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Now this business, our calling, is double; our general LII. calling, which is common to us all as Christians, and our particular calling, which peculiarly belongeth to us, as placed in a certain station, either in the church or state. In both which vocations that we are much obliged and concerned to be industrious, shall be now my business to declare.
I. As to our general calling, (that sublime, that heavenly, that holy vocation b,) in which by divine grace, according to the evangelical dispensation, we are engaged, that necessarily requireth and most highly deserveth from us a great measure of industry; the nature and design of it requireth, the fruit and result of it deserveth our utmost diligence; all sloth is inconsistent with discharging the duties, with enjoying the hopes, with obtaining the benefits thereof. For,
It is a state of continual work, and is expressed in terms importing abundant, incessant, intense care and pain; for Phil. ii. 12. to be indeed Christians, We must work out our salvation with Rom. ii. 7. fear and trembling; we must by patient continuance in well Col. i. 10. doing seek for glory, and honour, and immortality. We must 1 Tim. vi. walk worthy of the Lord, to all well pleasing, being fruitful
(John xv. 5,
Phil. i. 11. in every good work. We must be rich in good works, and 8, 16. "filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Jan. iii. 17.) Christ to the praise and glory of God. We are God's workEph. ii. 10. manship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We have a soul to save, and are appointed eis Tegionow ourngias, to make an acquist of Salvation.
We have a mind to improve with virtue and wisdom, qualifying us for entrance into heaven, for enjoyment of God's favour, for conversation with angels.
I Thess. v. 9.
1 Thess. i. 9.
As Christians we are assumed to be servants of God, Rom. vii. 6. and readmitted into his family, from which for our disloy
Eph. ii. 19. alty we had been discarded; so that as he was our na
n Ἡ ἄνω κλῆσις. Phil. iii. 14. Κλῆσις ἐπουράνιος. Heb. iii. 1. 'Αγία κλήσις, 2 Tim. i. 9. (Eph. i. 18. 2 Thess. i. 11.)
Rom. xii. 2.
tural Lord, so he is now such also by special grace; who SERM. did make us, who doth maintain us, under whose protection and at whose disposal we subsist; whence we are obliged to be faithfully diligent in his service; we must. constantly wait upon him in devotional addresses; we must Eph. v. 10. carefully study to know his pleasure; we must endeavour Lake exactly to perform his will, and obey his commands; we must strive to advance his glory, to promote his interest, 27. to improve all talents and advantages committed to us for 1 Cor. 58. those purposes; we must, as St. Paul expresseth it, always abound in the work of the Lord.
1 Cor. vii.
.Tit. ii. 14.
Pet. i. 5.
We must also look upon ourselves as servants of Christ Col. iii. 24. our Redeemer; who by his blood hath purchased us to him- Eph. vi. 7. self, that we might be zealous of good works; performing 23. vi. 20. a service to him, which consisteth in a faithful discharge of manifold duties, and in pursuance of all virtue; with most intent application of mind, with expedite promptitude, with accurate circumspection; giving all diligence, 2 as St. Peter speaketh, in adding one virtue to another; being ready, as St. Paul saith, to every good work; and ass. seeing that we walk circumspectly, or behave ourselves Eph. v. 15. exactly according to the rules of duty in all our conversation. Bai πῶς ἀκριThis service requireth of us assiduous attendance on c Col. iv. 2. works of piety and devotion; that we do incessantly watch Eph. vi. 18. to prayer, that we always give thanks, that we continually Rom. xii. do offer up the sacrifice of praise to God.
Σχεδὴν τα· σαν παρεισε
Tit. iii. 1.
1 Thess. v.
It demandeth from us a continual labour of charity; 17. that we serve one another in love; that we should as we 1. have opportunity, work good to all men, that we should! Thess. v. always pursue good toward one another, and toward all Eph. v. 20.
Col. iii. 17.
It obligeth us with all our powers to pursue peace with 15. all men, (which, considering our natural peevishness, pride, 1 Thess.i.3. and perverseness, is often no easy task, and that we do ays. Goda Zen, studiously endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit Gal v. 13. in the bond of peace.
Gal. vi. 10.
It chargeth on us contentedly and patiently to undergo 96. whatever God doth impose of burden or sufferance, so! Thess. v. Ro. xii. 18. El duvaróv. Eph. iv. 3. Heb. xii. 14. 2 Tim. ii. 22.
SERM. that patience have its perfect work; and it is a crabbed work to bend our stiff inclinations, to quell our refractory Jam. i. 4. passions, to make our sturdy humour buckle thereto. It doth exact that we should govern and regulate according to very strict and severe laws all the faculties of our soul, all the members of our body, all internal motions, and all external actions proceeding from us; that we should check our inclinations, curb our appetites, and compose our passions; that we should guard our hearts from vain thoughts and bad desires; that we should bridle our tongues from evil and from idle discourses; that we should order our steps in the straight way of righteousness, not deflecting to the right hand or to the left.
In the discharge of this service how many rough difficulties are there to be surmounted, how many great obstacles to be removed, how many stout oppositions to be encountered, how many potent enemies to be vanquished, how many sore hardships, crosses, and tribulations to be endured!
How shrewd a task must we find it to circumcise our hearts, to mortify our earthly members, to crucify our flesh with its affections and lusts, to pull out our right eyes, and cut off our right hands, to renounce our worldly interests, to hate our nearest relations, to take up and bear our cross, whenever conscience and duty shall call us thereto !
Our calling, therefore, doth require great industry; and the business of it consequently is well represented by those performances, which demand the greatest intention, and laborious activity; it is styled exercise, (agonistic and as1 Tim. iv.7. cetic exercise; yuvas σEAUTÒN TEÒS SUDÉCEILY, Exercise thyActs xxiv. self to godliness; and iv roúry dè avròs donã, Herein I ex
Heb. xii. 1.
Heb. xii. ercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men ;) wrestling, (v máλn, our Eph. vi.12. wrestling is not only against flesh and blood, but against 1 Cor. ix. principalities and powers;) running a race, (Let us run 24. with patience the race that is set before us: So run that ye 2Tim. iv. 7. may obtain: I press toward the mark for the prize of the 1Tim. i. 18, high calling ;) a warfare, a combating, (War a good war
Phil. iii. 14.
1 Tim. vi.
2 Tim. ii. 3.
fare, holding faith and a good conscience: Fight the good SERM. fight: Thou therefore endure hardship, as a good soldier of LII. Jesus Christ: Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things ;) offering violence, (The kingdom 12 of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force;) 1 Cor. ix. watching, (Let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch 25. and be sober: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you 12. like men, be strong: Watch and pray, that ye enter not in- 1 Thess. v. to temptation.)
1 Cor. xvi.
Hence the precepts importing the general tenor of 13. Christian practice are usually couched in terms implying 41. xxiv. great sedulity and contention of soul; 'Aywvideos, Strive Luke xii. to enter in at the straight gate: Let us labour therefore to 37. enter into that rest: Labour not for the meat that perisheth, 1 Pet. v. S. Apoc iii. 2. but for that meat which endureth to everlasting life. Give xvi. 15. diligence to make your calling and election sure. Gird up 2 the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end. ZooWherefore, brethren, seeing that ye look for such things, Heb. iv 11. be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without Egyá spot and blameless.
John vi. 27.
! Fet i. 13.
Such is the work of our general calling, and so much in- 2 Pet. i. 10. dustry it challengeth from us; with great reason indeed, for Luke xii. that such work is needful to our happiness, and that our la-35. bour will certainly be rewarded therewith.
Eph. vi. 14. 2 Pet. iii. 14.
The work indeed of itself is most worthy to employ us, doth most become us, doth much adorn us, doth best befit our divine extraction and large capacity; is the noblest, the handsomest, the sweetest employment that could take us up: but we have also the greatest inducements and encou-36. ragements possible for our industry therein.
There are, by the divine bounty and mercy, wages assigned abundantly correspondent to our work, yea, infinitely surpassing it; there is mos de, a great (or a manifold) hire for our slender and simple performances; there are several noble prizes highly worth our striving for with our utmost strength and contention of soul.
In recompense thereof we shall assuredly gain even here in this transitory state the special favour and love of God,
Matt. v. 12.
SERM. with his constant protection and care for our good i; his LII. faithful direction and friendly assistance to guide us and Ps xxxiv. 9. uphold us in all our ways, to bless and prosper our underIxxxiv. 11. takings, to supply us in our needs, and comfort us in our xxxvii. 3, distresses; so that we shall lack nothing that is good, that Pxci. 10, no evil shall happen to us, that all things shall concur and Prov. xii. co-operate for our benefit.
We shall thereby taste the satisfaction of a calm mind, and a sound conscience, quickened by the consolations of Col. iii. 15. the divine spirit; the peace of God ruling in our hearts, Phil. iv. 7. which passeth all understanding.
We shall afterward, when this moment is passed over, and our short day's work dispatched, receive from God's bountiful hand an inconceivable affluence of good things, Jam. i. 12. an eternal permanence of life; undisturbed rest, indefectible wealth, ineffable joy, incorruptible glory, a kingdom unshakable.
1 Pet. v. 4.
He, saith our Lord, that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting.
To them, saith St. Paul, who, by patient continuance in Rom. ii. 6, well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, God in recompense will bestow eternal life. And,
2 Tim. iv. I have, saith that blessed labourer of himself, fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righte
What more effectual spur or incentive can there be to industry in this business, than to consider that which St. Eph. vi. 8. Paul so often doth inculcate; Knowing that whatsoever
2 Cor. v. good thing any man doeth, the same (a recompense for the
John iv. 36.
Col. iii. 24. same) he shall receive of the Lord; and knowing that (in consideration of our service done to the Lord) of the Lord we shall receive the reward of the inheritance?
What exhortation can be more firmly grounded, or
1 Cor. xv. strongly backed, than is that of the Apostle, Therefore,
i Rom. xiv. 18. He that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men.