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REGENT COLLEGE PACKER COLLEL17ON This book is on loan from JAMES I. PACKER e< -40 -.------
r SERMONS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS DIVINE AND i11ORAL, N'ITH A SACRED HYMN SUITED TO EACH SUBJECT.
THE SERMONS AND PRACTICAL WORKS OF THE LATE ISAAC WATTS, D.D. VOL. IL aIbíott Preto: PRINTED BY JAMES DUNDEE, IVYLANE. FOR WILLIAMS AND SMITH, STATIONERS'- COURT. 1805.
PREFACE TO THIS EDITION. IT is truly remarked by Dr. JOHNSON', (speaking of our author), that " few men have left behind such purity of character, or such monuments of la- borious piety. He has provided instruction for all ages, from those who are lisping their first lessons, to the enlightened readers of Malebranche and Locke; he has left neither corporeal nor spiritual nature unexamined; he has taught the art of reasoning, and the science of the stars." Many of these pieces, however, are not of general interest, especially among those pious persons who are the chief admirers of Dr. WATTS. His school books, and books of science, are in great measure superseded by more modern publications, and later discoveries. His Logic and Improvement of the Mind are indeed invaluable; but these, as well as several other ofhis works, are already printed in every form and size. His Controversial Pieces are the least admired, and may be suffered to sleep in peace, unless soughtfor by a fezo curious minds, who delight in what the Doctor himself did notpolemical divinity. His SERMONS, and PRACTICAL PIECES, however, are unri- valled. It may be said of them, in. the language of a great author, " The critic ought to read themfor their G
Vi PREFACE TO THIS EDITION. elegance the philosopher for their argumentand ;the saint for their piety." It is not easy to do justice to the, character of the Doctor as a practical writer. Without the affectation of learning, _eloquence, or novelty; his discourses are always judicious, beautiful, and new. The matter of them is sweetly evangelical and experimental. While they address thejudgment they speak also to the heart; and while the language- is singularly perspicuous and simple, it is enriched with the most natural and striking illustrations,' which are never mean, though borrowed from the most familiar objects. But if on any topic he peculiarly excels, it is in addressing the afflicted and dis- consolate christian, to whom he opens the exhaustless stores; of evangelical' consolation ; while from the most cogent motives he urges to universal holiness andbenevo- lence. The eloquent Dr. KNox having occasion, in his Christian Philosophy, to quote a passage from our Author's Sermons, in which he says, " the reader will .find a'great deal of truly evangelical instruction," gives the following 'eulogy on the preacher : " Ike was not only a' devout 'and zealous Christian, but a profound scholar, a natural philosopher, a logician, and a meta- physician. His life and conversation exhibited 'a pattern ofevery Christian virtue. For my ownpart, (adds the Dr'.) I cannot but think` this good man approached as nearly to Christian perfection, as any mortal ever did in this sublunary state ; and therefore I consider him as a better interpreter of the Christian doctrines than the most learned critics, who, proud of their reason and their learning, neglected the very life and soul of Christianity, the living everlasting gospel, the superna- tural operation ofdivine grace."
PREFACE TO THIS EDITION. Vii The present edition is printed, under the superinten- dance of a dissenting minister, without mutilation or abridgment, from the best quarto edition of the Works, published under the care of Drs. Doddridge and Jen- nings, which arenow equally scarce anddear. We shall only add, that the largeness and clearness of the type will recommend this edition to aged persons, to whom former octavo editions were ineligible, either as being in too small a letter, or too crouded. Those who admire elegant typography, and wish to encourage the publication of the best works in a suitable dress of neatness and elegance, will be grated by our superior edition in royal octavo ; while those to whom aconomy is a necessary.duty, willfind the inferior edition perfectly answerable to their wishes, whetherfor use in the closet or the FAMILY, to which latter purpose most of the Discourses are admirably suited, though by no means confined.
DEDICATION TO THE FIRST VOLUME OF SERMONS. 1,111/111. TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST ASSEMBLING IN BERRY-STREET, LONDON. Christian Friends, dearly beloved in our Lord, IT is in the service ofyour souls that Ihave spent the best period ofmy life ministering thegospel among you. Two and twentyyears are now ex- pired, since you first called me to this delightfulwork; and from that timò nay cares and labours, my studies andprayers, have been employed in your behalf. I trust they have been accepted with God, and, through his al- mighty blessing, have obtained some success. As to their acceptance with you, Ihave too many and plain evidences to admit a doubt of it ; which I have often thankfully acknowledged to God and you. Your forward kindness bath always forbid my requests, nor do I remember that you ever gave me leave to ask auy thing for myself at your hands, by your con- stant anticipation of all that .1 could reasonably desire. While I was thus walking among, you in the fellowship of the gospel with mutual delight, God was pleased to weaken my strength in the way, and thereby has given you á fairer opportunity to show the vigour of your affection under my long weaknessand confinement. Your diligence and zeal in maintaining public worship in the church, under the pastoral care of my dear brother and colleague*, your special days and hours of prayer for my recovery, your constant and fervent addresses to the throne ofgrace on my account, in your weekly solemn assemblies, and your chearfulsupply of my necessities under so tedious an affliction, have made me your debtor in a high degree, and have strengthened the bands of my duty, by adding to them the bands of your love. As soon as I was capable of the smallest attempt of service, you re ceived me with all joy in the Lord: And though we Were rivals in this pleasure, yet" you will allow that my joywas, at least equal to yours; for I, think I can pronounce it with great sincerity, that " there is no place, nor company, nor employment, on this side heaven, that can give mesuch a relish of delight, as(when I stand ministering holy things in the mickt ofyou." As fast as my health increases, you may assure yourselves it is devoted to your edification. It often grieves me to think how poor, feeble, and short, are mypresent labours among you ; and yet what days offaintness Igenerallyfeel after every such attempt : So that I am continuallyprevented in my design of successive visits toyou, by the want of active spirits while I tarry in the city; and if I attempt to stay but a week or ten days there, I find a sensible return of weakness; so that I am constrained to retire to the ,ebuntry-air, in order to recruit and maintain this little capacity ofservice. I bless God heartily, and you are my witnesses; that inmy better seasons of health heretofore, and in the intervals ofmy studies, Iwas not a stranger to your private families, nor thoughtless of your souls' improvement. What shall I do now to make up these defects ? What can I do more pleasing and profitable toyou, than to seize the advantages of my retirement, * Mr. Samuel Price. a
4 it DEDICATION. to. review some of those discourses which have assistedYour filth andjoy ill my former ministry, and to put them into your hands f Titus something of me shall abide in your several houses, while Iam so incapable ofmuchpúb- lic labour, and ofpersonal visits. - This, myfriends; is the true design of sending this volume to the press: And though many of my brethren may compose far better sermons than I, whose persons I lore and hanour, and their labours I readwith reverenceand improvement, yet I am persuaded, that sharewhich I have inyour af'ections, will render these discóurses at least as agreeable to your taste, as those of superior excellencyfrom otherhands. Ifany other christians shall think fit toperuse them, and find any spiritual benefit, they must make their acknow- ledgments to God and you. I cannot invite the loose andfashionablepart ofmankind, the vain censors . of the age, and the deriders of the ministry, to become my readers : Too -many of them grow weary of christianity, and look hack upon heathenism with a zvi.shfìtl eye, as Me Jews did of old upon thé leeks and onions of Egypt, when theygrew angry with Moses, and began to loathe the bread ofheaven. Thesepersons will find but little here that suits their taste; for Ihave not entertained you with lectures of philosophy, instead of the gos- pel of Christ ; nor hare I afected that easy indolence of style which is the delight of some modish writers, the cold and insipid pleasure Of meta who pretend to politeness. You know it has always been the business of myministry to convince and persuade your 'souls into practical godliness, by the clearest and strongest 'reasons derived from the gospel, and by all the most moving methods of speech, ofwhich I was capable ; but still in a humble subserviency to thepromised influences of the Holy Spirit, I ever thought it my, duty to press the 'conviction with force on the conscience, when light wasfirst let into the mind. A statue hung round with moral sentences, or a marble pillar with divine truths inscribed upon it, may preach coldly to the Understanding, while devotionfreezes at the heart: But the prophets and apostles were burning and shining lights; they were all taught by inspiration to make the words of truth glitter like sun-beams, and to operate like a hammer, and a fire, and á two-edged sword*. The movements of sacred passion may be the ridicule of an age which pretends to nothing but calm reasoning. Life and zeal in the ministry of the word, may despised by men of luke-warm and dying religion: Fervency of spirit in theservice of the Lord ¢, may become theseeandjest of the critic and the profane: But this very life and zeal, this sacred fervency, shall still remain one bright character of a christian preacher, till the names of Paul and Apollos perishfront the church; and that is, till this bible and these' heavens are no more. la some of these discourses indeed I have not had the opportunity of so warm and affectionate an address to the hearers. A true andjust.explica- tion of scripture and a convincing proof of the doctrines proposed, have been thechiefthings necessary yet I have endeavoured even there, togive a practicaland pathetic turn, as far as the design of the text would bear it : But in the other sermons I blame myselfmorefor the wind ofzeal anddevout passion, than for the excess of it. I will readilyconfess, there are here and there some periods where the language appears a little too elevated, though not too warm; I know it not the proper style of the pulpit; but there is some difference between speakingand writing. In one the ear must take in the sense at once ; in the other, the eye may review what the first glance did not fully receive' s 2 Cor. iv. 4, 6. John v. 35.. Jer. xxiii. 29. - kleb. iv. 12. f Acts xvüi. 25. Rom. xü. 11.
DLDICATION. .Besides, myfriendly readers will now and then indulge ametaphor, to one who, from his youngest years, has dealt a little in sacred. poesy. You are .my witnesses, that in the common course of my ministry, I often press the duties of sobrietyand temperance, justice and charity, aswell as the inward and spiritual parts of godliness. But since treatises on these latter subjects are seldom published now-a-days, Ihave permitted the mat- ters of secret converse between God and the holy soul, to take up a larger share in these discourses; and it has been my aim to rescue these argu- meats from the charge of enthusiasm, and to 'put' them in. such a light, as might shay their perfect consistence with common- sense and reason. Here- by I have done my part to defend them against the daily cavils of those low pretenders to christianity, who banish most of these things from their religion,, and ,yet arrogate and confine all reason to themselves. It is necessary that a christian preacher should teach the laws of sobriety, the rules of charity and justice, our duty to-our neighbour, and our prac- tice cfpublic religion, -but it is my opinion that discourses ofexperimental piety, and the work ofthe closet, should also sometimes entertain the church and the World. Our fathers talked muck of pious experience, and have left their writings .of the same strain behind them: They Were surrounded with converts, and helped to fill heaven apace ; for God was with them. But I mourn to think that some are grown so degenerate in our darts, as to join their names and their works together in a common jest, and to ridicule the sacred matter of their sermons, because the manner had noz6 and then something in it too mystical and obscure, and there is something in their style unfashionable and unpolished. It must be acknowledged indeed, to the honour of the present age, t.',at we hare- some pretences above our predecessors, to freedom and justness of thought, to strength of reasoning, to clear ideas, to the generous princi-' pies of christian charity;. and I wish we had the practice of it too. But as to the savour ofpiety, and inward religion; as to spiritual-mindedness, and zeal for God, and the good of souls; as to the spirit and power of evangelical. ministrations, we may all complain, theglory is muchdeparted from our Israel. Happy the men who are so far assisted and favouredof God, as to unite all these excellencies, and to join the honours ofthe past' and present age together ! Howfar it has been attempted amongst you, I have a Witness in your consciences : and though I keep a.sincere andpainful' sense within me of my great defects on either side, yet I must still pursue the same attempt; and with reverence and zeal I beg leave to' trace the footsteps of my brethren, who come nearest to this shining character. In all these things I rejoice, and cannot conceal my joie, that my kind and fcaitlful companion in the service of your souls, practises his ministry with the same views and designs; and he ]lath been sensibly owned and assisted of God, to support, and to build up the church, during mrl long confinement. His labours of love both for you andfor me, shall ever en- dear hire both to me and you. May the divine blessinggloriously attend his double services in the seasons of my absence and painful restraint! May your united prayers prevail for my restoration to the full exercise of my ministry amongyou! And mayyou all receive such lasting benefit by our associated labours, that -yon may stand up, and appear as our crown and our,Joy in the great day of the Lord! This is the continual' and heartt . prayer of rly dear Friends, Your ufectionate and afflicted Theobald's, in Hertfordshire, Servant in the gospel, February 21, 1720-21. 1. WATT
PREFACE.* I AM bound to give thanks to God always, for the acceptance that, my sermons have found among the more pious and religious part of nman- kind. As it hath been the chief design of my ministry to explain the common and most important things of our religion, to the understanding of every christian, and to impress the most necessary duties of it on the spirit andconscience, so when lam solicited to make my labours yet more public, J would repeat the same work; I would fain give my readers the clearest conceptions of someof the great articles of christianity, and draw out the plain principles of truth which are in the head, to a powerful and holy influence over the heart and life. These discourses have but a little hope to gratify those curious minds, who turn over the leaves superficially to search if there be ,any new disco- veries in them, anal being disappointed, lay down the bookwith disdain : My chief intent was to entertain and assist those humble christians, who converse in secrét with God and their own souls. And since it is the custom of many persons to read a sermon in the eveningof the Lord's-day, aspart of their family-worship, I was desirous also to suit the'sermons which I publish to such a pious service. Now when the discourses which are rehearsed in families have much of criticism and speculation in them, or long and difficult trains of reasoning, every one may observe, what a negligent air sits impon the faces of the hearers, what a drowsyattention is given to this religious exercise, and the greatest part of the household finds very little improvement. I grant, it is sometimes necessary to preach, and print such discourses whichare more critical and laborious in exposition of difficult texts, and which, by artificial trains of argument, may penetrate deep into the hid- den things of God, and " bring forth things new as well as old." But I am content to wave the honour of such performances in the more general . course of my labours, whether of the pulpit or the press, and chiefly to pursue those methods which more directly tend to the edification of the bulk of mankind in the knowledgeof Christ and in practical godliness. Weare too often ready to judge that to be the best sermon, which has many strange thoughts in it, many fine hints, and some grand and polite sentiments. But a christian in his best temper of mindwill say, "That is a good sermonwhich brings my heart nearer to God, which makes the grace of Christ sweet to my soul, and the. commands 'of Christ easy and delightful: That is an excellent discourse indeed which enables me to mortify some unruly sin, to vanquish a strong temptation, and weans me from all the enticements of this lower world ; that which bears me up aboveall the disquietudes of life, which fits me for the hour of death, and makes me ready and desirous to appear before Christ Jesus my Lord." if In. the fifthedition the three volumes in 12mo. were reduced into two in 8vo. and theprefaces abridged and united by the author.
PREFACE. +l' the publication of these discourses shall be so happy, us through the influ- ence of the BlessedSpirit to attain these ends, 1 have obtained my best aim and hope, and will ascribe the glory to God my Saviour; The first sermons which I published * were taken up chiefly in the more spiritual parts of our religion, and such as' relate more immediately to the secret transactions of the soul with God, and with his son Jesus Christ. In several following discourses, I have attempted toexplainmany duties of the Christian life w`.achrefer to our fellow-creatures. I hope no manwho loves the gospel of Christ, will knit his brow, and throw disgrace upon the book, with a contempt of dull morality : If such a person would give himself leave to peruse these sermoils, perhaps he would meet with so much of Christ and the gospel in them,. that he might learn to love his Saviour better than ever he did, and find how necessary moral duties.are to make his own religion either safe or honourable : While " we are saved by faith" in the blood and righteousnessof the Son of God, we must remem- ber also, that it is such a " faith as worketh by love," for " faith without works-is (lead," and useless to.all.purposes of hope and salvation. My design iii these sermons is to represent vice and virtue in their proper colours. 1 fòresee that many readers will quickly spy out their neigh- bours' names amongst the .vicious or unlovely characters; but it.would turn perhaps to their better account,..if they can find their own: for there is many a -description here that a hundred persons may lay a righteous claim to. It was my business to set a faithful glass before the face of con- science, bywhich we may examine ourselves, and learn " what manlier of persons we are and I pray God to keep it daily before my own eves. I acknowledge my clefects, and stand corrected in many of my own ser- mons. Blessed be God for a Mediator who is exalted to give repentance and forgiveness of sins!" Yet it may not be an improper or unsuccessful method of reproof, t fold down a useful leaf now and then for a friend, and give him notice in sucli an inoffensive manner of any blemishes that may belong to his cha- racter. Thus thesilent page shall bestow upon him the richest benefit of friendship; it maywhisper in his ear a secret word of admonition; and convey it to his conscience without offence. Such a gentle monitor may'. awaken him to inward shame and penitence; may rouse his virtue to shine' baighter than ever, and scatter the clouds that hung dark upon the evi- dence of his graces. . Since I first published these discourses j-, the world has been furnished.' with a more completeaccount of most of these subjects, in that excellent' treatise called the " ChristianTemper," which my worthy friend Doctor Evans bath sent abroad, and which is, perhaps, the most complete suin- nary of those duties which make up the christian life, that bath been published in our age. The next three sermons are employed on that 'divine subject, which I am ready to call, the chief .wQnder' amid glory of the christian religion, that is, " the great atonement for sin made by the death of Christ, and the prac- tical uses derived thence i." This is the blessed foundation of our hope, which I have endeavoured to set in a clear light, and to support by reason- ing drawn from the types and predictions of the Old Testament, and the clearer language of the New. This is that grace and that righteousness which was witnessed by the law and the prophets, as St. Paul expresses it, Rum. iii. 24. This is that important work of the blessed Saviour, who *21st February, 1720-21. 1. 25th ;,larch, 1723. $They were ßrstpublished 25th March, 1727.
xEPACLr. N was promised to the guilty world ever since the fall, and whose various . glories have been well represented, according to ancient prophecy, in a happy correspondence with the doctrine of the New Testament, by a vo- lume of " Discourses on the Messiah, " lately published byDr. William Harris. I wonder how any man can read all these correspondencies of the type, prophecy, and history, and not be covinced that Jesus was the ap- pointed Saviour of the world. The several sermons that follow next, are all formed upon some of the most momentous concerns of a christian, viz. how to improve every thing for the advantage of our own souls ; how to look on all things as work- ing for our good : how to employ the time of life to noble purposes, and such as the saints above can never be employed in; and to improve the death of others to valuable ends in the christian life, and especially to a preparation for our own departure. The death of that worthy gentle- . mean and excellent Christian, Sir Thomas Abney, gave the ,first occasion to some of these meditations, for the use of the mourning family, which were much amplified afterwards in my public ministry. Here I have en- deavoured to awaken myself and my friends to an immediateand' constant readiness for a dismission from this sinful, and sorrowful, and tempting 'world : And God grant when that awful hour approaches, I may be so far honoured by divine grace, as to become an example as well as a teacher. The last discourse of all, exhibits the " most plain and obvious repre- sentation of the dottrineof the blessed Trinity, as it lies in the bible, and the great and necessary use that is to be made of it in our religion." It is a doctrine that runs through the whole of our serious transactions with God, and therefore it is necessary to be known by men. Without the mediation' of the Son, and the influences of the Spirit, we can find no way of access to the Father, nor is there any other hope of his favour proposed in the gospel. I thought it proper also, to publish it at this season, to Iet the world know, that though I have entered into some further enquiries on this divine subject, and,made humble attempts to gain clearer ideas of it, in order to 'vindicate the truth and glory of this sacred article; yet I have never changed my belief and profession of any necessary and important part of it, as will here appear with abundant evidence: In this sermon I have followedthe track of no particular scheme what- soever; but have represented the sacredThree,' the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in that light in which they seem to lie most open to this common view of mankind in the word of God And I ant glad to find what hhave drawn out in this manner into seventeen propositions, appears o agreeable to the general sense of our fathers in this article, that I do not think anyone of these propositionswould be denied or disputed by our divines of the last or present age, who have had the greatest name and re- putation of strict orthodoxy. If I may express the substance of it in á fewwords, it is this It seems tome to be plainly and evidently revealed in scripture, " That both the . Son and the HolyGhost have such a communion in true and eternal god-head, as to have the same names, titles, attributes and operations ascribed to them, which are elsewhere ascribed to the Father, and which belong only to the trueGod: And yet that there is such a plain distinc- tion between them, as is sufficient to support their distinct personal cha- racters and offices in the great work of our salvation:" And this is what hasbeen generally called the trinitarian doctrine, or the doctrine of three - persons and oneGod. 3
,PREFACE. Af the endof all the latter sermons I have endeavoured .4o assist Chris- tians in thê devout recollectionof what they hear or read in a way ofpious converse with their own hearts, and with God In most of those medita- tions, the reader will find the principal heads of the foregoing sermons re- hearsed. Where the sermons are toq long to be read in a family at once, I have marked out proper pauses, that the religious service may not be made tedious. May the great God vouchsafe to send his own Almighty Spirit, wheresover his providence shall disperse these weak labours of mine in the world, and attend themwith his sovereign power and blessing for the welfare Of immortal souls! Amen.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I. SERMONS, ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS, D IViNE AND MORAL. reca SERMON I. II. III. The Inward Witness to Christianity. 1 John v. 10. 1, 16, 31 IV. Flesh and Spirit; or, the Principles of Sin and Holi- ness. Romans viii. 1. 55 V. VI. The Soul drawing near to God in Prayer; Sins and Sorrows spread before God. Job xxxiii. 3, 4. - - - - 78, 95 VII. VIII. A Hopeful Youth falling Short of Heaven. MarkX. 21. 112, 129 IX. X. The Hidden Life of a Christian. Col. iii. 3. 148, 169 XI. Nearness to God, the Felicity of Creatures. Ps. lxv. 4. 192 XII. TheScaleof Ele sednessa Or-,, Blessed Saints, Blessed Saviour, and Blessed Trinity. Ps. lxv. 4. 200 --- XIII. XIV. Appearance before God here and hereafter, Ps. xlii. 2. - 226, 241 XV. XVI. XVII. A Rational Defence of theGospel : or, Courage in Professing Christianity. Rom. i. 16. - 256, 273, 288 XVIII. XIX. Faith the Way to Salvation, and none ex- cluded from Hope, Rom. i. 16. 303, 317 , XX. XXI. XXII. Christian Morality, viz. Truth, Sin- cerity. efc. Phil. iv. 8. 332, 319, 363 --- XXIII. Christian Morality, viz. Gravity, Decency, 6T. Phil. iv. 8. 380 XXIV. XXV. Christian Morality, viz. Justice, Equity, and Truth. Phil. iv. 8. 395, 410 -- XXVI. XXVII. Christian Morality, viz. Justice, Purity, Temperance, Chastity, and Modèsty. Phil. iv. 8. - - - 425, 444 -- XXVIII. Christian Morality, viz. a Lovely Carriage, 4c. Phil. iv. 8. 454 XXIX. Christian Morality, viz. Thingsof Good Report, 4c. Phil. iv. 8. , - - - 474 XXX. Christian Morality, wiz. Courage and Honour, Virtue and Praise. Phil. iv. 8. ' 490
SERMONS. SERMONXXXI. HOLY FORTITUDE, OR REMEDIES AGAINST FEAR. 1 con. xvi. 13. Stand fast in the Faith, quit you like Men, be strong. IN the first ages of Christianity, the professors of the gospel had great need of divine courage, that they might stand the many shocks of opposition, reproach and vio- lence. The Corinthian heathens, though they were a polite and learned people, yet they were blind and ob- stinate in their own superstitions and idolatry,' and root- ed in the profane and vicious customs of their ancestors. It required a large stock of holy fortitude, to profess and practise a new religion among them, that ran counter to all their former opinions, and their manners. Therefore St. Paul, who planted the gospel in that city, calls upon his converts to shake off cowardice and fear, to stand firm and unmoved in the profession of their faith, to behave like men of war, like heroes, in the practice of christianity, and to exert all their strength of soul in this glorious work. Stand fastin the faith, quit you like men, be strong." It is true, we live not in a heathen country, among lewd and barbarous superstitions: The land where our lot is cast, is honoured with the christian name, and professes the religion of Jesús; yet let me tell you, in- fidelity is a growing temptation Of this age, the gospel of Christ Bath plentifulridicule thrown upon` it, by many of our neighbours that go under the name of christians, vol.,. 11. g
2 HOLY FORTITUDE, [BERM. XXX and we May. s'ömetinies be called to put on courage for the defence of this gospel. But besides this, there are many things occurring in the divine life, that require us to put on this holy forti- tude of soul. The very nature of men is so corrupt and vicious, their hearts are so averse to the holy precepts of christianity, the multitude of sinners is so exceeding great in every nation, even where the gospel is profess- ed, the customs of this world are so contrary to the rules of the gospel, and the malice and rage of Satan with his evil angels, are so constant and so violent against the re- ligion and the name of Christ, that it is true at all times, as well as in the primitive age, " that all that will live godly inChrist Jesus shall suffer persecution," 2 Tim. iii. 12. When we become soldiers of Christ, and resolve to be religious in good earnest, we must reckon upon ene- mies and oppositions, we must be prepared to endure hardness; chapter ii. verse 3. Our business therefore is, to seek for a spirit of power and holyfortitude, that we may be void of fear in the professionof our faith, and in the practice of our daily. duties. Not the Corinthians only, but we also, "must watch, and stand fast in the faith. we must quit our- selves like, men, and be strong." If we are frighted at the sound of every reproach, or terrified by the fierce opposition of a wicked world, we shall be in danger of turning back from the paths of christianity, and of losing the heavenly prize. Such doctrines, and such practices as the gospel teaches, require the professors of them to be bold and valiant. And besides the difficulties we shall meet with from a. degenerate and sinful world, there are many other trials that attend the christian life. Sorrows and sufferings belong to human nature, in this fallen and unhappy state : " Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward," Job v. 7. This earth is designed for a stage of conflict, a scene of probation, where each of us must act our parts, under the eye and notice of God our supreme governor, dhd our final rewarder. He expects that we should put on a sacred hardiness ofsoul ; he 'requires that we should not indulge a spirit of fear, but be armed with power and courage, that we may endure to the end. And blessed be his name that he bath given us promises tQ'
SEAM. XXXI.I OR R$ME11$S AGAINST FAR 3 raise our hope, that as he endued his people in ancient times With his grace, so he will bestow this spirit of holy fortitude upon us also, and that as our day is, so our strength shall be. To cast my discourse into some method, I shall, First, Briefly describe this divine temper of mind. In the next place, Secondly, I would represent the various occasions which we shall find for the exercise of it. Thirdly, I shall mention a fewmotives to excite us to acquire this holy fortitude, and to maintain it throughout our whole course of life. And, Fourthly, Propose some remedies against a spirit of slavish fear, which is directly opposite to this christian virtue. The first thing proposed is, to describe what I mean by fortitude and courage; and to this end, we musk distinguish it into that of the active and that of the pas- sive kind. Active valour or courage, is such a temper of soul, as to attempt and venture upon any bold act of duty, which may endanger our present ease, and worldly interest; and prompts us to pursue it with a becoming steadiness and bravery of mind, undaunted at every opposition we meet with, and unterrified at all the threatening dangers that stand in our way. Passive valour is such an habitual firmness and con- stancy of soul, as enables us to bear what sufferings we fall under, without repinings and inward vexations, and., without any outward tokens of sinking or despondency. When we sustain heavy sorrows, or anguish of the flesh, without any wild and unreasonable groanings of nature, without rage and unbecoming resentment; without tumult and confusion of spirit. And this should be the temper of our souls, and our christian conduct, whether the sufferings which we feel; arise from the immediate hand of God, or from the injustice and violence of men. In the second place, I come to represent the various occasions that we shall fund in the christian life, for the exercise of this holy courage, and that under both kinds of it viz. the active and the passive, or that which con- sists in doing, and that which consists in suffering; and I shall enlarge upon each of them in a practical way. B
4 HOLY FORTITUDE, - EMAIL XXXI. Active valour is necessary for a professor of the Chris- tian faith : And when and wheresoever divine providence gives us any just occasions for the exercise of this sort of fortitude, let no Christian refuse them, or shamefully withdraw from his duty. The occasions we have for it are such as these: I. When we are called to profess and practise strict piety, even under the special view and notice. of profane sinners. Perhaps our dwelling may be cast among pro- fligate wretches, who live without God in the world ; but we must not be afraid to own, that we fear the great God, and that we worship that awful name, which their blasphemies affront and vilify. Nor must we be asham- ed to let the world know, that wecannot pass a daywith- out calling upon our God, and that prayer is as neces- sary to us as our daily food. It is strange and monstrous that it should ever be accounted a matter of shame among creatures to acknowledge the God. that made them, or that it should ever need any courage to profess homage and adoration to our Creator ! What degene- rate times do we live in, that it should requiresome forti- tude to tell the world, that we who are creatures confess a God ! And yet sometimes even this very fortitude is wanting, and we are contented to look like atheists, lest we should be thought religious. Base cowardice ! and degenerate times indeed ! When we happen into the company of infidels and apostates from Christianity, who throw their impious jests on the gospel. of Christ, we may find a. plain call of providence to stand up for his name and honour. It is true, there are few of us who are sent to travel beyond the seas, and to engage fin necessary converse about religion with heathens; but I hinted before, that infidelity is a growing mischief of the present age, :even in our own land. It seems to be a spreading infection, and how far the great God may suffer it to prevail, lie only knows. There are multitudes already that have made shipwreck of the faith of Christ, and betake them- selves only to the dira and glimmering light of nature, as a sufficient refuge for their souls, and their only guide in matters of religion : A poor doubtful guide, and a dangerous refuge ! And yet these men are continually instructing one another to wage' wax against the blessed
SBRM. XXXI.] OR REMEDIES AGAINST FEAR. sr gospel, and rise in arms of defiance against the only Saviour. ' It is proper then for us to enquire, are we ready to declare ourselves christians if we are called to it, when deists and scoffers surround us with their abo- minablejests, or their wanton cavils? For though some- times they argue against our creed with calmness and decency, yet it must be confessed that those are the most common weapons which this sort of men make use of. Darewe now make a profession of our faith among men of infidelity, and not value their banter, and their inso- lent reproaches? Let us remember, that christian cou- rage must encounter mockery and slanders as well as other terrors: Courage must guard us against sinful shame, as well as against sinful fear. Can we glory in a crucified Saviour as the wisdom and the power of God, if we should be placed between the Jews on one side, and the heathens on the other, who load this doe, trine with folly and scandal. St. Paul was a brave ex- ample ; O that every soul of us could as bravely imitate him ! But let us proceed to some more occasions of- courage a -kin to this. Perhaps we content ourselves to be christians in our . closets, and to frequent the public assemblies of worship without shame or fear, because our neighbours do the same : But I would enquireof such general professors of christianity, why are you so backward to give up your: names to Christ, and attend on the special ordinance of his holy supper ? Is it not because you are ashamed to appear in such a strict profession of godliness, and to be known and observed by the world, as those that have devoted themsel\ es to 'the Lord in his church? This is certainly the case of some younger converts. Let them herebe put in mind of their former neglects, and their present duty. Be strong in the Lord, banish a shameful . shame, and seal your covenant in the blood of Christ. His cross is your hope, and why should you not make it yourglory too? If you are ashamed of such a_public profession in peaceful times, what will ye do if days of trial should come? Would you be ready tovindicate your separation from the church of Rome, and all its superstitions ? Would you have courage enough to maintain the purity ofyour profession, andyour close adherence., to scrip -. B3
6 'HOLY FORTITUDE, rS&RM. XX%i, ture, in opposition to all the inventions and traditions of men ? Would your heart be strong to persist in your peculiar practices of religion, in the most scriptural forms of it, in an hour of persecution and danger'? Bless- ed be God for a .protestant king on the throne, and a glorious.race of protestant princes to succeed him. May the blessings of heaven from above descend on them all, and render them in their successions an everlasting bless- ing to Great Britain and all the protestant churches !. But a christian indeed should be so formed, and so fur- nished, as to be ready to profess andpractise his religion} in every nation, and in every age, in the midst of storms. as well as under the shining sun. III. When we are called to practise an unfashionable virtue, or to refuse compliancewith any fashionable vice, This is another occasion that demands the exercise of Christian fortitude. . Let us survey a few instances of this kind. It is an unfashionable thing now-a-days to introduce a vvord of practical godliness into company:. The polite world will tell us, it spoils conversation: Mark, what a silence is spread over the room, when any person dares to begin so disagreeable a subject; there is none to se- cond him, he may preach alone, and it is well if he escapes a profane scoff. This is a very true, but a very shameful account of things, according to the present mode. Any thingbut religion is thought fit to entertain a friend. Evenwhere persons of piety meet together in their.visits, this sort of language is banished from com- pany and the parlour, and it is confined only to God and the closet. Alas ! we are ashamed to, appear truly reli- gieus ; but if we had holy courage enough, one person would' not be afraid to begin, nor another to carry on such divine discourse. There are surely some happy moments wherein an useful word may be introduced with prudence and decency, to warm each other's hearts, and to rekindle the holy fire of love and devotion that is ala 'most expiring. Again, perhaps we may be much engaged in theworld among persons that make no conscience of speaking truth: But if we would be Christians indeed, we must have courage enough always to spew a hatred of false- hood, and.. keep up a tenderness of spirit, lest we be
SERIVI. XXXI.] OR RF.AIEDIES AGAINST FEAR. 7 drawn to the borders of a lie; nor must we be ashamed to let the world know that we are the devoted servants of truth. When some knavish or unjust practice has overspread city or a country, and become almost unit'ersal, we must dare to be honest in a cheating world; wë must maintain our righteousness, and let it shine in the midst of a deceitful age, though perhaps we maybe called scru- pulous fools. Ifwe happen to be engagéd in necessary business with persons who drink to excess, we , must boldly deny the imposed glass, we must secure our own sobriety, èven in the midst of drunkards, and as much as possible avoid their society: Nor should any scandalous names of puri- tan and precisian affright us from the paths of strict ho- liness. When we meet with gross affronts in the world, we may be made the scorn and jest, of all the company, if we decline the modish customsof satisfaction and bloody revenge; we may be charged with cowardice among the ruffians of the age; but a man of honour must have-con- rage to bear this charge, unless he will venture to run upon the sword of God which is drawn and, pointed against revenge, duelling, and murder. When the fashion of dress or visits, of salutations or entertainments, exceeds the bounds of modesty or tem- perance, or intrenches upon truth or religion, we must bravely dare to be unfashionable, and have no fellow- ship with any unfruitful works of darkness, .kph. v. I I. We must obey the great andholy God, rather thanCom- ply with the sinful customs of men. "'Tis brave to meet the world, stand fast among Whole crowds; and.not be carry'd with the'thraieg.* I grant that religion doth not consistin singularity, but there are some seasons when we must be singular, if we would be 'holy, and exert a sacred fortitude of soul, to secure ourselves from the defilements of the world. " Come out from among them, is the language of God, in such cases, touch not the unclean thing, and be ye separate, saith the Lord," 2, Cor. vi. 17. ITT. Another instance of necessary courage is, when 4
s HOLY FORTITUDE, [SERM, XXXI. we are called to undertake the cause of the oppressed, to plead for the poor against the mighty, or to vindicate the innocent against the men of slanderor violence. It is a cowardly spirit, a spirit of shameful pride, or selfish meanness, to trample upon those that are lying .upon.the ground, to tread upon the poor and the distressed, and sometimes through fear of the mighty, as well as scorn of the poor, to neglect the cries ofthose that are injured. This indeed is the custom of the world ; but if we be the disciples of Christ, we must have more courage than this, we must " open our mouth for the dumb," and plead the cause of those that cannot speak for them- selves, Prov. xxxi. 8. When we happen into company that delight in scandal, and the slander goes round from tongue to tongue, we must first guard our lips from the infamous compliance, though we cannot defend our ears: And then we should have some Compassion on the absent person, who per- haps may be loaded with calumny and lies : I\Tor should We be afraid or ashamed to put in a relieving word ; to support the good name of those that are oppressed by malicious reproaches. And if the censure be never so just, yet where providence doth not plainly call us to join in that censure, let us not betray such an inclination to evil-speaking; nor show such a base and mean soul, as to call names for company. Where the life or the estate of our neighbour is in dan- ger, we must venture something to secure it, as well as to defend his good name. This advice is given in Prov. xxiv. 11, 12. " If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn out to death, 'and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, behold we knew it not, doth not he that pondereth the heart consider ?" That is, if there are any persons drawnout to death, and ready to be slain by sinful oppression, and that thou hast a just and reasona- ble power in thine hand to preserve them, it is not thy duty to stand still or hide thyself, and say, behold Ï knew it not." He that lets the ox or the ass of his neighbour go astray or sink under a burden, and passeth away regardless as though he did not know it, is under the censure of the word of God ; and much more do we deserve the censure, if we abandon our fellow-creatures ofhumannature to perish, when we are able to save them,
GERM. XXXI. OR REMEDIES AGAINST FEAR. 9 The all-wise and almightyGod considers it, and he will not approve of such meanness of spirit, and such a shameful defect of christian charity. V. It is a work which calls for courage. to admonish our brethren when they depart from the ways of righte- ousness, and to reprove sin among those with whom we converse, The law of God requires it; Lev. six. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine_ heart : .thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not safer sin upon him. It is expressed as though a neglect of re- proof, where it is a duty, looks like a sort of hatred, or want of love. But for the most part it is want of cou rage'forbids it. Let it be done with holy boldness; but without wrath and resentment, or selfish revenge ; let it be expressed and managed with all love and gentleness, with all humility and compassion, and with a becoming exercise of those lovely characters of moderation and meekness, which I have elsewhere described. Nathan the prophet ingeniously reproved David the king, for his adultery and murder. And we. should learn the most artful and obliging methods, and the softest language of reproof, that we may practise it with more courage, security, and success; and the more secret it is, it will generally be most successful. If at any time we are called by most evident provi- dence, to give an open rebuke in the face of the world, together with courage, we must put on all wisdom and humility, Lest we publish our own conceit and pride, and provoke wrath without hope of success. When we re- buke the profane and impious wretch, for the most glaring iniquity, we should use our best prudence in dis- tinguishing proper seasons, " lest we cast a pearl before swine, and it become, useless, and be trodden under foot,' Mat. vii. 6. Sometimes it is hard to know what is our duty in this respect, but -thus far in general it may be said, This should be done whensoever there is a great and evident probability of doing service to God and souls by it: MVhersoever a vindication of the name of God and his honour requires it, or when there is any just hope of doing good to men; there is indeed a time to keep silence in this case, and there is a time to speak, O may the word,' and Spirit, and providence of God join together
HOLY FORTITUDE, [SERM. XXXI. to give us direction in this difficult duty, and encourage to perform it ! VI. Reformation ofall kinds, whether in families or churches, in cities, or nations, demands a good degree of resolution and courage. It is a brave and daring enterprize, to stem the torrent of the age we live in, and to attempt to change the vici- ous customs of a city or nation. We must have a soul inspired with zeal for piety and goodness, if we would contest the point with the guilty, and cover them with deserved shame, or bring them to deserved punishment. Blessed be God, there are societies formed inour age for this glorious purpose ! May everlasting success attend their zeal, and may their heads be covered with divine protection in every hour of danger! We have need of courage to stand up for truth and purity in the church of Christ, when it is over-run with corrupt doctrines, wicked heresies, superstitions, and false worship. We must use our endeavour to root out these evil weeds by all the sacred influences ofreason and scripture; not by rage and violence, not by fraud and falsehood, not by slander and scandalous language, not by calling in the power of the magistrate and the sword of the state to assist us; Christ hath not allowed his fol- lowers such weapons as these against superstition and heresy: " The sword of the Spirit is the word of God," Eph. vi. 17. " The weapons of our warfare are not carnal," 2 Cor. x. 4. And when we have endeavoured to reform the offen- ders by all christian methods, and find no success, we must dare to separate ourselves from the many and the mighty, who will not be reformed. This was the glori- ous practice of our fathers, the protestants and the puri- tans, in the several seasons of their reformation, when they were called to oppose the greater or the lesser cor- ruptions of the christian church. If our kindred or families are fallen into any foolish, vain, or sinful practices,or any civil society to which we belong bath departed from the rules of justice or truth, it belongs to a christian to become a public good, by using his influence, as far as it goes, toward the rectifying of every disorder. He should put on a divine fortitude, whensoever providence calls him to attempt a reforma- tion amongst them.
GERM. XXXI.) OR REMEDIES AGAINST FEAR. There is need of a noble spirit and a pious bravery, to rise up against any foolish or vicious customs, to combat any rooted principles or habits of error or iniquity, and to oppose any number of persons that are engaged in an evil course. Moses forbids us to follow a multitude to do evil, E.x, xxiii. And there are seasons when we may be called to oppose a multitude of evil-doers And though no man stand by us, yet we are bound to stand by the cause of God and goodness. So divine a cause ICleserves and demands such divine courage. How glorious was the character of Caleb and. Joshua, who spoke well of the land of promise, and encouraged The armies of Israel, while all the rest of the spies which were sent brought an evil report upon the good land! Nunn. x-iii. 31, S. The people believed-the evil report, and spoke of stoning Joshua and Caleb: But the glory ofthe Lord appeared in the tabernacle, and God` him- self gave a testimony from heaven to the sacred courage and honour of these Jewish heroes. What a brave spi- rit dwelt in. Elijah,. who attempted to reform.Israel from .idolatry ! He would- not fall down and worship Baal, though.he thought he had been left alone, the 'only wor- shipper of the true God in the nation, 1 Kings xix. 14. VII. - There are some other, and very common occa- sions for the exercise of sacred courage, which attend persons, especially in the lower ranks of life: As for in- stance; when a servant is called by providence to speak the truth, and yet, he dare not do it without offend- ing his master: When a poor man is required to bear witness in some important concern, and his rich neigh- bour frowns and looks sour upon him: When a person -of inferior characteris tempted tojoin with the mighty in some unjust and dishonourable practices, and while his superiors invite him to it, his. conscience forbids his compliance. It is a noble act of christian courage, in such instances as these, to follow truth, equity,_ and con- . science, wheresoever they lead, in an opposition to all the allurements, the frowns, and the threatenings of persons in an higher station. Let those who fall under such a temptation remember, there is an higher than the high- est, and the great God, the Lord of heaven and earth, is. the patron of truth and righteousness, the guardian of innocence, and the dreadful avenger of deceit and lying.allisonlibrary.regent-college.edu