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State. For should you bid an Illiterate . Plebeian, that has no Experience of humane Affairs, Hope, shortly to have the Learning of Plato or Aristotle, and the Empire of Alexander or Augustus; Could you persuade him , that you did any more than Mock him? And yet that's an Easier.Attainment, than for a Mortal man to arrive at the Wisdom, Power , and Glory of the blessed Angels in Heaven. For the Plebeian is of the very same nature wilh Alexander and Aristotle, who were both Mortal men. And the Wisdom of the one did not exceed the Measures of a Man : And the Conquest of the other ftho' call'd the World, ) did not reach to a Third part of the Earth.
But the Hope of" Believers Emboldens 'em to look for even an Equality with the Angels of God, Luk. 20. 36. Which is more than for one that goes creeping here on the ground, to be Enabled presently to Ascend, andy?yup and down, whither he will, in the Air. For it is, even with his Body, to get above the Heavens, and strait-way back again to the Earth; and in his course from East to West, or whithersoever he has a mind, To outstrip any Star or Planet, in their swiftest Motions.
Yet further, should you bid a poor Boy, the Orphan of beggerly Parents,Hope to be made the Heir of a mighty King, one that he knows not ; What would he not do, if it were Possible for him, ever 'to be so Exalte J? Yet as vast as ever sounds the Disparity here, still the King and the Beggar both are Earth's Children ; and they must Dye alike. But the Christian Faith assures us, That every man, (tho' never so Low in the World,) Believing in our Lord, and made a Living Member of Christ, receives the Spirit of Adoption, whereby he is made also a Son and Heir of. Heaven: and shall certainly be pofj'effed of all that Kingdom and Glory everlasting.
So great and High is this Hope, that were it but held and Believ'das it ought,'T would make Christians as Fearless as Lions, and never tremble at any Dangers: But say with that Believer , Pfal. 118. 6. The Lord is on my fide : I will not fear what man can do tome. And Pfal. XJ. J. Tho' an Host shculd encamp against me, my heart shall not Fear. And with the Apostle, Rom. 8. ai. If God he for us, who can be against us? And Phil. 4. 13. I can do all things, thro' Christ strength
ning me. \
But O how few do indeed Hope for such High Eternal things ; when , alas, they cannot bring themselves to Depend upon God, even for the poor Temporal matters? But Trust to their Craft and their Fraud, and Lying and Stealing, to help themselves. Our Lord has finely check'd and twitted such kind of Christians, as perplex them
. selves selves with an Anxious Solicitude for Food and Rayment, Mat. 6. Where he puts 'em in Mind, How God provides even for the Birds, that neither Sow nor Reap , nor Lay up j And how he beautifies the Lilies , for Tulips,) that neither foyl nor Spin. And when *tis their Father s good Pleasure to give 'em the Kingdom, How do they Hope it , that can fly to Knavish shifts, if not to Diabolical Arts, even for the poorest Advantages of this World?
But there are yet greater Straits in this Hope, when it obliges us, (in Prospect of the Unseen Eternal things,) so to despise the present Temporal Goods, as to scatter 'em abroad among the Poor, that we may .find 'em again, Multiply"d in Heaven j after we have thus Sowed upon Earth. The Husbandman will indeed, easily give Credit to the Ground, that he shall Reap with Joy, the Wheat which there he Sows, with much Expence and Pains: Because he has the Experience of so many Years to Corroborate his Hopes. But we have no such Experience, to assure us, That what we sow among the Poor , we shall gather it, with the most happy-Increase in Heaven. Therefore, is it so hard for Men to let. go the Present things, in Expectation of those to come, which are Unseen.
Once more, does it not argue this Gate of Hope and Trust in God, to be very straits when we fee every where so many of the Wretched, Crying, Weeping, Blaspheming,Dcspairing Creatures pW over this World? For as to them who Hope in him, God either Removes their Miseries, or Supports their Spirits, and bears'em up under thePreffure, with so much Patience and Comfort, that they can fay, like the Apostle, 2 Cor. 7. 4. I am filsd with Consolation: I am exceeding Joyful in all our Tribulation. But the frequent Out.cries and even Ravings, that we use to bear, in such cases , give too fad a Proof, How few (in Heart and Truth) do Hope in God : How many soever may have those words in their Mouth, Pfal. 46. 1. God is our Refuge and Strengths a very present Help in Trouble.
Of Charity, the Third part of the
TH E Lintel of the Heavenly Gate is that Charity, which is the Queen of Virtues j And on the one Side, appears exceeding Wide,as extended to God and Angels, and all Men, even the Unknown,
and and very Enemies: Yet on the other side, 'Twill be found much Straiter, when we fee its Commands , 1 Job. 5. 18. To Love, not in Word and in Tongue $ but in deed and in Trutb. And Luk. 10. 27. To Love the Lord our God with all our Heart, with all our Soul, with all our Mind, and with all our Strength: To what Straits does it reduce us, When it must not be only Sincere and undissembled, but Fervent and Transcendent Love? Loving our Supream Good, Before and Above all; To the Exclusion and Contempt of every thing elsc,that would come inCompetition. To make us Ready, Prepar'd, and Resolv'd, to let go Friends, and Goods, and Ease, and Life, whatsoever is dearest to us in the World, for his Sake : That we may Cleave to the Lord our God ! O how Strait is that Gate, and to get through it, how hard will a man be put to it.'
Then, for the Love of our Neighbour, It must be even at "we Love our selves: And as we would be done by, just so to Use them: Now, who that is Indigent and in Streights, does not desire some Help and Supply out of his Rich Neighbour's Superfluity ? Tho* the Wealthy man may plead, That he has run himself in Debt, with Purchasing or Building, or some extraordinary Expencei; It may be, more than was need, and but to sorry Purposes. And then Charity will never endure , That the Poor distressed