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Col. iv. 2.
Col. iii. 17.
SER M. in pursuance of all virtue; with most intent appliXIV. cation of mind, with expedite promptitude, with
accurate circumspection ; giving all diligence, as St. 2. Pet, ins: Peter speaketh, in adding one virtue to another; cav napsise- being ready, as St. Paul faith, 10 every good work i riyaates, and seeing that we walk circumspectly, or behave our. Eph. v. 15. felves exactly according to the rules of duty in all ακριβές .
This service requireth of us affiduous attendance on kom. xi.12: works of piety and devotion ; that we do incessantly Thell.v.17. zvatch to prayer, that we always give thanks, that we 1 Theffiv.13. continually do offer up the sacrifice of praise to God. Eph. V. 20. It demandeth from us a continual labour of charity; Hob.xiii.15.
that we serve one another in love ; that we should, as Theti. . 3. we have opportunity, work good to all men, that we αγάπης. .
should always purjie good toward one another, and toGal. v. 13. ward all men.
It obligeth us with all our powers to pursue peace E prazame with all men (which, considering our natural peevith
Theit.v.15. ness, pride, and perverseness, is often no easy task), Rom. xii. and that we do ciuda Serv, Studiously endeavour to keep Fi sevaróv. the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
It chargeth on us contentedly and patiently to 2 Tim. ii. undergo whatever God doth impose of burthen or Eph. iv. 3.
sufferance, so that patience hath its perfect work; and Jam. i. 4. it is a crabbed work to bend our stiff inclinations,
to quell our refractory pafsions, to make our sturdy humour buckle thereto.
It doth exact that we should govern and regulate according to very strict and severe laws all the faculties of our soul, all the members of our body, all internal motion, and all external actions proceeding from us; that we should check our inclinations, curb our appetites, and compose our passions ; that we should guard our hearts from vain thoughts and bad desires; that we should bridle our tongues from evil and from idle discourses ; that we should order our steps in the straight way of righteousnels, not deflecting to the right hand or to the left. In the discharge of this service how many rough
Heb. xii. 14.
difficulties are there to be surmounted, how many s ERM! great obstacles to be removed, how many stout op- XIV. positions to be encountered, how many potent enemies to be vanquilhed, how many sore hardships, crofles, and tribulations to be endured !
How shrewd a task must we find it to circumcise our hearts, to mortify our earthly members, to crucify our flesh with its affections and lufts, to pull out our right eyes, and cut off our right hands, to renounce our worldly interest, to hate our nearest relations, to take up and bear our cross, whenever conscience and duty shall call us thereto!
Our calling therefore doth require great industry; and the business of it consequently is well represented by those performances, which demand the greatest intention, and laborious activity; it is styled exercise (agonistic and ascetic exercise ; yújva SE GERUTÒV ospos 1 Tim. iv. sucíCEsXv, Exercise thyself to godliness; and év téty de autos 16. coxw, Herein I exercise myself to have always a conscience Heb. xii
. 11 void of offence toward God and toward men); wrestling Heb. xii. s. (nuwe ni Taan, our wrestling is not only against flesh and Cor.ix.24. blood, but against principalities and powers) ; running a race (Let us run with patience the race that is set before I Tim. 1.18, us : So run that ye may obtain: 1 press toward the
markering for the prize of the high calling) ; a warfare, a combat-: Cor. ix, ing (War a good warfare, bolding faith and a good con- Matt. xi. science : Fight the good fight: Thou therefore endure hard-127 Mip, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ : Every man that 6. Atriveth for the mastery is temperate in all thing's); offer. Cor. svi. ing violence (The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, Matt. xxvi. and the violent take it by force); watching (Let us not 41: **iv
. sleep as do others, but let us watch and be fober : Watch Luke xii. 37. ve, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong : Apoc. ii. 2. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation).
Hence the precepts importing the general tenor of Christian practice are usually couched in terms implying great sedulity and contention of soul; 'Aywvíceo
De, Strive to enter in at the Araight gate : Let us Luke xiii. labour therefore to enter into that resi : Labour not for the 24
Phil, iii. 14.
1 Thesl. v.
meat Heb. iv. ll.
Luke xii. 35.
S E R M. meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth to xiv. everlasting life. Give diligence to make your calling and
election sure. Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, Fogálva
Si, and hope to the end. Wherefore, brethren, seeing that ye Studásari. look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of z Petr 1: 10: him in peace, without spot and blameless. 1 Pet. i
Such is the work of our general calling, and so Eph. vi. 14.
much industry it challengeth from us; with great 2 Pet. iii. reason indeed, for that such work is needful to our
happiness, and that our labour will certainly be rewarded therewith.
The 'work indeed of itself is most worthy to employ us, doth inost become us, doth much adorn us, doth best befit our divine extraction and large capacity ; is the noblest, the handsomest, the sweet
est employment that could take us up; but we John. iv. have also the greatest inducements and encourage
ments possible for our industry therein.
There are, by the divine bounty and mercy, wages
assigned abundantly correspondent to our work, yea, Matt. v. 12. infinitely surpassing it; there is tonus Musclòs, a great
(or a manifold) hire for our Nender and simple performances; there are several noble prizes highly worth our striving for with our utmost strength and contention of foul.
In recompence thereof we shall assuredly gain even here in this transitory state the special favour
and love of God, with his constant protection and pl. xxxiv.9. care of our good * ; his faithful direction and friendly \xxxiv
. 11. assistance to guide us and uphold us in all our ways, xxxvii.3,19. to bless and prosper our undertakings, to supply us Pl. xci. 10. in our needs, and comfort us in our distresses; so xii.
that we shall lack nothing that is good, that no evil Mall happen to us, that all things shall concur and cooperate for our benefit.
We shall thereby taste the satisfactions of a calm mind, and a sound conscience, quickened by the
* Roin, xiv. 18. He that in these things serveth Cbris, is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Phil. iv, .
1 Cor. ix. 25.
confolations of the divine Spirit; the peace of God S £ R M. ruling in our hearts, which paseth all understanding.
We shall afterward, when this moment is passed over,' and our Thort day's work dispatched, receive Coli, ii, 15, from God's bountiful hand an unconceivable affluence of good things, an eternal permanence of life ; Jam. i. 12. undisturbed rest, indefe&tible wealih, ineffable joy, in- 1 Pet. 1.4 corruptible glory, a kingdom unshakable.
He, faith our Lord, that reapeth, receiveth wages, John iv. 36. and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting.
To them, saith St. Paul, who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortal-'Amodásun
Rom. ii. 6, ity, God in recompence will bestow eternal life. And,
I have, faith that blessed labourer of himself, fought 2 Tim. iv. the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 7, 8. the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.
What more effectual spur or incentive can there be to industry in this business, than to consider that which St. Paul so often doth inculcate ; Knowing that Eph. vi. 8. whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same (a re- 2 Cor. v. compence for the same) he sball receive of the Lord; and knowing that (in confideration of our service Col. iii. 24. done to the Lord) of the Lord we shall receive the reward of the inheritance ?
What exhortation can be more firmly grounded, or strongly backed, than is that of the Apostle, Therefore, my brethren, be ye stedfaft, unmoveable, al- 1 Cor. xv. ways abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as 58. ye know, that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
May it not also much encourage us to industry, to be assured, that not only the kind of our work, but the degree of our labour shall be considered and requited, in just proportion ; so that the harder we work, the higher we shall be rewarded; for to each 'Amodásu ione, faith our Lord, the son of man shall render a reward xæta thy wpc Eur autó, according to his performance. 27. Every one, saith St. Paul, shall receive idior pic bòv nærà Cor. iii.
Rev. xxii. 12. ii. 23. Matt. xxv. 21. Luke xix, 12,
κάσο. . Matt. xvi.
SER M. tòrihoov xómov, bis proper reward according to his proXIV. per work ; whence we have reason to observe St.
John's advice, Look to yourselves, that ye lose not those Mua Bè maupo things which ye have gained, but that ye receive a full 2 John 8. reward.
To be negligent or nothful in such a case, for want of a little care and pains to forfeit such advantages, what a pity, what a folly is it! Were an opportunity presented, by a little minding our business, and bestirring ourselves, to procure a fair estate, or a good preferment, would not he be deemed mad or sottish, who would sit still, and forego that his advantage ? How much more wildness is it to be drowsy and
sluggish in this case, thereby losing eternal bliss and Heb. ii. 3. glory! Well therefore might the Apostle say, Horo
Mall we escape, if we negle&t so great salvation? How shall we escape, not only the fin and guilt of baseft ingratitude toward him that graciously doth offer it, but the imputation of most wretched folly, in being so much wanting to our own interest and welfare?
Is it not a sad thing, a woful shame, to observe what pains men will throw away upon things of small or no concernment to them? Yea, what toil and drudgery will they sustain in the service of Satan, in pursuit of sin, in the gratification of their vanities and lufts.
What pains will a covetous wretch take in scraping for pelf! How will he rack his mind with carking folicitude to get, to keep, to spare it! How will he tire his spirits with restless travel! How will he pinch his carcase for want of what nature craveth! What infamy and obloquy will he endure for his niggardly parsimony and fordidness!
How much labour will an ambitious fop undergo for preferment, or vain honour ! To how many tedious attendances, to how pitiful servilities will he submit! What fore crosses and disappointments