« 前へ次へ »
inoved by such Exányples ; for there is so manifest a Congruity and Decency, in submitting to any Adverfities which it shall please God to lay upon us, that even they who have not the heart to Imitate, yet will not be able to forbear commending and admiring the Pattern we set them.
Would we indeed weigh things in a just Balance, 'tis most unreasonable we should decline suffering for Christ , when it is so very visible, that we are well content to undergo much forer Hardships for the World, than any he thinks fit to call us to. And shall Humour, or Paffion, or Temporal Interest be suffered to prevail upon us more powerfully than Duty ? Especially, when that Duty promotes an infinitely better Interest ; and the more we are mortified to our felves and the World, the nobler Advances we make towards God and Life Eternal ? These are refined Privileges, for which no Man is qualified, till he be first purified in the Furnace of Adversity ; nor can the Spiritual and Divine Graces dwell in a Soul, till the Dross of Earth and Sensual Appetites be first wrought off
. Assure your self, that Suffering for, and in Obedience to Christ, is not only the most acceptable Thing to God, but really advantageous for your self, and that which contributes most to the Soul's Health of any thing that can happen in the Present State. And, would the Prejudices Flesh and Blood lie under, permit us to discern and consider Matters impartially, this would be first in our Wishes, and preferred before all the Outward Prosperity, or Inward Satisfactions this World can give. For who would not be ambitious of resembling our Lord, and his most eminent Saints ? Who is fo blind, as not to see, that the thing in which they signalized their Merit, was not the larger Degree of their Revelations, or the Pleasures they enjoyed, but the Number and Extremity of their Aflictions? +
And we may be very confident, that if Christ had known any better way
to Heaven than by Crosses and + Patience, he would both have chosen it himself, and i reserved it for his Faithfullest Servants, and dearest i Friends. But since his own Example, and his conftant Directions declare, That if any Man will
Luke xiv. come to him, he must deny himself, and take up bis Cross, and follow him, it is but folly and lost La bour to think of any other Method ; for when all is done, this will be the Sum and Conclusion of the whole Matter, that, Through sets xiv. much Tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom of God.