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SERM. will be taken up, they will rest satisfied, they XLVII. will not care to seek further. If we affect worldly John v. 44. glory, and delight in the applause of men, we shall
not be so careful to please God, and seek his favour. Mat. vi. 24. If we admire and repose confidence in riches, it will
make us neglectful of God, and distrustful of his Rom.viii. 5. providence: if our mind thirsts after, and sucks in
greedily sensual pleasures, we shall not relish spiritual delights, attending the practice of virtue and piety, or arising from good conscience: adhering to, attending upon masters of so different, so opposite a quality is inconsistent; they cannot abide peaceably together, they cannot both rule in our narrow
breasts; we shall love and hold to the one, hate and 1 John ii. despise the other. If any man love the world, the 15.
love of the Father is not in him; the love of the world, as the present guest, so occupies and fills the room, that it will not admit, cannot hold the love of God. But when the heart is discharged and emptied of these things; when we begin to despise them as base and vain; to distaste them as insipid and unsavoury; then naturally will succeed a desire after other things promising a more solid content; and desire will breed endeavour; and endeavour (furthered by God's assistance always ready to back it) will yield such a glimpse and taste of those things, as will so comfort and satisfy our minds, that thereby they will be drawn and engaged into a more earnest prosecution of them. When, I say, driving on ambitious projects, heaping up wealth, providing for the flesh, (by our reflecting on the shortness and frailty of our life,) become so insipid to us, that we find little appetite to them, or relish in them; our restless minds will begin to hunger
and thirst after righteousness, desiring some satis- SERM. faction thence: discerning these secular and carnal XLVII. fruitions to be mere husks, (the proper food of Luke xv. swine,) we shall bethink ourselves of that better nourishment (of rational or spiritual comfort) which our Father's house doth afford to his children and servants. Being somewhat disentangled from the care of our farms and our trafficks; from yoking our oxen, and being married to our present delights ; Mat. xxii.5. we may be at leisure, and in disposition to comply with divine invitations to entertainments spiritual. Experiencing that our trade about these petty commodities turns to small account, and that in the end we shall be nothing richer thereby; reason will induce us, with the merchant in the Gospel, to sell Matt. xiii.
46. all that we have (to forego our present interests and designs) for the purchasing that rich pearl of God's kingdom, which will yield so exceeding profit; the gain of present comfort to our conscience, and eternal happiness to our souls. In fine, when we consider seriously, that we have here no abiding Heb. xiii. city, but are only sojourners and pilgrims upon 1 Pet. ii. 11. earth; that all our care and pain here do regard only an uncertain and transitory state; and will therefore suddenly as to all fruit and benefit be lost unto us; this will suggest unto us, with the good patriarchs, spelttivos ópéyev bau natpiôos, to long after Heb. xi. 16. a better country; a more assured and lasting state of life; where we may enjoy some certain and durable repose; to tend homeward, in our desires and hopes, toward those eternal mansions of joy and rest prepared for God's faithful servants in heaven. Thus will this consideration help toward the bringing us to inquire after and regard the things
SERM. concerning our future state; and in the result will XLVII.
engage us to compare them with these present things, as to our concernment in them and the consequence of them to our advantage or damage, whence a right judgment and a congruous practice will naturally follow. There be four ways of comparing the things relating to this present life with those which respect our future state : comparing the goods of this with the goods of that; the evils of this with the evils of that; the goods of this with the evils of that; the evils of this with the goods of that. All these comparisons we may find often made in scripture; in order to the informing our judgment about the respective value of both sorts; the present consideration intervening, as a standard to measure and try them by.
First, then; comparing the present goods with those which concern our future state, since the transitoriness and uncertainty of temporal goods detract from their worth, and render them in great degree contemptible; but the durability and certainty of spiritual goods doth increase their rate, and make them exceedingly valuable; it is evident hence, that spiritual goods are infinitely to be preferred in our opinion, to be more willingly embraced, to be more zealously pursued, than temporal goods; that, in case of competition, when both cannot be enjoyed, we are in reason obliged readily to part with all these, rather than to forfeit our title unto, or hazard
our hope of those. Thus in the scripture it is often 1 John ii. discoursed: The world, saith St. John, passeth
away, and the desire thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. The world, and all that is desirable therein, is transient; but obe
dience to God's commandments is of an everlasting SERM.
XLVII. consequence; whence he infers, that we should not love the world ; that is, not entertain such an affection thereto, as may any way prejudice the love of God, or hinder the obedience springing thence, or suitable thereto.
Au flesh is grass, saith St. Peter, and all the 1 Pet. i. 24. glory of man as the flower of the grass;
grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever: all worldly glory is frail and fading, but the word of God is eternally firm and permanent; that is, the good things by God promised to them, who faithfully serve him, shall infallibly be conferred on them to their everlasting benefit; whence it follows, that, as he exhorts, we are bound to gird up the loins of our 1 Pet. i. 13. mind, to be sober, and hope to the end; to proceed and persist constantly in faithful obedience to God. Charge those, saith St. Paul, who are rich in this 1 Tim. ri. world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God; that they do good, be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate ; treasuring up for themselves a good foundation for the future; that they may attain everlasting life. Since, argues he, present riches are of uncertain and short continuance; but faith and obedience to God, exercised in our charity and mercy toward men, are a certain stock improvable to our eternal interest ; therefore be not proud of, nor rely upon those, but regard especially, and employ yourselves upon these. Our Saviour himself doth often insist upon and inculcate this comparison : Treasure not unto yourselves trea- Matt. vi. sures upon earth, where moth and rust do corrupt,
SERM. and where thieves break through and steal; but XLVII. treasure up to yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not corrupt, and where Matt.vi. 25. thieves do not break through and steal. Do not
take care for your soul, what ye shall eat, and what ye shall drink; nor for your body, what ye
shall put on; but seek first the kingdom of God. John vi. 27. Labour not for the food that perisheth, but for the Luke xii. food that abideth to eternal life; sell your subono avędy stance, and give alms ; provide yourselves bags ανέκλειστον.
that wax not old ; an indefectible treasure in the heavens. Thus doth the holy scripture, setting forth the uncertainty and transitoriness of the present, the certainty and permanency of future goods, declare the excellency of these above those; advising thereupon, with highest reason, that we willingly reject those (in real effect, if need be, however always in ready disposition of mind) in order to the procuring or securing of these. It also, for our example and encouragement, commends to us the wisdom and virtue of those persons, who have effectually prac
tised this duty : of Abraham, our father, who, in Heb. xi. 10. expectation of that well-founded city, made and
built by God, did readily desert his country and
kindred, with all present accommodations of life : of Heb. xi. 23. Moses, who disregarded the splendours and delights
of a great court; rejected the alliance of a great princess, and refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, in respect to the worlatodocia, that future distribution of reward; a share wherein shall assuredly fall to them, who above all other considerations regard the performance of their duty to God :
of the apostles, who forsook all, parents, brethren, Luke xviii. lands, houses, trades, receipts of custom, to follow