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2. Some farther Instructions of this kind
gathered, from the Subject, which St. Paul chufes here to enlarge upon. Not the Greatness of his Miracles, Not the Power of his Eloquence and Arguments, Not the Success of his Labours, the Number of the Converts he had won, or of the Churches he had planted ; (tho' no Man could with greater right have alledged these.) But only the Toils and Hardships, the Persecutions and A Mictions, which the Discharge of his Ministry had engaged him in. These were such Privileges, as his Adversaries neither had, nor desired to have to boast of. They, as the 20th Verse intimates, had other things in view. The Gain of private Contributions, the Command of the Purses, and an absolute Dominion over the Ver. 21, 22.
Persons of their Hearers. The Grounds,
upon which they exalted themselves, were all taken from worldly Advantages, and in that respect St. Paul is content to declare himself their Equal. The Regards He declares himself their superior in, are such, as They were well enough satisfied to give him Preference in. Such as Stripes and Imprisonments, Shipwracks and Deaths, hard and perilous Journeys, Cold, and Hunger, and Thirst. These it was so far from Vanity to glory in, that the Apostle found it requisite
to subjoyn his being honoured with exClap. xii.
traordinary Visions and Revelations, to prevent so great a degree, so constant a succession, of Sufferings, from being turned into an argument of God's Displeasure, against one so incessantly exercised with them. And yet these AMictions were really the properest, and most worthy matter of glorying, to the Apostle. The properest, because it was perfectly free from Vanity or Self-seeking, (for His were not Sufferings, either industriously courted, or magnified to be made a Gain of) And the most worthy, because, to all, who duly considered them, they were Proofs of farge measures of Grace supporting him under them;
of unparalleld Sincerity and Zeal, disposing him so chearfully to persevere in encountring them ; and of the Truth of that Doctrine, which, by the Ministry of one so ill treated, could yet gain so much ground, and triumph over them.
The Profit fit for Us to make of the Passage thus explained, is as follows.
1. The Description given here of false Teachers should be a Warning to all Christians against listening to them: And a Seasonable Admonition to suspect and beware of Such, as make it their business to infuse into Men Jealousies and evil Surmises against their lawful Pastors. A Method, than which there cannot be a surer Sign, that They, who have recourse to it, do therefore draw off our People, because thereout they suck no small Advantage. For These Corinthians are far from the only Instance, of the People being even devoured by Seducers, and finding the Little-fingers of such, thicker than the Loins of regular Apoftles. And if it should, as sometimes it may, happen, that Such miy have Sufferings and Hardships to alledge for their na nistry; yet even then care must be taken to look into the ground of those Sufferings : whether there also ha not a profitable Bargain for this World; anú a precution so called, but in truth a setting their Qiet. fale at the highest Market. In a word, Non, who urge St. Paul's Argument rightly, will suffer for ildoers against the Laws of Men, in cases, where tnose are not manifestly against the Laws of God.
2. The Instance now before us sliews, how far was ought to be, from reckoning what we endure for Gyi's Cause (when it is really God's Cause) matter of S, row or Shame to us. St. Paul was, in comparisoi. : the rest of the Apostles, a Labourer called in C Eleventh hour. And he thought, as he tiugnt in Philippians to esteem it, a particular Grace, trat : was given him, not only to believe in Jesus, but to fit ;" ,
for kis Name. The Fervency of his Charity and Zeal made up what was wanting in point of time. And We (eipe ially those among us, that are Ministers of the Co pel) never make a more just Computation of our Serviccs; than when we reckon them, by the Haruthips and Self-denials we are content to undergo, for the good of our own Souls, or those of our Chriftian Bretliren.
3. Thirdly, When St. Paul, to all his other Sufferings, adds the Care of all the Churches, and the zealous Compassion over them that failed, or were afflicted in them ; This shews the Abundance of His, and instructs us whit ought to be the measure of Our, Charity. We are not to negleEt, or think our selves excused from a tender Concern for, the AMictions or Dangers of cur Brethren, upon the account of any Sufferings of our own. Be our other Circumstances what they will, yet fill we are Members of Christ's Body; And while that Relation continues, all the Duties resulting from it, nust do so too. So indispensable and perpetual a Duty is Charity, for the Souls of others especialiy; So får indeed are those Hardships, which lie outward and open to the view of cthers, from being the inost sensible part of what Good Men endure.
4. Lasily, The Methods used for exercising St. Paul's Patience and Virtue, teach us plainly, that the way, in which God would be served by Christians, but especially by his Ministers, is that of Constancy, and indeftigable Diligence, and diilusive Charity. That Ease, and Ialeness, and Luxury, and effeminate Declinings of Trouble for the Publick Good, are by no means agreeable to a Disciple of Jesus his Character. And thus the Apostle, as in the Laft, so again in This Lord's-Day Service, does, by his own Example, encourage and prepare us, for the Discipline of the Seafon drawing on. One great Design whereof is, to break the Softness of a Nature, too indulgint to Flesh and Blood, and to inure us to endure tarihip like good Soldiers of Jesus Christ. In which Warfare, the less we spare our own Persons; the more we may depend upon His Protection and Support in the Conf.ict, and the brighter Trophies we shall raise to His Glory, the Honour of Religion, and the unspeakable Advantage of our Souls and Bodies both, in that Day of Triumph and Joy: Which God grant us all a part in, for our dear Redeemer's sake. Amen.
S. Luke viii. 4.
ParaPH RAS E. Hen mucb people were gathered together, and 4. The Multitudes
were come to bim out of every City, be that followed our Lord Spake by a a parable :
to the Sea-side were so
great, that he went into a Ship, and left them on the Shore, and sat down and taught them out of the Ship, by this following, and several other Parables, Marth. xiii. 1, 2, 3. Mark iv. 1, 2.
5. A sower went out to forw bis seed; and as he sowed, fome fell by the way fide, ard it was trodden down, and tbe
furuls of obe Air devoured it.
6. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it 6. Some fell on ftowas Sprung up, it wirbered away, because it lacked ny Places, the Heat moisture.
whereof caused it to
shoot apace; but when the Weather grew hot, the Sun scorched it up, by reason the Soil
not deep enough to preserve it at the Root, Marth. xiii. 5, 6. Mark iv. 5,6.
7. And some fell among thorns ; and tbe thorns sprang up with it and chcaked it.
8. And other fell on gocd ground, and sprang up, 8. That which had ard bare fruit an bundred fold. And when be bad good Soil bore kindly said these things be cried, He that bath ears to bear let Fruit, in proportion to bim bear,
the Condition of the
Ground. See Marika xiii. 8. Mark iv, 8. This is a Parable, that highly deserves your Atkention,
9. Ard bis Disciples asked bim, saying, Wbat might obis Parable be?
10. As a Reward of 10. And he said, Unto you it is given to know the myyour diligence and de- feries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parafire to be informed, bles, tbar seeing they might not fee, and bearing tbey these shall be explained might not understand. to You ; but the rest shall be left in the dark, and have their voluntary punished with judicial Igno
See Matth. xiii. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Mark iv. 11, 12.
1. Nor the Parable is this : The Ssed is tbe Word
12. The Persons re- 12. Those by the way side, are they that bear; presented by Seed fown tben comes the devil, and taketh away the Word by the way lide, are out of their bearts, lef tbey frould believe and be such as take no Care faved,
understand what they hear ; but suffer the Tempter to take away the Word, that is, are tempied to forget and neglect it, and
so lose all good effect of it.
13. Compare Mattb. 13. They on the rock are tbey which, wben they bear, xiii. 20, 21.
Mark iv. receive the word with joy: and these have no 16, 17,
wbicb for a while believe, and in time of temptatior fail
away. 14. Compare Marth. 14. And that wbicb fell among thorns are they, which xiii. 22. Mark iv. 18, wben they bave beard, go ferib, and are choaked with 39.
cares, and riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring ne fruit to perfection.
15. But that on the good grourd are they wbicb in an
bonest and good beart, bacing beard tbe word, keep it, By Constancy in and bring forth fruit wirb * patience. suffering, and Perseverance in doing well. And though all who behave themselves thus do not produce the same Quantity of Fruit, yet are they all good Ground. Comparc Mattbe xiii. 23. Mark iv. 20.
Carce any Passage, in the whole Course of the Year,
is more worthy our serious Consideration, than that, which our Excellent Church hath wisely appointed to be read, for the Gospel of this Day. That Heathens and Jews, profess’d Infidels and 'Enemies to Christianity, that They, who want Opportunities of knowing their Duty, and would gladly use them if