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you can, yet some crofs accident, fome failure in gratifying their unreasonable expectations, may fuddenly turn all your honours into disgrace, and leave you to complain, as Cardinal Wolfey did, Had 1 • ferved God as faithfully as man, he would ⚫ not thus have forfaken me in my old age.' Nay, the perverfenefs of many is fo great; that they require contradictions ere they will be pleased. If John come fasting, they fay, " he hath a devil:" If Chrift come eating and drinking, they fay, " Behold a man "gluttonous and a wine-bibber, a friend of "publicans and finners." If your judgement and practice be accommodated to your fuperiors, fome will call you fupple and temporifing: if it be otherwise, you will perhaps be reproached as difcontented and feditious.
Thus, you fee, that it is impoffible to please all men, or even any confiderable number of them at one time. Nor have we caufe to wonder at this, when we confider, that our bleffed Saviour himself, notwithftanding his perfect innocence and wisdom, was more reviled than any man. Can you
do more to deferve the favour of men than Chrift did? or can you expect to please thofe who are difpleafed with God himself? For is not God daily difpleafing men in the courfe of his providence? and what is there that they quarrel with more bitterly than with his word? In fine, how can we expect to pleafe any number of our fellow-creatures, when we cannot even please ourselves conftantly? And for the truth of this, I appeal to your own experience. You must be fingular indeed, if you never fall out with yourselves; I mean fingularly inattentive, (to give it no harfher name), for with the beft I am fure there is too often just cause for it. If then we are not able to preferve our own esteem at all times, how can we expect to preferve the approbation of other men?
And now what is your judgement upon the whole? Is not man-pleasing both a mean and fruitless attempt? Is it wife to have for your aim a thing fo difquieting, and so very precarious? Is it not by far the wifer courfe to feek the approbation of God, who trieth your hearts, whom you please VOL. III,
fouls above every mean and fordid view, and enable us always fo to fpeak and act, "not "as pleafing men, but God, who trieth our "hearts."-Then the peace of God, which paffeth all understanding, fhall keep our hearts and minds through Chrift Jefus and amidft all the changing fcenes of life, we fhall have this for our rejoicing, even the testimony of a good confcience, that in fimplicity and godly fincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our converfation in the world.
ACTS xi. 23.
And exhorted them all, that with purpose of beart they would cleave unto the Lord.
T is not eafy to conceive a more complete
given of Barnabas in the following verfe: "He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghoft, and of faith.' And as a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things; fo this faithful minifter of Chrift, who had been sent by the church in Jerufalem to visit the new converts at Antioch, having feen thofe real effects of the grace of God among them, of which he had formerly heard the agreeable report, was filled with joy; and, like a true "fon, of confolation," which his name fignifies, he" exhorted them all, that with " purpose of heart they would cleave unto ❝ the
"the Lord.”—My design in difcourfing from
ift, To explain the exhortation contained in them; 2dly, To enforce it by fome motives and arguments; and, 3dly, To offer fome directions which, through the bleffing of God, may be useful to those who are defirous of complying with it.
I BEGIN with explaining the exhortation contained in the text.- -And,
, It is obvious, that it fuppofeth those to whom it is directed to be already entered upon a religious courfe of life. Barnabas addreffed his difcourfe to perfons who were real converts to Chriftianity. It appears from the 21ft and 22d verses, that the tidings which had come to Jerufalem concerning them, exprefsly affirmed, that a 66 great number had believed and turned "unto the Lord:" and Barnabas, foon after his arrival at Antioch, received full conviction that this report was true; for he "faw the grace of God, and was glad." The form of his exhortation indeed fufficiently diftinguisheth the character of thofe