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Standing Fast in the Lord

Standing Fast in the Lord

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
EDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYNS BRAY


FROM SPARROW^



1 THESS. 111. 8.

Now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
EDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYNS BRAY


FROM SPARROW^



1 THESS. 111. 8.

Now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 09, 2014
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STADIG FAST I THE LORDEDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYS BRAYFROM SPARROW^ 1 THESS. 111. 8. ow we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. St. Paul, having lately converted the Thessalonians to the Christian faith, was called to preach tlie Gos- pel in other parts. He sends, therefore, Timothy \y\i\\ a commission in his name to visit them, to comfort them, and to know their faith, lest hy some means, the tempter have tempted you, and our labour he in vain. When Timothy had finished his visitation, he returns to St. Paul, and brings these good tidings ; that he had found the Thessalonians firm and stedfast in the faith which Paul had taught them. And on hearing this re- port, the Apostle breaks out into this rhetorical * Anthony Sparrow, Bishop of orwich. The volume that contains the original is dated 1723. 333 expression' of his joy and satisfaction ^t the mes- sage ; JVbw we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. As it cannot be denied, my brethren, that there stdl are many busy tempters, who use the subtlest arts to withdraw you from our holy faith ; it is the duty of every faithful minister, to caution those
 
who are committed to his charge against such temptation. That you may continue, therefore, constant and stedfast in that holy faith, which our Lord hath delivered unto you, I shall briefly set before you such rules and directions out of the holy Scriptures, as, by God's assistance on your hearty prayers, shall undoubtedly preserve you. The first rule is, to make a serious and hearty resolution of believing and adhering to this Chris- tian faith, whatsoever it may cost. And the cost may certainly be great : even the loss of father and mother, and whatsoever is nearest and dearest to us. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Let no man, however, so mistake our Lord, as to think, that he teaches disobedience to parents, whose first commandment with promise is, Honour thy father and thy mother ; or that he teaches us to hate our children, who, by his Apostle, St. Paul, tells us, that they are worse than infidels, who provide not for their fa- mily ; or that he teaches us to hate ourselves^ who 334 lias siimmed up his commandments in these two precepts. Love God above all, and thy neighbour as thyself, St. Luke's phrase of hating father and mother, is best expounded by St. Matthew ; He that loveth father and mother more than me ; he that prefers them to me and my doctrine, and will renounce that, or any part of it, to save them, or his own lifcj and \^hatsoever is dearest to him irt this world, is not worthy of me. Let not the cost ^e may be at affright us. The rich pearl of the holy faith, the end of which is the salvation of our
 
souls, is not dearly bought, though we sell all that we have to purchase it. But this resolution will not continue stedfast, un- less we purge out of our hearts all such lusts and passions as will ravish our wills from this holy faith : as, first, the inordinate love of this present world. This made Demas forsake St. Paul, after he had been, a long time, his fellow-labourer in the preach- ing of the Gospel. If our hearts be filled with covetous designs. We shall certainly forsake the right way, as Balaam did, for the wages of un- righteousness. Ambition, also, made most of the heretics and Schismatics of elder times : as Epiphanius and others have observed. When they thought their worth and merit not enough rewarded, because they could not be so great or powerful as they affected to be ; When they could not obtain, hy the regular and^w^ ways of preferment, such places and dignities, such 335 esteem and reputation as they coveted, and thought they deserved ; then they broached new doctrines, and invented new disciplines, to draw parties after them ; that they might be, in a faction, what they could not be in the Church, — chiefs and leaders. Where this wind of ambition blows^ no wonder if it carries them away to diverse and strange doctrines. When the teachers court the people, and they again the teachers, for applause and reputation; tvhen vain-glory is the end of the design, how can men be stedfast F Besides, no man can hope to stand stedfast in the faith, without the assistance of God's grace, who resisteth the proud, and giveth his grace only to the humble. If we will be Christ's

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