« ElőzőTovább »
fave them from them) if this Holy Jefus had never been born.
3. Lastly, Let us all improve this prefent Opportunity to return our most humble Praites and Thanksgivings for fo great and unvaluable a Bleffing, and to join our Voices, as well as we are able, with thofe bright Seraphims, and that Heavenly Hoft that attended and celebrated Chrift's Nativity (when the Heavens proclaimed his Birth with their louds Shouts of Joy) faying, Glory be to God in the Higheft, on Earth Peace, Good-will towards Men.
Bleffed be God, for ever bleffed be his holy Name, who hath found out a way for our Deliverance, and hath raifed up for us a mighty Salvation; that we being delivered out of the hands of our Enemies, might ferve him without Fear, in Holiness and Righteousness before him, all the days of our Life. Praife therefore the Lord, O our Souls, and all that is within us praife his holy Name; and forget not all his Benefits, who forgiveth all our Iniquities, and healeth all our Difeafes; who bath redeemed our Life from Deftruction, and hath crowned us with Loving-kindness and tender Mercies.
What shall we now return, what do we not owe to him, who came down from his Imperial Throne, and infinitely debafing himself, and eclipfing the Brightness of his glorious Majefty, became a Servant, nay a Curfe, for our fakes, to advance our Estate, and to raise R
us to a Participation of his Divine Nature, and his eternal Glory and Blifs?
To him therefore let us now all offer up our felves, our Souls, and Bodies, and Spirits; and that not only to be faved by him, but to be ruled and governed by him: and this he will take as a better Expreffion of our Gratitude, than if we spent ever fo many days in verbal Praises and Acknowledgments of his Love and Bounty.
Let us all open our Hearts and Breasts to receive and entertain this great Friend of Mankind, this glorious Lover of our Souls, and fuffer him to take full poffeffion of them, and there to place his Throne, and to reign within us without any Rival or Competitor and let us humbly beg of him, that he would be pleafed to finish that Work in us which he came into the World about; that by his Blood he would cleanse and wash us from all Filthinefs both of Flesh and Spirit; that he would fave us from our Sins here, and then we need not fear his faving us from everlasting Destruction hereafter.
Which God of his infinite Mercy grant to us all, for the alone fake of our bleffed Lord and Redeemer, to whom with the Father, &c.
The TEN TH SERMO N.
St. MARK VI. 12.
And they went out and preached, that
HO Repentance be a Duty never out of feafon, nay, is indeed the Work and Bufinefs of our whole Lives, all of us being obliged every Day to amend; yet there are fome particular Times wherein we are more especially called upon to review our Actions, to humble our Souls in God's Prefence, to bewail our manifold Tranfgreffions, and to devote our felves afresh to his Service; fuch are times of Affliction, either personal or publick, when extraordinary Judgments are a
broad in the Earth, or are impendent over us; or when we our felves are vifited with any Sickness or grievous Calamity: fo also before we receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, we are then more strictly to examine our felves, and renew our Vows and Refolutions of living better. And to name no more, the Church in all Ages hath thought fit to fet apart fome folemn Times to call upon Men more earnestly to repent, and to feek God's Face before it be too late; fuch were the Fasting-Days before the Feast of the Refurrection or Eafter and accordingly our Church, as you have heard in the Exhortation this day read to you, doth at this time especially move us to earnest and true Repentance; that we fhould return unto our Lord God with all Contrition and Meekness of Heart, bewailing and lamenting our finful Lives, acknowledging and confeffing our Offences, and feeking to bring forth worthy Fruits of Penance. And fuch as now feriously fet themselves to repent of all the Sins they have committed, ufing fuch Abftinence as is neceffary for the fubduing the Flesh to the Spirit, do certainly keep Lent far better than they who for fo long time only fcrupulously abstain from all Flesh, and call filling themselves with the choicest Fish, Sweet-meats and Wine, Fasting.
I fhall at this time fuppofe you fufficiently inftructed in the nature of Repentance (it being one of the first Principles of the Doctrine of Chrift, as the Apoftle to the Hebrews calls
it, chap. 6. 1.) and alfo that you will readily acknowledg the indifpenfable neceffity of it, in order to the obtaining the Pardon of your Sins, and eternal Life: and that which I now defign, is only to fet before you fome, if not the main Hindrances and Impediments that keep Men from Repentance, and to endeavour to remove them; and I fhall difcourfe in order of thefe three, of the many that might be mentioned.
I. Want of Confideration.
II. The Unfuccefsfulness of fome former Attempts; when Men have refolved and begun to reform, but have foon found all their good Purposes and Endeavours blasted and defeated, this discourageth them from making any farther Trials.
III. The Hopes of long Life, and some better Opportunity of repenting hereafter.
One of these is commonly the Ground and Cause of those Mens remaining in an impenitent State, who yet are convinced of the abfolute neceffity of Repentance in order to their Peace and Happiness.
I. Want of Confideration. For could Men but once be perfuaded seriously and in good earnest, as becometh reasonable Creatures, to confider their Ways and Actions, patiently to attend to the Dictates of their own Minds, R 3