« PreviousContinue »
1 Cor. xii. 26.
Heb. xiii. 3.
our Supplies, our Uses and Defects are reciprocal, though all ground of Distinction be not, yet any mischief that can come from a too rigorous infifting upon it is, taken away. And one would think, no Man need be advised, to live friendly, and comfortably, and respectfully, with those, without whom he cannot live at all.
4. The Fourth thing here enjoined is a Tender Concern for the prosperous and adverse Fortunes of our Fellow-Christians. Rejoyce with them that rejoyce, and weep with them that weep, Ver. 15. And this we likewise find urged from the fame Topick all along insisted on ; Whether one Member suffer, all the Members suffer with it; or one Member be bonoured, all the Members rejoyce with it. And again, Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them, and them which suffer Adversity, as being your selves also in the Body. Recollect a little, how impossible it is, for any part of us to endure Pain, or Sickness, or Hunger, or Cold alone.
How quick the Communication, how sharp the Anguish, how general the Disorder, how great the Anxiety, how diligent the Care to afswage or to relieve any Indisposition, or Smart, of the least and most distant Member. And again, Upon any Return of Health and Ease, how sudden, how senlible, how mighty is the Joy ? Upon any accession of Beauty, or Ornament, how gay the Spirits, how chearful the Countenance, how pleasing the innocent Pride of it? And let these instruct us, what Right, what Obligations we have, to take part in the good or ill Events of our Brethren, to think no Man's Joys or Griefs entirely his own : To suspect our selves, whether we be really alive in that Body; when such a narrow Selfishness hath hardned us, as shuts out all tender Impressions ; When cold, benummed, and quite forsaken of that reciprocal Sense, which the different Fortunes of our Fellow-members ought to create. Let these convince us too, that such Concern must not content it self with private and inward Resentments only, but be express’d by active and vigorous, ready and continual AMiftances. That, as one part of the Body submits, to be wounded, or blistered, or scarified, or to Nauseatings, or Gripings ; to discharge the Humours settled in Another, and set the Whole at ease; So should we, be far from grudging any supportable degree of expence or trouble, for the Benefit of the Distressed and Injured; and esteem every Member's Sufferings a Calamity to the Body in common. Consequently, That we do not weep with the AMicted as we ought, except we dry up their Tears, by Jabouring to redress those Afictions, from whence they flow. We do not rejoice with the Prosperous as we ought, without ceasing to envy, and defiring to add to, their Happiness. Our Diligence, in both kinds, must go to the very utmoft of our Powers. They, who have Opportuni
ties, muft distribute to the Necessities of
Saints, and be given to Hospitality. Nay, Τω φιλοξενίαν they must even court and hunt after such
Opportunities, seek them with an eager Zeal, and think themselves to have obtained a Prize worth all their pains, when they have the good fortune to find them. They who cannot do thus, must at least with they could, and never want the Disposition, when they have not the Ability. And, since our Prayers are confined within no bounds, Thefe must stretch themselves all the World over. For, in regard Christ hath difpersed his Church over the face of the whole Earth, the distance of Place makes no difference in the degree of Relation. They are still Members, and the same Body with our felves; And We must love, and be touch'd with a sensible Regard, must intercede with, and give Thanks to our common Head, for them.
5. Fiftbly, In regard this Union is Divine and Spiritual, instituted to promote the Glory of God, and the Benefit of Souls; it should be our earnest and constant Study, to promote, and come up, as near as may be, to a perfect Unity in Religion. Now the only way, 'tis plain, for uniting Souls, is by an Agreement and Consent of their several Faculties. Thus Men are united in their Understandings, when they believe and acknowledge the same Holy Truths, and abide by the same Principles. In their Wills and Affections; when they pursue the same Ends, express the same Desires, and bear the same Love to that which is good, and to one another. This, added to the former, makes up what the Apostle calls, Keeping the Unity of the Spirit in
Ephef. iv. 3. the Bond of Peace. From these Two should follow an uniform Behaviour and Consent of Action, termed by the same Apostle, Phil. ii. 16. Walking by the same rule, and minding the fame thing. When we jointly advance, the fame common Interests. When, as becomes a Body animated by one Spirit, we all attend, without Distraction, to the Furtherance of Piety and Peace, to the Salvation of Souls, to the adorning our Profession, by undissembled Goodness, and a wise well-govern'd Zeal: When we, with one Mouth, as well as one Mind, glorify God, and, like Strings tuned to the same Sound, make that Worship harmonious and uniform, which is established to express this Union, and is so admirably contrived for Edification and Decency: Well were it, if these Engagements were duly laid to heart, by those busy Factors for the Devil, who employ their Wits and Pens, in poysoning the easy and unstable, with profane, lewd, or heretical Principles ; Well, if they would remember them too, who for Interest, or Prejudice, or Peevishness , break the Order, and depart from the Communion of a settled Church ; to whose Doctrine they offer none, and to whose Discipline they are able to bring so very few, so very poor, Exceptions. But, whether these Men will hear, or whether they will forbear, still it is Our part, by all manner of regular means, to testify our Reverence for Christ, our Obedience to our lawful Pastors, our chearful and unanimous Conformity to their wholsome Laws, and our Love to the Brethren and Fellow-members. Labouring continually and earnestly, to obtain that most valuable Blessing, which we are taught to pray for in our excellent daily Prayers, The good estate, I mean, of the Catholick Church; That it may be so guided and governed by our Lord's good Spirit, that all, who profess and call themselves Christians, may be led into the way of Truth, and bold the Faith in Unity of Spirit, in the Bond of Peace, and in Righteousness of Life.
There yet remains a Sixtle Duty behind, That of Conftancy and Meekness under Persecutions and Wrongs, enjoined at the Twelfth and fourteenth Verses. But, by reason of my former Enlargements upon the Rest, and the Affinity of this to some Others, which will call for our Consideration the next Lord's-day: I chufe to reserve it till that time.
The Second Sunday after the Epiphany.
John ii. 1. 1. Three days after
ND the third day there was a Marriage Jesus came into those
in Cana of Galilce, and ebe Mother of Jejus Parts (see Chap. i. 43.)
was there. there was a Feast for a Marriage, probably of some of his Mother's Relations, where she was present.
2. They therefore in- 2. And borb Jesus was called, and bis Disciples, to vited Him, and those tbe Marriage. Disciples who attended him.
3. And woben obey wanted wine, tbe Mother of Jesus 3. Upon their Provifaith unto bim, Tbey bave no wine.
fion of Wine falling short, his Mother desired him to supply them. 4. Jefus fairb unto ber, Woman, wbat have I to do 4. Jesus replied, That wit ebee? My bour is not yet come.
this was not a matter
proper for her Authority to interpose in ; and, that Miracles were not to be wrought for gratifying the Requests of Friends, but had their proper seasons, of which he was the bet Judge.
5. His Mother saitb unto the Servants, Whatsoever be 5. His Mother, (who Sairb unto you, do it.
seems not to have taken
this for an absolute Denial, but as an Intimation rather, that he would reserve himself till it was proper ) bad those that attended, be sure to observe any Orders he should give them.
6. And there were fec obere fix Water-pots of Stone, 6. Now there stood after tbe manner of the purifying of tbe Jews, containing six large Vessels, the use two or tbree Firkins apiece.
Water, that might be always at hand to serve for the several sorts of Washings, which the Law obliged the Jews frequently to repeat.
7. Jefus faith unto them, Fill tbe Water-pots with water, and i bey filled obem up to the brim. 8. And be faith unto tbem , Draw out now,
and bear unto tbe Governor of tbe Feaft.
And they bare it.
9. Wben the Ruler of the Feast bad rafted the Warer that was made Wine, and kneto not whence it but ibe Servants which dresu the Water knew; the Governor of ebe Feasi called the Bridegroom,
10. And faith unto him, Every man in the begin- 10. It is usual, when ning doib set forth good Wine, and wben men have well Mens Palates are fresh, drunk, iben ib.21 wlich is worse ; but tboil baft kept the and best able to distingood Wine until now.
guilh, to give them the
best they have ; but thou hast, contrary to common custom at Entertainments, reserved the moft generous Wine to the last. Hereupon ( as the ninth Verse intimates ) the Servants were examined about the matter, and gave an account how they came by it.
11. This beginning of Miracles did Jesus in Cana of II. This was the first Galilee, and manifejled forib bis glory, and his Disciples Instance Jesus gave of believed on bim.
his Divine Power, which
had its intended Efect, by confirming the Faith of those Disciples, whom the firtt Chapter relates to have lately come to him.
HE Miracle here related, being the first that offers, as well in the History of our Blessed Sa