« הקודםהמשך »
as the cause and life of every thing you see. As a carcase is but a ghastly sight without the soul, and quickly corrupteth and stinketh when it is separated; so the creature without God is an unlovely sight, and quickly corrupteth and becomes a snare or annoyance to you. God is the beauty of all that is beautiful, and the strength of all that is strong, and the glory of the sun and all that is glorious, and the wisdom of all that is wise, and the goodness of all that is good, as being the only original, total cause of all. You play the brutes when you see the creature, and overlook its Maker, from whom it is, whatsoever it is. Will you see the dial, and overlook the sun ? Remember it is the use of every creature to shew you God, and therefore it is the use of every sense to promote the knowledge of him. Direct. x 111. “See God as the Conductor, Orderer, and Disposer of all the creatures, according to their natures, as moved necessarily or freely: and behold not any of the motions or events of the world, without observing the interest, and overruling hand of God.” Sense reacheth but to the effects and events; but reason and faith can see the First Cause and Disposer of all. Again, I tell you, that if you look but on the particles of things by sense, and see not God that setteth all together, and doth his work by those that never dream of it, you see but the several wheels and parcels of a clock or watch, and know not him that made and keepeth it, that setteth on the poise, and winds it up, to fit his ends. Joseph could say, ‘God sent me hither,' when his brethren sold him into AEgypt; and David felt his Father's rod in Shimei's curse. Direct. xiv. ‘See God the End of every creature; how all things are ordered for his service; and be sure you stop not in any creature, without referring it to a higher end:’ else as I have oft told you, you will be but like a child or illiterate person, who openeth a book, and admireth the workmanship of the printer, and the order and wellforming of the letters, but never mindeth or understandeth the subject, sense, or end. Or like one that looketh on a comely picture, and never mindeth either him that made it, or him that is represented by it. Or like one that gazeth on the sign at an inn-door, and praiseth the workmanship, but knoweth not that it is set there to direct him to entertainment and necessaries within. And this folly and sin is the greater, because it is the very end of God in all his works of creation and providence, to reveal himself by them to the intellectual world: and must God shew his power, and wisdom, and goodness so wonderfully in the frame of the creation, and in his daily general and particular providence? and shall man, that daily seeth all this, overlook the intended use and end ? and so make all this glorious work as nothing, or as lost to him 2 Sense knoweth no end but its own delight, and the natural felicity of the sensitive creature, such as things sensible afford: but reason must take up the work where sense doth end its stage, and carry all home to him that is the end of all. “For of him, and THRough him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever, Amen".”
Direct. xv. ‘Besides the general use and ultimate end of every creature, labour for a clear acquaintance with the particular use and nearer end of every thing which you have to do with, by which it is serviceable to your ultimate end : and suppose still you saw that special use as subserving your highest end, as the title written upon each creature.’ As suppose upon your Bible it were written, ‘The Word of the living God to acquaint me with himself and his will, that I may please, and glorify, and enjoy him for ever.’ And upon your godly friend suppose you saw this title written, * A servant of God that beareth his image, and appointed to accompany and assist me in his service unto life everlasting.’ Upon your meat suppose you saw this title written, ‘The provisions of my Father sent me as from my Saviour's hands, not to gratify my sensuality, and serve my inordinate desires, but to refresh and strengthen my body for his service in my passage to everlasting life.” So upon your clothes, your servants, your goods, your cattle, your houses, and everything you have, inscribe thus their proper use and end.
Direct. xvi. ‘Know both the final and mediate danger, of every thing that you have to do with: and suppose you still see them written upon every thing you see.” The final danger is hell; the mediate danger in general is sin: but you must find what sin it is that this creature will be made a temptation to by the devil and the flesh. As, suppose you saw written upon money and riches, “The bait of covetousness and all evil, to pierce me through with many sorrows and then to damn me.’ And suppose you saw written upon great buildings, and estates, and honours, and attendance, “The great price which the devil would give for souls: and the baits to tempt men to the inordinate love of fleshly pleasures, and to draw their hearts from God and heaven to their damnation.” Suppose you still saw written upon beauty, and tempting actions and attire, ‘The bait of lust, by which the devil corrupteth the minds of men to their damnation.” Suppose you saw written on the playhouse door, “The stage of the mountebank of hell, who here cheateth men of their precious time, and enticeth them to vanity, luxury, and damnation, under pretence of instructing them by a nearer and more pleasant way than preachers do.’ The like I say of gaming, recreations, company: see the particular snare in all. Direct. xv.11. ‘To this end be well acquainted with your own particular inclinations and distempers, that you may know what creature is like to prove most dangerous to you, that there you may keep the strictest watch.” If you be subject to pride, keep most from the baits of pride, and watch most cautiously against them. If you be subject to covetousness, watch most against the baits of covetousness. If you are inclined to lust, away from the sight of such alluring objects. The knowledge of your temper and disease must direct you both in your diet and your physic. Direct. xv.111. ‘Live as in a constant course of obedience; and suppose you saw the law of God also written upon every thing you see.” As when you look on any tempt— ing beauty, suppose you saw this written on the forehead, “Thou shalt not lust.—Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.—They shall not enter into the kingdom of God.” See upon the forbidden dish or cup the prohibition of God, ‘Thou shalt not eat or drink this.’ See upon money and riches this written, ‘Thou shalt not covet.” See upon the face of all the world, ‘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.” Thus see the will of God on all things. Direct. xix. ‘Make not the objects of sense over tempting and dangerous to yourselves; but take special care as much as in you lieth, to order all so, that you may have as much of the benefit, and as little of the snare of the creature as is possible.” Would you not be gluttonous pleasers of your appetite? Choose not then too full a table, nor overpleasant, tempting drinks or dishes, and yet choose those that are most useful to your health. Would you not overlove the world, nor your present house, or lands, or station? Be not too instrumental yourselves in gilding or dulcifying your bait! If you put in the sugar, the devil and the flesh will put in the poison. Will you make all as pleasant and lovely as you can, when you believe that the overloving them is the greatest danger to your salvation? Will you be the greatest tempters to yourselves, and then desire God not to lead you into temptation? Direct. xx. ‘Let not the tempting object be too near your sense: for nearness enrageth the sensitive appetite, and giveth you an opportunity of sinning.” Come not too near the fire if you would not be burnt. (And yet use prudence in keeping the usefulness of it for warmth, though you avoid the burning.) Distance from the snares of pride, and lust, and passion, and other sins, is a most approved remedy; and nearness is their strength. Direct. xxi. “Accustom your souls to frequent and familiar exercise about their invisible objects, as well as your senses about theirs. And as you are daily and hourly in seeing, and tasting, and hearing the creature, so be not rarely in the humble adoration of him that appeareth to you in them. Otherwise use will make the creature so familiar to you, and disuse will make God so strange, that by degrees you will wear yourselves out of his acquaintance, and become like carnal, sensual men, and live all by sense, and forget the holy exercise of the life of faith. Direct. xxii. “Lose not your humble sense of the badmess of your hearts, how ready they are as tinder to take the fire of every temptation; and never grow foolhardy and confident of yourselves.” For your holy fear is necessary to your watchfulness, and your watchfulness is necessary to your escape and safety: Peter's self-confidence betrayed him to deny his Lord. Had Noah, and Lot, and David been more afraid of the sin, they had been like to have escaped it. It is a part of the character of the beastly heretics that Jude declaimeth against, that they were “spots in their feasts of charity, when they feasted with the church, feeding themselves without fear.” When the knowledge or sense of your weakness and sinful inclination is gone then fear is gone, and then safety is gone, and your fall is Ilear.
* Rom. xi. 36.
PART II. Particular Directions for the Government of the Eyes.
Direct. 1. ‘Know the uses that your sight is given you for.” As 1. To see the works of God, that thereby your minds may see God himself. 2. To read the Word of God, that therein you may perceive his mind. 3. To see the servants of God whom you must love, and the poor whom you must relieve or pity, and all the visible objects of your duty: to conduct your body in the discharge of its office about all the matters of the world: and in special often to look up towards heaven, the place where your blessed Lord is glorified, and whence he shall come to take you to his glory.
Direct. 11. “Remember the sins which the eye is most in danger of, that you may be watchful and escape.' 1. You must take heed of a proud, and lofty, and scornful eye; which looketh on yourselves with admiration and delight, as the peacock is said to do on his tail, and on others as below you with slighting and disdain. 2. You must take heed of a lustful, wanton eye, which secretly carrieth out your heart to a befooling piece of dirty flesh, and stealeth from beauty and ornaments a spark to kindle that fire which prepareth for everlasting fire. 3. Take heed of a greedy, covetous eye, which with Achan and Gehazi looketh on the bait to tempt you to unlawful love and desire, and to bring you by their sin unto their ruin. 4. Take heed of a luxurious, gluttonous, and drunken eye; which is looking on the forbidden fruit, and on the tempting dish, and the delicious cup, till it have provoked the appetite of that greedy worm, which must be pleased, though at the rate of thy damnation. 5. Take heed of a gazing, wandering eye, which, like a vagrant, hath no home, nor work, nor master, but gaddeth about to seek after death, and find out matter