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in the heavens.' Thus doth the holy Scripture, setting forth the uncertainty and transitoriness of the present, the certainty and permanency of future goods, declare the excellency of these above those; advising thereon, with highest reason, that we willingly reject those (in real effect, if need be, however always in ready disposition of mind) in order to the procuring or securing of these. It also, for our example and encouragement, commends to us the wisdom and virtue of those persons who have effectually practised this duty: of Abraham, our father, who, in expectation of that well-founded city, made and built by God, did readily desert his country and kindred, with all present accommodations of life: of Moses, who disregarded the splendors and delights of a great court; rejected the alliance of a great princess, and refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,' in respect to the pio anododia, that future distribution of reward; a share wherein shall assuredly fall to them, who above all other considerations regard the performance of their duty to God: of the Apostles, who forsook all, parents, brethren, lands, houses, trades, receipts of custom, to follow Christ; him at present poor, and naked of all secular honor, power, wealth, and delight; in hope only to receive from him divine benefits, and future preferments in his kingdom : of Mary, who neglecting present affairs, and seating herself at Jesus's feet, attending to his discipline, is commended for her wisdom, in minding the only necessary thing ; in choosing the better part, which could never be taken from her:' of St. Paul, who accounted all his gains (all his worldly interests and privileges) to be damage, to be 'dung in respect to Christ, and the excellent knowlege of him,' with the benefits thence accruing to him. On the contrary there we have Esau condemned and stigmatised for a profane and a vain person, who (avri urās Bpúoews) • for one little eating-bout, one mess of pottage, (for a little present satisfaction of sense, or for the sustenance of this frail life,) did withgo his birthright, that emblem of spiritual blessings and privileges. We have again represented to us that unhappy young gentleman; who, though he had good qualities, rendering him amiable even to our Saviour, and had been trained up in the observance of God's commandments, yet not being content to part with his large possessions, in lieu of the treasure by Christ offered in heaven, was reputed deficient; could find no acceptance with God, nor admission into his kingdom ; for a petty temporal commodity forfeiting an infinite eternal advantage. For, saith our Saviour, · He that loveth father or mother above me ; he that doth not bate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yea his own life, for me and the gospel, is not worthy of me, nor can be my disciple.' He that in his esteem or affection doth prefer any temporal advantages before the benefits tendered by our Saviour, (yea doth not in comparison despise, renounce, and reject his dearest contents of life, and the very capacity of enjoying them, his life itself, doth not deserve to be reckoned among the disciples of Christ ; to be so much as a pretender to eternal joy, or a candidate of immortality. Our Saviour rejects all such unwise and perverse traders, who will not exchange brittle glass for solid gold ; counterfeit glistering stones for genuine most precious jewels ; a garland of fading flowers for an incorruptible crown of glory; a small temporary pension for a vastly rich freehold ; an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the heavens.' Thus doth the holy Scripture teach us to compare these sorts of good things;
And, secondly, so also doth it compare the evils of both states; for that seeing, as the soon ceasing of temporal mischiefs should (in reasonable proceeding) diminish the fear of them, and mitigate the grief for them; so the incessant continuance of spiritual evils doth, according to just estimation, render them hugely grievous and formidable; it is plain that we should much more dislike, abominate, and shun spiritual evils than temporal; that we should make no question rather to endure these paroxysms of momentary pain, than incur those chronical, and indeed incurable maladies ; that we should run willingly into these shallow plashes of present inconvenience, rather than plunge ourselves into those unfathomable depths of eternal misery. There is, I suppose, no man who would not account it a very great calamity (such as hardly greater could befal him here) to have bis right eye plucked out, and his right hand cut off, and his foot taken from him ; to be deformed and maimed, so that he can do nothing, or stir any whither : yet our Lord represents these to us as inconsiderable
evils, yea as things very eligible and advantageous in comparison of those mischiefs, which the voluntary not embracing them, in case we cannot otherwise than by so doing avoid sin, will bring on us : ovupépet 001, “it is,' saith he,' profitable for thee that one of thy members be lost, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell :' kalór oou éori, “it is good,' it is excellent for thee to enter into life lame and maimed, and one-eyed, rather than having two hands and two feet, and two eyes, (in all integrity and beauty of this temporal or corporeal state,) to be cast into eternal fire.' To be banished from one's native soil, secluded from all comforts of friendly acquaintance, divested irrecoverably of great estate and dignity; becoming a vagrant and a servant in vile employment, in a strange country, every man would be apt to deem a wretched condition : yet Moses, we see, freely chose it, rather than by enjoying unlawful pleasures at home, in Pharaoh's court, to incur God's displeasure and vengeance: συγκακουχεϊσθαι μάλλον ελόμενος, choosing rather to undergo evil together with God's people, than to have πρόσκαιρον αμαρτίας απόλαυσιν, a temporary fruition of sinful delight,' dangerous to the welfare of his soul. Death is commonly esteemed the most extreme and terrible of evils incident to man; yet our Saviour bids us not to regard or fear it, in comparison of that deadly ruin, which we adventure on by offending God: 'I say unto you, my friends,' saith he, (he intended it for the most friendly advice,) ' be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have nothing farther to do : but I will show you whom ye shall fear; Fear him, who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell,' to cast both body and soul into hell, and destroy them therein ;
yea, I say unto you, (so he inculcates and impresses it on them,) Fear him.'
But, thirdly, considering the good things of this life together with the evils of that which is to come; since enjoying these goods in comparison with enduring those evils, is but rejoicing for a moment in respect of mourning to eternity; if on the seeming sweetness of these enjoyments to our carnal appetite be consequent a remediless distempering of our soul; so that what tastes like honey proves gall in the digestion, gripes our bowels, gnaws our heart, and stings our conscience for ever; if present mirth and jollity have a tendency to that dreadful weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth threatened in the gospel; if, for the praise and favor of a few giddy men here, we venture eternal shame and confusion before God and angels, and all good men hereafter ; if, for attaining or preserving a small stock of uncertain riches in this world, we shall reduce our. selves into a state of most uncomfortable nakedness and penury in the other; it is clear as the sun that we are downright fools and madmen, if we do not on these accounts rather willingly reject all these good things, than hazard incurring any of those evils ; for, saith truth itself, · What will it profit a man, if he gain the whole world (każ nuiwój tv yuxiv) and be endamaged as to his soul,' or lose his soul as a mulct? It is a very disadvantageous bargain, for all the conveniences this world can afford to be deprived of the comforts of our immortal state. But,
Lastly, comparing the evils of this life with the benefits of the future; since the worst tempests of this life will be soon blown over, the bitterest crosses must expire (if not before, however) with our breath ; but the good things of the future state are immutable and perpetual; it is in evident consequence most reasonable that we freely, if need be, undertake and patiently endure these for the sake of those, that in hope of that incorruptible inheritance, laid up for us in heaven,' we not only sup-. port and comfort ourselves, but even rejoice and exult in all the afflictions by God's wise and just dispensation imposed on us here; as they in St. Peter, wherein, saith he, 'ye greatly rejoice, (or exult,) being for a little while as in heaviness through manifold afflictions or trials.'"Accounting it all joy,' saith St. James, 'when ye fall into divers temptations, (that is, afAlictions or trials,) knowing that the trial of your faith perfecteth patience;' that is, seeing the sufferance of these present evils conduceth to the furtherance of your spiritual and eternal welfare. And, 'We glory in tribulation,' saith St. Paul, rendering the same account, because it tended to their soul's advantage. St. Paul, than whom no man perhaps ever more deeply tasted of the cup of affliction, and that tempered with all the most bitter ingredients which this world can produce; whose life was spent in continual agitation and unsettledness, in all hardships
of travel and labor and care, in extreme sufferance of all pains both of body and mind; in all imaginable dangers and difficulties and distresses, that nature exposes man unto, or human malice can bring on him ; in all wants of natural comfort, (food, sleep, shelter, liberty, health ;) in all kinds of disgrace and contumely; as you may see in those large inventories of his sufferings, registered by himself, in the sixth and eleventh chapters of his second Epistle to the Corinthians; yet all this, considering the good things he expected afterward to enjoy, he accounted very slight and tolerable : For,' saith he, our lightness of affliction, that is for a little while here, worketh for us a far more exceeding weight of glory: while we look not at the things which are seen, but at those which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that when our earthly house of this tabernacle (of this unsteady transitory abode) is dissolved, we are to have a tabernacle from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.' 'I reckon,' saith he again, that is, having made a due comparison and compu. tation, I find, • that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy (that is, are not considerable, come under no rate or proportion) in respect of the glory which shall be revealed (or openly conferred) on us.' The like opinion had those faithful Christians, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, of whom it is said, that • being exposed to public scorn as in a theatre, with reproaches and afflictions, they did with gladness accept the spoiling (or rapine) of their goods; knowing that they had in heaven a better and more enduring substance. But the principal example (most obliging our imitation of this wise choice, is that of our Lord himself, who, in contemplation of the future great satisfaction and reward of patient submission to the divine will, did willingly undergo the greatest of temporal sorrows and ignominies ; 'who,' saith the Apostle to the Hebrews, propounding his example to us, ‘for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God.'
Thus immediately, or by an easy inference, doth the consideration of this life's shortness and uncertainty confer to that main part of wisdom, rightly to value the things about which