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ourselves, and take our fill of delights and pleasures. Then Cyneas began to ask the king, What hinders us now, sir, from taking our rights and delights; for we have all that in our hands, that we are going to seek so far, with so much bloodshed and danger ?--We may applythis to ourselves; we have most of us intricate and hidden designs, which cannot be accomplished in the age of one man. We are afraid to die, as if Death had already caught us by the throat; and yet we Irave so many desires to fulfil, as if we were immortal.
We build and adorn our sumptuous dwellings, as if we were never to leave the world ; and we are always gathering - so much, as if we had the charge of providing for a royal army. Let us therefore, in this case, imitate this wise minister of state ; let us ask ourselves, For what purpose are these vast designs? What end do we propose to ourselves of all our labours and care? What do we aim at when we run so many dangers, and endure so many inconveniences ? Our souls will answer us, without doubt, that it is with an intent at last to rest ourselves in peace, to live at ease, and to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Let us enjoy that happiness and that satisfaction at present; let us not stay to rest ourselves, until Death shall stretch us in our graves. Let us be satisfied with the goods that God hath already bestowed upon us, and let us use them with thanksgiving. Miserable wretches that we are! why di we labour and torment ourselves for so many things, seeing that there is but one thing necessary, and that is, piety, the fear of the Lord, and the expectation of his eternal felicities? Let us therefore make an election of this good part, and it shall never be taken from us, Luke x.
24. If we desire to imprint in our minds the contempt of the world and its vanities, we must often meditate, with serious attention, upon the excellency of our nature sanctified by grace, upon the worthiness of our spiritual calling, and
upon the riches and glory of that eternal happiness which God hath provided for us in heaven. It is impossible to look upon these things as we ought, but we must conclude with the apostle, that the world, with all its pleasures and trea. sures, is not worthy of us. The woman that appeared to Sta John in a vision, was clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head. This is a lively image of Christ's church in general, and of every faithful soul in particular: for, when we are clothed and adorned with Jesus Christ, the Sun of righteousness, we ought to trample upon all the pomp and magnificence of the world, and laugh at the revolutions of ages, at the vanities and inconstancy of the earth. We must seek our greatest glory, and our most ravishing delights, in the doctrine of the twelve apostles, who are so many stars shining in the firma. ment of the church. Let the world alter its face as often as the deceitful Laban, we ought to resemble therays of the sun, always alike: for our glory is not as that of the world and the prince of the age, which is reduced to nothing. It is not settled upon a vain and failing foundation, but upon the living and true God; who is the same yesterday, to-day, and will be the same to all eternity, Heb. xiv. Some glory in their chariots, others in their horses ; but we will boast in the name of the Lord our God, Heb. xiii. Psa. xxix.
25. Consider, that God hath given us faces looking up towards heaven, that he might thereby teach us to lift up thi. ther our hearts, and carry thither our affections and desires. He hath created our souls, and given them a spiritual being, that they may take their flight above all earthly matter. He bath adorned them with immortality, that they might contemn all things that are not immortal as themselves, all decaying and perishing enjoyments. In short, seeing that God hath prepared for us in heaven his paradise, bis glory, bis treasures, and the rivers of our eternal delights, how can we confine our desires, and be content with this dust of the earth, where serpents crawl.
26. When Alexander was preparing to leave Macedonia, and go to the conquest of the Persian monarchy, he gave away all his goods to his faithful friends and servants. Perdiccas, one of his favourites, inquiring of him, what he had reserved for himself, the king answered, that he had reserved Hope. Thus ought we to dispose ourselves to depart out of the world, by leaving our parents, friends, and estates, that we now enjoy. And if our flesh inquires of us what we have kept for ourselves, let us confidently answer, that we have kept our Hope. I may assure you, Christian souls, that this your answer shall be better grounded than that of Alexander to bis favourites : for this prince left his patrimony and kingdom without any constraint; but, whether we will or no, we must leave the world. Alexander quitted certain goods for a doubtful hope ; but we abandon perishing enjoyments, for an hope more secure and settled than heaven and earth. Alexander's expectation was but of a temporal kingdom, and of a short and vanishing glory; but our expectation is of an incorruprible crown and eternal triumphs: Death, that seized upon Alexander in the flower of his age, put a period to all his victories, and consumed all his trophies; but we are in hopes of conquering Death itself, and this hope will not deceive us, Rom. v. This therefore being our assistance, it is no .wonder if St. Paultells us, “That hope is as a sureand unmoveable anchor to the soul, piercinginto the veil, that is, into heaven itself, where Jesus Christ is entered in as our forerunner."
· 27. God hath hid in the earth, gold, silver, and jewels, to teach us to trample upon the riches and pomp of the world. But he hath raised us up to the highest heavens, our spiritual treasure and our immortal crowns, that we might lift up thither our hearts, and our most earnest affections. He desires
that we should imitate the prophet David, who always comforted himself, in his banishment and persecutions, with the expectation of the kingdom promised to him, and confirmed by Samuel's unction. God would have us to do as the true Israelites in the Babylonish captivity ; they had always their hearts and affections in Jerusalem ; in the midst of their great sorrows Jerusalem was all their comfort. Likewise we, who are wandering up and down this miserable wilderness, who live in the world as in a Babylon, in a kind of captivity, ought to comfort ourselves, and rejoice in expectation of the kingdom of heaven, which hath been prepared for our fruition from all eternity, and whereof the Holy Spirit is the true unction, which hath confirmed the promise of it, and given us the earnest, Psa. cxxxvii. Gal. iv. The eye of our faith should always be fixed upon our celestial Jerusalem, that is the mother of us all, and the place of our eternal rest, Col. iii. The apostle therefore exhorts us, “ If you be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God; think on things that are above, and not on things on the earth : for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
28. When men are going to live in anothercountry, where their money will not pass, they furnish themselves with bills of exchange, and find the means of receiving it in other coin. Therefore, seeing that our gold, our silver, and our present jewels, will not pass in heaven, the place of our eternal abode, let us send thither betimes all our riches and treasures by bills of exchange. And that we may entrust them with an assurance of a notable advantage, and of a lawful gain, let us put them in God's hands; for he will restore us a hundred times more in his kingdom. Let us now distribute them to the poor, to the members of Christ's mystical body; and this divine Saviour will then acknowledge that they had been given to his own person. You that fear so much to lose
your your money, get such purses as will never decay, and make yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when you fail they may receive you into eternal habitations.
29. Lastly, as the Israelites, when they had tasted of the fruits of the land of Canaan, desired with a most earnest pas. sion to enjoy such a noble and delicious country, and their abode in the wilderness became tedious and insufferable ; likewise we, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, and the foretaste of our heavenly paradise, let us aspire with our hearts to the heavenly Canaan, and let us long continually for those unspeakable delights. All worldly pleasures should bave no relish with us, and the greatest sweetness of this life should be turned into bitterness ; so that we may often present David's prayer unto God, “ Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation ; that I may see the good of thy chosen ; that I may rejoice in the gladness of tay nation; that I may glory with thine inheritance,” Psa. cvi.
To conclude this discourse-Seeing that we have no lasting city here below, but that we seek for that which is to come ; seeing that we know not the hour when God shall take us out of the world to introduce us into his holy Jerusalem, Heb. xi. Luke xxi. let us take heed that our hearts be not overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and with the cares of this life, lest that day surprise us unawares ; and as the holy apostles left their nets to follow Jesus Christ, Matt. iv. let us leave also the vain cares, the ill-grounded fears, and deceiving hopes, that entangle our souls; that when it shall please God to call us, we may be ready to answer his heavenly message. Let us accustom ourselves betimes to will what God willeth, and to obey him without resistance. Let us cast all our cares upon God, and repose ourselves upon his wise and fatherly providepce, 1 Pet. v.