« PreviousContinue »
BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF SEVERAL SERMONS
Upon Psal. xxx. 5,
IN HIS FAVOUR IS LIFE.
BY OLIVER HEYWOOD,
MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.
A NEW EDITION.
Printed and sold at
Near Halifax ;
and other Country Booksellers.
100. , P3.
The Editor thinks it necessary to inform the public, that, in order to render this work more generally acceptable, he has taken the liberty of abridging a few passages ; and as some expellions are too antiquated for the taste of readers at the present day, he has endeavoured a little to modernise the language, where it could be done without altering the sense of the author.
AMONG all the useful discourses which the press hath of late exposed to public view, I have not, as I remember, met with any which pur. posely and directly treated of the subject of this essay. notwithstanding it must be owned to be needful, useful, and at all times seasonable. It is not a point of controversy, but a maxim to which men generally subscribe, that, In God's favour is life.
All sorts of men plead for God's favour, and, in general, pretend to it. This is the case with perfons of all religions, and of all persuasions. Men cannot bear the thoughts of an exclusion from it, whatever be their state or their conduct. Both the religious and the profane make pretensions to it.The rich and great cannot say they are above it, the poor and mean think themselves entitled to it. The grossly ignorant dream of God's favour, as their sanctuary, though the Most High hath said of such, “ It is a people of no understanding, therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and
he that formed them will shew them no favour." The learned Rabbies and sages of the world can gravely dispute about the grace and favour of God, with strong inclination to appropriate it to themselves. They are often ready to say of the illiterate, as the chief priests and pharisees of old, “ This people who know not the law are accursed;" intimating that they themselves are high in God's account, and distinguished by his favour above their neighbours. But Jesus says to those who justify themselves, “ That which is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God.”
The aspiring Nimrods and the flattering Abfaloms of the world, when they have the favour of princes or people, imagine they have the favour of the Almighty. But Haman and Herod foon received a confutation of this opinion; the one for his detestable pride, through divine indignation, was hanged like a dog; the other was smitten by an angel of the Lord, and his loathsome carcase eaten up of worms, be. cause he gave not God the glory.
The unworthy, the greedy and griping sons of the good old Eli, who would be served first, and served with the best, or take their part by force, though they boasted of the ark, and trusted in it, fuppofing they had the Almighty in some fort engaged to them thereby, yet they themselves were miserably slain, and their pofterity were brought
basely basely to crouch for a piece of silver, and a morsel of bread.
Though carnal persons may bless the prosperous covetous man, we are told that God abhors him. If Jeconiah will fet his eyes and heart only to his covetousness, and build himself a house by unrighteousness, and chambers by wrong, using his neighbours' service without wages, by divine appointment, he shall die unlamented, and be buried with the burial of an afs; the best part of his name shall be taken away, he shall only be called Coniah; and though he was as the signet on God's right hand, advanced to high and distinguished honours, yet the Almighty will pluck him thence and caft him down. Though the ambitious and impious king of Tyre be, in the estimation of fome, as the anointed cherub, and say he is God, and fet his heart as the heart of God, yet he shall be brought down to the pit.
Mystical Babylon may say, " I sit as a queen, and shall see no sorrow; she may glorify herself, and boast of the peculiar favour of Him whose spouse she pretends to be; yet it will appear by and by, that she is the habitation of Devils; and her plagues shall come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; nay, she shall be utterly burnt with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.