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are God's in doing otherwife we invade his House, and profane his Sanctuary.
(3.) The Lord's Day is another of the things of God, that is to be reverenc'd, and render'd to him for God hath referv'd and fet apart that Portion of Time for himself, and ftil'd it his The Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, and hath therefore given a strict Charge, to remem ber that Day to keep it Holy, by refting on it from all bodily Labours, and to apply it wholly to fpiritual and religious Exercifes. And because of the Relation and Dependence that there is of thefe Holy Times, and Holy Places upon one another, God hath join'd them together in one Command, faying, Ye shall fanctify my Sabbath, and reverence my Sanctuary, I am the Lord: Lev. 19. 30. By fo doing we render unto God the things that are God's, and without it we falfify with God, by depriving him of both.
(4.) The tenth Part of our earthly Subftance is another thing that is God's, and must therefore, by our Saviour's Rule, be render'd to him; for God, who gives all, hath referv'd that part for himself, as a high Rent and Acknowledgment for all the reft, which he hath made payable to his Ministers, who attend his Service, and ferve at his Altar; and to detain it from them either in whole or in part, is the heinous Sin of Sacrilege. Hence we find God himfelf complaining of fome Mens robbing of him in Tythes and Offerings; and the denying or depriving him of his Part, brings a Curfe instead of a Blefling upon all the remaining Parts of their Poffeffions: And therefore we are bid to bonour God with our Subftance, which is by a full and fair Payment of what is his, that we may find the Benefit and Comfort of all the reft. And this Right of God Almighty being confirm'd by human as well as by divine Laws, the withholding of it must be a Tranfgreffion of both; and they that do fo, neither give to Cæfar the things that are Cæfar's, nor to God the things that are God's.
Thus I have briefly fhew'd both the things that are Cœfar's, or the Rights of Sovereign Princes, viz. Honour, Obedience and Tribute, as alfo, the things that are God's, or the Rights of the great Sovereign and Ruler of the World, viz. Religious Worship, which is due to him only; and fome Divine Honours and Refpects that are to be paid to Sacred Perfons and Things, for the Relation they bear to him. It remains only to put you in mind of a careful and
confcientious Discharge of thefe Duties, by rendring to each what of right belongs to them. And,
ift, Let me mind you of rendring unto Cafar, or Sovereign Kings or Queens, the things that are theirs; that is, to honour their Perfons as God's Vicegerents, with all the Expreffions of inward and outward Honour, and to take care not to difhonour them in Thought, Word or Deed.
2dly, Let us render unto them all due Submiffion and Obedience to their Laws, owning and yielding to their Authority for God's fake, and not listening to any Suggestions or Temptations to the contrary.
3dly, Let us render Tribute unto them as Occafions fhall require, which is here plainly commanded by our Saviour, and is neceffary for the Safety both of Prince and People; the denying whereof to a Lawful and Pious Prince of thefe Kingdoms, hath brought many Miseries and heavy Burdens upon them ever fince. But above all,
Laftly, Let us be careful of rendring unto God the things that are God's; that is, by giving to him Divine Worship, and to none befide him, and likewife by paying all due Respect and Reverence to thofe Perfons, Times and Places that are confecrated to him; honouring his Minifters, hallowing his Sabbath, and reverencing his Sanctuary. And among the reft, let us not forget or neglect to render him that Sacred Part of our Subftance, which he hath referv'd and appropriated to his Service; remembring the fad Fate of Ananias and Saphira, who for withholding and alienating part of the Price of their confecrated Subftance, were both fmitten to Death by a fudden Stroke of Divine Vengeance as we may read, Acts 5. 1,2.
In a word, by rendring unto Cæfar the things that are Cæ far's, we may live quietly and easily here; and by rendring unto God the things that are God's, we fhall live happily for ever hereafter: Which God grant, &c.
I i 2
The EPISTLE for the Four and Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.
Coloff. i. 313.
We give Thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, praying always for you, fince we heard of your Faith in Chrift Fefus, and of the Love that ye have to all the Saints, &c.
HE Collect for this Day befeeches God to abfolve his People from their Offences, that through his bountiful Goodnefs they may all be deliver'd from the Bands of thofe Sins, which by their Frailty they have committed: which things cannot better be obtain❜d than by frequent and fervent Prayer. And therefore the Apostle in this Epiftle puts up his hearty Prayers in the behalf of the Coloffians, that all Sin might decay and die in them, and that all the Graces of the Spirit might grow and flourish among them.
St. Paul had never perfonally preach'd the Gospel to these Coloffians, no nor fo much as been among them; for he tells us, Chap. 2. ver. 1. that they were fome of them that had not feen his Face in the Fleft. But Epaphras, his FellowServant and Fellow-Prifoner at Rome, had planted a Church among them, and converted many to the Faith, and by him it was that he fent this Epiftle to them, to encourage and confirm them in the Faith, to which the other had converted them.
So that the Epiftle for the Day contains St. Paul's Prayer in the behalf of thefe Coloffians; which being much the fame with that which he put up in the behalf of the Philippians, mention'd in the Epiftle for the 22d Sunday after Trinity, I fhall not need to repeat what is there treated of, but only confider what is here added to it. It confifts partly of Thanksgivings for Mercies, which they had already re
ceiv'd; and partly of Supplications for farther Blessings to be beftow'd upon them: both which being intermingled together, I fhall confider them as they are here related.
The Epiftle begins with Thanksgiving, in these words; We give Thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift. Where, by giving of Thanks, we are to understand not only an inward Senfe and Remembrance of Mercies receiv'd, but likewise an outward and open Acknowledgment of them, accompany'd with hearty Defires and Endeavours of making all poffible Returns and Requital for them. The Object, to whom this Thanksgiving was made, was God, the Author of all Mercies, both fpiritual and temporal, and the Almighty Donor of all our Bleffings; for every good Gift, and every perfect Gift (faith St. James) is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights: Jam. 1. 17. who is here farther ftil'd, The Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift; by whofe Merits and Mediation all Divine Bleflings are deriv'd to us. To this his giving of Thanks, the Apoftle adds his praying always for them, fince he heard of their Faith in Chrift Fefus: This he heard from Epaphras, a Difciple of his, who was the main Inftrument of preaching and plantng the Gospel among them, as we fhall find after. So
If Thing that the Apostle here praifes God for, and prays for the Continuance of, in the behalf of thefe Colof fians, was their embracing of Chriftianity, or receiving the Chriftian Faith; which was an ineftimable Blefling to them, who were before in a State of Heathenifma and Infidelity: and fo being out of the Church, they were without God, without Chrift, and without Hope in the World. Whereas, by receiving the Gofpel, they were receiv'd into the Favour of God, and by the Merits of Chrift had well-grounded Hopes of Salvation.
zdly, Another thing, for which he thanks God in them, was the Love that they had to all the Saints; which appear'd by their contributing to their Neceflities, and by aiding and comforting them in all their Diftreffes: they prov'd their Faith to be found and fincere, by its working by Love, and abounding in all the Acts of Mercy and Charity.
3dly, He thanks God for the Hope that was laid up for them in Heaven, ver. 5. that is, for the lively Hope of an Inheritance immortal, incorruptible, and that fadeth not away, referv'd in Heaven for them; of which they heard by
the Word of the Truth of the Gofpel: meaning, that they had an Affurance hereof by the Doctrine of the Gospel, which they had heard and receiv'd; for Faith comes by Hear ing, and Hearing by the Word of God: which Word of Truth is come not to them only, but to all the World, where the Gospel is preach'd; for the Grace of God, which bring. eth Salvation, hath appear'd to all Men.
Laftly, He thanks God for the good Fruits it brought forth in the World, fince the Publication of it, as it did alfo in thefe Coloffians, fince the Day they heard of it, and knew the Word of God in Truth: Which good Fruits ferv'd to adorn the Gospel that was preach'd to them, and will redound to their Account in the Day of Christ,
These are the chief things for which the Apostle here gives God Thanks in the behalf of the Coloffians, which tending fo much to their prefent and future Welfare, were highly thank-worthy. This, his praifing of God for them, they learned of Epaphras, a dear Fellow-Servant of St. Paul's, and a faithful Minifter of theirs, who alfo declared unto the Apoftle their Love in the Spirit, and the entire Affection they bore unto him; for which cause we alfo (faith he) fince the Day we heard it, do not ceafe to pray for you. And this will lead me from the Subject-matter of his Praises and Thanksgivings for them,
Secondly, To the Matter of his Prayers and Supplications in their behalf: And the firft Thing he pray'd for, or defir'd for them, was that they might be filled with the Knowledg of his Will in all Wisdom and spiritual Understanding ver. 9. Now though Knowledg, Wisdom and Underftanding are ofttimes taken promifcuously, to fignify one and the fame thing; yet here and elsewhere in Holy Scripture they have different Senfes, and may be thus diftinguifh'd: Knowledg fignifies the bare Notion or Speculation of any Matter or Thing; Wisdom is a practical Knowledg, and implies the doing of what we know; Understanding is an experimental Knowledg, or feeling the Truth of what we know. All these the Apoftle here defires for thefe Coloffians, with reference to the Will of God, and all Divine Truths,
As, (1.) He defires that they may be filled with the Knowledg of God's Will, that is, that they may have a right Notion of the things that God requires, without being mifled by Ignorance, or mistaken by Error. Of our felves we are blind, and know nothing as we ought: The natural Man (faith the Apostle) difcerns not the things of God, neie