will always be dear to me has in a great measure prevented me from saying as much as I was able : But I must depend upon you to supply what is wanting out of the Abundance of your Hearts.

And now where shall I begin? Which of the Virtues he was possess’d. of shall I describe to you first, since he equally possess fed them all, and that to a Degree wherein


few others enjoy a single one? Whether SERM. we consider him as a Divine, a Gentleman, XIV. a Husband, a Father or a Friend, who can say in which of these he most excell’d?

He had so sweet a Mixture of the Gentleman and the Divine, that every thing he said found an easy Passage to the Heart, and conquer'd the Prejudices of the most obdurate.

There grew up with him such a regular Piety, and such an unblemilh'd Probity, that he shewed Religion in the Beauty of Holiness.

He made People in love with Religion ; because they saw it in the Substanice as well as the Letter, which he made appear by living over every Precept he taught others.

He had all the affable Sweetness and Humanity that Good Nature could give, and all the extensive Love and Charity of the Gospel. He was of a peaceable, lovely Disposition ; easy in his Carriage, soft in his Address, tender in his Nature, and full of the greatest Mercy and Compassion,

He was an Enemy to no Mạn, but a Friend to all ; for he was a Lover of Mankind, and endeavour'd, as much as it was possible for one single Man to do, to promote the Happiness of all Men. Рp


« PrécédentContinuer »