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of the person possessed by it; it incites him to trespass on the rights and enjoyments of others, and on both these accounts is often punished with remarkable judgments even in the present life. How awful is that curse pronounced by the Prophet Habakkuk,
to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to “ his house, that he may set his neit on high, " that he may be delivered from the power " of evil. Thou haft consulted shame to thy“ self, and hast finned against thy foul; for “ the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the “ beam out of the timber shall answer it." How dismal was the fate of Ananias and Sapphira !-How horrible the end of Judas Ilcariot ! In both these instances, the saying of the Wise Man, Proverbs, i. 19. was remarkably verified, “the greediness of gain taketh
away the life of the owners thereof.” But although they should escape in this world, yet they shall not escape the damnation of hell. Then shall they find that riches will not profit them in the day of God's wrath.
There is a striking passage to this purpose, James, v. 1. “ Go to now, ye rich men, weep " and howl, for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and
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your garments are moth eaten ; your gold " and silver is cankered, and the rust of them " shall be a witness against you, and shall eat
your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped “ treasure together for the last day.” Such is the present wretchedness, and the miserable portion at last of an earthly mind. Whereas,
IV. An heart disengaged from this excefsive love of the world, would not only prevent all this misery, but likewise give us the true relish of life, and make death itself eafy and comfortable. Take away earthly things from a worldly man,
his all; but the same things withdrawn from an heavenly minded Christian, do not annihilate his fund of happiness. When the streains of created comforts fail, he resorts to the fountain ; when the creatures forsake him, he can rejoice in the Creator, and joy in the God of his salvation. The good things he poffefseth have a peculiar relish, which earthly minds are incapable of feeling. He sees the bounty of God in every gift, and the faithfulness of his covenant in every comfort he enjoys. He
therefore eats his bread with joy, and drinks his wine with a merry heart; and while he thus fits chearfully at the feast which providence has set before him, he fears not the intrusion of any unwelcome messenger to interrupt his peace. He is not afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed trusting in the Lord. Prepared for all the vicissitudes of life, adverfity can take nothing from him which, in the discipline of his own mind, he has not resigned already. Nay, death itself, that presentiment so dreadful to the worldly mind, is to him, in a great measure, divested of its terrors : For he knows, “ that if this earthly “house of his tabernacle were dissolved, he “has a building of God, an house not made 6 with hands, eternal in the heavens.'
Having thus endeavoured to enforce the exhortation in the text, it only remains that I offer a few directions for the help of those who are desirous to have their affections weaned from the world, that they may rise upwards to spiritual things.
1/, Let us beware of receiving too flattering a picture of the world into our minds, or
of expecting more from it than it is able to bestow. Let us correct our florid and gaudy expectations, and make a sober estimate of its real amount. For this purpose go sometimes to the house of mourning, rather than to the house of feasting. Behold there the untimely hand of death, taking away the desire of the eyes with a stroke, blasting the most virtuous joys of humanity, tearing asunder the dearest connections, demolishing the painted tapestry, and hanging up in its place the solemn fable and escutcheon.
Such objects, viewed with seriousness and attention, are far more, profitable than the gilded scenes of mirth and gaiety; they check that wantonness which is the growth of ease and prosperity, and lead us to reflect that this world is not our home, but a foreign land, in which our vexations and disappointments are designed to turn our views towards that higher and better state, which we are destined to inherit.
2dly, Be very suspicious of a prosperous state, and fear the world more when it smiles than when it frowns. It is difficult to possess much of it, without loving it to excess. The great enemy of our souls is well aware of this, and therefore would give all his servants liberal portions in this world, were it in his power. This was his last effort in the train of
temptations which he addressed to our Lord in the wilderness, and, when this failed, he immediately departed from him.
There is not a more salutary maxim in religious concerns than always to suspect danger where we feel much delight. If our fituation be such as entirely pleases our natural desires, it is high time to look well to the soul, and to set a strict guard on our heart, left, by these pleasing enjoyments, they should be betrayed and alienated from God, who alone has a right to them.
3dly, Make a wise improvement of the afAictions with which you may at any time be visited. Beware of repining under them, or thinking them greater evils than they really are ; but rather believe that they are graciously sent for the benefit of your souls, to mortify your inordinate affections to the
prefent world. " Whom the Lord loveth he “chafteneth.”-Nay, the seasonable visitation