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study: A conceit as false as God is true , and which we cannot reflect upon without indig. nation. For common experience refutes it. The meanest Artificers that are, men that cannot read one word, servants of the lowest form, the poorest persons alive, men whose fortune is as low as their learning, do arrive to this art, and therefore that plea deserves to be hiss’d at ; what is done, may be done again, and if unlearned ignorant illiterate men do very often make considerable progress in it, there is no doubt but the thing is possible and practicable, and there wants nothing but willingness to master it.
There is no man that's sensible, that Gold is better than Glasses and Rattles, or that Pearls ought to be priz'd and valu'd more than Pebles ; There is no man that is capable of apprehending, that three and three make fix, or can contrive and plot, which way a dangerous Pond, or dreadful Fire may be avoided, but may consider, whether the things the Scriptute speaks of, be true or no; whether the promises and threatnings of the Gospel, are things that belong to him or no; whether he lives up to the precepts of Christ or no; and what will be the consequence of his contempt of mercy, and what may
be the means of escaping the wrath to come, and whether an endless glory be not infinitely better than a few bours Pageantry, and everlasting enjoyment more satisfactory than mo.
Wenger will aqure in
mentany pleasures, and eternal reít more defirable than a tranfitory titillation?.'?
What difficulty is there in this consideration, whar Racks, what Precipices are there here, that must be ventur'd on to bring it about? I fee a whole street on fire, and am struck into amaze
ment, and cannot I consider, how dreadful ever) lafting fire must be? I can consider, what a loss
it was to Job to be deprived of his Sheep and Camels, and what is more, his Children, and last of all of his health, and ease, and quiet, and cannot I confider what a loss it must be for me to lose more than all this comes to ? I consider, i'ts worth fitting up late, and rising early, and running up and down to get a livelihood ; and cannot I consider, how far more rational it is to sweat, and toil, and labour for an everlasting inheritance? I can consider with delight, how much ease and content I shall enjoy when such an estate I have the reversion of doth fall; and cannot I consider how happy those must be, that after their patient continuance in well-do. ing, shall be poffefs'd of glory, and honour, and immortality, and eternal life? I can confider how pleasant, how glorious a thing it is to live in the good opinion of my Prince, under the smiles and gracious looks of my Benefactor; 'and cannot I consider what a felicity doth attend them, that enjoy the light of God's counre. pance? Here's but changing the object. And I that can confider, how dilingenuous and sordid a thing it is to act against a man, that hath rais'd
me out of dust, and advanc'd me to great dig. nity and preferment; cannot I consider, what baseness and disgenerous ingratitude it must be to provoke that God who maintains me, and preserves me, and without whom I cannot breathe or move? I that can consider the reasonableness of sorrow and grief where I have offended, and done a signal injury to my Superiour, cannot I consider how just and equitable it is, when I look on that Saviour, whom my fins have pierc'd, to mourn as heartily, as one that mourns for his onely Son ? I that can consider, how fad a thing it is to sit in a Dungeon, depriyed of the comfortable beams of the Sun, and what is more; of the Society of all lovers, and acquaintance, in an enemies Country, where my food is such as Dogs would refuse to eat, and the stench round about me intolerable., cannot I consider how dreadful it will be one day to be everlastingly shut out from the enjoyment of that light, which refreshes the Souls and Bo. dies of glorified Saints for ever, and to be thrust into a dismal Prison, whence I must come'ont no more, till I have paid the uttermost farthing? Why should not my understanding serve me to consider the one as well as the other? Spiritual things are the most adequate and most proper objects of my understanding. They are the proper fuel for that flame which cherish and feed it, and make it rise, and foar to Heaven. What ever concerns provision for the fieln, or this present life, is but a secondary object, more by
favour and permission, than by design. For God's design in giving us understandings, was, that they might be receptacles of spiritual Truths, Şiore houses of invisible Treasures. Contrivançes how we may get our bodily wants and necessities supplied, for ought I know may be perform’d, and order'd by sense alone, without reason, without this sublime faculty of understanding, as we see in Beasts, and ignobler Animals, which being strangers to this priviledge, and directed onely by sense, furnish themselves with necessaries, conveniencies, and superfluities : Go to the Ant, thou fluggard, consider her ways, and be wise, which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the Summer, and gathereth ker food in the Harvest , Prov. 6. 6,
But what will not men call difficult, if they are unwilling to do what they should ? How would Houses be built ? How would the Field be sow'd ? How would Harvest be brought in, if Carpenters and Husbandmen should pretend difficulty? If men will be drones, excuses are soon found out. Our understandings are quick enough to light upon evasions, and I never knew any finner, whose wits would not serve him to reason himself out of a known Duty. And of this nature is the pretence of hardship, men alledge. And who sees not, that this is byt a shift to satisfie their Consciences, that they may not twitch them for the omission; and they must have some plea, left they should
Harder to su
fin bare-fac'd, and seem to affront God without cause or instigation. And indeed this plea is a true stroke of the Devil, for though the way to destruction be far more craggy, and infinitely fuller of precipices, than the way to life, witness mens breaking through infamy, the batred of their Friends, the displeasure of their Relations, the fences of Modesty, the scorn of Angels, the indignation of a consuming Fire, to get at fin, witness the venturing sometimes their Fortunes, sometimes their Lives, sometimes their Reputation, sometimes the ruine of their Families, to please the Devil ; yet the broadway being down, whereas the straight is up the hill, his persuasion prevails the Cooper, that the former is infinitely more facile and easie; and thus he asperses and seeks to crack the Credit of this spotlefs Virgin , Consideration, the joy of Angels, the envy of Devils, the off-spring of God, and the great Ladder whereby men must climb to Heaven, and hard it must be, though nothing be more easie: 'tis a thing portable, and is alway to be had ; it's always in season, always at hand, always within call, no burthen in a Journey, no load in a Voyage, men may carry it with them where ever they go; when they are travelling, when they stay at home; in company, and out of company ; when they are walking, when they are fitting down ; when they go to bed, when they rise ; they need not run beyond Sea to fetch it, nor evolve many Books to be Masters of it ; they need not fail