William Secker.

The nonsuch professor in his meridian splendor; or, The singular actions of sanctified Christians online

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Online LibraryWilliam SeckerThe nonsuch professor in his meridian splendor; or, The singular actions of sanctified Christians → online text (page 1 of 16)
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iYo. 5 BurlhigSlip.



The character described in this small
volume, is unhappily a very uncommon one —
the consistent christian. It is drawn, more
from the holy scriptures, than from living ex-
amples. Those persons, however, who are
sincerely desirous of knowing and becoming
such christians, will derive advantage from a
perusal of Seeker's Nonsuch Professor, It
is written for men of plain sense, and is adap-
ted to the taste of no other reader. It is a
book of practical godliness. Without that
shew of criticism, w^hich is attractive to the
scholar, it explains and applies the word of
God to the heart and life of man ; and with-
out formal didatic discussion, it is replete with
sentiments corresponding witli the analogy of

There is nothing to amuse or gratify the
reader of taste ; neither is it calculated to
comfort the religionist, who builds his hope
of immortality upon party-zeal, or upon the
inward feelings of an indistinct and uncertain
experience. Mr. Seeker points to Jesus as the
rock upon which the soul rests, and insists
xipon good works as the only conclusive evi-
dence, that the professor of religion can give
of his having the faith of God's elect. The

style, though destitute of taste and elegance,
is perspicuous and pointed. The attentive
reader cannot mistake the meaning of the au-
thor. We recommend the book to those who
are desirous of being humbled and sanctified,
as an excellent help in their endeavours to live
tb him who died for them.






To serve man's necessity is charita-
ble, to serve his conveniency is warrantable,
to serve his iniquity is blameable, but to serve
his purity is honorable.

The design of this piece is not the osten-
tation of the author, but the edification of the
reader. In this subject you have a breviary
of religion ; the works enjoined in it are
weighty, and the blessings annexed to it, are
many. Christianity is here dressed in the
white linen of purity. As grace begins in
God's love to us, so it ends in our love to
him. It both makes our comforts greater,
and our crowns brighter. Those children
who are found moving in the orbits of obe-
dience, shall enjoy the clearest sunshine of
their father's countenance.

Beloved, be sure to raise your superstruc-
ture upon an immoveable fovmdation ; and
enter into such a business, as hath an imme-
diate tendency to blessedness* It is an un-
paralleled mercy, to be preserved from cor-
ruption in the midst of general infectipn. It
A 2

is far better to be innocent, than penitent ; to
prevent the malady, than invent the remedy.

Remember, reader, that we can call no time
our own, but the present. How carefully
should wff shoot, who have but one arrow to
direct at the mark! The more you enjoy
the smiles of God, the more you will shine
in the eyes of those saints, who judge of the
trees of righteousness, by the fruits of right-
eousness. The enjoyment of the world, is
neither an evidence of the divine favor or an-
ger. Judge not yourself, therefore, by the
gold in your bags, but by the grace of God
in your heart ; not by your wealth, but by
your works. If religion be your vineyard to
labor in, eternity shall be your bed to rest up-
on. Every grace that is here exercised, shall
there be glorified.

It is an unseemly thing to put on the
fair suit of profession, to do the foul work of
corruption. The time is approaching, when
God will burn up those vines which bear only
sour grapes. The gospel not only requires
diligence, but it also requires excellence ; that
by the singularity of your actions, you may
prove the sincerity of your disposition.

Christian, the race is short in which you run,
but the prize is great for whicii you run. I
wish this gale of divinity may speed your
vessel to the haven of felicity ; and when God
gives in more to me, I shuU give out more to
you. In the mean time, I shall deem it my

highest honor to be instrumental to others cou-
version, and in this relation I beg to subscribe

Christian Reader,

Your's in the Lord,


Text opened — Doctrine raised. That singular chris-

tlnns will perform singular actions .... 13
First, Why a christian should do more than others
1 , Bc45ause more is done for him thau for others . 22
•2. Because, he is more nearly related to God thaa . 25

others •

3. Because, he professes more than others ... 28

4. Because, he is inwai dly conformed to the Redeem- 31

er moro than oihers . . . ,

5. Because, he is looked upon more than others ♦ 3^
C. 3ecausit. if he does no more thaa others, itivili ^^g-

pear that !:j is no rriCrn Uian others .... 38

7. Because, he is appointed to be a judge of others 38

8. Because he expects more than others . . . . 41
Secand, What the christian does more than others.

1. He does much good, and makes but little noise . 45

2. He brings up the bottom of his life, to the top of

his light • 51

3. He prefers the duty he owes to God, to the danger

he fears from man 55

4. He seeks the public good of others, above the pri-

vate good of himself 62

5 He has the most beautiful conversation, among

the blackest persons 7®

C. He chooses the worst of sorrows, rather than com-
mit the least sin 76

7. He becomes a father to all in charity, aad a ser-
vant to all in humility 85

5. He mourns most before God, for those lusts which

appear least before men 94

9. He keeps his heart lowest, when God raises his

estatehighest 101


10. He seeks to be better inwardly in his substance,
than outwardly in appearance . . . . '107

11. He is grieved more at the digresses of the
church, than alFectcd at his own happiness .111

12. He renders the greatest good, for tiie greatest
evil 116

13. He takes tlioee rcoroofs best, whicli he needs
most . . . .' 121

14. He takes up duty in point of performance, and
lays it down in point of dencndance . . .126

15. He takes up his contentment, in God's apppoint-
ment . . . . , 132

1 6. He is more in love with the employment of holi-

ness, than with the enjoyment of happiness . 137

1 7. He is more employed in searching his own heart,
than in censuring other men's states . . .143

18. He sels out for God at his beginning, and holds

out with him to the end 147

49. He takes ail the shame of his sins to himself, and

gives all the glory of his services to Christ . 155
•20. He values an heaven )y revei-sion, above an earth-
ly possessioi', , . . 161


First, For the erection of singular principles . ,

1. The believer will walk by this principle, that what-

soever is transacted by men on eartii, is eyed by
the Lo.'d in heaven ^. . . 167

2. That after all his present receivings he will be

brou^rlit to his future reckonings 171

3. Tlia'i God bears a greater respect to his heart,

than to his Avorks 181.

4. That tlicre is more final bitterness in reflecting on

sin, than there can be present sweetness in the
commission of sin 185

5. That there is the greatest vanity in all created ex-

cellency 190

6. That duties can never have too much attention

paid to them, or too little confidence placed in
them IQO


7. That those precious promises, which are given to

insure his happiness, do not supersede those di-
rectioDswhicii are laid down for him to seek at-
terhappiness 203

8. That it is dangerous to dress himself for anotlier

world, at the looking-glass of this world . . 210

9. That wliere siu proves hateful, it shall not prove

hurtful 216

10. That inward purity, is the ready road to out-

ward plenty 220

il. That all the time which God allows him, is hut

enough for the work Avhich he allots him . . 226

12. That there can never be too great an estrange-
ment from defilement , 231

13. That whatsoever is temporally enjoyed, should

be spiritually improved 236

34. That he should speak well of God, whatsoever

evil he receives from God 242

15. That the longer God forbears with the unrelent-
ing sinner in life, the sorer he strikes him in the

judgment day 245

i 6. That there is no judging of the inward conditions

of men, by the outward dispensations of God 250

17. That it is safest to cleave to that good which is

the choicest 255

18. That no present worldly business, should inter-
rupt his pursuit of future blessedness . . . 258

19. That gospel integrity towards God, is the best
security against wicked men 261

20. That the richness of the crown that shall be re-
ceived, shall more than compensate for the bit-
terness of the cross, which may here be endu-
red 264

Second, Directions to those who wish to do more than

J. Would they do more than others ? then they must

deny themselves more tliau others .... 26§

2. Would they deiiy themselves more than others ?

then they should pray more than others . .270

3. Would they pray more th«n others? then they

skould resolve more than others . . * . .271


Would they resolve more than others ? then they
should love more than others 274

Would tiiey love more than others? then they
should believe more than oUiers 278

Woul i they believe more than others? then they
should know more than others . . . . 281

Would they know more than others ? then God
must reveal himself more to them than he does
t© others . . ; . 283






The Singular Actions of Sanctified Christians.

MATTHEW 5. 47.

XN a mountain the law was propound-
ed to Moses, in a mountain the law was ex-
pounded by Jesus; the former to a man of
God, the latter by the Son of God-, the one to
a prophet of the Lord, the other by the Lord
of the prophets.

As the works of Christ were miraculous,
so the words of Christ w^ere mysterious ; they
were such a depth which none could sound,
but those whom God had furnished with the
plummet of an enlightened understanding.
Before any one can peruse the scriptures to
profit, the Lamb of God must open the seven

In this chapter, the soul-justifying Saviour,
condemns the self-justifying sorites SLndfhari-



sees. Never did men make more boast in the
law, but never had men less cause. They
knew but little as to the letter, and less of its
spirit. They were better accjuainted with the
customs of nature, than the canons of scrip-
ture. Alas, how shall the blind see, when the
Seers are blind ! They who should have put
the eyes of others in, had put their own out*

The righteous laws of God cannot connive
at the unrighteous lives of men, they not on-
ly require truth without, but within also. The
rays of this sun enter the most secret cham-
bers of the heart : therefore he that lusteth
after, and he that lieth with a woman, are both
adulterers. He is a murderer whose heart is
full of hatred, though his hands be free from
violence. Thus the lusts of men may be pre-
dominant, when the lives of men are not inor-
dinate ; as guests may be in the house, when
they look not out of the windows. He who
begins religion where it should end, will end
religion where it should be begun.

But as the suburbs direct to the city, and
die portal leads to the palace, so the context
will guide us to the text..

" If ye love them that love you, what re-
ward have you ? do not the publicans the
same ?"

As an echo returns the voice it receives, so
many will shew kindness, where kindness is
shewn : but shall publicans be as godly as the
Lord's disciples ? Shall the sons of men equal-
ise the sous of God ? Shall the law of nature


swell to so high a tide, as the law of grace ?
This were for the dribbling rivulet to vie with
the drowning. ocean ; this were for royalty to
degenerate into beggary ; and for the meridi-
an sun to yield no more light than midnight

*' If you salute your brethren only, w^hat do
ye more than others V^

I shall not curiously dissect these words, lest
I should present to your view, a frightful skel-
eton ; nor shall I lavishly paint these windows,
lest my deep colors should shut out the light.
The native comeliness of scripture, scorns the
unnatural color of a bewitching Jezebel. One
rough diamond is of more value, than many
smooth counterfeits.

My subject treats not of oratory but divi7U
if 7/ ; and my design in it is rather to express
affections, than to affect expressions. Though
the sweetness of the sauce may yield pleasure,
to the palate, yet it is only the soundness of
the meat, that can administer nourishment to
the blood.

This text is like a precious jewel, small in.
quantity but great in quality. The words con-
tain two parts.

I. An Action propounded.

II. A Question proposed.

1. An Action propounded, touching that
which is lawful. If ye salute your brethren


only. ''-^cTrclc-y.s-^i signifies to salute, but vntl\
kisses and affection ; therefore, what one verse
calls saluting, the other calls loving; because
salutation is only a pledge of affection, it is the
overflowing of the heart at the lips. There
is a kiss of subjection and obedience, that is
the subject's kiss ; there is a kiss of wanton^
ness and temptation, that is the harlot's kiss;
there is a kiss of dissimulation, that is the trai-
tor's kiss; there is also a kiss of tenderness
and affection, and that is the brother's kiss.

Now this scripture enjoins you, not only to
salute your friends, but your enemies also#
Party esteem is, but withered fruit, and falls
rather from Sodom^s than Sio?i''s trees. There
is therefore a kiss of pity and forgiveness, and
that is the christian's kiss : if this be wanting,
the others are vain. For, if ye salute your
brethren only^ then observe what follows:
which is,

2. A Question proposed, *^ What do ye
more than others?" T*' Trmccov Tronn-i, signi-
fies, what abundant, or singular thing do ye?
The words thus understood contain this gol-
den head of instruction.

Doctrine, That singular christiajis, willper-
form singular actions.

This is the well, from which I shall draw
the water, and the foundation upon which I
shall raise the superstructure. You cannot
rationally imagine, that you will be supplied
with bitter streamsj from, so sweet a springs


or that I should make a bowing wall or tot-
tering fence, with such choice materials.
Those who collect pearls from this spot, will
leave as many behind them, as they carry w^ith

As the disciples of Christ are more than
others, so the disciples of Christ do more
than others. A hypocrite may move beyond
a Sodomite; but a christian moves beyond
them both. Though the naturally dead can
do nothing, yet the spiritually dead may do
something. Though they can do nothing to
merit the grace of life, yet they may do some-
thing as to using the means of life.

Cicero complains of Horner^ *' That he
taught the gods to live like men :" but grace
teaches men to live like gods. It is lamenta-
ble, that we should live so long in the world,
and do so little for God; or that we should
live so short a time in the world, and do so
much for satan. Other creatures are not more
below a sinner, than a saint is above a sinnen
Man is the excellency of the creature, the
saint is the excellency of man, grace is the ex-
cellency of the saint, and glory is the excel-
lency of grace.

Believers are among others, as Saul was
among the Israelites, the tallest by the head
and shoulders. Their birth is truly low,
who are not born from above. What are
such earthly shrubs, compared with heaven~
ly cedars ; or such thorns of the world's brake,
ta the willows ofc God's brook ? Those trees^

which have their top branches of hope in hea-
ven, will have their lower boughs of activity
on earth. Those who look for a heaven made
ready, will live as though they were already
in heaven.

Grace not only makes a man more a man,
but it also makes him more than a man. The
primitive christians were the best of men.
None were more lowly in their dispositions, or
more lovely in their conversation. Noah-
was a just man and perfect in his generation.
He was not a sinner among saints, but he was
a saint among sinners. Who Vv'ould have
looked for so fair a bird, in so foul a nest?
Though he once acted as the sons of men do,
yet he was numbered with the sons of God.
fV field of wheat may be good, and yet have a
weed in it. A saint is not hcejfmji sin, that
is his burden ; a saint is not free to sin, that
is his blessing. Sin is in him, that is his la-
mentation ; his soul is not in sin, that is his

Mark how an immaculate Saviour glories
in one of these singular saints, " And the
Lord said unto satan. Hast thou considered
my servant /o^T' Why, what is there in him
BO considerable ? *' There is none like him in
all the earth." Though there were none in
lieaven so bad as Jol)y yet there were none on
earth, so good sisJob, He was a man so like
\mto God, that there was no man like him.

A gracious person once hearing how far m
liypocrite might go, said, " Let hypocrites pro-*


ceed as far as they can in that which is lau-
dable ; and when they can advance no further,
I will go beyond them." A true christian not
only does more than others xvill do,. but he al-
so does more than others can do. Whatsoe-
ver is not above the top of nature, is below the
bottom of grace. There are some who pre-
tend to believe, but work not ; there are oth-
ers who work, but believe not : but a saint
does both, he so obeys the law, as if there
were no gospel to be believed ; and so believes
the gospel, as though there were no law to be
obeyed. Religion consists not singly in be-
lieving, or doing, but in both.

There are four sorts of things in the world,
1. There are some things which are nei-
ther good nor pleasant; as envy and detrac-
tion. The eclipsing of another's sun will not
make thine own shine with brighter beams. O
pare off those envious nails, which are ever dis-
figuring that face which is fairer than thine
own. Why do you wound yourself with that
plaister, which is laid upon your brother's
sore; or weep at every shower, which falls
beside your own inclosure? Who would envy
an ox that pasture, which only fits it for the
slaughter; or the malefactor that carriage which
only conveys him to the place of execution ?
You have no less because others have much,
nor have they much, because you have little.
Another's wealth is no more the cause of your
want, than Leali's fruitfulness was the cause
of Rachel's barrenness. O never pine at your


neighbour's prosperity, and you shall never
pine avVay through your own scarcity. He
enjoys much, who is thankful for a little, A
grateful mind, is a great mind.

2. There are some things which are plea-
sant, but not good, as youthful lusts and xvcr Id-
ly delights. I'hese bees carry honey in their
mouths, but they have a sting in their tails.
When this Jael brings forth her milk and her
butter, then beware of the nail and the ham-
mer. Death is in the pot while you are tasting
the soup. The w^orld always presents a deadly
potion in the gilded cup of worldly pleasure.
If the cup be sinful, do not taste it ; if it
be lawful carouse not over it. Reason forbids
you, either to taste known poison, or to be in-
toxicated with pleasant wine. The fish is
caught upon the hook, by leaping at the bait.
Sin is like a river, which begins in a quiet
spring, but ends in a tumultuous sea.

3. There are some things good, but not
pleasant, as sorrow and affiiction. Sin is plea-
sant but unprofitable, and sorrow is profitable
but unpleasant. By affliction, the Lord se-
parates the sin that he hates, from the soul
that he loves. He does not always ordain it,
to take your spirit out of your flesh, but your
flesh out of your spirit. It is not sent to take
down the tabernacle of nature ; but to rear up
the temple of grace within you. As waters
are purest when they are in motion, so saiiU&


are generally holiest when in affliction. A foul
fescue* frequently points to a fair lesson.
Some christians resemble those children, wha
will learn their books no longer, than while
the rod is on their backs. It is well known,
that by the greatest affliction, the Lord has
sealed the sweetest instruction. Many are
not betteredby the judgments they see, when
they have by the judgments they have felt.
The purest gold is the most pliable. That
is the best blade which bends well, without
retaining its crooked figure.

,4. There are some things both good and
pleasant, and those are gracious operations on
the souL A believer's bed of graces, is more
fragrant than the most precious bed of spices.
He who freely gives his image to us, must of
necessity love his image in us. How illus-
trious do the heavens appear, while the sun is
radiating them with his beams! Now my
brethren, *' Whatsoever things are true, —
honest — just — lovely — and of good report, if
there be any virtue, if there be any praise,
think on these things."

But, as you cannot see so well by a candle
under a bushel, as upon a table, I shall there-
fore hold up the subject to your view, in the
following light, ^

* A small wiie by Avhich those who tearh to read;
point out the letter?.


Pirstly, I shall touch upon the explanation
of that which is doctrinal.

Secondly^ Upon the application of that
which is practical.

The former is like cutting the garment out,
the latter is like putting the garment on.

I am Jirst to treat of that which is doctrinal^
And here I shall shew, first, why a believer
does more than others ; and secondly^ what he
does more than others.

I begin with the first. Why do christians
do more than others ?

1. Because more is done for them^ than is
done for others.

There is that done for them, which none but
he who made them could do. They are lov-
ed, they are atoned for, they are prayed for,
and they are provided for more than others.%
Now where there is a superaddition of privi-
lege, there should be a superaddition of prac-
tice. We naturally expect more splendor
from the beaming of the sun, than from the
burning of a candle; and we look for more
moisture from the dissolving of a cloud, than
from the dropping of a bucket. The same
heat that melts the wax, win harden the clay.
The juice which distils into a rose, is returned
in a sweet perfume; but that which drops upon
a nettle, is returned in an ill savor. If the mer-
cies of God be not load-stones to draw us to
heaven, they will be mill- stones to draw, or sink
us in perdition.


. ^' To whom TTiuch is given, of them much
diall be required." The blessings we enjoy
are not the fruit of our merit, but the fruit of
God's mercy. By how much the more grace
we have received, by so much the more glory
we are obliged to return to the giver. He
does not exact much, v. here little is bestowed ;
nor accept little, where much is received. A
drop of praise is an unsuitable acknowledge-
ment, for an ocean of mercy. *' Hear this
word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O
children of Israel — You only have I known of
all the families of the earth." But was their
return according to the benefit ? No surely,
otherwise he would not have added, " There-
fore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
They were more known to God than others,
therefore they should have acknowledged him
more than others.

Those who have tasted the goodness of God,
can never speak good enough of God. Rea-
son teaches, that those should bless most, who
are most blessed. What are carnal men to
christian men? The power of God appears in
the formation of one ; but the stupendous
grace of God, shines illustriously in the trans-
formation of the other. In creation, God has
given the productions of the earth for our bo-
dies; but in redemption he has given himself
for our souls. Thus, it appears to be a grea-
ter favor, to be converted, than to be crea-
ted; yea, it were better for us to have no be-
ing, than not to have a nsxv being.


When you were sailing to destruction, bc«
fore sin's dangerous blast, then the most bles-
sed gales of mercy sprang up, and changed
your course. When you lay in the blood of

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