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him than all the treasures of court or country; Heb. xi. 25, 26. Grace hath mortified and annihilated the world to him. And that which is dead and nothing, can do nothing with him against God and his soul. He looketh on it as a carrion, which dogs may love and fight for, but is unfit to be the food of man. He is going to the land of promise, and therefore will not contend for an inheritance in this howling wilderness. Whether he be high or low, rich or poor, are so small a part of his concernments, that he is almost indifferent to them, farther than as the interest of God and souls may accidentally be concerned in them. The world set against God, and heaven, and holiness, doth weigh no more "in his estimation, than a feather that is put in the balance against a mountain, or all the world. He feeleth no great force in such temptations, as would draw him to win the world, and lose his soul. His eye and heart are where his God and treasure are, above; and worldly wealth and greatness are below him, even under his feet. He thinketh not things temporal worth the looking at, in comparison of things eternal; 2 Cor. iv. 18. He thinketh that their money and riches do deservedly perish with them, who think all the money in the world to be a thing comparable with grace; Acts viii. 20.
2. And the weak Christian is of the same judgment and resolution in the main ; but yet the world retaineth a greater interest in his heart; it grieveth him more to lose it; it is a stronger temptation to him. To deny all the preferments, and honours, and riches of it, seemeth a greater matter to him; and he doth it with more striving, and less ease; and sometimes the respect of worldly things prevaileth with him in lesser matters, to wound his conscience, and maketh work for repentance; and such are so entangled in worldly cares, and prosperity tasteth so sweet with them, that grace even languisheth and falleth into a consumption, and almost into a swoon. So much do some such let out their hearts to the world, which they renounced, and scrape for it with so much care and eagerness, and contend with others about their commodities and rights, that they seem to the standers by to be as worldly as worldlings themselves are; and become a shame to their profession, and make ungodly persons say, 'Your godly professors are as covetous as any :' 2 Tim. iv. 10.
3. But seeming Christians are the servants of the world; when they have learnt to speak most hardly of it, it hath their hearts. Heaven, as I said before, is valued but as a reserve, when they know they can keep the world no longer. They have more sweet and pleasing thoughts and speeches of the world, than they have of God and the world to come. It hath most of their hearts when God is most preferred by their tongues. There it is that they are daily laying up their treasure, and there they must leave it at the parting hour, when they go naked out as they came naked in. The love of deceitful riches choaketh the word of God, and it withereth in them, and becometh unfruitful; Matt. xiii. 22. They go away sorrowful because of their beloved riches, when they should part with all for the hopes of heaven (Luke xviii. 23.), yea, though they are beggars, that never have a day's prosperity in the world, for all that, they love it better than heaven, and desire that which they cannot get, because they have not an eye of faith, to see that better world which they neglect, and therefore take it for an uncertain thing. Nor are their carnal natures suitable to it, and therefore they mind it not; Rom. viii. 7. When a hypocrite is at the best, he is but a religious worldling; the world is nearer to his heart than God is, but "pure religion keepeth a man unspotted of the world;" James i. 27.
XIX. 1. A Christian indeed is one that still seeth the end in all that he doth, and that is before him in his way; and looketh not at things as at the present they seem or relish to the flesh, or to short-sighted men; but as they will appear and be judged of at last. The first letter maketh not the word, nor the first word the sentence, without the last. Present time is quickly past, and therefore he less regardeth what things seem at present, than what they will prove to all eternity. When temptations offer him a bait to sin, with the present profit, or pleasure, or honour, he seeth at once the final shame; he seeth all worldly things as they are seen by a dying man, and as after the general conflagration they will be. He seeth the godly man in his adversity and patience, as entering into his Master's joys; he seeth the derided, vilified saint, as ready to stand justified by Christ at his right hand; and the liars of the malicious world as ready to cover themselves with shame. He seeth the wicked in the height of their prosperity, as ready to be cut down and
withered, and their pampered flesh to turn to dirt; and their filthy and malicious souls to stand condemned by Christ at his left hand; and to hear, "Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;" Matt. xxv. 1 Pet. i. 24. James i. 10, 11. Psal. lxxiii. xxxvii. Therefore it is that he valueth grace, because he knoweth what it will be; and therefore it is that he flieth from sin, because he "knoweth the terrors of the Lord," and what it will prove to the sinner in the end; and how sinners themselves will curse the day that ever they did commit it; and wish when it is too late, that they had chosen the holiness and patience of the saints. And therefore it is that he pitieth rather than envieth the prosperous enemies of the church, because he foreseeth what the "end will be of them that obey not the Gospel of Christ. And if the righteous be scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear?" I Pet. iv. 17, 18. 2 Thess. i. 8-10. If the wicked unbelievers saw but the ending of all things as he doth, they would be all then of his mind and way. This putteth so much life into his prayers, his obedience, and patience, because he seeth the end in all; Deut. xxxii. 29. Prov. xix. 20. Isa. xlvii. 7.)
2. And the weakest Christian doth the same in the main, so far as to turn his heart from things temporal to things eternal; and to resolve him in his main choice, and to conduct the course of his life towards heaven. But yet in particular actions he is often stopped in present things, and forgetfully loseth the sight of the end, and so is deluded and enticed into sin, for want of seeing that which should have preserved him. He is like one that travelleth over hills and vallies, who when he is upon the hills doth see the place that he is going to; but when he cometh into the vallies it is out of his sight. Too oft doth the weak Christian think of things as they appear at the present, with little sense of the change that is near. When he seeth the baits of sin, whether riches, or beauty, or meat and drink, or any thing that is pleasing to the senses, the remembrance of the end doth not so quickly and powerfully work, to prevent his deceived imaginations as it ought. And when poverty, or shame, or sufferings, or sickness are presented to him, the foresight of the end is not so speedy and powerful in clearing his judgment, and settling his resolution, and preventing his misapprehension and troubles as it ought. And
hence comes his oft mistakes and falls; and herein consisteth much of that foolishness, which he confesseth when repentance bringeth him to himself; 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. 2 Chron. xvi. 9.
3. But the seeming Christian hath so dim and doubtful a foresight of the end, and it is so frequently out of his mind, that things present do carry away his heart, and have the greatest power and interest with him; and are most regarded and sought after in this life. For he is purblind, not seeing afar off, as it it is said, 2 Pet. i.9. He wanteth that faith which is the "substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen;" Heb. xi. 1. Things promised in another world seem to him too uncertain, or too far off to be preferred before all the happiness of this world; he is resolved to make his best of that which he hath in hand, and to prefer possession before such hopes. Little doth his heart perceive what a change is near, and how the face of all things will be altered! How sin will look, and how the minds of sinners will be changed, and what all the riches, and pleasures, and honours of the world will appear at the latter end! He foreseeth not the day when the slothful, and the worldly, and the fleshly, and the proud, and the enemies of godliness, shall all wish in vain, O that we had laid up our treasure in heaven, and laboured for the food that pe→ risheth not, and had set less by all the vanities of the world, and had imitated the holiest and most mortified believers !? Though the hypocrite can himself foretel all this, and talk of it to others, yet his belief of it is so dead, and his sensuality so strong, that he liveth by sense, and not by that belief: and present things are practically preferred by him, and bear the sway, so that he needeth those warnings of God as well as the profane, “O that they were wise, that they understood this, and that they would consider their latter end;" Deut. xxxii. 29. And he is one of the foolish ones (Matt. xxv. 8. 11.), who are seeking oil for their lamps when it is too late, and are crying out, "Lord, Lord, open to us," when the door is shut; and will not know the time of their visitation, nor know effectually in this their day, the things which belong to their everlasting peace.
XX. 1. The Christian indeed is one that liveth upon God alone; his faith is divine; his love, and obedience, and confidence are divine; his chiefest converse is divine; his
hopes and comforts are divine. As it is God that he dependeth on, and trusteth to, and studieth to please above all the world, so it is God's approbation that he taketh up with for his justification and reward. He took him for his absolute Governor and Judge, and full felicity, in the day when he took him for his God. He can live in peace without man's approbation. If men are never acquainted with his sincerity, or virtues, or good deeds, it doth not discourage him nor hinder him from his holy course; he is, therefore, the same in secret as in public, because no place is secret from God. If men turn his greatest virtues or duties to his reproach, and slander him, and make him odious to men, and represent him as they did Paul, a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition, and the ringleader of a sect, and make him as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things, this changeth him not, for it changeth not his felicity, nor doth he miss of his reward; 1 Cor. iv. 9-14. Read the words in the text. Though he hath so much suspicion of his own understanding, and reverence for wiser men's, that he will be glad to learn, and will hear reason from any one; yet praise and dispraise are matters of very small regard with him; and as to himself, he counteth it but a very small thing to be judged of men, whether they justify or condemn him; because they are fallible, and have not the power of determining any thing to his great commodity or detriment; nor is it their judgment to which he stands or falls; 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. He hath a more dreadful, or comfortable judgment to prepare for. Man is of small account with him in comparison of God; Rom. viii. 33-36.
2. And though with the weakest true Christian it is so also as to the predominancy of God's esteem and interest in him, yet is his weakness daily visible in the culpable effects. Though God have the chiefest place in his esteem, yet man hath much more than his due. The thoughts and words of men seem to such, of far greater importance than they should. Praise and dispraise, favours and injuries, are things which affect their hearts too much; they bear not the contempts and wrongs of men with so quiet and satisfied a mind, as beseemeth those that live upon God. They have so small an experience of the comforts of God in Christ, that they are tasting the deeper of other delights, and spare them not so easily as they ought to do. God, without