« הקודםהמשך »
and gasp for breath; wilt thou then be proud, and contest for honour, when thou expectest hourly when thy proud and guilty soul shall be turned out of thy body, and appear before the holy God? when the bell is ready to toll for thee, and thy winding-sheet to be fetched out, and thy coffin prepared, and the bier to be fetched to carry thee to thy grave, and leave thee in the dark with worms and rottenness; wilt thou then be proud! Where then are your high looks, and lofty minds, and splendid ornaments and honours! Then will you be climbing into higher rooms, and seeking to be revenged on those that did eclipse your honour? Saith David, even of princes, and all the sons of men; “ His breath goeth forth: he returneth to his earth: in that very day his thoughts perish".”
Direct. xix. ‘Look on the lamentable effects of pride about you in the world, and that will help you to see the odiousness and pernicious nature of it.’ Do you not see how it setteth the whole world on fire? how it raiseth wars, and ruineth kingdoms, and draweth out men's blood, and filleth the world with malice and hatred, and cruelty and injustice, and treasons and rebellions, and destroyeth mercy, truth and honesty, and all that is left of God upon the mind of man? Whence is all the confusion and calamity, all the censoriousness, revilings and cruelties, which we have seen, or felt, or heard of, but from pride? What is it that hath trampled upon the interest of Christ and his Gospel through the world, but pride? What else is it that hath burnt his martyrs, and made havoc of his servants, and distracted and divided his church with schisms, and set up so many sectmasters and sects, and caused them almost all to set against others, but this cursed, unmortified pride? He that hath seen but what pride hath been doing in England in this age, and yet discerneth not its hatefulness and perniciousness, is strangely blind. Every proud man is a plague or burden to the place he liveth in : if he get high, he is a Nabal: a man can scarce speak to him: he thinks all under him are made but to serve his will and honour, as inferior creatures are made for man. If he be an inferior, he scorneth at the honour and government of his superiors, and thinks they take too much upon them, and that it is below him to obey, If he be rich, he thinks the poor must all bow to him, as to the golden calf, or Nebuchadnezzar's golden image: if he be poor, he envieth the rich, and is impatient of the state that God hath set him in: if he be learned, he thinks himself an oracle: if unlearned, he despiseth the knowledge which he wanteth, and scorneth to be taught. What state soever he is in, he is a very salamander, that liveth in the fire, he troubleth house, and town, and country, if his power be answerable to his heart: he is an unpolished stone, that will never lie even in any building; he is a natural enemy to quietness and peace. Direct. xx. “Consider well how God hath designed the humbling of all that he will save, in his whole contrivance of the work of our redemption.” He could have saved man by keeping him in his primitive innocency, if he had pleased. Though he causeth not sin, he knoweth why he permitteth it. He thought it not enough that man should have the thought of creation to humble him, as being taken from the dust, and made of nothing; but he will also have the sense of his moral nothingness and sinfulness to humble him: he will have him beholden to his Redeemer and Sanctifier for his new life and his salvation, as much as to his Creator for his natural life. He is permitted first to undo himself, and bring himself under condemnation, to be a child of death, and near to hell, before he is ransomed and delivered; that he may take to himself the shame of his misery, and ascribe all his hopes and recovery to God. No flesh shall be justified by the works of the law, or by a righteousness of his own performance; but by the satisfaction and merits of his Redeemer: that so all boasting may be excluded, and that no flesh might glory in his sight, and that man might be humbled, and our Redeemer have the praise to all eternity. And therefore God prepareth men for faith and pardon, by humbling works, and forceth sinners to condemn themselves before he will justify them. Direct. xxi. “Read over the character which Christ himself giveth of his true disciples; and you will see what great self-denial and humility he requireth in all.’ In your first conversion you must become as little children". Instead of contending for superiority and greatness, you must be ambic'Matt. xviii. 3.
* Psal. cxlvi. 3, 4. WOL. III. F
tious of being servants unto all". You must learn of him to be meek and lowly of heart", and to stoop to wash your brethren's feet'. Instead of revenge, or unpeaceable contending for your right, you must rather obey those that injuriously command you, and turn the other cheek to him that smiteth you, and let go the rest to him that hath injuriously taken from you; and bless them that curse you, and pray for them that hurt and persecute you, and despitefully use yous. These are the followers of Christ. Direct. xxii. “Remember how pride contradicteth itself by exposing you to the hatred or contempt of all.” All men abhor that pride in others which they cherish in themselves. A humble man is well thought of by all that know him; and a proud man is the mark of common obloquy. The rich disdain him, the poor envy him, and all hate him, and many deride him. This is his success. Direct. xx111. ‘Look still unto that dismal end, which pride doth tend unto.’ It threateneth apostacy. If God forsake any one among you, and any of you forsake God, his truth, and your consciences, and be made as Lot's wife, a monument of his vengeance for a warning to others, it will be the proud and self-conceited person. It maketh all the mercies of God, your duties and parts, and objectively your very graces, to be its food and fuel. It is a sign you are near some dreadful fall, or heavy judgment: for God hath given you this prognostic". An Ahab is safer when he humbleth himself; and an Hezekiah is falling when he is lifted up. They are the most hardened sinners, scorning reproof, and therefore ordinarily forsaken both by God and man, and left to their self-delusion till they perish. Direct. xxiv. “Converse with humbled and afflicted persons, and not with proud, secure worldlings.” Be much in the “house of mourning,” where you may see “the end of all the living, and be made better by laying it to heart;” and let not your “hearts be in the house of mirth".” Delight not to converse with “men that be in honour, and understand not, but are like the beasts that perish; for though they think of perpetuating their houses, and call their lands after their own names,” yet they “abide not in” their “honour:” and “this their way is their folly,” though “yet their posterity approve their sayings". Converse with penitent, humbled souls, that have seen the odiousness of sin, and the wickedness and deceitfulness of the heart, and can tell you by their own feeling what cause of humiliation is still before you. With these are you most safe.
* Matt. xxiii. 11. xx. 27. * Matt. xi. 28, 29. ! John xiii. 5, 14. * Matt. v. 39, 40.44. * Luke xiv. 11. i. 51. Prov. xv. 25. xvi. 5. Isa. ii. 11, 12. * Eccl. vii. 2-4.
I have been the larger against Pride, as seeing its prevalency in the world, and its mischievous effects on souls and families, church and state; and because it is not discerned and resisted by many as it ought. I would fain have God dwell in your hearts, and peace in your societies; and fain have you stand fast in the hour of temptation, from prosperity or adversity; and fain have affliction easy to you. But none of this will be without humility. I am loath that under the mighty hand of God we should be unhumbled, even when judgments bid us lay our mouths in the dust. The storms have been long up; the cedars have fallen: it is the shrubs and bending willows that now are most likely to escape. I am loath to see the prognostics of wrath upon your souls, or upon the land. I am loath that any of you should through pride be unhumbled of sin, or ashamed to own despised godliness; or that any that have seemed religious, should prove seditious, unpeaceable, or apostates. And therefore I beseech you, in a special manner, take heed of pride; be little in your own esteem: praise not one another unseasonably; be not offended at plain reproofs: look to your duties, and then leave your reputations to the will of God. Rebuke pride in your children: use them to mean attire and employments: cherish not that in them which is most natural (now) and most pernicious. God dwelleth with the humble, and will take the humble to dwell with him'. “Put on humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another".” “Be clothed with humility: serve the Lord with all humility of mind, and he will exalt you in due time".”
* Psal. xlix. 20. 12–14. 'Isa. lvii. 15. Job xxii. 29. * Col. iii. 12, 13. * Acts xx. 19. 1 Pet. v. 6, 7.
Directions against Covetousness, or Love of Riches, and against worldly Cares".
I shall say but little on this subject now, because I have written a Treatise of it already, called “The Crucifying of the World by the Cross of Christ;” in which I have given many directions (in the preface and treatise) against this sin.
Direct. 1. ‘Understand well the nature and malignity of this sin; both what it is, and why it is so great and perilous.' I shall here shew you, 1. What love of riches is lawful: 2. What it is that is unlawful; and in what this sin of Covetousness or worldliness doth consist: 3. Wherein the malignity or greatness of it lieth: 4. The signs of it: 5. What counterfeits of the contrary virtue do hide this sin from the eyes of worldlings: 6. What false appearances of it do cause many to be suspected of covetousness unjustly.
I. All love of the creature, the world, or riches, is not sin: For, 1. The works of God are all good, as such ; and all goodness is amiable. As they are related to God, and his power, and wisdom, and goodness are imprinted on them, so we must love them, even for his sake. 2. All the impressions of the attributes of God appearing on his works, do make them as a glass, in which at this distance we must see the Creator; and their sweetness is a drop from him, by which his goodness and love are tasted. And so they were all made to lead us up to God, and help our minds to converse with him, and kindle the love of God in our breasts, as a love-token from our dearest friend: and thus, as the means of our communion with God, the love of them is a duty, and not a sin. 3. They are naturally the means of sustaining our bodies, and preserving life, and health, and alacrity: and as such, our sensitive part hath a love to them, as every beast hath to their food: and this love in itself is not of a moral kind, and is neither a virtue nor a vice; till it either be used in obedience to our reason (and so it is good), or in disobedience to it, (and so it is evil). 4. The crea
* See an excellent Tract. de Divitiis ascribed to Sixt. 3. in Bibl. Pat. (though accused of Pelagianism.)