Joseph Stennett.

The Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 2) online

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Theological Seminary,


Case, Z^< — *-— Dj.YAS.ion ,

Shelf. (?A 0\^O Section

Book, V// *"_ No,,..



Of the late

Reverend and Learned

Mr. Jofepb Stennett.


Containing Fifteen Sermons never before


Printed in the Year M.DCGXXXI.





1 jReach'd before an afTembly of ministers

at Jomers-Hall } on March 25, 1706.
Pnil. ii. 21. For all feek their own, not the
things which are Jefus Chri/l's. Page 1


Prcach'd before the focieties for reformation
of manners, at Salters-Hall, June 26, 1703.

Prov. xiv. 34. Righteoufnefs exalteth a nation :
but Jin is a reproach to any people. 47


Preach'd at the ordination of the reverend
Mr. David Rees, and two deacons, at
Limehoufe, Feb. 19, 1705-6.

Titus i. 5. For this caufe left I thee in Crete,
that thou Jhouldft fet in order the things that
Vol. II. A are


are wanting, and ordain ciders in every citv,
as I had appointed thee. Page j$


Prcach'd at Spittle-fields, June 1 6, 1700.

I Cor. i. 23, 24. But we preach Chrijl cru-
cified ; unto the Jews a jlumbling-block, and
unto the Greeks fool if ne/s , but unto them
which are called both Jews and Greeks,
Chrijl, the power of God, and the wifdom
of God. 128


Preach'd at Spittle-fields, June 30, 1700.
The fecond Sermon on the fame text:


Preach'd at Pinners-Hall, Auguft 30, 1707.

Heb. vii. 25. Wherefore he is able tojave them
to the uttermoft, that come unto God by him,
feeing he ever livcth to make intcrcejjion for
them. 1 97


Preach'd at Pinners-Hall, Sept. 6, 1707.
The fecond Sermon on the fame text.

Prcach'd at Pinners-Hall, Sept. 13, 1707.
The third Sermon on the fame text.





Preach'd at Pinners-Hall, Nov. 8, 1707.

Mat. xi. 11, 12. Verily I fay unto you, Among
them that are bom of women, there hath not
rifen a greater than John the baptift : not-
with (landing, he that is leajl in the kingdom
of heaven, is greater than he. And from
the days of fohn the baptifl until now, the
kingdom of heaven fuffereth violence ; and
the violent take it by force. Page 276


Preach'd at Pinners-Hall, Nov. 15, l J°7>
The fecond Sermon on the fame text.


Preach'd at Pinners-Hall, Nov. 29, 1707.

The third Sermon on the fame text.



Preach'd at Pi?iners-Hall, Feb. 3, 1704-5'.

Prov. xxiii. 23. the former part of the verie.

Bay the truth, and fell it not. 3 c6


Preach'd at Pinners-Hall, Feb. 10, 1704-5.
The fecond Sermon on the fame text:





Of loving the Lord our God.

Mark xii. 30. And thou fh alt love the Lord
thy God with all thine hearty and with all
thy foul, and with all thy mind, and with
ell thy flrength : this is the firjl command-
ment. Page 423


The unchangeable duration of the moral law

Matt. v. 18. For verily I fay unto you, I'm

heaven and earth pafs, one jot or one tittle

fhall in no wife pafs from the law, till all

be fulfilled. 4^2



Preach'd before an

Assembly of MINISTERS,

at Joiners -Hall, on March 25, 1705.

Phil. ii. 21.

For all fee k their own, not the things which
are Jeftts Chriffs.

JJSK HEN chriftianity was firft plant-
ǤjF^|i|| ed in the world, that great prin-
%l ^ j||P c ^P^ e °f lt > which our Saviour
&Ss-a^2g|S fo frequently inculcated on his
^ff difciples, namely, that it was
necelTary to deny themfehes, and
take up their crofs and follow him a , was not
only readily entertained in their minds, but
appeared in the whole courfe of their lives :
they feemed to be fo intirely taken up with

a Luke 9. aj.

Vol. II.



2 A fir mon preach* d before

the fervice of our Lord Jefus Chrift, to whom
they own'd they had the greateft obligations ;
and their minds were fo thorowly imbued
with charity, that bond of perfection, and
moft eminent badge of chriftian ity, that they
thought nothing too much to do for the pub-
lick fervice and intereft of the chriftian
church. As they were ready to lay down
their lives for the fake of the Lord Jefus, and
were even ambitious of the crown of mar-
tyrdom j fo they were ready to fpend their
eftates, and hazard their lives too, for the
fervice of the brethren, and for the advance-
ment of their true intereft and edification.
Not only the minifters, but the people in ge-
neral were engaged in this good defign, and
infpired with this generous temper ; they
feemed all to mind the fame thing, and each
of them to lofe his own intereft in that of
the chriftian community. The minifters
thought no labour too hard to be fuftained,
no fufferings too great to be endured, pro-
vided they might bring honour to the name
of Chrift, and be ferviceable to his church.
Thus our apoftle, a little before the words of
our text, generoufly declares to the Philip-
pians, that if he were offered upon the facripce
and fervice of their faith, he fkoitld joy and
rejoice 'with them all b : he was willing, for
the promotion of the intereft of their fouls,
to expofe himfelf to the greateft hazards and

* Ver. 17.


Scrm. I. an ajfembly of minijlers. 3

fufferings ; and if it had been poffible of
lawful, he could even have wijhed himfelf
accurfed from Chriji c , to have been under the
moft fevere anathema, if this would have
contributed to the falvation of the Jews.
The people, in imitation of this noble pat-
tern of their minifters, were fo forward to
advance the name of Chrift, and to promote
the common interefl of religion, that, if it
had been poffible, they would have pluck' d
out their eyes and given them to them d ; and
to fave their lives, were willing to lay down
their own necks e : fo much were they bent to
promote the good of the publick ; and fo
carneftly did they defire the propagation of
the gofpel, that they would have been glad
to have preferv'd thofe lives, which were
moft neceffary to this end, at the expence
of their own blood. And for defraying the
extraordinary charge which attended the firfb
publication of the chriftian religion, as well
as for the fupport of their neceffitous bre-
thren under the difficulties and perfecutions
which were then fo common to them j it
was ufual for thofe who had eftates in land
or houfes, to fell them f , and to put the mo-
ney into a publick fund, to carry on the fame
good defign of advancing the true religion
in the world.

c Rom. 9. 3. * Rom. i£. 4.
-Gal. 4. 15. J fAfts4.34 37.

B z But

4 A fermon preach' d before

But it was not long that this generous
temper of mind reign'd univerfally among
chriftians : Satan loon fowed tares among the
wheat ; hypocrites introduced themfelves by
a fpecious profelfion into the chriftian com-
munities ; and in a little time great numbers
in the church appeared to be quite of another
difpofition. So that the apoftle had occafion
to complain of the narrownefs of their fpi-
rits, and of their fenfuality ; of their fupine
neglect of the things of religion, while they
took care, on the contrary, to indulge them-
felves in the enjoyment of fenfible things.
Therefore in fpeaking to thefe Philippians he
ufes thefe pathetick words : For many 'walk,
of whom I have told you often, and now tell you
eyen weeping, that they are the enemies of the
crofs of Chrijl ; whofe end is dejlruflion, whofe
God is their belly, and whofe glory is in their
flame ; who mind earthly things g . And in
the words of our text he laments that all
fought their own things, and not the things of
Jefus Chrijl : not that they were univerfally
become fo corrupt and degenerate ; but this
unhappy temper fo generally obtain'd a-
mongft them, that it was rare to find a man
fo generous and difinterefted, and who had fo
pure and fingle a regard to the honour of
God and the good of the publick, that it
might be truly laid of him that he fought the
things of Chrijl, and di /regarded his own. Some
inflances indeed there might be found, but

• Phil. 5. 18, i>.


Serm. I. an ajfembly of minijlers. 5

they were not common. The apoftle men-
tions one in his fon Timothy, in whofe com-
mendation he fpeaks in this chapter : But
I truft, fays he, in the Lord J ejus, to fend
tfimotheus Jhortly unto you, that I alfo may be
of good comfort when I know your fate. For I
have no man like-minded, who will naturally care
for your flat e h . i. e. " I have no man with
u me in whom I can fo confide, or that hath
" fo tender a regard to you, and fo natural a
" fympathy ; that is touched with all your
" afflictions, and lays to heart all your con-
" cerns. I have no man like-minded, I can
" hardly find a man of his temper and excellent
" fpirit :" For all, that is, the generality, feek
their own, not the things which are JefusChrifl's,
This is a very fad complaint of the apoftle,
and added affliction, to be fure, to his bonds :
for he was now a prifoner at Rome, and
wrote to thefe Philippians with the greateft
tendernefs and companion that was poffible
for a man to exprefs ; tho at the fame time
he took occafion to cenfure them for thofe
irregularities which were among them. And
it feems very probable, that the apoftle does
not only in thefe words rerlecT: upon thofe
chriftians who were with him at Rome, of
whom he could hardly find a man fit to be
fent to Philippi, who would have a tender
and natural care for their ftate ; but that he
infinuates, after his genteel manner, that there
were among thefe Philippians, as well as

h Ver, 19, zo.

B 3 other

6 A fermon pr cacti d before

other churches, too many who too intenfely
minded their own things, while they neglected
the things that were Jefus Cbri/l's.
In treating on theie words, I mall,

I. Inquire what it is for men to feek their
own things j and what to feek the things
of J ejus Chriji.

JI. I (hall inquire into fome of the main
caufes which fo commonly difpofe men,
even chriftians, to feek their own things,
and not the things of Chriji.

III. I mall fhew the reafons why we mould
feck the things of Chriji rather than
our own ; and the unreafonablenefs of
the contrary procedure.

I. We are to inquire what it is for men to

feek their own things, and not the things of
Chriji. And here we muft confider, firft,
what is meant by our own things, and the
things of Chriji which are oppofed to our
own ; and then what is meant by feeking our
own things, in oppofition to thofe of Chrift.

i. What is meant by our own things, and
by the things of Chriji. This concife manner
of expreffion is common to the apoftle Paul ;
and there is a beauty and elegancy in this
comprehensive way of fpeaking. Our own
things may either fignify human things, thole
things which belong to our temporal fhuc,
and the accommodation of human life in
this world, in oppofition to the things of


Serm. I. an ajfembly of minijlers. 7

Chrift, that is, divine things which regard
our fpiritual and everlafting intereft : or, our
own things, as oppos'd to the things of Chrift,
may fignify our own private intereft and ad-
vantage, in oppofition to the intereft of Chrift,
and to the publick advantage of his church.

If we interpret the words in the former fenfe,
we find there are like expreflions in the new
teftament. When our Saviour rebukes Peter,
becaufe he would have perfuaded him to fe-
cure himfelf from the fufferings of the crofs,
he ufes thefe terms ; Get thee behind me, Satan,
for thou favour eft not the things that be of God,
but thofe that be of men ' : q. d. " Thou feem-
" eft to have no relifli for fome of thofe di-
" vine truths which are agreeable to the na-
" ture of God, and elfential to the chriftian
" religion j for fuch are thofe that relate to
" my crucifixion : but thou reafoneft from
" the fentiments of human nature, and the
" principles of human policy, to perfuade
" me to avoid the fufferings of the crofs.
" Thou art taken with the things of this
world, and art projecting how I may im-
mediately obtain a temporal kingdom, and
that without fuffering ; and art difgufted
with the fcheme of things which the di-
" vine wifdom has conftituted, by which I
am appointed firft to fuffer, and fo to enter
" into my glory ; into a kingdom as far a-
- bove the idea thou haft form'd in thy mind,
" as heaven is above the earth."

1 Mat, 16. zj.

B 4 Again,

8 A fermon preach 'd before

Again, What man, fays our apoftle to the
Corinthians, knoweth the things of a man, fave
the Jpirit of a man 'which is in him f even fo
the things of God k?ioweth no man, but the
Spirit of God k . Here the truths of chriftia-
nity are called the things of God, and the things
tf the Jpirit oj God ] , in opposition to the
things of a man ; that is, to the fentiments
and notions of men. What man knows the
things of a man -, that is, the notions, the
fentiments and projects which pafs in the
mind of a man, but the Jpirit of a man that
is in him ? who is confcious to his own
thoughts : fo the things of God, the great
truths of the chriftian religion, the counfels
of God relating to our falvation, are known to
none but the Spirit of God, or thole to whom
that Spirit fhall reveal them. The fame a-
poftle fpeaks in like manner in another place :
But J would have you without carefulnefs : be
that is imtnarried carethfor the things that be-
long to the Lord, how he may pleafe the Lord j
but he that is married carethfor the thi?igs that
are oj' the world, how be nuix pleafe his wife m .
Where the apoftle defigns to mew, that thofe
who were in an unmarried ftate, at that time
efpecially, when chriflianity was firft planted
in the world, had greater opportunity to
mind religion, and the affairs of their fouls,
than thofe perfons who were married, and
confequently incumbred with the cares of

;< i Cor. i. ii. { «" i Cor. f, ji.

:. 14. I


Serm. I. an affembly of minifters. 9

this world, and taken up with the things of
this life. So that here temporal things,
which belong to human life, are oppofed to
the things of the Lord j that is, the things
of religion. According to this account there-
fore, the fenfe of the words is this : " All
1 feek their own things, i. e. to gratify their
1 own thoughts, to accomplifh their own
c defigns and projects ; are fond of their
1 own notions and fentiments j feek their
( own temporal fatisfaction in the things
c which belong to this life, the things of
c this world : and none feek the things of
1 Chrift 3 i. e. none are fo concern'd as they
1 ought to be for the advancement of divine
truth, and for the propagation of religion
in the world."
If we interpret thefe words as oppofing
our own private advantage to the publick
intereft of religion, you will find there are
like phrafes alfo ufed in the holy fcripture to
juftify this interpretation. The apoflle is re-
commending a publick fpirit as one of the
excellent characters of a mind in which chrif-
tian charity reigns, in oppofition to a narrow
and felfiih difpofition, when he fays, Charity
doth not behave itfelf unfeemfy, feeketh not her
own n , &c. that is, a man infpired with cha-
rity is more concerned and employed about
the advantage of the publick than about his
own private intereft. And this is true of
charity, not only as it difpofes men to em-

" 1 Cor. 13. 5.


io A fermon preach y d before

ploy their money for the benefit of others,
as well as of themfelves ; but as it is a virtue
which makes men difinte retted on many other
accounts, fo as to prefer the publick good to
any particular intereft of their own.

Our apoftle, in this chapter wherein is our
text, hath a phrafe which may give us yet
more light into this matter : Look not every
man on his own things, but every man alfo on
the things of others °, &c. Some think the
meaning of thefe words is, that we mould
not turn our eyes fo much on our own gifts
and abilities, and fo determine our thoughts
to ourfelves, as to overlook the good qualities
of others ; left for want of duly confidering
what God hath beftowed on others, we
fhould be tempted to over-value ourfelves :
becaufe the apoftle had faid in the words be-
fore, Let nothing be done thro ftrife and vain-
glory ; but in lowlinefs of mind let each efteem
others better than themfelves p . But others in-
terpret thefe words by thofe which follow :
Look not every man on his own things ; that is,
be not fo much concerned about your own
private intereft as about the affairs of others,
fo as to promote a common good ; becaufe it
follows, Let the fame mind he in you which
was alfo in Chriji jefus : i. e. aipire to be like
your Saviour, and imitate his generous ex-
ample ; who humbled himfelf and became obe-
dient to death, even the death of the croft \
merely for the benefit of others, and of fuch

° Phil. z. 4. 1 Vcr. 5, 9.

p Vcr. :.


Serm. I. an ajfembly of miniflers. 1 1

who were intirely unworthy of his favour. If
we underftand the words in the laft fenfe, then
they are agreeable to the purpofe fpoken of
before : if in the former fenfe, then they
fhew we are not to content ourfelves in feek-
ing the advancement of our own knowledge,
the improvement of our own minds, and the
acquifition of fuch abilities as may render us
valuable in the world ; but we mould prefer
to this the defire of being ufeful and fervice-
able to the fouls of other men. It is not
fufficient that we cultivate our own minds,
and advance in knowledge and learning, un-
lefs the talents we acquire be improved for
the publick good.

Yet farther ; the apoftle fpeaks for a pub-
lick fpirit and temper, even fo far as to allure
us that we are not to feek only the fatisfadtion
and eafe of our own confciences, and to fee
that all we do be innocent and blamelefs;
but that this care of our own fouls mould be
managed after fuch a manner as to prevent
the offence of others. So he writes to the
Corinthians : All things are lawful for me, but
all things are not expedient ; all things are law-
ful for me, but all things edify not r . As much
as to fay, I ought to forbear fome things
which are lawful, if they are inexpedient
and contrary to the welfare of my neigh-
bours : and he immediately fubjoins, Let no
man feek his own, but every man another's wel-
fare f . The queftion the apoftle was deba-

l i Cor. 10. aj. j f Ver. 2,4.