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Neighbour should be ready to Starve, for want of Necessaries: When the Great man next him, has so much to throw away upon his Pleasures, his Fancies, and Extravagancies. O what account will he be able to give of his Stewardship, that is for laying out, not according to his Lord's Will and Command ; but according to his own humour and Lust ? If for every Idle Word, much more for every Idle Expence shall men give account in the day of Judgment.
And among all other Debts, O where are men so slack and Tardy, as in paying that which God has made their Debt to the Poor and needy r Yet what becomes of all their Pretensions to she Love of God, who 'have not Open hearts to their Poor bre'thren? 1 Job. 5. 17. Whoso hath this World's
* Good, and fees his Brother have need,and shuts 1 up bis Bowels of Compassion from him, How 'dwelleth the Love os God in him? And 'Chap. 4. 20. He that Loveth not his Brother 'whom he hath seen, How can be Love God, 'whom he hath not seen '? And how would he lay down his Z.»/e,that will not lay down so much as his Pence for the Brethren? '1 Job. 3. 16. For what's the Pelf, com( par'd with the Life ? But hardly shall the
* Rich Enter; Because they will not Part 'with that 'which does hinder: Nor do 1 Good, in being ready to Distribute, and f rich in Good works ; as not daring to
G * Trust Trust the Lord, in Lending to him, by Giving to his Poor. And thus they bar up the Door against themselves, because they will-no more Open their hands to others.
c O this, this is the one thing Lacking, in some that seem otherwise not only passable, but very commendable. The Rich man's great Possessions are the Camel's bunch, where it sticks with so many, that they cannot Enter , to have "Treasure in Heaven. Or their Tenacious Humour, and Trusting in their Riches it is, which twists up the Cable, that will not go through the Needle's eye. Mat. 19. 21, 2, 3,4. This makes 'em break with the only Saviour, though at the same time , sorrowful to Lose his great Salvation.
* And therefore,that of the Apostle,i2?»/. 6.17. is a very friendly Admonition , (O that it found better Reception! ) when he bids, Charge them which are Rich in this World, that they Trust not in uncertain Riches. For 'tis not having the World's fulness,that undoes 'em; Seeing|thereare very Wealththy great men , who are also very Godly and charitable men: and by doing abundance of Good in their generation, help to ascertain their own Salvation ; and are not only wise to make themselves Friends of the unrighteous Mammon , but instrumental also to help others into Heaven.
'Yet such as do set their Hearts upon it; 'thus do make to themselves a Curse of it. * And when it serves only to feed their
'Avarice or Luxury, Yea, as the high 'Wall
'and strong Garifon , to protect'em in their 'Cruelty against the Cries of the Needy, 'and their Impiety against the Commands c of the Almighcy j This cleaving to their 'adored Idol, keeps 'em from the World's c Redeemer: And so wrapping themselves 'up in their putrid Muck , they are out of c all Fitness for God's' Holy place. Thus 'the Riches are kept indeed to their Own'ers hurt, as well as to the Poors Wrong: When instead of Sympathy and Mercy to such as are in Necessity and Misery, Considering and Compassionating their cases, and reaching out to cloath their Backs and fill their Bellies, and ease their Grievancesj rather frowning and rating, taunting and threatning, racking and oppressing; to fadden their hear.ts, and Exasperate their Wounds, and Grind their faces.
And thus Dives goes down to be tormented in the Infernal flame j Because so hard-hearted to the distressed Beggar. And he that grudg'd to give a Scrap, when his Dwn turn comes to Beg, shall not have a Drop : But find Judgment without Mercy, because he would shew no Mercy.
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And do not some find it as hard to Forgive an Injury, or stoop to an Enemy, as to part with their Money, for Relief of 'the Needy ? To Love them that hate us, 'To render Good for' Evil, and Overcome 'their Evil with Good j O what Hard 'sayings are these to the most ? Therefore 'so Few do Enter. And they that are Resolv'd upon it, must strive for it j and Deny and Streighten themselves, to Pleasure and Benefit others.
Of Humility , the Fourth part of the i Gate.
THere remains that Humility? which yet wants not its Straits and Difficulty: Which to Overcome, We must learn of our Lord to be Meek and Lowly in Heart. Mat. I1. 29. And go and sit down in the Lowest Room, Luk. 14. 10. What he said, he did: When he came into this World , ( at his Birth,; Lying in the Manger: And when going out of the World, ( at his Death, ) on the Cross. O where could he be Lower, Coming in,or Going out ? And in hisLife, he was not so well Provided here, even as
the the poorest Animals: Not having where to L<iy his Head, Mat. 8. 20.
Whoever then, or how Great soever thou art, Man, Think thy self fit for the Lowest place. And for that see a Reason, Gal. 6. 3. He that thinks himself to be Something, -when he is Nothing, deceiveth himself. Mark: It is not only Poor, or Illiterate, or Ignoble ,- but Nothing. And what's Below that? So must he Sink down in hisownThought?, that would Rise High, and Enter the House of God.
But must there not then be Princes and Prelates, Rulers and Superiors in the World, Some Above the rest ? 'Tis true ; There must. And yet every one must be for the Lowest Room, and Wait the Lord's call, to come and//. up Higher. Not Thrust into Places, nor Contend for Precedence: Yea, even when set on High, yet be Low in. Mind. According to that, Eccsus. 3. i& The Greater thou art, the more Humble thy self: And thou shalt find Favour before the Lord. Be sure, none so Great as they that are Great with God. And with him, the Better are the Greater. And they are the Better, that most Excel in Virtue. For they are not Places, nor Titles, nor Riches, that make men Good, but Virtues: And the more Virtuous, the Better men. Yea, among Vertues also , That Humility has the Precedency, we learn from our G 3 . Lord