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every man is a sea and a tempest to himself; as impossible to escape ruin, as to put off himself. Now, in the gospel, Christ showeth a man a way to get out of himself, and so to escape the tempest; showeth a way, how with him he shall walk upon the sea and not sink; how he shall be in the world, and not of it, nor swallowed by it. O how willingly will the man who is convinced of his danger, cast off every thing which would press him down,-and account it a plentiful deliverance to have his soul saved from such a tempest of wrath as was falling upon him! We see what hazards men run to get temporary riches, to the bottom of rocks for diamonds, to the bowels of the earth for gold and silver;—such affections have the saints had towards the gospel. If they must dig in mines for Christ (as it was an usual condemnation, Christiani ad metalla') they were most willing so to do: they had a treasure there which the emperor knew not of; they had infinite more precious wealth from thence than he. If they must fetch. Christ in the fire, or wrestle for him, as for a precious price, with the wild beasts of the earth; if they be not suffered to wear Christ, except they put off themselves, how willing, how thankful are they for so rich a bargain! “Look to your life," said the governor to St. Cyprian, that blessed martyr ; " be not obstinate against your own safety, but advise well with yourself;"_" Fac
quod tibi præceptum est,” saith the holy man, “in re tam justa nulla est consultatio ; Sir, you are my judge, you are none of my counsellor; do the office which is committed to you; in so righteous a cause there is no farther need of consultation b.”—“Take pity upon yourself; and sacrifice, and save your life,” said the officers to Polycarp ;-—"No," saith the martyr, " these eighty-six years I have served Christ, and he hath done me no harm, I will not do what you persuade me." - That rich and blessed virgin in Basil", who was, for Christianity, condemned to the fire, and was offered, if she would worship idols, to have her life and estate safe restored unto her, was obstinate in her resolution; “ Valeat vita, pereat pecunia ;” I shall have more life in Christ, than in myself; all the emperors, all the physicians in the world, cannot make my life, which I have in myself, so long to-morrow as it is to-day; but in Christ, my life is not only an abiding, but an abounding life: I shall have more of that by losing mine own; my life in him is an hidden life, free from all injuries and persecutions of men: I shall have more riches in him than in myself, even unsearchable riches, which can never be stolen away, because they can never be ex. hausted. It is as possible for thieves to draw out the mines of India, or to steal away the sun out of his orb, as for any human violence to take away Christ from a man.” Alike honourable was the answer of Frederic, the elector of Saxony, who, being prisoner to Charles V. was promised enlargement and restitution of dignity, if he would come to mass. “ Summum in terris dominum agnosco Cæsarem, in cælis Deum,” in all civil accommodations I am ready to yield unto Cæsar, but for heavenly things, I have but one master, and therefore I dare not serve two; Christ is more welcome to me in bonds, than the honours of Cæsar without Christ.-Such acceptation hath the gospel found amongst the renowned worthies heretofore: and the like entertainment should we all give unto it, even prefer it above our greatest glory; and as the Thessalonians e did, receive it with joy in the midst of afflictions,-abide with Christ in his temptations f; esteem his gospel glorious, as the stars are in the darkness of the night, or as a torch, which blazeth most when it is most shaken.
e Euseb. lib. iv. hist. cap. 14.
Baron, An. 261. num. 30. Exercitat. Evangel lib. 2. cap. 5.
This alone it is, which proves our love to Christ to be év αφθαρσία, , "sincere and incorrupt,” when we embrace his gospel for itself, and can therein, in any condition, see Christ full of glory, grace, and truth : when a man can with St. Pauls, not rejoice only in the name and profession of the cross of Christ, but in conformity and obedience thereunto, in that virtue of the gospel which crucifies him unto the world, and the world unto him. In days of peace and religion, men may easily afford to magnify the gospel, because they get by it. The Persians, who, had the bloody decree held, would have been the slaughterers of the Jews; yet when leave was given to that people, to deliver themselves from the malice of Haman, “even many of them turned
• 1 Thes, i. 6.
f Luke xxii. 22, 29.
& Gal. vi, 14.
Jews themselves, because the fear of that people fell upon them."-We may observe this affection in the woman of Samaria : the first reason why she gave some heed to Cbrist, speaking of his water of life unto her, was, because “she should thirst no more, nor come thither to drawb." So long as Ephraim might have her work and her wages together, she was contented to do God some service, “ like an heifer that loveth to tread out the corni;" that is, while she hath no yoke on her neck, no muzzle on her mouth, while she is not put to plough, but to easy and pleasant service, she is willing to yield unto it :--to note, that it is but base and hypocritical obedience, which is supported by no other than present rewards.
They seek me daily,” saith the Lord of the hypocrites, among his people, " and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousnessk.” But the end was, that they might have their own wills, and, as it were, oblige God to reward them : and therefore as soon as God seemeth to neglect them and their services, they proudly expostulate with him, and even twit him with their works; “Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not ?" &c. This then is the proof of our sincere love unto Christ, which is not raised upon mercenary respects, when we can receive the gospel with persecution. Persecution is amongst Christ's legacies, a part of the church's portion, and of God's gifts unto her"; no man that will live godly", can be without them. Even in Abraham's house, which was, at that time, if not the sole, yet the most glorious church on the earth, there was a persecutor, and “
as it was then, so is it now," saith the apostle. The saints of God ever have been, and ever will be, to the world's end esteemed for 'wonders P,' and marks, and "mad menq,' and 'proverbs of reproach.'' And hereby the Lord did provide to make his gospel more glorious, because he giveth men's hearts to suffer scorn and reproach for it. “To receive the word in affliction, and yet with joy,” is an exemplary thing, which maketh the sound and glory of the gospel to spread abroad. Now then, if persecution be thus an appendant to the gospel,—every man must resolve to receive it in some affliction, when he must be put to discard his wicked companies, to shake off his flattering and sharking lusts, to forsake his own'will and ways, to run a hazard of undeserved scorn, disreputation, and misconstructions in the world,-and yet, for all this, to set a high price upon the precious truths of the gospel still, is not this to receive the Word in much affliction ?' And surely till a man can resolve upon this conclusion, “I am ready to be bound, and to die for the name of Jesus, I count not my life, much less my liberty, peace, credit, secular accommodations dear, so I may finish my course with joy ; Lord, my will is no more mine, but it shall be in all things subject unto thee;”-he can never give such entertainment to the Word, as becometh so glorious a gospel. All his seeming profession and acceptation, is but like the Gadarenes' courtesy in meeting of Christ, which was only to be rid of him.
John iv. 14. m Phil. i. 29. Isai. viï. 18.
i Hos. x. ll. k Isai. lviii. 2, 3. I Mark x. 30. 1 2 Tim. iii. 12. • Gal. xciv. 29. p Zech. iü. 3. 1 2 Kings ix. 11. Jer. xxix. 26. r Wisd. v.6.
Lastly, We should from hence learn a farther Christian duty, which is, to adorn this glorious gospel in a holy conversation. This use the apostle everywhere makes of the gospel of Christ; that “we should walk as becometh the gospel •;” that “we should in all things adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour";" that “we should walk worthy of him, who hath called us unto his kingdom and glory *;” that « we show forth the virtues of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light”;” that we should not. receive so great a grace as the ministry of reconciliation in vain?, but that we should walk fittingly: to the holiness and efficacy of so excellent a rule, as becometh “a royal nation,' a people of glory, 'a peculiar and selected inheritance,' even zealous of good works.'-It was once the expostulation of Nehemiah with his enemies, “Should such a man flee" from such men as you ?-Such should be our expostulation with Satan, and our own lusts : Should such men as we are, who have the gospel of Christ for our rule, conform ourselves unto another law?'-_Is not this the end why the gospel is preached", that we should live unto God? Doth it become the son of a king to go in rags, or to converse
* Mat. viii. 34. y 1 Pet. ii. 9. e Nehem. vi, 11.
* 1 Thes. ii. 12.
b Tit. ii. 14.
t Phil. i. 27. u Tit. ii, 10. 2 Cor. vi. 1, 3.
a Gal. vi. 16. di Pet. iv. 3, 6.
with mean and ignoble persons ? Now, by the gospel, we have that great honour and privilege given us, to be called 'the sons of God:' and shall we then walk as servants of Satan? Would any prince endure to see the heir of his crown, live in bondage to his own vassals and most hated enemy? Herein is the greatest glory of the gospel above the law, that it is a law of life and liberty; a word which transformeth men into the image of Christ, and maketh them such as it requireth them to be. So that to walk still according to the course of the world, as we did before, is, as much as in us lies, to make the gospel as weak and unprofitable as the law. “How do you say we are wise,” saith the prophete, “and the law of the Lord is with us? Certainly in vain made he it, the pen of the scribe is in vain :" that is, the privilege of having the oracles and ordinances of God committed unto us, will do us no more good, if we walk unworthy of so great a grace,-than if those ordinances had never been written or revealed to men.
Here then it is needful to enquire, in what manner we are to adorn and set forth the glory of the gospel. To this I answer, That the first and greatest honour 'we can do unto the gospel, is to set it up in our hearts, as our only rule by which we are to walk ; that we prefer it above all our own counsels, and venture not to mingle it with the wisdom and reasonings of the flesh; that we raise up our conversation unto it, and never bend it unto the crookedness of our own ends or rules. “ As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him f,” saith the apostle; that is, fashion your conversation to the doctrine of Christ; let that have the highest room, and the overruling suffrage in your hearts. There is all wisdom ,' in the gospel : it is able to make men • wise unto salvation b;' that is, there is wisdom enough in it to compass the uttermost and most difficult end. And what can the reasonings of the Aesh contribute to that which was all wisdom before, and which can thoroughly
“ furnish a man unto every good work ?” This glory St. Paul (though a man of great learning, of strong intellectuals, of a working and stirring
& Col. i. 28.
h 2 Tim. jii. 15, 16, 17.
• Jer. viji, 8. f Col. ii. 6. Psal. cxix. 98, 99. Jer. viii. 9.