Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

municated its Powers to the Human, by distinct and gradual Illuminations. Accordingly all publick Manifestation of it to the World seems to have been induftriously declined, till ripeness o- Years and Judgment had carried him up to the Perfections of a Man, and the Execution of his Ministry called for such Evidence to affift him. So little Reason have we to suppose, that He, who condescended to be like us in Body, should think it below him to be fo too, in that other no less Essential, but much more noble part of us, our Soul; without which it was impossible for him to be Man. So little, to conceive of the Divine Effence, as supplying the place and offices of our intellectual Faculties. For all that is Divine, is infinite, and nothing Infinite can admit of Enlargement : He therefore that increased in Wisdom, must needs be Man, with regard to the seat of Wisdom in Man, which is a finite reasoning Mind.

5. Once more. S. Luke thought it requisite to acquaint us, at the Fifty-first Verse, that Jesus accompanied his Parents back to their own home, that he dwelt with them at Nazareth, and was subje&t to them. How his time was spent in this Retreat, we can have no Certainty. Whether he wrought with Joseph at the Carpenter's Trade, (as some of the Antients have delivered their Opinion,) is not material to enquire. Thus much we are satisfied of, and that is enough for our purpose, that, whether his Life were a Life of Labour or not, it was a Life of Modesty and Meekness, and exemplary Obedience.

And what a Pattern hath this set our Children, of Humility, and Submission, and Reverence to their Parents ? How indispensable does it represent their Duty, how inexcusable their Stubbornness and Contempt ; when He, who was God as well as Man, thought it became him still to be govern'd, and, in all his Deportment, was full of Respect to Them, whose

Son

[ocr errors]

Son though he was in One capacity, yet was he their Father, their Lord, their King, their Creator, in Another? Sure no Child, after this, should dare to disregard a Father, or a Mother ; though their Persons be never so despicable, or their Circumstances never so deplorable. Sure none can suffer himself to despise them, for Infirmities of Body, Decays of Age, or Meanness of Condition. None, who considers our Saviour as his Example, can. For, What Defects of Nature, what Difference of Fortunes, can set any One so far beneath any Other, as these Persons were really below the blessed Jesus? God, and Man! The Distance is infinite, and leaves no place for Comparisons. How sacred is the Obligation, which Blood and Nature have tied, when even the Name and Character alone is venerable, though the Relation be wanting? For such our Lord hath proved it, by that Observance paid, not to Her only, of whose Substance he was made Flesh ; but likewise to Him, who was no otherwise his Father, than by Reputation and common acceptance : Entitled to this Honour, only as the Hufband of Mary, and by a Mistake of the World, who were not let in to the mysterious Secret of a Virgin made a Mother.

Most wisely, in the mean while, did the Holy Ghost insert this Passage, into the History of our meek Redeemer's Life, as a singular Ornament and Grace to it: Anearly but remarkable Instance of his marvellous Condescension, and such a motive to profound Reverence, and humble Duty, as, for force and impression, might exceed ten thousand laboured Arguments.

Consider This, all You, whom the Pride or the Giddiness of Youth, the Heat or the Perverseness of your Spirits, the Sprightliness of your Wit, or the Success of your Industry, hath made refractory, or haughty : And consider withal, how you will be able to stand before this Judge, at the last Day. Your Judge

himself

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

H

some Directions restrained to Private Families.

The Subject now before us, is the Behaviour of a Son to a Natural Parent, The best and meekest Son, to the best and most excellent Mother. To this I shall therefore keep close, by framing such Advice, as concerns the Demeanour, and mutual Regards, proper for Parents and Children ; and, in some proportion of Masters and Servants, toward each other. . Advice, which all, I think, who diligently attend to it, must needs confefs manifestly to result from this Portion of Scripture, and from That which hath already been spoken upon it.

I. And First of all. If God ought to be pleased and served in the first place, and the Discharge of our Duty to Him be the thing we are principally accountable for: Then are all Parents and Masters hereby plainly condemned, who refuse to allow the Persons under their care, all neceffary Means, and reafonable Leisure, for the exercise of, and improvement in, the Business of Religion. How much Leisure is reasonable, and what Means are necessary, it is not possible for Me, or any other Teacher, to determine in the general. Because, after all that is or can be faid, the different Circumstances of each Party concern'd, will continue to be the true Measure of them. But thus much I may say, with Confidence and great Safety, that, as God hath been wonderfully indulgent to Us, with respect to the Necessities of this Life in particular; As he hath made even the Works of our Lawful Calling, when pursued with Honest Industry and a regular Concern, a Branch of the Christian's Duty, and highly acceptable to Him: So We, in Gratitude, should imitate this Goodness, spare him as much Time as fairly we can, and be as liberal in the Returns of our Service, as ever the Case will bear. Thus much, to be sure, we are absolutely bound to, not to let even the most busie Em

ployment

P

ployment swallow up all our Thoughts and Pains: Not to involve our felves to such a degree, in the Affairs of the Present, as to forget that we have any, that we have our main, Interest to be secured in the Next, World

And, as this is an Obligation incumbent upon every Man, for his own Particular, so is it no less for Theirs, of whose Behaviour and Education he hath the charge. The rather in truth, because the Giddiness and Inconsideration of Youth have need of a powerful Restraint from without; and, to make the Fear and Service of God their Choice, it is necessary, (ordinarily speaking) that they be first fixed in them, by the Authority of their Governors. It is therefore by no means enough, that Such be permitted to employ some Hours in holy Duties, when they are found inclining to it themselves; but, for the most part, it is highly requisite, that they be often called upon, spurr’d torward, and obliged, to draw near to God, even when their own Dispositions would not, if let alone, bring them to him. By these means they will be taken of from Idleness, weaned to the Pleasures and Vanities of the World, acquire by degrees a Habit of Thinking and Seriousness, be taught not only to remember, but to love, their Creator in the Days of their Youth, delight in his Goodness, and esteem his Service, as in reality it is, perfekt Freedom. These Methods I may venture to prescribe, as usually necessary. And most Parents and Masters of Families feel occasion, Idoubt, more than enough for them. But, where we have the happiness to meet with early and forward Desires to be holy and good, where our Children and Servants even go before our care in the Way of Godline's ; to check these, is not only wicked, but perfectly barbarous. Here then it will be prudent to teinper such Zeal with Knowledge, to direct their Judgments, by Thewing, how all the Parts of Religion agree together, how

C 2

far

far God allows the Concerns of this mortal Life, to intermingle with those of Eternity, and, that he expects, a Provision for our Bodies and Families should come in for some share of our Time and Pains. When they are brought to a right Sense of these Matters ; then, to deny them competent Opportunities for

praying, and reading, and coming to Church, and preparing for the Blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and the like, is a most ungodly betraying of our Trust. And as oft as our own very urgent Business is not neglected upon these Accounts, the Words of our Lord here ought to be accepted for a sufficient Justification, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

2. Secondly. I cannot but think it proper, upon this occasion, to counsel Parents in the Next place, that they would be exceeding cautious in disposing of their Children, as to the Professions and Trades, that must settle them in the World. The Consideration, which commonly determines the Choice in this particular, is, what Calling will be likely to prove most thriving and gainful. But, though such Views may be allowed their due weight, when seconded by others, and not liable to any just Objection ; yet ought they by no means to be insisted on, as the Only, no not as the Principal, Considerations. For, have we forgotten so utterly what the Wisest of Men observes, and what Experience never fails to confirm, that Better is

a little the Righteous hath, than great riches

of the ungodly? Better, as it is enjoyed with more comfort and Content, without Clamour from abroad, without Reproaches from within ; as it is likelier to engage the Blessing and Providence of God, to grow greater, to wear longer. But, all these Advantages apart, do we not call our selves Christians ? Wou'd we not, by that Name, be understood ta believe a Future State, and an Immortal Soul ? Should

Prov. xvii. 1.

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »