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what favour can we pretend to, if we presumptuous-S E R M. Jy shall offend, oppose that will, which is the fu- XIX. preme rule of justice, and sole 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 ftate, bereave him of his purchase, frustrate his undertakings, and forfeit to ourselves the benefit of so 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 kindness to us; who in all his dealings with us purely doth aim at our good, never charging any duty on us, or difpenfing any event to us, so much with intent to exercise his power over us, as to express his goodness towards us; who never doth aflict or grieve us more Lam. iii. 33. against our will, than against his own defire ; never indeed but when goodness itself calleth for it, and even mercy doth 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 deserve 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 difingenuity, 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 essential rectitude: how then can we thwart it, without being stained with the guilt, and woundcd with a sense of great irregularity and iniquity ? с с 4
It is the will of him, who is perfectly just; who xix. therefore cannot but affert his own righteous will,
and ayenge 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 : shall we then prefer the dreams of our vain mind before the oracles of his wisdom ? shall we, forsaking 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 good 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 with. standing his gracious intentions ?
It is finally the will of hini, 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 Ifa. xlvi.10. and plague us : for My counsel, faith he, shall stand,
and I will do all my pleasure. 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 sun 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 him, we may fight stoutly, we may in a fort
Dan. v. 23.
prove conquerors; but it will be a miserable victory, s e R M.
dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the 20, 21.
A Whit-Sunday Sermon of the Gift of the
Acts ii. 38.
And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
S ER M. ends of the observing festival solemnities (such as are comforting the poor by hospitable relief, refreshing the weary labourer by ceffation from ordinary toil, maintaining good will among neighbours, by cheerful and free conversation, quickening our spirits and raising our fancies by extraordinary representations and divertisements, infusing and preserving good humour in people *; such as are also the decent conspiring in publick expressions of special reverence to God, withdrawing our minds from secular cares, and engaging them to fpiritual meditations) the two principal designs of them seem to be these.
* Θεού δε οικτείραντες το των ανθρώπων επίπονον πεφυκός γένος, αναπαύλας τε αυτούς των πόνων ετάξαντο, των εορτών αμοιβές τους θεούς. Plata 2. de Leg.
Legum conditores feftos inftituerunt dies, ut ad hilaritatem homines publice congerentur, tanquam neceffarium laboribus interponentes temperamentum. Sen. de tranq. an. 15.