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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




SERMONS

O N

SEVERAL SUBJECTS,

By THOMAS SECKER, LL.D.

Late Lord ArchbifKop of CANTERBURY.

Publifhed from the original Manufcripts,

ByBziLBYPoRTEusD.D. andGEORGE STINTON D.D.

His Grace's Chaplains.

VOL. III.
THE SECOND EDITION.

LONDON,

Printed for J. and F. R I V I N G T O N, in St. Paul's Church-
Yard; and B. WHITE, at Horace's Head, in "Fleet ftreet.

M DCCLXX I.



7 ?/

V



CONTENTS.

SERMON I.

P R O V. IX. IO.

The Fear of tbe Lord is the Beginning of Wif-
dom : and tbe Knowledge of the Holy is Un-
der/landing, p. I

SERMON II.



MARK viii. 34.

And when be bod called tfo People

with hts Difciples alfo : bt faid unto them,
Wbofoe'uer 'will come after me, let him deny
limfelf, and take up his Crofs and Jollow me.

p. 25

SERMON III. IV.

On the Duties of the Young.

T i T. ii. 6.
Tntng Men Kkewifi txbort to be fiber -winded.

P- 49 73
a 2 SER-

430931



j T CONTENT?.

SERMON V. VI.

On the Duties of the Aged.

PR o v. xvi. 31.

The boary Head is a Crown of Glory, if it be
Jound in the Way of Right eoufnefs.

P- 97 I2 3

SERMON VII. VIII. IX.

. %

On the Duties of the Rich.
i TIM. vi. 17, 1 8.

Charge them that are rich in this World, that
thev be not high-minded^ nor trufl in uncertain
Riches ; but in the living God, who givetb us
richly all Things to enjoy: that they do good>
that they be rich in good Works ; ready t*
dijlribute, willing to communicate.

p. 149, 173, 197

SERMON X. XL

On the Duties of the Poor.

M A T T H. Xi. 5.

And the Poor have the Go/pel preached to them.

p. 217, 239

S E R-



CONTENTS. *

SERMON XII. XIII, XIV.
On the Duties of the Sick.

I s A i A H xxxviii. i, 2.

In thofe Days was.Hezekiab Jick unto Death:
and If at ah the.Prophety the Son of Amoz t came
unto him and faid unto him : Thus faith the
Lord, Set thine Uoufe in Order ; for thoujhak
die, and not live. Then Hezekiab turned his
Face towards the Wall, and prayed unto the
Lord. p. 265, 289, 313

SERMON XV.

Preached on Eafter-Day.

ROM. xiv. 9.

For to this End Chrift both died and rofe and re-
vived) that he might be Lord both of the Dead
and Living. p. 339

SERMON XVI.
Preached on Eafter-Day.
ACTS x. 40, 41.

Him God raifed up the third Day, and /hewed

him openly. Not to all the People^ but unto

Witnejfes chofen before of God, even to us, who

4 did



vi CONTENTS

did eat and drink with him after be rofe from
tbeDead. p. 359

SERMON XVII.

Preached at St. James's Chapel, on Palm-
Sunday.

2 C o R. v. 20.

Now then we are EmbaJJadors for Cbrift, as
though God did befeecb you by us: we pray
you in CbriJFs Stead, Be ye reconciled to God.

p. 385



SBR-



SERMON I.



P R O V. IX. 10.

Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wif-
dom : and the Knowledge of the Holy h
I3n<derjlanding*



WE all naturally defire Happinefs:
we all know, that obtaining it
greatly depends on a wife Choice of
our Conduct in Life : and yet very few exa-
mine, with any Care, what Conduct is likelieft
to procure us the Felicity that we feek. The
livelier Part of the World, hurried along by
a giddy Tumult of Paflions and Fancies, ven-
ture, with a moft intrepid Gaiety of Heart,
on whatever looks pleating to them : and
are in much too great Hafte for prefent
Gratification, ever to ftay and once think
what may be the Confequences, either to
others, or even to themfelves. The good-
natured and flexible are eafily drawn to fol-
VOL. III. A low



2 SERMON I.

low the more adlive and enterprifmg of their
Acquaintance; and the thoughtlefs and in-
dolent find it unfpeakably the leaft Trouble
to let themfelves be born along by the Tide
of Cuftom and Fafliion, juft as it flows and
ebbs by Turns. Yet furely Reafon doth not
make Part of our Nature for no Purpofe ;
nor Experience difcover any Thing more
plainly, than the numberlefs Miferies that pro-
ceed from going on thus at all Adventures.

Thofe, therefore, who are a little more
confiderate, take a different Courfe : yet often
fcarce a better, and fometimes a worfe. They
defpife the Weaknefs of being caught with
every Bait of prefent Pleafure, or abandoning
their Lives to the Direction of mere Chance ;
and follow, with great Attention, Art and
Induftry, what the World calls their Intereft.
But this being their only View, the difap-
pointed are totally miferable : and, more or
lefs, all are difappointed ; the far greateft
Part, very grievoufly. And the fmall Re-
mainder, who feem to attain their Wifhes,
betray, under the faireft Shew of outward
Profperity, evident Tokens, that they have very
little inward Enjoyment to compenfate for thi
many and long Anxieties that ufually precede.
4 Few



S E R M O N I. 3

Few Things come up, even at firft, to what
they promifed : and fuch as do, fall below it
very foon ; leaving the Mind, at bed, languid
and unfatisfied. But if fuch Perfons have
taken, as they commonly do take, forbidden
Ways, amongft others, to their Ends 3 then
additional UneafinefTes croud in upon them :
painful Reflections on their pad Behaviour;
folicitous Apprehenfions of what may follow,
both here and hereafter. For there is deeply
rooted in the Heart of Man an inbred Senfe
of Right and Wrong j which, however heed-
lefly overlooked, or ftudioufly fupprefled by
the gay or the bufy Part of the World, will,
from Time to Time, make them both feel,
that it hath the juded Authority to govern
all that we do, as well as Power to reward
with the trued Confolation, and punifli with
the acuteft Remorfe.

Others, therefore, fee the abfclute Neceffity
of bringing Virtue and Duty into the Account,
when they deliberate concerning the Behaviour
that leads to Happinefs. And were the Re-
gard, which they pay to thefe, univerfal and
uniform, their Happinefs would be as complete
Us human Nature and Circumdances permit.
But too often they, who practife confcientipufly
A 2 fome



4 S E R M O N I.

fomc Duties, with ftrange Inconfiftency ut-
terly defpife others. And, which is ftranger
yet, many, who profefs the moft general
Concern for moral Obligations, quite forget
the firft and ftrongeft of them all, the Re-
verence due to Him, who made us. The
Ties, which unite them to their Fellow-
Creatures, they readily acknowledge : but
unaccountably flight their abfolute Dependence
on their Creator, and the confequent Vene-
ration, which they owe to that Being, of
whom, and for whom, and to whom are all
Things \ Now if any Difpofitions are good,
religious ones are fuch. They proceed from
the fame Principle, with the very beft of
others: the Extrcife of them is the nobleft
Exertion of that Principle; and yet fome
affect to fet up Virtue in Oppofition to Piety;
and would be thought defirous to ferve the
former, by depreciating the latter. Some again,
who are more upon their Guard, yet explain
themfelves freely, on Occafion, to allow no-
thing further than this; that Religion may
be of Ufe to keep the Bulk of Mankind in
Order: not refleding, that the upper Part
have flill greater Need of its Reftraints, than
i Cor. viii. 6. Hcb. ii. 10. . Rom. xi. 36.

the



SERMON I. $

the lower ; and that whenever it comes to
be fpoken of, as only an Inftrument of Policy,
it will be no longer fo much as that. But
lighter Minds run wilder Lengths by far :
and abfolutely indifferent what Harm may
come of it, perpetually treat all facred Sub-
jects, as if Freedom of Thought about them
confifted in pouring the utmoft Contempt upon
them that was poffible.

Yet perhaps very few, if any, of thefe,
would they confult their Hearts honeftly, do fo
much as imagine they have any Reafon to
doubt, but a World, fo vifibly full of beautiful
Order and gracious Defign, muft have been
firft formed, and be ftill governed by a moft
powerful, intelligent, and beneficent Caufe.
This, the lead Degree of Confideration, how
elfe the Frame of Things could be what it
is, will fufficiently mew : and every Advance
in the Knowledge of Nature, makes the
Proof, in Proportion, fuller and more obvious.
If then there exifts a Sovereign of the Uni-
verfe, Almighty and All-wife, it cannot be a
Matter that we are unconcerned in. He, by
whofe Pleafure we are, and according to whofe
Determinations about us we mall be happy or
miferable, is not a Being unrelated to us :
A 3 Nor,



6 SERMON I.

nor, while he continually fuperintends every
Thing elfe on this Earth with the exadeft
Care, will he ever neglect the worthieft Ob-
ject, which it prefents to his View, the Affec-
tions and Behaviour of his rational Creature,
Man. He muft expect every Thing to aft,
as its Nature requires. And having diftin-
guiflied ours with the Knowledge of Himfelf j
he cannot have left it in our Choice, to lay
him afide out of our Thoughts, as if we knew
Him not : but muft have intended, that we
fhould pay Him thofe Regards, which are
his due.

Now the firft of thefe, and the Foundation
of all the reft, is a proper Temperature of
Fear and Love: two Affections, which
ought never to be feparated in thinking of
God : and, therefore, whichfoever is expreffed
impliec the other. The Text hath men-
tioned only Fear: but evidently means that
Kind, which Children feel towards a wife and
good Parent; which the Pfalmift had in his
Thoughts, when he faid, There is Mercy with
tbee : therefore Jkalt then be feared b . As God
is infinitely good ; and hath not only beftowed
on us all the temporal BlerTings, that we enjoy;

fc Pfal. cxxx. 4.

but



SERMON I. 7

but offered us, on the moft equitable Terms,
through the Mediation of his blefled Son,
and the Grace of his holy Spirit, Pardon, of
our Sins, Affiftance of our Weaknefs, and
everlafting Life 5 furely he is amiable in the
higheft Degree : and Infenfibility to his
Goodnefs, whilft we are moved with the faint
Shadows of it in his Creatures, would be
(hocking Depravity* But then he is alfo in-
.conceivably awful j abfolute in Authority, re-
fiftlefs in Power: we and all Nature are in-
tirely in his Hands, and depend on the Breath
of his Mouth. Such a Being, we m-uft own,
is greatly to be feared, and bad in Reverence of
the Higheft of them that are round about him c ?
Much more then ought the Sons of Men to
contemplate him with Abafement, and even
rejoice in him with Trembling d . Far is this from
being below the firmeft and the braveft Soul.
Not to feel a Dread of God, muft be the
grofleft Stupidity : and not to own it, the
moft impotent AfFe elation.. A worthy Heart
will think Pride againft its Maker the Extre-
mity of Wickednefs: and value itfelf on
expreffing zealoufly that loyal and thankful
Submiffion, which is due fo juftly to the King

Pf. Ixxxix. 7. * Pf.u. n.

A 4 gf



8 SERMON J.

of All j that faithful and affectionate Obedience,
which his Precepts claim, who hath bought
us to himfelf, with his Blood ; that refpedtfu.1
and ready Compliance to which His holy Mo-
tions are intitled, who gracioufly worketh in
us both to mil and to do". In thefe Things
confifts the true Fear of the Lord! For as
the Text, though conceived in the moft general
Terms, undoubtedly comprehended at firft the
whole of Jewi(h Piety, we ought to underftand
it now, as comprehending the Whole of
Chriftian. And that practifing this, is the true
Wifdom of Man, I {hall proceed to {hew you
diftindtly, by confidering its Influence

I. On the Conduct,

II. On the Enjoyment, of our Lives.
I. On our Conduct.

Some indeed, miftaking the Dictates of
Senfuality and Vanity for thofe of Reafon, pre-
fume to fpeak of the Author of our Nature,
as if, by giving us the fevcral Inclinations be-
longing to it, he. had warranted the unre-
ftrained Indulgence of them all : and fo would
make his Being of no Confequence to our
'Actions. But a little Reflection will eafily
c Phil. a. i 3 .

confute



SERMON I. 9

confute fo wild an Imagination ; and {hew us,
with how great Propriety the wife King hath
faid, that the Knowledge cf the Holy is Under-
Jlanding. He, who is perfectly holy and
righteous himlelf, muft have regard to what is
right and fit in others. He, who hath pro-
vided with fuch fatherly Care for the common
Good of us all, can never have left us at Li-
berty to defeat his Purpofe, by injuring and
corrupting one another, and filling his World
with Confufion and Mifery at our Pleafurc.
He hath not planted in us Paffions, Affections,
and Appetites, to grow up wild as Accident
directs; but to be diligently fuperintended,
weeded and pruned, and each confined to its
proper Bounds. He hath not endued us with
a Principle of Confcience, to be overborn by
Refentmcnts and Interefts, drowned in lenfual
Gratifications, led captive by .Fafhions and
Fancies : but to be cultivated and improved ;
and then obeyed, as the Guide of Life.. Its
Authority is derived from himfelf: and its
Judgment upon us will be finally affirmed by
his own. For it cannot be, .that the Sovereign
of all the Earth mould either fail to reward
fuch as dutifully promote his gracious Defigns,
pr let any one be a Gainer by acting in Con-
tradiction



,o S E R M O N I.

tradition to them. Thefe things every Perfon's
own Heart, if permitted, will tell him very
plainly. But our Underftandings are unhap-
pily prejudiced in Favour of our bad Incli-
nations : and were they lefs fo, the unafiifted
Reafon of fallen Man is able to trace out but
a very imperfect Syftem of Religion. And
therefore to complete the AfTurance of its
great Truths, exprefs Revelation from above
hath given us undeniable Evidence, that uni-
verfal Virtue is God's Law, and eternal Hap-
pinefs or Mifery its Sanctions : adding at the
fame time whatever more particular Notices,
Directions, and Encouragements our Condition
wanted. Now what can poffibly influence
Men, like fuch a Motive fo enforced ? And
how weakly muft they judge, or how ill mufl
they mean, who would abandon fo folid a
Foundation of right Behaviour, to lay the Strefs
of fo important a Building on any other !

It would both be unjuft and unwife to re-
ject the fmalleft Inducement to any Part of
Goodnefs : for we greatly need every one
that we can have. But it is extremely requi-
fite to obferve, where our chief Security lies,
and place our chief Truft there. The Rea-
fonablenefs, the Dignity, the Beauty of Virtue,

are



S E R M O N I. ty

are doubtlefs natural, and ought to be ftrong
Recommendations of it. But how faint Im-
preffions do they make on the Ignorant and
Slow of Apprehenfion, on Minds agitated with
Paffions, or hardened in Sins ! And indeed
how foon do fuch Impreffions, if iingle and
unfupported, fade away out of all Minds, or
dwindle into mere Speculation, amidft the
Temptations of a bad World, the Allurements
of Senfe, and the /Treacheries of a deceitful
Heart { ! Again : the temporal Advantages
of Virtue and bad Effeds of Wickednefs,
ordinarily fpeaking, are weighty Arguments.
But ftill, how often doth that Weight fall on
the wrong Side ; or give little Help, if any,
to the right ! In ftiort, many Incitements to
think and act as we ought, are in general
ufeful : but none is at all Times fufficient,
excepting only the Pear of God taught as the
Truth. is in Jefus*.

This is one unchangeable Motive, level to
the Apprehenfion of every Perfon, extending
to the Practice of every Duty, including at
once every moral Difpoihion of Heart, and
every prudent Regard to our own Good,
There needs but a Thought to bring it with
f Jer. xvii f, * Eph. iv. zi.

fucb.



12 S E R M O N I.

fuch Force to our Minds, as will check the
ftrongeft Paffions, curb the moft extravagant
Levity of Spirit, overbalance the created tem-
poral Advantages; and make whatever is our
Duty appear, in the ftrongeft Light, to be our
Intereft. The Fear of God can pierce the
inmoft Recefles of our Minds, and fearch the
Rightnefs of our moft fecret Defires. Re-
flecting well what his Eye fees there, will
make us fee it in a Point of View, that we
never mould elfe ; and put us on approving
our Souls to him by Simplicity and Truth :
.no longer attempting, as unhappily we are
too prone, to cheat others and ourfelves with
falfe Appearances ; but faithfully bewailing
all our paft Faults, and watchfully guarding
againft all future ones. Particularly, the Con-
fcioufnefs of having fuch a Witnefs to each
Action and Purpofe, muft powerfully incline
us to be very compofed and moderate in every
Proceeding, very mild and reafonable towards
every Perfon. Reverence of God's Authority
will make us fear to injure the meaneft of our
Fellow Creatures ; fince even he is under the
Protection of the Almighty. And hope of
fharing in his Bounty will teach us to imitate
it by the tendered Exercife of Humanity and

Com-



S E R M O N I. 13

Compaffion. Thus influenced, thofe of higher
Rank would be public Bleffings and Examples :
their Inferiors would love and honour his
Image imprefled upon them : and all would
endeavour to fill worthily whatever Station the
Wir.om of Providence allotted them : dif-
charging confcientioufly the Duties of the
moft laborious, and counting it an Honour
to ferve God in the lead confiderable.
But let us now inquire,
II. What Effedl the Fear, of God muft
have on the Enjoyment of our Lives.

Unqueftionably it will make bad People
uneafy. But then it is both for the World's
Good, and their own, that they fhould be fo.
It is not their thinking of their Condition, that
renders it a dreadful one. The lefs they feel
it, the worfe it is : and feeling it to Purpofe
will be the happieft Thing poffible for them.
Farther: this Fear doubtlefs reftrains Perfons
from diflblute Pleafures, and dimonourable
Means of obtaining Profit, Power, Advance-
ment. But fo doth Virtue : fo for the moft
Part doth common Prudence. And Religion
never forbids us even a hurtful Gratification,
but it offers us Happinefs hereafter in Return
for our prefent Self-denial. Farther ftill : we

muft



I 4 S E R M O N I.

xnuft own, it gives a peculiar Serioufnefs and
Awe to the Mind of Man. But we have
need to be kept in Order by a Senfe of God's
parental Authority : and without it mould
quickly become ungovernable, mifchievous,
and wretched. He requires us not in the leaft
to be gloomy and comfortlefs; or full of
Terrors, while we mean to do well : but freely
permits us the chearfulleft Ufe of all our
Faculties, that is confident with Innocence,
and with making Improvement in Goodnefs
our chief Care, as it will be our chief Felicity.
And if the Thought of Him doth moderate
the Livelinefs of over-gay Difpolitions j it
prevents, by fo doing, many great Evils, into
which they would otherwife hurry us ; and
fills us with mQch more inward and deeply-
felt Satisfactions, than thofe light and trifling
ones, that only play upon the Surface of an
inconfiderate Mind. Or did that Compofure,
which Piety introduces, leflen our Enjoy-
ments for a Time ; yet, being what our State
on Earth, which is in many Refpedts a ferious
one, demands ; if we are wife, we {hall gladly
conform ourfelves to the Condition which
God hath placed us in; and truft Him, that
the Conferences will be happy.

Such



S E R M O N I. 15

Such indeed will every one, who makes
the Trial, foon find them. What Pleafure
can be greater, than a full Perfuafion, that
our Behaviour is approved by Him, who
knows our Hearts, and will reward with his
Friendship whatever we do aright ? The
World is generally a negligent Spectator,
and too often an unfair Interpreter, of the
bed Adions. This cannot but give Uneafi-
nefs and Difcouragement to Virtue, unlefe it
be animated by nobler Views. But the Re-
collection, that God looks on with Efteem,
fets us above the Cenfures of Men, and
even above their Applaufes. For were all
Mankind to join in doing Juftice to exalted
Merit; how poor would the Recompence be,
and how low the Delight, compared with
His, who can lay open his Principles and his
Behaviour, with humble Confidence, before
the Judge of all 1

Then as to the Sufferings of this Life;
which, very frequently make up a great Share
of it ; Religion entirely prevents many of
them, by withholding us from the Sins and
the Follies that commonly bring them upon
us. And it wonderfully diminishes the reft,
by loofening our Attachments to what we

muft



16 S E R M O N I.

muft expedl to be difappointed in, or fepa*
rated from ; and leading us, from the broken
Ctfterns of worldly Comfort, to God the Foun-
tain of living Waters^', in the A {finance of
whofe Grace, our great Intereft is fafe, under
every Change; and by the Superintendency
of whofe Providence all Things iuo>k together
for our Good' 1 . What are the poor Confo-
lations of Philofophy, or the Amufements,
which thoughtlefs Minds take Refuge in, to
deceive their Sorrows, compared with fuch
cheering Reflexions as thefe ! Still, what is
naturally painlul, muft be felt fo: but the
infupportable Part of every Affliction is taken
away, when we confider it, as ordered by
Him, whofe Right to difpofe of us we muft
acknowledge, and of whofe kind Intention
to us we may always be fure.

A Heart, habitually formed to fuch Me-
ditations as thefe, with what Serenity mud:
it pafs through its allotted Pilgrimage here
below ! It hath nothing to fear : it hath
nothing to hide, from others or itfelf. It
can bear Solitude, and its own Infpedion.
It can even rejoice in the Senfe of his Pre-
fence, who is to others inexpreffibly terrible;

h Jer'. ii. 13. l Rom. vili. 28.

but



S E R M O N I. ly

but to the pious Soul an immoveable Ground
of Security, an inexhauftible Source of Hap-
pirefs. For, indeed, what greater Happi-
nefs can we wim to ourfelves, than to be
placed under the fatherly Guidance of in-
finite Forefight and Power j born up under
all the Calamities of Life ; and, which is
the great Point, exalted with the nobleft Hopes
of what mall follow after Death !

Our Time on Earth is fo fhort; and our
Pleafures at beft fo languid and rare, and
mixed with fo many Anxieties, Pains and
Sorrows j that furely it is a melancholy View,
to think of ending here ; and after a very few
Days are gone over our Heads, becoming for
ever, as if we had never been. Yet this is
much more than irreligious Perfons can pof-
fibly promife themfelves. Could there be no
God, they would have no Certainty, but that
their Beings might continue, and might be
miferable. For what is there that may not
be, on the Suppofition of an ungoverned
World ? But fince there is a God ; flighting
and difobeying him muft be Crimes, and
muft be punimed. We may have little At-
tention to this perhaps, in the Tumult of
youthful Fancies and worldly Purfuits. But

VOL, III. B when



i8 S E R M O N I.

when the Clofe of the Scene approaches, and
Age or Sicknefs roufes up Reflection from
its Sleep, then will the Sinner, in all Likeli-
hood, fee, with Terror unfpeakable, thofe
awful Realities, of which if he is never con-
vinced in this World, he will only be the
more wretched in the next. But the darkeft
Hour to fuch, may, with Reafon, be the joy-
fulleft to him, who having faithfully acknow-
ledged God in all his Ways, perceives that
now his Work is over, and his Reward at
hand. Undoubtedly it is beft to uie no
ftronger Expreffions on this Subject, than the
lefs experienced may feel to be juft : elfe,
Words want Force to defcribe the Difference
between thefe two Conditions. It is true,
not all pious Souls are confcious of it, juft at
the Time of their Departure. Frequently
their felting Sun is obfcured by Infenfibility :
fometimes overcaft by Doubts and Fears.
But they (hall inftantly behold it rifing again,
to fliine with unclouded and increafing Luftre
to all Eternity. For Light is fown for the
Righteous, and Gladnefs for the Upright in
Heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye Right eons ^ and
give Thanks at the Remembra?ice of bis Holinefs k .

k Pf. xcvii. n, 12.

Such



S E R M O N t 19

Such then is the good Influence of the Fear
of God: and his genuine Fear can have no
bad one. Reverence of a wile and holy
Being will never miflead Men into any Thing
wicked or weak. Falfe Religion, indeed, may
do both : and fo may falfe Notions of Virtue
or Friendfhip, or any other valuable Quality.
But this was never thought an Argument in
any Cafe befides, againft being governed by
the true ; and yet lefs ought it in the prefent.
God mufl be ivorfliipped by us in Spirit and in
Truth \ let others worship him as wrongly
as they will : and his Laws muft be obeyed,
let ever fo many miftake Errors of their own
for fuch. The Danger of Superftition is a
very powerful Rcafon, why religious Belief


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