Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

ly escaped drowning, to beftir himself to help his fellow who is in hazard of perishing.

The use and improvement I would make of this is, to call upon you, O Christians and communicants whofoever of you are the Lord's, to put your hand to this work, to recommend Chrift and religion to others. You that are come out from among the devil's family, make it your work. to prevail on others to come away alfo. Remem ber the Samaritan woman, who told her neighbours of Chrift, and invited them to come to him: John, iv. 29. "Go thou and do likewife."-To ftir you up to this work, I fhall lay before you the following MOTIVES.

Mot. I. What use are you for in this world, if be not useful for God, and your generayou tion, in this work to which you are called? If. you will do nothing for God, you but take up room on God's earth, and cumber his ground. The children of God are not fo fituated. They fay, "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's."

Mot. 2. It is a dangerous thing to be an unprofitable fervant in God's houfe: Matth. xxv. 30. "And caft the unprofitable fervant into utter darknefs; there fhall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." An unprofitable tree may stand safer in a wood than in an orchard; and what is quite unfit for the master's use, is fuel for the fire.

Mot. 3. It is the nature of true grace, and has been the practice of the faints, thus to lay themfelves out for God and the good of others. Grace is communicative; it is a well of water, from which many may be refreshed; it is a holy fire

to

to warm others. Accordingly, we find Abraham's grace working thus, Gen. xviii. 19. " For I know him," said God, "that he will command his children and his household after him, and they fhall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgement, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." Thus alfo, we find David's grace, Pfal. xxxiv. 8. “O taste and see that the Lord is good: Bleffed is the man that trusteth in him." Thus also the fpoufe's grace, Song, v.; the woman of Samaria, John, iv. 29.

Mot. 4. You would thrive better yourselves, if you were more employed in this work: Prov. xi. 25. "The liberal foul fhall be made fat; and he that watereth fhall be watered himfeif." The fpring. runs, and the fire burns, the more freely that they get a vent; and they that use their talents thus for God, are in the high way to increase them: Matth. xxv. 28. 29. "Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance." A cold heart, without zeal for God's intereft, and a sealed mouth, which cannot open for God, produces a back-going, withered condition.

Mot. 5. It is well laid out work. For either. finners are gained by it, as it often falls out : Song, vi. 1. "Whither is thy Beloved gone, O thou fairest among women-? Whither is thy Beloved turned afide? that we may feek him with thee." In this cafe, the work is an abundant reward for itself: James, i. 27. "Pure religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this, to vifit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction." But it shall not go fo; for every foul thou doeft good to, fhall be as a jewel in thy crown:

"They

"They that turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever." ." Thou wilt gain the bleffing of those ready to perish; and if thou fhouldft not gain, thy point, yet thy work fhall not be in vain: If. xlix. 4. "Then I faid, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my ftrength for nought and in vain; yet furely my judgement is with the Lord, and my work with my God."--But here fome who are under difficulties may propose this

Queftion, How fhall a perfon manage this duty? I anfwer, Follow after the copy we have in the text, in these three particulars.

1. Speak to the commendation of him and his fervice. The world have mean and low thoughts of God; fpeak to his greatness, that the fouls of others may be awed by it; to his goodnefs and loving kindness, that their fouls may be ftirred up to love him, hope in him, truft him. Speak to the advantage of his fervice, how comfortable, pleasant, and beneficial it is, Pfal. xxxiv. 6. 7. 8.

2. Prudently communicate your experiences of his goodness to you. Tell what you have seen, heard, tafted, and felt of him, that others may be excited to wait on him. Tell it to those who are abfolute ftrangers to God, when there is any hope of thus doing them good, as in the cafe of the text; but otherwise we must beware of cafting thefe pearls before fwine. Tell it to fellow Chriftians who need to be ftrengthened: Pfal. lxvi. 16. "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my foul." And tell it even to those who see no beauty in ordinances: Zech. viii. 23. "Thus faith the Lord of hosts, In those days it fhall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of

him

him that is a Jew, faying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

3. Confidently avow your choice of God and his fervice before the world. Let them fee that you have made your choice, and does not repent it. Say, with Joshua, chap. xxiv. 15. " As for me and my houfe, we will ferve the Lord." The be-ing afhamed of confeffing the Lord and his way before an evil generation, does much hurt to religion; but a confident profeffion is a practical teRimony to it.--To these three may be added,

4. A converfation becoming the gospel, and thofe principles which you profefs.-In the text,

The first thing we have is, Paul's intercourfe with heaven, his communion with God: There food by me, &c.

The fecond thing is, Paul's fpecial relation to the God of heaven: Whofe I am, and whom I ferve.— We begin with the

First thing in the text, Paul's intercourfe with heaven, his communion with God: There ftood by me this night, the angel of the Lord.-In this feveral things offer themselves to our notice, which we fhall fhortly explain.-There is,

I. THE party employed to bring him the comfortable meffage from God: The angel of the Lord. II. The peculiarity of this manifestation and intercourfe with heaven.

III. The posture of the angel: He food.
IV. The time of this manifestation: This night.

LET us then attend,

I. To the party employed to bring him the comfortable meffage from God: An holy angel, who appeared to him in the fhip. This was often the privilege of the faints in the Old Testament, and fometimes

fometimes in the New, in the first times of it. We are not, however, now to expect fuch appearances. The facred volume is completed, and we are not to expect new revelations. Angels are employed to ferve for the good and benefit of those that are the Lord's. We know little of the ministry of angels, but the fcriptures are plain, that this is the privilege of all who are his : Pfal. xxxiv. 7. "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." Heb. i. 14. "Are they not all ministering spirits, fent forth to minifter to them who fhall be heirs of falvation." And the angels being invisible, we know not how much we are indebted to them for their ministry; we will know it better afterwards, when we will be in no hazard of abufing it.

The improvement I would make of this is, to point out the dignity and advantage of the children of God. Kings' children have honourable attendants; thefe, however, are only men. But if thou be a child of the family of God, angels attend thee. They have a concern for thy welfare, to promote it, as devils are trying to hinder it. And these angels will attend thee,-during thy life in this world. The fcripture is plain, that God gives his angels charge concerning those who are his, to keep them while in the way. It is a promife of the covenant that has been fealed to us: Pfal. xci. 11. 12. "For he fhall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, left thou dafh thy foot against a stone." As a father of a family charges the elder children with the care of younger ones; fo does God the angels, with the faints on earth, the young heirs of glory; and they diligently execute their charge, however little we know about it. This appears from the fcrip

tures

« ForrigeFortsett »