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shall accumulate such a store, and make sure of such an annual income? That it is heathenish, and not Christian ; yea that it is very heathenish, and very unchristian. But what then are we to do in order to put ourselves and keep ourselves within the pale of honest men ? Do! do what you now do: be honest and industrious, and use your faculties, which God hath given you, for the ends for which he hath given them. You did not think the Lord meant you to be idle vagabonds : did you? The fowls of the air are not idle, the lilies of the field are not thriftless. No. But he meant you not to be care-worn as well as toil-worn; the understanding, or the instincts of the sense he would have given to the creatures which they were meant to govern; but the soul given to him in a continual trust and confidence and faith : for, saith he,
your heavenly Father knoweth ye have need of these things.” Therefore trust him. He hath not called you into his church from the Gentile world for nought; and having made you his chosen ones, think you
he will forsake and desert you? Having chosen you to manifest his glory, think you he will let you die without manifesting that glory? Having given you his Son, as your special gift, that he will refuse you the daily bread which he giveth unto all men, and which he refuseth not to the beasts of the earth, nor to the fowls of the air ? This were preposterous in the highest.
Nay, saith the Lord, leave these lesser matters unto him, and set your hearts upon a higher mark, which is proper to your highest calling, and worthy of your most earnest request, “ Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added thereunto.” When the
Lord called in the care and anxiety and desire of his people from the kingdom of the present world, as wholly unworthy of their pursuit, he did not leave them without another kingdom on which these affections might be worthily employed, which he nameth the kingdom of heaven; that is the kingdom to come, whereof we are heirs, and to the inheritance of which we shall be raised up to enter along with our risen Lord. This kingdom we cannot presently possess save in faith and hope; because it is not seen, and because it is yet future. And for this inheritance it is that we continue strangers and pilgrims in the present evil world, patiently looking for a city whose builder' and whose maker is God. And why should I, who am promised the inheritance of the earth, strive for one of its fields, or care for one of its clayey mansions? And why should I, who shall see God, and see him as he is, no despised man in weeds of sorrow, but a King in his beauty, care for the fear and favour of the great ones and beautiful ones of the earth? And shall I, who am the son of the King of kings, and heir apparent to a crown of glory, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, care for worldly distinctions or courtly preferments, or aught appertaining to the rebel and corrupt vice-sovereignties of this earth? Thus it is the believer, embodying to himself that future reign of glory which awaiteth him, seeketh earnestly to be possessed of it in the good time and pleasure of the Lord, and in the faith thereof is content to pass allunnoticed, all-despised and trodden on, through the valley of humility and sorrow, which his Lord walked in before him. One present possession only he desireth, the righteousness of that kingdom, which is its earnest, and the seal of admission to its glory. For unless a man be born again, of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” It is the meek only that shall inherit the earth, the pure in heart only that shall see God, the peace-maker that shall be called the children of God, the merciful that shall obtain mercy, &c. And these fruits of the Spirit, which the Lord hath presently to bestow, this Spirit of power and of love, and of a sound mind, with which he baptiseth all true believers; these gifts which he hath received for men, even the rebellious, are absolutely necessary to prepare the way for God's dwelling in the midst of us. These the believer earnestly coveteth after, because they are the desire of his soul. For these he prayeth and intercedeth continually. He is never filled with a sufficiency of this good gift: he desireth to increase it more and more for ever, according to that which is written by the Apostle Paul, in his First Epistle to Timothy; which, though it be addressed to an Evangelist, is equally applicable to all evangelical men, and with which I shall conclude the statement of the evil. (1 Tim. vi. 7–12.) “ For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil ; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
II. THE EFFECT. Having now shewed that carefulness is not only the hereditary portion of every child of Adam, but the necessary element of every worldly undertaking which would hope for success; the attendant on every worldly pursuit, and the indispensible condition to the world's well-being ;-also, that there is no deliverance from it in human things nor in the region of human thought; for the more you possess of the world's good, and the more you embrace within the compass of your desires, just in that proportion are you the more compassed about with anxiety, and laden with the greater burden of care ;-we are now to inquire, in the second place, into the effect of these worldly cares upon the soul working so as to disqualify it for spiritual attainments and render ineffectual the hearing of the word and the other means of grace; which evil effect is set forth in the text by the similitude of the thorns choking the seed, that fell in the midst of them : and this of the care of this world upon the spiritual part of man, I perceive to be two-fold, the first arising from the unnatural and degrading union of a spirit to worldly and material things :-the second arising from the suspending of the soul's faith, hope, and desire, upon things which are, and must ever be, uncertain and far removed beyond her controul.-These two points we shall handle with great solicitude for your emancipation from the curse; and we pray the Lord, that, seeing he hath called us to minister unto men of understanding, who are much occupied with worldly charges, he would grant us the spirit of understanding, to unveil this mystery of iniquity which they are daily tempted withal; and we likewise pray the Lord, that as he hath blessed us above measure with the patient and affectionate ear of these his people, he would, through our lips, pour out upon them abundantly of the wisdom which is from above, that they may become wise unto salvation, and able to withstand all the wiles of the devil.
1. We are then, by thegrace of God, to shew unto you how the careful spirit which is troubled about many worldly things, is thereby disinclined from the hearing and the understanding of the word of truth, from “ the one thing needful,” and “ the good portion which shall not be taken from us.' This ariseth directly from the diversity and entire opposition which there is between the world that is, and the world that is to come ;---the kingdom of Satan that is seen, and the kingdom of heaven that is hoped for: for Satan is confessedly the master of the visible world, according to his own assertion, when he shewed unto Christ all the kingdoms of it, saying, “ All this power will I give. thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” And as surely is Christ the Lord and Master of the kingdom to come, according to the prophecy of Isaiah: “ The government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Father of the age to come, the Prince of Peace;" into the