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“Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world : if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

1 John ii. 15.


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UPON a double account I have thought it meet to direct this Treatise first to you. First, Because the first embryo of it was an Assize Sermon preached at your desire, when you were high sheriff of this county, which drew me to add more, till it swelled to this, which


brethren have persuaded to venture into the open world. Secondly, Because God hath given you a heart to be exemplary in practising the doctrine here delivered : and I think I shall teach men the more successfully, when I can shew them a living lesson for their imitation. I never knew that you refused a work of charity that was motioned to you ; but oft have you offered me that for the church's service, which I was not ready to accept and improve. I would not do you the displeasure as to mention this, but that forward charity is grown so rare in many places, that some may grow shortly to think that we preach to them of a chimera, a non-existent thing, if we do not tell them where it is to be seen: especially now infidelity is grown up to that strength, that seeing is taken by many for the only true informer of their reason, and believing for an unreasonable thing. And I take myself to owe much thankfulness to God, when I see him choose a faithful steward for any of his gifts. It is a sign he meaneth good by it to his church.

Some rich men sacrifice all they have to their bellies, which are their gods, even to an epicurean momentary delight, and cast all into the filthy sink of their sensuality ; these are worse than infidels, defrauding their posterity ; and swine alive, but worse than swine when they are dead,


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Some rich men are provident, but it is only for their posterity. The ravenous brutes are greedy for their young. Some will begin to be bountiful at death, and give that to God which they can keep no longer, as if he would be thus bribed to receive their souls, and forgive their worldly hearts and lives. Some will give in their lifetime; but it is but part of their sinful gains ; like the thief that would pay tithes of all that he had stolen. Some give a part of their more lawful increase, but it is against their will; it being forced from them by law, for church and poor; and therefore properly it is no gift. Some will give freely, but it is on some corrupt design, to strengthen a party, or a carnal interest, or make their way to some preferment. Some give, but only to those of their own opinion, and not to a disciple in the name of a disciple. Some give in contention, as the troublers of the church of Corinth preached, to add afflictions to our bonds; as many of the Papists, that think by their works of charity, they are warranted uncharitably to slander almost all besides themselves : as if we were all enemies to good works, or Solifidians, that took them for indifferent things, or made them not our business. Yea, the best work that the Jesuits ever did, even the preaching of the Gospel to the heathens, they would not endure us to join with them in, where they could hinder us, unless we would do it in their Papal way. Some will do good, to stop the cries of a guilty conscience, for some secret odious sin which they live in. Some will be liberal with the hypocrite for applause. And some will give with a pharisaical conceit of merit (even ex condigno,' from the proportion of their work to the reward, as the greatest Popish doctors teach). Some through mere fears of being damned, will be liberal, especially out of their superfluities; choosing rather to forsake their money than their sin. Some do pretend the highest ends, and that it is Christ himself to whom they do devote it; but they will part with no more than the flesh can spare : and that they may yet seem to be true Christians, they will not believe that any thing is a duty, which requireth much self-denial, and standeth not with their prosperity in the world. And some will give much out of a mere natural kindness of disposition, or upon mere natural motives ; though not as to Christ, nor from the love of God, nor from that spirit of Christian special love, by which the members


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