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be sensible of them too ; that we should lament, and strive against them, and do the best we can. Let us remember, that the longer it is before we begin, the less Day we have to work in ; and therefore make the more haste to be ready for the Evening, which draws on apace, when an Account of what we have done shall be taken, and our Wages awarded accordingly. This is the true Intent of the Parable, in that part of it. So well does the Gospel fall in with the Epistle of this Day; and both together so very well agree, to fit us for the approaching time of Mortification, designed to awaken the Sluggish, to quicken the Loitering, and set forward every Labourer in this Spiritual Vineyard. And oh! that we all may receive Instruction from hence, and be wise ; understand our Advantages, and the Goodness of our Mafter; consider our Latter-end, the Approach of that Night, which must end in Day Eternal; the Happiness of that Approach to all diligent and faithful Labourers, but the Terror and disinal Consequences of it to every nothful and unprofitable Servant. To say ali in a Word, Let us work the works of him that sent us into this Vineyard, while it is day, before that time come, wherein no man can work !
called Sexagesima; Or,
The COLLECT. Lord God, who fecft that we put not our Trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant, that by thy
Power we may be defended against all Adversity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The EPISTLE. PARAPHRAS E.
2 Cor. xi. 19. 19. Ye (like others
E fuffer fools gladly, seeing ye your selves are who are or pretend to
wife. be wise) can surely bear with the Indiscretions of others.
20. And what I am 20. For ye suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a about to
man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalı bime with, is plainly a great self, if a man fmite you on the face. deal less than your false Teachers put upon you, whose enslaving you to the Jewish Law again, whose insatiable Avarice and making a prey of you, whose Insolence and Tyranny, and contumelious Usage to the most intolerable degree, you can patiently away with.
21. And yet what 21. I speak as concerning reproacb, as though we bad have they to value been weak: Howbeit, wherein foever any is bold (I themselves upon, that I speak foolishly) I am bold alfo. have not ?
22. In all the Privi 22. Are they Hebrews ? so am 1. Are they Illeges of Birth and De- raelites ? fo am 1. Are obey ibe seed of Abraham ?? So scent, I am equal.
23. In the relation to, 23. Are they Ministers of Cbrift (I speak as a and Service of Christ, fool) I am more; in Labours more abundant, in Stripes (excuse the liberty Í above measure, in Prijons more frequent, in Deaths take in speaking of my oft. self) I am superior to them : My Sufferings for the Gospel prove me so. 24. I have been five
24. Of the Jews five times received I forry Stripes, times scourged by the save one. Jews, to the utmost degree of rigor ever used by them. See Deut. xxv. 3.
25. See Atts xvi. 22, 23. and Aals xiv. 19.
25. Tbrice was I beaten with rnds, once was I stoned, ibrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep
26. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my country76,
in perils by the beerben, in perils in obe cia
26. See A&XX. 3.
ty, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the fea, in perils among false bretbren ;
27. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings ofter, in bunger and thirs, in fastings ofron, in cold and nekedness ; 28. Besides those things that are without, that
28. And the perpe which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the tual Concern I am unCburcbes,
der for the Churches
planted by me; as it is
a constant, so it is a very heavy Article. 29. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Wbo is of 29. Among all these fended, and I burn not?
no Person is afflicted but
I sympathize with him; none discouraged in his duty, or in danger of falling off from his Principles, but I even burn with zeal to reduce and settle him.
30, If I needs must glory, I will glory of the things 30. Your Seducers, which concern my Infirmities.
and the Partiality shewn
to them, force me to glory: but the Subject I chuse for it, is such, as others would rather account matter of Humiliation; my Sufferings for the Gospel.
31. The God and Farber of our Lord Jesus Cbrift, 31. And, for the truth which is blefied for evermore, knowerb that I lie of what I have said on
this occasion, I folemnly appeal to God, &c.
His Portion of Scripture is the more remarkable,
because it presents us with a great Apoftle, engaged in an Act very unusual, and (generally speaking) very unbecoming that Character: I mean, the Commendation of himself. It is therefore highly necessary, in order to understand, and be able to account for, such Proceeding, that we consider very carefully, First, The Occasion, Secondly, The Manner of it. After which, I shall draw some Reflections from the whole.
1. The Occasion, it is plain, was the Corruptions brought into the Church of Corinth, by fome false Teachers, who, (like those of the fame Stamp in every 'Age and Church) had insinuated themselves into the Affections of the People ; As by other Arts
of Subtlety and Deceit; so more especially, by extolling their own Ability and Merit, and by disparaging Reflections upon their regular Paftor. The People it seems were there (as they usually are ) credulous, and easy enough to be caught with this guile. They readily drank in the Prejudices against St. Paul; and were grown so immoderately fond of their new Teachers; that, at the same time they thought the just and gentle Authority of an A poslle a Yoke too heavy; the utmost Vanity and Infolence, the most insatiable Pillaging and Avarice, the 1. ol imperious Tyranny, and contumelious Treatment went down very contentedly, from the hands of those izolized Intruders. Had this Partiality had no farther ( fequence, than the lessening St. Paul's private Profit cr Reputation; he would not have thought it worth wik, to vindicate his Honour so solicitously. But, foiefeeing that so undeserved a Preference of the Men would certainly bring on a liking of their Errors, and so endanger the Souls of as many as should adhere to them; Charity to his Brethren called for Justice to Himself. Therefore, for the sake of those deluded Wretches, and to do right to the Truth, he found it necessary to assert his Due, to provoke those bold Detracters to a Comparison. By this method he took the Advantage of letting them see, at once, how much He, how little They, were able to produce, in proof of the Authority challenged on either side. An Authority, which He was legally invested with, and exercised with Lenity and Temper ; but which They by Dint of Arrogance took to themselves, and abused to the vileft Purposes of Calumny and Faction.
Such was the Occasion, such the End, of our Apostle appearing here, in a Figure so unlike that he commonly makes in his Writings. Which, though they be so reafonchle, and so urgent, he yet manages so, as to clear ti: H 1.vility of all Suspicions, that the most captious Adversary could cast upon it. As may appear from my
2. Second Particular. The Manner of this Proceeding. In which we ought to observe,
1. The many Apologies for, or feeming Condemnations of, himself, in giving way so far to the Provocation of those, who spoke or thought dihonourably of him. Of this kind are those Expressions; I sjeak foolishly, Ver. 21. I speak as a fool, Ver. 23. If I must needs glory, Ver. 30. It is not ex, edient for me doubtlefs to glory, Chap. xii. 1. I am become a fool in glorying, je have compelled me, xii. 11. with the rest to the fame purpose. So cautiously does the Apostle behave hi:nself, in a Point, which he rightly understood to be so nice. For, as the expatiating upon our selves without any necessity is, of all Faults in Conversition, the most nauseous and offensive: so the being extremely tender and officious, even in our own Vindication, is feldom free from Vanity. This is the Case of all Mankind, but especially the Ministers of Christ; Who muít expect a fare in Calumınies and Contradictions, and ought to be armed with Patience to endure them, above the proportion of common Men. When therefore These have lofluence upon their personal Advantages only; it is generally better to leave the clearing of their Innocence, to Time, and the Evidence of a good Conversation. But when they rcfc&t upon their Character, ani, by poisoning the People with ill Impressions, tend to obstruct the Efficacy of their Labours; the Cause becomes publick, their Charge is concerned, and a becoming Sollicitude to set all right, in such Circu nstances, is no longer Zeal for their Own, but Charity for the Safety and Good of other Men. And yet, even in these Circumstances, St. Paul's Example teaches us, how carerul we ought to be, in wording off all the spightful Construc?ions apt to be made, of the most necessary and the moit modest Publication of our own Conduct and Deservings.