Page images


labour or work, “ for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,” the people said unto Him, “ What shall we do John 14. 28, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that


believe on Him whom He hath sent.” This is the work, the great work upon which all the rest depend, and from which they receive their efficacy, and attain their end. For it is by this our believing in Him, that we eat His flesh, and drink His blood, and so have "eternal life," as He Himself here ver. 54. saith.

And that we may the better do it in the Sacrament of His Last Supper, He gives us His body to eat, and His blood to drink; that receiving it with a quick and lively faith, we may be strengthened and refreshed by it in the inward man. “For the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the Com- 1 Cor.10.16. munion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the body of Christ ?” And seeing it is the Communion of the body and blood of Christ, every worthy communicant or faithful receiver of those holy mysteries, actually feeds upon the bread of life, the meat that endureth to life everlasting. Which therefore all that hunger, and thirst, and labour after, cannot but thankfully embrace all opportunities of receiving that Holy Sacrament.

And they who slight, or neglect, or seldom come at it, have too much cause to suspect, that whatsoever they may pretend, they do not observe, but act just contrary to what our Saviour here commands: they labour for the meat that perisheth, not for that which endureth unto everlasting life.

Which being the case of many, if not of most here present, give me leave to deal plainly with you, and to admonish you, as you tender His favour, or your own welfare, to take more care for the future to do the work which your Lord and Saviour hath here set you. Remember, He is your Lord, and therefore may command you what He pleaseth, and you are bound to obey Him: and He is your Saviour too, and therefore ye may be sure, that He commands you nothing but what is necessary to be done in order to your being saved. Wherefore, if you care not whether you be saved or no, you may still go on in labouring only for the meat that perisheth : but if ye have any real

SERM. desire of that which endureth unto everlasting life, set yourLXI.

selves in good earnest upon labouring for it; as your Lord and Saviour here commands you, and gives you likewise such reasons for it, that we need not go from the command itself, for arguments whereby to prevail with all sober and considering persons to observe it.

For consider, first, that what you labour for besides, is only the meat that perisheth; that perisheth in the using, and will cause you to do so too, if you


hearts and 1 Cor. 6. 13. take too much pains about it; “ Meats for the belly, and the

belly for meats, but God will destroy both it and them.” ch. 7.29-31. And so He will all that you labour for in this world ; “ For

this, I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth that both they that have wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it, for the fashion of this world passeth away.” It is not long but this world will be quite out of fashion, its figure altered, and all things in it turned upside down : and what will then become of all you laboured for? or of yourselves that laboured for it? You, be sure, in a short time will be turned out of possession, and all that ye have gotten, will go to other people, and perhaps to such as you never heard of; who then would labour for such meat as this? meat that will not keep, but presently turns to rottenness and putrefaction; meat that may clog and surfeit, but can never satisfy you : for nothing can do that, but what is durable and lasting ; but this perisheth, and is in a manner gone as soon as gotten: and therefore it can be worth no man's while to spend much time to get it.

It is true, if we were always to live in this world ; if there was not another world to live in as well as this; and if we could keep and enjoy there, what we have gotten here, something might be said in excuse for it: but seeing we are

not only sure that we must go out of this world ere long, but [ 1 Tim. 6. likewise that we can carry nothing along with us, but must

leave all we have got behind us; seeing there is not only another world to live in, but a world where we must live for

r; and seeing all that we have gotten here will stand us


in no stead there, unless it be to torment and vex us that
we have spent so much time in getting it; it is one of the
most unaccountable things in nature, that men, who pretend
to act as reasonable creatures, should labour so earnestly as
they do for this meat that perisheth: especially considering
that we ourselves have known some who got much and
lived great, while they were in this world; but now they are
gone out of it, other people have all they ever got, and never
thank them for it, and are never the wiser nor better for it,
no more than they were that got it. Which one thing duly
weighed, would be enough to prevail with all men faithfully
to observe this Divine command which our Saviour lays
upon all, saying, “ Labour not for the meat which perisheth;
but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life;"
which never perisheth, but endures for ever ; and that
endureth not to our hurt or trouble, but unto everlasting
life. This is meat worth labouring for indeed ; happy are
they that after all their labour, can attain it; they will live
in perfect health, and strength, and vigour, both of body and
mind; they will live in joy, and bliss, and glory, the highest
that can be imagined; they will live with the Holy Angels,
with Christ, with God Himself, and enjoy all the pleasures (Ps.16.11.]
that are at His right hand, and that too, not for some few
years or ages only, but for evermore; and so be as happy as
it is possible for creatures to be made. Who in his right
wits, would not labour for this meat before all things in the
world? In labouring for other things, you labour only for
the meat that perisheth, and so will avail you nothing at
long run; whereas by labouring for this, you labour for all
things that are or can be good for you, and may have them
too; the things of this life also, so far as they are needful for
you. For Christ Himself hath assured

that if“


first Matt. 6. 33. seek the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all such things shall be added to you.” They shall be added, so that you shall have them and that too which you sought in the first place, even “ the meat which endureth to everlasting life.”

And that is the last argument used in my text wherefore ye should labour for that meat, because it is that which the Son of Man shall, or will give unto you.


Ye may


SERM. for other meat, and never get it: but if ye labour for this, ye

are sure to have it; for ye have the word and promise of God Himself for it.

Though ye cannot get it by your labour, yet upon your

labouring for it, He will give it to you: to every one of you, John 6. 37. without exception : "For him that cometh unto Me," saith

He, “I will in no wise cast out.” Whosoever therefore shall labour so as to come unto Him for it, can never miss of it, but is as certain to have it, as God hath said it.

Let us therefore now resolve by God's assistance to do so. Let others, if they please, throw away their short-lived days upon the meat that perisheth, upon the fading vanities of this transient world. Let us remember that we have souls to save, immortal souls, that must live either in Heaven or Hell for ever.

And therefore while we are in the body, let us labour above all things for that spiritual food that will nourish and preserve our souls unto everlasting life. Let us exercise ourselves continually in the Word of God, in fasting, and praying, and feeding upon His most blessed body and blood, that we may grow wise, and humble, and holy, and just, and good, and pure both in heart and life; that we may know, and love, and fear, and serve, and honour God with a perfect heart, and a willing mind, all the rest of our days, and so may live with a constant dependance and trust on Him to carry us through all the changes and chances of this mortal life, so as to bring us at last to that everlasting life which He hath promised in Jesus Christ our Lord.




2 Cor. iv. 18.

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the

things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

He that impartially views the present state of mankind, or even that of Christendom itself, must needs wonder at the strange corruptions that are crept into it; for he may easily see, not only the rest of the world, but the greatest part of those also which are called Christians, acting scarce like men, but rather like the beasts that perish ; looking no higher than the earth they tread on, nor farther than while they tread on it; living as without God in the world, and without any regard to a future state, although they profess to believe both. But whatsoever they profess, be sure they really believe neither; for if they did, they could never spend their time, as they commonly do, in nothing else but scraping the dust of the ground together, or throwing it about; either in getting the riches, as they are called, of this life, or else in spending what they have gotten, according as their senses and humours lead them; as if they had no such thing as reason, much less religion, to rule and govern them.

This is the case of all men by nature, and of most of those too who name the Name of Christ, but not of all. He hath a flock, though it be troue vrov leszpěv,“ a very little flock,' that Luke 12. 32. looks farther than the pasture where they feed. There

« PreviousContinue »