« ZurückWeiter »
them under the especial Providence of God, as well as the Protection of the Civil Government
and under this Head I was to answer the Objection that ariseth from the Case of Persecution, which would fo naturally spring in any Man's Mind, that if I had not consider'd it, I had done my Work but by the halves : And I am sure if this Difficulty be removed, it remains true, that Good Men are reasonably secure by Huinane Government, and by Providence from being harm’d by other Men, even when their Innocence and Virtue doth not take away the Will to hurt them, because it deprives them of the Power fo to do, more than
any other Advantages whatsoever, The
3d Argument was, from The Incapacity of ill Men to harm the Righteous in their beft and greatelt Interests, because they cannot spoil them of a good Mind, and a good Conscience, and of the Favour of God, and of the Hope and Expectation of Eternal Life ; for which reason our Saviour bids us not to fear them that can kill the Body, and can then go no fartber, but to fear him that can destroy Body and Soul in Hell. : That is, to be afraid of offending him, and loqng his Favour, who alone can dispose of our Everlasting State, the Blefedness
whereof doth infinitely Outweigh all the transitory Pleasures of this World ; and if We Believe and Live accordingly, they will also be Outweigh'd thereby in our Esteem and Affection ; and then who can harın us if we' be followers of that which is good ? Who, unless he could exclude us from the Comforts of Religion, and from the Kingdom of Heaven ? To deal truly, I cannot positively say, that St. Peter meant this kind of Security from Harm in the Words of the Text ; for there is so much Reason, as appears from what I have faid in these Discourses, for a Man to promise himself Security from outward Harm, if he will follow that which is good, that if the Text be restrained to That, it will be inade good by that Interpretation : But the Words themselves will bear a farther Meaning, and a Meaning too which is most certainly a Truth, That no Man can harm a righteous Person without his own Consent in Things that are of greatest Concern to him, viz, of a Spiritual and Everlasting Concernment ; And this Meaning they will bear the better, because although the Virtues of a good Man's Mind, and the Expectation of Future Blessedness, are not the Happiness of this World, yet they give a Man the greatest Satisfa&ion, and make him inore Happy in this World, than all other Advantages put together can do : Upon which Account, a Virtuous Temper, and a Good Conscience, are the best Means of Happiness even in this Life.
SERMON XVII. The Government of the
PRO V. XXV. xxviii. He that hath no Rule over his own
Spirit, is like a City that is broken down, and without Walls.
Y a Man's own Spirit here, which
he ought to rule, is meant those Affections wherewith we variously refent Things without us, and which carry us either to or from them, as we are affected; not that Divine Principle of our Natures, whereby we know God, and are able to reflect upon our felves. It is true in another Proverb, chap. 18. v. 14. The Spirit of a Man will jústain his Infirmity,
by the Spirit of a Man is to be under-
because the Hebrew Word is
Prov. 29. II.