Imatges de pÓgina

things by the help of the map of the heavenly Canaan drawn in the scriptures. This is the faith of the operation of God to which the world is a stranger. For in effect to most men, the doctrines of the Bible concerning things not seen, are but as idle tales, and all the promises about them but as fair words; of this the small regard which they pay to them in practice is an evident proof.

2. We must value them in our practical judgment above all other things. For this looking to them plainly implies an overlooking of other things. "Yea, doubtless, says Paul, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." You must not look on them only as good, but as of all good things the best, and not only as the best in general, but best for you at all times. So that when the world makes its offer of seen things, you must prefer the Saviour's offer of unseen things.

"Whom have I in

3. We must love and desire them above all. heaven but thee? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides thee." If we do not thus love and desire them, our looking to them will be to no purpose for supporting us under sufferings and carrying us forward through the world. Look at them with superlative love and desire, breathing out your souls for these unseen things. "When the many say, who will shew us any good? Do you cry, Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou has put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased." Hence we find the saints breathing after the land that is afar off, saying, "We have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." After the Lord of the land, saying, “O that we knew where we might find him." And after the perfect holiness and felicity of heaven. "For in this tabernacle we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven."

4. We must make them our main scope and aim, looking to them as one does at a mark at which he will shoot. Let it be your chief end to seek God, and not yourselves, to glorify and please your unseen Lord and Master, and to attain the enjoyment of him for ever. Let all things else be but secondary work in comparison of this. Be assured your happiness lies not in this present world; the sweetest smiles of it cannot make you happy, and the severest frowns of the world cannot make you miserable. If you obtain the unseen things, you gain all; if not, you gain nothing.

5. We must accustom ourselves to the habitual consideration of them. For it is not a glance at them on the Sabbath, or at a comVOL. III.


munion, that will answer the grand purpose, but a fixed looking at them in the whole course of our lives. Whatever we have in hand, and wherever we be, each of us should be ready to say, "I have set the Lord always before me, and when I am awake I am still with him." Our conversation must be in heaven now, if we expect to be received into it at death. We must keep the other world habitually in our view while we walk through this.

"For we are

6. We must entertain the hope of unseen things. saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." The soul of man is an empty thing and must be fed by hope, till it come to enjoyment. And if there be not settled hope of unseen things, the heart will naturally embrace seen things. "When there is no hope, the soul says, I have loved strangers, and after them I will go." Despondency cuts the sinews of the traveller through the world, and will quickly cause him stop.

Lastly, Look to them, so as to overlook and put on a holy disregard of the things that are seen. And this brings me,

IV. To shew how we must overlook and put on a holy disregard of the things that are seen. The seen things are the things of this world. We cannot avoid seeing them while we are in it. But we must not look at them, we must see them as if we saw them not, and put on a holy disregard of them. They may be reduced to two heads. The evil and the good things of the world.

1. Put on a holy disregard of the evil things of the world, which tend to divert you from your Christian course. This world was and ever will be a weary land to the travellers to Zion. You must go into the world, and I tell you before, that there is an ill air blowing in it, which none of us shall ever be able to correct; and the more we set our faces heaven-ward, the more it will blow upon us. But we must resolve to be forward, and take it as we find it.

Put on then a holy disregard of the seen evil things of the world, such as its crosses and tribulations. These we must both see and feel, for in the world we shall have tribulation. But mind your Lord and Master who set his face to the storm, and being resolved to be forward, put on a holy contempt of it. "For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame." And indeed we will need to have our foreheads steeled with holy resolution, when going through the world. For we may lay our account with having a cross for every day. Every day will have the evil thereof. The follower of Jesus must take up his cross daily; and the clouds will return after the rain. We may meet with these,

where we least expect them, perhaps by the time we enter our own houses, we will see one ready shapen out for us, and we must take it up. We may lay our account also with what may be called holydays' crosses, the day of Zion's distress and persecution, or public calamity. "Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round about; so that in the day of the Lord's anger none escaped nor remained: those that I had swaddled and brought up hath mine enemy consumed." Ever since the Christian race was opened, Satan hath raged against those that have set out in it. He hath set up reproaches, poverty, blood and slaughter in it, to drive people from it. And he wants but to have his chain lengthened, and the enemy would begin the bloody work as keenly as ever.

But happy they, who, though they see this evil of worldly crosses, do not look at them, but put on a holy disregard of them. That is, do not pore upon them, for often while one muses that way the fire burns. And the cloud, which in itself is but like a man's hand, by a faithless looking at it, increases till it appears to blacken the very heavens. Do with them as a man on his journey, who meets with a mire or rugged step, he cannot avoid seeing it, but he must not stay to look at it, especially in a place where all around is mire. It is remarkable of Jacob, that when Rachel named the child of which she died, Benoni, the son of my sorrow, but his father called him Benjamin; the son of my right hand; near and dear and precious to him as his right hand.

Do not terminate your view upon your crosses, but look beyond them to the bright side of the cloud. If the mist of trouble rise before you in the way, look through it to the unseen things before you and press forward. Some professors are like delicate persons that go abroad in a fair hour to take the air; but whenever a shower comes on they wrap themselves up in their cloaks, and return to their houses. Their religion endures till they meet with a cross: and then they take such a look of their cross, as drives them at once out of all the little wisdom which they ever had in religion; "For having no root in themselves, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by they are offended." But be you like one who is travelling on necessary business, he cannot command the clouds, but he looks to his business; and be it fair or foul weather he must be forward.

You must also put on holy contempt of the world's way, which must be reckoned among its evil things. If you design for heaven, you will soon see that the multitude are not going your way, and that their course is opposite to the one you must steer. "They walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince

of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Their way leads to things that are seen, but to none of the things that are unseen, except the wrath to come. They despise religion, the profane mock at it; worldly wise men gravely pronounce it folly. Every one of them disregards it and goes after his own way, any way, but God's way.

You will see all this, and behold it to mourn over and watch against it. But look not at it, to esteem, love, choose, or tamper with it. "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." Many look at it, so as that their eyes betray their hearts, they fall in with it; because they see it is the way that is most frequented, as if they thought it safe enough to go to hell with company. "But be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Therefore I would say to you as Peter did, save yourselves from this untoward generation. And remember that the separation to be completed at the last day, is begun and working now. For thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

2. Put on a holy disregard of the world's good things also. This is necessary if ever you would go safe through the world, for its good as well as its evil things have a tendency to divert you from your Christian course. And the case is much the same, whether the world cudgel us to death with its blows, or hug us to death with its treacherous embraces. The fawning as well as the frowning world is dangerous, and we may say of it as Solomon does of wine. "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." Like Joab, the world pretends fair, while it gives a home thrust to the soul. Like the panther, which with the sweet smell of his breath draws other beasts to him, and then devours them.

The world will court you, with its profits, saying, "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." And O what an ensnaring sight to many! "For the love of money is the root of all evil; which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

The world thus prevails with many to take away their desire from the unseen things. "And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused." Men who are led by sense count nothing substantial good,

but what they can see with their eyes, or handle with their hands and which will improve their fields and fill their barns and coffers. These are the bird in hand, with them preferable to the unseen treasures of another world, that are but the bird in the bush in their esteem.

The world will court you also with its seen pleasures, that gratify the senses. "Even all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." O what a bewitching sight is this to many. And how many does it keep back from the Christian course. Hence if you will look through the world, you will see multitudes, plunged in the mire of sensuality, whose souls are sacrificed to please their flesh. They are bound over to death in these silken cords and ruined with these siren songs, that will be bitterness in the end.

And we are not only in danger by the unlawful, but also by the lawful comforts of the world. It is a sad but true observation, that many perish by lawful things. The inhabitants of the old world "were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, all lawful things, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not till the flood came and swept them all away." Two unhappy sons stole away the heart of good Eli; and the gourd of a night, the heart of the prophet Jonah.

But look not at the world's seen good, if ever you would get safe through it. Do not tamper with its unlawful profits or pleasures. Check the first side look of the heart after them, the first rising of strong desire to them, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. They that begin to look at them are in the fair way to leap over the hedge for them. The fort is near to surrender that comes to a parley. And they that parley with temptations can hardly ever come fair off.

Make not the world's seen good your main scope and aim, you need the world's comforts in this state of mortality, and God requires as well as allows us, " To provide things honest in the sight of all men." But let your great view be beyond the clouds, and be not seekers of the world, but seekers of the kingdom of God. And you may know your case in this point by this mark. That is your main view, to which your other views are made to yield. If you manage in seen good, so as may best suit the advancing of your enjoyment of the unseen good; then it is well.

You must also moderate your affections to the seen good of the world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Let not your hearts sink deep among these ensnaring good

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