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2. Our lives are as uncertain as these things. If our estates remain with us, we are continually in danger
of being removed from them. And (as one days) it is folly to build our hopes upon a match, where both parties are so uncertain and inconstant. Why should we place our dearest affections upon things which we are not sure to enjoy one moment ? Thou fool, this night thy soul mall be required of thee, and then whose shall these things be? I remember Seneca tells us a real story, juit answerable to che rich man in the parable, of an acquaintance of his, who by long and great industry had arrived to a vast estate ; and just when he began to enjoy it, after one of the first good meals which perhaps he ever made in his life, that very night his soul was taken from him, for
prefently after lupper he died. In ips ačtu bene fédentium rerum, in ipfo procurrentis fortunæ impetu. In the height of his prosperity, and in the full career of his good fortune.
But if we live to enjoy for any time what we have got, we should remember that our life is but a paflage through the world, and that we are but pilgrims and strangers in the world, as all our fathers were ; that we have here no abiding place, no continuing city, but are travelling towards our own country. And 1:hy should we load ourselves whilst we are upon our journey, and cumber ourselves with those things which will be of no ule to us there whither we are going ?
But the great wonder of all is, that this vice should so strongly reign, and even grow upon men in old age, and get strength, as weakness creeps upon us. This very thought that we are to die, should work in us a great indifferency towards the things of this world. But when men are convinced they cannot live long, and that every step they take, they are in danger of ftumbling into the grave, this one would think should wean our affections from this world ; and
usually none take so fast hold of it, and embrace it so kindly, as old men ; like friends, who though they know they must leave one another, yet are loth to part, Do we not see many pursue these things with as
much eagerness and appetite, when they are leaving the world, as if they were to stay in it an hundred years longer ? So that in this sense also, they are children again, and are as fond of these toys, as if they were just beginning the world, and setting out for their whole life.
3. There is another life after this, to be seriously thought on, and provided for with great care : and did men firmly believe this, they would not with Martha, busy themselves about many things, but would mind the one thing necesary; and with Mary, chuse that better part, which could not be taken from them. They would overlook the trifles of this world, and scarce take notice of the things which are seen, but be only intent upon the things which are not seen ; because the things which are seen are but temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. The great concernments of another world would employ their utmost care and their best thoughts.
Whilst we are in this world, we should remember that this is not our home, nor the place of our reft; and therefore, as men do in an inn, we should niake a Shift with those indifferent accommodations which the world will afford us, and which we can have upon ea. sy terms, without too much trouble and stir, because we are not to continue long here ; and in the mean time we should chear up ourselves with the thoughts of the pleasure and the plenty of our father's house, and of that full contentment and satisfaction which we Thall meet withal, when we come to thote everlasting habitations.
So that our great care should be to provide for eternity. If we have unbounded desires, let us place them upon such objects as are worthy of thein. Let us earnestly covet the best things, and seek after the true riches. We should so mind the world, as to make heaven our great care ; as to make sure to provide ourselves bags that wax not old ; a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth, as our Saviour adviseth, Luke xii.
33. To the fame purpose is the counsel of St aul, I Tim. vi, 17. 18. 19. Charge them that are
rich in this world, that they be rich ir. good works, willing to distribute, ready to communicale, laying up for themselves a good for:dation (or, as the word eejércos may also be rendered, a good treasure) against the time which is to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.
I have told you, that all these things will fail in a fhort space ; we shall either be stripped of them, or separated from them when we come to die, and shall look over to that vast eternity which we must thortly enter upon. This world, and all the enjoyments of it, will then be as nothing to us, and we shall be wholly taken up with the thoughts of another world, and be heartily forry that the things of this world have taken up so much of our time and care, and that the great and weighty concernments of eternity have been so little minded and regarded by us. Now, seeing all these things shall be, pardon me, if I earnestly beg of you, in the midst of all your worldly cares, to have some consideration for your immortai fouls, which are no wise provided for by a great eftate, but are defigned for nobler enjoyments than this world can afford. When you are taking care to feed and clothe thefe dying bodies, remember that better part of yourselves, which is to live for ever, Let not all your inquiry be, Ilhat fall I eat? or what shall í drink? or wherewithal snall I be clothed? But sometimes ask yourselves this question, What Shall I do to be faved? I have an immortal spirit, it is but fit fome care should be taken of that, to train it up to eternity, and to make it fit to be made partaker of an inheritance among them that are sanctificd.
The firm belief and serious consideration of the great things of another world, cannot surely but cool the heat of our affections towards these dying and perishing things, and make us resolved not to do any thing whereby we may violate the peace of our consciences, or forfeit our interest and happiness in another world.
II. By way of remedy against this vice of covetousness, it is good for men to be contented with Vol. V. I
their condition. This the Apostle prescribes as the best cure of this vice, Heb. xiii. 5. Let your conversa. tion be without covetousness, and be content with fuch things as ye have ; ápxou usvou trīs naprūoiv, being contented with the present, and thinking that suiticient. A covetous man cannot enjoy the present, for fear of the future ; either out of fear that he shall come to want, or out of a sickness and uneasiness of mind, which makes that nothing pleaseth him : . But if we could bring our minds to our condition, and be contented with what we have, we should not be so eager and impatient after more.
This contentedness with our present condition doth not hinder, but that men by providence and industry, and lawful endeavours, may lay the foundation of a more plentiful fortune than they have at present. For provided a man use no indirect and dishonest ways to increase his estate, and do not torment himself with anxious cares, do neither make himself guilty, nor miserable, that he may be rich ; provided'he do not neglect better things to attain these, and have not an insatiable appetite towards them ; provided he do not idolize his estate, and set his heart
these things; and if he can find in his heart to enjoy them himself, and to be charitable to others, nothing hinders but that he may be contented with his present condition, and yet take all fair opportunities which the providence of God puts into his hands of enlarging his fortune. It is a good character which the poet gives of Aristippus,
Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et fiatus, et res;
Tentantem majora, ferè præfentibus.aquum. « Every state and condition became him ; for though “ he endeavoured after inore, yet his mind was al
ways in a manner equal to his present condition.”
But if a man be discontented with the present, and restless because he hath no more, the whole world will not satisfy him; and if God should raise him from one step to another, he would never think his fortune high enough, and in every degree of it, would be as little contented as he was at first. Our Saviour
represents this fort of men by the rich man here in the parable, who, when his barns were full, and ready to crack, his mind was not filled ; therefore he pulls them down and builds greater ; and if he had lived till thcsc had been full, they must have gone down too, and he would still have built greater : 10 that though he designed, when he had raised his estate to such a pitch, to have fat down, and taken his ease, yet his covetous humour would have been stirring again, and still have stepped in between him and contentment, and for ever have hindered him froin arriving at it.
III. By way of direction, I would periuade those who are rich, to be charitable with what they have. If God hath blessed us with abundance, and we would not be like this rich man here in the parable, we must lay out of our estate, in ways of piety and charity, for the public good, and for the private relief of those who are in want; for that is the årófocis, or moral of the parable ; 6 is he that layeth up treasures for himself, and is not rich towarits Gid. So shall lie be, such an issue of his folly may every one expect (to be taken away from his estate, before he comes to enjoy it) who layeth up treasures for himself, but is net rich towards God; but does not lay up riches with God. How is that? By works of mercy and charity. This our Saviour calls laying up for ourselves i reafure in heaven, Matth. xvi. 20. And at the 33d verse of this chapter, he calls giving of alms, providing for ourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens which faileth not : They who do thus, who are rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing 19. communicate, are faid to lay up for themselves a good treasure against the time which is to come, ihat they may lay holil on eternal life, 1 Tim. vi. 18. 19. Extra fortunam eft quicquid donatur :
" Whatsoever we give poor, is fafely disposed, and put out of the " reach of fortune, because it is laid up in heaven, “ where we may expect the return and recompense of 66 it.” Charity to our poor brethren is a' certain way of transiitting our riches into the other world to mike way for our reception there. So our Lord