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to the Antipodes to compass it, nor dig under ground to find it; they need not ransack the Indies to enrich themselves with it, nor venture (hip-wracks to bring it home; they need not sell Lands and Houles to purchase it, nor run the Hazard of Sword and fire to secure it; they need not clamber Mountains to possess it, nor wade through Rivers to inherit it. They carry this Treasure in their hearts, and it must be meer Nuggishness if they let it lie there, and make no use of it. The fire is hid under the ashes, and they need but stir it, and blow it, and it will soon flame out; and God hath made the duty so calie on purpose, that men might not be delu
ded by the Devil, into a belief of its impossibilicy. Strange stupidity! they do not think it
hárd to carry Talents of Lead, or Mountains of Sin on their backs, and yet they think Considetation hard ; éven that Confideration, which, like a faithful Friend, would tell them how to bę rid of that heavy Load they bear, a Load, which would immediately link them into Hell
, but that the Devil puts under his shoulder, and helps them to carry it, and so they feel it not. They do not think it hard to dig into Hell, and get they think Conlideration hard, which would teach them a way how to quench that fire. They do not think it hard to be oppress'd by a most bloody Usurper, and yet they think Consideration hard, which would shew them how they might shake off that yoke, which neither they nor their Fare-fathers were ever able to bear.
Look how laborious the Priests of Baal are in
Canon, to mock a shower of Arrows, to stand a Volly of Shot, to fight Duels, to expose your Lives, to lay Siege to a Fort, to endure the noise of Guns, to hear the clashing of Swords, to lie on the cold ground many nights together, or to have an Arm or Leg cut off to preserve the founder
your Bodies; you that have courage to do all this, and do not think it hard, (hall you
think Consideration hard ? even that Çonfideration that would make you live like men, and free you from the rubbish, the lapsed posterity of Adam lies groaning under: you that do things every day almost much harder, and much more difficult than Consideration is, will you scruple that which may be perform'd with greater ease, and which you are more oblig'd to, than adventuring on the Dangers I have mention'd ?
II. Love of the World, and being continually employ'd about sensual objects. This is another impediment of Confideration. And indeed we need not wonder to see men negle&tful and careless of this great and necessary work, when the World takes up their hearts, and engrosses their affections; when we see how all their Plots, Designs, Contrivances, Desires are for the World, and when they mind onely fleshly things, as the Apostle phrases it , Phil. 3. 19. This was well expressed by the antient Parable , in which a
Traveller is represented, fleeing from the fierceness and rage of an Unicorn, but as he flees, he falls into a Pit, and rolling down lays hold on the bough of a Tree, and now thinks himself secure from all danger. But as he looks about, he beholds two Moles corroding the root of the Tree, he holds by, and underneath him a Dragon spitting fire, and threatning to devour him, and on both sides of him, four Serpents hissing, and in the midst of all this danger fome Honey trickling down from the Tree, with the sweetness of which, and agreeableness to his pallate, he is fo taken, and ravish'd, that he forgets his fears, and rejoyces, though surrounded with so many implacable enemies. The Unicorn is Death > the Pit is the World ; the Tree mans life; the two Moles day and night ; the four Serpents the four Elements man is compos'd of; the Dragon is the Devil, and the Honey voluptuousness, or the sweetness and pleasures of the World.
What I'mean by the World, none can be igoorant of, that hath either read what wise men have written concerning it, or hath heard the Word of the Gospel sounding in his ears : For indeed, it's not the least part of our Commission to dehort and dissuade men from fixing their affections on these sublunary objects, and but that continual inculcating of the same thing would make our Auditors nauseate the most wholesome Lessons, we could not do them great
er service, than by making such Dehortations the perpetual subject of our Sermons.
All that is in the World, is the luft of the flesh, and the luft of the eyes, and the pride of life, laith the great Divine, I John 2. 16. Whatever outward object serves to gratifie sense, whatever here below is most commonly desired and lufted after, what ever makes for satisfaction of the flesh, or of our sensual appetite, all is comprehended under this name.
And indeed it is with these worldly comforts, as it is with the Garden of Eden; some are for food, fome for trial; fome to keep our Bodies serviceable to our Souls; some to prove our Souls, whether they'll rest on these broken Reeds, ar seek rest and acquiescence in him, that is the Creator of all. And accordingly the Almighty thought fit to limit the use of these terreltrial felicities, and to signifie in his Word, that his intent in giving them, was, that they should be our servants, not our masters; that he design'd them as advantages to us, not binderances in admiring and adoring the immense goodness and bounty of God, and that he appointed them for our use no farther, than they would serve to promote his glory, and the eternal felicity of our immortal Souls. This the Saints of old understood, who therefore were very sparing in the use of these outward comforts, for fear of being deluded by them into fondness; nay, some fo dreaded falling in love with these allectives, that they did totally deny themselves