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SERM. welfare. Perhaps Christ died with intention to do me good; LXXIV. perhaps he never did mean any such thing. Perhaps those expressions of kindness sounding so generally do not include me; perhaps I am excluded, and only deluded by them. When a man cannot say to Christ, O my Saviour!-O my
Mediator! &c. nor use his intercession with God for the procurement of faith, of grace, of any good thing.
7. It is a ground and motive of charity; there arising thence a more considerable relation between all men; being all the objects of Christ's love and mercy should endear men to one another; it rendereth every man valuable in our eyes, as dear and precious in God's sight. It should make his salvation desirable to us.
Pray for all men, saith St. Paul.
The contrary opinion removeth this ground of charity; and so cooleth it.
S. It should consequently render us careful to promote the salvation of others, and fearful to hinder it by ill example, by ill doctrine, by any misbehaviour. So doth St. Paul argue, when he saith, Destroyest thou him for whom Christ died?
9. It is a piece of justice to acknowledge the right and interest of every man in his Saviour.
A wrong to exclude any; to confine and appropriate this great blessing; to engross, to inclose a common; to restrain that by forging distinctions, which is so unlimitedly expressed.
The undertakings and performances of our Saviour did respect all men, as the common works of nature do; as the air we breathe in, as the sun which shineth on us; the which are not given to any man particularly, but to all generally; not as a proper inclosure, but as a common-they are indeed mine, but not otherwise than as they do belong to all men.
A gift they are to all equally, though they do not prove to all a blessing; there being no common gift, which by the refusal, neglect, or ill use of it may not prove a curse— a savour of death.
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD, TIDINGS OF
LUKE ii. 10.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people".
THE proper business of a festival is spiritual joy, conceived SERM. in our hearts by reflection on some notable blessing confer- LXXV. red on us; accompanied with a grateful sense and expres sion, answerable to the special bounty and mercy of God, in due proportion to the nature and degree of that blessing.
Phil. iv. 4.
Such joy is a duty, or a part of religious devotion, re- 1 Thess. v. quired by God, and very acceptable to him: for as God would have his servants perpetually content, well satisfied, 12. and cheerful in all states, and upon all occurrences; so he doth especially demand from us, that we should entertain his favours with delight and complacence; it being proper, it being seemly, it being just, so to do: for since joy is a natural result of our obtaining whatever we do apprehend good, or esteem and affect; the conception of it is a plain argument, that we do well understand, do rightly prize, do cordially like, do thankfully embrace God's fayours; as, on the contrary, a defect of it doth imply, that
Β Ἰδὼ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμῖν χαραν μεγάλην, ἥτις ἔσαι παντὶ τῷ λαῷ·
SERM. we do not mind them, or take them to be little worth, that LXXV. we do not sensibly relish them, or accept them kindly.
And if ever we are obliged, if ever we are concerned so to rejoice, then surely it is now; when the fairest occasion and highest cause of joy that ever was is presented to us; when certain news from heaven, and the best that ever came from thence, of the most admirable, the most glorious, the most beneficial event, that ever happened in the world, is in a manner suitably rare conveyed to us; for, Behold, saith the angel, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Upon which words (each whereof is emphatical, and pregnant with matter observable) we shall first make a brief descant, or paraphrase, supplying the room of a curious analysis; then we shall urge the main duty couched in them.
'Id, Behold: This is a word denoting admiration, exciting attention, intimating assurance: Behold, and admire ; it is no mean, no ordinary matter, that I report, but a most remarkable, a very marvellous event: Behold, and attend; it is a business not to be passed over with small regard, but most worthy your consideration, of high moment and concernment to you. Behold and see; it is no uncertain, no obscure thing; but whereof you may be fully assured, as if it were most evident to your sense, and which by conspicuous proofs shall be demonstrated; in the mean while you have no slight authority for it: for
Evayysλíquaι, I bring good tidings; I, an angel, a special messenger God purposely sent on this errand, that by the strangeness of my apparition I may excite you to regard it, by the weight of my testimony I may incline you to believe it, by the dignity of my nature I may declare the importance of it; I, a faithful servant of God, and a kind friend to men, very willing at his command to perform good offices to them, do bring a message well becoming an angel's mouth, worth my descent from heaven, and putting on this visible shape: for I bring
Εὐαγγελίζομαι χαρὰν μεγάλην, good tidings of great joy : I bring tidings that may gratify the curiosity of any man,
the mind of man naturally being greedy of news: good SERM. tidings; those are welcome to all men, and apt to yield LXXV. more pleasure than any knowledge we had before: tidings of joy; such as may not only minister a dry satisfaction to your reason, but sensibly touch your affections, by the comfortable nature and beneficial tendency of them: tidings of great joy; as not touching any indifferent or petty business, but affairs of nearest concernment and highest consequence to you: (such, indeed, as you shall understand, which do concern not the poor interests of this world, not the sorry pleasures of sense, not any slender advantage of your present life and temporal state; but your spiritual welfare, your everlasting condition, the future joy and happiness of your souls ;) tidings, indeed, the most gladsome that ever sounded upon earth, that ever entered into mortal ear: these I bring
Tun, to you: to you shepherds; persons of mean condition and simple capacity, leading this innocent and humble sort of life, employed in your honest vocation, undergoing toilsome labour and sore hardship; witness the open Luke ii. 8. field, witness the cold season, witness the dark night, in which I find you watching and guarding your sheep; Pauperibus to you, who could expect no very welcome tidings; who atque vigiare little concerned in any great transactions, and can have &c. Bern. small ambition or hope of bettering your condition by any Serm. 5. changes here; even to you (not in the first place to the mighty princes, to the crafty statesmen, to the sage philosophers, or learned rabbies, to the wealthy merchants, or fine citizens, who now are warm in their houses, enjoying their ease and pleasure; reposing on their beds, or sitting by their fires, or revelling at their banquets and sports; but to you,) poor, harmless, silly, industrious souls, who well may represent the greater and better part of mankind; in this surprising and absolutely free way the gracious Lord of heaven by me his special minister doth vouchsafe to send from thence tidings of great joy: which shall be
Harri Txap, to all people; or rather to all the people; Matt. xv. that is, to God's ancient and peculiar people, in regard to 24. x. 6. which it is said, I was not sent but to the lost sheep of the Luke xxiv. 47. Acts xiii. 46. Isa. ii. 3. Zech. ix. 9. Rom. ix. 4
Rom. ix. 4.
SERM. house of Israel; to that people, I say, especially, prima-
Psal. ii. 8.
Mic. v. 2. rule in Sion; but the Heathen also were given for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his
Isa. xi. 10. possession: he was the root of Jesse, which should stand for an ensign of the people, to which the Gentiles should seek ; he was that royal Person, of whom the Psalmist did sing, Psal. Lxxii. Men shall be blessed in him; all nations shall call him
He was to be born by nation a Jew, but a man by nature; the Son of man was a style which he commonly did own and affect, no less than the Son of Abraham, or of David; he was born indeed under the law, but of a woman; Heb. ii. 14. and, therefore, brother to us all, as partaker of the same
Gal. iv. 4.