A friend has loaned me his 1663 edition of A Compleat Collection of Farewell Sermons which includes many of the sermons preached on Sunday, August 17, 1662, by some of England’s greatest preachers. Following the Act of Uniformity of 1662, close to 2,000 ministers left their pulpits rather than compromise their faith. Of particular interest to me are the sermons (one forenoon and one afternoon) by Thomas Watson, and before I return this rare treasure of a book, I wanted to post up a couple of quotes for you.
“We are to love the people of God, although they have many weak infirmities; shew me the man that is perfect, and let him throw the first stone, even the best. Saints like the Stars they have their twinkling, they have their blemishes and their failings: in some there’s too much pride, in others too much censoriousness, in others too much rash anger and passion, but we must love the grace that is in them, not withstanding the infirmities that are in them; you love gold though in the oare, and mixed with much impurity; a Saint on earth, is like a Diamond that hath it’s flaw, like to the Rose that is sweet and perfumed, but yet hath it’s prickes. The best Saints have some mixture and infirmity, and we must love them for the good that is in them: this is our great fault, we are apt to over-look all the good, and to take notices of the stain and blemishes in them; as those that see a little stain in a piece of Scarlet, dispise the Cloth for the stains sake; so do we. But God doth not do so by us, he is pleased to over-look many sad failings, he seeth the faith, and winks at the failings of his people; you that cannot love a Brother because you see an imperfection in him, would you have God do so by you, would you have him damn you for every blemish of sin?”
“Have a care of your Company, take heed of unnecessary familiarity with sinners; we cannot catch health from another, but we may soon catch a disease; the disease of sin is very catching: I would be as afraid of coming among the wicked as among those that have the plague. If we cannot make others better, let us have a care that they make not us worse.”
“Be more afraid of sin then of suffering. A man may be afflicted, and yet have the love of God, but he cannot sin but presently God is angry; sin eclipses the light of God’s countenance, in suffering, the conscience may be quiet.”
“In the time of trouble and calamity, yet still it is well with the righteous, because God doth cover his people in the time of trouble, he hides them in the storm; God hath a care to hide his jewels, and will not let them be carried away.”