Post Meridian. 24. 9. 1689
48. Jer. 10. First part
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully.
My Brethren, & beloved, friends, & neighbours, we have lately you know (even but this last week past) been doing a great work of the Lord viz building him an house & habitation: now it most highly behoves us (you & me) to be very wary lest we should be found deceitfull & so pull down a curse instead of a blessing, upon our selves, & the heads of our poor children. And therefore I have thought good for prevention hereof to spend some time upon meditating on this text now read in your audience
In these words two things may be taken notice of
- 1. Here is a curse denounced. Cursed be he &c
- 2. The Object of this curse. Or a description of the Person, or Persons, this curse shall light upon, namely they who do the work of the Lord deceitfully. Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully. What may need explication I purpose to take notice of in handling the doctrinal point wch is this
Doctr. It is a cursed thing to do the work of ye Lord deceitfully.
- 1. Q. What is meant by the work of the Lord?
- 2. Q. When is the Lords work done deceitfully?
- 3. Q. What is meant by being cursed? Cursed be he &c
- 4. Q. Why is such a one as dos ye Lords work deceitfully so cursed?
- 5. Q. Last: How may it appear yt such are so Cursed?
- 1. Quest: What is meant by the work of the Lord?
Answ: By the work of the Lord in scripture many things somtimes, & in some places, are intended which I shall now pass by, & speak only of the meaning of this phrase according to the sense & import of our text & doctrine. As
Photograph of the first page of Parris’s ordination sermon, Sept. 19, 1689.
Samuel Parris Sermon Notebook (courtesy Connecticut Historical Society).
- 1. By the work of the Lord, is intended the execution of the judgments of God according to his divine commandment. And in this sense is our text especially to be understood. Cursed be he yt doeth ye work of ye Lord deceitfully, i.e. the work of ye Lord in destroying ye Moabites, Se doing execution upon them: which God hath now given in charge to the Chaldeans, by a secret instinct concerning the Moabites: as by an express word to Saul concerning the Amalekites. 1. Sam. 15. 3. So ye meaning is, Cursed be those Chaldeans, to whom I have given a charge to destroy Moab, wo shall be deceitfull in doing this work yt I have cut out for them, & appointed to them: as is plain by the other part of the verse: And cursed be he yt keepeth back his sword from blood. A curse there is on such as Shed not blood when they have commission from God, as well as on those wo do ye like wthout such divine commission. So 50. Jer. 25. The destruction of Babylon is called the work of the Lord. Though man be made use of in it, yet it is Gods work whose Providence, justice, & power appears in it
- 2. By the work of the Lord, is intended Church-work, Temple-work, & Sanctuary-work which is undertaken by, & from, Gods com̄and & authority. So speaking of Jerusalem, 3. Neh. 5. sais the text next unto them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord. i.e. to ye repairing ye mines of Jerusal: wch God by a speciall providence called them with others to be the repairers of: but to their shame & dishonour sais ye holy ghost they would not meddle in this matter, the meaner sort would & did, but their nobles & cheif would not Sec So all the service relating to ye building of ye Temple David calls it ye work of the Lord. 1 Chr. 28. 20.
- 3. By the work of the Lord, is intended ye work of Preaching the Gosple, or the performance of the Ministeriall Office. 1 Cor. 16. 10. Now if Timotheus come, see yt he may be with you, without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Hince Ministers of Christ Jesus are said to be called to that work of ye Holy Ghost 13. Acts. 2.
- 4. By the work of the Lord, is intended yt divine service, or worship, wch is exercised in the Lords house, 10. Neh. 33.—for all the work of ye house of our God. This is a generall & comprehensive expression wherein they engage & tye themselves to ye upholding of all Gods service in his house.
- 5. Last: By the work of ye Lord, is intended somtimes more generally all good works, whatsoever they are, by wch God & Christ maybe glorified, & the Kingdom of Grace more & more advanced, & yt both in our own souls, & the souls of others. 1. Cor. 15. ult. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, alwayes abounding in the work of the Lord &c. i.e. doing daily more & more for God & his service, as God puts opportunity into your hands. And all these senses are imported in our text & intended in our doctrine.
- 2. Quest: Wn is the Lords work done deceitfully?
- Answ: In generall, then the Lords work is done deceitfully wn it is not done as the Lords work. i.e. when due respect is not had to ye dignity & other Excellencies of the Person for whom the work is: as is plain frō the 1. Mal. ult. But cursed be the deceiver wch hath in his flock a male & voweth & sacrificeth to the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, & my Name is dreadfull among the Heathen. Whereby is plainly intimated yt the slighty apprehensions of ye Great God is the cause of mens slighty & deceitfully performance of his holy work & service. But yet a little more particularly in a few things.
- 1. Then the work of the Lord is done deceitfully when it is done for an other end than God désignes & prescribes. As for instance ¶ When a man undertakes that great & dreadfull work (which I have so lately undertaken among you) of Ministeriall Office, meerly as a Trade to pick a living out of it, quite contrary to the désigne of God in this most holy service. 1. Pet. 5. 2. Feed the flock of God wch is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. So a Popish writer sais, we preach the Gosple amongst us (sais he) tantum ut nos pascat, & vestiat, meerly for food & raiment.48 Ministeriall employment (as has been hinted) is the Lords work. I but now when a man aims principally at himself in it, then he dos it deceitfully: for he converts Gods service to his own service, & yt wch God hath designed for his own Glory, to his own private profit. Every one will readily acknowledge such a one to be (as indeed he is) a deceitfull worker: for he works for him selfe & yet pretends he works for God. As if an Embassadour entrusted by his prince to do him speciall service should under pretence of serving his Master, do indeed somwhat for him, but yet chiefly & principally aim at himself &c. So it is here. It is very true as one wittily sais the Ministry is a most noble calling, I but it is a bad trade; a pernicious trade indeed. ¶ Again when a man undertakes Civil Government & dispensing justice to the wicked, out of a pretence of zeal for Gods service & honour but yet in truth aims at himself & his own private interest, such a one is deceitfull in ye Lords work. As you se in Jehu who did cut off ye house of wicked Ahab: And slew that cursed woman Jezabel, & Jehoram ye King of Israel, & Ahaziah ye King of Judah, & the seventy sons of Ahab, & ye Brethren of Ahaziah, & also all the worshippers of Baal, & utterly destroyed the house of Baal & all this according to ye com̄andment & appointment of God: this was the zeal for ye Lord yt you find him boasting of. 2. Reg. 10. 15. I but still poor Jehu did not forsake ye sins of Jeroboam: his fire was false fire he was rotten hearted as ye text tells us. 29. 30. 31. verses so yt thô Jehu did ye work of ye Lord, yet because he did it for an other end, than God designed, he did it deceitfully. ¶ Again when persons attend any duty, any service, or ordinance, suppose Baptisme, the Lords Supper, hearing, praying fasting, or the like, wch are the Lords work, but yet aim at some private, & carnal interest, some by-end of their own, if ye be ye principle weight that moves them, not ye honour, service & glory of God, ye getting of grace & increasing in grace, then these also are to be ranked among such as do the work of ye Lord deceitfully. And God may say, yea God will say, to such, as to those deceivers of old. 7. Zech. 4. 5. 6.—Did ye at all fast unto me, even to me &c? God dos not deny that they did fast: nor will he deny what duties you have performed. I but he will remember them with such cutting interrogatories yt it would be better for you, that they were forgotten, than that they were remembred. God will speak (as it were) after this manner. I know you heard my word preached at such a time, & such a time, & you fasted & prayed at such a time, & such a time. I but did you fast to me, even to me? Did you hear to me, even to me? Did you get any good by hearing my word? Are you a whit better now than you were before? Have you broken off from any sin yt before you were addicted unto &c? Have ye not done all these things for your selves; for your own repute, credit &c.49