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strong diseases must have strong remedies: blame not the physician for that, but the disease. The wilful child would live without the rod, but the parent sees it necessary to chastise him. If God withdraw any thing from thee, it is bat to starve a lust that would feed on it; if he lay on thee what thou wouldst nor, it is but tu bear down a lust, that otherwise would carry thee headlong. Give Providence a fair hearing, it will answer for itself. Why should people then cast out with their mercies, and be angry with their blessings?
6. Consider, that great things in one's lot have a great burden with them. A man will get a softer bed in a palace than in a cottage, but the mean man will readily sleep sounder in his cottage than the king in his palace. People look to the great things which others have beyond them, but they do not consider the burden going along with them. They who want the one want the other too, and therefore have reason to be content.
(1.) Where there is a great trust, there is a great reckoning, Luke xii. 48; Thou seest others have much that thou wantest, grudge it not; they have the mure to reckon for. God keeps an account of a'l his mercies bestowed on all men, and they that have most now have most to account for when the Lord shall seek an account of his servants. Look well to thyself, and be content. I fear it be found, that for as little as thou hast, thou hast more than thou canst guide well.
(2.) Great things in the world are great snares, and bring great dangers along with them, Mark x. 23; They that walk low make not such a figure as those that walk on high; but the latter are most apt to fall. How fond are we of the world even when it frowns on us? what would become of us if it did nothing but smile? It is hard to carry a full cup even. Affliction is often seasonable ballast to a light heart, that prosperity would give too much sail to, till it should be sunk.
7. Consider, if thou be a child of God, that which thou hast, thou hast on free cost, Rom. viii. 32; And therefore, though it be little, it is better to thee than the abundance of many others, which will bring a dear reckoning at length. The children of the family may fare more coarsely than strangers; but there is a great difference; the strangers have a reckoning for it when they go away; but the children have nothing to pay:
(1.) Remember thou forfeited all in Adam; it is a mercy that thou hast any thing at all. I know nothing but sin and death that we can lay claim to as our own properly, Lam. iii. 39; He that deserves hell has no reason to complain, while he is out of it.
(2.) Any thing which thou hast a covenant-right to now, is through Christ; it is the purchase of his blood. So that makes it precious, as being the price of blood; and that should make us content with it, seeing we have it freely through him.
8. Consider the vanity of all things below the sun, Eccl. i. 2; A just estimation of worldly things would make us content with very little. But a blind judgment first sets an exorbitant price on earthly things, and raises the value of them; and then people think never to get enough of them. But low thoughts of them would clip the wings of our affections to them, and little of them would content us, Prov. xxiii. 5; Riches make themselves wings, and flee away. There is a wing of change, casualties, and losses: and though by thy wisdom thou could clip all these wings, yet there is a wing of death and mortality that will carry them away.
9. Consider the preciousness and excellency of heavenly things, Col. iii. 2; More heavenly-mindednesss would make us less anxious about these things. If we be in hazard of losing these, it is madness to be taken up about trifles, and concerned with earthly losses. Will he whose life is in hazard go up and down making moan for a sore finger? And if they be secured, it is horrid ingratitude to be discontent with our lot here. Would a man that has a ship loaded with goods coming ashore, vex himself for losing a pin out of his sleeve, or a penny out of his pocket ? Heaven will make
up all our losses; and hell will make men forget their greatest crosses in the world.
Lastly, Consider much of death and eternity. For as little as any of us have, we have perhaps as much as will serve our turn here. Our time is uncertain. It is folly to vex ourselves, though we have not all conveniences that we would desire in a house that we have no tack of, but may remove from it to-morrow.
I have insisted largely on this point, because it is so very We may
necessary. Labour for a full contentment with your condition. This is the way to make a virtue of necessity; for our discontent and uneasiness will not add a cubit to the stature of our lot. And that which God will make crooked in it, we will not get made straight, however uneasy we be about it.
II. We are to consider the duty of this command, as it respects our neighbour. And that is a right and charitable or loving frame of spirit towards himself and all that is his.
up this in five things, which are here required. 1. Love to our neighbour's person, as to ourselves, Rom. xiii. 9. For seeing this command forbids us to wrong him so much as in thought, it plainly binds love to him upon us; not in word only, nor in deed only, by doing him good, but in heart, that our bowels move towards him, and love him for the sake of God. For whatever be unholy in him, yet he is one of God's creatures, of the same nature with our. selves, and capable of enjoying the same God with us.
2. An upright respect to what is his, for his sake. As we are to love himself for God's sake, so what is his for his sake, Deut. xxii. 1. A careless disposition and unconcernedness about what is our neighbour's, can never be a right frame to what is his. So it is an argument of the world's corruption, that all men seek their own things, and are so little concerned for the things of others. That is not charitable walking, Phil. ii. 4.
3. An hearty desire of his welfare and prosperity in all things, as of our own, his honour, life, chastity, wealth, good name, and whatever is his. This we owe to our very enemies, so far as it may be consistent with the honour of God, and their own spiritual good, which is the main thing we are to desire for all. I add this, because sometimes the loss of these may be more to the honour of God, and our neighbour's advantage, than the having of them, to wit, when they are abused to sin, Rom. xii. 20. Matth. V. 44.
4. A real complacency in his welfare, and the welfare of what is his, Rom. xii. 15. If our hearts rejoice not in our neighbour's welfare, we covet what he has, and secretly in our hearts devour it. But as we are to be well content with our own condition, so we are to be well content with our neighbour's welfare.
5. Lastly, A cordial sympathy with him in any evil that VOL. III.
befals him, Rom. xi. 20. For we are members one of ano. ther; and as every member shares in the grief of any one, so should we in one another's afflictions. A hard heart anconcerned with the afflictions of others, especially where people talk to the grief of those whom God has wounded, is a sign of a wretched temper and uncharitable frame of spirit, Psal. Ixix. 26. and xxxv. 13, 14, 15.
HF, We must consider this command as it respects the root of sin. And so it requires original righteousness, a holy frame of the soul, whereby it is bent to all good, and averse to all evil; that holy frame of spirit that was in the first Adam when he was created, and all along in the second Adam. And thus this command carries the matter of holiness to the utmost point.
That this is here required, will appear, if ye consider that this command forbids the very first risings of original corruption, whose very nature it is to be still coveting; and therefore original corruption itself is forbidden, and consequently original righteousness required. Not only
good actions are required by the holy law, but a holy temper of the spirit, consisting in the light of the mind taking up duty, a bene of the will inclining ever to good, and averse to every evil, and the orderliness of the affections, keeping precisely within the holy boundaries set to them by the law, not to look over the hedge in the least point.
This is certainly required somewhere in the law; for men are condemned for the want of it; and in none of the commands is it required, if it be not here. And thus ye may see the utter impossibility of keeping perfectly these commands; for whatever men pretend as to the rest, who of Adam's children do not stick here as soon as they are born?
This command reaches us as soon as we are born; nay, as soon as we are living souls in the womb, requiring of us what we have not to produce, and that is an holy nature. But, alas ! we are evil before we can do evil; and we want that holy nature naturally, and therefore have at length such unholy lives.
If it be inquired, How this command in this point is answered sincerely? Ans. It is by our being renewed in the spirit of our minds, our partaking of the new nature in regeneration, where old things being done away, and all things becoming new, we are made new creatures. This is that new nature which is the image of God repaired, with a per. fection of parts, to be crowned in heaven with a perfection of degrees.
And it is worthy of our observation, that Jesus Christ being to fulfil all righteousness, was born holy, and so fulfilled, this command for us. In him the law has its due, he being A man, who from his birth had a holy pure nature, a holy frame of spirit, without the least irregularity or disorder,
To conclude, ye may see the command is pure, just, and holy, however impure we be; and requires of us the utmost purity of heart, life and nature.
I now proceed to consider the sins forbidden.
Quest. · What is forbidden in the tenth comandment?' Ans. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, and all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his.'
This command is a curb and bridle to the distempered heart of man, which of all parts of the man is the hardest to be commanded and kept within bounds. Men may be of a courteous obliging behaviour, keep in their hands from kill. ing, or what tendeth thereunto, their bodies from unclean. ness, their hands from stealing, and their tongues from lying; while, in the mean time, the heart in all these respects may be going within the breast like a troubled sea, unto which this command by divine authority saith, Peace, and
The heart distempered by original sins runs out in the irascible faculty in tormenting passions, bearing an aversion of the heart to what the Lord in his wisdom lays before men, This great stream of the corruption of our nature divides itself into two branches ; one running against our own condition, namely, a torrent of discontent; the other against our neighbour, namely, envying and grudging at his good, In the concupiscible faculty, in lusting affections and inordi. pate motions towards something which God has put out of our way, at least with held from our closest embraces. This also divides itself into two branches; one running towards what is our own, namely, a sinful eagerness, lust, or inordi. nate motion of the heart to what we possess; the other run. aing towards what is our neighbour's, an inordinate affection to what is his. Thus the corrupt heart rups in a direct op: