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furnish'd with Guefts. But then care muft be taken, to fit and prepare our felves for this holy Feast, to have on our Wedding-Garment, that we may be welcome Guests to this Marriage-Supper; for holy things may not be given to Dogs. And what our Saviour here faid to the obftinate Jews, he faith to all impenitent Sinners; None of those Men that were bidden fhall taste of my Supper.
This is the Sum of this Day's Gospel: which may teach us,
1. To magnify and adore the infinite Love and Condefcenfion of Chrift, in making fuch ample Provifions for us, and fo graciously inviting his worthless Creatures to them. The Plenty and Coftliness of his Provifions, is reprefented by the killing of his Oxen and Fatlings, the best of his Cattel, and the choiceft of his Herds and Flocks. The Freedom and Kindness of his Invitation is exprefs'd by his bidding of many; indeed, all that by a due Preparation of themfelves will come and accept of it: he calls both Jew and Gentile, Male and Female, Bond and Free; for they are all one in Chrift Jefus. By which he fhews himself to be no Respecter of Perfons, but in every Nation he that feareth God, and worketh Righteoufnefs, is accepted of him. This is a Mercy too great to be exprefs'd, indeed too great to be expected, had hot God of his undeferv'd Goodnefs vouchfafed to beftow it; and is therefore to be own'd and accepted with all Thankfulness.
2. From the many Excufes made by the Guests for their not accepting of this Supper, we may learn the natural Backwardness and Averfenefs of Mankind to their own Good. Tho they were here invited to a highly honourable and beneficial Entertainment, yet every flight Pretence was thought fufficient to keep them from it, and no Intreaty could prevail with them for their own Happiness. Indeed, the Matters alledg'd by them were in thenifelves lawful and innocent: their buying and feeing a Farm, their providing and proving of Oxen, their efpoufing and enjoying a Wife, were things in their due time and place very allowable; but the fault was, the preferring thefe trifling and perifhing matters of the World, above the weightier things of Heaven, and the great Affairs of Eternity: their minding a Farm above the Kingdom of Heaven, their taking greater care of Oxen than their own Souls, and their loving Father
ther and Mother, Husband and Wife, more than Christ: which they that do, are not worthy of him.
3. From the Mafter of the Feaft's great Difpleafure at these things, we may learn the Danger as well as Vanity of all fuch Excuses: he was fo wroth with them, as to threaten that they should not taste of his Supper; they fhould nei ther feed at his Table here, nor feaft with him hereafter. But 'tis to be fear'd there are fome in our days, that abftain from this Feaft upon worfe Excufes than these they are loth to come, because they are unwilling to leave their Sins, and amend their Lives, or be oblig'd to fuch a Strictness as the holy Sacrament requires. But if those more innocent Excufes in the Gospel were not accepted, with what Indignation (think you) will thofe viler Pretences be rejected? Wherefore, in the last place, let us lay afide all manner of Excufes, and make our felves ready to go to the Lord's Supper; and fo by accepting of Grace now, we fhall e'er long be advanc'd to Glory.
The EPISTLE for the Third Sunday after Trinity.
1 St. Peter v. 5—12.
All of you be fubject one to another, and be clothed with Humility; for God refifteth the Proud, and giveth Grace to the Humble. Humble your felves therefore under the mighty Hand of God, that may exalt you in due time, &c.
HE Collect for this Day befeeches God mercifully to hear our Prayers; that we, to whom he hath given a hearty Defire to pray, may by his mighty Aid be defended and comforted in all Dangers and Adverfities. Now because Pride and Haughtiness of Spirit is the greatest Obftacle to the Success of our Prayers, and to our Security from Dangers; and nothing conduces more to a
good Event and Iffue in both, than Humility and Lowlinefs of Mind; therefore
The Epistle for this Day cautions us against the one, and earnestly exhorts to the other. To which end, it begins,
Firft, With a general Exhortation to mutual Subjection and Condefcenfion to each other, in these words, All of you be fubject one to another. There is a more particular Subjection due from Inferiours to Superiours, which confifts in honouring their Perfons, and obeying their Laws: and this is frequently requir'd in Holy Scripture; Let every Soul be fubject to the Higher Powers, faith St. Paul, Rom. 13.1. And put them in mind (faith he to Titus) to be fubject to Principalities and Powers, and to obey Magiftrates; Tit. 2. 1. Wherefore ye must needs be fubject, not only for Wrath, but for Confcience fake; Rom. 13. 8. with many other places to the fame purpose. This Subjection is to be paid only to Princes, and other Magiftrates commiffion'd by them, whom God hath invested with his own Power to rule and govern thofe committed to their charge.
But there is another and more general kind of Subjection, that concerns all Men, Superiours, Inferiours, and Equals; who are all requir'd in fome fenfe to be fubject one to another: The younger are to fubmit to the elder, and the elder are to direct, counfel, and affift the younger; and Men of all Ranks and Stations are to condefcend to good Offices, and be helpful one to another: there is none fo high, but may and ought to stoop for the good of those beneath him; and there is none fo low, but may be ferviceable to thofe above them. There is that mutual Dependence of each of these upon the other, that neither of them can fay, I have no need of thee; for they all stand in continual need of Help and Affiftance from one another : and therefore all of them ought to be fo far fubject, as to be ready to all good Offices for one another. Of this Chrift himself hath given us an Example; for tho he were Lord of all, yet he took upon him the Form of a Servant, and stoop'd fo low as to wash his Difciples Feet, merely to teach us to do likewife. There are fome, and thofe many times of very mean Rise and Rank, that affect more Power, and affume to themselves more Honour than belongs to them; they would fain be feen and thought to be fomebody, which makes them oftimes Bufy-bodies in other Mens matters, and Medlers in things which they neither underftand, nor appertain to them: as if they had all Wisdom, Vol. IV. Part 2.
and none had Wit enough to do their own business without their Advice. Such as thefe are fo far from being fubject, that they would top their Superiours, thinking themselves wifer than their Teachers or Governours; and fo take upon them to nofe and controul their Betters. To these efpecially the Apostle gives this Caution, All of you be fubject one to another: that is, inftead of afpiring or ufurping Power over others, let each of you efteem others better than your felves, and rather put your felves under, than lift your felves above them. Our Bleffed Saviour finding fome of his Difciples contending for Preheminence, and ftriving who amongst them fhould be greateft, fharply rebuk'd their Vanity, faying, He that would be greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth ferve: adding, that he himself was among them, as one that ferveth. Luke 22. 26, 27. Now,
This Subjection of one to another, is by St. Peter here explain'd and exprefs'd by Humility; All of you be fubject one to another, and be clothed with Humility. Where 'twill be requifite to fhew, what this Humility is, what it is to be cloth'd with Humility, and likewife what Influence it hath in making Men fubject one to another.
For the firft, Humility is a Vertue, that confifts not in wearing old Clothes, or in any affected Garbs of Austerity or Mortification; for a Beggar may be prouder in his Rags, than a good Chriftian in finer and more fashionable Attire: but Humility lies in the Heart, and confifts in fuch a low and mean Opinion of our felves, as keeps us from overva luing of our felves, or undervaluing of others.
There is indeed a Branch of Humility, that refpects our Carriage towards God; and that confifts in fuch a deep Senfe of our own Vilenefs, compar'd with the infinite Greatness of God, as makes us to abhor our felves, and adore our Maker.
But the Humility we are here exhorted to, refpects our Carriage towards Men, and lies in fubduing all thofe vain and high Thoughts of our felves, as caufe us to overlook and neglect our Duty to others: And fo 'tis oppos'd to Pride, or fuch an overweening Conceit of our felves, as is apt to lift Men up, and makes them to defpife others, tho many times better than themfelves. Whereas Humility confilts in having low and mean Thoughts of our felves, and being content that others fhould have the fame of us; not arrogantly affuming Honour to our felves, but in honour Preferring one another.
But what is it to be clothed with Humility? The word in the Original is ynquecade, which fignifies the putting on of a Coat or Garment peculiar to Servants, by wearing whereof, as by a Livery, they were diftinguifh'd from others, and known to whom they belong'd: The Expreffion gives us to understand, that Humility is the Badg or Cognizance of a good Chriftian; and to be cloth'd with it, is to wear Chrift's Livery, and to be known to be his Difciples: for he himself was meek and lowly in Heart, Mat. 11. 28. and would have the fame Mind to be in us, as was in him, to ftoop even to the Form of a Servant; Phil. 2. In to ken whereof, we are to put on Humility as a Mark of Chrift's Followers, and that too not as a loofe Garment, that may be put off again, and laid afide at pleasure; but fo to be cloth'd with it, as never to change, or be uncloth'd again: for Humility is a Garment, which tho it may look bare or coarfe, yet will never wear out, or be out of fafhion; for no Garb is fo becoming, or renders us more amiable in the fight of God or Man. 'Tis indeed the best of all Garments, for 'twill keep us warm in all Times and Conditions; 'tis not only Clothing, to guard us from Cold and Nakedness, but like a Coat of Mail defends us from all Affaults of our Enemies. In a word,
Humility is a Garment that anfwers all the Neceffities, and fecures from all the Dangers of the Soul: 'tis an Ornament in fair Weather, and a Safeguard in foul; for it adorns Profperity, and fuccours in Adverfity. It enamels other Vertues, and like Charity covers a multitude of Sins. And therefore above all things we fhould be clothed with Humility; or, as the word fignifies, be fo girt about with it, as never to part with, or depart from it.
But what Influence hath this Vertue in making Men fubject one to another? Why, much every way: for as Pride lifts Men up in their Thoughts above others, and fo they come to defpife and look down with Contempt upon thofe they think beneath them, by which it occafions great Diforder and Disturbance in the World; fo Humility, on the other hand, makes Men low in their own eyes, by which they become yielding and condefcending to another, and fo hufh up many Quarrels and Contentions. Solomon tells us, that 'tis the proud Heart that firreth up Strife, and only by Pride cometh Contention: whereas Humility leads to Peace, and puts Men upon the ftudy of Quiet, by doing their own Business, without meddling or interpofing in the Af