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SERM. adoring it; which fwayeth in hell itself, the cursed fiends XXXVI. trembling at it: and shall we alone (we pitiful worms

crawling on earth) presume to murmur, or dare to kick against it?

It is the will of our Maker, who, together with all our other faculties, did create and confer on us the very power of willing: and shall we turn the work of his hands, the gift of his bounty, against him ?

It is the will of our Preserver, who, together with all that we are or have, continually doth uphold our very will itself; fo that without employing any positive force, merely by letting us fall out of his hand, he can send us and it back to nothing: and shall our will clash with that, on which it fo wholly dependeth ; without which it cannot fubfist one moment, or move one step forward in action?

It is the will of our fovereign Lord, who, upon various indisputable accounts, hath a just right to govern us, and

an absolute power to dispose of us : ought we not there1 Sam. iii. fore to say with old Eli, It is the Lord, let him do to me us

it seemeth good to him? Is it not extreme iniquity, is it not monstrous arrogance for us, in derogation to his will, to pretend giving law, or picking a station to ourselves? Do we not manifestly incur high treason against the King of heaven, by so invading his office, usurping his authority, snatching his sceptre into our hands, and setting our wills in his throne ?

It is the will of our Judge, from whose mouth our doom must proceed, awarding life or death, weal or woe unto us : and what fentence can we expect, what favour can we pretend to, if we presumptuously shall 'offend, oppofe that will, which is the supreme rule of justice and fole fountain of mercy?

It is the will of our Redeemer, who hath bought us with an inestimable price, and with infinite pains hath rescued us from miserable captivity under most barbarous enemies, that obeying his will we might command our own, and serving him we might enjoy perfect freedom : and shall we, declining his call and conduct out of that


unhappy state, bereave him of his purchase, frustrate his SERM. undertakings, and forfeit to ourselves the benefit of fo XXXVI. great redemption ?

It is the will of our best Friend; who loveth us much better than we do love ourselves; who is concerned for our welfare, as his own dearest interest, and greatly delighteth therein; who, by innumerable experiments, hath demonstrated an excess of kindnefs to us; who in all his dealings with us purely doth aim at our good, never charging any duty on us, or dispensing any event to us, so much with intent to exercise his power over us, as to express his goodness towards us : who never doth afflict or Lam. ii.33. grieve us more against our will, than against his own defire; never indeed but when goodness itself calleth for it, and even mercy


urge thereto; to whom we are much obliged, that he vouchsafeth to govern and guide us, our service being altogether unprofitable to him, his governance exceedingly beneficial to us : and doth not such a will deferve regard; may it not demand compliance from us? To neglect or infringe it, what is it? is it not palpable folly, is it not foul disingenuity, is it not detestable ingratitude ?

So doth every relation of God recommend his will to us; and each of his attributes doth no less : for,

It is the will of him, who is most holy, or whose will is effential rectitude: how then can we thwart it, without being stained with the guilt, and wounded with a sense of great irregularity and iniquity ?

It is the will of him, who is perfectly just; who therefore cannot but assert his own righteous will, and avenge the violation thereof: is it then advisable to drive him to that point by wilful provocation; or to run upon the edge of necessary severity ?

It is the will of him, who is infinitely wise; who therefore doth infallibly know what is best for us, what doth most befit our capacities and circumstances; what in the final result will conduce to our greatest advantage and comfort: fhall we then prefer the dreams of our vain

SERM, mind before the oracles of his wisdom? shall we, forfak. XXXVI. ing the direction of his unerring will, follow the impulse

of our giddy humour?

It is the will of him, who is immensely good and benign; whose will therefore can be no other than goods will to us; who can mean nothing thereby but to derive bounty and mercy on us : can we then fail of doing well, if we put ourselves entirely into his hands ? are we not our own greatest enemies; in withstanding his gracious intentions ? . . It is, finally, the will of him, who is uncontrollably powerful ; whose will therefore must prevail one way or other; either with our will or against it, either so as to

bow and satisfy us, or so as to break and plague us : for, Isa, xlvi.10. My counsel, faith he, fhall stand, and I will do all my plea

fure. As to his dispensations, we may fret, we may wail, we may bark at them; but we cannot alter or avoid them: sooner may we by our moans check the tides, or by our cries stop the fun in his career, than divert the current of affairs, or change the state of things established by God's high decree : what he layeth on, no hand can remove; what he hath destined, no power can reverse: our anger therefore will be ineffectual, our impatience will have no other fruit; than to aggravate our guilt and augment our grief.

As to his commands, we may lift up ourselves against them, we may fight ftoutly, we may in a fort prove conquerors; but it will be a miserable victory, the trophies whereof shall be erected in hell, and stand upon the ruins : of our happiness; for, while we insult over abused graces

we must fall under incensed justice: if God cannot fairly procure his will of us in way of due obedience, he will surely execute his will upon us in way of righteous vengeance; if we do not surrender our wills to the overtures of his goodness, we must submit our backs to the strokes of his anger: he must reign over us, if not as over loyal subjects to our comfort, yet as over stubborn rebels to our confusion; for this in that case will be our doom,

Dan. v. 23.

Luke xix.

and the last words God will design to spend upon us, Those SERM. mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over

XXXVI. them, bring them hither, and say them before me. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead 27.

Heb. xiii. our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through 20, 21. the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his hght, through Jesus Christ: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.




Phil. iv, 11.

'Eya yang . I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be έμαθον εν οίς είμι, αύτάρ


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SERM. IN these words, by the example of an eminent saint, is XXXVII.

recommended to us the practice of an excellent duty, or virtue; a practice in itself most worthy, very grateful to God, and immediately of great benefit to ourselves; being indeed necessary towards the comfortable enjoyment of our lives : it is contentedness; the virtue, which, of all other, doth most render this world acceptable, and confti

tuteth a kind of temporal heaven; which he that hath, is Tò 8 mürae- thereby ipfo facto in good measure happy, whatever other o poveut vor' things he may seem to want; which he that wanteth, aigorós woső doth, however otherwise he be furnished, become miserapendevos évštãble, and carrieth a kind of hell within him : it cannot Arift . Eth. therefore but well deserve our best study about it, and

care to get it; in imitation of St. Paul, who had learned in whatever state he was, therein to be content.

In discoursing upon which words I shall consider two particulars: first, the virtue itself, (contentedness in every state,) the nature of which I shall endeavour to explain ; then the way of attaining or producing it, implied by St.

Paul in the words, I have learned. süda seevan I. For explication of the virtue: the word here expreffárixey dei rávrad Hing it is aútágreid, which fignifieth self-sufficiency, or

i. 7.

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