Images de page
PDF
ePub

Serm. conduct, and act contrarie to former convicXVIII. tions, and their best purposes and resolutions.

He who fears always is one, who is never unmindful of what is the great design of life, and what will be the consequences of it. He is desirous of obtaining eternal falvation, even a better happinesse, than this present world affords any prospect of. And he dreads the being finally rejected of God, and excluded from his presence. And as the season of things, and the express declarations of the word of God, assure us, that final happinesse, or miserie, depends upon mens behaviour here; he is desirous, that his behaviour may be such, as shall be approved in the end by the impartial and equitable fovereign and judge of the world.

But he is aware, that there is no small difficulty in executing this design. He therefore fears always. In every state and condition, whether prosperity or adversity, he knows there are snares and temptations. For which reason he is at no time secure : but has continually a kind of distrust of himself, and is apprehensive, least the ease and pleasure of the one should make him forget Godand another world:and least some things in

the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the other condition, of which the afflictions Serm.
are various, and very moving, should induce XVIII.
him to cast off the fear of God, and say, re-
ligion is vain.

He has his fears and apprehensions, ari-
sing from folitude, and from companie :
when alone, and when in conversation.
He is aware, that there are some snares

peculiar to retirement, others to businesse. Nor is there any age, or time of life, but has it's temptations.

He is not without his fears, when he en gages in the worship of God, least his fervices. Thould be defective and unacceptable : and least through neglect, inattention, or prejudices, the opportunity afforded him Thould be unprofitable. And indeed, Solomon has a direction and caution to this

purpose : Keep thy foot, when thou goeft to the Eccl. house of God: and be more ready to bear, than to give the sacrifice of fools.

In undertakings for the honour of God, and the interests of religion among men, he is sometimes in doubt and suspense, whether his zeal, though well-meant, be right and just. And he admits a re-examination of his design, that he may act according to know

ledge,

Сс 2

Serm. ledge, and upon the grounds of a well inXVIII. formed judgement : least what he does

should in the issue be rather prejudicial, than advantageous to the good cause he would promote.

After worshiping God with fincerity and fervour, and partaking in those ordinances and privileges, which God has ordained for our emprovement, he does not trust to the strength, he has thereby gained: but still allows of apprehensions, least he should act contrarie to what he has seen to be fit and right: or some way fail to execute the

pur. poses and resolutions, which he has made, and tenewed in the presence of God.

And as he was before-hand afraid, that he should not approve himself as he ought ; so likewise, when through care and attention, he has, as he hopes, performed agreeably to his aims and wishes; he is upon

his guard, least some improper opinion and selfsufficience should arise in his mind, inconfiftent with that humility, which he would ever maintain.

Nor does the man who fears always presume after the greatest successes. And though he has proceeded for some time

[ocr errors]

in a course of obedience to God's command. SERM.
ments, and temptations have not hitherto XVIII.
greatly prevailed against him, he studioully
declines conceit and assurance. He is still ever
apprehensive of some new and unlooked for
danger : and doubts, whether some time
leffer temptations may not prevail, after great-
er have been vanquished.

Like some General, who, the more vic-
tories he has gained, is the more cautious of
engaging an enemie: least the honour of for-
mer successes should be lost and forfeited by
some unhappy disaster.

This is the man, who, in a religious sense,
I feareth always.

And

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

Сс 3

I" 3. Walk circumspectly at all times, and in all relations
" and circumstances of life. ... Let not success betray you
« into security. Perhaps you have not for some time been
os importuned by temptations, or you have overcome them,
" and made some good progress in religion. But do not
6 therefore lay aside your vigilance, since there may happen
• such an alteration in your circumstances, or in your tem,

per, that you may have as much occasion for it, as ever
you had in your lives, if not more. Blefed is the
man,

that feareth always. Pr, xxviii. 14. who has ever

his mind such an apprehension of the great evil of “ fin, and his liableness to it, while he is in the body, as to “ be continually watchful against it. By thus fearing always “ he will be able to rejoyce always, both in the consciousness

[ocr errors]

SEQM, XVIII.

And now we may just obferve the connexion, which some think there is between this and the preceding observation, though it is not very clear and certain. He that covereth bis fans, shall not prosper : but whoso confefseth and forsaketh them all find mercie. Happy is the man that feareth always : that is, if he would secure the mercie he has found, the advantage he has gained ; it will be of use, to preserve a fear of offending, and to be cautious and circumspect in all his actions.

II. Which leads us to the second point;

the happinesse of this temper and disposition of mind. Happy is the man,

that feareth always. The happineffe of such an one is this: He will not fall into mischief. He will exceed his own fears and apprehensions. He will behave better, and wiser, than he imagined. It is very probable, that this fear of offending will prevent a great deal of grief

and

of his own integrity, and the hope of the heavenly re"ward." Mr. H. Grove's fecond wolume of Additional Sur song. Serm. vii. P. 450,

1

« PrécédentContinuer »