The Great Principle of Our Life

From “The Efficacy of Faith on the Ministry of the Word,” Theological Works (1720)

But let others do what they please, let us do what we profess; even believe whatsoever God hath revealed to us in his holy Word; that whensoever we hear, or so much as think of it, his grace may set it home upon our hearts, and make it  “work effectually” in us; that it may be always “profitable” to us “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that we may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

And for that purpose, let us be always thinking of God’s Word, and ruminate by faith so long upon it, that it may be digested into proper food and nourishment for our souls, that we may “grow thereby in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). That whilst others live only by sense, or fancy, or at the best by corrupt and carnal reason, so as to be moved and acted only by them in everything they do, we may for the future live by the faith of the Son of God, and with a constant belief of those great truths which he hath revealed to us, as the great principle of our life and actions.

What holy and heavenly lives should we then live? Then we should repent of all our sins, because it is written in God’s Word, that “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 3:5). Then we should take care of everything we do, because it is written, “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccles. 12:14). Then we should refrain, not only from profane, but idle talk, because it is written, that “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). Then we should be humble and lowly in our own eyes, because it is written, “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5). Then we should strive all we can to walk in all the commandments of the Lord blameless, because it is written, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him” (John 14:21). Then we should love the world no longer, because it is written, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Then we should never “forsake the assembling ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25), but should take all opportunities of joining in the public worship of God, because it is written, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). Then we should not be cast down at any chastisement or afflictions that God is pleased to lay upon us, because it is written, “Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6). Then we should never despair of God’s mercy in the pardon of our sins, because it is written, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). Then we should press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14), because it is written, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21).

Yet, could we always live with a firm belief of what is written in God’s Holy Word, we should live in the other world, while we are in this; “our conversations would be always in heaven” (Phil. 3:20), our thoughts and affections would be still running upon Almighty God as present with us, or upon our Savior as interceding for us, or upon the work that he hath set us, or upon the account that we must give him of it, or upon the reward that he hath promised to those who do it faithfully, or upon something or other which we find there written; and so should steer an even course through all the changes and chances of this mortal life, till we come to the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls, through Jesus Christ our only Savior, “to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, now and for ever Amen.”

William Beveridge (1637-1708) was an English theologian who served several London parishes before becoming Bishop of St. Asaphs in Wales in 1704. He was called “the great reviver and restorer of primitive piety” for his efforts in reviving patristic teaching and robust liturgical spirituality. Several volumes of his sermons were published after his death.


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