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The Application that Christ here makes of it, Te cannot serve God and Mammon, that is, God and the World; and that for all the foremention'd Reasons. As,
(1.) Ye cannot be true and faithful to God and Mamr mon ; for we owe unto God our whole Service both of Body, Soul, and Spirit, which are all his, and must be intirely devoted to his Service: and indeed all the Service we can pay him, falls vastly short of what is due to him. And if all our Service be his, we must be unfaithful in givr ing any to. another ; and consequently we rob God of all that which is given to Mammon. Again,
zdly, Ye cannot love God' and Mammon: so St. John exprefly tells us, If any Man love the World, the Love of the Father is not in him-, i John 2.15. These two are as inconsistent as Light and Darkness, and can no more agree, together than Christ and Belial. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our Heart, and with all our Soul, and with all our Strength. And if God must have all, there can be none left for Mammon.
idly, Ye cannot fear and honour God and Mammon ; foe all our Fear and all our Honour is to be directed and fis'Æ on God only, and none is to be fear'd and honour'd but in relation to him. This we find him challenging from us, If Iam a Father, where is my Honour? if a Master, where is my Fear? saith the Lord of Hosts: Mai. 1.6. We are bid to fear God, and none beside him; and he is so jealous of his Honour, that he will not share it with Mammon, nor give his Glory to any other.
Lastly, Ye cannot obey God and Mammon; for their Commands are directly contrary and inconsistent with each, other, and therefore *tis impossible to serve both. God calls for our whole Heart• , Mammon is for dividing it, and would be content with a part, knowing that thereby he shall have all: for God will have all or none, he loves a. broken, but hates a divided Heart. God calls to Holinefe and all Purity of Converfation, Mammon to Uncleannefe and all Superfluity of Naughtiness. God calls to Truth and Honesty in all our Words and Actions, Mammon to Fraud and Double-dealing. God calls to Acts of Mercy . and Charity, Mammon to Cruelty and Oppression. God calls to Patience and Contentment in all Conditions, Mammon to Murmuring and Parloining. Lastly, God calls to Peace and Unity in his Church, Mammon to Discord and Divisions. And who can obey such opposite and irreconcilable Commands? These, and many more Inconsistencies, that may be found in these two Masters, render it altogether impossible to serve both•, which plainly shews the Truth of what is here affirm'd, Te cannot serve God and Mammon. From whence I proceed, in the next place,
To the Inference our Saviour here draws from it, in these words: Therefore I fay unto you, Take no thought for your Life, what ye shall eat, or what ye fljall drink, nor yet for your Body, what ye /ball put on. Therefore, that is, since you cannot serve two Masters, God and Mammon, I give you this Caution, not to divide your Thoughts between them, but to take off your Thoughts from the World, and to fix them wholly upon God. The word here render'd, Take no thought, in the Original signifies to divide the Mind; and so 'tis a Caution against Dubiousness and Perplexity of Mind. Be not divided or distracted in your Thoughts between these two, but take no thought for the World, or the Concerns 6f it, and let all ypur Thoughts and Desires be plac'd on God and the things of Heaven •, fiying with David, Whom have I in Heaves but thee I and there is none upon Earth that I desire in comparison of thee.
But must we then cast off all Thoughts about the World? What then will become of our Lives and our Bodies? How shall we feed the one, and clothe the other, which cannot be without some Care and Thoughts about these worldly Matters? In answer to this, our Saviour does not bid us to cast off all Thoughts of these things, but only to think and labour for them in the way of God's Appointment. Our Thoughts are chiefly to dwell upon God and the things above, and on earthly things only in Subordination to him, and according to his Order and Direction: and this is not forfaking God, and revolting to the World; but we serve God in thus serving Mammon and ourselves, when we doit so as he hath allow'd and directed in his Word. So that the taking no thought about Food and Rayment is to be meant,
ist, Of taking no disquieting or perplexing Thoughts about them, such as rack the Mind, and in a manner eat out the Heart thereby wasting and weakning the Body, to get the Means of preserving-it. Again,
idly, Here are forbidden all doubting and distrusting Thoughts about Food and Rayment, such as cause Men to question the Truth and Faithfulness of God's Promises, and
doubt his Care and Willingness to provide Necessaries for them: like the mnrmuring Israelites, Can God prepare s Table in the Wilderness, and can he give Bread and Flesh to his People? Which distrustful Thoughts are a great Dishonour unto God, and a vile Reproach both to his Power and Goodness.
'idly, Our Saviour condemns here all unjust and deceitful Thoughts, such as set Men a coveting and invading another's Substance, patting them upon over-reaching or going beyond their Brother in any matter, and seeking to enrich themselves upon the Spoils of their Neighbour. All taking of such Thoughts for the World is a plain leaving of God, and substituting our own Providence in the room of his, and consequently 'tis a serving of Mammon more than our Maker1.
In short, there is a Care of Diligence that puts Men upon all regular and honest Ways of getting a comfortable Livelihood, by depending on God's Blessing in the Use of all good Means, and quietly submitting the Success of all unto God. This Is not only lawful, but laudable and necesfary, and is a great part of our Duty, both as we are Men, and as we are Christians.
Beside which, there is a Care of Diffidence, that fills Men with unreasonable Fears and Torments about getting these earthly things, and leads them to all the evil Methods of Fraud and Injustice to bring them to pass, distracting their Minds about the Issue and Event of Matters, and destroying all the Comfort of their Lives in seeking these worldly Comforts. Such a carking Infidelity as this usurps upon God, by casting off all Thoughts of his Blessing and Providence, and is not serving God but Mammon: whereas we are taught to moderate our Desires and Endeavours for these things, and to banish all anxious and doubting Thoughts about them. For to cark too much, is to distrust God- , not to care at all, is to tempt him ., by the one we invade God's par.t, by the other we neglect our own: both which are highly displeasing and offensive to him. This is briefly the Sense of our Saviour's Caution, Take no thought for your Life, -what ye si)all eat, or what ye shall drink, nor for yvur Body, what ye shall put on: which is, not to be too thoughtful or sollicitous about Food and Rayment. And because Men are too apt to fall into this Evil, he uses sundry Arguments to dissuade them from it: As,
(1.) In the next words he asks the Question, h not thi Life more than Meat, and the Body than Rayment? which is an Argument a tnajore ad minus, or a Reasoning from t greater thing to a less. If God hath given us Life, which is the greatest of all Gifts, how can we doubt his giving us Meat, which is far left? Is it not easier to support Life, than it was to give it? And can it be suppos'd that he who hath done the latter, will not do the former? Again, Is not the Body more than Rayment? Is not the Body, which is so curiously and wonderfully made in all its Parts, far more considerable than a little Rayment to cover it? And can we think that he who hath given us the one, will deny the other? But the better to prevail with us, and to banish all Distrust in these Matters, he enlarges himself in the following words, by giving us many Instances of his Care in this kind: And first for Food, he fends us to the Fowls of the Air, Behold (faith he) the Fowls of the Air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into Barns, and yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. To remove all anxious Thoughts for Meat and Drink, he wills us to look up to the Birds of the Air, and consider how well they are provided for, and how chearfully they live upon the Bounty of Providence, and that too without any labour or pain of their own: instead of filling their Heads with Care, they fill the Air with the Melody of their warbling Notes•, and instead of gathering into Barns, they gather Food from all parts of the Earth, and make every Garden their Granary. hhey neither sow nor reap, they are at no labour in Tillage or Husbandry, neither putting the Corn into the Ground, nor taking it out, and yet they want for nothing •, Tour heavenly Father feedeth them. And then he asks the Question^ Are ye not better than they? Where, as he before argu'd from the greater to the less, so here he reasons from the less to the greater: Is not Man the most excellent of all Creatures, being made Lord of the whole Creation? Hath pot God subjected all other Creatures under his feet, and design'd them for his Use? And if his Providence extends to these inserter Creatures, we may well think it will not be withheld from us, who are so far above them : Are not two Sparrows fold for a Farthing (faith our Saviour) and yet not one of them falleth to the Ground without your heavenly Father: Fear ye not then, for ye are of more value than many Sparrows; Mat. 10.29,30, &c. To this our Saviour subjoins another Question, which of you by taking thought can add one Cubit to his Stature? The Stature of the Body, whether taller or shorter, is much less than the Welfare of the Body, and the Length or Shortness of Life is of less consideration than Life it self: and if, with all our care, we cannot add an Inch to the Dimensions of the Body, nor a Minute to the Length of our Life, which is the less; how can we think we are able to provide for the Welfare of both, which is much greater? Yea, our Saviour tells us, we cannot make one Hair white or black; and is it not much better to depend upon the Providence of God, who can do all things, than upon our own selves, who can do nothing? Then,
(2.) For Rayment, he fends us to the Lillies and Flowers of the Field -, faying, Why take ye thought for Rayment? Consider the Lillies of the Field, how they grow they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I fay unto you., Solomon in all his Glory was not array'd like one of these. The natural Beauty of the Lilly and the Rose exceed all the artificial Colours and Embroidery of the gaudiest Attire, and nothing of the most affected Pomp and Bravery of Princes can equal or compare with it. The Grafs of the Field is sometimes clothed in that pleafant Verdure, that at once refreshes and ravishes the Eye of the Beholder- , and many Flowers appear in that scarlet, crimson and purple Dress, that far outvies the most costly and artificial Finery: insomuch that Solomon, in all his Glory and gorgeous Attire, which was as great as the Wealth and Wifiom of the World could set him out with, was not array'd like one of these. Which natural Gayety is entirely the Work of God, and bestow'd upon them without any Care or Labour of theirs; for they toil not, neither do they spin, nor contribute any thing to the Glory and Splendor wherein they appear. The most exquisite Works of Art are but faint Resemblances and Imitations of these of Nature: No Pencil can draw a Paleness or Redness comparable to those of the Lilly and the Rose and therefore the Holy Ghost, to set forth the Glory and Beauty os the Church, compares it to the Rose of Sharon, and the Lilly of the Vallies.
Wherefore if God so clothe the Grafs of the Field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the Oven, stall he not much more clothe you, Oye of little Faith? If he hath made such rich and glorious Provision for those short-liv'd Flowers, that were design'd only for our Delight and Diversion, vyil l he not do much more for his own Children, who are so