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that should make you desire it so greedily? Solomon went as far as any man ever did, both in the acquisition and enjoyment of earthly things, and in the conclusion passed this sentence on the review of all his experience, “ Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vani. ties; all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” And have you discovered an art of extracting comfort from the creatures beyond what the wisest of men was able to do? What do you seriously expect from the world? Will it prevent or remove sickness? Will it ward off the stroke of death? or will it even administer any consolation to you at that trying season? Should one come to you on your death-bed, when your spirits are languishing, your hearts failing, and your bodies possessed with racking pain, and begin to console you by representing your vast acquisitions of wealth, would his words be reviving? Will it afford you any joy to contemplate those possessions, from which you are presently to be divorced for ever? You cannot think so. You must be sensible, that all things below the sun will prove miserable comforters in dying moments, and that the farour of God will then appear infinitely more desirable than ten thousand worlds. What infatuation then is it to set your hearts supremely on that which you know will appear most contemptible at last ? Consider,
III. That as the love of the world to excess is sin. ful and foolish, so it is also pernicious and fatal. "They that will be rich," saith the Apostle to Timothy, “fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition; for the love of money is the root of all evil.”
It were an endless task to enumerate all the dismal effects of this sordid disposition. “From whence come wars and fightings?” saith the apostle James; “ Come
they not hence, even of your lusts which war in your members ? Ye lust and have not; ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain." It is this which engenders strife and contention, and almost every evil work. It destroys the tranquillity of the person possessed by it; it incites him to trespass on the rights and enjoyments of others; and on both these accounts is often punished with remarkable judgments, even in the present life. How awful is that curse pronounced by the prophet Habakkuk! “ Wo to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil. Thou hast consulted shame to thyself, and hast sinned against thy soul; for the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it." —How dismal was the fate of Ananias and Sapphira !-How horrible the end of Judas Iscariot! In both these instances the saying of the wise man, (Prov. i. 19.) was remarkably verified, “the greediness of gain taketh away the life of the owners thereof." But although they should escape in this world, yet they shall not escape the damnation of hell. Then shall they find that riches will not profit them in the day of God's wrath.
There is a striking passage to this purpose, (James v. 1.) “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upou you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten; your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last day.” Such is the present wretchedness and the miserable portion at last of an earthly mind. Whereas,
IV. An heart disengaged from this excessive love of the world would not only prevent all this misery, but
likewise, give us the true relish of life, and make death itself easy and comfortable. Take away earthly things from a worldly man, and you take away his all; bat the same things withdrawn from an heavenly minded Chris. tian, do not annibilate bis fund of happiness. When the streams of created comforts fail, he resorts to the foun. tain; when the creatures forsake him, he can rejoice in the Creator, and joy in the God of his salvation. The good things he possesseth have a peculiar relish, which earthly minds are incapable of feeling. He sees the 'bounty of God in every gift, and the faithfulness of his covenant in every comfort he enjoys. He, therefore, eats his bread with joy, and drinks his wine with a merry heart; and while he thus sits cheerfully at the feast which Providence has set before him, he fears not the intrusion of any unwelcome messenger to interrupt his peace. He is not afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed trusting in the Lord. Prepared for all the vicissitudes of life, adversity can take nothing from him, which, in the discipline of his own mind, he has not resigned already. Nay, death itself, that presentiment so dreadful to the worldly mind, is to him, in a great measure, divested of its terrors: For he knows, “ that if this earthly house of his tabernacle were dissolved, he has a building of God, an house not made witb hands, eternal in the hea
Having thus endeavoured to enforce the exhortation in the text, it only remains that I offer a few directions for the belp of those who are desirous to have their affections weaned from the world, that they may rise up. wards to spiritual things. 1st. Let us beware of receiving too flattering a
picture of the world into our minds, or of expecting from it than it is able to bestuw. Let us correct our florid
aud gaudy expectations, and make a sober estimate of its real amount. For this purpose go sometimes to the house of mourning, rather than to the house of feasting. Behold there the untimely hand of death, taking away the desire of the eyes with a stroke, blasting the most virtuous joys of humanity, tearing asunder the dearest connexions, demolishing the painted tapestry, and hang. ing up in its place the solemn sable and escutcheon.
Such objects, viewed with seriousness and attention, are far more profitable than the gilded scenes of mirth and gaiety; they check that wantonness which is the growth of ease and prosperity, and lead us to reflect tbat this world is not our home, but a foreign land, in which our vexations and disappointments are designed to turn our views towards that higher and better state, which we are destined to inherit.
2dly. Be very suspicious of a prosperous state, and fear the world more when it smiles that when it frowns. It is difficult to possess much of it, without loving it to excess. The great enemy of our souls is well aware of this, and therefore would give all his servants liberal portions in this world, were it in his power. This was his last effort in the train of temptations which he ad. dressed to our Lord in the wilderness, and when this failed he immediately departed from him.
There is not a more salutary maxim in religious concerns, than always to suspect danger where we feel much delight. If our situation be such as entirely pleases our natural desires, it is high time to look well to the soul, and to set a strict guard on our heart, lest, by these pleasing enjoyments, they should be betrayed and alienated from God, who alone has a right to them.
3dly. Make a wise improvement of the afflictions with which you may at any time be visited. Beware of repining under them, or thinking them greater evils than they really are ; but rather believe that they are gra. ciously sent for the benefit of your souls, to mortify your inordinate affections to the present world. “ Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.”-Nay, the seasonable visitation of temporal calamities, is included in the tenor of that everlasting covenant, which is well ordered in all things and sure. Does the world then frown on you ? Are you afflicted with poverty, sickness, pain, and reproach? Do relations grieve you? Do friends prove unfaithful ? or are you bereaved of them by death ? Ne. glect not so fair an opportunity of instruction, when you have experience itself to disgrace the pretensions of the world, and your very flesh is made to feel that it is both vain and vexatious. Remember that God has sent these rough messengers to bring you home to himself. Grate. fully, then, comply with his call, and choose him for your portion, leaving the world to those who have no better sources of satisfaction.
4thly. Look forward to eternity, and take a serious view of that world, wherein you must dwell for ever, after you have spent a few more days and nights in this. Remember that heaven or hell must be your everlasting abode ; and must it not be of the last importance to know which of these different states shall be your lot? Can that man spend his time and strength in the pasuit of trifles, who believes and who considers that he is hastening to appear before God in judgment, when his final state shall be allotted according to bis present behaviour? Must not the foresight of this awful trial disengage bis mind from the world, and cure his anxiety about earthly things, by producing in him an anxiety about matters of infinitely greater consequence.
6 Let your moderation be known unto all men," saith the