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EPISTLE to the Coloffians, Chap. i. Verse
9. For this caufe we alfo, fince the day we heard it, do not ceafe to pray for you, and to defire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and fpiritual understanding :
10. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleafing, being fruitful in every good work, and encreafing in the knowledge of God:
11. Strengthned with all might according to bis glorious power, unto all patience and long-fuffering with joyfulness:
12. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the faints in light:
13. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath tranflated us into the kingdom of bis dear Son :
14. In whom we have redemption through bis blood, even the forgiveness of fins.
The MORAL REFLECTION.
HIS great apoftle did not only labour continually for the converfion of thofe Chrift had committed to his charge, but prayed God with fervour to pour down his benediction on his endeavours, and on thofe blind infidels, whofe falvation he fo earnestly defired. All thofe who have care of fouls fhould follow this model: it is their duty not only to inftruct their flock, in all points that concern falvation; but they must also befeech and importune God to fupply them with his grace, that thofe, who have ftray'd, may return from their errors; and thofe, who have not, may preferve their innocence to the end. This zeal, this feraphick charity of the apoftle gave his labours fo great fuccefs; con
verted fo many pagans, and of profligate finners made them faints. The inftructions of a pastor may teach us our duty; but charitable prayers oftentimes procure us grace, to comply with it.
The apoftle begged of God, that the Coloffians might walk worthy of him, unto all pleafing. To walk worthy of God, we must refer all our thoughts and actions to his glory, and aim at the highest fanctity. Our Saviour fets us no other model of fanctity but God's: not that he pretends a creature can ever arrive to the infinite fanctity of his Creator; but he fhews us, that it is the duty of chriftians to aim at the higheft virtues; to co-operate, to the utmost of our power, with all the graces God is pleased to give us. To walk worthy of God, is, in the first place, to avoid all mortal fin. And, fecondly, with reflection not to commit even venial. It is to practife a generous and constant mortification; a punctuality in all the duties of our state. It is to declare a conftant war against the paffions, to make no peace with those rebels, till they are overcome it is to reform our manners, to hate what Chrift hated, to embrace what he esteemed it is to turn all the occurrences of life to God's glory, and even neceffity into virtue. This life is fubject to a thousand changes; we cannot be always in the fame fituation, but we may always walk worthy of God: that is, ferve him in what ftate, or condition foever we are. Adverfity follows prosperity; ficknefs, health; joy ends in affliction. If we cannot change this viciffitude, we may receive it with fubmiffion, and render ourfelves happy, by making all accidents fubfervient to virtue, and God's honour.
Ah my God! have I walk'd worthy of thee one day, or even one hour? How many years of my fleeting life are paft? I attend on the brink of my grave what provifion have I made for eternity?
Have I walk'd like a difciple of Jefus Chrift, or of the world? After fo many infpirations, fo many ferious reflections, fo many refolutions, am I become more humble ? more charitable? exact? more regular? more mortified? religious? more chriftian? How often have I flattered myfelf, that I walk'd worthy of thee; because I exercised fome paffing works of piety; because I fometimes frequented the church, and approach'd thy holy table? Tho' at the fame time, wholly bent on the vanities of this world, I rather eat to my damnation, than to my falvation.
Difengage me, my God, from all thofe vain amusements, that have hitherto taken up my thoughts and my time; that have rendered thy grace ineffectual, and my negligence inexcufable. 1 fee my fault and deplore it; let me never more fall into my former indolence; but touch my heart fo powerfully with thy grace, that it may break through all oppofition, and walk in the perfect obfervance of thy commandments, to enter into the happy enjoyment of thy glory.
Strengthen'd with all might according to his glorious power, unto all patience, and long-fuffering, with joyfulness. The apoftle teaches, what he had received of his Mafter, that those who live piously, fhall fuffer perfecution, fhall never fail to find enemies; and confequently, they muft arm themselves with patience, to fuffer with fweetness towards those who perfecute them; with joy, because God polifhes their virtue; with hope, that he will crown their fufferings with an eternal repose, and an incomprehenfible glory.
Suffering is the lot of faints, and a favour to finners: it perfects thofe, and calls thefe to repenAll the faints have been tried in the furnace of tribulation, and our Saviour would not be exempted; he drank of the bitter cup before he
prefented it to his followers; and took off the bitterness by his paffion: by torments he entered into his glory, and all the elect must enter heaven the fame way. But, O God! what proportion between a moment's pain, and an eternal reward? Thy bounty is above expreffion: thy liberality furpaffes our labours: a fhort patience receives a long felicity, everlafting in duration, unalterable; neither fubject to time, nor accidents.
Spare me not, my God, in this life; only be merciful to me in the other: Fortify me with thy grace, that I may not fink under adverfity; but that I may bear it not only with fubmiffion, but even with chearfulness.
GOSPEL of St. Matth. Chap. xxiv. Verse
15. When ye therefore shall fee the abomination of defolation, Spoken of by Daniel the prophet, ftand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him underftand)
16. Then let them which be in Judea, flee into the mountains.
17. Let him which is on the house-top, not come down to take any thing out of his house :
18. Neither let him which is in the field, return back to take his clothes.
19. And wo unto them that are with child, and to them that give fuck in those days.
20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the fabbath-day:
21. For then fhall be great tribulation, such as was not fince the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22. And except those days should be shortned, there should no flesh be faved: but for the elect's fake thofe days fhall be fortned.
23. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Chrift, or there, believe it not.
24. For there fhall arife falfe Chrifts, and falfe prophets, and shall fhew great figns and wonders, infomuch that (if it were poffible) they fhall deceive the very elect.
25. Behold, I have told you before.
26. Wherefore, if they shall fay unto you, Bebold, he is in the defart, go not forth: bebold, he is in the fecret chambers, believe it not.
27. For as the lightning cometh out of the caft, and fhineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28. For wherefoever the carcafe is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days, fball the fun be darkned, and the moon shall not give her light, and the ftars Shall fall from beaven, and the powers of the heavens fhall be fbaken.
30. And then fhall appear the fign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall fee the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.
31. And he shall fend his angels with a great found of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32. Now learn a parable of the fig-tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that fummer is nigh.
33. So likewife ye, when ye shall fee all these things; know that it is near, even at the doors.
34. Verily, I fay unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35. Heaven and earth fhall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.